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...

Vision

God speaks to His people. He guides and plants vision into our hearts that inspires and moves us down certain paths. School Vision Veritas Academy has always been shaped by individuals who have been led by God-inspired vision.  I still remember many late-night board meetings back in the fall of 2005 when Veritas Academy first opened doors.  At one meeting, Jef Fowler spoke of seeing us on land – land with running streams and lots of trees.  Hills and rocks. Space for kids to enjoy the outdoors. Something stirred in me that evening.  I could envision what Jef was describing as well. For years, Jef diligently searched for such a school location.  Soon this dream will be a reality. I am confident that God has plans for Veritas Academy on our land that we are not even aware of yet. He has established our steps and He will not only bring the buildings to completion but all that He has in mind for us as well. Family Vision This past week, it became official that my grandkids, Asa and Alma, will be joining their sister and cousins at Veritas Academy in the fall. “How crazy is it,” I told my husband, “that ten of our grandchildren will attend Veritas together- and hopefully Beth will join them in the future as well.”  Veritas Academy, in so many ways, helps to fulfill dreams I held in my heart long ago.  Even as a child, I dreamed of being a mother to three children and doing life together with them.  I dreamed of unity and nurturing relationships, perhaps in part because these...

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...

Living From the Inside Out

I am 58 today.  In the last decade God’s gift to me has come by way of  regular house cleaning He is doing within, answering my prayer: “create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” A humbling joy- filled peace is steadily replacing the cracks and corners where pride, anxiety, and fear once reigned. He has been at it again in this week, dealing with an aspect of my nature that can sneak in and cloud my heart. I am a people pleaser.   As such I can worry too much what others think.  I am breaking free of this tendency but there are times when I still need a stiff scrub brush.  I am not talking about casting off an unselfish life that prioritizes the needs of others.  I am referring to a consuming need to be approved by others resulting in a pressure to perform, that can mandate my decisions. It’s been a unique week.  But then what should I expect after writing about “seeing opportunity in trouble” in the previous blog.  I had an unsettled sense that I should not go to work last Friday, knowing that my oldest daughter was struggling – really struggling- with “hyperemesis gravidarum”, the medical term for relentless vomiting.  I ran up to her home, fed Josiah and Kate breakfast and carted them off to their aunt Stevi’s house before heading to work however, leaving Erin hooked to an IV and medicine pump alone at home. As I headed to work, my emotions were torn.  I wanted to be home with my daughter – a...