The Labor of Love; It Carries On

unnamed (105)

 If you were a boat, my darling
A boat, my darling
I’d be the wind at your back
If you were afraid, my darling
Afraid, my darling
I’d be the courage you lack

If you were a bird, then I’d be a tree
And you would come home, my darling, to me
If you were asleep, then I’d be a dream
Wherever you are, that’s where my heart will be

-The Boat Song JJ Heller


I boastingly announced to Hayden last night that this time eighteen years ago, I was in labor with him. I have an honor badge, with him more than the others, that I pull out the night of October 28 annually. I started labor contractions that were consistently around ten minutes the night of the twenty-eighth. We were at a revival at the Baptist church in Iredell. The contractions stayed the same all that night.

They came like clockwork the twenty-ninth too. I sent Jason on to work hoping that as soon as I sent him, he’d have to come back. I taught Mission Friends that afternoon grimacing from discomfort every few minutes. By that evening I was fed up. I took a walk down the dirt road at my parent’s house with my nephew, Brent. It wasn’t an enjoyable walk. I was on a mission. I wanted that baby to be born.

My mom had made hot dogs for us and I remember taking my frustration out on my frankfurter. Usually a plain Jane hot dog eater, I squirted an unreasonable amount of mustard on the dog. And I ate it tauntingly. The mustard, I believe, responded accordingly as my contractions shortly thereafter intensified. Jason and I headed to the hospital, bags in the back, for what turned out to be a long night.

By this time I had already been in labor for twenty-four hours. I was having hard contractions every two to three minutes but wasn’t progressing as I needed to. They had broken my water and used other measures such as Pitocin to move things along. But unbeknownst to us, this baby, whose sex we did not know, was NOT in a hurry. God love him, he’s still that way.

Jason watched the paper roll as it charted each and every contraction with a black jagged mountain. I remember a few times him saying “That wasn’t a bad one”. (So wrong…) There are no good ones. Finally, the morning of the thirtieth, our dark-headed bright-eyed boy entered the world taking his first breath.

I remember being overcome at the instant connection I had with the wrinkly, blinking face that looked right at me like, “I know who you are, I’m here.”.

I also remember Jason’s acclaiming statement.

Oh honey, I’d do that all over again.


After safe seconds had passed, the doctor told Jason he was lucky he hadn’t gotten slapped to which the nurses laughed knowingly. It’s funny though, despite my just having gone through the worst pain I have ever encountered in my life, I knew that I would. Holding that bundle that was crafted for MY arms, I would gladly do that all over again. Maybe without the mustard and maybe I’d convince the doctor to give me the epidural earlier so that I might have enjoyed it for more than ten minutes before birth. Just maybe.

But then again, pain was part of that beautiful mystery I held in my arms.

Hayden turns eighteen tomorrow. And much unlike the labor pains, those years have passed so very fast. Like the jagged highs and lows of contractions mapped out on paper, so have been the days. Laughter and happy times mixed with sorrow and times of difficulty. And always, always joy and anticipation of what is to come.

So now I’ll continue to answer your SOS texts while they come.

I’ll fix your favorite dinner while you sit at the table.

I’ll, to your dislike, ask if you’ve studied for that “Moisture in the Atmosphere” exam.

I’ll shake my head when you come back into the house two seconds after you leave because you forgot something.

I’ll fill my morning hours with boxes of pictures of you with the smile that was so big, your cheeks squeezed your eyes shut.

I’ll try not to begrudge those days past.

I, without hesitation, would do it all over again, but these todays are equally beautiful.

And splendid days are yet to come.

Am I sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21



Posted in Home | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Image Bearer; A Story of a Boy

A letter to my son

It’s just days before you turn eighteen. I’ll refrain from all the mushy clichés because I have a story to tell you. I know, I know. I’ve told you this story before. But I didn’t tell you how it ends.

So God created mankind in his own image

{Mankind wasn’t intended to resemble dad or mom, those folks who work tirelessly to bring up mini versions of their best self. You may have your mother’s smile and sarcasm and your dad’s handsome features and easy way of remembering the time line of history, but you were designed to reflect one greater },

in the image of God he created them. Genesis 1:27

    Circa October 2002

It was picture day at school. I had a cute blue button-up shirt picked out for you for first grade pictures. Barring a stubborn incident with the cowlick on the backside of your head, it was shaping up to be an easy morning.

That was until we looked for the cumpulsory white undershirt you were accustomed to wearing. A plain white T-shirt was nowhere to be found. After tearing through the shirt drawer I decided on a white shirt that your Ma had made for you with an iron-on image of you fishing in Colorado.

