Today’s post is written by Amanda Wen, a good friend whom I met while in worship ministry at our church. She is an amazing musician and I could listen to her play cello all day, I think! We have a lot of fun playing together. We have had all three of our children within months of each other, which made it even harder when they moved away from us. She was pregnant with her first when she came to visit me in the hospital after birthing my first. She asked if the labor (30+ hours!) was worth it, to which I think I replied, “Ask me in a couple of weeks.” She, too, is a wise and funny friend, which is a beautiful combination. If you want to read more of her writings, visit her blog: Life, The Universe, and Pachelbel at You’ll have to ask for an invitation to read, but it’s well worth it!


There’s a joke that if you pray for patience, God will give you children. I don’t recall ever praying specifically for patience, but I have three children anyway: two boys, ages two and almost four, and a little girl due in January. (note from Elizabeth: Amanda had her baby, Selah Joy, on January 16. Mommy and Baby are both doing beautifully!) I see a lot of myself in both of my boys, but it is my older one who is most like me: stubborn, high-strung, and disinclined to tolerate change, disruption of a routine, and being told to wait. This conversation takes place frequently:
Him: When are we going to do (desirable activity)?
Me: At (time).
Him: But THAT’S TOO LONG. (He says this even if the aforementioned time is only ten minutes away).
Me: Then you’ll just have to be patient.
(Sorry, kid. You got some lousy genetic material from your mommy).
Right now, I feel stuck in a season of waiting. My musical career is currently taking a backseat to my children, one of whom I am not-so-patiently waiting to meet. As a freelancer, I have no guarantees from anyone that my job will be waiting for me when I resurface, so every time the phone rings with a job opportunity I must turn down, I wonder when they will eventually give up on me and stop calling. And I watch, and more than occasionally envy, the blossoming careers of some close friends and wonder if I will ever join their ranks.
So many others wait for things that are so much bigger, so much more important, than this. They wait for healing. They wait for relief from financial pressures. They wait for children, for a spouse, for someone they love dearly to come to know the Lord.
How are we to be patient in situations like these?
In recent weeks, I’ve been studying the life of Abraham in my Bible Study Fellowship class. Abraham was a guy with some pretty inspiring faith, faith I know I do not possess. He had a comfortable life in a wealthy, sophisticated city, with no reason to leave, except that God called him to do exactly that.
1The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
3I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Let’s take a closer look at that first part: God calls Abram to “a land I will show you.” Translation: Abram didn’t even know where he was going. Yet he obeyed.
God also promises that he will make Abram a great nation, yet at this point in his life, Abram was about seventy-five, his wife sixty-five, and they had no children. Yet he believed.
I appreciate that the Bible does not make it sound like Abram believed effortlessly, without mistakes or stumbles. In the course of the quarter-century he waited for God to fulfill this precious promise of a child, he lied out of fear, he took matters into his own hands and had a child with his wife’s servant, and he questioned God on many occasions. Genesis 15 records one of these conversations:
2But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
4Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” 5He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
6Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Of course, we know the rest of the story. Abraham and Sarah eventually gave birth to Isaac, their long-awaited miracle child.
So how do we get this sort of patience?
We can’t do it on our own. That’s something I know for a fact, because I have tried, on numerous occasions, and failed. “Just be patient” is useless advice ( and something I’d do well to remember when dealing with my oldest)!
And the Bible makes this clear. In John 15:5, Jesus says, “…apart from me you can do nothing.”
But at the beginning of the verse, Jesus says something amazing and wonderful. “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.”
Fruit…like love, joy, peace…and patience.
Paul learned this lesson, as we see in the fourth chapter of Philippians.
I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Only by remaining steadfast in Jesus can we learn to wait for the things he has promised us. To be honest, I’m not entirely certain what that looks like, either, but if I am to learn how to be patient, how to teach my children to be patient, I am determined to find out. So I will endure, I will look to him when I struggle, I will ask him for help even before I find myself struggling, and I will trust his promise that his word will not return empty, that he does intend to fulfill the promises he has made to me, that he will enable me to do everything he has called me to do.
Even to be patient.

Success With Values

My first guest post is written by my good friend, Andy Dunham.  Andy is a friend from my undergrad days whom I respect greatly. He is incredibly smart and incredibly funny…a fabulous combination for a friend! If you like what you read and want more, he writes with two other college friends at Enjoy!


