Kids These Days

  My house was overrun by teenage girls this weekend. It’s Tuesday now and I’m still finding traces of the girls around the house like the extra razor,and shampoo and conditioner in my shower. There’s a Bose speaker in my living room that somebody left here. It’s quiet now but it boomed Christian rap last Saturday. I’m still expecting to find socks and fruit loops in the couch cushions when I get ready to look. 

 It was Spring Retreat and we were a host home. Jason graciously volunteered our house as a host home for the girls five years ago and then camped out in the apartment, missing out on all the fun. It’s become an annual tradition. 


I’m being subtle here (and it’s a challenge) but let’s be honest,  I’ve entered an older, crankier time. I mutter things under my breath like “kids these days drink one sip out of a water bottle and then leave it there”.  Sunday morning I spied five ownerless water bottles, each missing approximately one tablespoon of water. I shook my head; maybe because I hadn’t gotten the sleep a forty-something requires, or it could have been the fact that thirteen girls getting ready in two and a half baths is stressful (Then again, it could be the older, crankier thing). 

Spring Retreat wrapped up Sunday morning at the 10:15 service. I sat behind our teenagers secretly glad I’d be getting the house back around noon. We had a guest preacher who gave statistics about the probability of these kids staying in church when they’re older. The numbers are staggering. 

  • Only kids whose parents both go to church consistently, have a good chance of staying in church as adults. 
  • Kids whose parents don’t attend church have around a six percent chance of sticking around.

 I looked at the kids in front of me and noticed that the odds are stacked against many of them. In response to the six percent figure, one of the teenagers in close view elbowed the girl beside her and proudly whispered  “That’s me.”  And yet she was there. 
She was here in my house. So were some of the fifty percenters. There were girls at my house this past weekend who were in best bracket. They have an eighty percent or better chance of being a part of a church as adults because their parents make it a priority for them to be there even when there are more weekend opportunities than they can shake a stick at. 

These messy, loud, giggly (fun-loving)girls were in my house filling their hearts and minds with Jesus this past weekend. They discussed obstacles in their Christian walk and how to get around those obstacles. They prayed for each other. They built each other up. Yesterday our oldest daughter received an encouraging bible verse from a friend who attended this weekend. She sent her friend one too. 

There were also boys across town growing in their walk this past weekend.

 Those barely touched water botrestored  me with “the glass is half full” optimism. 

I’m glad those girls were here. I’m encouraged by the upcoming youth. It’s a generation of busy, but devoted eighty/something percenters, some passionate six percenters and some kiddos in between who love God and are growing to know Him more in a time where the world seems weightier than it did in my day and age. 

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Be thankful for them. 

Pray for them. 

Support them and train them by taking them to church. 

Get to know them. 

Bring them to my house (just not this weekend). 


A Hopeful Mom

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Fragrance Matters

My nostrils were filled with warmed chicken and rice leftovers this morning as I filled two thermoses for the girls’ school lunch. I was only slightly awake when my daughter walked in bearing a scent unlike last night’s casserole. It wasn’t her usual smell of deodorant and hairspray. I knew this sweet smell from days passed but couldn’t place it, too busy stuffing cosmic brownie halves into baggies while shouting out a request for a bobby pin. 

It wasn’t until I was getting ready in my bathroom that I noticed a dusty bottle of perfume missing from its place on the shelf.

 I immediately remembered the ten year old fragrance, Tommy Girl, worn in the stage when I was diapering the baby and practicing A,B,C’s with my preschooler. It was the perfume I wore when my oldest would rub his nose in my shirt when getting in a good snuggle. 

These days I rarely use perfume. (It gives me headaches). I’ve also thought it unnecessary. Then there’s a lack of thought in general concerning fragrance-wearing. It’s on my “too busy to think about that” list. 

My newest scent (perfume that I’ve had for five years) sits on my dresser. It’s only picked up on special occasions and then given precisely one squirt. 

My daughter has her own perfume. But today she chose to use a scent of mine she found suitable. 


