Archive for the ‘prayer’ Category

God loves us in all our messiness – and in the messiness of our children – regardless of size, state of heart and quality of choices. Jesus said, “Go and learn what this means,’I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matt. 9: 13). Mothering is sometimes mercy’s school, is it not? Breaking our hearts, lancing out the poison of judgementalism – and refilling it with love, hope and faith for not just the easy to love, but the hard to love, readying our hands to reach out and greet in friendship those we beforehand would have been content to keep on the outside of our faith walk.

In saying all that, I thought that maybe someone needs this story today, just like I needed it in 2009.

The Mother of the Prodigal

Masks are for hiding, deceiving, concealing, and protecting. They hide shame, hurt and wrongs – the wrongs we have done and the wrongs done to us.

We never hear her voice or her story; but if we could, I bet the mother in the story of the prodigal son could tell us a lot about masks – and about throwing them down (Luke 15:11-32).

Married to a man, a Godly man, a respected man, a man who provided abundantly, there was no need for a mask. Imagine the marriage blessings.  A man searching to be close to God found himself a wife desiring to please the Father.  Then God blessed them with their first child – a son.  Such blessing!

The ability to bear sons established her position in the community. She was then blessed with a second son – double the blessing – double the rejoicing.  Her confidence grew. She stood firmly on the promises of God that were sung before her sons were born. Each son was designed for heaven, equipped for the challenges they each would face (Psalm 139:13-16).

I bet she cried when the second son was born – cried tears of joy.  Her first son, always pleasing the father, a parenting-made-easy child, was probably very practical, lacking compassion maybe, but so easy to shepherd into manhood. He probably always won at Alquerque or Chatrang (checkers or chess) because he understood cause and effect.

Within her women’s prayer group, the mother was respected for raising such a noble son.  He probably brought great joy to her heart – and laughter unfettered by frustration. Maybe sometimes she judged other mother’s whose sons were not so obedient, who did not always do their father’s bidding or speak respectfully to their mothers. Maybe they were lax.

Fearless defined the second son. He was poor competition at Alquerque or Chatrang because he was not programmed for cause and effect methodology – he thought in the “Now.”  Passionate about his pursuits and compassionate towards others, he probably shared his allowance with his peers who “needed” or the blind man sitting at the well.  He was filled with talent – a risk-taker.  However, his passion lacked cause and effect self-control. His mother started feeling uncomfortable.

His father encouraged him to save his money, but he just felt criticized, beaten down.  His happy-go-lucky face turned sullen. He sassed his mother. She picked up the mask, uncomfortable with it, but peer fear of judgment was even more uncomfortable.

The first born, working hard to make the right choices, resented his brother’s behavior, and that resentment turned to anger.  The joy within the household that thrived just a few short years earlier evaporated.  Tension hung like high humidity.

Rules were not for this second son, or so he thought. Studying was a waste of time. Seeking God – yeah, sure he believed, but he treated God like he treated his father and mother. The older he got, sullenness grew into contempt – he felt restricted and confined. He was blinded to blessings, to love, to wisdom.

Do not blame his parents, citing carelessness or lack of discipline. His father punished him all sorts of ways to get through to him.  He talked to him gently, calmly, reasoning with him about the choices available to him.  Sometimes it is hard to make the smartest “man” in the room admit someone else knows better.

Long ago, his mother dropped to her knees, praying and seeking God’s guidance and God’s mercy. She longed for laborers to be sent across her son’s path to draw him back – to restore the blessing in her son’s life and in his actions. Sometimes she prayed to God, begging Him to show her how to love her second born. God would warm her heart, restore her strength, and give her hope.

These struggles were kept behind the family doors, until one day it spilled outside those doors – cracking the façade – the mask behind which hope struggled.

The women’s prayer group heard him back-talk his mother one day in that sullen tone.  She pasted a smile on her face, turning back to the group of women. The mask cracked.  How would these women react if they knew her struggles, her perceived failures?  A mother’s motto is always, “I can fix it.” However, she was realizing that she could not fix it – only God could fix it.

It was lonely behind that mask. Self-judgment and fear were her constant companions. She feared that if the mask crumbled even the modicum of community support with the women might fall away too. How she needed the support of women and mothers to lift her up when she fell down. But they did not know she was falling down, that she needed help.  The mask blinds the community and the individual.

Then one day, still a teenager, her son boldly told his father he wanted to leave: “Give me my inheritance.”  He was tired of the rules, tired of the expectations his family put on him, tired of controlling himself. He was a man after all – according to Jewish tradition. He was responsible for his soul; and if he was responsible for his soul, then surely he could be responsible for his inheritance. But he was neglecting his soul.

His father gave it to him, and the world welcomed him. His laughter had once brought such joy and his passion for life had brought such amazement to his family. But later everything turned into concern, and he left.  “I’m never coming back,” he said. “I don’t care what you say.”