This white t-shirt was wrinkled and the picture was faded and peeling slightly from my over-drying it (when it probably was never intended to see the inside of a washing machine or dryer).

You put on the t-shirt and then slipped on the blue collared over-shirt. You came to breakfast with your over-shirt unbuttoned looking quite satisfied with yourself. I looked disapprovingly and told you that the undershirt didn’t need to show. “You need to button your shirt,” I told you. You protested, but I stood firm (being the “stickler of trivial matters” that I am).

Ushering you into Chilton Elementary, I gave you a quick squeeze and reminded you to say “Cheese!”.

    Several weeks later you shuffled into my classroom with an envelope stuffed in your backpack. I took out the envelope and looked eagerly. There you were, sunshine against a mottled gray background.

Do you love that the shirt says PROOF?!  Haha. Busted.
Do you love that the shirt says PROOF?! Haha. Busted.


…. with no trace of self reproach. Like a little Fonz, you looked cool,…. calm and collected. You smiled comfortably for the camera; the kind of smile that’s more of a happy face than a forced grin.

Sitting quietly at my desk, I quickly thought back. Had you come in my classroom the afternoon of Picture Day with your shirt unbuttoned? I knew you hadn’t. You had obligingly wore the shirt to school just as I had requested and had finished the day with the buttons still in their place. Then came your admission. You had unbuttoned the shirt for picture time;

the real you emblazoned on your chest.

It was your moment.

    That mutinous moment was short-lived. Thankfully it was captured on photo paper.

    That Picture Day was one of those days your image was revealed.

            The you beneath.

Unlike the you I had groomed, your loosed self was showing.

You were charming and brilliant and winsome.

You know this story.

    You may also know I have spent countless mornings buttoning you up. And I have spent the same checking to see if you remained fastened. Do this/Be this. Think this way. Love these things…..

In many ways you have fit into the mold I created. In other ways, despite my constant grooming, I see before me this image I had little to do with creating.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

For instance, you’re so funny. It’s not a quality I would have ranked so highly had I been given a list of attributes that I could persuade or teach you to have. No, being a person who can incite laughter at both appropriate and seemingly inappropriate times would never have crossed my mind in being important. On the contrary, your laughter is one of the greatest gifts of my life.

A cheerful heart is good medicine. Proverbs 17:22

Your love of studying history and of learning about different cultures isn’t something I instilled in you either. I taught you how important it is to do whatever it takes to make good grades. But it’s the things you’ve learned on your own time that you’ve shared with me that I find absolutely fascinating.

You are full of so many things I never saw coming.

    I hope to be given some sort of credit for having taught you to take your plate to the sink and to go out of your way to show kindness to those who appear to need it most. Guiding you, after all, is a big part of the “Mom Job”.

    But you bear an image on your own two feet underneath those broadening shoulders.

The time is drawing near for me to step back and behold God’s design in you. It’s high time I proclaim like Hannah, mother of Samuel,

“Yes! Let God complete what he has begun!” (1 Samuel 1:23 the Message).

I really don’t know the end of the story. Much of your story is just beginning. You’ve outgrown your over shirt. Your image is being better revealed. I can’t wait to see you display God’s handiwork.

Like the grand idea the first grade boy had for Picture Day, I’ll wish I had thought of it myself.

Sun's Out
Sun’s Out

You are my sunshine.



Posted in Home | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Return of the Winged Beast and the Incompetent Moth Slayer


“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerns me …” Psalm 138:7

Have I written about the moth invasion in our pantry?  Yes?  No matter. I’m writing about it again; if not for your pleasure or information, I’m writing for my own well-being. These words are my necessary to my therapy.

And even if I have written about it, I’m writing about a different crew of moths. I annihilated the last bunch singlehandedly, well with my hand and a poorly-placed sticky trap (that ended up with a box of Bisquick stuck to it).

After the last infestation I tirelessly worked to recompile the pantry. After disposing of every item in the pantry and thoroughly cleaning the shelves, I bought those clear plastic canisters for the new dry goods. I put everything back in all organized-like. The very strategic manner and finished product made me feel like I’d advanced three spaces in becoming more like my mother. unnamed (103) There was no sign of them for eight months or so. But this summer to my utter dismay, I opened the pantry door and upon my sighting of a single new moth quoted Poltergeist,

“They’re Baa-ack.”

