A Spiritual Heritage

John F. Kennedy once said that “children are the living messages we send to a time we cannot see.” What values are we imparting to our children today that will be their message to future generations? My husband and I pondered this question often while writing A Spiritual Heritage, which launches in October.  Thinking of our own children, we want them to know that they are part of something larger than the circumstances they face today – that they on a continuum of a family story that spans centuries and includes both inspiring victories and heart breaking struggles. Most importantly, we want them to comprehend that their story is linked to the greatest story – that of God’s love for, and redemption of, mankind. A study conducted by Marshall Duke at Emory University paired resiliency with how much a student knew about their family history. The researchers were surprised to discover that “the ones who know a lot about their families tend to do better when they face challenges.”  Furthermore, the more they know about their family’s history, the better they regard themselves. Knowing about my family’s history causes me to think outside myself and feel a part of something more significant than just ME. To know what life was like for my ancestors in a tiny northern village in Finland makes me more humble and grateful. To know of my grandfather’s struggles to stay alive despite being severely beaten by Russian soldiers makes me more resilient.  To know that this experience led him to become a praying man, makes me want to pray more. To know that my...

Generational Influence

One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. Psalm 145:4 Next week, I will head to Finland, my mom’s birthplace and where many of my relatives still reside. This trip comes on the heels of a erratic year during which I bounced back and forth between Texas and Oregon – from delightfully crazy times with an ever growing number of grand kids to slow paced days with my elderly mom, during which I spent significant chunks of time merely helping her find the objects she has misplaced.  Flipping back and forth between generations causes me to reflect. I think back to my childhood years when my mom had the energy and wherewithal to care for five children and still have time to tend to her large gardens and orchards. Then I fast-forward and try to imagine what the future will be like for my grandchildren. What kind of parents will they become? How am I influencing them now? And will I still be alive when they have children of their own? Time is precious and the season during which we influence future generations is short.  I was 20 years old the last time I traveled to Finland. I still remember sitting across the table from my grandfather sipping coffee together. He spoke a blessing over me that day and it touched me deeply. His softly spoken prayer formed a connection with me and gave me hope in ways I cannot explain. It just did. I never saw Jussi Ojala again but I never forgot him either. I still picture his crooked smile and...

Yesterday, Today and Forever: He is the Same!

I’ve so much to share since writing the last blog six weeks ago, a time when I had grown weary of producing a single sentence.  You may have noticed that my blog name has now changed to “Kids with Promise.”  Change is what this past month has been about. The past six weeks have definitely been a time of accelerated growth and newness for my husband and me.  We have been on a fast ride through incredible highs as well as steep drops, including blind corners where decisions have had to be made without the ability to see around the bend.  We spent ten exhilarating days in Israel where God poured Himself into us day after day inspiring us deeply in ways that we still cannot fully comprehend.  (more in later blogs!) We also traveled to Oregon where we spent contemplative, relaxing  time with old friends and family.   My husband, who hates change, is now making a surprising career move after 36 years of teaching in the public schools, to become the Dean of Students at a private Christian school.  Construction of our home launched this week and many changes are underway at Veritas Academy with the combining of two campuses into one large one. At home, we are enjoying our newest family member: William Glen. As a family we also pray for and anticipate the arrival of a new baby for Peter and Alisa who are “adoptive parents in waiting.”  We agonize with them when their lives go on hold, sometimes for days at a time, with the news of a potential baby only to discover that plans...