Stretched out on the couch, my husband shut his eyes—the eye doctor’s visit left his eyes dilated for the evening. 
A warm fire provided a soft glow, and I sat nearby reading. It was a companionable time. I read, he rested, the fire burned, and the forest beyond the cabin was quiet.
After an hour, I went to the piano, and began playing the songs I scribed years ago. How long had it been since I chose to play in the evening?
Then we talked—about life, family, faith, and the future neither of us can see. 
What was so different? We hadn’t let our phones interfere. There wasn’t a Facebook update to check out, or a Twitter feed to follow. No computers or televisions were around to make their screens glow. 
It was an old-fashioned evening in an old cabin with an older couple reveling in the newness of being detached from the tethered ropes of our online world. 

Maybe the old way of enjoying the evening can become the new way. 

Snow Respect

Looking for ways to inspire me to move to her new city, Mom scheduled a ski day at Hurricane Ridge. By my standards, the Ridge offered sub-par skiing, and in my typical teen vernacular, I told her so.
Yet, when Saturday morning arrived, Mom had cooked a hearty breakfast and we were one of the first vehicles up the mountain. 
I’d done my share of winter skiing in the cold, but the wind on the Ridge was biting. I pulled my scarf up to my goggles. When I came in a couple hours later, I couldn’t feel my fingers. I couldn’t wait to complain to Mom.

She opened a backpack with hot chocolate, sandwiches, and cookies. I ate without thanking her, while mocking the ski facilities and the cold. She listened without comment. 

With my fingers back to normal, I latched my boots and told Mom I was heading out. She looked at the sky and seemed to hesitate. That’s all I needed to be determined to leave her standing there looking skyward. She yelled something, but I didn’t hear with the howling of the win…

A Dose of Hope

“I’m losing hope,” my friend lamented. 
It was understandable—she’d been taking online college courses, working full time as a cashier, and between child care costs and rent, there wasn’t any money to pay for a car repair. 
In a time when money problems are prevalent, and you’re working hard for something you don’t yet have, hope can take a beating.

I remember Grandma’s hope. She never talked about her divorce, but I do remember her telling me about the ice-cream shop. 
When she needed a job to make it on her own, Mr. Shubert gave her a chance. 
She rose at 4 am to mix cream and sugar and operate the hand cranks that churned fresh ice cream. 
By the time customers would wander in, Grandma had been at work for six hours. What gave her hope?
Oh, she’d often tell me what gave her hope. While she was doing all she could to provide for her son, she wasn’t the only one working. God was too. She was waiting on God for what was next. 

Her faith gave her hope to cope with life’s problems. Just as it i…

Lasting Legacy

One moss covered section is all that remains of the long wooden fence that once stood as a proud boundary line. 
Our neighbor affectionately said we had a perfect country fence—it marked out our property, but it was also a nice place to lean while talking to each other.

Mom built the fence while I was in college. When we moved here, the fence had weathered over fifteen rainy seasons. 
Our five-year-old son loved climbing its cross pieces and viewing the world from its heights. 

The rainy seasons eventually won, and part of the fence fell over in a wind storm. 
The cedar panel replacement left no footholds for climbing—the season for a little boy climbing fences was over too. 
This week I walked over to the last section of old fence. It has stood for nearly forty years. 
Kind of a legacy to my mom’s efforts. But a fence isn’t her real legacy—sharing her love of reading was.

As a small child, Mom sat me on her lap and read to me. 
As I got older, she showed me that great books could ta…

Beware of Huawei

It might be easy to overlook the recent arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou. After all, how many of us even know about Huawei? 
I didn’t. For a quick overview, Huawei is an international Chinese technology company. 
Wanzhou’s arrest by US investigators and their extradition efforts should raise concern over China’s dominance in the 5G mobile networks.

American investigators collected substantial evidence that this Chinese backed company violated Iranian sanctions. 
Besides working with a radical regime, Huawei seeks to control the world’s 5G networks. If this happens, much of the world’s data will pass through Huawei’s mobile network.

Even though Huawei is a privately-owned company, they are ruled by Chinese laws that require them to share data China deems important for national security. 
Already Huawei is heavily involved in Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping’s efforts to create the world’s foremost police state. 

In China, everyone’s social netw…

A Time to Tear Down

During one of those slow summers when our son was still a boy, we built a fort in our woods. Since none of our trees was suitable for a tree fort, my husband crafted a fort perched up on log posts. 
It was such a brief season in our son’s life—when there was time for a fort, friends, and freedom. 
After that, the fort became a place I’d visit when I needed a quiet place to think. It was where my creative husband wrote songs on his guitar. 
None of us really noticed the time passing by.
Then the fort stood silent for years. We stopped visiting. Our son had graduated college and was busy building a life. I had projects taking my time. No new songs were written in that tree level perch.

But last week, seeing the door of the fort blown open by a recent storm, my husband climbed the debris covered stairs. He peeked inside and saw the roof had partially collapsed. 
When had that happened? 
We’d ignored the fort, and over time it had been telling us goodbye. No more boyhood laughter, or guitar melo…

Modern Manhood

I stood apart from my son and grandson, observing them as they watched the waves. I wondered what they might be thinking, as they stood, mostly silent, along the shore.
Then I imagined the world they live in with its increasing demands. Do they feel insecurities from an Instagram world with perfection on display? 
Hollywood often portrays men as goofballs or superheroes, but neither one is accurate. Modern manhood is evolving and I wonder what impact that has on them.
Will these two young men have a harder time accomplishing their goals? 
They face a competitive world with its vast online network, and a rapidly increasing workforce of artificial intelligence. Careers will look different in their lifetimes. I pray for them as they find their way.

They cope with competing voices for their attention. Enticing distractions can fill their hours, but leave them feeling empty. In a culture that constantly pushes and pulls, where can they go to unwind? I wonder if they can find solace in this comp…