I must have brought home a bag of Doguet’s rice with a stowaway (I recently noticed a flurry of them in the rice aisle in HEB). I’ve mostly ignored them since first  (re)sighting  deeming most every item in the pantry a lost cause. Anytime I’ve had to reach in the pantry to grab a moth-impenetrable can I slay a few of them with a paper towel (they’re slow little fellas).

But mostly I keep the door closed and pretend they’re not there(-Kind of like I often do with sin in my life) I have refused, on any notable level, to deal with them and then hope with a mystical kind of hope that I will one day open the pantry door and …………

THAT didn’t happen.

Some battles we can’t ignore

I had to clean the pantry out again getting rid of boxed macaroni and meatloaf seasoning packets. This time I was rigidly selective about what went back into the pantry putting mostly canned and paper goods. I put new shelving in the laundry room placing on it  the flour and sugar canisters and any other grainy thing moths might find tasty. My thought is that with this shelf being out in the open, in the light, I’ll be more observant of the loathed insects. I’m less than hopeful. I smashed one lone winged-beast in the living room with my socked-foot in the midst of writing this.

This too is a rite of passage; just like slow progressing potty training and lice, I tell my friend.

We live in a perpetual kingdom (where battles are a part of life)

for now……

Some we feel like we win.  Other tiresome conflicts we face over and over  (like the battle between you and your barking Schnauzer who’s made you the most annoying house on the street or that cabinet door that bounces back open in a creaky sort of laugh every time you shut it.). Being a competent moth slayer doesn’t mean all that much. Some battles won’t matter very far down the road, much less in the end.

-their eternal significance=zero

And those things that we battle that do matter?  What about those?  We all struggle, be it presently with our own sin or for pain endured for our loved ones…..or a lot of both. These struggles leave a gaping wound at worst and a scar at best.

Incompetent moth slayers and those bloodied and bruised by battle, you’ve heard the new age battle cry?

Stay calm.

If the will of God is our will, and if He always has His way, then we always have our way also, and we reign in a perpetual kingdom. He who sides with God cannot fail to win in every encounter; and, whether the result shall be joy or sorrow, failure or success, death or life, we may, under all circumstances, join in the Apostle’s shout of victory, “Thanks be unto God which always causeth us to triumph in Christ!”       -Hannah Whitall Smith

Because of God, we win.


Posted in Home | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Dancing with the Stars (In Spirit); Team Sadie

Do not conform to the pattern of this world. , but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Photo Credit-Gospel Herald
Photo Credit-Gospel Herald

I’ve never watched a season of Dancing With The Stars before now. For one thing, we’re really too busy for TV. Even if we weren’t seriously busy, sitting for two hours is a long time when there’s no plot. I have a hard enough time with riveting two-hour films. I check Facebook.  I fall asleep. I go wipe down the kitchen cabinet….

But this season I decided to watch DWTS (Dancing with the Stars) when I found out who they’d casted for the show. I was plum giddy when I learned that Alfonso Ribiero, Carlton from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air would be a contestant. Carlton (the cardigan-wearing prep)didn’t cut it on Fresh Prince as far as the cool factor, but I tell you….the man can cut a rug.  I, like the hoards, have waited for him to perform his trademark “Carlton Dance”. This past Monday night he did it, and the world cheered.


It might have been that I would have watched DWTS this season for Carlton alone, but then there’s Sadie Robertson.

You know Duck Dynasty’s sweetheart?

-The daughter of Duck Commander CEO.

-The seventeen year old bright-eyed, dimple-faced brunette with a million dollar smile.

You probably know those things. But did you know that she has a youtube channel called TheNewDifferent? She and a friend give pep talks referencing scripture to encourage young girls to be “in this world and not of it”. Maybe you heard that she partnered up with dress designer Sherri Hill to create a line of modest prom dresses. The line is called the Sadie Robertson Live Original.

Photo Credit-Sherri Hill
Photo Credit-Sherri Hill

She’s wearing her faith. She’s the main reason I decided to be a devoted fan for this season’s DWTS.

And I’m not going to lie. I knew I was going to vote for her before I saw a single step, ball change.

……….And then I prayed she could dance.

That almost seems wrong. DWTS is a dance contest after all.

But I love what she stands for. I love what her family stands for. I love that they stand.


Because so very many of us don’t these days in the name of political correctness; in fear that voicing our convictions will prove us hypocritical or downright hateful .

