Jackson Five Friday: Overlooking Harvey


So the heavy topic of Hollywood Harvey et al is not my usual “Fun Friday” vibe, but I do want to weigh in on a couple of aspects.

First, as an American and as an attorney, I am horrified by any breakdown of the rule of law.  When rapists go free, it’s not just a lack of justice served to a particular woman, it’s an unraveling of society.  That’s not an overstatement.  Personally, I would be all for rapists serving lifelong sentences and also being publicly flogged on a weekly basis.  The argument would be made that it would be cruel and unusual, but I believe, and I’m serious about this, that it would be just and deterring.  No one is beyond redemption.  Our God is the God of second chances.  Harvey could give his life to Christ and serve him the rest of his days.  I believe that.  100%.  But I still want him doing that from a jail cell.  And I still want the likes of him flogged, weekly, till the day they die.  Praise God there is eternal justice, see Golgotha.  But civilized society must be committed to enforcing laws, and sadly ours really isn’t.

How wicked must the culture in Hollywood be that causes so many to overlook such evil?  And yet it’s not just Hollywood, it’s many workplaces, many campuses, many sectors of society.  It’s worth pondering how in the world we got here.  I bet deep down we all know many of the answers.

But I’m going to switch gears on you completely.  One problem in our world is overlooking too much.  Another problem, and on the surface it seems totally illogical, is the inability to overlook anything.  The outrage over the microaggression is rampant. Firestorms over minor slights, and silence in the face of rape.  Odd, isn’t it?  Or maybe it actually makes sense when you recognize the self-righteous needs of a condemning culture.  The American Pharisee thrives on distinguishing themselves from lesser humans, saying,  “I would never do that.”  Expressing outrage over every little offense gives purpose and identity to many.  Surely you’ve seen evidence of this in your life.  If not, spend 8 seconds on social media.

But what does the Bible say?  It says: “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”(Proverbs 19:11).  I’m praying today that I’ll have good sense, be slow to anger, consistently overlooking little offenses.  But I’m praying too for justice, praying that the rule of law will make a tremendous comeback in this nation.  Will you too pray with me on both of these?  Grace and Justice.  Remember they met –and were utterly complete — only on the Cross.

Love to You,



Jackson Five Friday: Two Rules



The picture above is one I snapped this morning from the passenger seat while my son did a practice run drive to school.  In a stunning and inexplicable turn of events he turns 16 on Sunday.  When you have a child who looked five when he was two and has towered over me for years, you’d think maybe I’d have seen this day coming.  But it feels like yesterday that I couldn’t bring myself to correct him when he called all animals “doggy.”  It was just so funny when he pointed to the bird in the sky, the fish in tank, and the squirrel scrambling up a tree — all were “Doggy!”  Doggies everywhere has given me more than a decade of laughs.  That beautiful boy is now a 6’5″ inch man with the same exact face and same sweet spirit, and can legally drive next week.

I did eventually, begrudgingly, teach him a few proper animal names, and I’ve tried to teach him some other useful stuff along the way.  But the very most important thing I could ever, ever teach him is that Jesus is the answer.  Nothing could ever be in the same universe of importance, obviously.  But, I do think it is of great value to learn to laugh at yourself too.

Rule #1  Jesus is the Answer

It doesn’t matter what problem you point to in this world, Jesus has and is the answer.  Facing something hard? Read the Gospels.  Be humbled by what Jesus did for you and embrace the forgiveness Jesus offers.  The one who has been forgiven, loves.  The one who loves, obeys.  It’s really that simple.  No one is beyond redemption!  No problem could ever be as big as He is.  Trust Him.  Listen to Him.  Do what He says.  Jesus is always the answer.

Rule #2  Never Lose Your Sense of Humor

My mom embodied this truth so well.  She made very funny observations and enjoyed funny stories even just hours before she died.  So I am confident that she’d think it was highly amusing that I fell in her grave.  Yes, unbelievably that is a true statement.

This is how it happened.  We had a lovely visitation at the funeral home on Sunday night.  Then Monday was the funeral, and the service was perfect.  Then we went to the cemetery and had a very brief ceremony, followed by a child and grandchild-only final few moments next to my mom.  We chose not to be there for the actual internment.  Understandably, Sam (10), had quite a few questions, having never been to a funeral.  He asked, “Now, where will she be buried?”

The grave itself was just steps away.  It had been dug and covered with plywood-type panels of wood.  I took Sam’s hand and led him closer.  I pointed to my brother Craig’s grave, “See, that is where Uncle Craig is buried.  And here,” I said, using my best flight attendant aisle-way motion, “is where my dad is buried.”

Before I could finish my explanation, about my mom being buried between them, the ground beneath my feet began to give way.  I promise I wasn’t even that close to the edge!  I mean, truly, I was at least a foot away from the plywood.  But down I went!  Before I knew it the whole right side of my body was in the grave.  I do not know if angels had me on a harness and yanked me up, or if adrenaline kicked in and I was momentarily Wonder Woman, or what.  But in 0.18 seconds I got myself — seemingly unassisted — out of that grave.