Broken-hearted, his parents watched him leave.  The entire town knew about it.  The mask crumbled.

If you were part of this mother’s community, what would you have done?  What did she need? Throughout all the years she struggled, she needed women who would lift her up in prayer. How would you have responded?  Do you wear a mask because you fear judgment from other mothers, other peers, other family members?

Dysfunction is so prevalent within the Bible that you must conclude that God does not expect every family to be without challenges. However, challenges can provoke masks and isolation from true help and true mercy.  You cannot recognize the women God has placed in your path to help you unless you remove the mask.

Removing the mask, surprisingly, makes it easier to love, easier to face the challenges, and easier to rejoice when that prodigal turns his life around. Remove the mask and trust that God will surround you with other women who will speak hope, faith, encouragement not only in you but the in the son gone astray.

No mother wants to hear her son condemned by her peers. She wants to hear him lifted up in the hope of prayer. Are you willing to not only take off the mask, but to lift other struggling mothers up? Encourage mothers whose children might have to learn cause and effect the hard way – pray until her son returns home, willing to be the man God created him to be.

After all, Jesus knew the story of the prodigal son. He knew his struggles, his challenges, his failures – and He knew that the path home was paved with faith.

If you have faith that God will take care of your children, have faith enough to take off the mask. Taking off the mask is a step of faith.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” – (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV)

A Mother and her Masks: the Story of the Mother of the Prodigal was first published in 2010 Sanctified Together, a monthly e-magazine for women.


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Thanksgiving – so much more than a turkey!

There is so much more to Thanksgiving than the turkey, the football – even the family gathered around the table. Thanksgiving is about recognizing the roots from which America grew. Not just the patriotic, freedom-fighting roots – though they are as inherently necessary to recognize. It is the faith seed carried over the ocean in uncomfortable, danger-laden ships, planted in soil with hungry cold hands because of a vision of living God faith uninhibited by political agenda.

“The Lord is the Help of My Life”  – William Bradford

The first Pilgrims came to American so they could worship The God of Abraham, read The Gospel of Love and  experience the second Baptism without being drowned in a wine barrel, be burned alive boarded up in your own home, or have your entrails slowly pulled out of you in the town square as government officials attempted to turn you away from practicing your faith in the way you chose. At that time, the government determined how you practiced your faith – and if you disagreed, well, the government became disagreeable.

They came to America to be able to speak God’s name in the town square in the court house, on the public streets, in the school houses – to live and voice their belief without fear of persecution.

That faith seed would grow roots that would reach into our constitution: Article 1:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

(As a matter of fact, public schools were created to teach children to read so they could read the bible)

In America, these early Plymouth settlers discovered the rationing of socialism and the plenty of capitalism through the work of their own hands – not their neighbors. They broke the glass ceiling of class restriction – like the cranberries we eat on Thanksgiving that float to the top in the harvest when water rushes through the cranberry fields, so does hard work, effort, talent – all based on individual gumption – not religion, not class, not government.

“He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream”

Today, the Thanksgiving Holiday is full of irony – a House and Senate have left Washington D.C. to celebrate a holiday founded on the success of Capitalism and faith in God, yet daily they work to strip God out of the very places Pilgrims sought to freely worship their God – the city streets, the court houses, the schools – they wanted God in every part of their lives, their community, and their government.

Some leadership have gone so far today as to remove a cross from outside a base chapel in Afghanistan .  This symbol of faith and hope sustains many of our military soldiers protecting not only us but these leaders.

Just like the flag bearers of old gave the hope, the courage to fight on in difficult situations to their the military men it represented, so too does the symbol of our faith. When these flag bearers fell, so too did the fighting soldiers’ morale, hope and survival statistics. These soldiers live in casualty-real situations, putting their life on the life for an America created and built with hands seeking God.

Yet daily, these government officials attempt to strip the foundations of Capitalism and reduce Americans to the once starving, frustrated, dying, struggling Pilgrims who started out in socialism – who died in socialism – hungry and frustrated.  Until the American Spirit at Plymouth through a capitalist contract  replaced the socialist creed to break the bonds of servitude unleashing individual potential resulting in the American Dream.

While Socialism binds the hands of flourishing enterprise, smothers the seeds of creativity from which inventions spring, and suffocates the very breath of freedom, Capitalism frees the hands of enterprise, allows individual creativity the independence to invent, and  gives freedom breath to speak without recourse.

How ironic that today our government officials celebrate an event so diametrically opposed to their actions. How ironic is it that protestors are calling for a return to the socialism that brought Plymouth settler’s to their knees.

How sad that they celebrate Thanksgiving while chopping at the root of its very creation.