The Robertsons were given a show by A&E based on their seemingly backwards way of living despite being quite wealthy (Those beards!). In a society where dinner is seldom served around a table much less prayed over, the Robertsons scooch up together and pray over Miss Kay’s “Boiled Squirrel and Dumplings”. They’re the real deal. The Robertson brothers who work together spend more time arguing and loitering than they do working. In several episodes it’s pointed out by the patriarch, Phil Robertson, that the grandkids spend too much time on their technology. They’re a family I can relate to when there are few families on television at all. They mess up and they make up. But despite, or maybe because of their fallible human nature, they always turn to prayer.

But for the grace of God, played out on my TV screen

In all honesty, I don’t watch Duck Dynasty because I find myself sitting on the edge of my seat in suspense… “Will Jase EVER get those Christmas lights up?!”. I don’t watch it because it makes me bust a gut from laughter, though I do find it funny. I watch Duck Dynasty because I find it refreshing. I watch it because my family can watch it without fear of profanity or uncomfortable sexual situations. I watch it because it’s one of the last evidences of televised faith (besides the “700 Club”). The fact that it’s entertaining is a grand bonus.

Sadie’s dance numbers on DWTS have proved to be tasteful as have her costumes. The camera captured Sadie praying with her parents before she went on to dance during the first episode. This past Monday on tribute night, she gave wonderful testimony about her family and faith. That makes me happy.


with all of her clothes on and without being a sexual object which apparently seems to be hard to do.

I tried to make a family event out of the show. Rylie watched a few of the dances through a crack in her hands which otherwise covered her eyes. She told me after the second episode that she “needed therapy after seeing that”.

Sitting in front of our television or in traffic, we’re in the world. It’s unavoidable no doubt. And so much about that is frustrating and quite disappointing.

Thank goodness there are still Sadies who are filled with the Spirit.  That Spirit bubbles over.

Even on the dance floor.


7-13 So reach out and welcome one another to God’s glory. Jesus did it; now you do it! Jesus, staying true to God’s purposes, reached out in a special way to the Jewish insiders so that the old ancestral promises would come true for them. As a result, the non-Jewish outsiders have been able to experience mercy and to show appreciation to God. Just think of all the Scriptures that will come true in what we do! For instance:

Then I’ll join outsiders in a hymn-sing;
I’ll sing to your name!

And this one:

Outsiders and insiders, rejoice together!


Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope! Romans 15:7-13 (The Message)

Read a letter I wrote to Sadie last year HERE.


Posted in Home | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Foodie Friday: A Recipe and the Cupcake Dreams are Made of

The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice and be glad. Psalm 118:24

unnamed (102)

Bad news first. No Novice Foodie Mission this Friday. I know. I know. We didn’t have one last Friday either, but as I mentioned on Facebook, I had the misfortune of being introduced to Indian food. I’m sure the place we tried was marvelous, if you like your meat and vegetables rolled in potpourri and served with yogurt. Alas no review. We’re too nice for that.

Today, we’ve got stuff to do. Jason had to run to Beaumont to grab Hayden’s iPhone which had to be fixed. I passed my technology curse on to the kid. Phones, computers,…….those electric sliding doors in Walmart just don’t work like they’re supposed to in my presence…or in Hayden’s. Even when I DON’T drop my phone in the toilet it does weird things. For instance all of my contacts have disappeared and I have to answer my phone old-school style. I have no idea who you are which means I don’t know if you’re someone I want to talk to or not before I answer. Hayden’s phone battery is defective.

C’est la vie (If you don’t remember the 80’s song, it means “That’s just the way it goes”…. “That’s Life”).

 I stayed here this morning. I’m fixing up a double batch of “The Pioneer Woman’s” Frito Pie. I won’t critique my own food, but I will share a link to the Frito Pie we’re having.

Click HERE for the recipe.


To get all that we needed to get done this morning we skipped our workout at the gym so no calories were burned today. And then look what Jason found on the way home.
unnamed (100)

This is much better than the ten pound box of bologna he brought me on our first anniversary.  The guy has learned.  I can now say he’s the complete package.

They’re Triple Chocolate Torte cupcakes.

I am so confident of this cupcake that I started writing a blog post about it at first sight…. before I tasted it. Jason had his before lunch.


The guy at Gigi’s told Jason that you’re supposed to heat it up in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds.  He mentioned ice cream too. How can it not be good?

Did I mention Hayden was having lunch with us today? His cupcake question was “How many calories does it have?”. Guessing it had to be about a thousand, I Googled it. This is what the Gigi’s website has to say about it.

Triple Chocolate Torte

Rich, dark chocolate cake

with a brownie texture,

baked without flour,

topped with a chocolate ganache rose

and powdered sugar.

