I could never write Cliff Notes. Remember those shorty notes that made the story more concise? What are they called now, Spark Notes? I've always had a gift for making things bigger, than necessary. I am, after all, an eighty's girl from Texas. I had big hair and a giant boom box with, like, twelve buttons.  My transportation growing up consisted of vans, town cars and suburbans....(big family). 

Growing up in a slightly large family, there were, and still are two tactics that were necessary to be heard. You either had to say what you needed to say:

  1. Very loud
  2. Or over and over 

I've been practicing option 2 this morning. I've been repeating (in my head) some food for thought that came to mind this morning. I'm feeling quite odd at my repetition though, because I'm only talking to myself and I heard myself the first time. 

So I I'll share my hammering thought and it's big implications, just once, hoping you can relate. 
There's not much point in us talking about God if we're not talking enough, to God.  

This is my personal conviction for today, though I fail enough other days at spending adequate time with God. It's easy to talk about him all the time. I'm surrounded by a great group of witnesses and I have this platform, an iPad with happy keys, to say whatever I want to whomever I want. God is good and I'll talk about him. 

 Obviously, there's nothing wrong with talking about God all the time. But the truth is, God would probably prefer we talk to Him, more than we talk about him: 

  • Because he likes spending time with us 

Take me away with you – let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers. We rejoice and delight in you; we will praise your love more than wine. How right they are to adore you! Song of Solomon 1:4

  • Because, if you know the same kind of people I do (people dealing with heartache and struggle), you'll be faced with some tough questions (about him)

...in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15

  • It's important that we accurately portray him (which can only be accomplished through knowing him personally-and knowing him well) 

What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops. Matthew 10:27

...we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. 2 Corinthians 5:20 

So here's my prayer. 

Dear God, 

Help us to stop putting the cart before the horse. We pray we'll stop waking up crazy, trying to drive the cart without the horse. Help us to be able to speak of your love honestly because we've spent intimate time with you. Help us to remember that when we pray more, we speak more with our lives and and less with words. Help us to say truly, and with experience (not as a resounding gong)

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. 



I've been debating what I'll wear Sunday to church. Dresses aren't my thing, but Christmas and Easter are typically the two Sundays I try to break my comfort rule, opting for something  more presentable. I enjoy seeing girls with a little more swing in their step wearing new Easter dresses and sandals.  I love seeing boys with button up shirts, and ties accomplished with the help of grownup hands. I always admire the few ladies that still wear a fancy hat. I've never been able to wear a hat. The hair that's left out is too poofy and my forehead gets itchy, but let's get back to what we're going to wear. You're going, aren't you? 

I've actually been thinking a great deal about clothes the past couple of days, just not clothing these days. Since last Sunday, Palm Sunday, I've been on a hunt to find out everything I can about the cloaks and clothing worn way before, and around, the time that Jesus walked the earth.  

We started out naked. Adam and Eve didnt need to wear anything, until they thought they needed something. After eating the forbidden fruit they sewed clothes for themselves out of fig leaves to hide their shame. Along with the curse that came from sin, God provided them with animal skins that covered them better.  

Later, clothes including cloaks, became important, even if not for the same reasons clothes (styles and brands) are important today. A cloak back then provided protection from the elements. 

A person's cloak hid their nakedness. The thin and simple cloth they wore underneath was more akin to underwear and, many times, wasn't sufficient to wear alone. A cloak could be taken off for a few reasons. The outer cloak could be taken off while laboring. With the destitute, it could also be taken off and given as a pledge for a loan. But even then, the creditor had to return the cloak to its owner before sundown because a poor man's cloak was all he had and it was determined it would not be taken from him.  

Cloaks were also used in the presence of kings. When it was announced that Jehu would be king, his army officers removed their cloaks and placed them on the bare steps underneath him. 

We don't hear of nakedness so much again until we see Job stripped of all his comforts and happiness. Dejected and alone he prayed,

Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.  Job 1:21

Thankfully we know that Job's life was restored with him having twice the riches he had before and he was was given seven sons and three daughters. Though I can't imagine his loss, he was given a greater inheritance. 

