Thursday, July 24, 2008

From the mouths of babes

Tonight I found my son playing in the media room at my sisters house singing into a video game microphone. The song of choice? Jesus Loves Me. His rendition, however, is better....

Jesus loves me, dis I know
Before dat Bible telled me so
I da one to him belong, dis I know
Yes Jesus Loves Me
Yes Jesus Loves Me
Da Bible telled me so

Oh the wisdom of little children :)


The day following my daughter’s c-section I found my self itching to begin moving and walking to start down the path of recovery so I could go home with my new baby girl. I took my first walk about 12 hours after surgery, from the bed to the bathroom. Not that impressive. An hour later I walked to the nurse’s station and back. By the next morning I was doing laps around the postpartum wing and itching to go further, specifically to the children’s wing to see the incredible wall murals that I had heard so much about from the nurses. Late in the afternoon, the day after surgery, I began to get restless and decided to venture beyond the postpartum wing, with my husband and baby in tow (in a rolling bassinet per the nurses). We walked and talked, stopping only long enough to allow me to catch my breath and breathe through post labor pains. Thinking back I vaguely remember this odd clicking sound every time we walked past the hallway from the postpartum wing to the children’s wing and by the third time we had passed the foyer it occurred to me how strange it was that I heard the clicking at the same place over and over again. I mentioned it to my husband and he said it sounded like the door to the stairwell wasn’t sealed very well and was creaking from the change in pressure between wings as we opened doors. I never gave it another thought.

Later that night as we walked around the children’s wing we decided to venture further into the hospital into the labor and delivery wing and as we wheeled my daughter down the hallway I began to notice the clicking sound more and more until suddenly a woman came bursting out of a room behind us and yelled, “STOP RIGHT THERE!”. My husband and I froze, turned to see the woman and she rushed towards us barking, “What is your name? Let me see your id bracelet!” I held out my wrist, puzzled and she immediately grabbed my daughter and unwrapped her revealing a large ankle bracelet with a sensor on it and held it up to my bracelet to compare. We looked at her with complete confusion as she wrapped the baby back up and ordered me to return to my room. I asked her if something was wrong and she told me that we had been setting off alarms all over the hospital and they couldn’t figure out who was “stealing” my baby. You see, apparently that itsy bitsy little sensor on my daughters leg was SHUTTING DOWN ELEVATORS, locking stairwell exits and setting off a blaring alarm in the infant nursery. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, I was not allowed to leave the postpartum wing with my daughter until discharge. Oops.

I think sometimes we aren’t aware of the ways in which others see us, whether or not their interpretation of our behavior is accurate. As I reflect back on the work that our leadership team (elders and ministers) has been doing in the past few weeks I find myself wondering what the congregation sees in our leadership team. What can we learn from their observations of us as a team? How accurate are their observations? What role are we playing in accuracy of those observations?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


It has been nine weeks since the birth of my new baby girl and as I reflect back on the past two months I keep thinking back to our time in the hospital. Because of circumstances from my son’s birth, we knew well before my daughter was born that I would be having another c-section. I’ve heard from other c-section mommies that recovery gets easier and easier after each surgery because the mommies know what to do to aid their bodies in healing. I am specifically thinking about the push that nurses make to get patients moving and walking mere hours after undergoing pretty intensive surgery. With my son I fought the nurses; with my daughter I knew that getting active quickly was the key to a speedy and less painful recovery.

There is nothing easy about surgery. It is invasive, it is painful, inconvenient, and it leaves you vulnerable and tired. Often, though, surgery is necessary for improving quality of life and/or repairing damage.

The past few weeks, the Elders and Ministers of our church have been engaging in some much needed team building exercises. It seems as though each time we meet the exercises become more invasive, more painful, more inconvenient, and afterwards I find myself vulnerable and tired. But, each time we meet I am better acquainted with what will be required of me and what I can do to speed the process and improve the quality of our time together. As we are progressing through each difficult session I am amazed as I watch walls breaking down, wrongs being righted, and friendships, authentic friendships, being forged. Every time we meet it is difficult and challenging but the need for healing is lessening and our strength as a team is building. Much like the surgery I underwent nine weeks ago, the blessing that comes from these invasive procedures is new life, new life as brothers and sisters, new life as team members, and new life as workers for the kingdom.

Praise God for new beginnings.

Monday, November 05, 2007

So Much To Say

My son has reached an age where the biggest and most frequent changes are occurring in his language. Just in the past 2 weeks alone he has moved away from his one word grunts and has begun stringing together multiple words into sentences. I feel like someone reached inside his tiny little head and flipped a switch and he is suddenly conversational. Just the other night as we were driving down the road I noticed a gorgeous full moon about the same time as my son but instead of pointing out the moon with a little fat finger and an enthusiastic "Mooooooo" as he usually does, my son blurted out, “Well look at the moon!” I nearly ran off the road in shock.

I’m inspired by him, I really am. I watch each and every day as he tries new words and new skills and is not at all crippled by the fear of failure or of being wrong. I honestly can’t remember the last time I REALLY tried something new much less something new in my quest for God and I find myself envious of his bravery. At what point did I reach this stagnant place in my life and in my faith? How did I become so complacent in my spiritual mediocrity?

O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
Psalm 63:1-3

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

No, No, No

I’ve noticed lately that Little Man has begun tuning me out. It isn’t that surprising, really; there is a lot going on in his world and lots of new things to explore and learn every single day. It isn’t that he tunes me out completely; it is really just when he is in trouble. I find myself saying, “Little Man, look at mommy’s face….what did mommy say?” over and over again in an effort to make sure the lesson isn’t lost on him. Today however, when I asked him that question, he replied with the most pathetic, ho-hum, Ben Stein-esque, “No, no, no” that it caught me off guard. As he ran off to play I stayed crouched down completely caught up in the moment realizing what it must be like to on his side of the conversation.