Gluten Free Groupies (and people like me who attempt to be Gluten Reduced/Gluten Conscious) ….What, WHAT!!

I looked up a similar flourless cupcake. It had 191 calories. I can handle that. I’ll work out tomorrow.

Now. About that cupcake.

What can I say?

It’s a beautiful thing. I LOVE the Triple Chocolate Torte cupcake.


There is no remedy for love but to love more.

-Henry David Thoreau

I’ll do my best!




Posted in Home | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A letter to the girls in Africa; What You Taught Me

Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs. Isaiah 35: 6b,7a

unnamed (95)

At the risk of sounding cliché, I tell you, I think of you all the time. But in no season do I think of you more than in Fall. For it’s this time of year, when leaves start to turn, that reminds me of your bright-eyed faces, you the ones who brought new color to my world. 

unnamed (93)

It was five years ago that we were preparing to return to Africa. It would be my second time to visit your home at the orphanage there. I won’t go into detail about how my time(s) there were much like a dream that you don’t want to wake from. I’ll save that for another day.

Today I reminisced the time I received a large brown envelope containing letters from you. I’m so thankful for our friends who served close by, who collected those for me. It was months after that fall visit that I received them.  I remember running into Jason’s office after one particularly difficult day and seeing him smile and reach over to pick up an envelope whose contents had traveled the ocean to deliver love to me. I gave him a quick peck and dashed to the car. Amidst a torrential downpour I ran into a convenience store and grabbed treats for the kids to keep them occupied while I pulled out letter after letter from you. The edges of each hand-written note were decorated with flowers and scrolling, carefully penciled with map colors. Within reading the first two sentences my eyes poured somewhat like the rain that fell outside my window. So now, though you may not receive this, I am writing once again to you.

You left an indelible mark on my heart, which is ironic.  Like so many others who’ve had the privilege to serve in a similar capacity, I wanted to meet you to change you. I wanted to brighten your world with stickers and treats.  I wanted to cure your loneliness with mama-like hugs. I let you wear my sunglasses and made bracelets with you. I played with you with small stones and a tin cup in the sand. We jumped rope with a broken water hose. I played much more intently than I’d played with my own children.

unnamed (96)

Remember this clapping/hand-slapping game:

My mother and your mother were washing some clothes.

My mother gave your mother a piece of clothes?

Which color was it?

Red. R-e-d.

Besides having an unforgettable time, I determined that I would carry in my Spirit the grace of God and I decided that I would give it to you. Little did I know, the grace of God was surely already there.

It’s in moments of humbling clarity I realize that I was one of a handful of Americans that visited you through the years. Sometimes I wonder if we dazzling people were like sparkly shirts that fade after the wash.

You called me Kristin. You told me I looked like one of your favorite characters on the Spanish soap opera you were fortunate to be able to watch on your three-station television. You asked me if I knew Oprah and Obama. And looking back at what you wrote in your letters and from our conversations, you thought me as one who lives in the place where the God of prosperity resides.

Initially, I saw you as impoverished being that you were nourished with only beans and tea and the fact that you only had one pair of clothes not counting your school uniform. Most of you were motherless and fatherless and for the most part unsupervised except for the one fourteen year old who was in charge of you (at non-school times) and didn’t hesitate to climb the tree to find a switch to use on you. You were without possessions not counting the small trunk which held maybe a small stuffed animal, some Obama bubble gum and a letter or two. The red dirt upon which your tired feet tread seemed thirsty.

That description of you sounds so desolate.

unnamed (99)

I brought books for you to read and lima beans that I’d hand-lettered so that we could play educational games. A special memory I have is from some of the beans being left out from the plastic game container I’d made for you. I remember coming back the next day, seeing that some of those beans, though unplanted and not watered had sprouted. I don’t know how anything grew layed out on that hard, dry ground but those beans did. I remember knowing then that God was at work.  I felt his protection over you. I sensed His love for you. That’s something I will never forget. It wasn’t evident in material prosperity, but the air was thick with his presence.

I think often how I gave you an incomplete picture of who God is, me and my material wealth- flat character that I was. I think of how my own view of God has been so very short of who He is. Since visiting with you, I have spent time of my own, now and then, in the desert; not like the one in Africa. At times I have a desert soul within me. I have found myself feeling insecure. My soul sometimes feels desolate and wanting. I think all people spend time there.

unnamed (94)

In those times I would be remiss not to think back. You helped me have a clearer picture of God.  He is on the mountain, in the valley and He is in the desert too. You’ve taught me that He’s not always seen, but sometimes felt in the depths of seemingly bare places.

unnamed (98) It was through you I realized there will be times He is heard in beautiful melodies with words that aren’t understood. 

