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          Have you ever made a pinky promise?  I know I have though I can’t remember the details.  I do remember however getting a necklace back in fifth grade from my first boyfriend that symbolized our promise to be boyfriend and girlfriend forever (or until he ruined it!).  The necklace was a gold circle that had my name on one side and his name “Brad” on the other.  On the “Kristi” side of the necklace there was a small rose arched above my name.  I lost that necklace shortly after I got it.  I was so embarrassed and upset that my sweet mom took me to Wal-Mart to have it replaced.  The only problem was they had a similar necklace, but not one with the gold rose. We had the necklace engraved  Kristi and Brad just like the one I had lost.  The funny thing is I had to be super careful at school to always make sure the necklace stayed on the Brad side because when it turned to the Kristi side there was no gold rose.  Brad could never know I had lost the token of our promise .  I didn’t have to do this for long.  A couple of weeks later I tripped and fell at school.  Not only did Brad laugh the loudest,  there was no offer to help me up.  That was the end of that.   So much for true love.

     Hallie and I were shopping at Claire’s recently.  They had the cutest friendship jewelry including a monkey and  banana necklace pair.  Since the beginning of time people have used symbols ranging from handshakes and contracts to represent  and qualify promises.  Promises to stay friends, keep secrets, pay someone what you owe them and promises to stay committed forever.  Though most promises are made with the intention to be kept, they are often broken.

   I made a google search  on pinky promises.  I knew that a pinky promise is made by intertwining pinkies.  As your pinkies are joined together you make a promise.  It could be a promise  to stay friends forever or a promise to never reveal your friend’s secret crush.  Originally the punishment for breaking a pinky promise was cutting off your pinky.  Wonder if anyone followed through on that.  There’s something I need you to catch here girls!  A promise is really just a declaration of what you are going to do or what you are not going to do. We break promises everyday.  We change our mind.  Friends come and go.  Our lips slip and we let out that secret we were supposed to keep.

     Brad, giver of the gold necklace,  ended up being a nice guy.  I set him up with my good friend and they are still married to this day.  I have friends now that I’m pretty sure I let a secret or two of theirs slip.  I’m glad I still have my pinkies.  Even when friends disappoint or betray us, God is still faithful.  Every page of the bible is full of God’s promises to us.  I know this because what He declares, He does.  And beyond  offering his pinky to show he meant what he said, he gave his very life.  And that girls is more than a pinky promise!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17

For I am the Lord; I change not.  Malachi 3:6

1.Have you ever broken a promise?

2.How have you felt when a promise made to you has been broken?

3.Are there times when you may not be able to keep your promise?

4.Is there someone we can trust to always do what they say?

5.Is there someone who is unchangeable?


     As a young girl, we would travel to my Meme’s for the day.  When visiting after a good rain, the cousins and I would ask (we would usually ask) if we could step in a huge puddle in the driveway.  We usually were allowed probably because the adults wanted the kids out of the house.  You can probably guess that more happened than “stepping” in the puddle.  We would end up muddied from head to toe.

  You may not have had the same experience.  But I know that I have walked past countless puddles as a mom warning my children to “watch out for that puddle”.  Even with the warning, Rylie who obviously has bad eye sight hardly ever misses one.  Chances are you have muddied yourself by a few puddles or you’ve been splashed standing too close to someone else who found themselves unable to walk on muddied water. 

 Psalm  1

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked

Or stand in the way of sinners

Or sit in the seat of mockers.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord…

Whoa you may say!  How did that verse get stuck in here.  I think it goes perfectly.  Notice the verbs that are bolded in the first three lines.  1.walk  2.stand  3.sit  Listen to the following scenario and see what I mean.

Let’s say you’re in the cafeteria and you’re walking to dump your tray.  You notice some of your classmates huddled and laughing at something hysterically.  You stand near the huddle and find that they are reading a note they found where the new girl has written a boy asking him to be her boyfriend.  You know he would never go out with her.  Before you know it, you’re sitting  at the table wondering and discussing why the new girl would think she has a chance with the coolest guy in school.  You don’t  realize that your teacher is approaching until she snatches the note.  Bam!  You’ve been caught right in the middle of this mess.  Your name is mud.

