Pandemic Lament by ARHuelsenbeck

The Bible study group that I am part of is reading God and the Pandemic by N.T. Wright. Part of one assignment was to write a prayer of Lament. Here’s mine:


O God, You created our bodies complete with a complex immunity system to protect us against infection and heal us from the inside out. You also created the viruses that mutate relentlessly in a seeming effort to wipe out the human race.

You could eliminate this virus if You wanted to; as of yet You haven’t, and so we die.

But You also blessed us with intelligence like Your own, so we look for ways to fight. Lord, thank You for the fighters.

You have given us common sense so we can protect ourselves. Lord, thank you for the CDC guidelines.

Lord, You gave us the Great Commandment to love You and our neighbors. Lord, thank You for the neighbors who are helping one another.

Nevertheless, Lord, the fighters and the helpers are dying off as are the old and the young, the poor and the rich. How long will You let Your people suffer? How long must we watch our livelihoods crumble, our life’s work turn into dust? Remember Your plan to prosper us and not to harm us.

Dear God, Your love for us is everlasting and You hear us when we pray. You are our Rock and our Salvation. Save us now.

What You do is right and just. Amen.

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Scripture Break #27


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Review of The Bonnie Code: One Girl’s Battle with Mitochondrial Disease, Using Joy as Her Armor, by Thomas Wayne Sanders

The Bonnie CodeI’ve written about Bonnie Codier before. In 1992, I interviewed her mother, Lyn Codier, for a Raising Arizona Kids article about homeschooling; Bonnie and Lyn appeared on the cover of the September 1992 issue. I also mentioned her in an article on Doing Life Together. I know the family. We went to the same church in the 1990s, and I sang in the church choir with Dave (Bonnie’s father) and Lyn. My daughter Erin was Bonnie’s friend in Sunday school. Dave was the emergency room nurse on two occasions when we brought our son Matt to the hospital to be treated for ketoacidosis. When I taught music, Lyn and I were both in the Arizona chapter of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association. I was crushed to learn about Bonnie’s (and later Lyn’s) devastating illness.

Tom Sanders is also a friend of mine. For nine years I was part of a Bible study group that met in his and his wife Kimberly’s house. He often spoke fondly of Bonnie and her profound faith. He volunteered to be a “Bonnie-sitter” out of a desire to help the family; he never expected that he would be so abundantly blessed by the experience of getting to know her.

Mitochondrial disease, The Bonnie Code, Bonnie Codier

Bonnie Marie Codier

Though Bonnie was slowly and painfully dying, she lived her life with purpose: to encourage hurting people and remind them that God loves them. She carried on correspondences with people all over the world—people suffering from Mitochondrial disease and other conditions, and other random people she met. She learned about each person’s family, friends, pets, interests, and events, and asked for updates whenever she connected with them. She was genuinely interested in other people, and knew how to make them feel special.

I am so glad Tom wrote this book. But there’s one detail he left out.

When preparing Bonnie’s Celebration of Life, Lyn asked all the men who were to speak (Tom was one of them) to wear a suit, even though Redemption Church is known for its casual dress code (even the pastors wear jeans to church). She said that since Bonnie was never able to go on a date, never attended a prom, never walked down the aisle as a bride, she wanted the men in her life to dress up in her honor.

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Scripture Break #26

Psalm 55

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Review of Searching for Sunday, by Rachel Held Evans

Searching for Sunday

I loved Rachel Held Evans’ blog, and I was heartbroken by her death last year.

Searching for Sunday is Evans’ story of her Christian upbringing, her eventual disillusionment with religion, and the long journey that brought her back to the Church. In the book, Evans explores the sacraments as a vehicle for her journey.

She brings up the hard questions that many Christians struggle with: are some denominations right and others wrong; whom do we exclude from fellowship; whom does God exclude; are we limiting God, misrepresenting God with our creeds and beliefs?

The Evanses participated in a church startup that ultimately closed. As heartrending as the experience was, Evans learned a lot from it, and she shares what she discovered.

One of the pleasures of reading this book is Evans’ beautiful style of writing. Here are a couple of verbal images that touched me deeply:

The difference between a labyrinth and a maze is that a labyrinth has no dead ends.

The famed eleven-circuit labyrinth inlaid in the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France has just one path, which takes the pilgrim in and out of four quadrants in a spiraling motion through dozens of left and right turns, before reaching its rosette center. Such a pattern invites meditation, the mystics say, and reminds the pilgrim the journey of faith is rarely a straightforward one.


Jesus said his Father’s house has many rooms. In this metaphor, I like to imagine the Presbyterians hanging out in the library, the Baptists running the kitchen, the Anglicans setting the table, the Anabaptists washing feet with the hose in the backyard, the Lutherans making liturgy for the laundry, the Methodists stoking the fire in the hearth, the Catholics keeping the family history, the Pentecostals throwing open all the windows and doors to let more people in.

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Scripture Break #25

Eccl. 3:1-8

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Toilet Training Breakthrough

Bare Baby, toilet training

You know when you think your kid is perfectly capable of using the toilet, but he’s still having accidents, and you think he’s doing it on purpose or out of laziness?

Back 30+ years ago when I was going through this with my kids, my friend Vivian had the perfect cure.


Now, back in my day, we didn’t have pull-ups, but we had “training pants,” thick underwear, sometimes terrycloth, that theoretically would absorb liquid. But they leaked.

Vivian’s answer was REAL underpants. Nice ones. In fact, she believed in it so confidently that she took my middle daughter shopping and treated her to several gorgeous pairs. She never ever wet them.

It worked so well that after we moved to Arizona and Vivian came out to visit, I asked her to take my younger son shopping for some. She enthusiastically complied, and he came home with cool Underoos, which also never got wet.

This memory just came back to me, and I’m sharing it because some other mother might be facing this transition in her life. I think part of the magic of this solution is that it was administered by a beloved family friend rather than Mom. For what it’s worth—take it or leave it.


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Scripture Break #24


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Scripture Break #23


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In Memoriam: Donna Clark Goodrich

Donna Goodrich

I met Donna Goodrich about thirty years ago, probably at the now-defunct Tempe Christian Writers Club. She was well-known there, as she was a sought-after speaker at Christian writers conferences across the United States. She had a reputation for helping beginning writers. Donna founded the annual Arizona Christian Writers Conference in 1981, which she led for seven years and taught at for many years thereafter.

She was also a wonderful freelance editor and proofreader, as well as the author of twenty-four books and over 700 published articles and poems. For more than twenty-five years, she met weekly with Tuesday’s Children, a critique group I was blessed to be a member of.

She was one of the original bloggers for Doing Life Together; she also maintained her own writing blog, A Step in the Write Direction from 2012-2015.

Here are some of her books:

In the last few years, she’s been struggling with multiple health challenges. Early Thursday morning, she passed away, four days before her birthday. Today she would have been eighty-two years old.

Many writers got their starts with help from Donna. If you are one of them, please leave a memory in the comments below.

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