To My Children (and any others who will hear me out), 

I know you get tired of it. I get on to you for any disrespect I observe. If I catch you treating others unkindly I call you on it. You're not allowed to say you hate someone or openly claim yourself better than someone else without a lengthy lecture on humility and love. 

I know you must get extra tired of the times you have to listen to one of my speeches because I read something on the news about another kid who has decided to exercise their freedom of speech in a most ill-mannered way. I halfheartedly apologize for those lectures. I realize it sounds like I'm getting on to you. 

Instead, I'm frantically making sure I've taught you, that regardless of your feelings and beliefs, there's a right way to act and a wrong way to respond to things you believe are wrong in this world. 

Recently, I read about a young girl who had knowingly and intentionally disregarded the dress code at her school by wearing a spaghetti strap tank top. The school clearly prohibited thin-strapped tank tops. The dress code also banned distracting apparel for both boys and girls. The girl's response to her being asked to change clothes, for breaking dress code, was to wear another tank top the next day with Sharpie marker-decorated arms which expressed, "I am not a distraction". She became an overnight news hero. 

The message I heard? 

Hey kids! Don't like a rule? Disregard it. And when you're called on it? Break the rule in a more dramatic fashion. Because everybody knows respect is: 

1. ALL about esteeming yourself and those who think like you

2. Earned by showing disregard for something you don't like or you think is unfair

Are tank tops of the devil? Nope. Neither are rules that cramp your fashion style. So you disagree with the dress code. Write the school board a letter. Ask to attend a meeting. There's a right way to seek change. 

On a different note, but similar tune...Today I read about the walkout at the Notre Dame commencement. The university dared invite a speaker that held different beliefs than many that graduated; Vice President, Mike Pence. 

Knowing that Pence would be speaking, dozens of graduates showed up and then followed through on a plan to disrupt the ceremony; a ceremony that other graduates likely would have preferred enjoy without a justice march.  

Despising Pence for what he stands for is perfectly fine. Standing up for what you believe is also applaud worthy. But those who support such a walkout should ask themselves these questions. 

  1. Aren't you for tolerance? (Or must only your own views be tolerated?)
  2. Haven't you said that we should love each other, Love Wins? (Or is love only something we practice on people who believe like us?) 

We don't have to agree on the quality person Pence is. I believe in free speech. It's a real thing, but as believers we are to use that freedom wisely. 

For the record, I don't believe that uncivil behavior accomplishes anything of value. 

In 2009, President Obama was chosen as Notre Dame's commencement speaker. Like with Pence, there were students who strongly disagreed with Obama's values. Instead of making a mockery of a much looked-forward-to graduation, fifty students held a prayer vigil on campus. 

I get it. It's hard to show respect to someone you don't believe deserves it. Do the hard thing. That is what's really courageous. When you show someone disrespect, you don't so much highlight that person's deficits as much as you reveal your own lack of moral compass. 

There's a right way to disagree. Being disrespectful isn't it. 

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 and respect...

1 Peter 3:15


In a nutshell:

I think this has always been a topic where maybe I disagree with the majority.  I've never been one to believe that respect must be earned. It should be earned! But even if you feel respect toward someone has not been merited, a person of character will show respect anyway because they are a respectful person. I don't think a lot of people earned respect from Jesus but he showed respect toward people.
Respect can be a Christlike gift of grace and goodness to those who aren't like us and don't behave like us. 

Which brings us to the next problem. None of us have ever been awesome at being Christlike, but when we cease to attempt to love like him we cease to really love at all. 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10

Most of you know that I've been working (with about twenty fabulous ladies) on a book for middle school girls. (For more about the book,  Click Here). A lot of heart, and over 40,000 words, have been poured onto pages that are now coming to life. 

Progress has felt slow for the most part. This week, however, has been a blur. Final touches like the acknowledgements and the blurb for the back are getting us one step closer to the book being ready for print. I was so ridiculously excited, writing the acknowledgements, that I could only try not to sound like I was receiving a Golden Globe as I thanked everybody involved in the book. 

I'll share one quick story that illustrates how God is working in big ways, but also in the details. 

I found an amazing app called Fiverr that provides people who make bids on your editing and artwork needs. There are some highly capable, reasonably priced people on this site. 

I was able to work with a lady named Ruxandra from Romania. I detailed five sketches that I wanted for the book interior. Four or five days after I requested the sketches, Rylie mentioned that she'd really like for the girl who will appear in each sketch (the girl who, hopefully, all readers will identify with) to have a high ponytail. 

I told Rylie that it was probably too late to ask for that and I kissed her goodnight. I woke up around three that morning unable to sleep. I prayed for all the hands that are touching, and will be touching the book, asking for God's guidance. 

After a long prayer time I went back to bed and checked my email. Up popped the sketch that will be used for "the girl" in the book. She's got a high ponytail. As minor as that may seem, it was a reminder in the dark that God knows our requests before we ask him. 

Please pray for the book. Pray that I'll be able to get the book properly formatted (the next step which appears to be complicated). Pray that the book will be available in good timing. Pray that girls who could benefit from godly counsel and encouragement will be able to receive a book. 