These people calling themselves the 99% are missing a very important factor. A missionary man preached at our church a few weeks ago. He asked, “Do you have an in-door toilet? Do you have running water? Do you have electricity?. . . .If you do, you are in the top 10% of the world.”

Yes, the 99% are in the top 10% of the world.

The top 10% because of faith in God and capitalism.

William Bradford’s biography is sitting on my desk right now.  My sons know the history of our country, but not through classroom textbooks because the full, real history of the birth of our country not taught. Because God is not allowed in the story telling in today’s public school classroom.

Today as you thank God for His blessings, as you pull your family close, spend additional time discussing the start of our country, how we became that top 10%, what enabled us to achieve clean water, medicines that heal and prevent, homes with so much comfort, electricity and internet, a washer and dryer, an abundance of food to keep and share.

And pray for those soldiers whose crosses are being pulled down, who are fighting to keep America safe, to keep America free, to keep God in America.

Graft you, your family to the deep root of faith from which America grew.

~ Written, Thanksgiving 2010
~Revised, Thanksgiving 2011
~Revised again, Thanksgiving 2012

Other related posts:

Congress Shall Make No Law Respecting Tebowing and other such Religious Behavior

Words Make a Difference

The 10 Cannots of Freedom

To Save a City

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When Jesus was born, he brought with him the gift of Salvation. When he died, he left us the power of the Holy Spirit to help us 1) overcome and 2) help others overcome through prayers that intercede, giving others that Holy Spirit strength to stand when they cannot. It is a season of intercession, of teaming together with the Holy Spirit.

I’m reposting this today because I haven’t the words nor the actions to bind the wounds of grieving parents – but I do have prayer – and prayer can reach further than words or actions. These kindergartent parents, the children of these teachers – they need right now – need for us to support through prayer.

What do you do with second-hand grief?

When crisis and tragedy comes to people you love who aren’t your own, but are – and your heart bursts with grief, empathy, love for those wounded –  what do you do to staunch the flow of their pain.

Cook meals, help clean-up the unthinkable, feel powerless to make things right in our own ability – until remembering Him, I intercede.

Second-hand grief intercedes. Stands in the gap. Maybe in that intercession, in the prayer, in that grief – we carry some of the overwhelming burden of that first-hand grief until they are strong enough to carry it all themselves.

Yesterday, hearts broke in our little neighborhood when a jungle gym/tree house tipped over, falling on one of these precious children, taking her to heaven.

Our little community, our little ones who were all for one and one for all, their spirits are bruised up.

The neighborhood has hushed. A lot of quiet. No children’s laughter right now. No joy sounds. No little feet running and playing. No one knocking on doors seeking their friends.

Bruised up and praying.

Praying that only things of God take root in the hearts of this beautiful, safety-diligent, God-loving, gentle family who lost so much, who just want prayer.


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A prayer is a journey released.

I believe

That when you pray for other people, that prayer goes on a journey,

And like all journeys, come back home.

Prayer returned home.

Come back home in the manner it was released – with either faith, hope and love or faithless, hopeless and loveless.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:36)

I remember praying healing for someone who had experienced a life-threatening injury

And through the journey of the prayer

Over months and months

That healing prayer came back to heal us of secondary infertility.

“I exhort therefore, that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men” (1 Timothy 2:1).

 Over the last few months, our family has been praying

For Annie to return, to come home  (see this post) – praying with faith, hope and love.

While we prayed for Annie, we prayed for a son (see this post), prayed with faith, hope and love – For this son to sell out to Jesus.

This son who couldn’t wait to leave home, busted out of home when he graduated from high school last year, signed up for the reserves and has become a better man, Friday night, he said, “It’s come my time to find God and come home.” He didn’t just say it to me; he said it on Facebook, kind of like he needed to say it to the world.

Prayer sent out on a journey returned home.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 6: 30).

24 hours later, Annie came home, too. We were in our car, returning from a far-away wedding, celebrating a heart-friend’s daughter’s marriage, a marriage beginning God-centered, faith-centered – and I wanted to dance, to celebrate God’s amazing love, His never-give-up-ness with this answered prayer returned home from its journey.

“Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven”(Psalm 107:28-30).

 Praying is not a stagnant action. A prayer is a journey released, returning home returning home in the manner released. Unasked for. Unexpected.