You taught me that empty hands and full hearts can coincide.  My life is more prosperous for having known you.

The desert and the parched land will be glad;
    the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
    it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
    the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the Lord,
    the splendor of our God. Isaiah 35:1-2

unnamed (92)


With much love,


Posted in Home | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Group Hug; A Call to Corporate Prayer


 Where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. Matthew 18:20

You may remember we surprised Hallie this past March with a dog. It was on her birthday wish list right between an iphone and makeup. In effort to maintain some girlishness we carefully picked out an innocent-looking terrier mix and put the iphone on a waiting list. To update you, we now often fondly refer to this “gift” as “Bad Girl”. It’s what I call her when she runs circles through the house refusing to stop, or sit, or stay. It’s what she’s referred to as I pick up a chewed through hula hoop and as I survey the wood siding on the house that she has feasted on like beef jerky. At least Griffin (our Schnauzer) still has his fifth collar; she chewed the other four off his neck.

Rylie, happy that it’s Friday and happy that it’s beautiful out, went outside this morning before school. She thought “Bad Girl/Ashlie” was choking on a toy. Being the animal hero she’s always aspired to be, Rylie went to help her, and got bit. On this happy, Friday morning Rylie has a puncture wound on her finger. She cried in true Rylie style. For those of you who don’t know, that means she cried like the Hollywood camera was rolling, zoomed in on nothing but her sheer traumatized tear-stained face. I, in true mother fashion ran into the kitchen and pulled out one of the baskets containing medicinal products (we have several baskets, being that half of us have several medical conditions including hypochondria). I grabbed some triple antibiotic ointment and some medical tape and fixed her wound straight up. To my surprise that didn’t cease the tears. Jason was sitting to her right. She wrapped one arm around Jason’s head and the other around mine inviting us to give her a group hug. And just like magic, she was healed.

On the inside anyway.

unnamed (91)

Reminds me of an old commercial

I’d like to buy the world a home
And furnish it with love
Grow apple trees and honey bees
And snow white turtle doves.

I’d like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I’d like to buy the world a —-
And keep it company
That’s the real thing.

First person to guess this commercial gets a free subscription to my blog. (Just kidding. The subscription is always free.)

This song flashed through my mind, mid-group hug with Rylie and her dad as we mourned her dog bite. Huddled together, I think she had us swaying.

I’d like to think that if the each person in the Coke commercial didn’t have an ice cold Coke in hand, they’d have an arm wrapped behind the shoulder of the person beside them, Group Hug style.

That’s the real thing!

I think “Group Hugs” are underrated.

Hayden used to call them Flamly (family) Hugs. They were an important event in most days of our week.

There’s nothing more encouraging than people gathering in together to say “Things are going to be ok”, “We are with you”,

“We are for you”.

I think corporate prayer might just be the most awesome form of a group hug there is. We are gathering together, hearts united. We are saying we are with you. Our hearts hurt for what hurts yours. Other times we huddle in to rejoice together at what God has done, quite like a group hug. But unlike some group hugs, in corporate prayer we invite our God.

We call on Our Father who cares and provides for us.

We call on

Yahweh Shalom- “The Lord is Peace”. He comforts our weary souls.

Yahweh Nissi- “The Lord is my Banner” who fights for his people.

{God,} “you have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence”. Acts 2:28

Group Hugs are age old. In Acts the people united on a regular basis. The became one in heart.

….They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. Acts 1:14

This makes me want to put out an ad in the paper,….. on social media. It makes me want to shout from the rooftop.

Group Hugs Wanted!

Walls down.

Busyness cast aside.

Hearts in close proximity

Vulnerable and committed to each other, bringing glory to God

Afterall, at some point we’re going to be spending a lot of time together……….Like forever.

Want to get started this evening?

September 26, Friday at 6:00 pm Triangle Baptist is having a prayer vigil for Saeed Abedini, a pastor who has been imprisoned in Iran for two years for his faith. His wife and two children are here in the States.  This evening we will pray with one heart. Be there as we meet to group hug and lift up Saeed and his family, and the persecuted church. More information on this event is shared on my Facebook wall.



Posted in Home | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

10 Signs you might be Impulsive

unnamed (88)

1. You buy quinoa to cook for supper without even knowing how to say quinoa.  I know now.  Say it with me, /keen-wa/.

2. You talk with food in your mouth knowing what you have to say can’t wait until you swallow.

At least you cover your mouth making the offense slightly less rude.
At least you cover your mouth making the offense slightly less rude.