I smile at that thought. 
Today I’m wearing that old perfume; aware that others, my children included, pay attention to the fragrance I wear.

 May we, as moms and encouragers of faith, keep such an awareness.

 May we sense the responsibility we have in possessing a fragrance that others will want to put on.  May we wear such fragrance as an offering (even when it causes headache, or a little extra effort). Help us to remember that a subtle fragrance is better than one that’s overbearing. 

Most of all, may we continually acknowledge that the precious gift of a beautiful fragrance comes from above. 

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Ephesians 5:2

To my email subscribers, my apologies for sending this post to you three times (Correction, four times) trying to get it right. It won’t happen again (this week). 

If you haven’t subscribed, please do, despite my admission that I occasionally harass subscribers with the sending of multiple posts. 

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The Crumb Coat (Cakes and Life)

Our ten year old, Rylie, got her first baking “order” last week. It was for a wedding cake. Let me back up.  

 My mom, who used to shoo me out of the kitchen, found out that Rylie had a newfound interest in baking a few months ago.   Over Spring Break she gave Rylie an early birthday present (five months early). Rylie opened up a box to find a cake decorating book and a set of decorating tips. That gift, and having grandmas who let her in the kitchen, was all it took to turn Rylie’s interest into an obsession. 

She took her cake book to school two weeks ago. As soon as she got in the car she announced that she’d secured several cake orders from her friends including one for a wedding. I neither wanted to dash her hopes, nor bolster them. I told her a rule of thumb for following through with an order would be getting an adult confirmation first. I thought that would nip this cake order thing. 

So imagine my surprise when I got a text followed by a call this week for Rylie to make a wedding cake. An excited lady, who’s saying “I do” this afternoon, asked if this was “the Rylie’s mom who bakes cakes”. I wasn’t sure how to answer that question. 

I let her know that Rylie cooks just for fun. I wondered if I should tell her that I’d burned two loaves of garlic bread hours earlier in the afternoon; that I’m not much help. I suggested that Rylie and the lady’s daughter make a wedding celebration cake for fun some time, but she insisted that a wedding cake made by two fourth graders (one her own) would be special.

 (I’ve written several posts about my difficulty in taking risks. “I’m trying to do better, to allow my kids room to try new things, to make mistakes. But this?”…..I thought. “Too far!”)

But I said “ok” like I usually do. “Sounds great,” I replied, even though my stomach instantly knotted. 

A wedding cake plan, last night, turned into a successful cake, coral and teal cupcakes and a sleepover. 

I learned, AGAIN, that God’s plans are better than mine. I was reminded not to underestimate a ten year old with an entrepreneurial spirit. And I learned a secret that cakes have in common with imperfect people like me. 

The Crumb Coat

With Rylie having an important order to make I called my friend Christine immediately to ask her for a few tips.  Christine told me about the base icing layer called the crumb coat. I smiled when she explained how to make your cake appear crumb-less. (One of the reasons I’d given up on cakes is because I dislike the crumbs that muddle my cake’s exterior). 

I learned that the “crumb coat” is the layer that’s first applied to the cake. The crumb coat fills in the gaps and gives the cake its shape. 

It bears up the crumbs and holds them. This allows the top layer of icing to appear smoother, cleaner and altogether more lovely. 

 As Christine explained the “crumb coat” I found comfort in the fact that the crumb problem isn’t unique. Whether you see it or not, cakes, like people, tend to be a little messy underneath. Crumbs can’t be prevented. Not with the keenest eye, the steadiest hand nor the most disciplined nature can we assure that all traces of crumbs are gone. 

That shouldn’t stop us from making our cake into something beautiful, something to be shared.  The intention of the covering is not to hide a secret. The crumb layer isn’t our best layer, but we accept that it is one of the layers. Crumbs don’t make cake, less of a cake, rather they’re part of the cake.

 I learned to trust the cake maker to do the work to make the crumb-filled cake into something beautiful. And with loving hands, He always does. 