When we read about Palm Sunday we see the removing of cloaks again. When the disciples go and get the donkey on which Jesus will ride into Jerusalem, they take off the cloaks and put them on the donkey so that Jesus may sit on them. We read how the people in the crowd take off their cloaks and lay them on the road shouting Hosanna (God save us!). 

But the most touching, and relatable instance I found of cloak losing is found in Mark 10 when Jesus and the disciples were in Jericho. After being with a large crowd they were leaving the city. A blind man named Bartimaeus, who had heard it was Jesus, began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"  Many attempted to shush him, but he continued to call out. 

Jesus tells the disciples to call him. And so they do.

Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you. Mark 10:49

But before even getting on his feet you can guess what he did. He threw his cloak aside! He cast off his most important possession. This is incredible for several reasons. 

  1. His cloak was probably his only protection from the elements. He was a beggar. 
  2. He put aside his security. He probably didn't own much, if anything. As he sat on the side of the road, his cloak was likely used as a catching place for coins that were tossed from those that passed by. 
  3. He was in the midst of a king. 

Jesus tells him Your faith has healed you. Bartimaeus then follows Jesus. Having been spiritually blind and destitute myself, what a beautiful image Bartimaeus gives, of casting off our worldly goods. 

So what will you be wearing on Sunday? 

More important, what won't you be wearing? What is God asking you to cast off? What's your cloak?

  •  Earthly comfort, the kind that keeps you from wholeheartedly serving him?
  • Your ambition? Control? 
  • Your busyness?
  • Worry?

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22

Or is God calling you to give Him your shame, or your pride? 

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness... Isaiah 61:10

I'm not sure what I'll be wearing Sunday, but praise God for his son Jesus,  I know what I don't have to wear. 


Does anybody else think the various Easter eggs we used to fill our baskets with were non-delectable? 

Most traditional, I suppose, were the boiled eggs that were hand-dyed with the help of the PAAS box. Those were fun to make. You found them in the grass under the burning sun. They were less fun to eat than they were to find. Remember? They were lukewarm on the outside with a cool mossy-outlined yolk. 

Then you had those Brachs marshmallow eggs. Sure the were pretty pastel colors, but they tasted like a big chunk of chewy sugar. They were easier to accidentally find if your foot rustled up against their crinkly plastic wrapper.  In my opinion, they weren't that easy to eat. Not my favorite. 

I remember, in my later egg hunting years, finding a few plastic eggs with jelly beans. (Also, there was the time that room mom made green coconut "nests" and put jellybean "eggs" in them for our Easter treat. Yuck.) Jellybeans weren't all that great; especially when you always seemed to get more black (licorice) ones than the good colors; pink purple, and maybe orange. 

The only truly good egg was the prize egg. 

My mom tells about an Easter egg hunt where there was a grand prize egg. Still aggravated when she tells it, she says a mom, in a sneaky-like manner, showed her ten-year-old kid where the prize egg was. That egg had five bucks in it. My mom probably wished I'd found it. I wish I'd found it. I wonder if the kid who found it wishes they'd truly found it, instead of their mom finding it for them. We'll never know. 

It makes me think of my kids' faith. I remember when our youngest made a salvation decision, I breathed a sigh of relief that now we'd all be together in eternity. But I tell you, that hasn't stopped me from dramatically and persistently dangling the prize egg (of faith) before them. I wave it. I advertise it. I hold it out on a spoon like it's cough medicine, Here take this. It's good for you. 

But their faith is just that, their faith. I can't force it on them. 

As parents we can be guilty of trying to crowd into space that's already taken. Your kid's faith is an agreement between them and God. They'll either agree that they're sinful and that Christ is Lord, or they won't. Even after they're saved, they'll either agree daily that He is Lord, or they won't. 

The thought that they might choose poorly? Isn't that hard to swallow? 

In this matter of umost importance, we can make the mistake of attempting to, Vannah White-style, showcase our own faith rather than living a genuine and quiet, yet bold, faith hoping they'll copy. It's what we're not trying to show them, or sell them, that they usually pay attention to. 