3. You decide to call your mother to check in, but you tap on the Facebook App and find yourself thirty minutes later reading about Adrian Peterson’s abusive childhood.

4. You end up buying three wreaths for the front door in a week’s time because you forget more than once to measure what will fit between the front door and the screen door, but then again those first two wreaths you bought were so cute and on sale and you had a gift card, so how could you not?.

My three wreaths- Reminds me of The Three Little Bears.  One was too big.  Another one was too big.  And the next one was just right.
My three wreaths- Reminds me of The Three Little Bears. One was too big. Another one was too big. And the next one was just right.

5. You start writing a blog post on impulsivity with only the wreath example in the sauna at Exygon while believing that you may dehydrate……but you have stuff to write so you keep writing.

6. You text your hairdresser hoping that she has an opening in the next thirty minutes because your hair just got bad.

7. You DECIDE you have an anxiety disorder……and THEN you look up the symptoms on webmd.

8. You buy a couple of packages of Oreos because there’s a coupon and then forget to use the coupon.

9. You’re a channel surfer.

10.You realize on the way to Target that a yellow lampshade would brighten up the living room and that nachos sound good for lunch and you get both while you’re out but you forget to get the birthday card that sent you to Target in the first place.

11. You endeavor to have an hour long conversation with your teenage daughter about a healthy body image or the importance of the messages we send on Instagram when she’s in the middle of the most dire chapter of her Warriors book (thinking either conversation will do because both are important).

12. You brush your teeth when you go upstairs to get the laundry.

Because clothes and teeth both need to be clean, am I right?
Because clothes and teeth both need to be clean, am I right?

13. You get barbecue sauce at HEB but you don’t get anything to put it on.

14. You move the ottoman to sweep under it and end up rearranging the living room.

15. You title your post Ten Signs you might be Impulsive, and then you write fifteen.

Share your own impulsive habits.

If you’re feeling impulsive, go on up to the subscribe bar and type in your email so you can get posts.

Posted in Home | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Heyday Fridays; The Old Orange Café (A Novice Foodie Mission)

So. Jason and I are finally back to having our Friday lunch date. Kathy Bass suggested The Old Orange Cafe last spring. We took her up on that suggestion today.

All I can say is White Balsamic & Bacon Dressing.

Well, I can always say more, but White Balsamic & Bacon Dressing will no doubt be the most important thing I say all day.

The Old Orange Café is found at 914 W Division St. in Orange. There are plenty of great places to eat in here in Nederland, but sometimes we just like to take a short road trip. I might mention that we crossed the “bridges” and I didn’t pray this time. I took pictures instead. I’m growing up. Have I mentioned I hate bridges? Sometimes I wish we could get from Point A to Point C without Point B, Point B being the bridge. But like I mentioned, it’s Point B that has taught me to pray and gets me to Point C. And now that I’m starting to grow up, I’m learning that Point B, the bridge (though sometimes frightening) is beautiful.

The café is off of Tenth Street. We had to circle the block several times before parking, but you don’t need to do that.


No complaints here. Our glasses were never empty and we were waited on promptly.


The building was originally opened in the early 1940’s as part of a dairy. The walls are covered in ceramic tile as was required of a dairy in those days. The café has a rustic feel with historic pictures of Orange and of the owners’ family. Have I mentioned that I love pictures? It’s a small building with high ceilings. It’s an any occasion type of place.


$$ The entrée’s range from about $8 to the Catch of the Day being around $20.


The menu offers a wide range of offerings. Normally, I’m not a big salad eater, but there were six or more types of salads and every one of them sounded good. They offer sandwiches and burgers; a shrimp burger with a jalepeno cheese bun and spicy mayo caught my eye. There are also several chicken and shrimp entrees. Fresh pies, including buttermilk, are served too but we were too stuffed. In fact, Jason is so stuffed he’s not helping me write today. He’s stretched out somewhere.


Jason had the special, Portabella Chicken. When I just asked how he liked it, a voice from the couch said, it was goodness slathered in cream and sautéed onions, topped with avocado. I had the Swiss Bacon Quiche. It was light, tasty and fluffy; everything a good quiche should be. The crust was homemade; I could tell. But the best part was the Shrimp Salad we decided to share. This is where I bring up that White Balsamic & Bacon Dressing again. This is also where my only regret of the day (so far) comes in; sharing the Shrimp Salad with Jason. Because sharing with your husband is not always fifty-fifty. I almost flipped the bowl stabbing a shrimp close to the rim before Jason could get to it. We also both used our finger to get the last taste of dressing that remained in the Dixie dressing cup….and lid. It was that good.

