Tag Archives: Jesus

Do It @ Home on ThanksGiving!

It’s that time of year again.

You know the time! The four letter word ‘busy’ is how everyone is, when you ask how they are.

The mall Christmas decorations go up as soon as the trick or treaters go home. Today is officially 6 weeks until Christmas Morning. That would be 41 shopping days until little Johnny finds out if he can keep up with the Joneses – or not. Thanksgiving gets sandwiched between Halloween and Black Friday, shopping lists are made, dream holidays planned, credit cards get worn out and we step into the highest suicide rate of the year. Or not.

We actually have a choice in this.

Are we powerless victims to advertising? Or are we powerful believers in a redeeming, hope filled season? One where Jesus reigns?

Okay, honestly, I am mostly the powerful believer in a redeeming, hope filled, Jesus season with occasional tendencies toward powerless advertisement victim…Don’t judge me!

What are our options this year? How can we remain Christ centered? I could give you some lists (maybe next week).

How about one thing?

Is there one thing I could do to slow down, be thankful, remember who I am in Christ, stay focused on Jesus?

Yes. There. Is.


Celebrate the Lord’s Supper at home. Start with Thanksgiving!

Recently, as I have been reading my bible, I have been hit with such a huge realization. Jesus didn’t go to ‘church.’ He didn’t ever tell people to go to ‘church.’ He didn’t have a ‘church’ building campaign. He didn’t tell us to build a ‘church.’ The word translated into ‘church’ in our bibles was the word ekklesia and it means ‘called out ones.’ It refers to people not buildings.

I am for the the local ‘church’ buildings – they provide an amazing service. But I also believe we should not depend on the local church to ‘do’ our walk with Jesus for us. I love sharing communion with other believers in a church service. I think it is a holy moment. It’s even better in your own home!

Jesus didn’t take communion in a ‘church’ building. Or a synagogue. Or a temple. He broke bread, in a home, with his twelve friends (11 if you don’t count Judas a friend). These are the guys He did life with.

This famous ‘Last Supper’ bread breaking was during the Passover meal. This  celebration was and is in remembrance of God’s deliverance of Israel. Jesus and the disciples were in someone’s home. In a guest room set up for this feast. For almost four hundred years after Christ’s resurrection, believers met in homes and shared communion in their own homes. (Mark 14:12-26, Matthew 26:17-30, Luke 22:7-23)

Some of my personal thoughts:

I think Jesus loved this! He broke bread and gave thanks as the risen Christ with the guys he met on the road to Emmaus! He loved being with people, enjoyed eating with them, feeding them (sometimes 5000 at a time)!

When I take Jesus with me when I am not in a ‘church’ building and place Him at the helm of my every day life – heaven smiles.

If we take communion at home in a biblical model (1 Corinthians 11:23-25):

1. We examine or test ourselves to see where our heart is at. What does this look like? I usually do this in a two step process:

(a)   Do I need to forgive anyone? Close your eyes and ask God. Did anyone come to mind? If so – forgive the person – out loud (whether you feel like it or not doesn’t matter – just do it). Release them from your expectations and ask God to bless them. 

(b)   Am I believing any lies? Close your eyes and ask God. Did you hear a lie you are believing? If so – ask God to forgive you for believing the lie and ask Him what the truth is.

2. We give thanks. Whatever this looks like for you. What are you thankful for?

3. We break the bread. Jesus did this and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” As you take a bite of bread remember what Jesus has done, who He is, how much He loves you.

4. We take the cup. Jesus said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this,  whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” Drink from the cup (or a cup) and remember Jesus, consider the wonder of the new covenant – us, no longer separated from our Heavenly daddy!

It’s really that simple. And that beautiful. And that holy. In your own home. With your own family and or friends. Do it when you gather as a group or family in  remembrance and honor of our Lord Jesus. Do it at home! Often.

Jesus never intended communion to be reserved for a ‘church building’ or ‘church setting.’ Heck, there weren’t any when he walked the planet.

Jesus wants to walk with, commune with, love and laugh with, guide, counsel, protect and bless you 24/7! Invite Him to dinner! (Revelation 3:20)

We set a place for Him at our home. I believe He is with us and will show up on my doorstep for dinner!

Art and Soul!

A space of my own has been a dream for my whole life. Not just any space, but a peaceful, joyful, beautiful, feminine, creative and holy space! Maybe you can relate?

A part of me realizes that this is my inner desire for Heaven – an ache that is ever present. That niggling feeling that says, “There is more.” Sometimes this feeling is more pronounced. Other times it is just a whisper in my heart and soul. Nonetheless it is always there, waiting for me.

This art space is part of my solution to the way Jesus taught us to pray: On Earth as it is in Heaven…

Through the years I have carved out corners, closets, cubbies, tables, rooms, decks, porches, lawns and patios as a private retreat space. As an art space. As a breathing space. As a quiet space to meet with God.

This year, thanks largely to my husband, I have designed – prayed over – and am now using “The Upper Room.” A space of my own!

Of course it is an evolving space – just as I am evolving – ever growing – in my walk with Jesus and my creative endeavors.

So – If you haven’t seen me lately…I’m hanging out in the Upper Room with Jesus!

Soon to follow: More photos and Upper Room Creations!

Thanks for letting me share! Be blessed!

Is God a Snitch?

My son asked this of me the other day.

“Is God a snitch?”

Max was not particularly happy when he asked me this question. He was late getting home from a friend’s house. I had greeted him with the question, “So…where were you?”

“You know. I already told you I was going to Hank’s house,” came his cautionary reply.

“I know that’s where you told me you were going. But where were you really?” I raised an eyebrow and tried to look stern. Inside I was giggling, I knew he hadn’t been at his friend’s home.

“Fine. I went to Monte’s house.” He was honest. That was a huge plus in my book!

“I  knew that is where you went.”

Max was exasperated. “Mom! Quit praying that stupid prayer! Is God a snitch?”

Max was referring to a prayer I began praying about eight years ago. It goes something like this: Dear Lord, please grant me the wisdom to be the type of parent you want me to be. Reveal to me only what I need to know, today, to be that kind of parent – that I might protect the children you have placed in my care. That I would be wise, merciful, gracious and loving AND fully informed!

God has been so faithful in answering that prayer. Totally on a need to know basis.

When my children are in trouble, when they aren’t where they say they will be, when they need to confess something, when they need an extra hug or encouragement – God lets me know.

