• Lee Daniels’ ‘The Butler’ is a parable of redemptive suffering

    From the opening line, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can,” I was riveted by the cinematic story unfolding before me, Lee Daniels’ ‘The Butler.’ I had read that it was inspired by the real-life account of Eugene Allen who worked for the White House for 34 years until his retirement as head butler in 1986. Knowing that Hubby Dear is especially interested in movies based on historical figures and events, I suggested a Saturday morning date. It proved to be a tearfully beautiful experience.

  • The signs are all around us

    It was a typical Wednesday morning. I arose early enough for final preparation to facilitate my weekly Bible study. With a breezy fare-thee-well to Hubby Dear, I got into my car and drove merrily away...until I noticed a warning light brighten the dashboard.
    “Uh, oh,” fluttered my heart. What could the matter be? Slowly, it registered. Tire pressure is low. Thankfully, I pass a trusty car repair and sales spot on my route to church. It became my new destination.

  • Pouring out perseverance is the name of the game

    I often mention to Hubby Dear that he spells his last name with the “P” from procrastination. He is not devoid of perseverance, but avoidance plagues him. There are so many pleasurable things to do and so little time. There are books to read on his Kindle, people to visit along the way, gardens to tend, profound thoughts to ponder ... all important and fun. There are miles to go before he sleeps, but some of the promises he means to keep are shelved for a tomorrow that lags in coming.

  • The power of presence

    I read an article in Readers Digest (April 2013 issue) featuring Rachel Macy Stafford, a teacher who ran. It was not a story about a marathon runner or a track star. It featured a woman who learned a life lesson in the aftermath of a race to catch a recalcitrant student, one who had long been identified as a loser.

  • Play together to stay together

    In his work, House of Cards, the British painter Charles Hunt paints an endearing picture for the world to see. It depicts a group of children at play with a card game. Some are involved in the activity. Others are participating as onlookers. All have a heartfelt interest in the action. It would seem that the artist is conveying an important message for all of us who live in a consumer society:

  • Vanity melts in the heat of virtue’s soft heart

    With a friend like Qoheleth, who needs an enemy? Hot, dog days of August are here and are already lending themselves to a unique kind of humid desperation and inertia without hearing the not-so-pleasant message that all is vanity, even the restlessness of a sleep deprived mind! I guess there is a fine line drawn between being realistic and dwelling in negativity. At any rate, the radical optimist in me finds it difficult to be in the presence of people whose being exudes continually bad news in the name of realism.

  • The sound of music drowns out the noise that pervades our lives

    My father insisted on piano lessons for me. I was enrolled at the Julius Hartt School of Music at an early age with parental hopes I’d be an accomplished pianist.
    However, I knew in my heart I’d not be on a concert stage. I had no such desires or ambitions. My interest was only in learning a few popular pieces, and quickly to boot. Further, I was drawn more intently to the guitar. With little concern for my tender feelings, Papa declared that I had no ear for music and should stick to the piano. Our diverse expectations frustrated both of us.

  • Nothing matches seeing a million-dollar smile

    Usually Hubby Dear offers suggestions for columns — often mentioning three words and expecting me to mull over them to find surprising depths worth plumbing. This time my source was equally surprising.
    I was browsing rows of liquid refreshment in the ABC store. We were hosting friends and had only a diminished supply to offer them. Our stock needed replenishment and I wanted to surprise Hubby Dear by purchasing the supplies.

  • Do we really want to let freedom ring this Fourth of July?

    Recently, thoughts about freedom have frequently popped into my mind.

  • ‘Cutting for Stone’ is a stubborn metaphor for life

    Hubby Dear groans with dismay whenever he spots a tome in my hand. He knows and faces the inevitable: my total immersion in the book. When it is 658 pages long, he’s in for extended periods of silence! Abraham Vergese’s novel, “Cutting for Stone,” proved his perception.