I joined the world’s noblest fraternity earlier this year. After many, many hours of labor ended in a c-section, my wife and I finally got to meet our firstborn son on September 18. Several thoughts rushed to my tired yet jubilant mind as I held our baby:
  • How did a homely man such as myself get blessed with such a beautiful child?
  • Good grief, his hands are huge! He’s probably going to be taller than me one day!
  • How is it possible to love someone this much when you just met them?
These are pretty common sentiments for most new fathers. I guess I should have had some concerns about paying for college, etc., but that stuff will work itself out. Mostly, I was just overwhelmed with joy and gratitude.
There is another question that came to me then and continues to nag at, if not haunt, me now. That is, what sort of man will I teach my son to be?
I can show you more pictures! Really! Just ask!
There are certain things that we all try to teach our children: Play fair. Tell the truth. Try your best. Share. Don’t throw a fit! Don’t hit your brother! Don’t eat that! Yes, you have to eat that! These are the same things most of us were taught growing up. They make sense. If lived out, they create a happy home and a harmonious society.
Robert Fulghum explored some of these principles in his book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Here’s Fulghum’s list if you’re interested:
  • Share everything.
  • Play fair.
  • Don’t hit people.
  • Put things back where you found them.
  • Clean up your own mess.
  • Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
  • Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
  • Wash your hands before you eat.
  • Flush.
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
  • Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
  • Take a nap every afternoon.
  • When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
  • Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
  • Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
  • And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.
Sadly, Fulghum’s book has no rules about eating paste.
Pretty good list. Of course, Fulghum’s point is that these rules don’t just work for kindergartners but are for lifelong use. They are just as true and useful for a fifty year old as they are for a five year old.
I believe that. I try my best to live by these or similar principles. I mean, I’m not so good with the cookies and the naps, but I try to be a decent, fair person. Of course, I would add some things to the list: Love your neighbor, esteem others more highly than yourself, meditate on what is praiseworthy. But generally, sure, these are good principles to live by.
But, I have to admit, sometimes I get discouraged. Sometimes you look around, and it seems like the road to success is paved with selfishness and shady dealing, and people who adhere to the “kindergarten” principles are just fools:
  • I work as a trial attorney, and there is often a sense that you are not truly advocating for your client unless you are “pushing the envelope” through gamesmanship or other means: intimidating a witness, arguing passionately for a position you know not to be credible, being downright dishonest as a part of negotiations. Can a nice person be an effective litigator, or must we cede the field to the rude and unethical?
  • I need hardly comment on our political system, but the recent election reinforced how nauseating the process can be. I trust and hope that many (most?) of our elected officials began their political careers with a true desire for public service, but it seems that the current climate will allow nothing but rabid adherence to party lines, the public good be damned.
  • I had a client not long ago who told me that his hero was Donald Trump. Donald Trump?! The same petulant gasbag who I see on TV that would set his ridiculous hair on fire to get attention? A grown man who throws worse temper tantrums than a four-year old having a sugar crash after eating 25 pixie sticks and who has less sense of public decorum than a Rottweiler taking a dump on a public street? That Donald Trump? That’s what passes as admirable these days?
“You’re fired for not looking at me!”
  • I can’t even escape it when trying to watch a relaxing sporting event. Have you seen a college or NFL football coach recently? Between the joylessness of Nick Saban, the petulance and duplicity of Jim Harbaugh and the completely unhinged rage of most other coaches, it’s truly disturbing to watch. My current (least) favorite is Florida’s Will Muschamp, who looks like an actual psychotic person on the sideline. The picture below, in which Muschamp looks like he’s auditioning for Jack Nicholson’s role in a reboot of The Shining, was from the Florida-Georgia game earlier this year. Meanwhile, the announcers were chuckling about Muschamp’s “intensity” and “leadership” and other such nonsense. Leadership? This is how you treat another human being? By looking like you just snorted bath salts and are going to eat his face? This is what our society values and pays millions of dollars for?
“All work and no play makes Will a complete sociopath.”
So, it can be discouraging, or at least confusing. Is it better to teach my son to be a “man’s man,” to do whatever he must to get his way, to charm those you can, sling mud on those you can’t, and run over the rest to get where you want to go? Can you be a “success” and a decent human being at the same time?
You can. I believe you can, and there are many who have shown the way. You may be familiar with John Wooden, who is one of the most admirable people I’ve ever read about. John Wooden is one of the four or five best basketball coaches of all time, arguably the best ever. He led UCLA to ten national championships, more than twice as many as anyone else in college basketball history. He was also, by all accounts, an extraordinarily kind, thoughtful, and decent person, a man of faith and integrity, and an example to all around him. One story of him I cherish is that he wrote his wife a love letter every week and set aside time to spend with her. And, by the way, this continued for over twenty years after she died, with Wooden visiting her grave and delivering a letter every month. Wooden was truly a success in every sense of the word.
Achieving success with grace and class.
So, as I hold my son and dream of what he will be one day, I hope he will be a far greater man than his own father. I hope he will be a man who is a blessing to others. I hope he is a success, but that he does not have to abandon his values to become one. I know he can. Others have done it before.


Welcome to my new space!
If this is your first time to join me, I’m so glad you’re here. I hope you’ll stick around and explore just a bit.
If you are here from my Blogger space, what do you think?
I’ve discovered over the years that friends are an amazing gift.
I have the good fortune to be married to a man with good friends.
Good friends who also happen to be very talented in the world of design and websites! All credit and praise and admiration go to Porter for my design.
I also am blessed to have many good friends on my own.
Good friends who also happen to be very wise and who are, at the same time, accomplished writers.
For the next few weeks, I’m going to step back and spend some time enjoying our newly expanded family.
New Family
 While I’m loving on my husband and some sweet little girls, you get the privilege of reading a few beautiful thoughts from several of my wise friends.
I hope you’ll enjoy them. Will you make them all feel welcome?

Hello and Goodbye

Welcome to our world! 

Samantha Leena Giger


Born January 1, 2013 

8lbs, 3oz; 21 inches


On the same day that my Papa left our world


Birth and death

Hello and goodbye

Rejoicing and mourning

This is the way of our world

Until Christ returns and makes all of the sad things come untrue.

Welcome, Samantha, to our world. You are beloved by God and by us, and that makes all the difference.