I have three sons. God knows what I need to know and when I need to know it. I haven’t been able to protect my sons from everything – I guess I am not supposed to.

Sometimes it’s more about me trusting God, no matter what has happened or is happening.

God has also led me to the discovery of the firecracker in the toilet, the car rolled out of the driveway, the gasoline bomb and a few other ‘boy’ actions that I’m sure to share at a later date…

God also lets me know when I need to keep my mouth shut, my opinions to myself or when I need to disengage. I have learned, through His guidance, that it is often wise for me to go to my own ‘time out.’ Of course, I am still growing in all these areas…

God is not a snitch. He is a faithful God. There is no deceit in HIM. He is jealous for us (not of us). Anything that attempts to separate us from His love is unacceptable!

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:38-39).

I am convinced that God simply wants to help me train my child in the way he should go. How could I even try that without the grace, mercy and supernatural power of Jesus?

This is a two-way street!

My own faults and shortcomings are always revealed to me. The Lord often uses my children in this endeavor (bless their hearts…).

It’s only fair that we would both (parents and children) have an edifying, enlightening, loving, inspiring, life changing, personal and encouraging relationship with our Creator.

Isn’t that why He came?

Beneath the Questions

Have you ever tried to force something? Because you thought it was the right or best way? Even though the circumstances were telling you different? Even though everything pointed in the opposite direction? Even when it was hard? Did you give up? Give in? Surrender? Change your mind? Compromise? Or did you hold fast, rigid and determined to stay course? Your way or the highway? Is your way the ‘highest’ way?

What is your motive? How do you make your decisions? What about when there is no clear right or wrong?

Here is my dilemma. We have chose to homeschool our thirteen year old. Very specifically, at his tearful request to do so. Now six weeks later we are at his tearful request to NOT do so. What should we do?

It would be so easy for me to admit defeat and send him back to public school. You see, I have not ever felt called to home school.

I have felt homeschooling a better option for our son, Max, than public school (when HE was the driving force behind the the decision).

Why? Because he can’t sit still! He was labeled a ‘problem’ by many teachers. He has ADHD (although maybe it’s just ADH – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity and the other D – Disorder is wrong, maybe it’s not a disorder at all, just how he rolls). When Max begged to homeschool, I thought maybe we stood a chance. Now when he is begging not to, our chances for success seem dwindling.

It would also be an easy decision to force homeschool, persevere and see what happens. The decision would be easy, but the day to day reality would be a completely different story. Arguments, head butting, not at all what I signed up for! I just don’t know if I have the fortitude for the trial. Not that we didn’t have arguments and head butting with public school – we simply had some other parties involved in the skirmish!

I am also not sure this is really all about homeschool. I think homeschool might be the surface topic, but what is underneath may be more important. So what is underneath? Because I really don’t want this to be about me. Yet I am half the equation in the homeschool dilemma.

And there lies the first ‘what lies beneath’: I believe my husband Jeff, Max’s father, should play a more active role if we are to homeschool.

Here are the other ‘underneaths’

  •  I love learning and school. Max doesn’t.
  • Max is becoming resentful toward me.
  • Max is more like Jeff than myself in personality, learning style, communication and love language.
  • Jeff quit school in the ninth grade (Yes you may read between the lines concerning Jeff’s view toward school…).
  • I have perfectionist tendencies – not a good teacher quality!
  • I love teaching and training – willing and eager students…
  • Jeff and I both have Attention Deficit traits ourselves (we are not the best ‘set and stick to a schedule’ people).
  • Structure is a great concept. We lack a team effort to maintain a daily structure.
  • I am losing all confidence in my ability to lovingly mother Max.
  • I am becoming resentful of my husband’s lack of interest in and support of: homeschooling, parenting and solution based action. I don’t want all these decisions to be mine alone!
  • Jeff feels attacked when I try to discuss my feelings on this situation with him.
  • Homeschooling was not on my radar, but I was willing to take it on if (and only if) Max was the driving force for his own success in the endeavor. And this has changed…

My other considerations:

  • Max has a tendency to relentlessly pursue something until he attains it. Then he quickly loses interest.
  • I am not a quitter.
  • I don’t want to raise a quitter.
  • I honor my commitments.
  • I want our child to honor his commitments.
  • I want what is best for Max!
  • I don’t want Max to see himself as a problem at home, at homeschool, at other school or anywhere else!

Okay, and very honestly, Underneath EVERYthing:

  • This situation has exposed some personal dissatisfactions with my own life.
  • Jeff and I have some conflict resolution work to do.
  • Our marriage needs some strengthening in the communication skills department.
  • Our parenting skills need brushing up and tweaking to adapt to parenting Max.

Where is God in all this?


 What does He say?

 He says it’s all about love. Seeking Him first.

 For me this means each nanosecond requires a Jesus connection.

 Next, it’s all about loving each other (aren’t Jeff and Max my neighbors?) as our selves. Making sure there are healthy ways I am loving myself, so that Jesus’ love flows out from me to my family (and others).

Matthew 22: 36-40

 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

I am prayerfully seeking the answer to homeschool or not. (To be continued…)

This Summer

This summer I deactivated my Facebook account, tried not to carry my phone with me everywhere, quit watching the news, took a break from a month of church services, turned the t.v. off, limited my internet time and didn’t buy a newspaper.

I’d like to say this was an experiment. Honestly it was more of a necessity. I needed to unplug. Trust me when I say that, ‘need’ is the correct word here.

I had a vision for this summer. We would spend quality time together as a family. Us and the Lord. We even included a place setting at our table for Him. I would prepare home cooked healthy recipes (using vegetables and herbs from my garden) for our frequent family meals. I would take long walks with God and my dogs. We would bike ride and boat as a family. My sons would enjoy each other’s company. My husband, Jeff, and I would continue our weekly date nights. We would pray together, work together and play together (in relative harmony). I would read some books. All while seamlessly and stress free completing all of life’s daily responsibilities on top of the exciting projects we had planned. I know – What was I thinking?!

I read some fiction books – I truly had to be disciplined to finish a couple of them. They didn’t feed my soul.

I read some Christian non fiction books – I truly had to be disciplined to finish a couple of them. They didn’t bring me closer to Jesus.

I went on a family vacation. Now I need a vacation.

I tried to be a hermit. Hermitsville is not where I live.