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness... 1 Peter 3:15

Even if they're not opposed to our standing by the prize egg pointing insistently,  we can end up being in the way of them discovering the prize for themselves. It's not the same when we tell them who Christ is and what He's done for them as when they truly see it for themselves. It's like when my kids used to try to show me something on TV but I couldnt see it because they were in the way.  Sometimes we have to step back. 

Our job is to provide them opportunity upon opportunity to realize what it means to trust in Christ. Their trust doesn't rely on our convincing them. If it did, we couldn't truly boast of the power of God. That opportunity to believe is given to them through our prayer and in calling them to obedience. 

In my limited experience with my own children, their faith has been more affected when I pray for them than with them. Not to say that both aren't important, but when I pray for them I can speak of the deep places I'm asking God to reach. I can more easily, and likely more effectively, pray for things like selfish behavior and pridefulness when I'm speaking solely to God, without my kids being a part of the audience. 
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. I had a young Cocker Spaniel that drowned because a little helper with a water hose just wanted to give her a drink. Just like you make your children go to school and brush their teeth, take them to church (and make sure you're going). Make them participate in certain activities, but give them freedom over their own feelings. 

Having them obey and behave is our responsibility. Their feelings about church and God are something we can't control. And we shouldn't try. This is something I learned in a tough teenage season with one of our kids. They didn't want to go to church. I made them go and that was ok. I ultimately realized that I could make them go, but it was detrimental to demand that they like it. Be patient. 

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. Revelations 22:17

This Easter, and moment by moment, before and after, provide opportunity for your children to set their eyes on the prize. Just remember to let it be their prize, God's glory, and your joy. 


Be careful. If you walk too close to me you might smell a hint of swagger. I have a good reason.

The truth is that I choose not to splurge on girly body wash or shaving cream for shaving my legs. Why would I when I have shampoo that makes enough suds necessary for a good shave? 

My Swagger scent emerged in the past couple of months when I bought a nice economical bottle of Old Spice Swagger shampoo for Jason to use and it just so happened to have a pump. (That pump is so convenient.)  Hence I use it for shaving instead of my girl shampoo that used to do the trick, minus the pump. My feminine aroma is usually, hopefully, recovered by the use of some Dove deodorant and the perfume I grab off the dresser and spray on my way out. 

Where am I going with all this?, you ask.

I don't have a fetish for beauty or hygiene products. Something (anything) soapy works for my skin. As far as my face, I slap on a little bit of concealer, some eyeliner,  mascara and brow filler and some brown-toned lipstick and I'm "leave-the-house" ready. 

 My daughter fancies these things. Makeup is her birthday and Christmas wish list. She has two toolboxes and a number of drawers full of makeup, makeup tools and face creams. On a few occasions I've sneaked into her room when she's gone to play dress up, trying out the smokey eye with her newest pigmented palette. 

Primping isn't high on my life budget
And I'm pleased with that because inner beauty is more important...blah, blah, blah. The thing is, I may spend an appropriate measure on beauty products, but I can think of other areas in my life where I'm utterly wasteful. I spend too much love on things. I spend too many calories on Dr. Pepper. I waste a ridiculous amount of time on social media. I give too much passion in areas which don't need my response. 

In some areas of my life budget I succeed, in others I fail. 

My decisions, the way I handle myself, lacks good judgement. In this recognition lies the desire to choose better. God has been generous in granting me life with permission to spend as I see fit. The problem is, what I see fit, is faulty. 

Because of grace, as much as I've spent life foolishly based on my desires, I still have time, love and passion left to spend (and at least two of those three I know I have in abundance). 

My wisely spent today speaks of the faith I have in the riches of tomorrow. 

/swag.ger/-How one presents him or her self to the world. Swagger is shown from how the person handles a situation. It can also be shown in the person's walk. (According to the Urban Dictionary)

The Google dictionary tells us that swagger is a confident way of walking. 

How's your walk? 

Though you fail, do you have confidence?  You won't always smell like roses. That's ok. You can smell like swagger. 

