Know When To

On Good Friday evening, I attended a cantata at church. Because of the somber mood of the Good Friday service the pastor asked the congregation to refrain from applause. When the cantata was over we joined in the Lord’s Prayer and left the church in silence. It was a poignant moment. Applause can also be … Continue reading “Know When To”

Intimacy With God

Over the past 13 years I have developed a great many wonderful relationships through work. Though these relationships began as professional acquaintances, they have become strong friendships. Together we have shared stories about our families, faith and frustrations. We have consoled one other when sorrows hit our lives and celebrated when joys arrived. These people … Continue reading “Intimacy With God”

The Nature of Work

This weekend I am working out of town. I travel frequently at this point in the season as our team attends state, regional and even national competitions. Travel away from home is an aspect of my job. My family accepts this and has adjusted to it over the years. Even though we have adjusted to … Continue reading “The Nature of Work”

The Cross Divides

Soon believers will commemorate the closing hours of Jesus’ earthly life: His arrest, His trial, His beatings, His humiliation and passion on the cross. On Good Friday, as the cross casts its shadow across the world, the sounds of Christ’s cries of anguish echo from eternity into the world. For those of us who stand … Continue reading “The Cross Divides”

The Center Of Attention

This weekend the scoreboard was the center of attention at the State gymnastic competition. When a gymnast finished an event performance she and her coach would fixate on the board waiting for the judges’ results to flash across the screen. Some gymnasts were exuberant about the scores they received from the judges; others were disappointed … Continue reading “The Center Of Attention”


After the gymnastic meet this afternoon, one of my gymnasts and I sat and talked as we waited for others to finish. We shared a pleasant conversation about her life and friends. We exchanged opinions, talked about her family and had a good time just getting to know each other. It’s difficult to have conversations … Continue reading “Spontaneity”

Always Awake

I would like to be asleep right now. The fatigue of a long day is hanging on my body, my eyes are heavy and my mind can think only of the sweet respite of slumber. Requiring sleep is part of our human frailty. Our bodies and minds need rest. Experts insist that people need eight … Continue reading “Always Awake”


I met an absolutely delightful and charming woman today. Her eyes sparkled as she told me about her teaching career and her accomplishments as a flutist. She learned that I had authored a book and graciously asked me about the process. We engaged in conversation for several minutes. I will see her next week, but … Continue reading “Forgetfulness”

The Blind Can See

This morning the Today show ran a segment on Ivonne Mosquera-Schmidt, a blind woman who has run 14 marathons. She trains and competes in these grueling races with her husband, who serves as her guide runner. Using a short tether the couple stay hooked together as they race over trails and streets building trust and … Continue reading “The Blind Can See”

There For You

This morning, when Lori woke up too sick to coach at the gymnastic competition, who’s she gonna call? Well, she’s not gonna call Ghostbusters. I received the call at 4:45 a.m. After a brief discussion, I left for the meet. How did she know I would go? Well, for thirteen years, day in and day … Continue reading “There For You”

Imagine Heaven

John Lennon’s song “Imagine” came to my mind. I don’t really know why a song I haven’t listened to for years suddenly comes to mind. But it did. The first line of that song is “Imagine there’s no heaven/It’s easy if you try.” I hate to disagree with Lennon, but, as a Christian, I can’t … Continue reading “Imagine Heaven”

Are You Aware?

It drives me crazy when I ask an athlete a question about her gymnastics and get no response. She looks at me, but her lips remain still. She sees me standing right in front of her, but she remains silent, as though she is unaware of my presence. She ignores my questions. Even when she … Continue reading “Are You Aware?”

We Conquer Death

“Going a little farther, He fell with His face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will’” (Matthew 26:39). With this prayer, Jesus, the Son of God, willingly delivered His life to the Father. The Son … Continue reading “We Conquer Death”

He Loved Us

Social media is making people socially awkward. Society’s dependence on Twitter, Facebook, snap chat, and so on has many people incapable of reading their social surroundings and situations. As a result, relationships that would have formed naturally go undeveloped. The more we fail to build personal relationships with our fellow human beings, meaning those people … Continue reading “He Loved Us”

Miraculous Rebirth

The kids and I left the gym after the morning workout and walked into a clear warm day. We squinted into the bright sunshine and celebrated that gorgeous weather had arrived. We hurried to our cars, eager to embrace a spring-like weekend. After the cold and dark of the long winter months, we happily received … Continue reading “Miraculous Rebirth”

The Sin Of Unbelief

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus heals a boy “possessed by a spirit” (9:17). The father approaches Jesus for help by saying, “If you can do anything . . .  help us” (9:22). Jesus is stunned by the father’s conditional word, “if.” When the father hears the surprised tone in Jesus’ voice, he cries out, … Continue reading “The Sin Of Unbelief”