The Old Orange Café was a great outing. I also probably don’t have to remind you local folks that Orange is a great city to visit with the Lutcher Theater and the Stark Museum (Disclaimer: Haven’t been to either, but they’re on the list). A visit to Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center would also be a nice place to visit after you eat, to walk off some of those candied walnuts. In fact, every fall I understand that the Gardens have a display of scarecrows. The website shows “The Scarecrow Festival” starting on October 8. We’ve planned on going every year, but haven’t made it yet. I’ve tried to convince Hayden every year since we’ve been here that’s what he wants to do for his birthday (10/30). Because what teenage boy wouldn’t want to look at scarecrows with his parents and sisters? Maybe the promise of an accompanying slice of chocolate pie might entice him.

Posted in Home | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Better Things (to think about) when you have a lot to say

unnamed (82)

I’ve always suggested that the setting up of my blog was a conspiracy. I entered the kitchen one day and Jason was on my lap top secretively typing away. Let me even go back and say that it was his idea to get me a laptop. (Is lap top one word or two? See, I have no business owning one.) I sin more while using technology (well, that and driving my car and shopping cart in busy lanes ) than any other time.  Anyway. Jason set up my blog/website, whatever you want to call it. I hadn’t asked for it. I made C’s on most every college English paper. Still, Jason not only set up my blog, he encouraged me to write. You want to know why I think he did this? Don’t get me wrong, he’s really sweet and he believes in me and all that jazz….

but the truth is, his man ears can’t take all that I have to say.

I have a lot to say; both when things are fine and dandy and when a dark cloud has perched itself right overhead. My therapy, when I’m weary, confused,  angry, when I’m feeling hopeless and even when my heart could burst from excitement, is to talk about it. I will say that I’m an excellent secret keeper, but when it comes to my thoughts and my FEELINGS, I want to share, share share.

Much like outside my window today, my mood is cloudy. Today is Jason’s day off. So as he sat beside me in our oversized brown chair earlier, I had the ear I’ve been waiting for all (busy, long, long) week. I hadn’t gotten very far when he said, “You know, it’s been a while since you’ve written anything. You should write.” So here I am, obedient wife that I am.

Jason’s not the only one whose ear I’ve near talked off lately. I have good friends, females no doubt, who God shared with me to endure all the words.

Still, there are things, deep things that are better poured out somewhere rather than on human ears. I’ve been doing a lot of praying. Much of my praying must seem like Hannah in 1 Samuel who prayed so embittered and broken that she was mistaken to be drunk. Some of my prayers are desperate, and they’re never thought out. I’m so glad it can be that way with God, unlike texts that I send where I find myself typing….deleting…..typing…..finger-tapping on my forehead, thinking, deleting……….typing……sending……then wish I could go back and delete.

With God, my words and murmurs-good, bad, unintelligible, and even my rare silence is heard and understood.

….the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. Romans 8:26

There are, according to several different sources, 783,137 words in the Bible. Every one of them are spoken to me and to you. They’re spoken personally. The words are a beautiful story, they’re mystery, and a carefully crafted love letter to each of us. But in addition to all of those words, sometimes God whispers just a word or two, stilling our soul.

This morning those words were “Better things”.

As I was getting ready I did what I do every day. I was drying my hair with my right hand, clicking on a news article with my left finger, ready to read another piece that would add to the brokenness I have felt in my heart as of late. I heard, what was like one of those Spirit sighs, say softly “Better things”. Set your mind on better things. A verse came to me.  It’s a verse I’ve used in a dozen posts making you think it might be one of the only ones I know, a verse I’ve read over and over; a verse that is working in me so diligently to guide my life.

…..whatever is true

….…whatever is noble

………whatever is right

…………whatever is pure

…………….whatever is lovely

………………..whatever is admirable

If anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Think about “Better Things”

I know that while we think about better things, we are merely distracting ourselves from pain and sorrow and the things we just don’t understand, but this brokenness and feeling of incompleteness won’t always be.

Better things are to come.

There will come a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears

There will be a day when the burdens of this place

Will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face (Jeremy Camp-There Will be a Day)

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4

For the record, my man who conspired against me, is good.  He’s very, very good.

And my friends who get phone neck cricks and answer my epically long texts?  Well, they’re good too.



Posted in Home | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments