The Rise of Digital Natives

She tried. She really had. But after turning fifty, job promotions never came her way. 
When she was younger, she had learned to adapt to the computerized changes, but as she got older, she was passed over by those who seemingly adapted more quickly. I know her and the many qualities she has that go beyond a computer screen. 
But at 56, she says she’s fortunate to have her career—as it is.
She’s dealing with the rise of Digital Natives—the generation of young people raised in the digital age. These digital experts have an edge in the job market, where savvy tech skills make people her age, as obsolete as an old computer’s operating system.
These Digital Natives are able to thrive in the rapid pace of change. They shrug off any challenge brought by adaptation to the latest upgrades. It’s what they know best.
According to AARP, people like my girlfriend are being edged out of tech careers. While many desire to work longer, they just don’t have what the Digital Natives have. True that. 
But w…

Welcome to Walmart!

It’s easy to imagine that the most valuable players in a business are the ones at the top. 
The Chief Executive Officers, the board presidents, the corporate financial wizards. They matter. But so do the business players at the bottom.
Indeed, it’s the employees beneath all the team leaders and supervisors that can make a business thrive.
Now, Don was one of those bottom dwellers—it was a retirement job to supplement his social security check. It didn’t require a fancy degree, only a willingness to be nice. Don was our local Walmart greeter. 
He was good with faces—and recognized his shoppers. He never failed to greet each person who walked through those automatic doors. 
Sure, there was his smile, but it was his willingness to share a bit about life with those who lingered for an extra moment or two. His joy was infectious, and I couldn’t help but smile right back.
I imagined that having only one arm to do all the shopping cart hauling, might have been an impediment, but not to Don. As he …

Open or Closed Doors

It was an odd project to do on the last day of the year—installing a new door. The old door had served its time and with rot along the bottom and barely able to close, it was retired from active duty.
I thought about that old door and how many days I’d opened it to begin my work day. It had sheltered me from the cold, the rain, and the snow. If it had ears, it would have heard thousands of phone calls as my husband and I worked side by side.
The new door is beautiful. It lets in more light and is resilient to the routine rains. I look forward to opening it each day of this new year. 
This isn’t the only door I can open. 

Will I open the door to my heart and love more fully? Will I close the door of my unfair expectations, and be more satisfied with the things I can't change? 
In a season of division in our nation, will I close the door of my negativity, and open the door of graciousness? Those doors are all there for me to open or close. 
The year is just getting started, and I’ve alrea…


Oh, the things I save….like my old calendars. I imagine that years from now, those calendars, with my daily entries, will trigger memories. But I also saved two calendars that weren’t mine.
They were a 1991 calendar from my mom, and a 2006 calendar from my dad. I can still read their handwriting, as they both had written down special birthdays that would be celebrated. I can imagine they both thought that the year ahead would bring time.
It did not. Cancer and illness defined those years. So, as I hold onto those two final calendars, I also hold onto the last lesson my parent’s unwittingly taught me: time is a gift. Open each day and treasure it. Just like 2020 vision, may the Lord help us to see clearly and use our time wisely in the year ahead.
“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is.” Psalm 39:4

Secret Givers

Just inside the store’s entryway, there was a Christmas tree decorated with ornaments and paper tags—each one bearing a child’s name and age. The names are local kids who won’t have many gifts, if any, to open. 
I was waiting for a prescription to be filled and sat near the tree. Soon, I was joined by a young woman also waiting for her prescription. We watched as shoppers glided past the tree. But some of them stopped, checked the tags, and then plucked them off the tree. The smiles they had as they carried their chosen tag were a precious sight.
My bench mate pointed to the tags, “My name used to be on one of those trees. It was the same thing every year—a few days before Christmas, there was a knock on our apartment door, and a big box full of gifts had been left for Mom and us kids.”
“I didn’t tell my friends I got gifts from strangers, but now when I look back, I’m really thankful for them.”

She rose and walked to the tree, looking carefully at the tags, and then she selected one. 

Christmas Miracles

At Christmas time, I see more stories about miracles. I love them. I’m held captive as the the story unfolds. 
Just as you imagine the ending, it shifts—often without an explanation. Some stories are beyond human understanding—true miracles.
I recall a miracle that remains as clear today as the afternoon it happened. 
I wrote about it years ago, but during this season of gratefulness I tell it again because this miracle still shakes me to my core in its absolute mercy.

I was home by myself with my four-year-old grandson. I’d been letting him drive his battery operated car in our large indoor shop. It was time to take him home, and he reluctantly agreed. “Can I park my car, Grandma?” he implored, looking at me with his large dark eyes.
I nodded and as I stood at the door, I watched as he hit the accelerator and drove quickly across the building—at least 40 feet from me. 
Then the accident happened. He drove his car into our folded-up wooden ping pong table.
I stood frozen as I watched the for…

Apology Bread

I've never mastered the bread-baking skills of my grandma. Oh, how I wish I'd paid closer attention. She could bake mouth-watering loaves without fail. 

But I think she knew her bread was really a form of love.

I saw this first hand as a child.

Grandpa could be gruff. Highly intelligent and savvy in conversation, he had little patience for those who refused to see his logic. 
This was the case when the screen door banged shut, and Grandpa went to his chair without a word. On a normal day his frown lines were deep, now they were reddened with unspent fury.
I silently crept up to the loft. Grandpa believed a child shouldn’t speak, unless spoken to. From my upstairs perch I watched Grandma take some small pieces of split wood and kindle a fire in her wood cook stove. 
Then I watched as she scooped flour into a large mixing bowl. She didn’t measure, she'd done this hundreds of times before.

I was mesmerized by her rhythmic kneading of the dough. She placed the dough in a towel-covere…