Wounded Heart

Last week I bit my lip, hard. Eating has become a painful experience, and even swallowing water stings. While trying to protect that area from further discomfort, I have managed to bite other parts of my lip. It’s annoying and the healing process slow. The heart like the mouth is a slow healer. We have … Continue reading “Wounded Heart”

Flimsy Answers

Tonight marks a milestone for me. Thanks to the Holy Spirit, the power of prayer and God’s impeccable timing to bring a wonderful college friend back into my life along with her husband, I have a book on Amazon. (I know, everybody does.) But this isn’t just a story about my being a writer; this … Continue reading “Flimsy Answers”

Sunday Rest

Sundays are my favorite day of the week. I get to rest from work, go to worship God in His sanctuary, visit sick and shut in friends and family. This day has a slow ease to it. This day has an unhurried, kick back feel to it. The hectic pace of the work week is … Continue reading “Sunday Rest”

Identity Theft

In this digital age keeping our identity safe is an ongoing struggle. My husband and I have each had our identity stolen. Friends of mine have also been victims of identity theft. Even the best safeguards cannot prevent it. The book of Genesis gives an account of the first identity theft: in the Garden of … Continue reading “Identity Theft”

U Turns

Today the GPS on my smart phone led me astray. It took me down wrong streets and repeatedly had me doing U turns. Needless to say, the experience was frustrating. I finally arrived at my destination, but not by using the GPS. I had printed directions from MapQuest. During this period of frustration, I figured … Continue reading “U Turns”

He Who Has The Son

At the end of the Big Bang Theory episode tonight, the screen held a picture of Leonard Nimoy, who had recently died, and the caption read, “The impact you had on our show and on our lives is everlasting.” I can appreciate the cast’s sentiment. Star Trek’s Mr. Spock was a fan favorite, and fans … Continue reading “He Who Has The Son”

Struggle Over

I find that when athletes are struggling, the first thing they do is blame someone besides themselves for their problems. The second thing they do is reject coaches’ assignments that would help them end the struggle. Only when athletes can take instruction can they overcome their struggles and solve their problems. We are a lot … Continue reading “Struggle Over”

Even A Flat Pancake

A few years ago, I heard the expression “even a flat pancake has two sides,” meaning that every story has two sides. That thought came to mind this morning during the Gospel reading from Mark 8. In that passage, Jesus explains the suffering He was going to endure, and Peter scolds Jesus for speaking such. … Continue reading “Even A Flat Pancake”

No Guarantee

I learned that my cousin, after 30 years of service to a local hospital, will now have to relocate to keep her current position. Another friend has lost his job. My husband has been told there are work projects for him, but nothing crosses his desk. Jobs, careers, relationships, college degrees, happiness, love, and so … Continue reading “No Guarantee”

Boldly Go

Focus is essential to gymnastics training. When athletes fail to keep their focus their minds become undisciplined and the result is, as people say these days, “a hot mess.” A loss of focus leads to stumbles and falls, and the gymnast who loses focus will become preoccupied with making excuses and obsessing about fears. Suddenly … Continue reading “Boldly Go”

Within My Nature

This morning as I was reading through John 14 the Lord grabbed my attention with these words “in my name” (14). After a quick word study, I inserted a different definition for the words in and name. The phrase then read “within my nature.” This substitution changed my perspective. How many times in prayer do … Continue reading “Within My Nature”

Assess Need

During the gymnastics meet season, the coaching staff is focused on the needs of each athlete. This focus can encompass a wide range of concerns, from the coaches’ insisting on adequate nutrition, to practicing the necessary number of skill repetitions, to giving extra time on events for which gymnasts show a weakness, or to taking … Continue reading “Assess Need”

The Lost Life

On Sundays I visit my friend in a nursing home. We chat. She asks about her friends from church and if anyone is sick. She also wonders what must change so she can go home. She is comfortable and well taken care, but she wants to go back home. Of course, I can’t change her … Continue reading “The Lost Life”

The Power Of Touch

I attend a book study one morning a week at a local restaurant. This week, I arrived a little early and talked with the leader as he buttered a bagel. A few minutes later, several members of the group arrived, and one lady took a seat behind the leader. She settled into the chair. The … Continue reading “The Power Of Touch”

God’s Example

Occasionally we coaches have our older gymnasts demonstrate a skill or drill for our younger athletes so they can get a visual understanding of the trick. We do so on everything from basic body shapes to high-level skills. Giving the younger gymnasts a picture of what has just been explained is very beneficial for them. … Continue reading “God’s Example”

Night Light

As children, many of us were, at one time or another, afraid of the dark. Our parents would remedy the situation with a night light. Though the wattage of these bulbs was low, it cast enough light into the room to chase away the monsters. As adults we still sometimes find ourselves afraid of the … Continue reading “Night Light”

Prepare Now For Lent

John 4:32 and 34 have intrigued me for a long time, and I am using one period of Lent to study and ask the Holy Spirit to show me what Jesus means in these verses. “I have food to eat that you know nothing about,” and, “My food is to do the will of Him … Continue reading “Prepare Now For Lent”