Too many times, when we’re not careful who we’re hanging out with, we find ourselves doing things like gossiping or behaving in a way we never would have intended.   And even if you’re not saying a word, when conversations turn muddy, it’s hard to walk away.  This is why it’s important to choose our company wisely.  You see I never meant to get as muddy as I got at my meme’s house, but by choosing to even go near the puddle you could be sure I wouldn’t walk away clean.  God is telling us in the first Psalm that we would be “blessed” which means encouraged or happy if we do not walk around those who are choosing to act poorly.  He knows that if we are anywhere near those kind of people we will usually pull up a chair and get comfy with them.  He says at the end that those who do not walk, stand or sit with that kind of company have their delight in the law of the Lord.  Choose to delight in God’s word.  I remember delighting in the puddle with my cousins, but I remember being wet later on, especially if I hadn’t brought a change of clothes, was kind of miserable.   Pray that as you trust God and his word that he will help you find friends who steer clear of life’s puddles.

1.Think of an example of a puddle you have found yourself in (example lying to an adult because your friend wanted you to).

2.Have you ever found yourself inviting someone into a puddle with you?  An example of this would be asking a friend if they think the girl in dance class is rude and then sharing with your friend something rude you heard her saying.

3.Which does God warn us not to do:

-walk near those who are doing evil

-stand around them

-sit with them

-all of the above

4.What does God say our delight should be in?

 Most likely you have played the part of friend and fowl.  You know what I’m talking about when I say you have played the part of friend, but you may be asking what do you mean by saying I have played the part of a fowl.   A fowl, if you’re unsure is a bird.  You may have been thinking of a foul as in foul ball.  You may have heard this word called out in a basketball or baseball game.  In this case, foul means to offend someone.  In baseball it means that the ball gone outside the bounds.  While we have each been a friend to many, we have also found ourselves acting as a bird brain offending and going outside the friend boundary line.  Let’s save the friend part for last and talk about birds.

     Have you ever heard of Adelie penguins?   There was at one time a popular you-tube video which shows the Adelie penguins in their acts of selfishness.  All of the birds crowd along the edge of the ice not knowing if danger lurks in the water.  So they push one of their own in the water.  If that penguin survives, they know it is safe to go in.  Not kidding girls! When faced with a vicious group of dogs, I read that the Adelie penguin will waddle up and even as the dogs lunge for the penguins they hang around.   Do you know girls who will push their own over the edge just to make sure it’s not themselves that falls?  Or maybe you’re the girl who will throw yourself to the wolves just because that’s where the action seems to be.

     A couple of years ago we had a hummingbird feeder on our front porch.  I was excited to see our first group of hummingbirds crowding around in no time.  I was not excited however to quickly learn how aggressive hummingbirds can be.  Those tiny birds have some big attitude.  They will seemingly choose certain birds to chase away while letting others feed with them.  We all know girls like this; girls who will only allow certain girls in their group.  While I watched one bird repeatedly return and get chased away I wanted to yell at the bird “Quit coming back to torture, go to another  feeder!”  I tried chasing away the aggressor, but realized that another bird would take its place. Though you wouldn’t want to say it out loud maybe you’ve secretly not wanted someone uncool hanging out with you.  And maybe some of us have even said or done something to make that person know that they’re not welcome in our group.  Possibly you have stood by silent when someone else has been shooed away.  You might be the girl who keeps coming back hoping that this time they will accept you.


     Chickens aren’t any better.  If you have been near a chicken coop you’ve heard them “clucking” at each other.  They have a “pecking order” in which the stronger chickens try to control the weaker birds. You’re getting the picture right? The book of Proverbs tells us that a “friend loves at all times”.  Though we have all acted foul, not like a friend God calls us to be above the birds.

      I did some research and found that in the eighties there was a super-hero named Bird-Brain who was part human and obviously part bird who could never quite find victory.  Bird-Brain’s creator made him and then sent him off where he doomed and defeated ended up on an island.  Thank goodness our creator has not abandoned us.  He knows our pain as we’ve been rejected.  And get this!  He knows the pain and incompleteness that causes us to sometimes be the one who acts foul.  He loves both friend and fowl but desires that as we face the choice everyday of who to be, that we choose to be a friend.



