Yes, We Can Have Global Warming and Record Cold

monochrome photography of bench covered with snow
Photo by Andre Furtado on

This week, parts  of the United States will likely see the coldest weather in two decades. At first glance it doesn’t make sense: how can global warming exist along with a dangerous cold snap? After all, the current polar vortex is bringing temperatures that will rival Arctic and Siberian conditions.

The term “global warming” refers to the rise in temperature that occurs when greenhouse gasses — such as carbon and methane — trap warm air in the atmosphere. Drought, floods and wildfires are obvious examples of extreme conditions linked with global warming. But how can scientists continue to warn about global warming in the midst of blizzards and life-threatening cold?

Well, it turns out that higher-than-normal temperatures in the Arctic regions are contributing to the polar vortex in the Midwest and eastern United States. When Arctic temperatures rise, a warm ridge forms in the atmosphere and drives the jet stream farther south. The result? Cold temperatures that break records and affect southern regions.

Warmer temperatures worldwide also increase the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. Combined with a plunging jet stream, the increased moisture levels bring heavy snowfall and blizzards.

If you’d like to read more about weather extremes, here are some good places to start:







The Hospital Visit

Had to share this wonderful post…so much hope as well as insight!

John G Evans

an induced coma

felt her presence.

stood to the left of me

all her honor, with Christ’s glory.

touch was mild

warm. Loving.

appeared with her

warm glow, a kind of light.

flat on my back –

iron lung you might say.

still, I kissed her

I felt I raised her hand to my lips.

still, I kissed her, and

rosary at the foot of my bed

for me as my earthly mother

me a word, and said –

could not have.

arms were strapped down

in a cross of sorrow, for

was at the doorstep of death.

have wondered of these occasions.

they really happen?

still, my parched lips touched

hand in an instant

if they had been pulled

the warmth of her…

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Star Word 2019: Pure


Epiphany Sunday has become one of my favorite days at my church. We each receive a Star Word to guide us for the year, just as the Wise Men followed the star to the Christ child.

This year, my word is “pure.” As you can see, it is already stuck with a magnet on my refrigerator. My first thought when I saw my word was:

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,” from the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5:8)

When I receive my Star Word each year, I love to dig deep and learn as much as I can about the word. The Oxford Dictionary defines pure as “not mixed or adulterated with any other substance or material.”

We tend to equate this definition with “sinless” or “flawless.” But as with other Star Words,  its meaning has another layer. For example, Benson’s Bible Commentary notes that purity of heart means serving God “continually with a single eye and an undivided heart.”

Then I found this verse:

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17)

My Star Word not only guides my heart and keeps my eyes on Jesus; it also describes the nature of our Lord. How wonderful to remember that our God is true and unchanging!

So my Star Word for 2019 will help me keep my focus on our merciful, reasonable, and steadfast God who is our unchanging Rock. I feel as though Jesus is saying, as Sarah Young wrote in Jesus Calling, “Keep your eyes and your mind wide open to all that I am doing in your life.“

A blessed way to start the year!




A Different Kind of Ash Wednesday


This afternoon, I got goosebumps as I reflected on the beginning of Lent. I look forward to Lent as a time of closeness with the Lord, as He walks alongside each of us in our personal wildernesses.


I did not attend Ash Wednesday service at church this evening, because I am trying to avoid bringing the flu home to my husband and my mom — both at high risk for serious flu complications. My heart is both at home and at church, however, as I look forward to returning to church soon.

So back to the goosebumps. Maybe Lent has an even richer meaning for me after the past year, when my family trekked through the wildernesses of heart failure, depression, and anxiety. We lean on Jesus in the desert of grief as news headlines announce yet another mass shooting. Sometime plain old despair is the temptation we face in our desert.

But blessings have also abounded in recent months. Prayers for healing and recovery draw us close to the Lord and to each other.


Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’“ Matthew 4:4

“and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor”
Isaiah 63:1

I love to observe this sacred day in community, at church. Today was a different kind of Ash Wednesday, but no less rich in meaning. And Easter is on its way.


Star Word for the Year: Tough


After Christmas and New Year’s Day, we celebrate the Epiphany at my church by selecting our Star Words for the year. Since I’m a great believer in the power of language, I look forward to finding out what my word will be for the new year. I’ve had lovely Star Words in previous years, such as “perception” and “individuality.”