We Belong Together

Photo Courtesy of Panitan Punpuang Over the weekend, I had an opportunity to watch the sun rise over Chicago. Its rays shimmered across the icy waters of Lake Michigan and bounced off the windows of the high rises and towers reflecting columns of light across the frozen waters. While splashing light across the awakening city, … Continue reading “We Belong Together”

When He Appears

Photo Courtesy of Jordan Wozniak I spend a great many hours reminding gymnasts that they must expect to make their routines at a meet. This past weekend, I could tell easily by a gymnast’s body language and facial expressions whether she had expected to perform well at the competition. I could tell who hadn’t, too. … Continue reading “When He Appears”


Photo Courtesy of Andre Guerra There is a comfort in knowing what to expect each year. Every year I can predict my day at the Chicago-Style Gymnastic Meet, in Chicago, Illinois. This event is one of my favorite meets of the season. I look forward to it every year. I have an opportunity to see … Continue reading “Surprises”


Photo Courest of i yunmai Several years ago, I chose a vegetarian lifestyle that has helped me keep my body healthy. I supplemented my new lifestyle with additional rules to help me monitor and guard my health. Of course there are times when I break the rules, but my commitment to health is greater than … Continue reading “Rules”

The Tyrant

Photo Courtesy of Element5 Digital Going into fourth grade, I heard all sorts of horror stories about the teacher. The playground buzzed with upper-level students telling us lowly third graders about the terror of fourth grade and the tyrannical teacher. I was not looking forward to fourth grade. On the first day, I entered the … Continue reading “The Tyrant”


Photo Courtesy of Luke Tanis My gym clothes are comfortable and appropriate for work. It is clothing that is useful and functional for the job that I have as a gymnastics coach. I would guess that most of us have work, casual and dress clothes. The malls, lined with retail clothing stores, confirm that we … Continue reading “Unending”

He’s All Around Us

Photo Courtesy of kazuend People have many reasons for not attending church on Sunday or participating in spiritual activities during the week. In fact, excuses are abundant. For instance, I have heard people say, “I’d like to go to church, but I was up late.” And, “I really should join a Bible study, but I’m … Continue reading “He’s All Around Us”

What To Wear

Photo Courtesy of Adrienne Leonard Gymnasts frequently struggle with Yurchenko vaults. This skill is very difficult to execute properly because the athlete must run as fast as she can toward the vault table, round off onto the vault board, do a back handspring onto the table, use her hands and shoulders to block (a very … Continue reading “What To Wear”

Our Many Reasons

Photo Courtesy of Alexandra Gorn It’s strange for me to be tired. However, the schedule over the last few days has finally taken its toll, and both my mind and body are fatigued. I don’t appreciate the vulnerability that accompanies this state of weariness. I prefer the feelings of power and strength that energy produces. … Continue reading “Our Many Reasons”

The Approach

Photo Courtesy of Edoardo Busti My girls chatted with me for several hours tonight, filling me with stories about their weekend. I enjoyed every facial expression, gesture and detail of their recaps. We sat for nearly three hours in the upstairs hall. None of us wanted to leave the presence of the others. Yes, the … Continue reading “The Approach”

The WOW Factor

Photo Courtesy of Sandro Schuh As I write this, I’ve just watched Super Bowl XLIX. It will occupy our conversations for the next several weeks. We saw spectacular plays and a stunning conclusion. It was a Super Bowl like no other. And whether your team won or lost the last thing any of us could … Continue reading “The WOW Factor”

Facing Trials

Photo Courtesy of Riccardo Mion After the meet this weekend, I realized that a gymnastic competition is just a trial and test to evaluate the training habits of the gymnasts. As I looked at this test, one thing became clear: gymnasts who had been impatient and worried during practice exhibited greater frustration, anxiety and disappoint- … Continue reading “Facing Trials”

Walk The Beach

Photo Courtesy of Genevieve Dallaire I have always loved the ocean. Walking on the beach fills my mind with wonder and my soul with joy. All that water sparks my imagination as I consider the wonders and mystery within that vast body of water. Ocean beaches captivate me. There is always something new to discover … Continue reading “Walk The Beach”

Don’t Hang Back

Photo Courtesy of Artur Rutkowski The way things are going, writing my Evening Reflection and my For the Weekend devotionals are going to bump into each other in the night. I am numb from traveling from Columbus, Ohio, to Phoenix Arizona, to Houston, Texas, for gymnastic competitions. My weariness reminds me of a spiritual dilemma … Continue reading “Don’t Hang Back”

Two Types Of Listeners

Photo Courtesy of Kyle Smith Recently I lined up our young gymnasts to give them instructions. They listened as I explained the drills and the order in which they were to be done. Most of the girls heard and fol- lowed the directions. However, one athlete moved randomly about doing her own thing. She failed … Continue reading “Two Types Of Listeners”