...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6


Last August I decided to put together a book for middle school girls. I talked about it excitedly at first and then things like laundry, and working, and cooking...and Christmas, and 2017 got in the way. 

The good news is I didn't totally ditch the project, the work has just been slow and steady like a stream of cold molasses (Maybe the work has been more gloppy-like in small plops.) 

I won't bore you with the details. (Oh yes I will! But not all of them.)
If it's been so long that you've forgotten, or you somehow missed my constant chatter about it last fall, here's a rundown on the what's and the why's regarding the book. 

  • Rylie, our youngest, started middle school this past August and I trembled remembering how it was a difficult time for me when our oldest daughter (Hallie) was in middle school. (Oh yeah, it was hard for Hallie too.)
  • After seeing Rylie struggle through a social situation with peers, Hallie and I decided to make a Handbook of sorts for Rylie with letters of advice and encouragement from both us and other loved ones. 

  • She thought we were the smartest and best people ever (the day we gave it to her), so we decided a book should be made for other middle school-aged girls. 

  • The book's title will be The Village Girl Handbook.
  • It will focus on struggles and experiences common to girls in sections titled 
  1. You
  2. Your Hut
  3. Your Tribe
  4. Your Village
  5. Bigger Than That
  • Both people I know and people I've never met have written contributions on subjects ranging from Being Adopted to Bullying. The submissions are tip-top!
  • The Village Girl Handbook is also devotional in style, with quizzes, devotion questions and challenge questions. It also has interviews.  The book owner will seek out older girls and women for interviews; forging healthy relationships that promote understanding and inspiration. 

Here's where I'd appreciate prayer. 

  1. Figuring out the foreign nature of self-publishing and adding illustrations. (I have a low tech IQ). 
  2. Pray that I will remember to seek God at every turn; to the completion of this book and beyond. 
  3. Pray for middle school girls. It's an important, and often difficult time, where identity is ill-informed. Girls look to their peers to find security. Unfortunately, they're typically looking to others who are insecure. 
  4. Pray that this book will make it into hands that can benefit from it. 
  5. Pray that this book might be a tool that allows girls to see their need for women (who've been girls before) and their need for God. 
  6. Pray about what God would have you do regarding being a village member who helps raise up godly girls.  


This shoe sits by the front front door this morning awaiting its calling. I put it there to remind me to bring it with me when I go to pick the girls up after school for a doctor appointment. In the meantime, Hallie, our oldest daughter is wearing two right shoes. (We have two pair of black Converse tennis shoes and she got the right shoe of each pair in her rush). If we hadn't been running late this morning, we'd have come back to the house to correct the error. Instead, she's probably longing for rescue. 

I've received several pertinent reminders lately of just how consistent and abundant our need is for rescue. I've mourned with someone who feels alone.  Another faces a big day and they're scared. There's one who is broken and has lost faith in the person they trusted the most.  Still, another is the person who broke trust and seeks a way out the chains that have been holding her so long. Others need answers to hard questions. 

This ratty shoe hardly looks to be a hero. For our aid, we'd much rather a glass slipper; a dazzling piece of "arrive at the desperate scene" footwear that serves as our instant ticket out of misery.  We put it on...and Poof!...All of the ugly people are gone from our lives. They're replaced by a prince and loyal subjects. No more being neglected, despised or locked up. With a glass slipper, the answer to our problems becomes as crystal clear as the shoe that's just been placed on our perfect-sized foot.  

We hope for our glass slipper We look to people or things to fill a void or gaping wound. We make them our salvation, mistakingly believing that which is fragile can bear us up. A glass slipper could be a friend, or that special someone, you trust to fill your loneliness. You may attempt to improve your appearance (through exercise or more effort fixing up) believing it's the answer to your insecurity.  We can even be guilty of praying regarding our trouble and then turning right around and looking for worldly rescue. 

Better is a shoe that's walked all the places. We need a shoe that can endure shaky,  fall out from under our feet, kind of ground. We need one that can support any weight we put on it. 

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.  Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Isaiah 53:3

We need the shoes of one who's walked in ours. We can be hopeful for a loving, fulfilling relationship or an easy answer to our health scare. We can be grateful for that which we've been given. But all we have and hope for is naught if we're not aware of the one who goes before us and with us. 

