Sunday, August 31, 2014

Weekend Links for you: August 30 Edition

It's Labor Day weekend and the first weekend of college football here in Arkansas! Yippee!

Here are some posts over the past week or so that have touched my heart. Hope at least one of them speaks to you as well.

This post from Kelly Minter on why unity in the church matters is so, so, so good. Loved this quote:
"We need one another in the body of Christ, not just because this is a nice sentiment; rather it’s essential to the mutual enrichment of the body of Christ."

This post on freedom in our pain. I. can't. even.
"Freedom in the midst of our pain is what Jesus died to give to us."

This from Kelly Stamps on what to say...what not to say. Something to think about because we all just want to make things better. Added this link to a post I wrote back in 2013.

This on the one thing you need to know about Down Syndrome.
"It is something people have, not something people are."

"Your faithfulness surrounds You..." Psalm 89:8

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Game Day, Baby! It's Football Season!

Well, it's Saturday and it's GAME DAY, BABY! I woke up so excited, because...not gonna is about to

Except for the Texas Rangers. I love them, and I love my family who loves them. :)

But I'm just kind of a football girl.

And on Saturdays and Sundays, I enjoy having football on the TV in the background. It's soothing to me. Grandmother used to "put on golf." She said it was so peaceful watching golf on TV. She loved the landscaping of the golf courses and the quiet way the announcers talked. She would find a channel that was showing golf, and promptly take a nap.

My boys have always laughed at my love for football. They are not impressed with a girl or a MOM who spouts off scores and stats and things like that. Just fix us some dip, woman!


It's like I've always told my boys, I don't claim to know everything about football. I don't even claim to know a LITTLE about football. But I make up for my lack of knowledge with lots of enthusiasm!

I have a few college football teams that I really like, but I will always cheer for the SEC teams.

Except LSU. I will never cheer for them.

Please don't take that personally.

I'm kidding.

And Kentucky. I will never cheer for Kentucky in a basketball game.

I live in Arkansas, so I cheer for the Arkansas Razorbacks. And our son, Logan, graduated from Arkansas State University, so I always cheer for the Red Wolves (they aren't in the SEC). I also love the Ouachita Baptist University Tigers.

This weekend, our daughter...and Aaron-the-son-in-law, went to Auburn, Alabama for the Arkansas vs Auburn game. We stayed here to watch Marley, their Yorkie. Jim calls him the "half-a-dog."

The half-a-dog is (apparently) nocturnal. Or maybe it's just that he's not in his own environment. I'm tired today.

I had high hopes for our team.

Scratch that. I had highER hopes for our team than last year. And they did look better. I was impressed by much of what I saw.

But will all of that make for a winning season? Time will tell. I'm hoping for 5 wins, which is stretching it. A LOT. Especially since one of the teams we play, Northern Illinois, just stomped on their opponent the other night 55-3...and I was sure counting on us beating them. Ruh-roh, Raggy.

"Shout to the Lord, all the earth; be jubilant, shout for joy, and sing." Psalm 98:4

Friday, August 29, 2014

John the Baptist and How Black Men Look Good Bald

So, three mornings this week, I drove Joshua to Little Rock to Therapeutic Recreation. To help with his nerves on the drive, I have tried to get him talking...anything to distract him and keep him calm.

This particular morning, for some reason, he got on the subject of his hair. Of course, he had styled it himself and the front part was sticking straight up. Straight.UP.

(I post pictures of him regularly on my Facebook wall: Marty Logan Garland, on my Instagram: martythemoose, and on twitter: moosethemarty).

He said, "well, I get my hair from PawPaw Skip (my Dad), and I hope I keep it for a long time."

I told him that men go bald at different ages, and that it's okay. He wasn't having it. He said, "I like my hair. I want to keep my hair."

He said, "Look at Aaron (the son-in-law), he's pretty much the only member of his family with hair. His Dad? Little hair. One brother? Little hair. Other brother? Bald. PURE SKIN UP THERE."

Then he went off (again) on how Black men look good bald. He listed them on his fingers, "there's Michael Jordan, George Foreman, Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu...all Black men, all look good bald. White men, NO."

At some point in  our conversation, he started talking about when he was in high school. Even tho he and Holly are over 2 years apart in age, they were just one grade apart in school, because we ran Joshua through Kindergarten twice. Joshua said, "I never really thought about it, but I was a trailblazer for Holly...I set the pace. I did something, and then Holly did it the very next year."

I said, "You were like John-the Baptist...preparing the way."

He said, "yeah...pretty much."

"I will sing continually about the Lord’s faithful deeds; to future generations I will proclaim your faithfulness." Psalm 89:1

Thursday, August 28, 2014

When The Hardest Place Is Church

This post shook me to my core. Especially this paragraph:

If the church truly wants to serve the “least of these” – whom Jesus urged the Church to make a priority, are they not the disabled? Now ask yourselves this: How many people with disabilities come to your church? Where are all the people with handicaps anyway? Sure, they seemingly have little to offer the church — no money, no volunteering, no inviting their friends, they may be unlovely to look upon, make weird noises, have improper behaviors, spit more than normal, throw up routinely, and do not even offer “acceptable” praise and worship.  Many of them are unwanted even by their own parents. They are a group who cannot speak for themselves, cannot go where they want to go, or even eat or go to the bathroom without help , and accordingly, they ought to be honored as the most patient among us! The disabled who have been brought to the church are among the blessed few. First, they are blessed to be alive, cared for, and well enough to attend; and second, they are blessed to have a parent or caregiver who love them enough to battle the process of getting them to the church. And so, I implore you — please do not send them out into the lobby or to an empty room to sit alone after all they have struggled with and endured just to make it into your doors!

Because that's where we are...lots of us. 

First of all, I love our church. We knew from the get-go that there wasn't any sort of out-reach for adults with disabilities, or a Special Needs class for him or anything. The one thing we were looking didn't have. But we really feel like this is where we are supposed to be.

Joshua has not been shunned in any way that we know of at our church. Most people smile and nod at him. Some people will speak to him. A scant few will intentionally engage him in a conversation.

Which, I'd like to say is just their loss, because Joshua has a lot to say. He is wise and witty.

Why don't people take time to get to know him?

Fear? Busyness? Apathy? Because we're new?

He doesn't bite. Well...anymore.

(long story!) (wink!)

But it's also kind of HIS loss, too...because, like most of us, he craves connection.

I remember a friend of mind from years ago. She had a daughter who had CP, and she was pretty much non-verbal. She did make sounds, but her mother could usually tell what she was trying to communicate. When they were out, her daughter would try to "speak" to everyone she saw...but it didn't come out as "hi!" It came out as "UHHHHHHHHHHHHH." People would drop their eyes or turn to walk in another direction. My friend was, like, "can people...grown adult people...not say HELLO to her? I don't get it."

Me, either.

Not at all.

I have to echo the writer of this article and ask, "where are all of the disabled people?" Because I know they're out there.

And side note: I don't really like the word, "disabled," but you know what I mean, right? I can't really think of another one to use at the moment, other than physically/mentally challenged.

And, before we jump on the "how dare they not include and accept our 'challenged' friends and family members" band-wagon and picket outside of Bible-preaching churches full of God-fearing people...and before we jump on the band-wagon of "we can't let those people disrupt our service," I think it would be good to realize that there are valid points to be made on both sides.

