Friday, March 29, 2013


I am a pretty safe person.

I  like peace.  Turmoil about things or between people can put my stomach into knots.

Watching the news last night I was struck by just how violent our world is becoming...or maybe has always been.

Shep and I were watching a news piece about Damascus and some bombs that had exploded and taken the lives of un-expecting college students. The footage showed  blood spattered walls and concrete.  People were wailing at the scene of the massacre.  Lives lost in a very violent way.

Oh how we need Jesus.

But He was no stranger to violence.

Should we not be also?

The beginning of his life was marked by a crazy deranged king who murdered baby boys under the age of two.  Violent

His ministry was peppered with scenes of demon possession that threw people to the ground and had them cut themselves.  Violent.

Prostitutes were stoned openly.  Violent.

Lepers with open seeping wounds were forced to lie on the filthy ground and beg.  Violent.

John the Baptist's head was served on a platter for proclaiming this King of the Jews.  Violent.

Jesus used harsh words and turned over tables when His beloved temple was turned into a money pit.  Violent

The culmination of His life and purpose ended with being whipped beyond recognition while naked, deprived of food or drink, given a mocking crown littered with piercing thorns and nailed....nailed to a cross on display.  Violent.

I hate it.  Thinking of how it all went down for you and for me makes me cringe.  It was so incredibly violent.  I picture the scene.  I can hear the sounds and smell the foulness of it all.

But love was the motive.  Love for me.  Love for you.  Love for this violent world.

 "Then he released Barabbas to them.  But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.  Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head.  They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him.  "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said.  They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.  After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him.  Then they led him away to crucify him."  Matthew 27: 26-31

Monday, March 25, 2013

Watching Repentance Happen

God loves to show me real life applications for biblical concepts.

Last Thursday He showed me what repentance really looks like. 

Zeke (my 4 and a half year old son) had been playing with a recently new hand-me-down toy.  It was a hard plastic hatchet that he loved.  He used it in pretend fights.  He used it to chop down anything in his way. If he wasn't using it in some type of pretend warfare...he was at least holding it lest his sister grab it up.

Because this hatchet was getting so much play time we warned him to be extra careful inside.  It really is more of an outside toy for Zeke's uses but we were fine for it to stay inside as long as Zeke understood and obeyed the rules.

-He could not "chop" on anything inside.
-He could not throw it inside.

(I realize these rules kind of take away all of the fun of the hatchet indoors.  But...they were best for everyone involved.) The last thing my furniture, walls, or face needs is a hard hatchet thrown at it.


You guessed it.  The inevitable happened.  Zeke's fun with his hatchet somehow eclipsed his memory of the rules.

He threw the hatchet and it left a nice mark and indention in the wall...minus a little paint.

Immediately his memory came back.

Guilt covered his face and he knew he had broken the rules.

He began to cry.

I got on to him and explained that breaking the rules ALWAYS has consequences.

He immediately began to worry about what his daddy's response would be.

After was daddy who had told him that if he disobeyed the rules (after being warned repeatedly) that he would be punished.

He said, "Mommy, do you think daddy will spank me?"

I said, " Zeke I am not sure but you need to explain what happened.  Owning up to your disobedience is the best thing to do."

He disappeared as if on a mission.

When he came back he had written his daddy an "I'm sorry" note and stuck it on the hatchet.  Then he laid his beloved hatchet up on the kitchen counter as if offering it somehow showed the depth of his remorse.

He came to me every thirty minutes to ask when daddy would be home. 

 I asked if he wanted to call Shep and talk to him over the phone.

He shook his head yes.

As soon as Shep answered Zeke began his apology, "Daddy, I threw the hatchet.  It hit a little bit on the wall.  I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to."

Shep told him that they would talk more when he got home.

Finally Shep came through the door and Zeke was running to meet his daddy.  He explained that he had broken the rules.  He showed him where he hit the wall.  Then he handed him his hatchet with his written apology.