1.How have you been a friend?


2.How have you or someone you know been like one of the described birds?  (Remember not to use anyone’s name).

3.Have you ever felt like Bird-Brain?  If so, how?

4.How is our creator different from the one who created Bird Brain?


Recently we were coming home from school talking about another “friend issue”.  This issue involved a friend of one of my children who had suddenly decided she didn’t want to be friends anymore.  This may have happened to you or you may have had a BFF(best friend forever) who out of nowhere started to ignore or avoid you like you had the plague.  When you’ve been de-friended it makes you wonder about this whole friend thing.

     This is why I love the Bible so.  Need examples of what it means to be a friend, open the word of God and the answer is in front of your face.  My favorite friend story comes from the book of Mark.  By the  second chapter of Mark, Jesus has been traveling, preaching and healing and then we find him home (maybe Peter’s home-we don’t know for sure). 

 He has drawn quite a crowd.  It says that there is no room even outside the door.  The story tells of four men carrying a paralyzed man.  If you have known of someone being paralyzed, you know that they are unable to walk and sometimes even move on their own. 

So when the men arrive to see Jesus and find that they are unable to get their friend through the crowd, disappointed they go home, right?  No!  Verse four tells us “since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on”.  Are you trying to picture this?  I’m wondering what the crowd thought. 

The people had been waiting to see Jesus and then these men have the nerve to force their way in.  And what about the house owner who probably didn’t have roof insurance;  these men were on a mission.  The best part of this story comes when it says that when Jesus saw THEIR faith the sins of the paralyzed man were forgiven; he was spiritually healed.  THEIR faith!  I want friends like that!

     Too many times we look out for ourselves.  These men were not thinking of themselves.  They saw a friend with a need and they were determined take him to Jesus. I know it couldn’t have been easy carrying this man onto the roof.  I can’t imagine the crowd being too happy. They risked being rejected.  Yet being a friend in action they selflessly carried on. 

 This man might have never known Jesus or the healing that comes on from him had it not been for these friends.  It was their action and their trust that lead to this man’s spiritual healing and after his physical healing. This man was able to walk home. 

 You probably come across people in your school every day that need a friend to carry them.  Not pick them up literally, but encourage them.  Point them to Jesus.  Sometimes this just means being like Jesus to someone who is in the dumps.  Many times people feel paralyzed and stuck.  They may have family problems,  or they’ve had a rough morning,  or maybe their friend has just dropped them like a hotcake.  I bet you know the feeling. 

Being a friend in action is where real friendships are made. Have FAITH that as you friend those in need that God will create friendships for you.  We all want the the status of being someone’s best friend.  Everybody wants the invite to the sleepover on Friday night.  But can you put your own interests aside?  Like the men we read about can you be an over the top friend?


  1. In a recent devotion, you read that “a friend loves at all times”.  Do you think this means we should only love those we call our friends or everyone?

(This verse is describing what kind of person a friend is.  It is someone who always loves.  I wonder if you could insert the word “Christian” in place of the word “friend”.)


  1. This man on the mat had two problems.  What were they?


  1.   Do you think it was easy to be this man’s friend?  Remember that much like today back then people with physical and mental handicaps were not accepted in society.


  1. Do you think it was easy to get him to Jesus?


  1. How can you be an over the top friend?


We finally made it to Shangri La Botanical Gardens.  I’ve been wanting to go since we moved to Nederland.  The kids will be out of school in days so Jason and I thought we’d better steal away a date while we had the chance.  We started our tour about ten steps in front of three bus loads of kids and another bus from Houston.  As we approached the information center, the guide suggested we wait for the group (of two-hundred kids) before we watch an eight minute informational video and read literature explaining all that we were about to see.  I gave Jason the look, then he gave me the look-mine meaning “no way” followed by his agreement.

As we completely skipped our educational introduction into the gardens I brought up a valid point.  In bold letters wrapped around the entry way of the Education Center Gazebo are these words:

Drink in the beauty…and wonder at the meaning of what you see.

