What a Blessing!

Back in August of 2005, when Veritas Academy first opened its doors, I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of my first grandchild. We didn’t even know if it would be boy or a girl, but we knew that come Christmas, we would hold that baby in our arms and start a new chapter in our lives. And so work began, I dug into my new job, building a school that I really believed in, that I hoped, maybe one day, that precious grandchild would be able to attend. Joey was born in December. That fall, Erin brought him into my office wrapped in a blue and white checked blanket to visit. I remember holding him and praying that maybe some day, maybe, I would have him with me in this place where I had poured my heart. But it seemed like it wasn’t to be. Cam and Erin made it clear that they would be enrolling Joey and their kids in the neighborhood public school. My son Troy and his wife had moved to Kentucky to attend seminary. And Alisa and her husband were struggling with health issues and infertility. Yet, I felt something in me niggling at me to pray. And so pray I did. First, Troy and Stevi made the decision to move back to Austin. Then, Alisa and Peter had a miracle baby. (Follow by, later, another, then another…. and then another.) Then, four years ago, after Joey had completed two years in public school, Erin woke up one morning in a cold sweat feeling definitively that she needed to move Joey to Veritas. At that...

Learning to Be Still

Please check out “So Here’s the Thing” with Kathi Lipp, her podcast which offers parents hope, humor and how to’s.  I was thrilled to be a part of her podcast this week, which features Erin’s and my book Free to Parent.  You can hear the whole thing by clicking on “So Here’s the Thing.”   And here’s this week’s post on an important topic for all parents: Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 I recently spoke to our young students at school about the verse “Be still and know that I am God” found in Psalms 46. As I looked out into the audience and considered the sweet faces gazing back at me, I realized that I was speaking to boys and girls who definitely knew what it meant to “hold still,” but I wondered whether they comprehended, or even knew how to experience, what it meant to “be still.”  Growing up in a media saturated world, what will they miss out on if they never learn to experience stillness within themselves? This inner state of being –  our minds at rest –  is something we need to practice to make it part of who we are. Earlier in Psalm 46,  it states “do not fear though the earth give away.”  To be still in the midst of such terror seems improbable, yet it’s exactly what we are told to do – to be still in the midst of our storms, and turn our hearts and minds to God, the source of our wisdom and strength. We need to be still at those times of...

A Powerful Reminder

 The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16 I recently accompanied my mom to a memorial service back in Oregon.  Listening to the pastor’s words, I was struck by how much her friend had loved to spend time with his family.  I had been urging my mom to fly back to Austin with me but she remained adamant against coming.  Yet as I sat there on the church pew, I  sensed the Holy Spirit telling me to buy her a ticket –  and to buy it NOW. So I reached for my phone and quickly texted directives to my oldest daughter. By the end of the service, my mom had a ticket on my return flight to Austin the very next day.  Now to make it happen was another matter.   My heart beat with both excitement and trepidation.  My mom is a stubborn, fiercely independent woman full of “sisu” (Finnish for persistent resilience) who doesn’t want to be forced into anything.   That evening when she was not looking, I packed her bag and secretly tucked it away in the trunk of my car.  When we took off for the airport the next morning, she merely assumed she was seeing me off with my sister. Opposed to flying anywhere, the resulting scene at the baggage counter was very messy.  At least the conversation was in Finnish.  She cried and I cried.   Neither of us budged.  After 45 minutes of pleading and demanding, she surprisingly gave in.  We were both checked in literally at the last minute!  The inconceivable had happened.  My mom was coming to...

On Bended Knees

The mature saint is just like a little child; absolutely simple and joyful and gay. Go on living the life that God would have you live and you will grow younger instead of older.  There is a marvelous rejuvenescence when once you let God have His way. In the case of people with an impaired memory, as it is termed, some say it would be better to remove them, to put them to sleep if that were legal. Why do they say this? Because they estimate wrongly; they estimate according to the perfections of the machine. God looks at what we cannot see; the heart.  God does not look at the brain, at what man looks at, neither does He sum men up the way we do. From The Quotable Oswald Chambers Many would agree with George Dennison Prentice that “some old women and men grow bitter with age.  The more their teeth drop  out the more biting they get.” Thankfully, my 85 year old Äiti (mom in Finnish) is growing sweeter and more joyful instead. While Äiti’s memory and ability to think logically is notably declining, her spirit is growing more resilient and her character defined more and more by the fruit of the Spirit; she is growing more loving, more joyful, more patient, more kind, more gentle with age. Gone is her inclination to cast blame and grow sullen.  Gone is her habit of stubbornly holding on to her “rights” and getting angry. Even her impatience is declining!  Losing one’s memory must be worrisome but she is not afraid. She considers the “joy of the Lord” her...

A Strong Spear

“We lean to our own understanding, or we bank on service and do away with prayer, and consequently by succeeding in the external we fail in the eternal, because in the eternal we succeed only by prevailing prayer.” Oswald Chambers Sixty years ago on May 16th, twenty two year old Kerttu Ingeri Ojala boarded a small plane in Finland, leaving her parents and seven siblings behind to seek a better life in the USA.  Her close knit family resided in Kalajoki, a small farming community that was still mending from the ravages of World War II.  The need to help out on the farm, which provided most of her family’s essential needs, had prevented her from furthering her own education beyond 8th grade.  Speaking no English, she came to the States armed only with “sisu” (a Finnish word for stubborn determination) and a strong work ethic. Visas to enter the States were highly restricted at the time and the one she carried in her small brown purse actually belonged to her older sister, Vera.  After applying for a visa, Vera was engaged to be married and wished to remain in Finland, so it was determined that Kerttu would go in her place. With a “sisukas” nature and vivacious personality, her father truthfully considered Kerttu more suitable to face the challenges of living in a foreign culture. So they carefully erased Vera’s name and birth date from the visa papers and inserted Kerttu’s information instead and she entered the USA with falsified documents. Soon after settling in her aunt’s home in Oregon, Kerttu met with Paul Jolma, a Finnish speaking...