• communication

    Advent: Joy in the Darkness

    Depression. Anxiety. Crime. Suicide. Darkness. If you’ve watched the news at all during the past 3 years… if you have teenagers…. if your teens have friends…. There’s not a lot of talk about joy. But there’s a whole lot of talk about how hard life is.  So how do we talk about joy at Christmas? I’ve recently asked myself that very question. My husband of 36 years this month is gone. He’s never coming back here. I know he’s out of pain. I know he’s in a better place. But where does that leave me?  Mental health professionals tell us the holidays are the hardest time of year for many…

  • faith

    Advent: Reminders of Love for All

    If you have attended church for any amount of time, you are familiar with John 3:16. It reminds us that God loved us so much that he sent Jesus. Not to condemn us. To save us. From sin, darkness, death, and evil. I find that tremendously reassuring this Christmas season.  I especially appreciate this passage in The Message: “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely…

  • faith,  leadership

    Advent: The Presence of Peace

    “How am I supposed to have peace when my life is such a mess?” “….when my child won’t talk to me?” “…when my loved one is gone forever?” “…when the world is so filled with darkness?”  These are fair questions. I’ve asked them. You may have too. Or someone close to you has – or is asking them right now.   In his Messianic prophecy, Isaiah foretold Jesus would be called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). In their majestic announcement of Jesus’s arrival, the angels proclaimed there would now be “peace on earth” (Luke 2:14). When Jesus was departing this earth, he left his disciples with this encouraging message: “I…

  • Hope of Christmas
    communication,  faith

    Advent: A Story of Hope

    I thought and prayed a long time before deciding to write an Advent series again this Christmas season. You may know my husband David passed from this world to his eternal home on September 21st – just weeks ago. As I write, the grief is still fresh. It’s surreal. I keep thinking he’s going to call asking what’s for dinner…or if we could go to dinner. (We talked a lot about dinner!) At the same time, I’ve been thinking a lot about hope these past several weeks.  “And now, dear brothers, I want you to know what happens to a Christian when he dies so that when it happens, you…

  • communication,  education

    5 Ways Being Ready to Speak Will Help Your Student This School Year

    For 25 years, my organization, The Institute for Cultural Communicators, has been helping the next generation get ready to speak. With all the needs in the world, why is this our focus? Being ready to speak in any situation is a foundational skill for success in education and in life. It prepares students for every stage, gives them tools for whatever comes their way. Here are five ways communication skills help your student at school and beyond. 1. Your student is bully resilient.  Though they can look very different from the class bullies we grew up with, bullies are still a reality in the lives of many school-aged children. They…

  • Learn How to Make Time for Rest
    faith,  rest

    10 Ways to Make Time for Rest in Less Than 10 Minutes

    Want to learn how to make time for rest and rejuvenation like a pro? Whether you need rest when you are recovering from being sick, exhausted, or just looking for a healthier routine, here are ten ways to make time for rest in 10 minutes or less. In my global organization, we know that the spiritual practice of rest and refreshment is key to personal and missional growth. We were created to do our best work out of God-ordained rest. As a leader, I want to always seek to nurture and steward our staff, our strategic volunteers, and our global mission well. That’s why we offered a full-month sabbatical for…

  • Christmas Nativity scene with Mary, Joseph, and Jesus
    faith

    Worthy: An Advent Devotional

    I’ve spent the past 25 years coaching storytellers. I’ve heard them all – family history stories, cultural stories, retellings of fairytales, stories of personal tragedies and celebrations. But it’s the story of Christmas that is the greatest story of all. The story of Christmas is a story of Love coming to live with us. Jesus, Emmanuel, is the source of all Love, born into this world. There is no story more worthy of telling than this. It’s my motivation for empowering extraordinary storytellers…. Because the best story deserves the best telling. In 1885, British writer Christina Georgina Rossetti published a poem called “Christmastide.” It later was adapted into a beautiful…

  • white star light among bushes outside
    faith

    Wonder: An Advent Devotional

    There’s nothing like a toddler at Christmas time. Last Christmas, my then almost-two-year-old grandson came to visit after we had decorated the yard with Christmas lights. It was like someone had plopped him into a true wonderland. As soon as he got out of the car, he ran up the yard to the nearest adorned tree. Tentatively, he reached out his little hand to touch the glowing lights. I could see the awe and wonder reflecting in his big, sparkling eyes. Then, he ran up the yard as fast as his little legs could carry him to touch another tree. Again and again, he bolted from one lit-up tree to…