 Words quite contrary to an educational center I argued.  I love learning just as much as the next guy, but I thought skipping the crash course in botanicals might prove beneficial in this case.


I’m pretty sure we made an excellent choice.  We walked the gravel road alone shrouded in the mystery of God’s creation.  We couldn’t name most of the plants we saw, but that was ok.  We saw a roseate spoonbill (see I did learn something), but I feel sure if I hadn’t known its name, it wouldn’t have been any less beautiful.  We saw.  We wondered.  We marveled.

I believe the same is so with God.  I yearn to learn why God does what he does. How God does what he does. Learning is good, but there is beauty in mystery.  We won’t completely know God on this side of eternity as is his plan.  There’s something about being surrounded by the unknown that makes a person feel small and humble and swallowed up by beauty and majesty.

Check out these photos and wonder in wordless awe.


   Track season is just finishing up.  Track was not my favorite sport back in my school days, but in a small school everyone is encouraged to participate.  As an eighty-something pound seventh grader I was signed up to throw shot put and discus. The only logic I can see in my coach placing me in those events was that I couldn't jump. That left shot and disc and coaches like to make sure that all the name blanks are filled on event entry sheets.   I guess the coach always had the hope that my competition might get a sudden virus or that I might drop the shot-put on their toe rendering them unable to compete.

I also ran the two-mile, the mile, and the half mile. I can still feel the butterflies that took flight in my stomach as I positioned myself on the track. I can still hear the gun being fired signaling time for take off.    I. was. not.fast.   BUT, I had endurance.  I might have been called the Energizer Bunny if he had existed then.   I did pretty well considering how much I disliked it.  I guess I was running away from running.

I remember in practice, my coach gave me Velcro-bags to strap around my ankles. Maybe it was just on one occasion, but I thought getting to use the weight bags was the coolest.  The bags were full of pennies.  It provided weight around my ankles.  I was to run around the track once with the weight.  Then I was to take off the weight and run.  I remember running after taking off the weight.  It was amazing; almost difficult to keep my feet on the ground.  I was so light.  It felt like running had been made a thousand times easier.

I can’t imagine why coach let me use the ankle weight bags just that time or two.  I’m thankful though, as it provided the perfect example of the effect sin has.  It also showed the remedy. The lap I ran with the bags was treaterous.  About ten yards into my run, I was hurting and exhausted.  The weight not only pulled at my ankles, but my whole body wanted to dissolve into a puddle much like the witch in Oz who was doused with water.  Similarly, sin weighs us down.  I tend to lose things fairly often, but I keep an excellent record of my sin.  My own sin, combined with the sin around me is just too much to bear.  I told Hallie I would make her lunch, but I forgot.  I was sarcastic with Hayden again.  Where was my patience with Rylie?  I am so discouraged by injustice in the world; sin.  Heavily weighted by sin in my own heart, and sin all around me-  I don’t know if I’m being consumed from the inside-out or the outside-in.

Thankfully, Paul has a pertintent word.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perserverance the race marked out for us.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…..-Hebrews 12:1,2

Being weighed down in sin is actually a blessingI never felt so light, so able to run the race set before me until the weight was unbearable and then removed.  The weight of sin was bore on calvary.  We can add as much weight as we want to our running bags, trying to do life on our own strength.  And we can run much more than a lap if we so desire. But it is when we throw off the weight, casting it to the cross, that we are able to really run the race.  Running with perserverance means that we have to be persistent, steadfast.  We must constantly “cast off”.

Daily life is both practice and the real race.  We have cheering fans in the stand, the men and women mentioned in Hebrews and Christian brothers and sisters with us now.  They are urging us to run unburdened and unhindered.  Weightless, by faith that Jesus has endured it all, let us run.  Let us run before those cheering witnesses with our eyes on Jesus, who is both with us and waiting for us at the finish line.

I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education.  According to degree requirements, you had to have two areas of specialization.  I love reading, so specializing in Reading was a no brainer.  My other choice was made with more creative thought.  Math was not my subject and I already had several Biology courses under my belt.  Biology seemed to be the easiest and most convenient route.  It's amazing how much you forget, but interesting the things you remember.  I still remember that Scrophulariaceae is the scientific family name for the common foxglove flower. When you least expect it, some seemingly useless piece of information like this pops into your head.

