Thursday, January 26, 2017

Can Siblings Be Friends?

Poor baby brother had no idea what he was in for. #friendsforever

by Danetta Kellar

“She’s all into her brothers and sisters. I just don’t understand it. It’s weird. I mean, she’s nice and all, but people just don’t hang out with their siblings for fun.”

I was standing in line at the airport while this conversation went on behind me between two college students. They were assessing and judging a long list of people they knew, and this particular girl had bewildered them. A relationship with siblings? A good one? An enjoyable one? Evidently, such family relationships are not the norm anymore. They are even considered unnatural.

As a mother of two sons and a daughter, this made me very sad. Our family has made the decision to pursue kindness, forgiveness, and the cultivation of healthy relationships in our home. We openly examine and discuss cultural norms that make it seem okay to put each other down or disrespect one another and we compare them to Christ's teachings of encouragement and respect. And for those who know us, we are Exhibit A for How to Fail but Keep Trying.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

When God’s Portion is Pie

by Danetta Kellar

I had pie for breakfast.

It’s true, I have a weakness for pie. I love the holidays, because if there is pie left over, I know what I am having for breakfast with my cup of strong coffee. Pie!

I have not always been so free. Free to eat pie and even tell you about it. But many years ago, through much pain, I learned the lesson of Portion. God has a portion for us each day if we will look to Him for it. A portion of energy, a portion of purpose. For those of us who struggle with it, His appointed portion of food.

We expect that God’s portions, on the Straight and Narrow Way, must be boring, under-sized and no fun. 

We think His regime must be condemning, always leaving us wishing for more, hungry. We look for God’s gifts to come in a brown paper sack with a twine bow.

That is what I used to think. But as I trusted Him day by day on the Portion journey, His gifts surprised and delighted me with their extravagance and detail. Gifts of more energy as I trusted Him with the little I had. Gifts of multiplied finances as I practiced generosity with the portion He entrusted to me. Absolute gems in the form of quality friendships that shone with authenticity and faithfulness as I took the risk to be transparent with others.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Difficulty of Being Still

by Danetta Kellar

The snowstorm could not stop my plans to get away. In fact, the promise of snow made me even more determined to pack my writing, books, and fuzzy pajamas and load up the four-wheel-drive. On the way out the door I grabbed my trusty hot water bottle. I was ready for solitude in a winter wonderland. An introvert’s dream come true.

Every January I take time off from the rest of life to get away with God. I have come to depend on this time of looking back and looking ahead, reflecting and planning. 

Time apart with God anchors my year and gives me clarity for the busy and unpredictable days to come. 

Like forecasted, the snow fell during the first night and I awoke to a world covered in startling whiteness. A fresh, new start. A covering of all that yesterday lay dirty and broken. Noise hushed by quiet drifts of millions of individually crafted crystals made of ice. God on display.

A perfect scenario in which to settle in and seek Him.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Carried

by Danetta Kellar

…the Lord your God carried you, just as one carries a child, all the way that you traveled until you reached this place. (Deuteronomy 1:31, NRSV)

Venturing out to buy our groceries in the ancient North African city was a daunting task. The Arab souq, or market, was crowded and noisy, no place for a mother and her newborn child. But we had to eat, and I had to cook, and food was necessary for both. So I strapped my little sleeping baby snugly in his carrier, tucked like a cocoon safe against my chest. I made sure to cover his tiny velvety head with a blanket just like the old lady next door told me to, to keep the cold from creeping in. A baby in public with an exposed head was a sure sign of maternal delinquency and neglect in that culture. 

As I entered the jostling crowd of fruit sellers, cart pushers, donkeys, and veiled women pulling sullen children, I encircled my precious child protectively with my arms, my shopping cart bouncing noisily behind me over the cobbled streets.