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Foodie Friday (For Tommy)

Margarette’s Tamale Stand


I was planning on eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with some pork rinds for lunch today until a friend texted Jason and asked him if we were food blogging. So to avoid disappointing Tommy and any others eager to discover local dining gems, we drove up Twin City Highway and grabbed a to-go plate at Margarette’s Tamale Stand. 

I grew up on Mexican food, real Mexican food, not Taco Bell or Casa Ole. Not to say that I don’t buy a taco pack from Taco Bell every now and then,  I appreciate the fact that I can get a box of ten tacos for about ten bucks. They’re cheap and they’re convenient, but if I have a hankering for Mexican food you won’t hear me say, I’m sure hungry for a loco taco. 

I remember, years back, a local Mexican Food place in Marlin, TX, where our family would eat weekly. They had legitimate Mexican food, but included a little Tex Mex on the side. Queso was referred to, by our usual waiter, as “gringo sauce”. Don’t shoot the messenger, but there’s a lot of gringo sauce and gringo style dishes in the local Mexican eateries. 

Maragarettes, however, I believe bears the marks of a true Mexican food place. Today was the fourth or fifth time we’ve eaten there. I ordered the combination plate. For $8.50, I got a heaping to-go tray of tamales and beef enchiladas covered in chili (that didn’t come out of a can) and real cheese (not the over processed stuff that used to be served in my school cafeteria). 

Here are a few other things I noticed about Margarettes, which are things most legit Mexican food places share in common. 

There’s heat, in the salsa and in the chili, that makes your nose run. 

The food is so good that you’re careful to save room when downing chips and salsa. Margarette’s just gives you a sandwich baggie of chips with your food, but who cares when the food’s full of good flavor. 

There’s usually not one of those ice cream machines at legitimate Mexican food places either (maybe just a basket of pralines at the register). I know a few of you have lost interest now. 

Not a must, but handwritten menus (on poster board) above the cash register is usually a good sign. It says “We spend our time and resources on good food, not appearances”. 

It’s not a chain. Chain Mexican food places are not my favorite. (Pappasitos might be an exception). Which leads me to the next mark

The “restaurant” is usually a house, or a gas station, or as is the case with Margarettes, a stand. The dining experience is based fully on good food. 


And finally, a good Mexican food place will lead to after dinner mints, the kind you’ll always find in my cabinet. 

Margarettes is located at 2307 Twin City Highway here in Nederland. They accept cash only (nothing above a twenty dollar bill). They’re opened from 10:30-4:30 Monday through Friday (I believe). There’s no seating, no drive through window, just a drive up window. The fact that I still love eating there says something because I kind of like being waited on in a booth when I’m not the one who’s having to cook. 


 Go try them out. 


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The Eyebrow/Life Creed

The Circle of Strife

I got my eyebrows done a couple of weeks ago. The “eyebrow lady” pretty much suggested a whole face wax (because apparently my entire face is fuzzy). Then, ironically, she lectured me about the lack of eyebrow hair on the edges directly above my nose. 

She said I’ve been plucking what shouldn’t be plucked. I tried to tell her that it was my last “eyebrow lady” who thinned out, and well I guess, shortened, my eyebrows. Some parts that she tweezed didn’t grow back. I went to her several times before deciding to preserve what was left of my sad and sparse (from aged and over-waxed/tweezed) eyebrows. 

My new and disapproving brow stylist suggested I buy a cream that encourages hair to grow back. I nodded in pretend agreement. Then she showed me how to draw in eyebrow falsies. 

I’ve been thinking about the absurdity of it all. 

I spent the first half of my life begrudging those full arches above my eyes. “They’re too fuzzy”. In middle school I despised them, but was too young to do anything about them. I looked in the mirror and imagined my brows more substantial than they were. Thank goodness for Brooke Shields. She was a saving grace during those years. She was alluring with her untamed beauties. 

With high school came tweezing time. I painstakingly plucked. Most difficult were those hairs that had left the neat boundary I imagined; the ones planted lower on eyelid skin which is one hundred times more delicate than the skin where your eyebrows are supposed to grow. Removal of these typically caused teary eye corners. 

