Wendy’s Blog

On the Road: The Psalms of Ascent

Psalms 120-134 make up the Psalms of Ascent, a collection of songs for the journey from where life is messed up and hard to where it reflects God’s intended blessing for his people.

Psalm 121: Do No Harm

Psalm 121: Do No Harm

Verses like Psalm 121:7 can make us squirm: “YHWH will keep you from all harm. He will watch over your life” Does YHWH, in fact, keep bad things from happening to us? Does it really seem like he “keeps us from all harm”? If you have spent any time at all in the...

Psalm 121: Not on God’s Watch

Psalm 121: Not on God’s Watch

The last time I babysat for the Halvorsons, Mikey rolled off the changing table. It was all my fault. A junior higher at the time, I was waiting for a friend to call. When the phone rang a room away, I (stupidly) raced to answer it. Before I could tell my friend I’d...

Psalm 121: The Best Kind of Help

Psalm 121: The Best Kind of Help

In one of my darker seasons, I attended a church with Stephen Ministers, laypeople trained to walk alongside those experiencing hard times. My Stephen Minister and I went for long walks often. I did most of the talking, and the summary of what I said, week after week,...

Psalm 121: “Help,” Help, or HELP!!

Psalm 121: “Help,” Help, or HELP!!

“From whence comes my help?” Our pup Zuzu is a curious creature who likes to sniff, well, everything. When she pokes her nose into whatever we’re doing (or trying to do), we joke that she’s “helping”—which, of course, she is not. Mostly, she’s in the way. That’s often...

Psalm 121: “Who’s in Charge Here?”

Psalm 121: “Who’s in Charge Here?”

Zuzu went back to school this past fall—and we went with her. She’s a midlife dog, but since our original puppy training did not go well, she had a few bad habits—and so, we’ve learned, did we. Mr. Steve, our trainer, said dogs wake up every morning with three...

Psalm 121: Help from the Hills

Psalm 121: Help from the Hills

For three years I lived near the mountains. One peak was readily visible from my apartment, and a short drive took me within view of others. I suppose people born and bred in mountain states get used to seeing the soaring splendor out their windows, but as a girl from...

The Book of Daniel

Watching the Clock or the Clouds?

Watching the Clock or the Clouds?

When a seminary dean first approached me about teaching the book of Daniel, I was a PhD candidate desperate for cash and classroom experience. If not for these two factors, I might have turned him down. I had spent much of my adult life avoiding the book and its New...

Me, My Selfie, and I

Me, My Selfie, and I

I'm hitting "pause" on the Psalms of Ascent series for a few weeks while I blog about a couple other things. This week, the topic is the Really Difficult Second Half of the book of Daniel...which is taking up prime space in my head these days. My little church is...

The Sky Is Falling (a.k.a. Election 2016)

(Excerpted from Story of God Bible Commentary, Daniel, pp 58-59) The message of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream that God is the one true king is as relevant in the twenty-first century as it was when Nebuchadnezzar caught a glimpse of the ages to come. World rulers and their...

Of Rams and Goats, Again (and hopefully turkey)

I hope you have some Thanksgiving leftovers, because you’ll need them for this post. Last time we were in Daniel 8, we sorted out the geography of Daniel’s vision. This time around, we’ll sort out the history behind the vision (you might want to review the vision...

A Geography Lesson: The Location of Daniel’s Second Vision

If you are geographically challenged, I have more sympathy for you than I used to. I have always prided myself on having a good sense of direction, and I confess I have scoffed at people who don’t know their east from their west. Maps have always been my friend – I...

Of Rams and Goats (and mairzy doats?)

So far this season, my NFL team has knocked off a sleuth of Bears, a flock of Hawks, and a herd of Rams. All fearsome creatures these, but if you want a terrifying creature, let me commend to you the goat. Yes, the goat. It may be a tough sell for an expansion team...

How to Read the Bible

Is “Jehovah” God or Not?

Is “Jehovah” God or Not?

If you grew up singing hymns, you are familiar with the name “Jehovah”—and even if you don’t know a hymnbook from a matchbook, you are still likely familiar with the name. It’s a name for God, right? Well, not exactly. If you look through your Bible, you’ll have a...

Psalms As Songs

Psalms As Songs

My dad, in a longstanding tradition of fatherhood, sang silly songs. Waiting for the last dinner dish to arrive at the table, he’d sing, “Here we sit like birds in the wilderness…waiting for our food.” On Tuesdays, which was my sister Suzy’s day (Suz-day) in our...

Daniel’s Other Half

I started warning you early about the second half of Daniel (and by “early” I mean within the first month of this blog’s life), and now that we’ve finally arrived, I’m reposting something I said way back then just to get things started… -- I’m teaching Daniel to a...

And We’re Back (at least, for now…)

Once upon a time, I was blogging through the book of Daniel… Most recently, a phrase I use very loosely, we were working through Daniel 6. Then came a couple “fly-across-the-country” trips for work; a holiday of thanks; a two-week, out-of-town stint on a jury; a...

Reading between the Lines (or Lions)

Sometimes the Bible is outright confusing to us (for example, the bit about the sons of God marrying the daughters of men in Gen 6 - that's a head-scratcher). Other times, it is refreshingly straightforward and clear (for example, the bit about God being the creator)....

Darius the Precarious

"We've got some news, good King Darius We fear your position is precarious" These opening lines from the Veggie Tales song set in Daniel 6 are truer than the songwriters may have known. One of the many conundrums in the book of Daniel is the identity of Darius the...

Wayside Stops

Finding My Way Home

Finding My Way Home

As sure as the compass points north, I was lost. That night I was driving in downtown Minneapolis for the first time, having moved to the area only a few months earlier. A single woman without a smartphone, I fought the suffocating darkness—both within and without—as...

Marking Time

Marking Time

Most Minnesota mornings find one of us walking the dog. Zuzu takes the lead, ears bobbing and curlicue tail flipped over her back as she trots down the sidewalk of her choice—and yes, she does have an opinion.  One of my favorite routes takes us along a cornfield...

Stones & Scars

Stones & Scars

The Israelites had some mountaintop experiences in the colorful years after the exodus from Egyptian slavery. The midnight hustle out of Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea, and the first morning of manna were all occasions for celebration. Surely one of the most...

Strawberry Summer

Strawberry Summer

June has started on the cool side this year, delaying the official start to summer for me: the first day of strawberry season. As soon as I hear that the strawberry field is open, I'll be there. By midday, two flats of bright red berries will have taken over our...

Leave the Dust

Leave the Dust

We vacuum religiously at our house. Dusting is another story, but you wouldn’t know it from our shelf full of dusting supplies: fuzzy blue Norwex dusting mitts, a California Duster, cans of Endust and Pledge, a Swiffer duster, and a pile of rags big enough to suds the...

Six Feet

Six Feet

We went to the site together, you and I— I drove you there to inspect the stone, newly placed. The summer sun was bright, your grassy spot speckled with shade. You stood six feet back, shoes planted near their final resting place. Six feet of summer green and creeping...

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