I don't tell you often enough how much I appreciate your reading my posts. It's an encouragement. Thank you for your relatable  thoughts and kind compliments. 

It would be an honor if you would help me choose the cover for the book.  I'm in the middle of a fun contest right now where artists are designing book cover ideas. I've picked some of my favorites. By clicking on the link below, you can rate the submissions, pick your favorite and leave helpful comments. I'd love to see what you think.  

Vote and pray please! 

Vote for your Favorite Book Cover

And while you're at it (if you haven't), subscribe to get my posts by email. 

I just took my daughter to McDonalds. I remember the rumors during the 90's that there were worms in the hamburgers. And then there's the recently famous Super Size Me documentary that lead many of us to swear off Big Macs forever. McDonalds has a terrible reputation.

 I'm still not ashamed. 

I can probably count on one hand the times we've been to McDonalds this year, or last year for that matter. We're doing our best to eat healthy.  Iceberg lettuce and squash have become common staples in our fridge. A quarter pounder and fries has little nutritional value. I get it. 

Still, today just seemed to beg for a quick, satisfying meal (even if high in calories, cholesterol and sodium). We grabbed our bag from the drive through and a few minutes later parked at our next destination. What happened over the next fifteen minutes might make me a believer in occasional visits to McDonalds. 

Mysteriously, the burger seemed to be some sort of mood stabilizer. And the fries? They acted as a miraculous truth serum. 

Before I knew it, my girl was telling me about an incident that happened this week that I might not have heard about it if we'd not been popping fries. She poured out her trouble as I slurped my soda. News that would typically make me fume was somehow softened by our not playing by the rules impromptu lunch.  

She talked and I listened while fries and our disappointment disappeared. 

Would Subway or carrots at home have had the same effect? I don't know. Come to think of it, I did more listening than I did talking today. (Maybe it's because my mouth was busy). I lent more attention to how she felt than I did to planning an agenda to fix everything. 

Was it fast food magic? Who can tell.  

I walked with her today while she sang "Am I not pretty enough". I didn't answer. I just let her sing. We don't always have to give an answer. Sometimes we don't have one. 

Maybe sometimes we get it right because we drop the need to get it right. Sometimes a burger and our presence is enough. 

Parenting is tough. Being a kid is too. Sometimes, I'm finding out,... you (do) want fries with that. 

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Jehovah-Jireh The Lord who provides/ The Lord Who Sees / The Lord will see to it 

A few weeks ago I took a sharp breath and sighed out relief announcing that (because Easter was over) we'd have a short break before graduations and the chaos of summer. It took no less than two days for my oblivion to be shaken back to reality. There was no break. I'd apparently just been shrouded in ignorance. 

Life is busy

One of the things that's been on our radar the past few months is our sixteen year old daughter, Hallie. We were intentionally ignoring the fact that she needed to be driving, and that she needed something to drive. She brought our negligence to attention. So now we've been spending evenings as her riding companion in a car we found for her. 

Life is costly. 

Also, heavy on our minds, have been the too-many-to count souls that are struggling. We hurt with loved ones who are battling cancer and enduring cancer scares. We woefully lift up those who are going through other health problems. We've recently lost loved ones in our church and have friends who've lost their own loved ones...Those are just the physical battles. Spiritual battles are all around us. 

Life is precious. 

Maybe this current reminder of the delicate and complex  nature of life is why something new popped out while recently reading in the book of Jonah. I love Jonah's story!  I can relate to wanting to hide. Embarrassingly, I can also relate to having a bad attitude when God's grace in my life has been abundant. However, a new theme worth mentioning captured my attention this time. 

God's provision

At least three times in the book of Jonah, it says God provides


But there's a catch. There's a catch with us too. 

  1. God's provision can stop us in our tracks. God provided a great fish to swallow Jonah which kept him for three days and nights. (Jonah 1:17) So many times what we think we need to be doing, isn't really what we should be doing. 
  2. God's provision is an answer, but it isn't always what we ask for.  Consumed with anger, Jonah asked God to take his life. Instead, God unexpectedly provided Jonah with a tall vine that gave shade and provided comfort. (Jonah 4:6)
  3. God's provision can come in the form of discipline. Because Jonah had no compassion for the people in Ninevah, God provided a worm which chewed the vine until it withered. Jonah was then exposed to the harsh wind and heat. God reminded Jonah of the temporary and minor value of the vine compared to the value of his people. (Jonah 4:7) God showed Jonah were his heart should he. 

Rather than giving Jonah what he wanted, God gave Jonah what he needed.  Thank goodness he does the same for us. 

In all the demands of life today, and with the uncertainties you may face tomorrow, may you trust God's wise, loving and bountiful provision. 


*National Teacher Appreciation Day is Tuesday, May 9, but it goes through the whole week, next week. That gives you time to practice your appreciating! 