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. Psalm 20:7

We've no need for teetering footwear. Peace that fills the voids and allows you to endure is waiting for you at the door. 
Stand firm then...with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Ephesians 6:14a, 15

What glass slipper have you put your hope in? 

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My sixteen year old has finally gotten to a point where she lets me in on the goings on in her life.  This is a big score considering she was incredibly private and independent as a toddler. When she was three she put herself in time out. When I tried to talk to her, she told me while pointing her chubby finger, You go in there, I'm in time out. The fact that she recently started inviting me on ride arounds just to talk, thrills me. We still have our moments, but even when she reverts to thinking I'm controlling or critical, we work through those things. I realize that things could change before the day's over, but right now I'm kind of her person. Check mark. 

So you'd think I've got it made when it comes to parenting my girls. After all, I've got a picture of a pretty pink teapot that says Love you Mom on the fridge that our eleven year old made me last year. She's our hugger and the one who likes to bake.  I've heard Don't Stop Believing more times this week than I did during the eighties. (She likes singing.)

But what she really likes these days is her dad. This year he's been given the sole privilege of signing his name to her agenda which must be checked and signed daily. If he forgets, or isn't at the house in the morning, I'm typically allowed to be his substitute. Not this morning. He teased her that he wouldn't sign it. She pushed. He pushed back. Instead of asking me to come to the rescue with my John Hancock, she told me to make him do it saying, What am I supposed to do if he won't sign it?  Apparently my signature, Chopped Liver, doesn't cut it anymore. The girl loves her dad; she loves him number one,  loves him. 

As I'm searching for consolation this morning, I tell myself that Hallie, our oldest daughter went through a season where she specifically needed her dad. Ironically, it was around the same time as our youngest, in her middle school years.
 She requested a daddy, daughter work day one summer, to which Jason happily obliged. In this season she heartily ate up his compliments and laughed at all his jokes, even the silly ones that were at her expense. It seems that adolescence is a time where girls really need their dads. They're discovering who they are. They're defining their worth. Who better to proudly sign his name saying he's a part of that agenda than their daddy? 

Ruth Graham, wife of Billy Graham, was once asked which of her children she loved the most. She replied,  The one who needs me the most. Our daughters, and sons, I believe, go through seasons where they love the parent the most, that they need the most. Our job as mothers is obviously to continue to love and support our daughters on days and in seasons when we're not number one.  It's also important that we support our husbands as they fill the need our daughters have to be specially loved through seasons of growing. 

In those times as moms where we feel like chopped liver let's remember to

  • Be patient- Girls need affirmation from their dads; in some seasons more than others. Try not to see their need for their dad as a lack of need for you. Most likely, your daughter knows you're there for them. You probably do spend the most time with them. Be gracious in allowing them their own special relationship that in some small way excludes you. 
  • Be grateful. There are so many ways your daughter could be seeking approval. Better that she's seeking her father's love versus approval that's wrapped up in the wavering, faulty opinion of her peers. 
  • Continue to be there for her. You may not currently be the superstar of the family. Your jokes may not be as funny; your advice might not be as sought. But be available and be encouraging even when you feel the sacrifice of your time and energy isn't understood or appreciated. 
  • Assist their dad. Whether it be filling him in on things you notice she's going through or helping him make time for a quick ice cream date, be his support so that he can be a better support to her. Laugh at his jokes with her, thankful that she's laughing in a season where she spends a lot of time worrying. 
  • Pray for their relationship. We know to pray for our daughters. And we pray for their dads. Don't forget to lift up the special relationship between the two. Fathers have a big responsibility in helping daughters know their worth.  Fathers, who are typically fix-it and move on creatures, are assigned a duty that requires they handle delicate issues that demand time when they often have little to spare. Fathers are called to endure emotion that's often foreign to them. 

You probably won't always be chopped liver. Just keep in mind while you are, that chopped liver is good for her. The next thing you know it may be you she's asking to take her out for ice cream. 