And then there was going out into the sunlight. No matter how effort-ful and time-consuming my eyebrow shaping, I would get into the car and catch a glimpse of myself in the pull-down mirror on the visor. I’d always missed a few. 

And now I have thinning eyebrows.  Thinning eyelashes too. 

Less fullness in my hair. What once required taming now needs teasing.  

 Less time, but more to do…

More cushion around my waist. 

More bills.  More pills to take. 

It’s a circle of strife for some of us.   We can tend to be a dissatisfied people. We hastened the day that we’d outgrow acne, only to wake up with age lines now in place. As children we looked to the day we’d have the freedom to make our own decisions only to be overwhelmed by the number of decisions that have ended up on our shoulders. 

 We were convinced the future would be brighter until we woke up missing days passed. 


So concerned are we with yesterdays and tomorrows, tweezers and eyebrow filler, that we need a simple creed to fall back on when contentment seems to be a moving target. 

Eyebrow/Life Creed

I will allow myself to thin my eyebrows when they’re too fuzzy and thin my schedule when it’s overpacked. Likewise I will use eyebrow filler or “grow back” cream (if it suits my fancy) when my eyebrows become sparse. I will not, however, continue to view my eyebrows, my waistline or my “things to do” list as more important than they are. 

Whether filling or diminishing, shaping or accentuating, I will keep an awareness of those efforts which are frivolous in nature. 

I will appreciate yesterday and tuck it in a special place to be taken back out and smiled upon now and then,  but I refuse to assign it greater value than the time that is now before me. 

 I will dream dreams of tomorrow and look toward those days with hopefulness, but I will not favor the days to come over today. 

I will fill my day with more of Jesus and expect to experience more beauty than the mirror or my efforts could ever provide. 

Psalm 34:5 

Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.

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3,652 Gifts (Jason’s 40)

Today I can say that I loved you through your thirties, all 3,652 days.

It was a period of life that included diaper changing and, years later, changing our car insurance to include a new teen driver. Soon we’ll add another. 


In your thirties we lived in three places, toward the end moving our oldest to his own place.


We’ve experienced ten spring seasons and countless new experiences like sending our youngest off to kindergarten, you baptizing both our girls and teaching your son to shave. 





We’ve been blessed with seasons of summer; long days on the beach, world travel, unrestricted Fridays, and days we spent in the car, all five of us, for a special road trip. 


There were hundreds of days of autumn; shorter days where time passed more quickly. We realized the importance of preserving daylight and other things like hula hoop and twirling performances and dinner around the table.

Winter days we couldn’t escape were made warmer by thoughts of summer. The days with less daylight hours were never far from colorful days of autumn, still fresh in our memories. We always knew that cold days would soon give way to spring where new would blossom  

We’ve seasons ahead with surprises to unwrap, and hopefully much of the same that your thirties held

Winters that make us appreciate the sun

Springs brimming with progress and newness

Autumns with beauty to capture and carry along 

And summers, long summers without worry and always with each other 

Happy 40th birthday. 

Happy first year of the next ten years to open 3,652 gifts of new days.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiates 3:11

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No Thank You, Please and Thank You (Rylie Goes to State)

O ye of little faith 

 I didn’t want Rylie to be in Bible Drill this year. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a wonderful program that familiarizes children with the Bible. They have to memorize twenty-five verses and references. They also have to know the books of the Bible well. Bible drill is a contest which includes series of finding and quoting different parts of the bible, each in ten seconds. 

Neither memory nor speed has ever been a strong suit of Rylie’s. I remember that the reward stickers on the memorization chart in the Bible Buddies (the kiddie version of Bible Drill) came slowly. 

A couple of years ago in Bible Buddies, Rylie and the rest of the drilling crew got in front of the church to show off what they’d learned. They started off by reciting the books of the Bible. Rylie was by far the loudest. She got stuck in a repetitive loop of about five books somewhere between Ecclesiates and Lamentations. The whole group got out of sync and had to start over. The same thing happened again. The teacher decided to recite the books with the kids, lest Rylie get them stuck again at Isaiah once more. 