Yes, our churches SHOULD have a place for the intellectually and physically challenged. They should be searched for and targeted, just like every other demographic group in our community. They should be accepted and involved in worship. There should be a class for them, and they should be taught a lesson during the small group hour, just like everyone else. And they should be treated with care and intention.

It should start with the staff. Or maybe with someone who is experienced in this area.

And then I think the congregation will follow.

And yes, we don't want our worship services disrupted to the point where the message is not heard and people are frustrated and tempers flare. What does that even accomplish?

There is a relationship between preaching/teaching God's Word...and living it out to "the least of these" who are right in front of us. How that works in a worship service...I don't know. I think in some churches, it would totally not be a big deal. In other churches, it would require a planning committee and several meetings and maybe a weekend retreat and a casserole dinner.

Definitely a casserole dinner.

And accommodations need to be made that enable everyone to participate in worship to the best of their ability...and accommodations need to be made that enable the ministers to effectively lead the worship service without serious distractions.

I don't know. I'm no expert, but I feel like these changes start with how we view life. As in, the sanctity of life. As in, our definition of "fearfully and wonderfully made."

Because you know what? We are all a stroke...a heart attack...a brain aneurysm...a degenerative disease...a sports injury...a serious car accident...away...from being disabled.

We are. Think about it.

WE might be the ones in the wheelchairs and WE might be the ones whose mouths don't work right when we talk or sing and WE might be the ones who can't control our bodily functions and WE might be the ones totally dependent on the care of others to sustain our lives.

How would we want to be treated?

How would we want to be CHURCH?

 "And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.” Matthew 10:42

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Joshua's Movie Recommendation: "When the Game Stands Tall"

Last Friday morning, Joshua's girlfriend, Jenni, called to see if they could have a date. Jenni has a helper-friend with her on Fridays, and so we try to get them together when we can.

Jenni said they wanted to go to a movie. I worked out a meeting place with Tiffannie-the-helper-friend, and dropped Joshua off with them.

I was a nervous wreck, because for the past couple of weeks, Joshua has been very anxious and out-of-sorts. I could tell that he was getting that way by the time I left him with Jenni, and I worried half-to-death that they were going to call and ask me to come get him because he was sick.

He is just NEVER, EVER like this.

So, I went to the Wal-Marks and did some grocery shopping. I may or may not have checked my phone 5 or 20 times. And then I came home and unloaded everything...and waited.

FINALLY, Joshua texted that they were leaving the movie theater. We have a regular meeting place, so I headed there.

Joshua got out of the car just beaming. He said it was the BEST MOVIE HE HAD EVER SEEN. He said it was better than "Facing the Giants" and better than the "The Blind Side." That is high praise coming from Joshua.

Thank you, Jesus, for hearing my prayers!

He said that every football team everywhere in the world, from pee-wee up to the NFL, and all of their friends and, basically, everyone in the world...should watch this movie.

He started telling me all about it. Wait! 

Spoiler Alert!

He said that it had a shooting scene that "almost scared the crap out of me and Jenni." And then he repeated it three more times for emphasis...waiting for me to have a reaction.

On the 3rd time, I gave him one. I said, "alright, Joshua...I heard you. Please don't say 'crap.' It doesn't sound nice."

And he went, "hee hee hee hee," in his little Fred voice.

That's all he say it and make sure I knew that he said it.

He also said there was a "fru-neral" scene that was very emotional, and that he "almost cried 4 times."

Now, I don't know if that means he nearly cried 4 different times, or that he cried 3 times and almost cried the last time. No clue. That's just what he said.

And, he said that the best part of the whole day was sitting next to Jenni in the movie.

Everybody say "awwwwww..."

"Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burdens..." Psalm 68:19

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fall Semester at Therapeutic Recreation! 2014 Edition.

This is the day Joshua has been waiting for for over a month: the day his Therapeutic Recreation group started back. He could hardly wait! He has been counting down the days and talking non-stop about it, and it was finally here!

And then Joshua started getting all anxious and feeling sick, like he's been doing for the past 3 weeks. He does not handle change well, and he's had several unsettling things happen recently.

I noticed when he came downstairs that he was wearing gym shorts and a t-shirt. That should've been my first clue...and it was. Joshua typically wears shorts that button and zip, and shirt that he tucks in all preppy-like.

I told him that he had other clothes in the dryer, but he said, "I slept in these so they'll be fine." Second sign. He SLEPT in them and they'll be FINE? ma'am, that NEVER happens.

On the way to Little Rock, which is about a 35 minute drive from where we live, he was very quiet. He coughed a couple of times and was holding his seat-belt away from his stomach...a sure sign that he wasn't feeling well. I told him that if he wasn't feeling well, we could just go back home...and asked if he wanted to do that. He said, "no."

I told him that he was going to HAVE to get control of himself and find ways to calm himself down. I just felt so bad for him, because he can't really put it all together like you and I can. And, it's a fine line between ignoring it and hoping he forgets about it and gets over it on his own...and making it into an even bigger thing by offering helpful tips and suggestions for dealing with anxiety. Because the FRIENDS? Mountain? Mole-hill? They're making one.

They will run with it and there is no going back.

About 10 minutes out, I turned on the FROZEN cd that he loves, and he kinda-sorta sang alone. He still wasn't himself.  When we got to the TR Center, I had to pray over him before we even went in. I told the Alanna, the director, what was going on with him. She said that maybe after his routine starts back, he will snap out of whatever is going on. I hope so. I stood in the office and looked to the back of the Center. Joshua was calmly going from one FRIEND to another, giving hugs and talking. He looked perfectly fine.

And when I picked him up this afternoon, he said he'd had a great day! Thank you, Lord, for hearing our prayers.

On the way home, I got to hear all about his day...who did what and about all the drama.

At one point, we got to talking about the Star Wars movie that they are making, Episode 7. He said, "I can't believe Harrison Ford is gonna be in this movie. He is ODE (old). He is grayer than DAD."

I'm sure Jim will love hearing this.

He said, "I don't know about Princess Leia."

I said, "I've seen her...she looks older and more "medium-set." (Joshua's word for someone who is a little heavier than he is..."medium-set")

He said, "In udder words, she let herself go."

And then he burst into laughter.

Hoping tomorrow is a good day as well! :)

"Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." Psalm 90:14

Monday, August 25, 2014

"The Calendar Makes Haste..." Macy Goes to College!

We had a really nice weekend. We went out to eat as a family on Friday night...Jim, Joshua and I, Clark and Faith, Holly and Aaron.

On Saturday, we "hanged around" (Joshua's words) the house most of the day. Jim had started this whole group text between the kids and so that was a lot of fun. I broke off of the group conversation to talk with Logan...he is typically not a fan of group texts, but at least he was participating in this one. He said that he missed us and I told him the same thing I've told him once a week for the past 4 years..."you are welcome here anytime; we will come there anytime; and, we will meet you half-way anytime." About an hour later, he texted to say that he and Morgan would "consider it a treat" if we could all meet for dinner at the half-way point.

You just have to know Logan. He does not use words like "consider it a treat." At all. Ever.

I can't help but wonder if he and Morgan have been watching "Parent Trap" with Lindsey Lohan! That, or too much pro-soccer. He likes to think he's British.

Anyway, we loaded up my vehicle with Jim, Joshua and I, Holly, Aaron and Clark...and headed north. And east. To the land of my married baby boy and his wife.