Shep spoke firmly to him about his disobedience but he ultimately showed him grace and mercy.  Hands that could have distributed punishment gave hugs instead.

What struck me was this:  Zeke couldn't wait to make it right with his daddy.  He didn't cross his arms and get mad for the rules.  He didn't make excuses about the rules.  He just felt sorry for breaking them.  Then he ran to his daddy and offered an apology.

As I watched it all play out I thought about the ways I go about repentance.

I usually get mad, feel sorry for myself, and put as much distance between me and God as possible.

That is a vast difference between the humble actions of my 4 year old.

Pride and humility will always be at war in our lives....repentance requires the harder of the two.

Lord, help me...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Stuck in the Middle

 This entire blog post is gonna be devoted to my little girl who is stuck in the middle.

We celebrated her birthday all weekend are some recent photos of my Ava Ruth.

This first picture was taken at one of our favorite spots.  She had asked me to fish tail braid her hair (which is her go-to these days).  Then she saw these sweet little weeds that look like flowers on the ground.  She just had to wear them.  I love that about her...
 Just a pensive or thoughtful look that I am glad I captured on camera.
 Ava and her daddy.  These two have such a sweet bond.  They both equally think the world of each other.
 I put this picture in because Shep caught her working on her ballet stuff at the lake.  I am sitting in the swing holding Caroline and Ava is entertaining us with her graceful moves.
 Getting warmed up on some sun-baked bricks.  Hmmm....her tummy is showing.  Not liking that at all...but dang she sure is cute.
 Here she is looking ultra chic and cool.  Can I just brag on the wear I have gotten out of this cute skirt?!?  It is a 4T.  (Ava just turned 8 so you do the math there)  If Ava knew that...she would completely give it away.  But I guess it is supposed to be a long skirt on a four year old.  I love that it looks perfect on her just below the knee.
 She always takes the role of little mama with Zeke.  Check her out holding his hand.
 I love that her best friend is this little guy.  They are 2 days apart in age. His mom and I were pregnant together.  We used to talk about them when they were in our tummies and wonder how they would be.  Just look how cute they are.  We tease that they might end up as a couple but the truth is....they are like brother and sister.
 I had to get some snuggles in.
 Ava loves to be in charge of Zeke.  We let her think she is that we can listen to the funny things that she will tell him.
 She is my safe child.  But...I love it when I see her take risks....
 She loves horses and animals of any kind.
 She has really gotten into ballet in the past 2 years.  She will spontaneously bust out dancing in public.
 I must say that I love to see her innocent passion.  She is such a feel er.  She thinks.  She ponders.  Her heart is tender.  She speaks about God with BIG faith and growing love.  There is no telling where He will take her.  I pray that His Word will be her anchor and guide.  I pray for her to be strong and brave and obedient to His will and calling on her precious life.  All who love her are blessed by her.
She has asked for a flute for the past few months.  A fife is recommended we'll see where this leads.

Happy Birthday to my magnificent middle child! 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Choice to Believe

This entire blog began because of a choice.

My husband and I believe God has told us that He is going to heal our daughter.

We choose to believe this.

Many people, even some of you, can choose to think we are nuts.

That is ok. 

The beauty of free will is that it truly is a choice.

This blog was born because I needed an outlet.  God nudged me that He thought others needed to see someone being real about the ugly parts of the Christian know the ugly parts.

The ones we mask and smile over. 

Discouragement.  Doubt.  Fear.  Anger.  Hopelessness.  Loneliness. 

The list isn't pretty.

But it is real.

Trying to live in this real world and believe God's promise to us seems like an oxymoron all the time.

So....this blog helps me do both:  live and believe.

I have written numerous times about the severity of my daughter's physical handicaps. 

She has Cerebral Palsy due to a birth injury.

She is completely dependent on others for her life.

She cannot speak.  She cannot walk.  She cannot talk.  She cannot sit.  She cannot eat. 