Bet you didn't know the recipe for failure includes milk and yogurt. 

I didn't until this morning when I made morning smoothies. Rylie has me make them every morning for breakfast. She drinks hers on the way to school, usually from a tall decorative cup with a lid. Smoothies are one of the few efforts I've agreed to make at the crack of dawn. I let my efforts slide this morning. 

Instead of a dapper to-go cup for her breakfast, I chose a red Solo cup. (The cute cup we usually use is hard to wash after seven hours in her locker.) Knowing she'd probably spill it, I secured the wide-open top with a rather large square of Saran Wrap. Then I stuck a straw in it, unbeknownst to me that Rylie would receive it similar to the way I received the peach and brown swimsuit my mom bought me from Bill's Dollar Store in fifth grade when moths had eaten my much cuter swimsuit. Rylie smiled and said thanks, but I could tell she was underwhelmed. 
As if it weren't enough that her smoothie didn't look cute, her first taste would prove that things were worse than I'd gauged. Behind her, while throwing her hair into a quick ponytail, I could feel the grimace. The taste equaled the presentation.  The cup mischoosing wasn't the only place I went wrong. 

Being that her sister Hallie enjoys a breakfast smoothie herself, I decided to stretch the fruit portion. In my more genius days, I divided a large bag of frozen fruit into individual-sized portions, adding banana. I put each portion into a ziplock, which I pull out and pop into my Ninja for morning magic. Disregarding Ecclesiastal advice which tells us two is better than one, I used one bag of fruit for both smoothies this morning because I'd chosen to be economical, stretching my most costly resource. The smoothies in the past have been too thick for quick slurping, and fruit is the number one thick ingredient, so I skimped. 

I was told by Rylie's chauffeur that this morning's smoothie tasted like strawberry milk. (Oh yeah, I also added a little more milk and yogurt than usual, disposing her need for a spoon.) What way for a middle school kid to start a Monday. Thank goodness I didn't pull that junk tomorrow, on STAAR Day. 

Lesson learned. 

Or shall I say, lessons. 

I'm reflecting on a few important realities today. 

  • Use careful consideration before ditching cute. Hang on to that uncomfortable pair of wedges and that blouse that hardly gets worn.  Keep that deviled egg tray at the back of your cabinet.  Presentation, sometimes, matters. Smoothie cups matter. 
  • Make the best use of your costly resources. Stretch what you can. With those things that are more valuable in nature, apply a liberal mindset.  Realize the worth of those ingredients in smoothies, ...and in life. Time is costly. How are you using it? 
  • Last and maybe most important, I'm learning it might be time the kids start making their own breakfast. 

Smoothie recipe (the acceptable one)

1 ziplock bag of frozen fruit (2 if you're making for two picky kids)

1 banana

1 cup of ice

A splash of milk (unless you like them runny)

3 TB yogurt

Honey (to taste)



"Are you just going to sit there and stare at your computer?"

 She must have looked at it for ten seconds before addressing me while I waited at the front desk. She wasn't the first person I was agitated with this morning (though I hope she'll be the last). One of the kids interrupted my prayer time this morning because they'd forgotten something they really needed at school and my fragile apple cart was upset. 

I need my prayer time. Besides all the utterances during the day, those short and desperate pleas sprung by impatience or worry, I long for that time in the morning when I get to talk to God about how grateful I am to know Him and how astounded I am at how much more of Him there is to know.

 I desire that daily opportunity to lift my family and loved ones up, requesting safety and health, and above all, a growing relationship with the one who loves them best. Overstuffed pages in spirals and scrawled notecards are full of favored verses and requests I make on behalf of those God has graciously placed in my life.  Much of my daily prayer echoes the one I said the day before. Allow Jason time with just you. Keep Hayden safe. Help Hallie to look to you for her worth.  Help Rylie be content and devoted in the friendships she has. Heal "so and so"...Comfort her...  Encourage him. 

This morning, after my prayer and after running some unexpected errands, I needfully tacked on an important prayer addendum.  In it, I prayed for myself. 