This summer, as a family, we: hosted a graduation party and attended many, visited family, lost a family member, read the bible together, prayed daily, entertained family and friends, are building a barn, moved horses to our property, are maintaining and improving 10 acres of property, are playing, are active. We: cleaned, gardened, weeded, laughed, fought, are preparing to send a young man to YWAM, cooked together,visited friends, shared some family meals, decided to homeschool for this coming year (pray for me), traveled to visit our oldest son, hosted guests at our home,volunteered our time, visited the emergency room, had doctor and dentist appointments, had haircuts and shopping excursions, successfully kept our businesses afloat…all by the grace of God.

I read some health, parenting, photography, art, cooking, horse training books, articles and magazines. I found an excellent book, Face to Face with God, by Bill Johnson – I have been steeping in it.  It sent me deep into the Word. I did some art, walked a lot, rode our horses, tried some new recipes and signed up for a photography course. I felt a spark.

My spark, right now, is in danger of fizzle. I am tired.

My husband and I let date night slip away…I allowed some negativity into my mind and out of my mouth…my sons tried to kill each other (daily)…something ate all the tomatoes from my garden…sloppy and unintentional words escaped my mouth…my Darth Vader voice returned…frustration levels rose…peace declined…joy thinned out.

Why can’t I unplug? Why can’t I simplify my life? How can I draw closer to Jesus? And, shut the world out? The noise? I am seeking God.

Good Lord – when did I sign up for this over scheduled, stress filled, activity driven, works centered, treadmill of life?

Of course I did not sign up for this!

Then, I must look deeper to figure out what lies beneath where I am at. Some would say it’s all about my choices. Others would say it’s all about my motives. Others would remind me I live in a fallen world. Still others would remind me that I have an enemy. They would all be right!

Is this my fault? Probably, some, after all I am human. Have I made poor choices? Probably, some, after all I am human. Have I had less than pure motives? Same answer…

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

Do I live in a fallen world. Yes.

(All creation groans…Romans 8:19-22) This verse reminds me that All of Creation (plants, animals, nature, etc…) is waiting, in expectation, for me to rise up and help bring heaven to earth.

Do I have an enemy? Yes

  •  Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
  • The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.(John 10:10) 
  • He (the enemy)is called the accuser. (Revelation 12:10)

You know, that’s kind of what this feels like!

Kind of what I feel like: Devoured. Accused. Stolen from. Destructed.


 How can I so easily forget this! I teach spiritual warfare to others! I live this, daily. I pray against attack all the time. Yet, have I become mechanical, complacent, lax? I have a leaky mind!

Intentionally I wouldn’t let any enemy anywhere near my home, marriage, children, schedule, or life.

Unintentionally becoming too busy, over scheduled (even with ‘good’ things), tired, trying to please everyone, do everything, satisfy everyone’s needs and expectations – and here I am. Tired. Weary. Vulnerable to attack.

My heart absolutely breaks for those that don’t even know they have an enemy or an option to the dismal condition of their life. I am from that population! I know that life can feel all up hill, defeating and hopeless. Heck, some days it still feels that way! Only now it doesn’t always feel that way! And, I also now know it’s not all about ‘my feelings.’

Thanks goodness God is bigger than all that!

Thank God that I know who I am in Christ. I am a daughter of the most high KING!

When I remember what I know – Who God is. Who Jesus is. Who Holy Spirit is. Who He says I am.

When I am living in the Truth, my life makes sense.

Don’t get me wrong – I am not perfect in this, but growing and learning daily. I am working out my salvation. I am still discovering the true meaning and depth of the Gospel.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

So where am I at now?

Reminding myself that I am never alone. I have a constant helper. I have prioritized my life through prayerful planning and life coaching. I can revisit that plan – God’s plan for my life.


I can ask the questions:

  1. Lord, what do YOU say?
  2. Does this fill me up or drain me?
  3. Does this activity (invitation, assignment, promotion, travel opportunity, etc…) align with my values? My family’s values?
  4. Does this activity align with my priorities?
  5. Have I been prioritizing?
  6. Am I mindfully and intentionally living – or kamikaze fire fighting?
  7. What are my motives for wanting to do this?
  8. If I am already at maximum capacity, what can I take off my plate to do this?
  9. Are there items I need to take off my agenda?
  10. Are there spiritual disciplines I have been neglecting?
  11. Have I been spending enough time with Jesus?
  12. Am I practicing good self care? Any self care?
  13. Are there boundaries I need to set or reestablish?
  14. Have I been guarding my heart? (Proverbs 4:23)

You know, when I seek Him in everything. When I slow down to pray and listen and worship and seek HIS face. Then, the answers always become more plain.

It’s really all about Jesus. It’s all about Him and it’s all about love. Nothing else really matters in the long run.

Am I loving HIM?

Am I letting HIM love me?

Am I getting filled up enough in HIM that rivers of living water are flowing out from me to others? (John 7:38) Because of the overwhelming abundance of the presence of the Lord in my life – not from obligation?

I Seek HIM.

But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 4:29)

Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ (Matthew 22:37)

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

I know HE is with me. Right here. Right now. Always.

Darth Vader and Fishing

I am confessing. I used the Darth Vader voice yesterday. You know THE Voice – deep, throaty, scary and loud! It kind of sounds like screaming, but instead of high pitched it rumbles and vibrates. It leaves a residue, both for the performer and the receiver. I was the performer and my throat still aches. My thirteen year old, Max, was the receiver and his heart may still ache.

Max was on thin ice this weekend at our home. With only two weeks of school left and the crazy preparation of Clayton’s high school graduation open house my schedule is full! Clayton is our middle child and very social – his guest list for graduation numbers in the small city range! And, I am glad. This is an amazing time of celebration and transition for him. Needless to say, every minute of my schedule for the next three weeks is accounted for.  That was until, Friday after school.

Max hopped in my car with a funny look on his face. “What’s up buddy? How was your day?” I asked.

“Okay,” he responded. Then he gives me the sheepish side glance. “Did the school call you?”

“No.” I wait. Max reaches in his pocket and pulls out the yellow Discipline Report. As he is unfolding it I ask, “Did you get detention?” 

Of course he did – that is what the yellow sheet means. We’ve signed or acknowledged over 40 of them this year. I am kind of hoping for lunch detention because that doesn’t effect my schedule. I then realize that after-school-detention would give me an extra hour to get things done before picking him up. Either way, it’s all good. 