Did you see that?!?

For almost 10 and a half years this girl of mine hasn't been able to eat.

She is g-tube dependent for nourishment.

She has received speech therapy.  We have tried to force feed.  We have ruined many shirts watching the food we push in....fall right out again.

Nothing has ever resulted in success.

Until about two weeks ago.......

Caroline has gone through stages in the past of being a little bit interested in food.  She would want a little tiny bit of what we were eating but it would usually fall out of her mouth.  There has NEVER been sustained eating.  NEVER. 

Now there is.

She wants us to put food in her mouth all the time.

Pie, cake, pop tarts, maccaroni, pizza, yogurt, oatmeal, pork loin, name it...she wants it.

She chews as best as she can and she swallows with beautiful ease.

This week we have even begun to give her milk and water through a medicine dropper for drinking.

This is a  MIRACLE.

God has told us that He is going to heal our girl.

I have no idea how that is going to look. 

But I feel like this is a piece of it.

Of course I want it to come all at once.  I want her to sit up, stand, run, dance, sing, talk and eat all at the same moment but that may not be God's plan.

So....will I praise Him for this little piece of a miracle?

Or will I deny the glory of what is happening?

Will I brush it off and make it seem small and insignificant?

What I can tell you with absolute confidence is this:  My girl DID NOT she DOES.

I am going to choose to believe this is miraculous.

I also choose to believe that there is more to come.....

John 12:37  "Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him."

This verse haunts me.  I am tempted to do this same thing.

Although I am witnessing a wonder with my daughter...there is a part of me that denies the miraculous aspect of it. 

That is why the choice to believe in the midst of conflicting feelings is so important.

I choose faith.
I choose to see the wonder in this.
I choose to believe.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Setting the Stage

Anytime you read a good book, watch a great movie, or see a wonderful play it isn't the setting that makes the is the subject.

The plot (or the subject) hooks us.

The setting certainly enhances the subject.
The setting gives depth to the subject.
But the setting does little provides a backdrop for the plot to thicken and grow.

But without the subject...who would care to know the setting?!?

This past Sunday our lesson zoomed in on John the Baptist being a "witness" for Jesus.  He preached about the coming Messiah.  He lived the life of a prophet.  He was set the extent that he ate locusts and wore the skins of animals.  But he knew something I think God is trying to teach me.

His life just provided the setting for God to take center stage.

As believers we are to be "witnesses" for Jesus too.  Just like John the Baptist, (without the locusts and skins:) we are to tell others about the Messiah who will come again.  But, more than that, we are to provide a testimony to the work He is about doing in our lives right now.

Listen to this piece taken from our lesson, "John directs our attention to the value and significance of a witness.  Witnesses bear testimony to something.  It's important to remember the subject of our testimony.  Sometimes it is tempting to think that our story is the subject of our witness.  Instead, we are to be a witness to the true light- Jesus.  His story is more important than ours."

Unfortunately I think I have fallen prey to this temptation.  I have made MY story THE story.

I couldn't be further off the mark.

My life....with its failures, joys, questions, battles, fears, and faith only provide a setting for the One who should always take center stage. 

The subject of Jesus in the setting of my life should hook others for His glory!

Let's live to make Him famous!!!

John 1:6-9 There was a man named John
                 who was sent from God.
                 He came as a witness
                 to testify about the light,
                 so that all might believe through him.
                 He was not the light,
                 but he came to testify about the light.
                 The true light, who gives light to everyone,
                 was coming into the world.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Eye Cannot Believe It!?!

So....I am trying to be a bit humorous with my blog post title.

This week has really been way different than what I expected.

We make plans.

But, oh, how those plans can change.

I had an entire week of commitments, obligations, appointments, and just general stuff to do.

Guess what?

Most of those things had to take a back seat to my pink eye.

Yes you heard me correctly.