Morgan's sister, brother, and her mom, were all able to meet there as well. We had a great dinner, and it was so fun to see them. I wish we did that every week, but that would require them having no life apart from me and our family. And while I see absolutely nothing wrong with that whatsoever, everyone else disagrees.


This afternoon, I met my sister, Leanne, and her daughter, Bryant, Arkansas. Leanne is taking Macy up to her first year of college in BOSTON, and I just wanted to see them for a few minutes. Okay, so maybe I feel a little bit bad talking about how much I miss Logan and Morgan when they are just 2 1/2 hours away.

Macy is going to Boston College, which is a 27 hour drive from where they live in Texas. She is so smart and talented...always auditioning for something. Now, she will get to pursue her passion for theater with even more guidance. We are so proud of her, and so excited for her new opportunity!

Even tho I've taken two of ours to never gets easier. And it's not easy to watch others do it, either. I got all teary reading Facebook and twitter posts about it last week and this morning...people taking their kids to college, or little ones just starting to school.  I still remember taking Holly, and then, Logan...and that awful feeling in the pit of my stomach when we left them there. I was so proud of them, and so thankful they were having this opportunity. I wouldn't have taken it away from them for anything...but I just knew that nothing would ever be the same. And it wasn't. And it isn't.

And it's okay.

This morning, I read a tweet from Beth Moore. It's her granddaughter's first day of Kindergarten. Part of her tweet said, "The calendar makes haste, but the consolation is sweet. They grow into your best friends."

Go ahead and bawl. I did.

"You indeed have made my days short in length, and my life span is nothing from Your perspective..." Psalm 39:5

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The One Where Jesus Used The Force

I am happy to report that today is Sunday, and all is well.

If you count as "well" the fact that in my haste to get ready and get to church on time, I accidentally sprayed SUNSCREEN in my hair instead of HAIR SPRAY.

That was fun. Except not.

Joshua made it to his Sunday School class (Jim walked in with him), and it was on time and in the right building this week. He was a happy camper.

And then he sat in church like a boss, and did not cough or hack like he did last week.

Thank you, Jesus.

Speaking of Jesus...

This past week was the first week of school. Joshua has been all out-of-sorts for the past couple of weeks, but I heard him moving stuff around upstairs, and so I went to investigate. He was organizing: going through all of our DVD's and putting them in a certain order that makes sense to him.

In the process, he found several "old" VHS tapes and started watching them. He has a DVD/VHS player in his room. Tapes like, the Donut Repair Club. Anyone else's kids ever watch that? "Life without Jesus is like a donut 'cuz there's a hole in the middle of your heart." He also found some "Wee Sing" tapes. 

But the one I've heard him play over and over is an Easter Passion Play from Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis. A friend of mine gave it to me over 10 years ago...I think her husband was in the choir. Joshua has had that tape on replay all week, bellowing out singing some of the songs during his "praise and worship" time.

I asked him to tell me about the tape. He said, "some people brought a demon-possessed man to Jesus." 
On the tape, Jesus put His hands up and pushed the air toward the man, and the man jumped backwards, like Jesus had just pushed the demons out of him.

Joshua laughed and said, "use the force, Jesus...use the force."

Go back to your home, and tell all that God has done for you.” Luke 8:39

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Weekend Links-August 23, 2014 Edition

Here are some posts that touched my heart this week...hope at least one of them speaks to you:

This by Lisa Leonard on the importance of sisterhood and friendship. I relate to this post so much!

This by Alia Joy is powerful and convicting..."who is your neighbor?"

This post by Ann Voskamp on sending the kids off to school...what they really need to know and what you really need to say to them.

This on loss...endings are meant to be grieved. "Go ahead and grieve it."

This by Lysa Terkeurst on embracing the magnificent in the world...and what we miss when we rush.

This by Christine Caine on passing the baton of faith so that the church doesn't suffer. I don't know if it's because I have a son who runs track, but I totally "get" this post and how it relates to life.

This by Angie Smith, what good is faith if it doesn't have purpose? What does our life and work look like on the "back-side?" Or, behind closed doors?

"If I say, "My foot is slipping," Your faithful love will support me, LORD. When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy." Psalm 94:18-19 

Friday, August 22, 2014

The First Week of Clark's Senior Year (Or, How He's Burned Out on PNB Sandwiches in His Lunch After Just 3 Days)

It's Friday of the first week of school. Thank.the.Lord. Thought it would never get here.

I have loooooooved reading all of the first day/first week posts on social media. The pictures have all been so cute. Seeing all of the traditions that I did when my kids were younger...precious.

And now in the words of Paul Harvey is "the rest of the story."

Because those first day pictures? I did that...for all 4 of our kids...every.single.year. We didn't have Pinterest or cute signs or social media where we could post them for all the world to see 3 seconds after we took them. We had a C-A-M-E-R-A...and it used FILM (Google it if you don't know what that is) (ha). And we had the local WAL-MARKS...or one of those little 1-hour photo places...and you better believe that there was a LINE OUT THE DOOR on the first morning of the first day of school.

I just realized that I have now turned into the "we-walked-2-miles-in-the-snow-to-school-back-in-my-day-and-it-was-uphill-both-ways" person.


It just happens so Because it just seems like yesterday when I was cutting sandwiches into the shapes of dinosaurs for my kids' lunches, or gluing macaroni "hair" onto a paper plate. I can remember counting out 100 Hershey kisses for one of my kids to share on the 100th day of school party. I remember the special dinners and how I tried to celebrate the little things and make every day fun and happy.

Let me just give you a little reality check on what is going on over here.

I have a Senior. A Senior BOY. Altho he has experienced his share of all the happy memories I could possibly create for him, the past few years...he could really care less about any of it. Or, he acts that way. It almost makes me want to just give up...but it's like I told my daughter the other day: Motherhood can be a thank-less and unappreciated times. Because those times when your kids are young and they think you are THE BOMB and hang on every word you say...those days are short. And then the rolling of the eyes start, or they'll "huff" when you ask them to do things...and then, over time, they have the nerve to (wait for it) have their own thoughts and opinions. Ugh. And those thoughts and opinions may not only cause conflict, they may be completely opposite of what you have taught them, what you believe in your core. This can lead to major stress and conflict. Not that you are always fussing...I don't mean that. I just mean that when kids are little, they typically do what you say and they believe whatever you say...and when they are older and challenge that, even when the challenge is's just...I can't think of the right word. Mentally taxing, maybe? Basically, over time, I think their main goal is to down.

Mission accomplished.

But, I told Holly...The little things I do for the them, the big things I do, the things I say, the things I give, the sacrifices I make...I feel called by and accountable to God to do them. So that's why I make the lunches and I write the notes and why I walk a kid out to the car every morning and why I wait up for kids at night and why I text them first thing in the morning and why I spend countless hours they don't even know about lifting them up in prayer...whether I ever get a "thank you," or a hug or a wave or not. It's what I have to do. I am Mom.

On the first day of school, I got up and made chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. I also started to make the first lunch of the first day of Clark's last year of school. He said, "oh, don't have to make my lunch...Faith (the girlfriend) is bringing lunch to me."


On the first NIGHT of the first day of Clark's last year of school...I made a special dinner...all things I know he loves, complete with one of his favorites, homemade chocolate pudding. I got, "I think I'm gonna eat with Faith tonight."