Yes! I realize that this form of reasoning is at least a little pathetic on my part.

“Lunch or after school? What happened?” I can’t ask what he did or he just clams up, but ‘what happened’ seems to charge neutral in his mind.

“I got in a fight.”

“Max!” Okay, I am going to admit that part of my response had to do with my own selfish ambitions. Fighting means OSS (out of school suspension). Of course, my parenting instincts also kicked in and wanted all the details. Which he freely gave. 

Except for the name of who he got in a fight with. When he finally shared the boy’s name, my heart sank. They were friends. I knew the boy’s parents. I called my husband, Jeff. He was on his way home. Max would go over to their home and apologize. We would then determine consequences for his three days of out of school suspension.

It is usually pretty easy to figure out what Max has been doing and where he has been at our home and on our property. We live on a lake in Michigan and have 10 wooded acres. Max is an outdoorsy kid. I love that about him! He is also a slob. That’s not really a fair assessment. He does things in a neat manner and can be very organized. However, he rarely cleans anything up before his body and mind are on to the next thing. He isn’t sitting around being sloppy – he is more like a mini natural disaster occurring repeatedly in subsequent locations around our home and property. He will clean up and do a fair job of it, but he usually requires a reminder. Which gets me back to the Darth Vader voice.

Spring has sprung in Michigan. Kind of. Really, we’ve gone from winter to cold rain to 80 degrees, back to rain again. Did I mention rain? We haven’t had many warm and sunny days. When we get the combination of warm and sunny all activity in my home stops and we head outside!

This Spring our outside activity is joyful as always yet peppered with a deadline! We have entered the frenzy of activity for Clayton’s graduation open house. The funny thing is, Clayton already thinks we are weird for keeping our home and property in the best possible shape – picked up, cleaned, maintained, landscaped and decorated. Clayton feels like we might go a little overboard in the cleaning and maintaining department. I think he will be able to relate to us better when he owns his own home and has his own family…

I love gardening, landscaping, playing in the dirt! This is a season I look forward to all year! I feel so close to God when I am physically connected to creation. I hear the whispers, the song of hope, carried with each new leaf unfurling! I talk to God while I garden. I work out any issues or concerns I have while I am turning soil, pulling weeds or am up to my elbows in dirt. I feel the Creator with me. I pray. I give thanks. I worship. This is a spiritual act for me!

You can imagine my annoyance when I come across at least 30 drywall screws dumped in an area I am attempting to grow grass. Or the irritable twinge I have when I enter the garage for fertilizer and have to step over pieces of bike – dismantled, repainted, strewn about with tools, paint, my painter’s masking tape…Sigh. Our woods look like an apocalyptic survival forest with wood shanties and shelters built about every hundred trees (for air soft gun wars). My husband’s tools that we thought were lost are permanently rusted into the ground. So glad the leaves have come out and covered up most the wreckage and hidden the mess…I walk in the house for a drink. I remove dirt, dust and shoes in order to keep our home clean. Apparently no one else got that memo – the one about keeping the house clean.

Max has shoes inside and outside the door. His socks, a water bottle, a juice bottle and an empty bag of donuts are by the couch in the family room. The rest of his clothes from the day before are scattered like a breadcrumb trail leading to his room. His computer is in the living room. His fishing charter brochure is on the kitchen table, along with some drafting and drawing supplies and his detention slip and a job application. Another pair of socks is in the TV room along with a banana peel.

Max has been fishing. Since 7 am. You can smell him from about 10 feet away. We have been in different areas of the same universe for most of the day – until now. He is covered with fish guts and blood, smiling ear to ear, carrying cleaned fish wrapped in newspaper. He is on cloud nine and I am about to burst his bubble.

How can I be so spiritual one moment, so connected to God and immersed in His creation, and blow a gasket the next?

Now I am not saying that Max shouldn’t be held accountable and responsible for cleaning up after himself. Of course he should! What I am saying is that I could use an extra dose of self control, grace and mercy in parenting this child!

Max is also thirteen. Did I already mention that? Thirteen is my least favorite age of the teenage years. Max can argue with almost everything I say, especially if it is a direction. It depends on his mood…At thirteen he is wiser, smarter, stronger and taller than me. He really is taller. Okay, probably stronger too. When I began a discussion of some of the ‘things’ he needed to take care of he began to argue. The discussion (now I am using the term lightly) began to escalate. Before I realized what was happening Darth Vader had appeared and ordered Max to his room.

I headed back to the garden. Just that morning in church I had been reminded about forgiveness. I had been so relieved to search my heart and discover I wasn’t holding any grudges or hurts from others – I didn’t have anyone to forgive today. Then our pastor reminded us that some of us may need to forgive ourselves. Ouch. The place of personal hurt that can still come up and bite me, is my own short fall in parenting. I have apologized to my children for many things I have done and said. I have received forgiveness from them and from my heavenly Father. Jesus already paid for my transgressions. I have forgiven my self, sort of. I can still cry over times I totally missed it in the parenting department.

Little children (and big children) are our most precious gift. They, like us, really just want to be loved. And, if we had the time to celebrate them, and with them, and laugh, then the world would be a better place. People matter. Eye to eye time matters. Seriously, does it matter eternally if my home is clean? Is that business call so important?  Or is it more important that I stopped what I was doing and entered into the life of a child or another human being?

When I went to revoke the Darth Vader verdict I walked into the kitchen to a scene covered in flour. Max had released himself from Darth Vader prison and was covered in flour. I am smiling at him (inside I am biting my tongue).

“I’m cooking you and dad dinner, mom! I have this great recipe for catfish,” said Max.

I look in the bowl, in the midst of the flour, and it looks like bread dough. “Wow, honey, that looks a little thick to dip fish in?”

“Don’t worry, I’ve got it under control. The recipe says it should be thick.” He turns back to stir his creation.

I keep the reminder that I am supposed to be eating gluten free and that I don’t like fish to myself, behind my smiling lips.

I go to the bathroom. There is flour in the bathroom. I decide to go back outside and just let Max cook. There is flour on the deck. There are fishing poles on the dock along with fish guts and blood. Jeff looks at me. I am sending him the silent message that he pray for me. No words are needed. I go back to my garden.

“Dinner is ready,” yells the young man-child standing outside our door.