Do you have any naysayer’s in your life? I do. I am sure you can relate because we can all be naysayers at one time or another, but this particular naysayer is someone that I respect a great deal and has been a friend of mine for many years. For those reasons, I often find the naysaying particularly hurtful because I receive very little, if any, encouragement from that person. I confess that many times I don’t even want to be around my friend because I feel like no matter what I do, all I get is “no, no, no”, so to speak. It is so stifling and so spirit crushing that many times I find myself passing on the bad behavior to other people in my life as though reciprocating the negativity will somehow alleviate the way it makes me feel.

While working at the church a few months after my son was born, I stole away to the back room of the church to feed him. The director of our preschool came by and sat and talked with me while I fed my son so I took the opportunity to pick her brain about a couple of things. As our conversation neared an end and she got up to leave, I asked her one final question, “If you could give one piece of advice to every new mother, what would it be?” She smiled and sat back in the rocker next to me and said sweetly, “Say “no” as little as possible and find ways to say “yes” every single day.” At first I thought she meant don’t tell your children “no” and thought to myself “that will breed a particularly obnoxious generation of kids” but as she explained I realized she wasn’t saying you couldn’t tell your children no but that so often “no” is all that little kids hear: “Don’t touch that, Get Down, Spit that out, Be Quiet, Don’t take off your shoes,” etc. She was saying that you can teach your children how to be respectful and behave without breaking their spirit.

I thought back to that moment as I sat crouched in the playroom watching my son return to his toys after his scolding. A few minutes passed until he walked back up to me and handed me his milk (instead of throwing it on the floor as he usually does). I praised him and praised him and told him what a good boy he was for following directions and then I got down to his eye level and said, “Little Man, look at mommy’s face….what did mommy say?” He looked at me with the most confused look I’ve ever seen on his face and said, “No, no, no?” and I laughed and said, “Mommy said “Good boy!” A smile shot across his face and he said, “Good boy (gooboy), Good boy!"

Are you a naysayer or an encourager? In my experience, the naysayers can usually chalk their negativity to high levels of productivity or the thin skinned nature of the person on the receiving end but the truth is that there really is no excuse for that kind of behavior in the body of Christ. I am guilty of it, I am sure, but the truth is that we all have the capacity to be a naysayer in someone’s life whether we are aware of it or not. My question is, how can you build someone else up this week?

“Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Your thoughts?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Shout it!

The other night as I was praying with my son before putting him to bed, I said the word “Jesus” in my prayer and for the first time he busted out in a surprisingly loud voice, “AMEN!” It startled me and I stifled a laugh as I continued praying in the darkness of his room until ended the prayer with, “In Jesus name….” to which he exclaimed “AMEN”.

This past week I took my little guy with me for a lunch date at my grandparent’s house. As we sat around the table and bowed our heads to pray before lunch, I was so proud to look over and see my little one with head bowed and eyes closed. He sat quietly through a very long prayer (well, at least long for a 19 month old) until my grandfather said “Jesus” to which my son snapped to attention and shouted at the loudest volume to date, “AMEN!!!!” My grandfather stopped praying and we sat there in silence for a moment, which my son took as encouragement so he continued to shout, “AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!!!!!!” I immediately leaned over to quiet him so that my grandfather could continue praying but it only spurred him on to affirm the prayer even more. Afterwards I was apologetic and even a bit embarrassed at my son’s outburst but as I drove home I realized that if anyone was in the wrong, it was me! How wrong of me to discourage my enthusiastic little boy from participating in something that is so clearly an important part of our lives, whatever his method may be.

This week our church is hosting its annual “Summer Bible Quest: VBS for the whole family” and the theme is, appropriately, “Shout it”. Last night as I walked through the auditorium I heard a throng of little voices singing the following lyrics at the top of their lungs:

Shout it! Shout it out loud!
Shout it! Shout it out loud!
Shout it! Shout it out loud!
I’m gonna tell the world about Jesus
What he’s done for you
What he’s done for me
I’m gonna tell the whole world that Jesus is the truth

I wonder how much more effective God’s message would be if we proclaimed his name as loudly and as enthusiastically as our children?

Shout with joy to God, all the earth!
Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious!
Psalm 66:1-2

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


It was 3:23a.m. and I was sound asleep. The noise was so loud and horrific that I bolted straight out of bed and ran for my son’s room. In the three seconds it took me to cross the house I was sure one of three things had happened: 1) a car had crashed through the front side of the house, 2) the ceiling had collapsed in my son’s room or 3) someone had broken into the house. When I rounded the corner of the hallway and passed the nursery to open my son’s door I was confused to find that the noise was coming from the nursery and that the light was on. I threw open the door and immediately flipped off the light, thus quieting the noise that had terrified me to the core. Apparently, sometime during the night, one of my son’s balloons had made its way from the living room, down the hallway, into the nursery and had been caught up in the blades of the fan. The noise was the sound of the string wrapped so tightly around the motor that it had actually pulled the light cover up into the fan. I collapsed to the darkness of the floor, trembling from the adrenaline as my very groggy husband came slowly shuffling in the room to see what the noise was.

The whole ordeal lasted no longer than 90 seconds but I lay in bed shaking, heart pounding for another hour afterward. It was the first time in my life that I truly understood the depth of a mother’s love for her children. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you what a big chicken I am. Any other time in my life I would have run for my dad, run for my parent’s bedroom, or more recently woken my husband to go investigate as I hid under the covers. When my husband first became a firefighter I was so terrified of being in my house alone that I spent the night at my parent’s house every night he was on shift. For those of you who don’t know, that is every 3rd night….for nearly 2 years….and I was 27 years old.

