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LA Riots and Church Arsons- A Good Thing?

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                   When I was a child, we lived near Los Angeles, and in the early 1990s, when racial tensions were painfully high, there were many riots. Those who were most badly hurt by the riots were the ethnic groups (Black, Asian, Hispanic, etc.,) small business owners, and the poorest of the poor.        At the time, my father was the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Norwalk. During the 1990s, First Baptist Church Norwalk was a predominately White church in a predominately Hispanic neighborhood. We shared space with a like-minded Hispanic Mission Church.  One night, an individual (most likely not actually from the neighborhood around the church) made a decision to hurl a homemade incendiary device (A milk bottle with gasoline and a lighted rag) into one of our church windows. It is possible they targeted us simply because we were a White church. My father got the call that the church was on fire. We arrived, stood across the street, and watched the smoke and the flames as our c

My Father was a Blue Baby.

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            On Christmas Eve this year, my brother Grant Bennett preached a message about “Beenfor” Stories, stories where things could have been very different had it not “been for” the intervention of God.           One of my family’s favorite “Beenfor” stories is about the birth of my father, Randy Bennett.             My Grandmother Ruth Bennett (who passed away last June at 91 years old,) shared this story with me several years ago.             My father was supposed to die as a newborn.   Ruth had a condition called the RH factor. Basically, it’s when the mother has the rare RH negative blood type, and the father has a positive blood type. The RH factor builds in the mother’s blood as she has her first one or two pregnancies. By the third pregnancy, the antibodies in the mother's blood view her baby's blood as a threat, and they cross the placenta to attack the baby's blood. The Babies are usually stillborn or die shortly after birth. They are sometimes

When You Don't Know What to Do, Do the Dishes

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  The Dishes                    Oh, The Dishes. Never-Ending, Never-Failing.     Eternal.                   Whether you eat at a restaurant or get takeout, or make your own food at home…someone, somewhere, is going to HAVE to do The Dishes.                 In your own home, if you make an honest effort to make the majority of your family’s food, this can be frustrating, especially when you are surrounded by tiny children who aren’t quite old enough to help with The Dishes, but are very good at making more dirty dishes.                       Sometimes I have felt that I was drowning in dishes. Even as I write this, the sink is full of dishes. Again. There are Legos on the kitchen island and the remnants of my children's morning snack.                   It can be dismaying, and even depressing. And yet, there is something consistent about The Dishes that I find oddly comforting, especially in these…interesting…times. In the past year, as my children have been stuck at h

The Wild Dudleyas of Rock River Hill!

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  In the mineral-rich hills surrounding our property, there could be quartz or lime outcroppings, sagebrush, bones of small dead animals, or even the remains of old mine shafts and prospecting claims.  A few years ago, on an exploratory hike through sage brush and bull pines, I discovered some small succulents growing prolifically among a quartz outcropping. As it was a dry season (it’s nearly always a dry season on Rock River Hill,) the plants looked half-dead, sad, and dried out. There were a great deal of them, so I carefully dug one up, took it home, and planted it in a small container. Once it began receiving water regularly (about once a week or so,) the dry little leaves uncurled and the plant came back to life! The following spring, I was rewarded with pale coral blossoms surrounded by buzzing local pollinators.  We’ve since harvested several more and given them away to family and friends. I call it affectionately, “The Lazarus Plant,” after the man Lazarus in the Bible whom Je

WHAT on Earth are You?

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  What on Earth Are You?             “What am I?” I questioned the Lord a few years ago at Forest Home , during our family’s annual pilgrimage to Family Camp . The Lord and I have a lot of conversations at Forest Home. I related an earlier conversation with Him in a Guideposts Article from 2011, " The Pinecone Promise ."  All the troubles, questions, and worries of the past year get dredged up and He deals with me there. It’s not that He’s not dealing with me throughout the year of course, but something about being away, being at a place that’s been dedicated to Christ in the way that Forest Home has seems to help me focus more effectively.  In 2019 (the last time we went before the shutdowns in 2020), I happened to be struggling with identity. People in their 30’s do that. I spent my 20’s busily working with my husband to get established as a family, start a career, get out debt, build a house, end a career, have a baby, start a new career as a stay-at-home-mom, establish ou

Eighty- Eight Love Letters

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  In 2003, I spent the first semester of my Junior Year of college studying literature at the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Oxford University in England. Nine months before I left, I had met a young man named Anthony Hughes. We met a month before his 27 th birthday, and three months after my 19 th birthday. I was a Sophomore in College at California Baptist University, and he was a physical therapist from Lake Isabella who worked in Bakersfield (where my parents live). A mutual friend had set us up on a blind date and we’d been dating casually and emailing ever since. Though our feelings for each other were growing stronger, I had adventures to go on and all of Europe to explore- I made it clear to Anthony that though I liked him very much, I was not going to be held back or tied down…at least not yet. I guessed that he might be falling in love with me, and I knew I liked him very much, but I was not going to be held back or tied down Anthony and I made no pro

Tithe Vs. Medical Bills- What Would You Decide?

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  Bennett in the NICU, Waiting to be Allowed to Come Home             We had planned on having my first child at home with a midwife, specifically at my parents’ home, which was a 10-minute drive to a hospital with a good reputation for birthing care. One of the blessings of Midwife fees for home births is that they tend to be flat rates, payable in installments before the birth, and there are no surprise fees. By the time my son’s birth rolled around, we had purchased our birth supplies, paid our wonderful midwife, LaMonica Bryant in full, and had no concerns about future medical bills, as long as everything went as planned. Things did not go as planned. My labor was prolonged and I had difficulty getting into an effective labor rhythm. The baby didn’t seem to be in quite the right position. After about a day and half of ineffective labor, LaMonica was concerned that my labor was not progressing as it should and that if we continued on laboring at home, it might become unsa