The table is set with real (not paper) plates. The fish has been grilled and kept warm in the oven. A salad has been cut up and put in a festive ceramic bowl. Max doesn’t even like salad, but he knows I do. We sit down together. We give thanks. The fish is excellent. Max is a really good cook!

Max spent the day fishing, cleaning his catch and preparing it for dinner. He is the real deal – a man’s man in the making! A provider.

After dinner Max and I walked through the dinner clean up steps. Max did a great job. We picked up both inside and outside, the day’s remnants of Max.

In the morning we watched the devastation a tornado had on Joplin, Missouri. We were relieved Tanner was not harmed in the storm. He is our oldest son and lives close to Joplin. Max watched the scenes of mass devastation. He stood up and held out his hand to me, “Mom, let’s pray!”

I stood with Max as Jeff walked into the room. The three of us joined hands while Max prayed for God’s restoration and provision for Joplin, Missouri.

Selfish or Gifted?


Recently my husband, Jeff, and I had to answer the question:

If God was to grant you a special endowment or supernatural grace to influence a specific sphere of society for the Kingdom of God, which one or more of the primary spheres of society would it be?

Family, Business, Government, Education, Media, Art and Entertainment, Religion

My husband immediately answered, “I know it’s selfish of me, but I would have to say, business.”

Really, I thought, that is selfish? How? So, of course, I asked him!

“Well, you know,” he said,  “I love business, it’s what I enjoy doing. And I’m good at it.”

I realized at that moment that my husband does the same thing I do!

I assume that the things (activities, talents) that I love doing couldn’t possibly be the areas of my life God would use. That would simply be too easy, too good, too good to be true – right?

WRONG! Believe it or not, I actually coach people to do the things in their life that they love – because God made them that way! He made each and every one of us with a plan to prosper us, and not to harm us. He made each of us in HIS image. He gifted us.

Why is it, often when we love and enjoy something*, we feel it is not the way we should go?  Is it possible those talents, likes, loves and desires were actually gifts in our lives from the One who knows us and loves us best? Could God have made us with these desires? Even if they aren’t church related? Could He be glorified through common, everyday  joyful actions of people outside a church building doing the things they loved? Hmmm…let me think…yes, Yes and YES!!!

As I discussed this with my husband I was reminded of several stories and passages from the Bible. Here are a few that came to mind: Jesus left the 99 sheep for the one. I’m pretty sure the one wasn’t waiting for him in the local church…the ‘one’ was lost (maybe even hanging out at some business…). God made Isaac to be a real estate developer, Jacob to be a rancher, David to be a shepherd – then in the military and then a king, Deborah to be a judge and a warrior, Mary to be a mother, Paul to be a tent-maker…Of course all these people served God.

They all did so much more than their vocational title. And so do we.

They were so much more than their vocational title. And so are we.

They all glorified God by doing their best in the vocations of their heart and seeking God, always, as their compass in life. And so can we.

I believe Jeff was being deceived into thinking that “business” was a selfish choice. We do have an enemy that longs for us to fear, to doubt and ultimately become powerless for the Kingdom of God.  We are warned that there is a thief that comes to steal, kill and destroy. We are warned that in life, there will be trouble.

And we are reminded that: He (Jesus) who is in you is greater than the one (evil) who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)!

I ended up being so encouraged by my conversation with Jeff. I was able to validate my husband’s gift in the world of business. And his heart for God and people.

I choose, daily to embrace my love of words, art and beauty as strengths, not weaknesses. I choose to believe that I serve the God of love, the God of the Bible, God who is good all the time! I choose to believe that God’s plan for my life would utilize the gifts He has granted me. I choose to use my gifts and talents to please my heavenly Father. I choose to glorify God in all I do. Even laundry (that will be a whole other blog entry)!

*Disclaimer – if the something you love and enjoy happens to be an addiction, this author is in no way telling you that God made you that way. I believe God is heartbroken over what you are giving yourself over to, if it isn’t Him.

Square Pegs & Round Holes

I have one of those children that carry a label. Special isn’t usually how he is described. Words like defiant, loud, disrespectful, disobedient, rude, liar, behavior problem, unruly, inattentive, rebellious, too active, annoying are more common for us to hear when others describe our child. Some compassionate professionals will refer to him as challenging, strong willed or a ‘high flyer.’

I want to tell you about my son. He is amazing! He is our third child, the third son. (For the record, all of our sons are incredible – but this is for Max). His birth was so anticipated! We had tried to conceive after our second child was just over a year old so that all of our children would be about two years apart. It wasn’t that easy. I couldn’t seem to get pregnant. Then, when I did get pregnant, I miscarried. Twice. I prayed for all of our children. But I did pray more for Max. Max was born almost 5 years after our second child.

Max was the sweetest baby, surrounded by so much love. Not only did he have Mom and Dad, but two older brothers who loved him. He never cried or even used a pacifier. There were always people around him and he was easily entertained. At six weeks old he came down with spinal meningitis. We were in Florida on vacation. Our baby, who never cried, wouldn’t stop crying. He was running a fever. It wouldn’t go down. We went to emergency.

I was terrified. Finally, I was able to get a hold of our doctor in Michigan, he persuaded me to let the ER staff run tests, insert an IV, take blood and perform a spinal tap. Now, remember, this is the baby that never cried. The baby I prayed for, for so long. Our Michigan doctor told me to have my husband hold Max and for me to walk outside the hospital until the tests were done. I was hysterical. My two older boys were with my parents. The spinal tap came back positive for spinal meningitis. I rode to Orlando General Hospital in an ambulance with Max. It would be a 72 hour wait to determine if it was viral or bacterial. While Max and I lived in the hospital, Jeff stayed with our two other sons. My parents had left. We were all alone, in Florida, with a very sick baby. Finally the tests we were waiting for came back as viral. The antibiotics stopped. Max recovered. My heart will always remember the fear and the sheer helplessness I experienced. I still live in the joy of Max’s recovery.

Max was an incredibly beautiful little boy. He had soft wavy hair of angel white blonde, the clearest twinkling blue eyes and dimples that would melt your heart. I am pretty sure that God knew Max would need to be so impossibly beautiful because he was going to be a constant challenge to parent. Max had so much joy, curiosity and get up and go! He was completely self mobile by nine months old. I found him on top his brother’s bunk bed. Of course I scolded my husband immensely for leaving a baby on top a bunk bed. Jeff didn’t have a clue what I was talking about! The next week I found Max on top of the refrigerator. He had opened a pantry door with narrow shelves and apparently used it as a ladder. I don’t think I ever sat down or left him unattended until he started school. I celebrated Max’s energy, innovation and joy of living. We all did. Maybe, his brothers not so much, as he was always into their stuff!