My first grade teacher, Mrs. Andrews,  gave M&Ms for "Extra Work Things". She introduced me to Applewiches, a delightful treat consisting of sliced Granny Smith apples and peanut butter. She gave me the gift of reading. As amazing as she was, I still remember her displeased face (which was a little bit scary) when we got too loud. I also remember the time she sided with the new boy instead of me when he tried to boss me into putting more water on my paintbrush when we were using our watercolors. Then there was one kid in class she could never quite get to straighten up. I still think she was close to perfect. 

Mrs. Andrews, like most of my teachers, added to my life in a way that would be difficult to fully express. If I could tell my teachers today how much I appreciate them, maybe in addition to some thoughful gift, I'd appreciate them with words and with understanding. In honor of Mrs. Andrews, and all the other teachers, I've put together a list of helpful things you can give your kid's teacher for Teacher Appreciation Week, and well, all year long. 

You can give them:

  • Some slack- They may forget to send a note home, be late in responding to an email, or fail to fix a problem your kid is having in math. Try and give them a break when you can. Their school schedules and minds are often overloaded. They also have lives and families they're trying to lead.  As much as possible, try and give them a fresh slate after a mishap. Don't be a record keeper of wrongs. And please, don't be that person on Facebook who furiously types out mysterious posts when frustrated that start out  "Should a teacher...?" creating a social media mob against them. 
  • The benefit of the doubt- I'd like to say my kids are as honest as the next kid. That being said, my kids have come home with some crazy stories through the years that have had me either scratching my head or else trying to subdue my anger. Our kids can sometimes misunderstand or misrepresent something that happens during class with their teacher. Give your kid's teacher a pass (knowing it may not be quite like your kid explained it) or  give them an opportunity to share their version of the event. 
  • Well-behaved children- Sending a child who has been taught to behave and respect others is a gift that keeps on giving. Teachers are responsible for managing behavior at school, but shouldn't shoulder the sole responsibility of producing students with good character. Teachers can model, encourage, and reinforce character, but it's important that we're also taking that job seriously at home with our kids. 
  • Chocolate doesn't hurt 
  • Your prayer- I'm a part of the Quitter Club. After fifteen years of teaching, I hung up my teaching clothes. The job of molding young minds, while trying to simultaneously meet the requirements of strict government mandates and parent expectations, is extremely tiresome and heavy. Don't get me wrong, teaching is incredibly fulfilling, but teachers are burdened with the responsibility of instilling knowledge, in addition to getting kids to express that knowledge they've been given on assignments and tests. This includes children who may sometimes be apathetic, have a learning disability, or may have struggles you couldn't imagine. Most teachers deeply care and are deeply burdened. They need your prayer.  
  • Your spelled-out appreciation- Go ahead and give the Bath and Body Works hand lotion and the gift cards. I know they're welcomed. But don't forget to tell your kid's teacher what you really appreciate about them. Tell them how their sense of humor lights up the classroom or how it meant so much to your kid that time they pulled them aside to make a plan to find a friend. Brag on the songs they make up to get a a group of kids in line or to get the daydreamers to stop playing with their pencil and pay attention. 

What do you appreciate about your kid's teacher? 

I still think most teachers are superheroes. Especially this time of year, I imagine they're  low on steam. Their cape is a little worn. Give them the credit and encouragement they're due. 

PS -Without hesitation I'll tell you, this year ALL of my kids' teachers rock! 

Let's Stay Connected

One of the best!!!

It's GA Day. Time to recognize our church's Girls in Action. Know what else that means it's time for? -Tearing up the house to find our purple vest that will be worn in three and a half hours. 

Certain members of the Burden family, myself included, have enough trouble locating something we used yesterday (keys, scissors). You asking us to find last year's vest? Nearly too much to ask. 

That's why I was bursting with pride when we found the vest in fifteen short minutes after church today. In fact we found Hallie's old vest and encouraged her to wear it as a sign of support. Fat chance. These vests are more a mission statement than a fashion statement. I'll encourage Hallie to be missional by loving her sister when the bathroom feels too small to share. 

There was one other little problem the vest presented when we pulled it out of the box in the garage. It had patches that needed to be affixed by sewing or other sticky means. Sewing? No can do. I can however squeeze a tube of glue like nobody's business. Too bad I can't seem to find the kind of glue that actually sticks. 

Several years ago Hallie's patches fell off while she walked on stage to receive her certificate. Last year Rylie lost hers too. 

This afternoon, I re-stuck the ones that came off last year and glued the new ones she got last year that I never put on. 

I have issues with things sticking-

  • Like my resolve to stop worrying
  • And that decision to calm the road rage 
  • My commitment to really read the Bible every day

What is it they say about good intentions? 

They say I'm in trouble. 

I say Let the patches fall where they may. 

Sure I fail, sometimes miserably. When I'm not failing miserably I'm failing consistently, in some small way. 

I won't put away the glue though. 

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17

I'm thankful for glue. I'm even more thankful for grace. 

Grace=Disater Relief
...All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end. Romans 5:20-21 (The Message)

How not to put on patches:

P.S. I'm sincerely grateful to those who lead a Mission Friends, GA, RA or Acteen group. I'm also encouraged that we have young girls and guys who are interested in sharing the message of Jesus here and abroad. 

Let's Stay Connected

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) 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