You may not have ever heard or cared about the scientific name for the foxglove, but I'm pretty sure you have heard of scavengers and parasites.  You have surely witnessed scavengers feeding off of dead organisms. It's also likely you've dealt parasites; organisms which have a self-beneficial relationship with a host which is entirely different (for example a flea on your furry friend).  Before I bore you to tears, I'll try to explain where I'm going with this. Oddly, I found some similarity between simple organism and inter-human relationships.

Parasites, as we know, are organisms that thrive by taking advantage of a host.  The parasite often grows, feeds or finds shelter from the other organism, often causing  it harm. The cute bird perched on the giraffe's neck in the picture above looks to be a pal.  The bird grooms the giraffe by ridding him of a hundred or more ticks, plus thousands of tick larvae daily. Surprisingly, in addition to the tick being a parasite, the bird is also said to be parasitic in relationship to the giraffe.  The bird, once it removes the ticks, feeds on the giraffe's blood and is also known to peck at the sight causing wounds.

Do you know people who suck the joy right out of you leaving you deflated or even wounded?

Often unintentionally, a critical spirit will search out a joyous host and attempt to sap the joy and then peck on the fresh wound. 

  This is often done with the misconception that sapping someone else's joy will increase your own, but it doesn't work that way.

Don't be a joy sapper!

Let's talk about scavengers.  We don't possibly know anyone who feasts on carnage, do we?  I've seen my share of buzzards and shudder at the thought of resembling one.  Scavengers feed off of their dead host to get energy and nourishment.

Does a nonliving host exist with humans?

If so, do we expect this host to sustain our life?  Hmmm.  Anybody want to talk about money?  Or maybe a new shirt or cute new pair of shoes?  There's nothing like entertainment to sustain me. "There's that movie I've been dying to see."  "If we could just fix the floors and get new countertops".  Why are we seemingly dependent on that which has no life.  Why do we feed on substance incapable of giving us life?

 Material possessions are often a life-filling substitution, but don't really foster growth, development or joy.


I find myself giddy when something random relates to who God is and what he does.  Honestly, it's probably not as random as I believe;

For since the creation of the world, God's invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made...

-Romans 1:20.

Even the imperfect things, such as parasites which do not seemingly reflect his glory- point us to Him.  He planned it all out perfectly.

So... ending on a brighter note, I have learned of a new type of symbiosis, or organism association.  I don't remember ever hearing the term before.

 Commensalism is a type of association between organisms where one organism benefits- leaving the other not harmed, but also not in need of it's host.  What got me excited in reading about this type of symbiosis is that the word made up of com and mensa  means "sharing a table".   One example would be barnacles which have access to nutrients in the water by fastening themselves to whales; dinner and a free cruise.

 I also read that in the Arctic tundra, caribous hunt by digging for lichen plants in the snow.  The Arctic fox follows the caribou, finding its underground prey which has been surfaced thanks to the caribou; a sort of perpetual "lunch is on me" relationship.  I don't remember learning about commensalism in Biology.  It reminds me of our relationship with God; so off balance with benefit to us. While he doesn't need us, he stoops down in order to be in relationship with us!

 He "shares a table" with us.

  This fact blows me away.  Hopefully God receives glory from me in the way that I live, but you know what?  If neither I, nor any person,  lived to bring him glory, "the rocks would cry out" (in his name) Luke 19:40.  He doesn't need us.  The whale and caribou are unintentionally beneficial. The bird and other parasites harm their hosts.  Scavengers have no relationship, but only feed on death. God has created us with the purpose of being in a loving, living relationship with us.  He enjoys us!

The imperfection that flaws my every earthly relationship, does not exist in my relationship with God; thanks be to Christ who makes this possible.

I am imperfect and can add nothing to the table in which God and I share.  The life I have so graciously been given is only sustained at his table.

.....love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.  For the LORD is your life....-Deuteronomy 30:20 

Picture above taken at Masai Mara Wildlife Reserve in Kenya.