As I walked up to the table at church where the Star Words were placed face down, I wondered what creative, challenging, inspiring word would be my focus for 2018. As I walked back to my pew and turned over the paper star, I saw my word:


The word scared me. Did it mean I was going to see tough times? Or that I would have to be tough to survive? Our pastor reminded us not to overthink our Star Words, so when I got home, I put mine under a stack of papers on my desk, so it couldn’t escape.

My mental state at that time no doubt contributed to my fear. A few days before that church service, I had received a diagnosis of anxiety and depression. I was relieved to be able to understand the reasons for the symptoms that have plagued me since I was a kid.

I felt a little braver after a few weeks of prescription medication and my first appointment with my counselor. So I took another look at my Star Word.

I read definitions: 

“Strong enough to withstand adverse conditions or rough or careless handling,” Like everyone, I’ve seen my share of adverse conditions and careless handling — in my case, years of pain and bewilderment from the lack of awareness of mental illness in children.

“Strong or firm in texture but flexible and not brittle.” I’m getting stronger — yes, tougher. But I pray for a softened heart and open mind.

Tough. It sounds less like a harsh threat and more like a pat on the back for living and learning through the challenges. So now my Star Word is held by a magnet on our refrigerator door. I can’t wait to see what it teaches me this year.


Book Review: The Startup Way, by Eric Ries

Startup Way Cover

The term “startup” has always brought to my mind images of two or three people in a garage, creating a new small business. But multinational corporations, governments, and other large organizations, now apply startup principles to foster innovation. In his book The Startup Way, Eric Ries explains that established enterprises must make room for innovative teams, risk-taking leaders, and the inevitable failed ideas. He notes that in a world of continuous innovation, “we’ve always done it this way” no longer works.

In The Startup Way, Ries applies principles from his previous bestseller, The Lean Startup, to large companies such as GE, Amazon, and Airbnb. For example, he outlines how “corporate entrepreneurs” can follow the same lean process by brainstorming “leap of faith assumptions” and creating “minimum viable products” to test in potential markets. He notes that businesses must periodically conduct “pivot or persevere” meetings to decide whether to change course. Throughout the book, he provides practical examples that make his startup principles readily accessible.

I am not usually drawn to books about business, but I enjoyed reading The Startup Way. I I appreciate the insight into corporate entrepreneurship, and look forward to reading The Lean Startup as well. I highly recommend The Startup Way by Eric Ries to readers — entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs alike.

For more information about The Startup Way by Eric Ries, click here. To read about the author, click here.

FTC disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Book Review: The Great Spiritual Migration, by Brian D. McLaren


Christianity appears to be on the move, as it has been for centuries. Readers who wish to explore this story can start with Brian McLaren’s book, The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian. McLaren explains that Christianity has long been an evolving faith, which has challenged outdated religious and political systems since its earliest days. We are now seeing, he writes, a shift from a belief-based system to a system based on redemption and love.

Many readers will identify with McLaren’s account of his own crisis in faith, in which he questioned his own system of beliefs during a retreat. He compares the need to “question long-held beliefs” with science’s willingness to change its mind when it discovers new facts. The scientific method emphasizes the search for truth, rather than adherence to outdated beliefs in the face of newly discovered facts.

The Great Spiritual Migration contains examples of Christianity’s history of spiritual, theological, and missional migration. For example, he notes that in the United States, slavery and white supremacy were considered to be “consistent with ‘biblical’ Christianity.” Scholars are still coming to terms with Christianity’s violent history. He outlines the need for “new questions” as Christianity migrates from “fear, violence, exploitation, misinformation, and the plundering of the planet” toward working for a “just and lasting peace in the larger ‘us’ of the kingdom or commonwealth of God.”

As a Christian with a progressive and inclusive world view, I welcomed the opportunity to read Brian McLaren’s latest thoughts on my faith. The Great Spiritual Migration assures me that I am not alone in my questions about the direction Christianity has taken in the past, and my hopes for a new direction in the future. I highly recommend this book to readers who are searching for hope and guidance in these often troubling times.

For more information about Brian McLaren, click here, and for more information about the book, click here.

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review. All opinions in this review are my own.