I don't always do that. Scanning my prayer journal, it's not often enough that I see words concerning myself that reach beyond what I'm grateful for. Do I think it's prideful or self-centered to pray for myself? It could be if I were praying for things that would only benefit me, but as I'm reminded this morning, there are a multitude of things I need to be praying for me that will benefit, not only me, but the very people I'm praying for.  Going to God in focused prayer for myself will bless my children. As I pray that God would rid me of the need to be busy, ...as I pray that God would relieve my anxiety, I'll be better able to listen to my children, becoming more aware of how to care for them and how I ought to pray for them. Praying against my imptatience will benefit the interactions I have with ladies who don't help me fast enough at counters. 

I can be a Xena prayer warrior for everybody on the planet and still be miserably lacking when I forget to ask God to help me where I fall short. In scripture we find David, the man after God's own heart, continually pouring out his heart to God concerning his needs. In Psalm 86, though it's only seventeen verses, David uses the words me, my, and I, thirty-one times, not including when he refers to himself as your servant. 

While praying for those we love is something we're supposed to be doing, it's not a litany of intercessory prayers for others that we read in the Psalms.  King David is aware of his own powerlessness to be good and do good on his own.   Chapter after chapter, we read how he goes to God in prayer, asking to be made whole, asking to be made new. 

While we pray for others, like the toddler in a recently viral YouTube video announced, You got to take care of you own self.  

As we devote time in prayer for ourselves, we can trust that God will equip us to be better wives, better mothers, better sisters, better pray-ers.  In praying for own transformation, we recognize and make known our desire that we be fashioned into better daughters of the One True King, our being better daughters brings well-deserved glory to God. 

Hear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. 

Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.

Psalm 86: 1, 4


Dear Hallie,

I'm listening to Griffin shuffle around in his kennel this morning. I can hear him better than usual because I'm downstairs and, like him, I can't sleep. 

Today's your birthday, your sixteenth birthday. But I don't have to tell you that. You've given me the countdown for weeks. 

It's two weeks until my birthday. It's ten days until my birthday. It's two days until my birthday...

You're way more excited than I am. I'm a little bummed. On top of you turning sixteen, you're getting mail every month from colleges reminding, you and I both, that your future is right around the corner. 
Then there's the whole driver's license thing. What better way to rub it in, that it's your hands that go on the wheel, than for the societal norm to boss us that it's time to drive at sixteen. Whose idea was that? 

You talked about painting your room pink a couple of months ago, but decided against it because you wouldn't be at home that much longer. Well I did some math we can walk through. (As you're learning, math is important.)  

In two years you'll turn eighteen. That gives you 730 days. Then you'll have March through (part of) August before you go off to college ( if you go off..., I hear there's a college ten minutes from here). Think about it. 

Anyway, that gives you something like 898 days in that tiny room of yours before that first fall semester of college. Even though you chose not to paint it,  I bought you something pink. I got you something that I'm hoping will make your room feel more girly and home-y. It's something that I hope will say, Make yourself comfortable, You're still here!  

But at the same time, it's the color pink that (I believe) girl dreams are made of. 

You weren't made to be confined to that little room of yours forever. You've been practicing this growing up thing since you started wobbling around in those plastic high heels in your pull-up and pearls.  You bossed us from the get-go with your chubby two-year old finger usurping authority over as much of your life as we'd allow. 

You outgrew your raggedy feather boas and tutus faster than I could blink, and moms hardly blink! You've probably outgrown those funky-colored bandana curtains we made and that huge vase with your rock collection that are still in your room too. You were made to grow. 

You were made to grow, without losing home. 

Home grows. 

In the past few years I've watch you grow at home on stage in theater. You've grown more serious about your education. You've grown at home with your youth group and with new friends. Though comfortable in your own small circle,  you've grown better about meeting and embracing new people.  You've grown at home with yourself, better learning that you were lovingly created to be unique and secure (in Him). 

Along with your gift of pink, I give you permission, and my blessing, to keep growing. Grow wiser. Grow in grace. Grow more able to see God working in all things. 

Happy sixteenth. And one to grow on. 

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment...Philippians 1:9

Love you,