Am I just checking off a box?

Am I just checking off a box?

In less than three weeks I am leaving on a missions trip to Ethiopia. There are over two hundred individuals from my church, both men and women, who are going to the capital city of Addis Ababa to serve in various ways. While I am not the oldest going, I am definitely amongst the oldest! Many have asked me why now and why this trip. I have asked myself the same question. Do I feel that as a Christian this is a box I need to check?

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Uniquely Woman

Uniquely Woman

I grew up in the 70’s when the fight for women’s rights was at its peak. My college was one-third women, and my law school was about one-quarter women. I felt strongly that there should be equality for men and women in the workplace which would naturally include equal opportunities, as well as equal pay for equal jobs. I still support those values, and I am grateful that both my schools now have a more equal gender ratio. But in God’s Kingdom equality does not necessarily mean that women and men are called to do the same things. Sometimes they are, but sometimes they are not. Sometimes, God calls us to service because we are uniquely made as women—or uniquely made as men. It is comforting to realize that our value to God is not determined by how we measure up to a man, but how we obediently use our gifts as a woman.

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What will be my name?

What will be my name?

I will become a grandmother for the first time this coming August. I am so excited! But one surprising question has caused me an inordinate amount of stress—what do I want to be called by said grandchild? A few friends, who are also becoming grandmothers, posted on Facebook a very humorous Youtube video about this very dilemma. I could relate to the woman on camera who changed her mind multiple times and obsessed about her specific grandmother title. For example, I don’t want to appear too fuddy-duddy (although perhaps saying fuddy-duddy makes me fuddy-duddy). I don’t want to pick an exclusively southern term for grandmothers, after all, I am originally from New York. I also want to pick a name that the baby can easily pronounce and not butcher into something truly odd. Admittedly, the name has to be something our children will agree to, but I also want it to be somewhat hip! Now this may not sound like a significant issue, but as I reflected, I realized the novelty in all of this—that we grandmothers (and grandfathers) get to pick a name for ourselves. After all, our first names had been assigned at birth. We had no choice in the matter. Of course we could have changed them as adults, or we could have adopted nicknames, but not without considerable paperwork or explanation. For the most part, we have been stuck with our given names. I have always thought that names reflect character. In some sense, as grandparents, we get to choose a bit of our identity—at least to our grandchildren!

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The Choices We Make

The Choices We Make

I have high cholesterol. While arguably one bagel won’t hurt me, my collective choices of what I eat have negative consequences. When I choose to forgo exercise for a period of time, my bone density is adversely affected. (The aging process is not always fun!) But my choices not only affect my health, but all areas of my life. Every time I take on one activity, I don’t have time for another. And over the years, some decisions have had very significant consequences. For example, in choosing to relocate to Virginia, my husband and I lost relationships with some individuals whom we cared for, but gained others. The truth is, we must always weigh our options, consider the consequences, and balance the costs involved with any decision. But perhaps no greater decision faces us than the one illustrated by two women in Scripture—Orpah and Ruth. Theirs is a picture of the free choice that God gives every individual.

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W & D

W & D

“When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters” Genesis 5:21-13.

This verse has always made me smile. It seems that Enoch walked with God after he became a father. Enoch knew that something had to change in his life after having children. He began to seek God’s wisdom. I wonder how many parents have begun to walk with God when their children became teens. I was never more aware of my need for wisdom than when I was raising teenagers. Faced with the realization that we needed more of God’s help, several friends and I decided to faithfully pray together for our high schoolers. We had been in prayer groups while our children were in elementary school, but our prayers took on a greater urgency as they got older. What did we pray for? Mostly, wisdom and discernment.

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Thank you Facebook!

Thank you Facebook!

Admittedly, Facebook offers a few benefits. One was highlighted to me the other day. I am still grasping the craziness of it all.

I was watching television with my husband when I received a bing on my phone indicating a Facebook message had come in. I don’t receive very many, so I opened it immediately. It read:


Hi Carole, I’m looking for my big sister from Lafayette College when I was a young girl. I’m not sure but I think you may be her. I am volunteering and in the board of directors for big brothers and big sisters and it made me think of you. I just wanted to say hello and thank you for your time when I was younger. I hope you are living a wonderful and fulfilled life. You made an impact on my life and I am going well. I hope you are the right Carole Orzio.

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I would rather not have a root canal

I would rather not have a root canal

Some time ago I was researching “root canals” on Google, I came across this cartoon:

“Read my Bible, I would rather have a root canal!”

Well, clearly the writer of this cartoon had never had a root canal. The reason I was doing this research was because I was in excruciating pain after the second of my two root canals. I can testify that I would much rather read my Bible!

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It's never too late

It's never too late

My friend and mentor, Holly Leachman, is known for her nuggets of wisdom. One of my favorites is, “It’s never too late to do the right thing.” In fact, I repeated this so often to my children as they were growing up that they attributed it to me rather than to her. But more recently I have applied this truth to combat these lies that I often hear— “I can’t make a difference,” or “there is nothing significant I can do for God’s Kingdom.” Scripture affirms the truth that it is never too late to do something for God’s Kingdom, and certainly nothing we do for Him is too small. A perfect example of these truths comes alive in the life of a little-known woman described in the Gospel of Luke.