On the second day of school, I packed his lunch and planned another dinner I know Clark loves: grilled burgers and hot dogs, and a cheese dip that is his absolute favorite. Again I got, "I think I'm gonna eat with Faith tonight."


On the third day of school, I made his lunch, and I did not make any dinner. I threw food out on the floor and said, "eat if you want...I don't even care," and then I left.


Except for the leaving part. I have choir practice on Wednesdays.


With our daughter, I was able to be more involved with all of the Senior stuff. I loved the excitement of it all. With our last two boys, tho...I got nothin'. Seriously, they could care less about all the "fluff" and pomp and circumstances associated with the senior year of school. I don't "get" them at all.

And, in other news, after THREE DAYS OF SCHOOL, Clark informed me that he was "burned out" on having peanut-butter sandwiches in his lunch. 

(I just need you to know that I am slow-blinking him right now)

So, to all of you Moms out there in the trenches of trying to figure out what letter of the alphabet your kid is on this week...or trying to pack a somewhat nutritious lunch out of two carrot sticks and a heel of bread...or frantically running BACK up to the school with another outfit for your child because you had no idea it was picture day until you saw all of the OTHER KIDS getting out of their cars wearing their BEST school clothes and your child is wearing a green t-shirt that says, "John Deere" on the front (been there, don't ask)...I raise my Diet Coke up to you to say, "HANG IN THERE!" And "YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB!"

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up..." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Thursday, August 21, 2014

What Word Describes You?

Two weeks ago, our Sunday School teacher passed out questionnaires to everyone, and told us to "interview" someone sitting at our table. So the teacher's wife, she was sitting across from me and asked if I wanted to partner up with her.

We had to ask each other these questions and write the answers down. I didn't realize until it was over that the teacher wants to put them in a book.

Ummm...I'd like to change some of my answers.

Some of the questions were simple, like "where did you grow up?" Or, "where did you meet your husband/wife?" And then there were some that required a lot of thought: "if you could ask Jesus to change one thing in the world, what would it be?"

I don't even know how to answer that last question.

But the one that stopped all of us...the 4 women at our table...was this one, "if you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be?"

And you should've heard us hem-hawing around. The two who knew each other were asking the other person's opinion. No one wanted to say, "hey, I'm really humble." Or, "I'm really nice to others." Or, "my family and friends would say that I'm very friendly and out-going."

No one wanted to claim that they had any good qualities.

Ladies, why do we do that to ourselves?

God made us. Surely He gave us spiritual gifts. We have talents and good qualities that we have also worked hard to improve.

But no one wanted to say anything good about themselves, so they kind of put something out there and ended it like a question. Like they weren't sure. Or like they didn't want people to think they were arrogant or something.

"Ummm...I might be a good listener?"

"I kind of like to serve my family, is that what you're looking for?"

"I'm really organized. Wait...that sounds bad. Put that I'm friendly. Wait. No, just put that I'm organized. (sigh) That sounds boring."

The men who were interviewing each other? "Uh...MIKE, I'd like to describe myself as driven." Or strong. Or decisive. Or a leader.

Confidence. Why don't we have it? I think maybe we've associated it with the bad kind of pride that can take over your life and make you believe more in yourself and your abilities than in the God who created your own self and gave you those abilities.

But we can have Christ. "For You are my hope; O Lord GodYou are my confidence from my youth." Psalm 71:5

And we can acknowledge that, yes, God created each of us uniquely and with different personalities and gifts (I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made..." Psalm 139:14); We have strengths that we should work to improve on with His help and guidance, and we have weaknesses that we should be aware of and, with His help, work to minimize.

Me? I said I was "funny."     
My husband piped up from the peanut gallery to say I was funny LOOKING.

(And, as my kids will mimic my in-laws saying, "and he just laughed and laughed..." But they'll say it like this, "he just lay-uffed and lay-uffed.")

I'm slow blinking you right now, Mister.

"But He said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

More Than Sparrows

I've heard it said that when you hear a Bible truth more than once from more than one source...God's trying to tell you something.

This happens to me all the time.

So, all of this stuff going on with Joshua at our's hurtful, even tho it's not intentional. And it's easy to give in to the "poor me" attitude and withdraw from people...and from life.

But that's not right, is it?

And since one of my main things with Joshua is showing others all of his great qualities, and showing others that he's not all that different from the rest of's not gonna be too good if I hole up in my house because someone hurt my feelings.

Last Sunday, our church participated in an annual event called "Dorm Storm." It's a bunch of our church members (like, over 250), along with members from a couple other local churches, coming together to help the freshmen move into their dorms at one of the colleges in our town. We have three universities here, and Dorm Storm takes place at the largest one. It's always a lot of fun...and very HOT. Jim and Clark, Holly and Aaron, had all signed up to help. I decided to stay with Joshua and go to church with him. I had pretty much planned to drive to church back in our "home" town, because they have a special ministries class...and, I don't know...I just wanted to be with people who know and love Joshua.

BUT, my friend was staying here with us, and the timing just wasn't working out. I'm kind of wondering if God didn't orchestrate her visit just to keep me in town.

By the time our friends left, Joshua and I couldn't make it to Sunday School, so we just went to late church. Joshua was still kind of out-of-sorts from last week...and even this week, he seemed agitated sitting in church.

Joshua really does not handle change well. Anytime we have to change something, we try to make time to prepare him for it in advance. We can't always do this, but we try.

One of the hardest things about parenting someone who has challenges is that they can't always speak for themselves...and even when they try, they aren't always sure of the words. Joshua can't tell me, "my stomach hurts because my heart is sad." Or, "my stomach hurts because I ate too much at dinner."

We try but we can't always put our finger on what is wrong...what is causing his distress.

So, this week...Joshua is just not...right. I'm hoping that when his Therapeutic Recreation group starts back next week, things will be back to normal. It's upsetting to see my normally happy-go-lucky man-child be so anxious.

The verses that kept coming back to me were the ones where Jesus tell us that we are more important than birds.


Matthew 10:29: "Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will."

Matthew 10:31: "So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows."

Luke 12:6: "Aren’t five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God."

Luke 12:7: "And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows."

Resting in these truths today.

"And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and tomorrow thrown into the fire to heat the oven, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?" Matthew 6:30

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hard-Headed Hypocrite (I'm Talkin' About ME)

I am such a hypocrite at times.

Are you?

I no more read this post and commented that I need to do this more often...and prayed for God to give me opportunities...when I was presented with a situation and I almost missed it.

By choice.


I have been blessed over the course of my life with great friends. I've written on here a lot about how Jim and I have been supported, encouraged and refreshed by the friendships in our lives. There have been times when we were scared and discouraged...and a note or a call from a friend was like a B-12 shot in the arm for us. Boosted our spirits and lifted our heads.

I am convinced that one of the things most of us want in the world...for women, for someone to just listen to usNot tune us out...not roll their eyes...not laugh or make-fun of...not give us a list of how to fix things...not try and fix it for us. We just want someone to LISTEN.

And, hey, it might not be that we are listening to anything "important." Nothing about life decisions or deep-seated insecurities or unspoken dreams. Maybe it's just about kids or recipes or which brand of running shoes are the best. You know, the "regular" stuff of life. How great is it to have someone just STOP and be totally engaged in what you are saying? It's rare, these days.