Lying in bed, trying desperately to calm my overactive imagination, I began to think about what my life would be like if I were to lose my son. Tears streamed down my face as I thought about the hole that his absence would bring in my life. I immediately thought of Abraham and Isaac and what must have been going through Abraham’s mind as he stood over his son, armed raised to deliver the blow that would end little Isaac’s life and the depth of the sacrifice God had asked him to make. Then I thought of God and the sacrifice he made when he sent Jesus to the cross. The idea of sentencing my own son to death so that others can live is so far beyond my comprehension that it seems impossible but equally amazing is the fact that God allows each and every one of us to experience the parent/child relationship in our lives. For me, experiencing that relationship, both as a child and as a parent gives even more depth to the sacrifice that was made for my life.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Weight of the World

I disappeared, I know.

In the last 90 days our church finished remodeling and we entered our new technologically upgraded sanctuary, the responsibilities of which I am still trying to get a grasp on as the Technology Minister. In less than 30 days we are opening a second campus; more construction, new technology, more volunteers, nearly double the workload. Toss in 3 trips, four visits from relatives, a job change for my husband and the news that one of my good friends is moving away and you get the highlights of what has been occupying my brain for the past few months.

If you dig deeper, you might see some other stuff going on; depression, some exhaustion and a lot of scrambling. My husband has been teasing me that I am going through a quarter-life crisis and as funny as he thinks that is, I am not so sure he is off track. I’ve been feeling very stifled lately like something in my life isn’t right. I’ve prayed about it, I’ve thought about it and I’ve even talked about it with the people close to me but nothing seems to alleviate the suffocated feeling. Most tell me it is just a phase or that the feeling will pass once work stabilizes but somehow comments like that make things feel worse, not better. I can’t shake the feeling that it is not situational or temporary and I feel helpless to solve it.

On the other side, this phase has made me more nostalgic, it forces me to consider every action (because I don’t want anyone to know how I feel) and it makes me more intentional with everything that I say and do because I don't want to cheating everyone out of the joyful me. It is not like my life can stop because I don’t feel right; I still have to work, I am still a friend, a wife and a mommy, I just have to work twice as hard to be that person. I know this isn’t uncommon and I can’t help but wonder who else secretly feels this way. I am not really looking for an answer, more just putting it out there and wondering who else is walking around with the weight of the world on their shoulders.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Like A Skin

The butterfly can just look back
Flap those wings and say Oh, yeah
I never have to be a worm again

The snake gets tired of being him
He wriggles from that itchy skin
Leaves it lying where he’s been and moves on

I’ve been longing for something tangible
Some kind of proof that there’s been change in me

Feels like I have been waking up
Only to fight with the same old stuff
Change is slow and it fills me with such doubt
Come on New Man where have you been
Help me wriggle from this Self I’m in
And leave it like a skin upon the ground

Sara Groves
The Other Side of Something
Listen here

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Force of Habit

This morning as I was dressing my son I noticed that when I picked up his pants to put them on him, he lifted up his leg in anticipation of putting it in the leg hole. Not a big deal, I know, but it surprised me because he had never done it before. Later when I grabbed the spray bottle to spritz his frizzy hair into soft curls he closed his eyes and ducked his head down. It made me smile.

When the little guy was brand-spanking new, we were encouraged to develop steady repetition in his routines because his preemieness (if that is a word) would cause him to be sensitive to over-stimulation. To be honest, the repetition also helps with a lot of other issues like putting him to bed at night and keeping him occupied while I get ready in the morning. For instance, he knows without a doubt that when mommy snuggles him up and sings "God Is So Good" that it is bed time, period. The repetition that we provide helps him feel safe, gives him something to rely on, and teaches him about consistency.

I heard once that it takes 28 days of repetition to form a pattern and 90 days to form a habit; it is the reason that many rehab centers offer 28 and 90 day programs. I've been thinking a lot about my habits lately, both the good ones and the bad, and wondering what new habits I could be developing. Believe it or not, I've actually posted a 90 day calendar on my bathroom mirror and have been putting a little gold star up for every day that I work out. Lame, I know, but you won't believe how effective it has been. When I get home after a long day of work, make dinner, pick up the house and put the munchkin to bed, working out is the very last thing I want to do until I see that chart. Knowing you are 65 days in and that skipping that day will cause you to start over breeds a new kind of motivation.

I won't bore you with the details of the new habits I am trying to forge but I will ask, have you considered your habits lately?

Your thoughts?

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Through the wonder of technology and social networks I was able to locate a dear friend with whom I had lost touch almost 6 years ago. This particular friend has always had a dear place in my heart not just because she taught me to play the guitar and because we both have a deep love for missions, cultures and languages but because she holds the distinction of having had more influence on my spiritual life than any non-family member ever has. Her absence in my life has been felt numerous times in the past six years so I am really grateful to be back in touch.

Last night as I read off the last email from my friend, readied myself for bed and began to unwind I thought a lot about my friend and the memories we shared. As I laid my head on the pillow and began to drift off to sleep I thought about heaven and how wonderful it will be to reunite with so many dear brothers and sisters. The small glimpse of heaven that I was afforded in a simple conversation with a long lost friend was truly a gift from God.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


It all began during spring break when my dad offered to watch my son during the day as he worked on remodeling one of the rooms in our house.

At night I would find our little guy hammering the wall, measuring everything in sight, and leveling anything with a flat surface. Last week I walked in and found him with the telephone wedged between his ear and shoulder while tapping on my laptop with all 10 of those pudgy fingers.

This weekend we were shopping in the grocery store when a stranger walked up and started talking to him and he mimicked her laugh. Then this morning when someone cut me off in traffic I yelled, "Hey! Watch where you are going!" to myself, really, and I heard from the backseat, "Hey!"


