Five Minute Friday: Fly


Gentle Reader,

A bit of business: There will be no new content – Facebook page, newsletter, posts – from June 10 – June 16. I’m headed to the coast to celebrate 12 years of marriage. I thought about scheduling some things, but then I’d have to get online to share those things via social media, and I really, really want to be completely unplugged for a whole week. More than that, I need to be unplugged for a whole week. So I’ll catch you on Tuesday, June 19, for some chit-chat about The Beatles.

Kate says: fly.


I hate flying.

I was 16 the first time I hopped on a plane. The ride was less than an hour, but I was pretty sure I was going to die. My dad told me later that all the color drained from my face and he was concerned that I would pass out. All by myself, in a tin can of terror, surrounded by people I didn’t know who might want to talk to me. It was terrible. I buried my head in a book and prayed that nobody would notice me. And that the engine wouldn’t catch fire.

Several years passed before I flew again. Chris took me to Alaska to meet his family. When we arrived in Anchorage, we had to transfer to a small commuter plane to get to his hometown. (By small, I mean seats less than 20 people). The crew left our luggage behind because the plane was too heavy due to a load of fish – and transporting the fish was way more important than me having pajamas. As we barely skimmed over the tops of trees and narrowly missed crashing into mountains, I was again convinced that death was immanent.

The worst, by far, was the 17-plus hour ride to London. Do you have any idea how freaky it is to fly over the North Pole? All kinds of existential questions assaulted me – Who am I? Why am I here? Can polar bears jump high enough to reach the plane? What time is it when you’re standing at the North Pole? I’m going to die, aren’t I? Add in a screaming baby and a husband who needs to stretch his legs and can’t and I was not happy, in any way.

But then…

The destination is reached and the horror of flight quickly fades. It was worth pushing through the fear to visit my aunt and uncle for a week, worth meeting Chris’ family, certainly worth visiting Buckingham Palace.

I think that applies to life, too. Sometimes it sucks. It hurts. It’s scary. But for those whose faith is in the Risen Savior, the destination will blot out all heartache over the journey.




Sketches: Star Wars

Chewie & Han

Gentle Reader,

My mom has chronic intractable migraines. Fancy doctor-speak for severe headaches that last for days and don’t respond to treatment. She once had one that lasted nearly a month. I’m amazed that she continues to be able to handle life.

Every so often, I get a little taste of her experience. Yes, I get headaches on the regular, and have had more in the last couple of years than I ever did before, but for 8 days now I’ve been sliding along a pain spectrum from “wow, this really hurts” to “please, just let me die.” Yesterday, it settled behind my right eye. Hasn’t left yet. I don’t really want to do anything, and stayed in bed as long as I could today, but there comes a point when the misery makes me restless.

So I pruned my roses, pulled some weeds, dusted the house and painted my toenails.

Now, let’s talk: Star Wars. (Prompt submitted by my husband, Chris, via our many and varied conversations about these movies).

Aged Roughly 10

It was a muggy, overcast summer evening. We’d gone to the library as a family that day. Either it was a weekend or my dad took some vacation time, because he was with us. He’d spotted a VHS copy of a movie that he’d loved as a young adult and brought it home. He was still sporting the fantastic mustache that he brutally shaved off a decade ago, the mustache that my brother, my husband, various friends of mine and I have been trying to convince him to grow back ever since. (He has resisted our pleadings. I believe this is out of a desire to simply be contrary).

That movie? The Empire Strikes Back.

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away….” flashed across the screen. The first chord of John William’s epic theme played. I sat there on the green-and-white checked couch, wearing a big t-shirt that served as a nightgown, the humidity causing little hairs to curl across my forehead and the back of my neck. Pretty sure the big, orange Tupperware bowl was full of hot, buttered popcorn, because Dad always made popcorn when we watched movies. (I have that bowl today). Always in an air-popper, never on the stove (as it should be).

I was immediately hooked. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t seen A New Hope. I got it: Darth Vader was bad, Luke Skywalker was good, Princess Leia and Han Solo were meant to be together, Chewbacca and Yoda were cool. Lando Calrissian, how could he betray the good guys? He’d better get it in the end! How could they put Han in carbonite? He’s going to die! Would Luke really become a Jedi?

Still my favorite movie in the entire franchise.

Aged 17

A bunch of my friends made a Star Wars fan movie for a drama class project. They spent hours on that thing, crafting a story, figuring out how to do make-up so that a few could be aliens, rotoscoping all of the lightsaber scenes. A real labor of love. I wasn’t in the movie (I don’t remember why), though I heard about every detail, every bickering match, every moment of fun and wonder.

Candidly, I got annoyed with the whole thing. The boy I was dating at the time was involved and every spare moment was given to finishing the project. I don’t consider myself clingy, now or then, but what teenage girl is going to be happy when her boyfriend spends no time with her, particularly at the end of Senior year? Of course, now I know that those boys did a great job (and that the one boy was nowhere near worth the stress and pain).

I wonder who has a copy of that movie now? It’s been years since I’ve seen it.

Aged 21

Chris and I, dating for six months at this point, stood out in the rain, in line for the midnight premiere showing of Revenge of the Sith. I have never gone to another midnight showing and I probably never will, not only because I turn into a pumpkin after 8:00 p.m. but really because that night was special. It can never be duplicated or equaled. Everyone was happy and excited. Complete strangers were delighted to share their theories about the movie with each other. There were a few super-fans dressed in costume. It was all very fun.