Ms Fran then asked the group if anyone wanted to volunteer to say the books of the Bible alone. Guess who volunteered? 


Rylie struggled through the books one more time. And then every time thereafter, when Ms Fran asked for a volunteer to recite a verse…she raised her hand. 

Her brazen nature is foreign to mine. 

I remember being her age and never raising my hand in class, even if I knew the answer. I might say something wrong.  Was I going to take that chance?

No thank you.

Watching her mess up that night on stage in Bible Buddies didn’t lessen my pride in her effort or courage. It just brought up those old fear feelings, the ones that bubble up and smother me in my tight cage  made up of self-drawn boundary lines.

I’ve got plenty of extra baling wire to wrap around my kids too (to keep them safe, of course), but they crawl through it. They try out for parts they don’t make. They raise their hand and sometimes they get the answer wrong. 

I used to think they didn’t value security. But what those tough little boogers have taught me is that security can be found outside the bounds of safety. Security is “doing the thing “even if you get it wrong, even if it doesnt end in victory. 

To my secret disapproval, Rylie did Bible Drill this year …and she did it well. 

Today was the state competition. I woke up at five-something this morning  to start my pleading. 

Please God, 

Help her focus

Help her recall to memory all that she’s worked to learn. 

Help her to be at peace if she makes a mistake or doesn’t find the page she needs before the ten seconds are up. 

She ended up with the title of State Winner Perfect. 

I reminded her over a victory cupcake that we had all prayed/pleaded that God would help her through the drill. 

And then I asked her, what comes after Please (and all the asking of God)?

Thank you

Thank you that she drilled well

Thank you that my kids didn’t inherit my intense fear

 Thank you that she has two awesome ladies in her life (and she had two in Bible Buddies) who have invested their time to teach her with plenty of  affection. 

Thank you that Rylie’s big sister sat in the audience today ready with a thumbs up or a mouthed “Good Job” any time Rylie looked to her for encouragement. 

Thank you that the whole experience still would have been worth it had she not scored perfect 

Because the whole “trusting you” thing is more important than the results 

…the victory cupcake and the perfect score are pretty sweet too. 

 Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. Malachi 3:10


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Embracing the Weird in Our Kid


I made my youngest change her shorts this morning. Along with her red Converse shoes she was wearing a red tshirt and a reddish pair of athletic shorts. I wouldn’t want her to be mistaken for a member of the Bloods. 

So  I told her that only gangsters wear the same color clothes on top and bottom. (I left out the part that my honest concern was the weirdness of her apparel choice.)

I don’t always know what to say when my kids dress or behave strangely. All three have their quirks. All three have gone through strange seasons (like the middle one who went through a season we fondly refer to as her “feather earring stage”.) 

There she is

 I’ve gotten side-eyed myself for something that I’ve worn (I still remember that tie-dyed maternity top that no one liked quite like I did.) There’s also certainly stuff I’ve said that make people say “Do, what?” We all have our quirks. 

So what are some things we can consider (and remember) when it comes to our kids’ weirdness?