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The Goodness of God

The Goodness of God

Recently, I spoke at a gathering, themed: “Our lies, God’s Truth.” As I prepared my talks, I studied, aiming to find women in the Bible who believed the same lies that individuals still struggle with today. Certainly, Eve did, as I discussed in last week’s blog. She believed that God's Word was not Truth. But Eve believed another lie as well. Consider Satan’s additional statement: “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” The essence of this lie was that God was withholding something from her—something good. And if God could withhold something good from her, is He indeed really good?

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My name is Peter

Some time ago, I was preparing a talk on the Resurrection based on the Gospel account in the Book of John. I began to wonder how Peter, Jesus’ disciple, may have felt as he learned of Jesus' death on the cross, and then witnessed His resurrection. What would I have felt had I been him? The following were my speculations which I wrote as a first person narrative. I tried to stay true to the Gospels, specifically John 19-21, but clearly I took license with regard to what Peter may have been feeling. I encourage you to read the passages in John on your own, and perhaps answer the question—how would you have reacted if you had been there?

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Preparing for Easter: Why the Cross?

Preparing for Easter: Why the Cross?

This was such a violent and bloody death, Why? At Golgotha, most wondered why, if He is King He couldn't save Himself? Through reading the Bible, we see God carried out His plan perfectly, including allowing for many illegal tribunals, the conviction of Jesus, and HIs death. Jesus had gone into Jerusalem knowing exactly what would happen to Him. He knew He was sent to die He could have saved Himself, but then the plan wouldn't have been carried out. But again, why the cross? why such a blood death?

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Protecting our valuables

Protecting our valuables

I have a friend who likes to hide her jewelry before she goes away. Several years ago she hid her watch before leaving for a vacation. She hid it well. So well, in fact, that when she returned, she herself couldn’t find it. She spent hours that morphed into days looking throughout her house. Finally, she surrendered, and gave up the search. Then, one day, years later, totally by accident, she found her watch, in that “safest” of places.

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Am I crazy?

Am I crazy?

My family and friends have, at times, considered me to be a bit crazy, no question! Among other reasons, they view me as habitually speaking, in what my psychologist friend calls, “circular speech.” In other words, I have a hard time staying on topic, and I often circumvent the point I am trying to make with other unnecessary details.  In an effort to remind me to focus, my husband often gently prompts me to “land that plane, Carole.” In addition, I have over 50,000 unread emails on my phone, and currently forty unread text messages. I truly don’t understand why my phone often becomes the topic of conversation and concern.  Do these idiosyncrasies make me crazy?

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The Reminder I Need

The Reminder I Need

My husband gave me an Apple watch for Christmas. I have not yet figured out all the features, nor have I figured out how to remove some of the features or app notifications I have apparently downloaded. Thus, at the present time I receive notifications for just about everything. My wrist is constantly vibrating. On any given day I am notified to wake up, exercise (I really need to delete that one), take my medication, and attend different appointments. In addition, if I am sitting too long at the computer or in front of the television, it reminds me to stand. But probably my favorite reminder—which I receive several times throughout the day—is to breathe. Apparently, Apple believes I am incapable of staying alive without its reminders. How did I ever manage without it?

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God's Amazing Handiwork

God's Amazing Handiwork

Our house in Florida sits on a small pond. One of my favorite pastimes is to gaze at the wildlife—all kinds of birds, turtles, and the occasional alligator and river otter. This past week I witnessed a certain spectacle for the first time: flight school for herons! Lining the pond were countless white herons and their young. As I watched, I noticed that next to each larger bird were several younger birds. It appeared that each bird had to wait its turn to leave the shore and venture out over the water, and rarely did a baby bird make it completely over the pond. They would fly a mere ten to twenty feet and then return to its parent. It was a beautiful scene.

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Whose opinion matters?

Whose opinion matters?

The other day I went to Crate and Barrel to pick up a gift for a wedding shower. As I waited to have the gift boxed, I busied myself scanning the nearby aisles. A salesperson was helping a young woman select wine glasses. Out of the blue, the young woman looked at me and asked which of two glasses I preferred. I am not sure why she asked me—I actually think the salesperson was a bit offended, but I was happy to lend my help.

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The One Thing I Do Know

The One Thing I Do Know

“Whether He is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”  John 9:25

 

I have always loved the simple logic presented by this man. Jesus had healed him of his blindness on the Sabbath, which was verboten according to the religious leaders at the time. Trying to find a reason to accuse Jesus as guilty of violating the Law, they confronted this once blind man. Filled with prejudice, malice, ignorance and all kinds of theological weapons, they attempted to intimidate him into stating that Jesus committed a sin—violating the Sabbath. His answer was simple, direct, and non-argumentative. “One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” One thing—one thing that no one could dispute or otherwise explain away—he could see.

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