Living with a sponge is fun but scary; it is amazing to me how much he is taking in and processing but it forces me to think about the kind of example I am serving up for him to mimic. I am told that it will really hit when he begins mimicking something I don't want him to pick up on but it is already making a significant impression on me.

Has anyone ever told you that they look up to you or admire you?

When my husband and I worked in youth ministry there was a girl in the youth group who said those exact words to me. I was so flattered and honored at first but as I began to see her emulate my actions it became completely terrifying knowing that she was looking to me for an example.

One time during our weekly Bible study I talked with her about the danger of putting faith or hope in each other instead of Christ and encouraged her to focus on Christ and not her Christian brothers and sisters. Less than a year later my husband and I left youth ministry and the state to be closer to family and the disappointment was so devastating that she completely cut me out of her life, literally.
I still have the letter that she wrote me, telling me all of the ways in which I disappointed her and how it was easier to not be friends than to be disappointed.

A bit dramatic? Probably, but she was 15 so her reaction was not surprising, just disappointing. It has been 5 years since we last spoke and I googled her name the other day and found out that she is now in college, active in ministry, and has even published some articles on the faithfulness of Christ.

One lesson I am sure she learned? Christians disappoint but Christ doesn't.

Who do you put your hope in?

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-3

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Time Out

My little guy is 16 months old, but from all appearances he has officially entered the terrible twos.

As an avid "people-watcher" I find the whole experience completely fascinating albeit irritating at times. Watching him test his world, his mommy, and his boundaries is such a growing experience for me as a parent because it gives me newfound respect for both my parents and my God. It has caused me to be more intentional with what I say and how I follow through on my words and it has caused me to be more consistent with the boundaries that I set for him.

The first time that I put him in 'time out' (one minute in the corner) he thought it was a game and kept looking back to see if I was still watching and if I would make him stay there. By the third or fourth time he had stopped looking back to see if I was there and just whimpered, bottom lip sticking out, and big ol' crocodile tears streaming down his face until I told him he could get up. Then his morning he did something he knew he shouldn't do (hit the dog) and looked at me to see if I had witnessed what he had done. When we made eye contact I said, "Do you want to sit in time out?" and his eyes grew like saucers as he said emphatically, "No, mama" and raised his chubby arms for me to hold him.

I am not naïve; I know that the boundary testing has only begun, but I also know that my consistency will not only teach him about obedience and respect but also about a God who will never give up on him. The boundaries that I set and enforce will be just as influential to his spiritual development as the middle of the night hugs after he has had a bad dream. I know that as painful as it is to watch my little guy cry because I told him "no" it is nothing compared to the pain that I cause God every time I sin and that the pain he is feeling is formative and important to his development.

Being a parent makes me see my relationship with God in a new light; it causes me to think about the pains I have experienced and will continue to experience in my life and what purpose they have for my spiritual formation. What lesson is he teaching me or allowing me to learn?

We have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:9-11

Your thoughts?

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Sandbox

In the aftermath of Easter weekend, the staff at our church was granted an unexpected and completely guilt-free day off from work; it was awesome.

I spent the day hanging out with my boys, catching up on household forgottens, and just recharging my batteries in general.

Towards the end of the day I took my little guy to the local park, something we haven't done in a while because of the weather. It was rather sunny that day and he wouldn't keep his hat or sunglasses on so I took him beneath the mecca of slides and plopped down in the sand with him.

We sat there playing with the sand, cupping it up in our hands and letting it slip through our fingers onto our skin, clothes, even hair. At one point I took the little toy boat he was playing with, dug a big hole in the sand, dropped it inside and covered it with a mound of sand. His mouth dropped open, he looked up at me with THE saddest face you've ever seen and tears immediately sprung to his eyes. I was surprised, certainly not the response I expected.

I quickly pushed back the sand and dug up the 'lost' toy, handing it back to him. He looked at it, then the sand, then me, and let out this deep chuckle like, "Well, look at that!" before putting the boat back in the hole and sprinkling sand on top. For the next half hour we buried and unburied the boat, our hands, our feet, our shoes and everything else we could find.

That night as I gave him a bath and tried to rid his hair and skin of the remaining sand, it occurred to me that teaching him that unseen does not equal not present would one day help him better understand God. As I rinsed the soapy bubbles from his soft little curls I thought about all of the lessons he had yet to learn and about the ways I could use even the simple things to testify to my son about my Heavenly Father. Who knew a lazy afternoon in the sandbox would be the first of many God lessons for us both?

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
Deuteronomy 11:18-19
Your thoughts?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Look Mommy!

The weather in Texas has been absolutely gorgeous for about two weeks now and in celebration of the clear air, bright sun and soft breezes, my son and I have taken an hour long walk together every day. I love that time together because spring air is so magical filled with promises of green grass, fragrant flowers and beautiful colors. Throughout most of the walk I take the time to point out things and name them or describe colors and sounds but this week my son began pointing things out to me. Of the many things he points to, airplanes are by far his favorite (based on the number of times he points them out). Every time one goes over head his chubby little finger points skyward and he corkscrews his little head around to get my eye contact as if to say, “Mommy, look!” I love it. I immediately stop and stoop down to eye level and say very deliberately, “airplane”. He looks at my mouth, then my eyes and points again to which I say, “airplane”. We follow this routine at least 5-10 times on every single walk. Would I normally care or notice that there was an airplane in the sky? Probably not. I care because he cares.

For the past few weeks, our church has been studying the conversion stories of John in a series entitled, “Changed: Why and How Jesus Changes Everything”. Two weeks ago we studied the story of the woman at the well in a sermon entitled, “Come and See”. If you have the time, it is worth a listen and can be found here. Towards the end of the sermon Tim Spivey talked about the importance of relational outreach and shared the following quote from biblical scholar, Kuehne, “I have discovered that people will most often come to love us before they come to love our Savior.”

