Thursday, August 31, 2006

Under Pressure

Lives depend on the quick thinking and critical skills of my husband when he is on the job as a Firefighter/Paramedic. Within seconds he can assess a situation, determine a course of action, and put it into action with no doubt that the path he is taking is the right one. There is, however, something strange that happens to my husband when he pulls into a drive-through restaurant; all ability to make quick decisions goes out the window. Despite how far in advance he knows which restaurant we are going to, once he pulls up to the window he is incapable of making a decision. A typical experience will go like this:

Attendant: "Welcome to "XXXX". Can I take your order?"
Husband: "Ummmm, sure, hang on."
Husband: "Ummmmm"
Attendant: "Whenever you are ready, sir."
Husband: "Ok. Ummmm, ummmmm, ummmmm, I'll have a..."
Husband: "Ok, I'd like a 'fill-in-the-blank' and a..."
Husband: "Ummmmmmmmmmm"
Husband: "Ummmmmmmmmmm"
Me: ORDER SOMETHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, so I don't have a lot of patience when it comes to the drive through windows but I am not exaggerating. Really, I'm not.

I love my husband dearly and even love this funny little quirk, but if I am really honest about the situation I have to confess it bugs me because it reminds me of the times in my faith when I've been indecisive or insecure. I admit I get really frustrated by the Christian who is so easily swayed by every new theology, doctrine, or trendy religious idea even though I am often tempted to jump onboard new religious trends as well. In those moments I have to willfully remind myself to test everything against God's word and turn to Him in faith. How do you avoid the hype?

For their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
2 Timothy 4:3-5

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

In The Habit

This morning as I was getting ready, my husband looked over at me and said, “Why do you always use hot water to brush your teeth?” I looked down at the hand that had been reaching for the nozzle and paused realizing that I was in fact about to run hot water. “You use hot water for everything, even when you are getting water for the dog,” he continued, “Why do you do that?” I kind of laughed realizing why I always reach for the hot nozzle instead of the cold. You see, growing up my sister and I shared a Jack and Jill bathroom, complete with two sinks and on my sink only the hot water faucet worked (even though the water was actually cold). It has been eleven years since I lived in that house and yet I still reach for the hot water nozzle out of habit.

I can’t help but wonder what other activities in my life are a result of habit and what new habits I could form with just a little repetition. What habits do you need to break in favor of new ones?

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
1 Timothy 4:8

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I Wanna Be Just Like You

"I thought about the whole notion of "reproduction," and what it really means to replicate yourself. Is it merely about the passing on of eyes and chins and hair color? Or is it, rather, the replication of the heart? Do we leave a bigger mark by passing on our genes, or our thoughts?"
~ Shannon Woodward, author of
Inconceivable: Finding Peace
in the Midst of Infertility ~

When I first found out I was pregnant I wasn't really sure how I felt. On the one hand, I was really excited that the love between my husband and me could produce something tangible and I was really excited about the prospect of being a mom. On the other hand, I was really scared about being held accountable for the life of a tiny little person.

The first few weeks after the birth of my son were spent in the hospital. I was rarely allowed to "be mom" because the nurses were charged with his full-time care. As a result I began to feel under-qualified and wondered if I could cut it as a mom. As most mothers can tell you, it only took about a week of caring for my son on my own before I became the resident expert on all things "Little Man". As we watched him grow and began to discover the tiny facets of his personality we noticed the intricate way with which our genes had combined to form this unique individual. Aside from the obvious inheritances he received from each of us: face shape, eye color, nose, hair color, etc. there are less obvious things like the way he sticks out his bottom lip when he is unhappy, or arches his eyebrow when he is confused, or the difficulty he has getting a full night's sleep or the blank stare he gets just minutes after waking up. But even though there are things we naturally pass on to him that can't be helped, I've recently become more aware of the things that he inherits from us that can be helped and should be shaped: personality traits, spirituality, beliefs, political views, education, language, etc. I've given lots of thought about the way in which I am raising him and the charge of raising a man of God. I've thought about the kind of people I want in his life as examples and the kinds of experiences I want him to have. I've thought out life scenarios and the subsequent conversations I would have with him. I've thought about the language with which I speak, not referring to whether or not I use vulgar language but the way in which my language is peppered with the love of Christ or words about my loving God.