On Friday, Jim took Joshua and headed down to visit his parents. The plan was for them to spend Friday night and then meet Clark and I at noon at a picnic we had to attend in Little Rock on Saturday. I was excited. School is starting and it's Clark's senior year and I don't know...I have just been feeling kinda of "meh" about the whole thing. I had wanted to paint our master bathroom all summer, but it just wasn't working out. Jim doesn't really like all of the clutter that happens with progress (ha) (I'm pretty messy and I work slow), and so I like to do home-improvement projects when he's going to be out-of-town for a night. I figured Clark would be hanging out with his girlfriend, and I would have many hours to myself to paint and then get things back in order. My mind was ticking...what to hang on the wall beside the tub and maybe we need new bathmats and rugs and how I needed to look up on Pinterest about framing a bathroom mirror because this one is not coming down off the wall without a fight (I've's stuck on there with wall texture).

I could hardly wait for Jim and Joshua to leave (in a good way!). I went to the store and got the paint, just so I would be all ready. I wanted to get started as soon as their car had cleared the driveway.

But then I got the text from a friend: "we are passing through on our way to a funeral...can we stay at your house tonight?"

And my first thought, minutes after reading that post, was of MY it was going to affect MY PLANS.

And then, I heard the cock crow. Oh, not really...but it might as well have.

And then I laughed...because of how easy it was for me to spout off all the right words. And how easy it was for me to forget the very thing that I had just prayed about..."Lord, make me aware of opportunities to serve You."


Knock-knock? Anybody there? 

I called my friend and I told them to "COME ON!"  I welcomed her into our home. It was perfect timing, even if I didn't think so at first. I am honored that of all the places she could stay, she asked to stay here. It made me happy that she felt comfortable and relaxed here. We talked about life...and about nothing, and just hung out. And when she asked if they could stay a second night, I didn't even have to consider my answer.


"So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up." Galatians 6:9

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Last First Day of School (Clark)

Today is the first day of school in our town. I have LOVED seeing all of the posts and pictures on social media. Makes me miss those days so much!


But today is our youngest child's first LAST day of school...he's a Senior this year. And honestly, I am frustrated with the whole thing...with him. Over the course of the last couple of months, I have offered to take him "back-to-school" shopping. He's been all, like, "I'm good."


Because I talked to his girlfriend about it and she said, "oh...I keep a list on my phone of things he wants, like for Christmas and birthdays and stuff. I listen when he comments on things, and then I write it down."

Well, aren't YOU smart, missy?

I do that, too, but then when it comes to the going-and-the-getting of said items, he doesn't seem too interested.

I kinda took it personally this weekend...when, after we had planned on going shopping, just the two of us, after a picnic our family had to attend...he said, "you know? I think I'm good with just going home."

I put my sunglasses on and bit my lip the whole way home, because I just wanted to cry. I took it as he didn't want to go...WITH ME. Because I knew there were things he wanted. Hello? I've seen "the list."

I just never had this problem with any of the other 3 kids. Joshua loves to shop...for clothes, shoes, groceries. You name it, he loves it. Holly? If I had said, "If there's anything you need..." she would be in the car before I finished the sentence. And I love it. Some of my favorite times are shopping with her...we just like to look at everything. And Logan? Well, he is a nightmare to shop with, not gonna lie. But it's just because it takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r for him to make a decision and he won't talk and we go back and forth and then go back to the first thing he saw three hours ago...but at least he WILL go if I offer to take him.

I wanted to tell Clark he was taking all of the fun out of his Senior year...for ME...but I didn't.

Expectations...they can be a real buzz killer, can't they? (sigh)

So, last night, he opened up the "school-supply" cabinet that I keep here at home. I've got pens, pencils, notebooks, paper, folders...stuff like that that I pick up periodically. He chose a few items and put them out on the table. He went upstairs and dumped out the stuff that was STILL IN HIS BACKPACK FROM MAY...and put the new stuff in...changed out the batteries in his calculator that haven't been changed out in about 6 years...and announced that he was good-to-go.

Before he went up to bed, tho, he gave me a hug and said, "so, are you going to make chocolate chip pancakes in the morning, like usual?" And I said, "of course!"

It was the first time that thought had crossed my mind. Do I usually do that? Did I do that last year?

And then he said, "oh, don't have to pack my lunch tomorrow, because Faith is bringing lunch up to me at school."

Oh, okay. Nevermind the "love-napkin" I was going to put in there, along with the special treats I bought for your lunch on your Last First Day of school. Ugh.

And, side note: I love his girlfriend and I am very thankful for her. She keeps me in the loop as much as she can. I would really miss a lot without her.

This morning, after the pancakes, he made his iced-coffee and walked out to his car. I went out with him, trying to get a Last First Day picture. He was not cooperating. I got a picture of him from the back, walking to his car.


When I finally got him to turn around for a picture, he wouldn't smile. Seriously?

And then he grinned at me real big as he backed out of the driveway. The little weasel.

I'm sure he thought he was soooooo funny.

"I'll get you, my pretty...and your little dog, too."


This is how photographers get us, moms of boys. They patiently wait us out. They know that the last few years of school will be like fighting to record these precious memories for all time, and our boys fighting NOT to be captured on any device operated by their parents.

And this is why we pay them, the photographers, the big bucks...because we know that for one part of one day in the summer, or early in their senior year...our sons will reluctantly agree to pose in clothes of their own choosing, with the understanding that this.must.never.happen.again.

I'm there, people.

"Love the LORD your God with all your soul, with all your heart, and with all your strength." Deuteronomy 6:5

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The End of the World and 16 Years

Three years ago, on the day of Holly's wedding...someone predicted the world would end.

And everyone freaked out.

Of course, it didn't end.

The Bible says that no one knows the hour or the day when the Lord will return...not even Jesus Himself. "However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows." (Mark 13:32)

So, all the psychics and analysts out yourself some time. You are not going to be right.

I know that I should always be watching and ready for the Lord to return, and many days I do. But I confess that some days, it doesn't cross my mind. I'm embarrassed to admit it, because, how sad is that? I think that if I kept it in front of me and lived with purpose...and told people of Jesus with the urgency that is needed to keep people from life would be different.

And so would the lives of others.

But if the world ends in a few hours, not gonna lie...I'd be okay with that.

You know...if it was just about me.

Because, as of today, my Mom has been in Heaven for 16 years. I can hardly believe it. She's missed so much, and yet I guess she's really missed nothing at all. She's with Jesus. It's the ones who are left here who are missing her presence every day.

So, yeah...if the world ended today, I'd be okay with that.

Because, I'm ready. I'll be spending eternity with my Father, in His House of no tears, no death, no sorrow, no pain.

And it's not because of anything I've done at ALL (Titus 3:5), but because God sent His only Son to die for ME....and for you (John 3:16).

But, it's NOT just about me, and my heart aches for those who have not yet made the decision to accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord of their lives.

You don't have to live in fear of tomorrow, or any tomorrows to come. You can know Him today. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." (Acts 16:31)

Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow."

"For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thiefin the night." (1 Thessalonians 5:2)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Hair Appointment, Old Friends and "Bravery"

So I had a hair appointment this afternoon in Little Rock. I had thought of going in early and shopping for a bit, but I changed my mind, and decided to just go straight to my appointment and come straight home. Jim is having his colonoscopy in the morning, and he was starting the "prep" today. If you've ever had one (I haven't yet), or know someone who know that this is not on anyone's list of really fun days.