I knew Max had a lot of energy. I guess I didn’t realize just how much until preschool. Max couldn’t sit still at all. Or stand in line. Or follow directions. Or play with the other children. Or color in the lines. Or begin to read or write. I think his poor teacher suffered through us in preschool because she had such a big heart – thank you Mrs. Lull.

Kindergarten was the beginning of a huge change in Max. My sunny, loving, happy, joyful child disappeared. He became sullen, angry, anxious, and so very negative. His kindergarten teacher thought we should have a daily behavior communicator which she safety pinned to Max’s shirt. It either had a happy or a sad face on it. This went on for about a week before he came home one day with just the safety pin. I asked Max about this. He replied, “Oh, my teacher ran out of the papers with the faces on it, but she wanted you to know what a good job I did. She sent just the safety pin so I wouldn’t forget to tell you.” We quit what we liked to call the ‘scarlet safety pin.’

Max’s educational experiences could fill a text book and my tears could fill a river. At age six we were referred to Dr. Sloan, a child behavior pediatrician. He diagnosed Max with very high scores in all areas of ADHD. We were also referred to a psychiatrist for neurological testing. Max again tested positive for ADHD and anxiety disorder. What this  doctor also found was that Max had an extremely low processing speed – only 2%. At this young age it was determined that he had numerous learning disabilities. The neurological testing came back with anomalies that were most likely the result of brain damage from the spinal meningitis. So what could we do?

The medical professionals tried drugs for ADHD. Max could not handle a stimulant drug, or some of the other popular ADHD meds of the time (Concerta, Ritalin, Focalin, Straterra). We were told that Max was too young for an IEP (Individual Education Plan), the school we were in didn’t like to do them until 2nd grade. We later found out we had been given faulty information. After repeated urging we went to an occupational therapist where she explained that Max had many sensory integration issues (why he wouldn’t wear certain clothes, touch certain textures, timing issues for rhythm that would translate into poor coordination for catching a ball and some other sports, cadence for hearing and reading, why he liked to wear work shop ear muffs around the house, why crowds escalated him). The OT gave us extremely useful input for Max. Things like: five minutes of large muscle exertion would allow him to sit and concentrate for about 20 minutes, short – one word directions were more effective than a sentence,  chewing gum and using a straw would help him concentrate, a weighted blanket would help him sleep, a bouncing chair and doodling could help keep his mind engaged. I mean, “hello?” No one teaches parents or teachers  this stuff! I was three years into the education system and this was a huge light bulb moment. I was getting some helpful tools for Max.

During this time we were so overwhelmed as parents. Our marriage had been rocky. I had suffered clinical depression. Every time we tried a new med on Max our family would fall apart. I was reading every book on ADHD, parenting and sensory integration that I could find.  We went to family counseling. Having a Max wasn’t easy for our family, it wasn’t easy for his older brothers. The support groups and forums seemed to have more complaints than solutions.

We turned to church. Individually and as a family finding a personal relationship with Jesus Christ was the answer we had been looking for. Without faith, without Jesus, I don’t know if I could have gone forward. What we didn’t find was any help with Max from the church as a building. If we took him to Sunday school he would usually be out in the hallway after adult service or we would hear the same complaints we heard about him from every where else. He didn’t fit in there either. A dear friend of mine was in charge of a group of children at Vacation Bible School. Max was in her group. She called me in tears, because she felt she was failing with Max – she couldn’t get through to him or control him in a group. I hate to say this, but I felt validated. Her compassion for Max allowed me to admit how difficult it could be to parent him. We were even asked to leave a church because they were not set up for children like Max. We have made some very good Christian friends who have always accepted and loved Max for who he is. They and a few others are the exceptions in Max’s life and for them I will be forever thankful.

Max was permanently suspended from bus privileges as a first grader. I didn’t know that was even possible! In second grade things exploded in his school. We had a person of prominence ignore his IEP. My husband hired an attorney. I felt our parenting skills were being questioned. Many people throughout Max’s life have given us advice such as:

  • Have you tried timeout?
  • Have you considered taking away some of his privileges?
  • Have you ever grounded him?
  • You should spank him more!
  • Do you let him suffer consequences?

You know, I want to just stand up and say, “What a good Idea! I can’t believe I didn’t think of that!”

I have two other children that don’t have the issues that Max does, we are good parents! We don’t allow or accommodate disobedience, rudeness, lying. Only the parenting that worked for our other two children needed to be tweeked (a lot) for Max. In fact there are areas we are probably on the 1057th teaching repetition for Max and he still has not got it. I’m sure he will get it, it just might take 2054 times, or more.

Since second grade Max has been home schooled, tutored, in and out of the public education system. Right now he is in the public schools and this year he has a pretty darn good support staff around him. He has finally been able to tolerate some of the newer ADHD drugs (Intuniv and Vyvannse). Still he has had about 40 detentions (yes, this school year), 1 expulsion, switched classes, been exposed to language and situations that I am blown away by, has been accused of bullying, has suffered migraine headaches and can become so frustrated he cries. I am in constant contact with his teachers and the school. I know it is not easy to have Max in a classroom.

In our family, with my husband and I, or with a small group of people Max is great! He is just a pretty normal, very fun and funny, big hearted kid turning into a young man. Max is gifted with the ability to drive and maneuver vehicles, heavy equipment, power tools, basically anything with a motor. He is very smart, capable and out-doorsy. He is a hunter. He loves dogs and horses and small children. He loves the Lord! He will often ask me if he can pray for me. He prays for so many people and situations. Max is creative, he has an artist’s eye and is good with a camera or any number of art supplies. He plays the harmonica. He has a servant’s heart and loves having a job to do. We love this kid!

We were recently on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. One night we were able to meet with a group of Haitian refugees to pray with them and bring supplies. The Haitians are not welcome in the Dominican Republic, much like illegal immigrants are not wanted in the United States. Afterward our group was meeting together to process our time spent with the Haitian people. Max shared. “I know how they feel,” he said. “I have been a reject in the schools I have been in. I really felt for them (the Haitian people) because it hurts to be left out and not wanted.” My heart broke, again.