I am suddenly aware that the legacy of being a parent is less about genes and reproduction and more about heart and the replication of Christ. May I be the kind of parent who lives Christ in her every day life so that my son will inherit more from me than my nose and my curly hair.

Lord, I want to be just like You
'Cause he wants to be just like me
I want to be a holy example
For his innocent eyes to see
Help me be a living Bible, Lord
That my little boy can read
I want to be just like You
'Cause he wants to be like me

by Phillips, Craig and Dean

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 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. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.
Deuteronomy 11:18-21

Your thoughts?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Forgotten Treasure

When I was a kid, my dad owned his own roofing company and worked out of the home. As a general rule, roofing is a feast or famine lifestyle. During the spring and summer when showers, thunderstorms, and tornadoes are more prevalent, the work is available in excess. In the fall and winter, it is scarce to come by. One weekend after my dad had driven around town to collect payment from several jobs, we were set to go out of town for the weekend as a family. The bank had already closed and my dad was really uneasy about taking the money with us or leaving it out in the open so he put it in an envelope and hid it in the floorboard of our den. Unaccustomed to hiding money in the house mixed with a very busy weekend full of family and friends, my dad completely forgot about the money. It was a year later when he discovered the forgotten treasure and you can imagine the excitement when he realized his mistake and was suddenly several thousand dollars richer.

What a wonderful thing it is to find unexpected treasure: a sweet friendship, a wonderful book, a good movie, an encouraging song or even a great deal. As exciting these small “treasures” are, how much more value do you put in the treasure of all treasures, eternal life in Christ? Let me not take for granted the ultimate treasure that was given in complete sacrifice.

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:20-21

Your thoughts?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

My Sheep Know My Voice

My husband and I had only been dating about a month when school broke for Christmas break and we each went our separate ways. My parents knew that I was dating someone but hadn’t met him and didn’t know much about him. About a week into the break, the phone rang one evening and my mom answered the phone, “Hello” and Travis replied, “Hey babe” to which she replied, “Hmmm, this would be ‘babe’s’ mom.” You can imagine his embarrassment but luckily my mom thought the incident was really funny and still teases him about it to this day. The really sad part is he has also done that exact thing to both of my sisters. Ok, so either my husband doesn’t really know my voice or all the women in my family just sound a lot alike; either way it reminds me of how nice it is to know someone so intimately that we recognize the sound of their voice. Sometimes while my son is sleeping I’ll whisper in his ear just to see him smile, or when he is getting fussy at home Travis will call me and let him hear my voice to calm him down. I am suddenly aware of how poignant the illustration of sheep and shepherd really is. Voice recognition is really a sign of intimacy. How do you recognize Jesus’ voice?

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
John 10:27

Your thoughts?

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Over the years I’ve been very blessed to be a part of our church’s Praise Team and as I near a time in my life when my responsibilities as a minister are growing so much that I won’t be able to be a part of the Praise Team Ministry anymore, I am caught up in a moment of reflection. When I first began singing on Praise Team, I found the experience very distracting because there is a myriad of activities happening at any given time: people having conversations, individuals coming and going, teenagers passing notes, mothers exhorting their children, some sleeping and of course some worshipping. It took a long time for me to get past the few looks of boredom and those who just flat out don’t sing and it wasn't until I was able to focus in on those who were engaged in worship that I was able to move there myself. Now when I look out over the congregation, I am so moved by those engaged by God that I am sucked into reverence as well. Although our auditorium is designed to naturally promote community worship, with the seats in a 270 degree fan, there is something so spiritual about looking out at our congregation from the pulpit while praising God. How do you find community in worship?

So the name of the LORD will be declared in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship the LORD.
Psalm 102:21-22

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


The other day I witnessed a pretty heated argument between a mother and her adult daughter. Apparently the mother had offered some unwanted advice and the daughter was not only put out by the advice but downright offended. She ended their conversation saying, "I am a married adult and I'll do what I want; stop trying to mother me." before storming off. The confrontation confused me, because on the one hand, I understood what the daughter was feeling, as though her mother still thought of her as a child, but on the other hand I could relate with the mother and her desire to help the daughter she had spent decades caring for.