Silly, usually easy to treat, found in kids all the time ~ PINK EYE.

I sit here on Friday with pink eyes....still.

I have been to the doctor 3 times.
I am currently taking my 3rd round of prescribed eye drops.

When this was diagnosed on Monday I thought, "No big deal. Take the drops and by Tuesday or Wednesday I will be just fine."


Not my story.

My case went from bad to worse.....and then to the other eye.

I have laughed about it.  I have cried about it.  I have worried and wondered.

God and I have talked repeatedly about why this week was seemingly wasted to me.

I have no answers.

But I am resting on what I know.

God wastes nothing....even what I think it waste....wasted time or a wasted week....can be richly sown with seeds of growth from God's hand.

Let me tell you how thankful I am for the gift of sight and functioning eyes.

I never ever think about the fact that my eyes work well most of the time. 

Every day of my life I have awakened to see the width and breadth of God's creation with no worries....and without a real appreciation of being able to see and enjoy it.

This week that was taken away...briefly.

It has been inconvenient and unnerving.

But maybe that is alwasy what it takes to make us learn, appreciate and remember.

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe."
Ephesians 1:18-19

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Circus and Pink Eye

I am so sorry that the quality of this picture is not the best BUT I had to post it.

We went to the circus this past weekend.  During the intermission the children were encouraged to come to the center ring and get their pictures taken.  There were many options.  They could sit on horses, get inside the motorcycle cage, stand near the clown, or hold a snake.

Look at what they chose?!?

The reason I love this picture is because Shep's face is priceless.

Ava loved the thrill of it.  Zeke is hidden between Ava and her daddy.

Shep just looks like he wants to throw the snake to kingdom come.

Caroline and I had the good sense to watch from a distance.

I am from the realm of thought that says, "The only good snake is a dead snake."

Anyway, we had an absolute blast!

Contortionists, loud motorcycles, horses, tigers, magicians, jugglers, and amazing feats of strength kept our mouths wide open in wonder.

My kids thought it was really cool.  I am pretty sure Shep and I enjoyed it even more than they did.

This week has kicked off with an unexpected joy (sarcasm) for me.

Somehow I got pink eye.

My children and Shep have had this nasty eye goop before but I have never had the pleasure...until now.


I am on day 2 of eye drops and I look like I have been in a fight...and lost.

My eye is swollen (almost shut) and very red.

I am way too vain and prideful to post pictures of myself.

See....God has much work to do in my life!

Friday, March 1, 2013

In Like A Lion

March is the month that marks the beginning of the end of winter. 

I wish I could say I have a favorite season.

Maybe I have picked one in the past but I doubt that I can stick to my guns on a real favorite.

The truth is...I like them all.

I like 3 to 4 months of something and then...a shift to something else.

Winter makes me appreciate Spring
Spring teases me to want Summer
Summer roasts me into desiring Fall
Fall fills me for the fun of Winter...

This morning March came roaring in my home like a lion.

As if school mornings aren't hectic enough....throw in a puking child, another child pitching a tantrum of unparalleled proportions, and a yet a different child accidentally soaking their sheets.  The spilled cereal that occurred later in the morning was even a bit humorous after everything else. 

The soured clothes that were forgotten in my washer....that DID tick me off.

Some days are just like this.

We get up with our set plans and personal agenda only to get thrown into something entirely different.

I was mentally prepared to volunteer at the Pregnancy Center today.

Instead I am nurturing my baby girl and disinfecting my house.

Both are good things.  One just had to take a back seat to the other.

My plan B was never God's plan B.

He knew last night that this would be my today.

My type-A control freak of a personality is a playground where God likes to mess with me and get His hands dirty.

Just like I know when something irritating is good for my own children's growth and maturity...He knows it will grow and mature me as well.

In times of prosperity be joyful,
but in times of adversity consider this:
God has made one as well as the other,
so that no one can discover what the future holds.  Ecc.7:14