  • We often confuse being strange with being inappropriate. As long our weirdness doesn’t violate some moral code of standard there’s nothing wrong with being different. Let’s be careful to notice the difference. 
  • Weirdness is simply unaccepted uniqueness. Just because a style of being is frowned upon doesn’t mean it’s not a great style. Let’s not appoint the crowd as judge. 
  • Being secure in your difference gives unspoken encouragement to others to be them self. We want our kids to be secure in who they are, not in who others expect them to be. We want them to be trend setters not trend followers. 
  • Sometimes our unique style of behavior or dress is only a stage. In this case some really good memories can be made like my junior high hair wings and my high school “surfer wave” bangs. My middle daughter already regrets using a shade of blue as her favored eye makeup a couple of years back. The thought of it sure makes for a good laugh though. What about all of our diaries? We probably all said some pretty crazy stuff that would now make us go “What were you thinking?”  At least we were thinking (and thus developing). 
Me embracing my surfer wave bangs
  • Stifling our child’s uniqueness can be a waste of time. Personally I have bigger fish to fry. My effort as a parent is exerted enough in reinforcing character traits that matter.  I should be more concerned with encouraging kindness and meekness, courage and honesty rather than whether or not my kid wears fuzzy socks with their skinny jeans or if they sing songs they wrote like  Sin You Were My God, to perfect strangers. 
  •  There’s no proper playbook when it comes to style of being as far as I’m concerned, just a popular playbook; a book of norms. Isn’t being popular a status that’s typically achieved by conforming to the status quo? I don’t believe that’s a dream any of us have for ourself or our kid.   
  • This is the year My son became oddly obsessed with Pokemon cards. He talked incessantly about power points and battles ad nauseum. He passed that love on down to his sisters. One of the girls still draws Squirtle and Magicarp in her spiral. More than ten years later and the spirit of Pokemon is strong. These weird things that drive us crazy may inspire another. Let’s have some patience with those little things that bug us. 
  • Cramping creativity dismisses opportunity for innovation. Invention and ingenuity come from someone doing something in a way it hasn’t been done before. I wonder what Picasso was like as a kid? You know he must have been quirky. I wonder how his mom responded to his quirks? The kid who chooses Legos or blocks over playing with friends may have been created with the purpose of becoming the next greatest architect. 

I wish I could bag up those ratty, red shorts and bring them to school to my daughter to put back on, as a form of an apology and as an encouragement. She wasn’t the one who needed to change this morning. It was me. 


The outfit that got shot down this morning
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Wishing You a Bit of Grit and Grace

On the weekend nights in high school the big thing to do was drive up and down Main Street and through the city park. There was also usually a stop at Ranglers, the convenience store, for a snack. 

 I especially remember those occasions where I was hungry, but short on change. Ranglers had these yummy deep fried posadas for which I had an addiction. If my wallet was empty,  I’d open that ashtray and start digging for coin. I’d stick my hands in the unknown crevices of my maroon bench car seats and slide my fingers down underneath, on the floorboard, hoping to find a few quarters. Sometimes the searching was messy. 

I found myself doing the same today, only this time I collected coins from the cup holders and those strange built in pockets on the door that nobody intentionally uses. I came up with just enough for a medium-sized Dairy Queen dipped cone for my daughter. With only seven cents to spare the lady handed chocolate therapy on a cone through the drive-through  window. 

“Funny” I thought to myself,  “how we lack what we think we need sometimes, but with a bit of grit and a lot of grace we pull through”. 

This time I wasn’t talking about food. 

Life can be overwhelming for our kids. I hear them, teens in particular,  frequently talking about the amount of pressure they feel is placed on them these days. If I felt so much weight at such an early age I’ve blocked it out. It’s 9:46 pm and my fifteen year old is just getting a shower without having wasted much time this evening. 

If our kids are overwhelmed we’re usually overwhelmed too, being that a mother’s empathy is the strongest kind. We want to fix it. With fierce determination we rack our brains on how to remedy their problems, how to make smooth their rough places. 

May we show our sons and daughters that there’s an end to a day’s labor. So as the sun sets, so should our toil and terror. 

Of all the thoughts of God that are 

Borne inward into souls afar, 

Along the Psalmist’s music deep, 

Now tell me if that any is 

For gift or grace surpassing this— 

“He giveth His beloved, sleep”?

-Elizabeth Barrett Browning

We’ve a soft place to lay our head.  We’ve a God with a plan. 

Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Isaiah 46:27

Like that hunger for deep-fried posadas that fill the empty place, may we hunger for God in the midst of our grasping for what we need, and when it’s time to rest. May we teach our children, and remember for ourselves, that along with our grit comes grace. 