At what point are we truly "grown up"? If the definition of a grown-up is "a fully developed person" can we ever really say that we are grown-up? The word itself implies completion but I would hate to think that at 27 years old this is it for me. After 5 years of marriage can I really say I wouldn't benefit from some advice from someone who had been married 60+ years or after having been a mother for eight months that I couldn't profit from some good parenting advice from someone with 6 or 7 children? What about spiritually? I've been a christian for 19 years but in many ways I feel like I am just really getting started; oh the lessons I could learn from a new christian. I sincerely hope that God isn't finished with me and that my pride doesn't keep me from growing. I pray that he will bring people into my life brave enough to help me stretch and grow no matter how uncomfortable the growing pains.

Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
Proverbs 13:10

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Not My Own

This past weekend was one for the books as we had two very scary events happen in the course of the past four days. First, a very good friend and fellow fire fighter was injured and almost killed in an apartment fire after a wall collapsed and entrapped him. The details of the incident aren’t nearly as important as the fact that the Lord was gracious and spared his life. I spent a good portion of Sunday talking and relating with our friends and listening to his wife talk about the experience and how it had impacted her.

Last night my husband was the first paramedic on scene after, and really during, the final stages of a standoff between a barricaded man and two police departments. The full gravity of the situation didn’t really hit either of us until a senior paramedic pulled him aside and pointed out the fact that the final officer was shot in the same line of fire that my husband had occupied only seconds before as he pulled out the first injured officer.

Last night was a sleepless night followed by a hectic, traffic-filled morning that ended up with me arriving to our staff meeting 15 minutes late. Once I finally made it to my office I was paid a visit by my friend and co-worker, Spiritual Formation Minister, Christopher Green. We chit-chatted about some business related stuff and he turned to leave, then stopped, turned around and said, “Are you ok, my friend? You looked a little “flat” this morning when you arrived.” The flood gates could not be contained and the tears began to flow. Until that moment I hadn’t fully realized how affected I had been by the weekend’s events and in an instant my doubts, my fears, my anxieties and my insecurities spilled out like the tears down my cheeks. He listened patiently, like the seasoned minister that he is, and then recounted a moment early on in his daughter’s life when he realized the potential affect losing her could have on his life. He shared the path God led him down in realizing that his daughter was not his own, but a gift from God, and that as soon as he recognized her as God’s child was he able to move past his fear of losing her and rejoice in each day that he was blessed with her.

To be honest, I am not there yet. We have always been keenly aware of the risks associated with my husband’s job and as a result we never go to bed mad and always “say our goodbyes” on the mornings when he leaves for the station. I know my time with my husband is not my own; it is not my right and it is not owed to me, yet I hold on to it like it belongs to me. This week I am going to work on giving my husband and my relationship with him back to God. After all, he is the rightful owner. What do you hold on to?

He said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."
Matthew 22:21

Your thoughts?

Monday, August 21, 2006


Sunday mornings are a busy period for me. Aside from trying to get ready several hours earlier than I do during the week and then traipsing to the church to set up the technology for the worship service, I do it all while juggling a baby, often, by myself since my husband is a firefighter. Several Sundays ago, however, was one of the most stress free mornings I’ve had in a long time because my mom offered to take care of the baby until church time so that I could handle set-up without the juggling act. I left for church 15 minutes early and even had time to stop and grab a steaming hot cup of coffee. As I coasted into the empty parking lot, I noticed a large honey colored dog on the other side of the lot. As I pulled into my usual spot, he ran towards me. I’ve never been one to be afraid of dogs so I continued with my routine and got out of the car and began to gather my belongings. As soon as he saw me walk in front of the car, his tail went between his legs and he turned his body away as if at any moment he would bolt. I glanced at him quickly but kept walking in the opposite direction and as long as I looked forward he was relaxed but every time I looked back he resumed the “flight” position.

As I was setting up in the empty auditorium I began thinking a lot about the stray dog and how much I can relate with his defensiveness. So often, as people approach me at church or in the workplace, I am automatically on the defensive. Granted, part of my stature has to do with the nature of my job because since I work in tech support, people looking for me typically are pretty upset about something. Regardless, the way with which I handle a situation from the start can often determine its outcome so that if I begin on the defensive, the person I am dealing with often becomes aggressive or defensive in return. For this week I am going to try to be approachable to those around me because my first impression may be the only impression I ever leave.