This week I was reminded of that quote each and every time my son pointed out an airplane because I knew my love for him caused me to be excited about something I couldn’t care less about on another day. Aren’t we all that way? I hate cold calls and telemarketers but if a friend were to recommend the same product as a random telemarketer calling during dinnertime, I would be so much more inclined to check out the product because of my friend’s recommendation. I can’t help but wonder how my relationships with people cause or prevent them to want to know Christ more. How about you?

Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, "Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" They came out of the town and made their way toward him.
John 4:28-30

Your thoughts?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Seeing God

This month my book club made a switch from reading literature and historical novels to take a turn at a gender specific Christian themed ‘self help’ book of sorts. The book itself was not great, to say the least, and for that reason I won’t slander the author specifically but there was one chapter that has really changed my perspective in the last month. This particular chapter addressed the inherent difference between man and woman and how both sexes possess qualities of God so that when the two are together they are most like God. It is a pretty simple concept, I admit, but one that I had never really given much thought. What struck me most is not the notion that women possess certain God qualities that men don’t possess or visa versa, but that we all possess qualities of God. As I’ve moved through the past four weeks it has really made me think about the people in my life and how each of them reflect my Lord and Savior. Here is a small list of some people I’ve encountered this week coupled with the God-like quality they possess and the scripture that describes that attribute of God….

Ashlie – patient (Psalm 103:8)
Rhesa – compassionate (Psalm 103:13)
Jackie – truthful (Titus 1:2)
Becky – wise (Job 12:13)
Travis – loving (1 John 4:16)
Hayley – merciful (2 Corinthians 1:3)
Jon – righteous and just (Isaiah 45:19)
Jennifer – beautiful (Psalm 27:4)
Christopher – glory-filled (Psalm 24:10)
Kathryn - nurturing (Psalm 104:27-30)
Glen - Protecting (Psalm 91)

How do you see God in the people around you?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A Wave And A Smile

My son is in such a friendly stage right now. He recently discovered that waving at someone causes them to smile, and wave back - amazing! Our trips to the grocery story are down right comical if not slightly embarrassing. I’ve started to think that he is secretly tallying up the number of people he can get to wave back to him as if trying to beat the number from the week before. Up until yesterday, he had an amazing track record for turning the grumpiest-looking people into happy, baby-talking, ‘googlers’ (as I call them).

Yesterday was different though because as we walked down the long aisle of paper towels and sandwich bags, a man approached our cart, looked at my waving son and kept walking without a response. My son instantly looked at me with a puzzled look and then strained to his right to look around me at the man as he walked away still waving just as eagerly as before. He watched until the man was out of sight and then looked at me with big puppy dog eyes and his hand cocked to the side like, “What happened?” I kissed his sweet head then waved back at him as exuberantly as I could which pacified him until he found his next instant friend.

In the long run, the moment probably had little if any long term effect on him but it affected me because it made me realize all of the heartbreaking lessons he has yet to learn. Granted, having someone not return a friendly wave isn’t big in the grand scheme of things but I know it is just the beginning of some very painful life lessons. I know that if I could prevent him from enduring the heartbreak that he will inevitably endure I would, but in my heart of hearts I know that those lessons are necessary for his emotional and spiritual growth and that they will ultimately play a role in the kind of man, husband, and father that he becomes.

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Romans 5: 3-4

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

In "Other" Words: Giddy

"I long to worship Jesus with the heart of a child, in a state of pure and true adoration. Yet so many things of the world cloud my thoughts and pull on my heart until it's no longer just a girl in the arms of the Father."
~Darlene Schact~
"The Mom Complex"

Just the other day, I watched my friend's daughter for her so that she could make one final visit to her obstetrician before the arrival of her new baby boy. I have to confess that I absolutely adore my friend's daughter, whom I'll call RR, and love it when my friend calls me to watch her. This particular visit, RR arrived during the middle of my son's nap so the first 30 minutes she and I played quietly in the opposite end of the house. As I heard my son start to stir, RR and I tiptoed quietly down the hall to his room where I barely cracked open the door and let RR peak her head in. The groggy little boy looked up sleepily from his crib and when he saw the sweet face of his precious friend, a grin the size of Texas immediately spread across his face. As she walked closer to his crib, his smile grew so big that he looked positively giddy. RR started giggling and clapping and my little guy just sat there staring at her, starry-eyed with unashamed joy ( I later told my mom he looked high). He stood up, glanced quickly at me and then pointed at her as if to say, "I want to see her!!!". I picked him up and placed him on the floor next to her and they both began giggling, then she gave him a big hug and they both fell over giggling. I stood there, drinking in the moment, knowing that moments like those were rare and that very soon there would come a day when both would be ashamed to so publicly enjoy each other's company.

Every time I think back to that moment, my eyes tear up because I've felt that adoration in my heart towards my heavenly Father many, many times in my life but I don't know that I've ever let my joy creep to the surface like my son. What holds me back? Oh, so many things: insecurity, fear, judgment, laziness, doubt, you name it. How different my life would be if my Father had allowed such petty things to stifle the expression of his love for me!

Monday, February 05, 2007

From The Mouths of Babes

I love Fridays not only because I have the day off but because my son and I get to spend the whole day together doing all of the fun things we don’t get to do during the work week. Among my favorite activities is taking my little guy to our city’s gigantic wooden castle playground. We generally spend at least an hour, sometimes two climbing up and down the steps of the castles and forts, sliding down the slides, swinging in the swing and generally covering ourselves in dirt and sand….it is awesome. Just this past Friday we made our weekly trip to the park only to discover that this week the playground was unusually packed. We made our trek back to the toddler section and began our usual routine when four boys, about 11 or 12 years old, came tearing into the toddler section running up the steps that my little guy was methodically climbing. I immediately grabbed him moving his tiny little fingers out of the way of the fast feet of the oblivious boys and we moved on to another section as to stay out of their way. A little wary of the rowdy boys, I kept my ears peeled to their conversation so I could ensure that a sudden stampede of racing wouldn’t trample my little guy. In the process I overheard their conversation as they played in the sand. It went a little something like this:

Boy #1 “Hey let’s build forts in the sand!”
Boy #2
“Nah, I wanna build the Giant Wall of China.”
Boy #3
“You dummy, it is the GREAT Wall of China, not the GIANT Wall of China”
(the other boys laugh)
Boy #2
“ Well….it IS giant!”

A few minutes later….

Boy #1 “Hey! Why are you building your city so close to mine?”
Boy #2 “Don’t worry – we aren’t enemies!”
Boy #3 “Hey Parker, what are you building?”
Boy #1 (Parker) “A church”
Boy #3 “Cool! Can I build mine next to yours?”
Boy #1 “Yeah, that is a good idea. We should probably just combine them with a bridge or something.”
Boy #3 “Yeah, churches are always better when they work together.”

How ‘bout that? Four rowdy boys, dressed in fatigues and cowboy boots with plastic rifles, oblivious to the little guys in their pathways yet onto a concept so profound. What a lesson to be learned.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18

Your thoughts?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Places I've Been

Here is a sampling of some of the places I've been this week; I hope these blogs are as beneficial to you as they were to me.

Be sure to check out this month's installment of the Christian Women Online Magazine with special guest and Christian novelist Robin Lee Hatcher. Love is the theme and I think you'll love it! Click here. This issue also includes a really interesting column by Kim Brenneman called Top Ten Time Theives...check it out!

Check out Jim Martin's blog God Hungry for a number of great posts including 'Marriage and Following Jesus', "When Life is Hard' (2 parts) and "What do you wish church leaders knew about everyday people?'. Be sure to leave him some love!

Make a stop at Curl, Up and Read to welcome brand new blogger Kristi and enjoy a number of excellent posts. Be sure to leave her some love!

Finally, check out Christopher Green's blog Green Pastures for a number of great posts including "Checking Our Balance", "Feed Me Seymor" and my personal favorite (because it is about my son) "Little Friends". Be sure to leave him some love!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


A cold front is moving into North Texas and this evening was unusually brisk bordering on cold. As I walked to my car after a late evening meeting I was surprised to see my breath as I exhaled. I marveled at the swirling vapors and as my eyes followed each exhalation my glance moved skyward. My eyes caught the brilliant light above me and I was overcome by the clearness of the night sky. I marveled at the stars and the moon because they were so bright they felt as though they might perhaps be within my reach.

In that moment I remembered a night almost 8 years ago when a group of 7 or 8 friends were night hiking in the mountains of Italy in search of a place to lay down camp for the night. Weary from our journey we decided to take a break, eat some rations and have a short devotional before continuing our search. A good friend, minister and highly talented writer volunteered to lead the devotional and after some songs led us in a moving devotional lovingly walking us through each detail of creation. Lying flat on the ground, my head on my travel pack, staring straight up at a sky not unlike the one I saw tonight, I felt my ears perk up as he reached verse 16 of chapter 1, “God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.”

He paused and read the last part a second time, “He also made the stars.” then a third, “He also made the stars.” We sat in silence drinking in the magnitude of those five simple words. It was several minutes before my friend broke the silence in a whisper, “If the stars you see before you were but an afterthought, how much valuable are we as the culmination of his creation?” Thank you Cliff, for the perspective I needed.

“He also made the stars.”
Genesis 1:16

Your thoughts?

Friday, January 26, 2007

What's Missing Here?

This afternoon I decided to treat my little guy to his favorite meal: homemade french bread pizza. I pulled out all of the ingredients, lathered on the layers and popped the homemade treat in the oven but when I pulled it out twenty minutes later I realized that something was missing…pizza sauce! I set the toasted cheese bread aside for me to eat and pulled out all the ingredients to remake one to serve to the little guy but when I pulled the loaf out twenty minutes later I realized something was missing…cheese! What is wrong with me?!?!?!

I’m distracted. Not just a little bit but totally, completely, undeniably distracted. Funny thing is, I am not even really sure what I’m distracted by. It has been several weeks since I have consistently written on my blog and several weeks since I’ve had consistent quiet time with my Bible or in prayer. If I look back over the last month, I am sure I could find tons of excuses, but if I am honest with myself, I can’t really see anything that would take up more time than my normal activities over the last year. In fact, I am less busy now than I was this time last year and yet I seem to have less time to get things done.

It occurred to me today that I’m distracted because I’ve allowed myself to be distracted. I have a choice as to what things occupy my time and what things are expendable and yet I have convinced myself that I don’t have enough time or that unimportant things are important. If someone were to measure up my life by the things that I make time for, I’m sorry to say that my life probably wouldn’t amount to much. This week I am going to try and reprioritize my life based on the things that I value rather than the things that ‘fill’. What distracts you?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


For the past seven days, my little guy has had a really bad case of rotavirus. For those of you who are not familiar with the horror that is the highly contagious rotavirus, click here. Obviously, I am exaggerating a bit; however,of the 10 babies in his mother’s day out program, only ONE showed up on Thursday. The rest had contracted the virus.

Anyone close to me knows that I am terrified of throwing up. In fact, it has been 19 years since the last time I had a ‘food reversal’ (sorry if that is TMI). When my husband started showing signs of rotavirus I started to panic. As a result, I’ve been obsessively washing my hands, as well as any surface that either of them has touched. The frenzy with which I’ve attempted to avoid contracting the virus is embarrassing; I can’t honestly say that I’m as passionate about anything else. I wonder how differently my family, or even the world would look if I had half the passion about spreading the gospel as I do about avoiding a stomach bug. Truth hurts. Where is your passion misplaced?

As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.'
Matthew 10:7

Your thoughts?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Two Or More

I recently joined a very well known, world-wide, interdenominational Bible study group that I absolutely love. I’d been on a waiting list to join the group for a short time so when I received the call that one of the discussion groups in my age bracket had an opening, I jumped at the opportunity.

The week before my first visit, I poured over the text and spent a great deal of time considering each and every study question before answering, so that by the time our meeting rolled around I was eager to participate. The group was so kind and welcoming and we had a very lively discussion that was followed by a time of sharing and prayer requests.

We spent about 15 minutes going over each individual woman’s prayer request and as we neared the end I found myself caught up wondering about the logistics of the impending prayer (will we hold hands? Will everyone pray or just one person? Will we go in a circle or in ‘popcorn’ fashion?) so much so that I was startled when suddenly I saw everyone gather their things and head down to the group lecture. I paused, embarrassed for a moment wondering, “Did I miss the prayer!?!”

I gathered my stuff and headed out to meet my friend in an adjacent group and as we walked down the stairs she began to ask me questions about the group and our discussion. I shared all the juicy details of our lively discussion and listened as she told about her group’s discussion and when she asked me what I thought I told her I loved the format but that I thought it kind of strange that my group ‘forgot’ to pray.

She laughed and said, “Yeah, there are two major rules here; you aren’t allowed to tell where you go to church or what denomination you are and you aren’t allowed to pray together because it might give indication as to what denomination you are.”

I couldn’t believe it; the omission was intentional! I have to confess it bothers me to the very core that a group of believers can gather together, discuss God’s word, share personal, intimate details about their lives, ask for prayer requests and then not pray! It is as bothersome to me as a sentence without a period, a song without a resolving note, or a book without the final chapter. The more I think about it the more it bothers me. Why? First because prayer shouldn’t be political! Second because I think we don’t pray enough as it is!

I am not trying to have a 'holier than thou' attitude because if the truth be told, when things get busy in my life, very often prayer is the first thing to go. As much as I can excuse it away, the truth is that you can’t have a relationship with someone you only read about; relationships are interactive. I am not sure where to go from here, in regards to my Bible study group, but I do know someone I need to talk about it with!

"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
Matthew 18:19-20

Your thoughts?

Thursday, January 04, 2007



A small word.

Maybe a funny word, if taken out of context.

Most definitely a powerful word.

"That shirt looks great on you, but...."

"Great work today, but..."

"I love you, but...."

Have you ever received a 'but' compliment? I received one just this morning and while I appreciate the effort and know that the person paying the compliment meant well, the 'but' ruined it. To me it felt more like something mean wrapped up in something quasi nice just to make it ok to say the mean.

As Christians we behave like a 'but' (not a butt, although I am sure there are Christians who behave like the latter as well) far too often. I forgive you, but..... I accept you, but..... You are welcome, but.....

Are we really representing Christ's love if our actions come with a 'but'? It is my prayer that I may be generous with my compliments and stingy with my 'buts'.

We loved because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19

Your thoughts?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Blessed Beyond Measure

In the days following the birth of my son it became apparent that he would not be discharged as quickly as full term babies. As the doctors and nurses assessed the situation, his health, and his development, they all agreed that it would be weeks, if not months, before he would be eligible for discharge. I was heartbroken. Not only would my son not be going home with me when I was discharged, he was being kept in a NICU that was 45 minutes away from our home. I felt desperate and scared at the thought of leaving him and began spending every waking moment by his bedside, talking, singing, and holding his tiny little hand. When my doctor talked of discharge I burst into tears and begged her to keep me longer. Because I had been through major surgery, she approved two additional days. My cousin and her husband came to visit shortly after this; my husband recapped the story to them and told of the mercy that the doctor had for us and our situation. Half an hour later my cousin and her husband returned with the news that they had booked us a weeklong stay at the nearby extended stay hotel, with an open-ended start date so that we could begin our stay as soon as I was discharged. I was stunned to silence at their generosity and floored by their thoughtfulness in our difficult situation. Soon after, my sister heard of my cousin's generosity and called the hotel; she told them that she and her husband would take over the rest of our stay so that we could "live" nearby until the day that he was discharged, however long that would be. Even now I cannot believe how blessed we were by the generosity of our loved ones. Those two beautiful gestures were compounded by the millions of small things my parents did to ease our stress: little things like doing our laundry, picking up food, taking shifts with the baby, and just keeping us company as we tried to remain focused on the task at hand. Looking back, I realize how tremendously blessed we were despite the stress. As I reflect on each day, the feelings of love and the support far outweigh the fear and discouragement we thought we felt.

The memory gives pause for reflection; how am I blessing those in need? What small things can I do to ease their burden or to carry their load? How can I be the hands and feet of God today?

A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
Proverbs 11:25

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Not Alone

We spent three and a half very stressful weeks bunkered down in the NICU. While our situation was taxing, it in no way compared to the experiences of many of the other families in our ward. We were so fortunate that in spite of our son's premature birth and probable lack of oxygen, he did not suffer any permanent damage. Not only was our little man the largest preemie in the ward (5.5 lbs), he was among the few that could breathe without a ventilator, and only had a handful of instances of bradycardia.

Because of the constant threat of heat loss, irregular heart rate, and loneliness, the NICU staff strongly encouraged a practice affectionately termed Kangaroo Care. Kangaroo Care is a form of skin-to-skin contact between a parent and their preterm baby. The baby, wearing only a diaper, is held in an upright position against the parent's bare chest with a blanket, shirt, or robe wrapped around the baby's back. Kangaroo Care has been proven to regulate the baby's heart and breathing rates, help the baby maintain body warmth, and promote natural weight gain.

One evening, as my son and I shared Kangaroo Care during a gavage (tube) feeding, I looked around the NICU at the other "pods". The pod that caught my eye was in the far corner of the room, the only glassed-in pod with a separate ventilating system, reserved for the sickest of babies. Inside the room sat a tiny enclosed incubator where two twin girls, born three months early, were huddled in the corner of one bassinet laying side by side, hands touching. I watched their monitors through the glass for a solid hour as their hearts beat in perfect unison. In the moment I was struck with the realization that God did not create us to be alone, he created us to be a part of each other and of community. Even during creation he acknowledged that it was not good for man to be alone; for that reason woman was created to be man's helper. How fortunate to have a God who recognizes our need for community but more importantly, our need for him.

The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman, ' for she was taken out of man."
Genesis 2:18;22-23

Your thoughts?

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day Blessings

Born nearly two months early, my little man made his appearance in a rush. Taken quickly in an emergency c-section and then whisked away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, it was nearly 11 hours before I was allowed to see him and two days before I was allowed to touch or hold him. I awoke Christmas morning, aching to hold my little man for the first time. After the long walk from my recovery room to the NICU; I approached the security desk. The nurses greeted me with big smiles, encouraging words, and beautiful gifts: a photo Christmas card of my little man in a stocking and hat, homemade cookies with an encouraging card, and last but not least, a tiny little cashmere puppy dog blanket purchased and donated by parents of a former "graduate" of the NICU. In that moment I was overcome with emotion that was topped only by the tremendous blessing of holding my son for the first time.

Two days ago, my Little Man turned one year old. He is a happy, healthy little boy with an infectious laugh and twinkling eyes. He takes his “lovey” everywhere and falls asleep at night stroking the soft fur of the special blanket. Looking back on that day, I have so many treasured memories: the stolen moment with my son and husband, opening presents with my entire family stuffed in my tiny little hospital room, the visitors, the calls, and of course the generous gift from complete strangers. I’ve thought about that day a lot over the last year and feel compelled to bless others in the same way that we were blessed by the generosity of strangers. Yesterday our little family made a trek out to the NICU where my little man spent the first month of his life to provide gifts for the families in the NICU in a tradition that we intend to make annual. I don’t share this story for a pat on the back but to recognize how truly blessed my family was by a seemingly small gesture. Every day we have the opportunity to bless others with seemingly small things as well: kind words, encouragement, cards, prayers, even a smile. How have you blessed or been blessed this holiday season?

But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
2 Corinthians 8:7

Your thoughts?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Wonderfully Made

Saturday is the year anniversary of the arrival of our preemie son and as I prepare to celebrate his first birthday I can't help but reflect on the journey we traveled in the months preceding his birth. I first went into labor when I was only four and a half months along, and again four weeks later. For months we tried everything possible to keep him in the womb because we thought that the longer he was in utero the better chance he had of survival. Days before our Little Man's arrival, still 8 weeks before his due date, I began to go into labor for the third time in the pregnancy. I was hospitalized, and despite all medical interventions, it appeared that the doctors would be unable to stop the labor. The gravity of the situation finally hit me when a representative from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit came down to discuss all of the possible complications and defects that are typically inherent with premature babies. Three days later, my tiny son arrived in a flurry and an emergency c-section.

We later found out that our when the doctor had opened the womb to remove our sweet little boy that she had found the umbilical cord wrapped tightly around his neck and that just two minutes later would have been too late to save his life. Little did we know that our baby boy had been trying to tell us he needed to come out because he was tangled up in the one place we thought he was safest. I can't help but acknowledge that God had a plan for our little man that is and was far better than anything we had planned.

As Little Man begins his second year of life, I find myself excited to know that God already has a plan for this year, and the next, and the next, and the next. He knows the kind of man my little boy will become, he knows what he will do for a living, whom he will marry, how many children he will have and the kind of impact he will have on the world and in the Christian faith.

"For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be."
Psalm 139:13-16

Your thoughts?

P.S. Many thanks to all of you who have continually checked my blog for new posts even though I have been MIA. You are loved!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Black Ice

I had only been legally driving for about 5 months when a really bad ice storm hit the Dallas Metroplex. My dad tried to warn me about the dangers of driving in icy conditions and about the danger of ‘black ice’ but in my cocky 16 year old brain I was annoyed that he even tried to warn me. I had been driving without incident for about 25 minutes when I turned onto a backstreet to head to my friend’s house and I had my first encounter with black ice. I felt the first shake of the sliding tires and waited for the car to correct itself when I realized I was heading into the lane next to me, which was occupied by another car just ahead of me. I panicked and jerked the wheel to the right which of course set my car spinning, I tried to correct my mistake but the more effort I made, the more the car did the exact opposite of what I wanted. Despite every effort to travel down the straight narrow lanes of the road, the car did everything I didn’t want it to do. In panic I finally let go of the wheel and let the car continue to spin until I came to a stop, two lanes over, facing the wrong direction. Fortunately the only other car on the road had since left and I was alone long enough to take a deep breath, turn the car around and proceed with newfound caution.

I can’t count the number of times my spiritual life has been like those terrifying moments on black ice. Despite every effort to walk in the path that God wants me to travel I find myself doing the exact opposite of what I want to do and regardless of the feeble-minded efforts my human spirit makes I realize that I can do nothing until I release control and allow God to direct my path.
I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
Romans 7:18-20

Your thoughts?