At last we settled into our seats in the theater, eager for the show to begin. The “please, silence your cell phones” screen stretched out before us for what seemed like hours. Finally, nothing but blackness before our eyes. Yes! We were ready! Then…nothing. For a long time.

A guy in the back of the theater shouted, “Bring back the cell phone screen!” To this day, Chris and I quote that to each other when we go to the movies.

The movie did eventually play – technical difficulties and all that – and we loved it. By far the best of the prequel movies.

Aged Almost 34

I don’t know why anyone is complaining about the Solo movie. We saw it a week ago and have no complaints. It was a light, entertaining few hours. I felt the same way about The Last Jedi, a hugely divisive movie within the fandom. But here’s the thing: Any time I watch a Star Wars film, I am, for a moment, transported back to that summer night, eating popcorn, my dog Petey stretched out on his side, panting in the heat. It’s good guys and bad guys and feeling tense but knowing that the good guys will surely win in the end. It’s fun. That’s all it has to be.

I mean, really: Star Wars is a space opera. Nobody needs to be looking for deep messages. Just enjoy.


For all posts in the Sketches series, go here.


Five Minute Friday on a Monday: Return


Gentle Reader,

I was cranky last week. Anvils hammered in my head. Had a “crying mad” moment over something. Opening the laptop to chat with my blogging buddies simply didn’t happen. That’s life, I suppose. And so, this late entry.

Kate says: return.


I haven’t shared much about my attempt to read through the Bible this year. There’s the fear of sounding prideful – “Well, look at what I’m doing…” – and the fear of somehow jinxing the project – “Well, I told them about it and now I’m three weeks behind so I suck.” And to be real: I didn’t read my Bible last week. As stated above, I was in and out of a wicked headache and what I was feeling kept me from reading. Because that’s a spot that Satan loves to press; I’m feeling angry, condemned, so don’t read Scripture because that will make me feel worse because God, in reality, probably doesn’t like me very much.

Yes, I still struggle with that. Not as much as I used to, but I’m not yet free. I’d like to claim that I was, but does the world really need another liar?

Anyway, I’ve made my way to Job’s story, which I love. Many hate this book because there are no answers. We don’t get to know why God allowed Satan to wreak havoc in Job’s life. We don’t get to know why God chose to test his servant like that. Job is a mystery to us and we don’t like it. We want to be able to unravel the strands of human responsibility and Divine movements. We want to be able to say, “This is what and where and when and – most importantly – why.”

And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

– Job 1:21 (NKJV)

That’s a profound statement. This man has just lost everything. He doesn’t know why. He maintains his innocence and his devotion to God. He puts up with his probably well-intentioned but ultimately idiotic friends spouting hot air at him. In the end, he encounters God, who gives him no answers, instead expressing His majesty and sovereignty. In short and amazingly simple language, the message of Job’s life is: We don’t always get to know.

Will we keep trusting God?

Will we return to Him, over and over?




Review: How to be a Perfect Christian


Gentle Reader,

And Jesus entered the voting booth and began to check all the boxes for Republican candidates. And seeing certain Jews entering the polling place and casting their votes for Democrats, He began to cry out, “I intended for my people to belong only to the GOP, but you have turned this nation into a bunch of bleeding-heart libbies!” And He began to flip over tables like a crazy person, screaming something about making Rome great again.

(This excerpt was taken out and covered up by the Catholic Illuminati. Read The Da Vinci Code for more riveting historical information).

– p. 171-172

If the above offends you, read this book. If you have a sense of humor, read this book. If you are a human being, read this book.

Satire is a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn; trenchant wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly. It’s supposed to make the reader at least a little bit uncomfortable. This does not mean that satire is always mean-spirited, though it can be, but rather that satire has a way of peeling back the layers to expose our cherished ridiculousness for what it is. And let’s face it: Much of contemporary Christian subculture is ridiculous. (Read that sentence again. I did not write “Christianity is ridiculous,” “theology is ridiculous,” “the Bible is ridiculous” or “church is ridiculous”).

How to be a Perfect Christian is written by Adam Ford and Kyle Mann, the duo behind The Babylon Bee, a site willing to poke the sacred cows of church greeting times (the scourge of every introvert ever), worship leader fashion sense (work those skinny jeans!), Baptist potluck practices (casserole, casserole and more casserole) and a host of other topics. Ford and Mann are part of this world of fighting over carpet colors and attempting to figure out how to do as little as possible while still claiming to serve God, so their satire is very much an “in joke.” They make fun of the silly things we do because they love the church.

I have yet to be offended by anything The Bee puts out. Ford and Mann fall into the Calvinist camp, so you’d think that they would be roasting my fellow Arminians all day long, but everyone gets teased. The ribbing extends beyond that age-old argument and encompasses politics, Episcopalians, the danger of bass lines during worship and the recent royal wedding. There’s something for everyone to laugh at.

And we need that. We need to be able to admit that we’re silly sometimes. We need to own the fact that we love our routines and rituals just a little too much. We need these light-yet-barbed slaps upside the head every so often, to help us get our eyes back on Christ.

No matter what ministry you serve in, remember the golden rule: let everyone else do all the heavy lifting. We mean this literally. If the potluck is wrapping up and people are tearing down tables and chairs, stand off to the side and engage in spiritual conversation about the things of God. Should someone dare approach you and ask if you’d lend a hand, hit ’em with a zinger like, “Oh, sorry. I was just over here discussing the gospel-centered gospel with a brother in the Lord. I didn’t realize you didn’t care about Jesus at all.”

– p. 86

Hurts, because it’s true.

Read this book. Laugh at yourself.