Saturday, November 30, 2013


The other night, Coen, who is almost two, was in his sleeper pajamas with his blonde hair combed to the side, and with his sweet little cheeks and big blue eyes, I was startled at his resemblance to Michael Darling from Disney's Peter Pan.

Imagine my delight when Coen crawled into Andrew's lap and said, "Up-away!" Andrew swung him into his arms and tossed him in the air and said, "Up, up, and away!" Overcome by giggles, Coen again said, "Up-away!" and Andrew complied a few more times.

Then Coen patted Andrew on the shoulder and pointed to the ceiling and said, "Fly!" By then Andrew was exhausted, so he said no, they would fly tomorrow. But Coen implored more and insisted, "Fly! Daddy, fly!"

My little Peter-Pan heart couldn't handle it. I wanted to sprinkle that kid with pixie dust and tell him to think lovely, wonderful thoughts. But I could tell by the expression in his eyes that he was thinking happy thoughts, and he has something better than pixie dust: he has a daddy who loves him enough to scoop him up and hold him securely high over his head and help him fly, and then hold him close as they laugh together.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Remember who the true enemy is."

Last weekend I went to see the new movie, "Catching Fire," with a few of my favorite people. Two years ago, a bunch of us read the "Hunger Games" trilogy together, and I still think it's one of the best recently written pieces of literature, at least that I have experienced. That will probably surprise some of you who know me and know my affinity for old-fashioned fantasy and epic classics. But I love the writing style and perspective of the narration, and how each chapter is a cliff-hanger, and how the plot thickens, and how it's about a girl who finds herself as being significant in something much bigger than herself.

I was noticing in the movies how there are a few themes that are emphasized... one is about the power of hope, another is about sacrificing for the sake of those they love. But one that really stuck with me was one that Haymitch and Finnick said at different times: "Remember who the true enemy is." The people chosen for the games, the "tributes," are pitted against each other, and the attention of the whole country is put on watching these people fight to the death, when really the enemy is the leadership in the capitol that is orchestrating all the violence and fear. The tributes have to remind each other that they are not the enemy, and that their energy would be better spent fighting the enemy together rather than fighting each other.

And I can't help but think this is a good truth to apply to the Church. Too often I see Christians fighting each other, whether it's within a ministry or one church body or across denominations. And I think that is a waste of time and energy. The true enemy is Satan, and he would love nothing more than to distract us into tearing each other apart... he is safe and sound as long as our arrows are pointed at each other. Why do we fall for that trick?? So if you have anger or bitterness or any issue with a brother or sister in Christ, here is the truth: it is destroying you, it is killing them, and it is strangling the ministry. And I'd just like to say to you: GET OVER IT. Realize that lies and conflicts that divide us are the work of Satan and the sin in our own hearts that produces selfishness and pride - and let that knowledge increase our fervent love and defense and protection of each other, and fiercely turn our attacks on the true source that has been causing the same problems since the Garden of Eden. Satan has absolutely no authority in the Church, so do not allow him to have any power or claim there.

We are human; we make mistakes, we sin, we hurt each other, and we come from different pasts that shape our values and approaches differently. But the thing that binds us together is that we have been saved and redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. We worship the same God, and we are all under his mercy. He has given us the same commands and mission and promises. And anyway, we're gonna spend eternity together, so we may as well start learning to get along now! When we focus on the truth of the gospel and we abide in the Vine, we grow and bear fruit - individually and corporately, which is a much better thing that cutting each other down and separating.

So let's remember who the true enemy is, and who the true King is, and who our family is. Let's remember that Jesus saved us and the Holy Spirit brought us together to bring glory and praise to God.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

cuddle time, and wheelchair separation

Mile log: 877

The Ladies of the Hobbit Hole have a favorite hobby we call "cuddle time." Basically we pile around each other as close as possible, surrounded by every pillow and fluffy blanket we have. And we have a lot. I'm pretty sure we resemble cats, and I'm not at all sure who started this craze. Fuzzy pajamas, late nights, skilled huggers, ridiculously cold weather, and deep bonds of sisterly affection seem to encourage the behavior. Kind of a new thing for me, since I grew up without sisters or cats, but I'm learning. Maybe this is what the March family in Little Women was like? It does my heart good.

One of my favorite things about cuddle time is that I get out of my chair for a while. Don't misunderstand, "Svante the Svede" is very comfortable and capable of all sorts of convenient things that make my life easier. But armrests, footrests, handle bars, and headrest make human contact a bit tricky. Not to mention the joystick and buttons that are so easy to bump and cause all sorts of chaos. It feels like my personal bubble has its own armed security system. Sitting on a couch sort of eliminates all my potential to bruise, crush, or impale my friends who just want to hug.

It seems to have this weird surprise effect on people when they see me out of my wheelchair, like we are one unit that can't be separated. Maybe it's just like seeing Bono without glasses or Tom Selleck without a mustache... it's just iconic and hard to separate one from the other. And yes, I just compared my Swedish wheelchair to Tom Selleck's mustache.

I'm not sure what is more amusing: to see how people react to me without my chair, or to the chair without me. Usually people want to try to sit in my chair if they see it empty... interesting that I'm always looking for opportunities to get out of it, and people are most curious to get into it!

I am thankful for my wheelchair, but a little separation from him can be a good thing, especially when the alternative is cuddle time with my sisters.