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
1 Peter 3:15-16

Your thoughts?

Friday, August 18, 2006


While in college I had the opportunity to study abroad in Florence, Italy for two semesters and while my experience was generally pretty benign, I recall one particular incident that I realize could have had catastrophic consequences.

While returning to Florence after spending the holidays at home, I arrived in Rome to take a train back to Florence. As I searched through my bags looking for my passport and Eurail ticket I discovered that somewhere between the plane and the train station I had been pick pocketed. I literally had nothing to my name, no passport, no money, no Eurail, not even a phone card. I tried calling my parents collect but no one was home, I tried the villa where our school was housed and it was blocked for collect calls. I was thousands of miles from home, hundreds from the school and didn’t know what to do. I sat down just about ready to burst into tears when the passenger who sat next to me on the plane, a young Italian man about my age, approached me and asked if everything was ok and if I needed a ride. I refused but asked if he had a phone card that I could borrow. He lent me his phone card and I tried to call the villa again, in vain. Again he offered to give me a ride and looking back I still can’t believe that I said yes. I drove three hours in a tiny little fiat with the young man and his brother who was equally shocked that I had accepted. They took me to their home town of Perugina (where the famous chocolates are made) and to their parent’s hotel. Their family welcomed me with open arms, fed me, and gave me money, a train ticket, and a ride to the train station. I arrived in Florence three hours later without a scratch on me and an entire family of new friends.

I firmly believe that God was watching over me that day because I was not originally seated by the young Italian man, I was seated behind him. The airline had inadvertently assigned an exit row seat to a minor and when the flight attendant asked for a volunteer to trade places with her, I raised my hand.

The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
The LORD protects the simple-hearted;
when I was in great need, he saved me.
Be at rest once more, O my soul,
for the LORD has been good to you.

Psalm 116:5-7

Your thoughts?

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Shortly after my husband and I were married, we moved to a new town to begin work in youth ministry. As we acclimated to the culture, there were many parties, get-togethers, and events that gave us the opportunity to meet people. As my husband and I made our rounds I began to notice that, despite the fact that he was holding my hand, when meeting someone for the first time, he would only introduce himself and not me. At first I thought it was just his nerves and quietly pointed it out to him when we were alone later that evening; the next night it happened again…over and over. I asked him about it again one night after a particularly long party and he laughed and shrugged it off.

This past weekend my college campus minister was in town. My husband and I met him for breakfast before I brought him back to the church so he could meet with one of my co-workers. As we walked in the front door, I saw one of my fellow ministers and immediately introduced them, feeling proud that I remembered to make the introduction. I sat while they chit-chatted, feeling proud that I remembered to introduce them, when I heard my campus minister introduce himself to one of the church members standing in the lobby with us. Aaaack! I hadn’t even noticed her standing there and I had inadvertently done exactly what Travis had done to me right after we were first married. As we headed upstairs, he told me how much he would like to meet our Senior Minister’s executive assistant, having dealt with her quite a bit on the trip. As we exited the elevator, I saw her and called out, “There she is! Campus minister meet executive assistant.” I smiled, feeling pretty good about myself when I heard the woman at the front desk introduce herself. Uggggggh! How did I miss her?

What is wrong with me? Am I really that bad at introductions or am I just too caught up in patting myself on the back that I don’t even notice that I am engaged in the same oblivious behavior that my new hubby displayed? I think sometimes that we are so quick to correct, to judge, or to blow off another person’s actions when we aren’t behaving any better than said person. What is the plank in your eye?

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.”
Matthew 6:41-42

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Extraordinary News

This week's edition of Extraordinary News is the story of Seiji Uchida, a two-decade quadriplegic man, who was able to fulfill his dream of hiking the Klein Matterhorn in Switzerland thanks to a piggy-back ride from a close friend. Yes, you read that right...his friend hiked the mountain with the quadriplegic man riding piggy-back (he was aided by a robotic exo-skeleton). To read this story as reported by the Washington Post, go to Quadriplegic Hiker Realizes His Dream (be sure to click on the picture).

I don't know about you but I don't know many people who would hike a mountain with me on their back and I am not so sure there are many people I would do that for. What is the most amazing thing a friend has done for you?