Although by this time tomorrow, it will have moved wayyy up in the ranking.


Anyway, I was afraid that he might need me to be here...because when you are practically having to live in the bathroom for 12 hours or so, you really want a witness.

Can I get an AMEN?

Except not.

And, side note: when I got home, he wasn't even here...he was at work. I think I'm really overestimating my usefulness around here!

I took Joshua with me to my appointment, and he was so sweet. He told me I looked "scary" when I had color and stuff all over my head...and he told me I was beautiful when it was all said and done.

I know. Don't you wish he was yours?

While we were in the salon, we ran into a girl I hadn't seen in YEARS. We went to church together, back in the early days when we just had Joshua and Holly. I remember her being so sweet. She has 5 children now...all around the same ages as ours. I introduced her to Joshua, and she was so thrilled to see him. He, of course, did not have a clue who she was...but he was very nice and talked with her. She and I talked about our lives, and she brought up some of her memories from when we lived in Little Rock.

On the way home, I told Joshua that she knew him when he was born and when he had his heart surgery; That she came to see me in the hospital and brought food and gifts, and that she and her husband PRAYED for him and for us many, many days. He said, "oh, I didn't know."

I told him that he needed to know that while we might not remember the things we do or say...things from years and years ago, other people will. And sometimes those words and those deeds are a lifeline to people in crisis.

And he pulled a Grandma Ellen and said, "uh-huh-and-anyway," and started talking about the "story" he is writing.

It's called "Bravery," which, not gonna lie...that thought comes in real handy on a 40 minutes drive listening to him talk about things.that.don't.make.sense.

Don't is seriously the strangest "story" I've ever heard.

He has combined all of his favorite stories and movies into "Bravery." And, since we had the conversation long, long ago about how you can't copy other people's songs (and ideas and movies and books), he will use something eerily similar: "His name's not's DON." And, "he doesn't turn into a WOLF...he turns into a coyote."


And he told me that he re-wrote the prologue of his story to make it "more scarier."

So there's that.

And, just in case you think I'm being mean or exaggerating about this story, you have to know that the two Joshua quotes that will bring a laugh to any member of our family are these:

1) "once you're born the age you are."

2) "the age you are is you stay."

And he is very emphatic when he says those last words, like you are crazy for not understanding him: "the age you are is you STAY."

Imagine a book or movie full of quotes like this!


"I do not cease to give thanks for you when I remember you in my prayers." Ephesians 1:16

Friday, August 15, 2014

Colonoscopy and the SEC Channel

Here's the colonoscopy post, as promised.

You know your life has sunk to a new low when this is the stuff you post. Just keeping it real here.

And, you know that I typically find humor in most things...and sometimes it gets me into trouble. As my daughter frequently tells me, "MOM...these people don't know you and they don't get your humor."

There are some things that aren't when they request that you bring a copy of your LIVING WILL to your colonoscopy appointment. Yes, ma'am, they did. And Jim and I both have one, but I've never really read his until I saw it on the counter by the car keys and stuff. It says I can make all of the life and death decisions for Jim...unless I'm DEAD, or we're which case, his youngest brother, Jeff, gets to make those decisions for him. WHAT?

In the words of Joshua, "I frown upon that."

Because: our children.

Two of which are young adults. Might wanna have a say.

We had to leave at dark-thirty to get to Jim's appointment. Even tho I thought we were leaving wayyyy too early, it was his appointment...not mine. I got up, got ready and kept my mouth shut. We drove in darkness the whole way. Crossing the Arkansas River, the Twin River Bridge was lit up with red,white and blue lights. It was so pretty. I posted a pic on Instagram (martythemoose).

We got to the doctor's office and were the 2nd car in the parking lot. We raced to beat this old(er) couple to the door, thinking that if we got in there before they might bump Jim up in the line. It didn't.

Speaking of old couples, we were the youngest people in the waiting room (and we are not young)...until this one chick walked in with her dad. This girl was dressed UP. She was wearing a short, black and coral, chevon printed dress. She was carrying a black and tan chevron printed bag. But most interesting were the black gladiator sandals that strapped all the way up to her knees. And the looks and the "mmm..mmmm's" she got in the waiting room ranged from DANG, WOMAN! Because it was 6:30 in the morning! I felt really under-dressed for the occasion. God bless her for getting up and getting her family member to the doctor...and lookin' sassy at the same time!

I had planned ahead with my outfit, because I've been to this place before, and it is COLD in the waiting room. Boosh! I tossed around the idea of bringing a blanket from home, but then I decided against it. Didn't want to go all Grandma Moses on them.

They took Jim back and got him all IV'd up and settled, and then called me back to sit with him. He was laying in the bed with his hospital gown on...and covered up with a sheet. He said, "it is freezing cold back here...I hope they all know about shrinkage."

(please tell me you get the Seinfeld reference)

And, ummm...they shouldn't be looking because WRONG SIDE.

It doesn't take long for a colonoscopy if things are normal and routine. Jim's was and he is fine, thankfully. They called me back to sit with him in recovery, and...not to be indelicate, but are y'all aware of what goes on in these places after a colonoscopy?

It's a toot-fest.


The guy in the room next to Jim sounded like a rhino that had just eaten a burrito.

I mean,

But there are these words: yesterday was the start of the SEC channel and I was super-excited about it.

Last night's show, however, kinda made Arkansas look like doofuses. Is that even a word? Texas had Governor Rick Perry representing their school. Ashley Judd was representing Kentucky, and Enmitt Smith was representing the Gators. There was also Darius Rucker (South Carolina), James Carville (LSU), Melissa Joan Hart (Alabama). All sports fans, well-known, eloquent speakers.

Representing Arkansas was former President of the United States and die-hard Razorback fan, Bill Clinton. Nope.

Representing Arkansas was former Governor, former presidential candidate, Fox News reporter, Mike Huckabee. Nope.

Representing Arkansas was famous actress, Mary Steenburgen. Nope. American Idol winner, Kris Allen. Nope.

For Arkansas they used Ralphie the comedian.

Say it ain't so, Tim Tebow...say it ain't so!

"Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves." Philippians 2:3

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Joshua's Thoughts On Robin Williams

We had a good day yesterday...and by "we," I mean everyone but Jim. He had a colonoscopy. I intended to post about that today, but it will have to wait until tomorrow.

I know you can hardly wait for that., am I right?


And, by the way, Jim is fine.

AND he slept all the way home from Little Rock, about a 40 minute drive. When we got into town, I went through the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru, and got breakfast to take home. Jim ate breakfast, and then slept 4 more hours on the couch.

Sign me up for the next colonoscopy.

I mean, seriously. I haven't had a nap since 1986.

Everything seemed good later in the day, so I decided to go to choir practice. When I left, Jim was milling around in the kitchen. I had set some fish fillets out, and he was going to fix fish tacos for dinner. That's one of Joshua's favorite things about Wednesday nights when I'm gone to choir: Jim cooks dinner for the two of them. Last night, Clark was there, too.

When I got home from choir, Joshua was in the bathroom. I could hear him running his bath water...and, during the course of 15-20 minutes, I heard his toilet flush 3 times.