While I'm on a celebratory roll I thought I'd add two other fun items we use at home for  special moments.

I don't feel the need to break out the fine china very often, but this celebrate glass has been a special treat for birthdays.  I got this on Boston Ave. at Occasions.  We would be using it tonight if we weren't going out this evening to celebrate.  -No birthdays but someone redeemed themself this week by making a very much needed eighty-eight on an important test.

I might as well keep this party banner hanging right where it is.  In the last month I've used it for Jason's birthday, my Spring Retreat peeps and for some of our God's Girlies who met here on a Saturday.  I know all of you out there could probably make one of these.  I, on the other hand, am not crafty. I work with hot glue, spray paint and sharpies only- which I believe can fix everything in life that chocolate can't.

With all of the pomp and circumstance I always have to remind the kids and myself  that all victories belong to God; each success  is a gracious gift.

Ascribe to the LORD glory....Psalm 29:1



I don’t clean my windows often.  Ok that’s an understatement.  Not counting yesterday the last time I cleaned them may have been right around Christmas.  Upon cleaning I start out right.  I have my paper towels and I have my Windex.  I clean the inside first and then move to the outside.  Only the same problem occurs every time I clean windows.  After I’ve cleaned the outside I notice that I missed smudges on the inside so I go back in and try once again.  Before my windows are smudge-free I’ve went in and out a few times.

I have made it my goal to get into the habit of seeing God in all situations.  Even window cleaning shows us about Him and his precepts and how they relate to any and everything we experience.  While I was cleaning I wondered to myself why I don’t clean the inside of the window really well in the first place thus making cleaning the outside easier.  You see when I really don’t do a thorough job cleaning inside I go back and forth searching for the location of the stubborn smudge.  Is it inside or out?  Jesus had something to say to the Pharisees about their useless clean- up act.

I believe the Pharisees thought they were in the clean-up business.  They felt it their obligation to reveal sin-smudged lives. With their tassels, dressed to draw attention they vocally identified your every imperfection while boasting that their law abiding way was the way to pure living.  In modern day I can imagine that in place of the tassels, they would be wearing a t-shirt with a logo or driving a mini-van with a self-promoting advertisement.   They would have to have an infomercial too. Have you ever noticed on infomercials they have the one item you need but it’s followed by……and that’s not all several times over?  Before you know it, it’s not one item but a whole line of products that will make your life better.  In chapter 23 it says “They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger.”  Just as many products sold on infomercials are ineffective, the way to right living is not solved by subscribing to products or following a twelve page pamphlet. Often there is more concern with the profit one might receive in selling than the blissful effect a product will have on one's life.  Moreover the Pharisees, according to Jesus, loved having somewhat of a celebrity status; being in the seat of honor for their works.

The Pharisees, though seemingly conceited and completely lacking compassion, still play a beautiful part in the unfolding of God’s marvelous plan.  You see their job wasn’t to clean up sinful lives.  But just like the law given back in the time of Moses, the Pharisees revealed how imperfect we all truly are.  In fact, they became the shining example of imperfection.  They revealed that no matter your fervor in practicing and teaching the law, we still lack in following it perfectly.

Jesus refers to the Pharisees as “blind fools”.  In verse 26 of Matthew Ch. 23 Jesus says, “First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside will be clean”.  Inside cleansing requires the work of a professional and there’s only one.  Perfect Jesus, at our prompting removes every smudge and stain.  Upon his death on the cross he cried out “it is finished”.  Our eternal penalty and record of sin is gone. What remains are bad habits and wrong choices stemming from a lack of Jesus dwelling inside us.  Don’t get me wrong, He never lacks.  It’s just that we take little time making room for more of him inside us.  We often want to curb behaviors and quit bad habits in our own strength and by our own prescription. We even listen to other so- called authorities out there telling us" how to stop smoking in a week” or “how to get your children to mind in ten days”.  Clean out your cabinets.  God has made it simple.  He has said, “First clean the inside……and then the outside will also be clean”.  If only cleaning windows was so simple.


Side Note:  I tried to take a picture of smudges on my windows to go with this devotion, but there were none 🙂