Max is the kid that is picked last for the team sports. He is the kid sitting in the hallway, principal’s office, alone at lunch, or in the detention room. Max is the annoying kid in your class. Max is the kid that cannot calm down when everyone else does. He is the kid that others can and do rile up, because it’s easy and entertaining for them. Max is the kid that says what he thinks, immediately and loudly, without thinking about the consequences. Max knows if you don’t like him. In his attempt to get you to like him he probably bugs you more. Max is the kid that isn’t invited over to play, or to the birthday party, or fun group event.  He notices this, he just isn’t capable of being any different than he is. He desperately wants to fit in. He lies, acts funny or outrageous and exaggerates in hope of getting your attention. Max wants you to like him. Max wants to be your friend. Max wants to be loved and accepted. He is maturing, growing and learning each year. He is a square peg that will never fit into a round hole.

Max and kids like Max have so much to offer. They are smart, funny, loving and desperately seeking approval. We have the privilege of knowing more of these kids than the average household because one of them lives here. They tend to be drawn to each other. Our peg holes are in every shape we can imagine!

Love these kids!

Mission Trip. Mascara. Shoes.

Dominican Republic 2011

Waterproof mascara will be on the top of my personal packing list for any future mission trip! I was not prepared, even with waterproof mascara, for the raw emotion of this trip. And, I didn’t bring enough shoes!


Los Alcarrizos

Processing this  trip to Los Alcarrizos in the Dominican Republic is, well, a process. Unto Inc. the organization leading the mission trip for Riverside Church is headed by Greg Henslee. He helped our group with an evening debriefing after each day.

Let me say that I don’t like meetings, at all. I’m a small group at best –  ‘Just Do It’ – give me a list – type of girl. However, these evening debriefings were so necessary (great job Greg)! Hearing God moving through the hearts of my fellow ‘missionaries’ was and is restoring and renewing me. And totally undoing me, even my waterproof mascara!


Love as a Verb

  • Being present with a group of people from my community, church and state.
  • Working along side them for the greater good of a people, a very poor people, a world away from the USA.
  • Experiencing this group loving people in a sacrificial way, with joy! With smiles! With tears of gratitude for being able to serve!

For me this was love in action. Love as a verb. Love like Jesus. This is the gospel.

Compassion. Community. Culture

One evening at our debriefing, Greg suggested that:

Our compassion could change a community and could thus change a culture.

I was humbled. I think he had it backward. Maybe it happens both ways.

Los Alcarrizos Impact

Greg was talking about our affect on Los Alcarrizos. I’d like to address the impact Los Alcarrizos had on us.

The people of this community have nothing. They have no ‘stuff’.  The concept of keeping up with the Jones’s would be ludicrous here. The Dominican’s in this community do depend on God, they have no choice. There is no plan B here. They also possess a contentment that I am hard pressed to find in myself, my friends, or my fellow Americans. They have community. Their children run amongst one another, house to house. They are safe, loved and accepted. The women work together. The men work hard.The children smile, laugh and play together – outside. These people are not depressed, stressed or overweight. When I could step out from behind the lens of my ‘American Filter’ I had an interesting thought: Maybe these people have everything. Everything we don’t.

Unto Inc.

Unto Inc.’s impact is evident in the neighborhoods they are present in.  Lighthouse School plus two satellite locations serve over a thousand children. There are over 600 children on a waiting list to attend. Healthy, clean water is made available. Over 25,000 gallons of drinking water is produced daily at the water purification system. Dear God, how we take drinking water for granted! Good stewardship is also taught through the ministry of Unto. Food for the hungry, homes for faithful families, education and the love of Christ are provided. Hope is brought, taught and captured.


Back to: Compassion. Community. Culture


What if, as a group, we experienced a new level of compassion. How could we not? Compassion is defined by Webster’s dictionary as sympathetic consciousness of others distress together with a desire to alleviate it. We lived a new level of compassion. We were hands, feet, hearts and heads moving as one to tangibly complete a project that would provide hope. We witnessed the compassion of the Dominican people as they served us – sharing their meager treasures, alleviating our discomfort any way they could, making us smile (and through their generous, giving spirits totally doing my mascara in).


Did compassion change community? Without a shadow of a doubt. In the area Unto was building new homes the community was changed! It was cleaner, there was some pride of ownership happening. Residents walked a little taller and smiled a little wider. The community seemed a little tighter. Did sharing compassion change our group’s community?  Yes, yes and yes! We became a family, united. We shared a new bond. We worked harder together and with more joy than we ever worked alone. We shared parts of ourselves that would never have been uncovered if not for the mutual role of compassion we were fulfilling and witnessing. Yes. Compassion changes community.


What if compassion (bubbling up, filling our hearts, moving our hands and feet), what if that kind of compassion changed our community? What if we brought our serving experience home to our daily lives? What would that look like? Can we change our communities? Our culture?

ONE percent

Indulge me for a moment.

What if one percent of the population of the United States of America, roughly 3.5 million people, gave sacrificially? What if that one percent generated the cost of our trip ($1500) and the cost to sponsor one child ($35 per month or $420 annually) each year to benefit the Kingdom of God? That would be $1,920 multiplied by 3.5 million. I had to check my calculator twice because there were so many zeros when I first did the math! The amount is $6,720,000,000. That’s right! Six Billion, Seven Hundred and Twenty Million dollars!

About 40 people in Michigan came up with that kind of money (approximately $1,920). Whether through donation, fundraising, saving or simply choosing to spend their money that way.

Michigan has the worst unemployment rate in our country.

What if one percent of the population of the United States of America, roughly 3.5 million people gave one hour of their week to volunteer, to serve in a sacrificial way? The people that came on our trip already gave way more than that! That would be 52 hours annually multiplied by 3.5 million people. 182 million hours of hands, feet, hearts united for Christ – united for widows, orphans, homeless, hurting or hungry people!

Yes, I think that one percent could start to change our culture and other cultures! A spirit of giving and of serving, a community bent on compassion and outreach could mean a culture experiencing love in a tangible way.

One percent of the American population could make a six billion dollar and 182 million hour culture change. Wow!