I won't go into details, but Joshua was not well. At all. He kept saying that it was the fish tacos...that he ate a jalapeno...that he ate too much...or that he ate too fast.

It wasn't that.

I went up to check on him after I heard him making the all too familiar "hacking" noise...trying to throw up. I just couldn't figure out what was going on. I knew it wasn't the food. Holly and Aaron came over and tried to distract him by bringing their little dog. Joshua tried, but he just wasn't feeling it.

I had him come over and sit on my lap. I just wanted to see if he felt warm. I didn't want to get out the thermometer and make a big deal out of him feeling bad. The FRIENDS all love them some drama, and if he even thought he had a fever, he'd probably get on the phone and text everyone he knew, and all the FRIENDS would be in a full-out tizzy in 6.5 seconds.

He did not have a fever, but his little body was shaking all over.

Bless his heart! He was ALL out-of-sorts. I went upstairs with him to talk and, in the quiet and darkness of his room, he FINALLY spit it out...he was upset about Robin Williams.

We try to protect him from things like this, but he has Facebook...and it seemed like all the news sites were trying to out-do each other by posting the grisly parts of the story, how Robin Williams died. Joshua said, "Robin Williams took his own life and left his family to suffer his loss."

Let that sink in.

My 28 year old Downsy boy said that: he "left his family to suffer his loss."

So we had a long talk about how Robin Williams was sick. I had to keep it simple. I mean, how do you explain the unexplainable to a child-like mind?

Side note: I thought this had some good thoughts (not for Joshua...for me).

I quickly texted about 5 people and told them what was going on...and asked them to please pray for Joshua. Nothing I could do or say could calm his heart...only the balm that comes from God's people praying was going to give him peace.

Joshua stayed up pretty late. I told him if he needed me, he could come downstairs to my room. I got out sheets and stuff to make a pallet on the floor on my side, just in case. He never came.

He came downstairs this morning around 7:30. I asked him how he slept, and he said, "like a rock."

Thank you, Jesus, for hearing our prayers.

"In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Joshua's Thoughts on Alabama and They're Not Nice

You have to know that Joshua is a huge Arkansas Razorbacks fan.

Except when he's not.

But even when he's fussing about the Razorbacks, he is never, ever, EVER an Alabama fan.

Like, ever.

And Nick Saban? Don't get me started.

I think it was last year, there were rumors that Nick Saban was going to go to Texas to coach the Longhorns...and Joshua was the number one fan of that idea. You know why, right?

It would get him out of the SEC.

But Nick Saban did NOT go to Texas...he's still at Alabama...and Joshua is furious. He said, "pretty dumb move of Nick Saban...not to go to Texas."

Every summer, right before football season starts, Aaron-the-son-in-law hypes himself up for the upcoming football season by re-watching some of the games from the LAST season.

I don't get it.

I love football but I don't really want to re-watch games. There is even that one Saturday night in Oxford, 2003, when Arkansas beat Ole Miss in 7 overtimes, with Matt Jones as the quarterback.


One time.

It was awesome ONE TIME.

Don't wanna watch it again.

Not Aaron. He can re-watch these games over and over on Netflix and he LOVES it. And then he talks allllll about it with Joshua.

So, the other night, Holly and Aaron were over and Aaron was talking to Joshua about football...and about all the games he has re-watched on his Netflix lately. He says, "we can re-watch that Alabama-Arkansas game, if you want to."

Joshua said, "I don't know about that." But Aaron turned it on, and Joshua sat in the chair and mumbled every Downsie bad word he never knew...about the players, the refs, the game, Nick Saban...and the entire state of Alabama.

Aaron-the-son-in-law said, "Joshua, do you remember where we were last year when we watched this game?" Joshua said, "I don't think so." Aaron said, "We were at the lake house with Mammaw Jack and Papaw Genie, and we started watching this game. It was awful! Alabama was beating us like yard dogs."

Joshua looked at Aaron with his seriously mad face and said, "I frown upon that."

"And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone..." 1 Thessalonians 3:12

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I've noticed a familiar topic in many of the blogs I read: ENOUGH.

As in, we do enough, we go enough, we have enough...we ARE enough.

The fact that this is being echoed everywhere tells me that we are not teaching this well.

Maybe we aren't living this well.

This is all really surprising, since our country seems to be going away from the whole work-hard/study-hard and you can get ahead the whole "just-do-enough," "everyone wins," and "someone else will pay for it" mentality.

And we are getting away from the whole "all men are created equal," to people killing babies they don't want...and abandoning less than perfect babies in hospitals...and abuse that we blame on our pasts...or on society.

Maybe it's that no one really understands the definition of "enough."

My dictionary defines it as, "as much or as many as required."

My mind defines it as "what you need to get by." Like, GOOD enough.

Like, why try to make a 100% on a test when 90% is also an's "good enough." Or, in college, a C is "good enough" to pass a class. Or, when you pour liquid into a glass, you don't pour too much...or it will spill all over the table. You just pour enough.

What does the Bible say?

"Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” Luke 6:38 

I don't know. I do want to teach my girl...and my sons...and their mates and special friends...that they are ENOUGH. 

It breaks my heart that kids don't think they are good enough...for that team, for that boy (or girl), for that club, for that college. I can hardly stand to see the pain in their eyes. They are hungry for security and acceptance. But a life like this? It leads nowhere. It leads to a life of being unsatisfied, discontent and insecure. It leads to a life of no peace, because you are always looking for something or someONE to make you feel that you are enough. 

I'm not talking about healthy competition in sports or to get into your top college. And, I'm not talking about feeling like you are good enough and don't need the Lord. OH NO, MA'AM. None of us can ever be good enough to earn our salvation...but we are precious and cherished and thought of and valued ENOUGH that God sent His ONLY SON to die on the cross for OUR SINS.

So for the kids and young-adults in my life...I want them to know that they are enough, yes. But I also want them to know they are MORE.  

They are MORE VALUABLE to God than the 1 lost sheep that the shepherd went off to find (Matt 18:12).

MORE VALUABLE than the sparrows God watches (Luke 12:7).

MORE BEAUTIFUL than the lilies of the field that God clothes (Luke 12:27).

I want them to experience and give MORE GRACE (1 Timothy 1:14). 

I want them to have a MORE ABUNDANT life while they are here on earth (John 10:10).

I want them to have MORE JOY (John 16:24), and experience MORE of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:6).

I want them to show MORE FORGIVENESS to others (Colossians 3:13)

And I want them to acknowledge that God is able to do MORE than they could ever ask or believe (Ephesians 3:20). 

Luke 6:38 says that when you give, it will return to you in full...pressed down, and shaken together to MAKE ROOM FOR MORE. 

So, God gave to us...His Son, His grace, His forgiveness, His love, His peace...and when we share all of that with others, God will return to us even MORE.

So, for my kids...your kids...and you and I: You ARE enough...BE MORE.

"And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:8

Monday, August 11, 2014

Letting Go

Have you ever had to let something go? Like, something you really, really liked? Or loved? A dream? A job? A friend?

I have.

I think we all have.

When Joshua was born, I had to let go of a dream. The dream of the life Jim and I had mentally planned for our firstborn. And it was hard.

And it was good.

Because Joshua is pretty much the coolest, most awesome thing in our lives. Parenting him has been a joy...wonderful, challenging...and, at times, frustrating...not knowing if we are doing the right thing by him, not knowing if we should do more...or less.