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Girl’s Day

It’s Girls’ Day at Rylie’s school. They got the invitation to “Be whoever you want to be”. Rylie chose Jane Goodall. It’s doubtful that she’ll make it back home with everything she took. 

Her vest pockets are stuffed. There’s a monkey magnet that came off the fridge, a pen and a fossil. She’s got a leash rolled up in her pocket too (a great way to make friends with chimps). 

After thinking long and hard she decided against a camera, not wanting it to get ruined. The water bottle wouldn’t fit and there was great disappointment that we didn’t have binoculars she could take (Apparently she’s outgrown the kind made with some string and the taping of two toilet paper rolls together). 

We didn’t brush her hair. She thought nice hair wouldn’t be “in character”. 

At the last minute this morning I had to include a letter to Jane in her lunchbox. It’s hard to not have fun with it when I see how much fun Rylie’s having with it. Thanks Helena Park for “Girl’s Day”.  

I’ve been thinking of who my girl heroes are. 

1.  Corrie ten Boom I first read about her as a newlywed. A dear man had given me her book “The Hiding Place”. Corrie was a Dutch Christian who helped hide the Jews during the Holocaust.  

 She’s honest in her book that she initially preferred her safety over their rescue.  She and her family were caught and imprisoned. She watched her sister Betsie die at a women’s camp.

 Years after her release Corrie found herself at an engagement with a man whom she remembered from the concentration camp where she and Betsie had suffered. He didn’t recognize her but knew that he had committed terrible acts against the likes of her. 

He asked for her forgiveness. And even though she had come to this church to deliver the message of forgiveness she found that it isn’t always easy or possible without God’s help. 

“Jesus, help me!” I prayed silently. “I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.”

And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.

“I forgive you, brother!” I cried. “With all my heart!”

For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely as I did then.
And having thus learned to forgive in this hardest of situations, I never again had difficulty in forgiving: I wish I could say it! I wish I could say that merciful and charitable thoughts just naturally flowed from me from then on. But they didn’t.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned at 80 years of age, it’s that I can’t store up good feelings and behavior–but only draw them fresh from God each day.

Corrie ten Boom was a willing servant with the knowledge that it’s God who is good. She knew that any good that comes from us comes from a dependence on Him and obedience to Him. 

Quote: There is no panic in heaven! God has no problems, only plans. 

 2. Joni Eareckson Tada After a diving accident that left her a quadriplegic, Joni became an artist using her teeth to paint. She’s a Christian author, singer and radio host with a beautiful indomitable spirit. 

Quote: Life becomes inspiring, not in spite of the problems and the hard hits, but because of them

 3. Harriet Tubman an escaped slave, rescued around seventy people using an “Underground Railroad”. She was also the first woman to lead an armed expedition in the raid at Combahee Ferry where seven hundred slaves found their freedom. She later acted as a nurse and cook, a scout and a spy. She cared for her aging parents before they died. She lived the remainder of her life not as a slave but a servant. 

Quote: Twasn’t me, ’twas the Lord! I always told Him, ‘I trust to you. I don’t know where to go or what to do, but I expect You to lead me,’ an’ He always did. 


4. Meriam Ibrahim is a Sundanese Christian born to a Muslim father. She married a Christian man, had a child and was expecting a second child. She was accused of apostasy to Islam and sentenced to death. She was given three days to renounce her Christian faith. She refused. She gave birth to her second child in chains. She has since been freed. Meriam is a symbol of true faith and courage. 

Quote: I trusted God from the first instant. I knew he wouldn’t abandon me. 


5. Elisabeth Eliot-Christian author and speaker  

Elisabeth and her family, along with a few other families, traveled to Ecuador as missionaries to an unreached tribe in the fifties. Her husband and the other men were speared to death upon trying to communicate with the people. Elisabeth stayed, continuing to reach out to the people. Eventually she lived amongst them and taught them of saving grace. In “Through Gates of Splendor” she recounts the story. 

Quote: I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done. 

This is the short (and impulsive) list. 

Whose story inspires you?

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