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.
John 15:12-14

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Bumpy Road

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."
~ Albert Einstein ~

My junior year in college I began the semester in the same way I began my initial college career: alone and a complete stranger. Because I had chosen to spend my sophomore year overseas, I returned to a campus only knowing a small handful of people amidst new classes of freshmen and sophomores. About a month after school began, my roommate convinced me to join her in attending a mission conference in Oklahoma. The day we were to leave for the conference, my roommate had a family emergency and bowed out of the trip. Because I didn't have a family emergency and had already turned in all of my money for the trip, I was locked in to the commitment and would have to attend alone with a group of students from our school. To say that I was uncomfortable would be an understatement. Since the trip had been planned for months, all of the sleeping arrangements and accommodations were already set in stone and I would have to go pot-luck with strangers at the conference. On the bus ride to the airport it was pretty clear that I was the odd man out as people divided into groups and began exclusive conversations with each other. The plane ride was even worse as I sat by myself with the empty seat my friend was supposed to occupy. We landed and I felt desperate. I frantically called my parents and begged them to drive up to Oklahoma (from Texas) and they agreed but wouldn't be able to make the trip for two more days.

By the time my parents arrived two days later, many life changing things had happened. First, I met the man that would one day become my husband. Second, I met the man who is now my boss. Third, I met the girl that would become one of my closest friends, a ministry partner, and a bridesmaid in my wedding. Finally, I met a woman who would have more impact on my spiritual life than any other non-family person would ever have. I look back at the weekend and am keenly aware of the stretching and growing opportunities I would have missed had I been "comfortable" and in control of the circumstances. Like a grain of sand in the soft smooth bed of an oyster, my difficult and uncomfortable situation had become the catalyst for me to step out and meet some of the most influential people in my life.

Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish.
Isaiah 37:18

Your thoughts?

Monday, August 14, 2006


She made her first appearance when I was 16 years old; I was at the hairdresser and my hairstylist pointed her out and then told her to get lost. By the time I was 18 I felt like she was dropping in on me constantly, taunting and teasing me.

This morning as I looked groggily in the mirror I realized that she has taken over. Who is she? Matilda Gray Hair. At the salon this afternoon my stylist actually suggested using more color in my highlights or getting color more often because “all of the gray hair makes your hair look dull.” I’m twenty-seven years old and I’m already getting advice on covering gray hair. Yes, premature grayness runs in my family but I don’t feel that I have done anything to deserve my gray hair…

In pretty much every aspect of my life I am discredited because of my age; I am a newlywed (for the most part), I am a new parent, I am the second youngest in the workplace and I have very little job experience. Just last week at the gym I was having a conversation with a group of ladies in my aerobic class about how hard pregnancy is on the body and when I chimed in one of the ladies asked how old I was and then said, “You don’t count, you are still in your twenties. Try being my age and going through pregnancy.” Whaaaat?

I have barely begun living my life, so if gray hair is a physical sign of age, maturity and in some cases wisdom how can I be worthy of gray hair? The Bible says that gray hair is "a crown of splendor that is attained by a righteous life" and that gray hair is the "splendor of the old", if that is so then I am definitely not worthy of my “crown”. Have you ever been bestowed an honor you did not deserve?

"I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect."
1 Corinthians 15:9-10

Your thoughts?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Places I've Been

This week I was blessed to be able to attend The Leadership Summit as hosted by the Willow Creek Association and simulcast by Lake Pointe Church. I am renewed and refreshed from sitting in the presence of great leaders (Bill Hybels, James Meeks, Andy Stanley, Jim Collins, Bono and so many more) and have quite the list of books to pick up this week as I work through some of the challenges presented in the past three days.

Although I normally highlight blogs of interest, I haven't had much of a chance to visit other blogs while attending the Leadership Summit. Instead, I want to point you towards some of the wonderful things I discovered at this year's conference. I hope this information and these resources are as beneficial to you as they were to me.

Number one on my list is an experience that can only be understood firsthand. Take a moment to check out Willow Creek's Sand Painter for a tremendous experience in God-honoring art (click on preview for a short sample of this beautiful artform).

Number two on my list is a book by Andy Stanley called Choosing to Cheat: Who Wins When Work And Family Collide. I had the privilege of hearing Andy Stanley speak on the subject of this book in a session entitled Focused Leadership. Let's just say that as a young mom working in a growing church....this subject really sent me to my knees in prayer. Check it out....I will be!

Number three on my list is One: The Campaign To Make Poverty History. Apparently my head has been in the sand for the past few years because although I have spent time in Africa and am very aware of the AIDS pandemic, I really knew nothing of the The One Campaign until I heard Bill Hybel's Leadership Summit interview of Bono (of U2).

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

Where have you been this week?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Willing But Weak

There is a theory of weight loss management called the set-point theory. The theory argues that each person has a natural weight range which is healthy and normal for that person called a set-point. The theory suggests that when a person tries to go below their set-point, the body’s defense mechanisms against starvation kick in and metabolism is decreased. Additionally, the body continues to resist deviation from the set point by increasing thoughts about food, weight and hunger. What is interesting about this theory is that a person’s set point isn’t necessarily the weight at which the person is healthiest, but the point at which the body is most comfortable. In essence, this theory explains why people have a tendency to lose a small amount of weight (5-10lbs) and then yo-yo between the original weight and the new weight or why a person can lose a large amount of weight and then plateau before losing additional weight. Essentially, the only way to “reset” a person’s set-point is to lose the weight and then keep it off without deviation for 10-12 months.

This theory was suggested to me a few days ago as a source of encouragement from a friend of mine who is a registered dietician as I’ve been pretty discouraged by my recent plateau. What strikes me so much about this theory is the way that the body actively works against itself so that it can be comfortable. Isn’t that true of other areas of our life as well? How do you self-sabotage?

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.
Matthew 26:41

Your thoughts


Many years ago while on a mission trip in Africa, our missionary hosts very graciously sponsored a weekend safari in the wilds of Uganda. The experience was a lot of fun and very educational and while we had quite an adventure that weekend, the one moment that really sticks out in my mind occurred just minutes after leaving base camp on our first day of the safari. As we rounded the corner of the red dirt road, just a few miles away from the outer edge of the preserve, we noticed a family of giraffes ahead. As the Land Rover approached the grouping, the mother and two babies ran in the opposite direction as the fourth giraffe stopped to look at the vehicle. Our guide slowed the SUV as we got closer and the giraffe quickly moved behind the only tree within a couple hundred yards. The tree was about half the size of him and had no leaves on it but he “hid” behind it as we neared. We laughed when he scooted around the tree, straight as a board, as we passed so that we could not “see” him and then once we passed him he bolted after the rest of his group. Thinking back, I can’t help but laugh remembering his stature up against that tree, hiding his long neck meanwhile his big ol’ rear end sticking out about five feet past the tree.

I think many times we, like Adam and Eve, foolishly think that we can “hide” from God, or that by avoiding him we will be “out of reach”. How do you “hide” from God?

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"
Genesis 3:8-9

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Hold On Tight

It started two weeks ago when I walked in to check on my little man during his nap and saw him standing up in his crib. I was shocked because he had only crawled for the first time earlier that morning. As the days went by I found that anytime I put him in the crib that only a few minutes would go by before I would find him standing again. Normally I would reach into the crib and he would let go so that I could pick him up and lay him down again. However, today after his nap I found him standing again, only this time he was on the side of the crib facing the wall so that he couldn’t see me. I reached in underneath his arms to pick him up but he wouldn’t let go. I spoke to him and leaned in so he could see my face but he still wouldn’t let go. I reached over to his hands and began to pry them from the crib rails and he cried in protest but once I turned him around he saw my face he stopped crying.

I can relate with my son’s fears as I recall the times in my life when God has called me to step out on faith. Holding on to the railing and staying where I felt comfortable and safe would definitely be the easiest path but not until I let go of the “railing” and lean on God will I truly discover all that he has to offer me.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


"Remember, we all stumble, every one of us.
That's why it's a comfort to go hand in hand."
~ Emily Kimbrough ~

Years ago, while working in campus ministry, I was a part of a women's accountability group that met once a week. Participating in a group of that type was really difficult for me; up until that point, I had never been called to the kind of transparency that accountability required. I shared some pretty heavy stuff about my spiritual life early on in the group and was met with a lot of encouragement and prayers, but little else. The weeks went on and while our group discussed a lot of "little" struggles, no one else broached struggles anywhere near the same caliber of what I had shared at the beginning of the group. I began to feel frustrated, vulnerable, and even foolish until a girl in the group approached me privately one evening and confessed that she had experienced some of the same struggles I had. I thanked her profusely for having the courage to share something so personal with me and encouraged her to share with the group so that they could help her in the journey as well, but she made it clear that she didn't feel comfortable with that level of transparency. I was disappointed but understood the hesitation and respected her privacy. A few weeks later another girl in the group came to me privately and shared some of her struggles but also resisted sharing with the group. By the end of the first semester, 5 of the 7 girls had shared something personal with me but none of the girls had ventured to share with the group.

As we began the second semester, I felt very frustrated by the lack of sharing and transparency in a group of women called together to be accountable. Despite every effort I made to encourage sharing in the group, there was no change. I felt stuck between a rock and a hard place because I knew that I was the one person with the knowledge to understand how much the group could benefit by sharing like experiences, but I also knew that sharing that knowledge would betray the trust that had been bestowed upon me and would end up doing more damage than good.

I know this isn't news to anyone, but we all stumble, we all struggle, and we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. The really sad part is that we live in a culture so caught up in image and status that we are afraid to be vulnerable regardless of how much we can learn and grow from a moment of weakness. There is so much blessing to be gained from sharing struggles, the greatest of which is accountability, so let's walk hand in hand in this journey so that we might help each other grow stronger.

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17

Your thoughts?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Light Of The World

Have you ever had one of those days when nothing seems to go your way? I’ve had my share and I usually end up taking it out on the people around me. Sad, but true. I can remember one day in particular when it seemed that the whole world was out to make things difficult for me. After a really bad day at work, I made a quick stop at the mall to return something I had purchased for my husband that ended up being too small. I haggled with the sales person for 20 minutes; although I had paid full price for the shirt two days before, it was now on sale and I didn’t have a receipt. They wouldn’t give me full price, yet they didn’t have the correct size available at their store or any of their stores in the Metroplex. They offered to let me exchange it for a different shirt but only for the sales price of my shirt. I was mad, to say the least. By the time I made it back to the department store through which I had entered the mall, I was so fed up from my bad day that my exhaustion really began to take toll. My pace slowed and as I dragged myself towards the exit I was fighting back tears. I cringed as I saw a salesman from the cologne department approach me. Knowing I wouldn’t be able to fend him off politely, I quickened my pace. He cut me off before I slipped out the door and said, “Ma’am, I can’t possibly know what’s bothering you but I hope your day gets better.” Then he turned and walked away. I was speechless and frozen mid-step. Bracing for the impact of something I don’t enjoy (a sales pitch), I was floored by the unexpected encouragement. What made that young man walk across the room to cut me off and offer me encouragement is beyond me.

Isn’t that sad that I am surprised by the random kindness? It really makes me think about the way my actions affect not only the people close to me but complete strangers. Am I “living Jesus” in a way that makes people stop and pause?

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
Matthew 5:14-15

Your thoughts?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Shadow Of The Rock

While traveling abroad, I was very fortunate to have my sister and mother visit me for a week during one of my breaks. Neither one of them had ever been out of the country and I was really looking forward to having them visit and experience the culture that I had grown to love. They both went through a short adjustment period as they struggled to pick up some of the cultural clues and nuances and just as they started to feel comfortable we took a train ride that required us to exit the train underground. My mom, eager to get above ground, headed for the staircase and began to climb the steps very quickly. I turned around, unable to stop her in time, and the throngs of people came down the stairs she was going up…the one directional stairs on which she was heading the wrong way. I watched in horror as the masses of people shoved past her completely ignoring her presence; in desperation she wrapped her body around a post to keep from falling as literally hundreds of people hurried down the stairs. Once the stairs had cleared, she peeled herself off of the post and crept down the stairs, “What was that?” she gasped.

I can think of many times in my life that I have felt just like she did on that staircase; when it seems that despite my best efforts everything around me is headed in the opposite direction. In those moments I just have to remember to find refuge in the rock and allow God to protect me until he is able to right me and put me back on my feet. Have you ever felt this way?

For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.
Psalm 27:5-6

Your thoughts?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Green-Eyed Monster

I am, by nature, an introvert; that is to say that I prefer to be alone than in a social situation. It isn’t that I am unable to be social or that I don’t get along with other people, I just gain my strength from being alone or with only a select few people while social situations drain the life out of me. I am among the few introverts on our church’s staff (ministry is kind of a social vocation, wouldn’t you say?) and as a result of working in a social profession, I am intensely selfish with my friendships and generally only have one, MAYBE two close friends. I’ve always been this way and probably always will and for the most part am happy only having had a handful of close relationships throughout my life. There is one aspect of this “lifestyle” that is probably not healthy and that is that I don’t want to share that close friend with anyone else….at all. I have a tendency to hoard my friendship with said close friend and pretty much expect them to do the same. For the most part, anyone who would desire to be in the kind of friendship that I am talking about generally feels the same way about “friend sharing” but there have been a few times when my close friend wanted to be close friends with lots of other people too and I just honestly wasn’t mature enough to handle it and jealousy and envy would take over the friendship and bring it to its demise.

Then I met Jackie. Jackie and I are cut from the same cloth; we relate on a level unlike any other friend I’ve ever had even though we are as different as night and day (well, ok maybe as night and later that night but you get the idea). Jackie is just like me as far as friendship goes, except that she can successfully have two or three of those close relationships and she isn’t at all jealous or envious of other relationships. So, essentially the price of being Jackie’s friend means sharing, which of course means that I have a little growing up to do.

A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 18:24

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Extraordinary News

This week's edition of Extraordinary News brings back all kinds of good memories for me; I am proud that it is being featured.

This week 'Highlights' magazine will issue their BILLIONTH copy. Hip, hip, hooray for a company that provides good, wholesome fun for children of all ages. To check out this story as featured by the Dallas Morning News, visit 'Highlights' Produces Billionth Copy.

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8

What was your favorite part of this magazine?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


My little man is teething. Tooth number one and two broke through without incident, but three and four are wreaking all kinds of havoc in our little household. As Little Man bears the pain that goes with growing, very little makes him happy. Today, after a three hour bout of "See if this will help", I finally drew him a bath.

Baths seem to have a tremendous healing power for my son. From his first bath in the NICU to his evening bath before bed he is magically transformed into the happiest form of baby possible. Bath time often drags on and on because he is rarely happier than when splashing in soapy water. Today was no exception, a red-faced screaming baby I put in the tub, a happy calm baby I pulled out. We took our time as I washed each and every part and soaped up that little bald head with shampoo. He giggled as I wrung out the washcloth over his head and at one point got so excited about the water he lunged forward to bury his face in the water (but not before I caught him). Watching how happy he was bathing and playing with the water I was overcome with emotion as I realized that as happy as this simple bath made him and as seemingly healing the water was to his mood, it in no way compared to the healing and forgiveness of baptism. I choked back tears as I imagined the day that he would choose to put on our Lord Savior in baptism and felt tremendous anticipation to see my son take the ultimate bath in the healing power of Christ's blood. Oh what a glorious day that will be!

You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 6:11

Your thoughts?

In The Night

I arrived at church two Sundays ago, and began setup for the worship service. It had been a pretty uneventful Sunday up until that point and I had been looking forward to singing on the Praise Team. I finished set up and used the remote to turn on the three projectors. I watched as they powered up one by one until I noticed that one of the side projectors seemed delayed, I waited patiently but it didn’t come up. I figured that the infrared sensor had come loose so I walked across the room to reattach it only to find that the stand was empty. Not one to panic, I checked with the children’s minister (who had been preparing for Vacation Bible School that week) to make sure that she hadn’t borrowed it but she hadn’t removed the projector. Upon closer inspection, it appeared as though the projector had been ripped from its stand as the cords were left behind in the box, completely smashed. Suddenly it hit me, the previous Wednesday we had arrived at the church to find that the front door had been busted out. Unable to find anything missing, we had assumed that it was an act of vandalism but in actuality it was an act of burglary.

In retrospect I can’t help but reflect on the verse that states that the day of the Lord will come like “a thief in the night”. Looking back on the week I am surprised at how ill-prepared we were for the situation and have to ask, “Am I prepared spiritually for the coming of the Lord?” What about you?

Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-3

Your thoughts?