And parenting him has taught me so much.

Side note: I'm mainly speaking about Joshua, because he is our firstborn...I feel this same way about ALL of our children.

The Bible became alive to me after I had Joshua. I don't know if it's because I sought out God's word more than I did before I had him...or if it's because, now that I'm a parent to a child I love more than my own life...who I would lay down my life for...who couldn't possibly do anything to make me love him less...who I've shown mercy to on more than one occasion...who I give grace to because we all mess up...who I forgive whether he meant to do it or not...who brings me joy just by...BEING...I can kinda-sorta relate to the love God must have for His only Son, and how incredibly difficult it must've been for Him to send Him to die for my sins...and for the sins of the world.

Because I am a parent, I have had those times when I thought my heart would burst with love for my children. And because I am a parent, I have had those times when I thought my heart would break because of something that happened to one of my children: watching Joshua live with his challenges every day, watching Joshua...and wheeled into the operating room for very serious surgeries, Clark's cancer diagnosis.

Because I am a parent, my heart has ached as I've watched one of my children rejected by a friend. I've nursed them through heart-breaks, stood by as they made their own choices, and had times when I wished they would've just listened to me or their Dad because we've been down that road.

And, because I'm a parent, I've felt thankful and fulfilled when I've seen them loving God and serving others. All of these things and MORE make me see what a great love the Father has for us!

For me.

And, all of these things...these great blessings...I wouldn't have been able to see if I had been holding on to my first dream.

Some dreams are good, tho. Right? Dreaming of marriage, of children, of a job; of getting into a certain school or writing a book or singing in front of the church;

I think maybe it's that we need to hold things loosely in our hands, like Corrie ten Book said. And maybe the danger is that we try to build or pursue something that is not from God. Or maybe it's a "good thing" that you put in front of the things of God.

I had to let go of a friendship, and it

Other people in my life had gently suggested it to me way before I finally decided to do it. I didn't listen to them. I figured they were just jealous. Now, I know that they could see things that I couldn't. You know, the advantage of being on the outside looking in.

I didn't want to...with every ounce of my being, I did not want to give it up. A godly friend, great support system and prayer warrior...lives intertwined with precious memories with our families. She was more like a sister than a friend...and how do you let go of family?

Even to this day, I can hardly bear to think about it. I didn't understand what God was asking me to do. I didn't understand why. And I couldn't explain it to her...I didn't know how. So I just...didn't.

I just backed off. Way, way off.

And every day was hard...for weeks and I attempted to navigate life without my friend by my side.

And like when you rip apart a seam, there are pieces of thread from one side stuck to the other and the edges are jaggedy and sometimes there's even a tear in the fabric. There were pieces of memories with her and her family attached to me and mine...and they are still there to this day.

We were the best of friends.

I kind of hoped that I would have this big realization where God would show me why...but, so far, it hasn't happened. I will say that the time learning to be on my own without my best friend was good preparation for some things that happened later...two moves, starting over with my family in a new town...all probably wasn't as hard on me because I was already in a place where I wasn't relying on someone else to fill up my days with conversation and laughter.

Now, I had my husband...and he's great, don't get me wrong. But isn't there just something about a really close girlfriend? I don't know about your husband, but mine does not want to spend an hour discussing an article from a magazine, or sharing recipes, or trying to figure out what color nail polish the girl I sat behind at church had on her nails, or whether or not I should get bangs...

I had other friends, too. In fact, a person who I wasn't really that close to during the whole time we lived in this town, stepped into my life as we were preparing to move...and it was unlikely and sweet, and she and I have been friends now through two moves! I am so thankful! If I had held on to what God was asking me to release, I never would've seen this new friend, or had room for her in my life.

The Bible commands us to "have no other Gods before Me." I think that goes for physical things like cars and boats, but also things like people. Husbands, wives...CHILDREN...and yes, even friends. It can even apply to all of the stuff you do at church. Anything, even a GOOD thing...if we put it before our relationship to another "god" to us. We don't have to have a physical idol or statue in our home for it to be considered a "god." Sometimes, our pride can be a god. Not pride like the "I'm-better-than-you," kind. I'm talking pride like the kind where you pride yourself on having it all together...your kids, your family, your've got it all running well.

I like to be prepared. I have a girl...but I also have 3 boys, and when they were little, unexpected surprises were not my friend. Can I get an AMEN? But working hard to create the perfect image just for the sake of image...can become a "god" if it puts the attention on ME, and takes the attention away from God.

Good thing I have the memory of Joshua making a poo-poo in the swimming the local country club to bring me down to earth. I mean, if there was ever even a thought that I might have things together, the sight of that Snicker-bar-looking-thing floating in the shallow end put allllll that to rest.

Just sayin'.

And it wasn't just Joshua. I remember another town...another country club pool...and another one of my sons. I remember a friend, AND SHE WASN'T A CLOSE FRIEND, coming up to me and "jokingly" saying, "we HAVE bathrooms out here." I looked over to see my little Logan, body pressed up to the decorative iron fence that separated the pool from the putting green...and right in front of the big windows of the dining room..."watering" the grass for all to see.

I love my boys.

Keeps me real.

Letting go of something or someone isn't fun. I mean, typically these things or people...we put them there in our lives for a reason. They're meeting a need...or keeping us from something. A lot of times we keep things around longer than we should because of fear. Fear of being alone, fear of moving ahead, fear of failure...fear of rejection. I don't know what it looks like for you.

It gets easier, the more you do it...but it's still hard. And even tho, like in the situation with my friend, I haven't felt like I totally see the reason why I was asked to let it go...there have been other situations where I can look back and clearly see God's purpose and plan. And this is what makes it easier for me to let things go now...because I've seen God's faithfulness to me in those really hard times.

"...the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

Sunday, August 10, 2014


Updated to add that when we got home after church, Joshua had a missed call on his phone from one of the girls who teaches in his class. She apologized profusely for not letting him (or the stranger-girl he sat with in church) know about the change in meeting places and time. MUCH APPRECIATED by this Mom.

So, it's Sunday.

Hoping that the incident from last Sunday wouldn't be repeated, Jim wanted to form a game-plan. He said, "what should we tell Joshua if his class decides to meet somewhere else today?"

I said, "well, can you just walk him in his class, and maybe talk to someone in there and find out?"

He said he would, and I went on to choir. We sang in the first service, and I kept my eyes on the director.

Know how I know this? Because if I had been looking around, I would've seen my little man sitting in the early service beside someone we didn't know...when he was supposed to be in Sunday School.

And if I HAD seen him, I would've left after the special music, and gone out to sit with him.

But I didn't.

I went on to my Sunday School class.

It was only after Sunday School, when I got into the choir room before the late service that Holly and Faith met me and told me what had happened with Joshua.


Honestly, I did not think I would be able to sing in the second service because my throat felt all tight and I thought I was going to cry.

But, I made it through the songs and then I went out to sit in the congregation with Jim and Joshua. Joshua had already gotten up at the beginning of the service to go to the bathroom. Something he NEVER does.

I think the whole thing kind of upset his stomach.

And then he came back and sat through the service...for the second time.

Jim and I talked about it all the way home...what to do.

Still don't have any answers. All I know is that God brought us to this church for a reason. And He loves Joshua more than we ever could. We are trusting in that. And praying for guidance.

"Aren’t five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight." Luke 12:6