People rushed over to help brush the dirt off and make sure I was alright.  I’m the least flexible person in the world.  I don’t know how I managed to do it totally unscathed.  It seems like at the very least I would’ve dislocated something.  But amazingly, by God’s grace, I was fine.

A little later, my cousin, Stephen, made two perfect observations: (1) Craig may have never stopped laughing had he witnessed it; and (2) It’s unreal that I did not lose my right shoe (which was a black, three-inch high, patent-leather pump).  The amount of dirt I poured out of it was stunning.  And what would I have done had it come off?  I guess leave it, but I’m glad I didn’t have to explain why I only had one shoe.  God glued it to my foot even with a pound or more of dirt inside it.

Of course, I’ve cracked up many times reliving this moment already.  Have you ever heard of anything like it in your entire life?  It’s really pretty hilarious!

Praise God that Solomon was right, there really is a time for everything under the sun.  Praise Him too that the time to to laugh and the time to mourn can be surprisingly close together.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

     a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
     a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
     a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

  Ecclesiastes 3:1-4

With Love,




Jackson Five Friday: Concert Going 

Hey Friends, 

First of all, I appreciate the continued outpouring of love and support in response to my mom’s passing two weeks ago.  I will never get over the urge to call her and give her the full lowdown.  When I’ve been with Will and the boys it has struck me that I really don’t need my phone.  Now, there is no one that I check in with daily.  

And I’ve been blessed by specific conversations that pay tribute to my mom. My cousin called me yesterday and told me about how a decision she made that morning was inspired by my mom. And I love seeing traces of my mom in my boys. My eldest shares my mom’s preferences for many things from the spicy chicken nuggets at Wendy’s to politics to worship format.  He can sound just like her about a topic I know they never actually discussed. 

This past Sunday we were in Florida and visited a church very different from our own. At our church we sing from hymnals and the acoustics of our beautiful sanctuary are astounding.  Although my mom was never well enough to visit, I know she would’ve been nuts for our church.  She was not fond of overly loud worship music, nor drums, to say the least.  So I found it pretty amusing that the church debrief on Sunday included this statement from my son: “I don’t think worship should be like that — people acting like they’re at a concert.” 

Little Jude. 

But I told my son something I never talked about with my mom. I said, “I can appreciate different styles even if that’s not what I choose for every week. But I want you to know something really important. The people in that church are not acting like concert-goers. They are not imitating concert-goers. It’s actually the other way around. Concert-goers are trying to fill a void in their life. We are made to worship. The ‘worship’ at concerts imitates the church.”

Praying today that all three of my sons can appreciate this truth even a teeny tiny bit. Because at fifteen I never would’ve grasped that the striving of the world reflects a human longing fulfilled only in Jesus. I didn’t have eyes to see that my own longings could all be met in Him.  How great would it be to see that earlier in life!

Hebrews 12:28-29 says, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”

May I live a life of reverence and awe. May my days be marked by worship. May the longings of my heart lead me continually to the Cross. May my peace in the unshakability of the Kingdom be evident. Those are my prayers for you as well. 

Hope you have a wonderful weekend! 

With Love,


Jackson Five Friday: “Second!!”





First of all, thank you for the many texts, emails, meals, offer for meals, cards, flowers, calls and thoughtful expressions of sympathy.  As of yet, I’ve responded to only a handful, but please know that I’ll get there and that every one has been deeply appreciated.

At the funeral for my mom on Monday many wonderful things were shared.  My brother and niece pointed out how very good she was at relationships, making each person feel special.  My sister shared about what an intent listener my mom always was.  Everyone talked about how fun and funny she was, how her faith, despite all her heartache, was rock solid.

But it was my nephew, Dane, who somewhat inadvertently summarized my mom in three little words.  I don’t think he even knows how Spirit-inspired his words were.  I doubt he knows the little story I’m about to tell you.

My mom, Judy, was three years younger than her sister, Janet.  When they were little, like many young children, being first was a privilege.  Coming in from playing outside, it was a race to use the bathroom.  “First!” Janet would yell out.  Washing hands for dinner?  Again, Janet claimed first.  She claimed being first so often that my darling little mom started automatically yelling out “Second!!” even when no one was there to be first.  My grandparents delighted over their contented, adorable Judy, joyfully resigned to be second.   They loved telling this story even when little Judy was in her sixties.

But back to Dane.  He talked about how in high school his friends would be hanging out after baseball practice, but Dane chose instead to be with “the girl” he liked — his Gramma.  He loved her company that much.  At one point Dane held up his arm and explained, “I wear this little bracelet and I’ve been wearing it for a while, and it says, ‘I am second.’  It’s a reminder to put God above myself and family above myself.”

Choking back tears, Dane said, “My Gramma didn’t need to wear this, because she lived it.  She always put herself second.”

Matthew 22:36-40 says this:

 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Praying today that I’ll have even a hint of that sweet contented, other-centeredness of my wonderful mama.  No matter the circumstances, may my spirit joyfully cry out: “Second!!”

Love to you,


P.S. The “I am second” testimonies are amazing.  You should click here and check them out.  I used the Josh Hamilton one here on my blog many years ago and I still am moved to just think about it.  Plus, you could easily order a bracelet like Dane’s.