Practical Application

  1. Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you where to give, how much, where to spend your time.
  2. Give. Give where the Holy Spirit leads you to give.This could be at church (above your tithe), go on a mission trip, sponsor a child, financially support a ministry that has changed your life, give to a homeless shelter, food bank, soup kitchen. Be the One Percent doing something!
  3. Volunteer Your Time. Anywhere! Just do it! This does not have to be in a Christian organization. Go be Christ to the world!
  4. Thank God you have the resources of time and money to give!


YOU Matter. YOU make a difference!

My husband, Jeff, questioned whether it mattered if he, personally, came on the mission trip.  Wouldn’t it have been just as effective for him to write a check?

First, it mattered to God that Jeff was there – because Jeff matters to God. God meets us wherever we are. Sometimes, it is easier to see God when we are out of our comfort zone or normal circumstances.

Second, Jeff’s physical presence on the mission trip mattered to me! I felt safe, protected and validated in my need to serve. Two of our sons accompanied us on this trip. Our sons were able to watch their dad not only put his money where his mouth is, but also his heart, hands, feet and sweat!  That is something they (and we as a family) will always have. As parents we can talk all we want, but the best lessons are always caught not taught. You know, actions speaking louder….

I know Jeff mattered to the men and women he worked next to each day. Jeff is an incredible, capable, hard worker. He has a huge heart for people and gives generously of his time, help, wisdom and resources. It will matter to the people he tells about this trip that he was there!

Finally, I know Jeff’s actual presence mattered to the kids, adults and elderly he gave treats to. The surprised pleasure on an adult’s face – to be handed a treat by my husband – still brings tears to my eyes. It probably happened, but I wasn’t witness to anyone else in our group sharing treats with the adults. My husband always notices need and tries to meet it, that is just how he is.The children that rode on his shoulders and in the wheelbarrow he was pushing certainly cared that Jeff was there, live and in person! YES, Jeff personally being there mattered. EVERYONE personally present and accounted for on this mission trip mattered!

What Now?

Don’t not send a check. Yes, I am aware that is a double negative. God may nudge you to financially give or support something by writing a check.  God softens our hearts through tugging on our checkbooks. Really, isn’t it all His anyway? Jesus is after our hearts. Sometimes letting go of our ownership of currency is a first step toward God.

God isn’t asking us to give up, give away, everything. Take note of the many ways God blesses his people in the Bible. He blesses with love, salvation, relationship, provision, healing, children, abundant life, victory, riches, harvest, freedom, kingdoms and on and on!

Even the rich young ruler (Matt 19:16-30) wasn’t asked to give everything to the poor. Jesus asked him to simply give to the poor. I believe, like me, the rich young ruler needed to learn how to do life with open hands. Hands both free to give (resources, time, help) and hands open to receive all God has for us (restoration, redemption, healing, freedom, love, joy, peace etc…).

Beyond writing a check, or even before writing a check, consider giving of yourself. First give yourself over to God, surrender to Him and His Lordship of your life. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second it like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39) Loving God first is the single most important thing you will ever do with your life. Jesus changes everything!

I have often wondered about the second greatest commandment. Who, exactly, is my neighbor? Is Jesus referring to the people that live next door to me? Or is this one of those ‘think deeper’ statements that could include all of humanity? There was a time I didn’t love myself, could I still love my neighbor? What if I don’t like my neighbor? Present neighborhood obviously excluded here!

I am constantly more challenged in giving myself away than my ‘stuff’ or money. Maybe money or stuff is the more difficult challenge for you? I still have fear (pride, anxiety…) rise up from time to time. What if I’m not enough? What if I don’t measure up? What if I can’t fix it? What if I’m not appreciated? What if they don’t deserve it? What if I’m rejected? What if I am not capable? What if I just don’t have anything left to give? What if?

Today, before a full blown self annihilation, I usually seek God. Way sooner than I used to!

“Jesus, what do you say about this? What do you say about me?”

His peace drenches me.

Because: It’s just not about me.

It’s all about HIM!

I didn’t bring enough shoes

His Grace is sufficient for me because HIS power is made perfect in my weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

I have been stepping out, offering more of me. It’s a process, a journey. This walk can still be scary (hard, uncomfortable – you fill in the blank for yourself: _____________________________ ).

When we went to Los Alcarrizos I brought about 25 pair of Old Navy flip flops. I wish I’d brought the whole store plus a grocery store full of daily necessities.

My heart was wrecked over a little boy with wore out rubber shoes. I gave up on my waterproof mascara after day two because it just wasn’t waterproof enough.

I sat at the feet of Jesus. He was there.

Vow Renewal

Last night at church we renewed our wedding vows. Jeff and I have been married over 21 years. We cried as my husband began reciting his vows. Both of us.

When we were first married we did choose to be married in a church. We wanted to do marriage ‘right.’ After we had lived together for a year… We rented a quaint stone church by a river. The chaplain of the local mental institute performed our ceremony. Really.

We wanted to honor God and have Him as part of our ceremony. We just didn’t know how or know Him. I look back now and realize that God was there, we just weren’t plugged in.

Fast forward through:

  • Three babies, turned to toddlers, then adolescents, now all three are teens (yikes).
  • Five home moves, building and/or remodeling four homes. Do you realize this is the second most stressful event in a person’s life next to death of a loved one? We perpetually have lived in this flux for over 20 years!
  • Soccer games, wrestling matches, diesel drag races, horse shows, plays, choir concerts, track meets, cross country meets, parent teacher conferences, doctors appointments, dentist appointments, open houses, dances, countless visits to the emergency room, proms, first dates, heartbreaks, first teeth, braces, sleepless nights, summer camps, vacations, graduations, first loves…
  • Anniversaries, date nights, divorce attorneys, extended family, long talks, embezzlement, baggage, miscarriage, walks, counseling, dreams that died, holidays, home maintenance, trips, new business adventures, landscaping, deaths, the daily grind, growing pains, family dinners, growing up, hurting, accidents, parties, milestones realized, friends, healing, friend’s divorces, mid-life crisis times two, hating, loving, surrendering…
  • Meeting Jesus for real – up close and personal, following instead of just saying we believed in God, putting Christ first, learning to read and love the Bible, falling head over heals in love with Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ! Salvation. Working out our salvation (still). Changed lives. Redemption. Resurrection. Healing. Renewal! Learning to let Him work in us, through us and between us. Loving God. Loving people. Journeying forward!

Last night at church our vows meant more. Our vows were between two battle scarred, mature (at least more mature than we were), hope filled people in covenant with the Holy God.