480) The daily, familiar blessings, like the cardinals, mockingbirds, dove calls
481) Squirrels rummaging through the hay outside my work window
482) Strawberry, Watermelon and lemonade icy smoothy
483) “You have made me glad. I’ll say of the Lord you are my shield, my strength, my portion deliver, My shelter, Strong Tower, My very Present Help in time of need” (Made Me Glad, Hillsong) – a song in my heart whether at my work desk, in my car, my kitchen, or in a hammock under my tree – Releasing that song in my heart – no one else could hear it – but me and God!
484) Boys worn out from swimming, the evidence of sunshine on their cheeks.
485) A date day with my husband, with a heart-friend’s daughter’s wedding.
486) Lunch at the Cheesecake Factory – my favorite Club Sandwich and a cup of coffee.
487) Walking in a real mall, window shopping and some real shopping
488) My husband gifting me with Tocca’s Stella perfume which I have wanted since January.
489) Good haircuts on my boys – I don’t know why but a good haircut makes me feel like everything is on the right track.
490) My littlest guy coming up, wrapping me in a hug, “I love you, Mom.”
491) Laughing with my new senior son! He’s going to be a camp counselor-in-training. No flirting allowed. I tried coaching him to say, “I’m here to serve Jesus. Please respect my decision” when girls hit on him. Instead of repeating after me, he said, “Send me your number. I’ll call you when camp is over” – I couldn’t stop laughing because, while he has great lines, he’s not a smooth, shallow pick-up guy. He is so full of the Joy of the Lord.
492) Wheat fields, swaying in a cool 78 degree breeze
493) My camera through which I have learned to live more fully where I am – we arrived at the South Union Shaker Village wedding site early taking in detail in an intentional way, not a skimmed-over-way.
494) Hugs from dear friends not seen enough
495) new love consecrated in marriage, made one through the Holy Spirit – and the couple inviting God into their union knowingly, whole-heartedly, eyes wide open.
496) My sons jeep pulling into the driveway.
497) Brother’s smiling, not saying but actions speaking loudly, welcoming a brother home.
498) Showing my neighbor’s 4 year old how to draw cats on the sidewalk with the sidewalk chalk and little girls in polka dot dresses.
499) People caring enough to pray, to connect, to have relationship – people caring enough to send their prayers on a journey.
500) Nikki at Simply Striving who read “Bicycling with Ava” to her son and she telling me he asked to hear it again. I’m still smiling!
501) Annie coming home!
502) Understanding that the coming home is just the beginning of another journey.

The Bride Arrived in a Red Car

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tim22cTo me blogging is more than faithful readers. It is about support, encouragement, relationship – and the most thread that ties us all together is the Father’s thread – a binding thread of Faith, Hope and Love.

We share our stories, sharing our stepping stones – and our time off-blog through prayer.

Sometimes I wonder if we are all Word of Affirmation Love Languages who have found a place to hug and be hugged in our love language – where it is welcome and wanted.

I am amazed and awed at the timely messages that speak to my challenge, that cheer me to pull myself out of the deep blue funk I sometimes slip in to, and the messages that call me to accountability – and the ones that have taught me to uncover God’s blessings right on my doorstep daily.

The call to prayer, though – to be intentional in praying for others – to make it real and become a prayer warrior, not a weekend prayer warrior – that, too, is one of the come-alive messages for me this past 2+ years. So many of you have prayed for me in the midst of my challenges. This generosity of prayer has taught me that prayer promises are real and followed-through.

I want to tell you about one prayer warrior, in particular. Patti at PJ’s Prayer Line Her blog is all about praying. . . for anyone who needs it. A while back, in the midst of a great challenge, I reached out privately to her. Her blog allows public and private prayer requests. I was a hurting mama, struggling to love in an unlovable situation. I was learning, too, that God’s answers are sometimes a journey – and she Jesus-Loved me through prayer, a private prayer that I am sharing a portion of now:

Mentally, I am holding hands with you and in prayer. Father in Heaven, thank you for allowing us to come boldly to your throne with our petitions and requests. You see all things that are going on. You see the hurt in this precious mom’s heart . . . .  God you tell us in your Word that as long as We abide in You and Your Words abide in us that we can ask Anything in Your name and it will be done. I am coming to You and pleading the blood of Jesus Christ over this family for this to be done. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN. ~ Patti, at PJ’s Prayer Line

Patti had given me a readership award the other day, one that just invited me to receive. I wanted to acknowledge her sweet gift by letting you know about her place, her safe place to take prayer requests. Her safe place to say, “I need help. Will you pray for me.” She says this readership award is all about “You have kept me on my toes, left comments, advice and tons of encouragement” – but spending time with Patti is more than comments, advice and encouragement. Patti has taught me to be vigilant in praying for others – to be an everyday prayer warrior, not a weekend warrior.

“Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know” (1 Timothy 2:2)

I go by Patti’s place because she serves not just down-home Word of the Lord, but because she is a safe-house for prayer needs, because she is genuine in going to hard-to-reach places with you in prayer – and, for me, her example has taught me how to better pray for others.

Because, you know, prayers can go where sometimes we cannot.

“He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth.  Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God”(1 Timothy 2: 4-10)

Patti will join with you in prayer – to become the 2nd or 3rd gathered to fight with you, raise holy hands with you.

“When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action” (Matthew 18: 19)

Thanks Patti for the award – but, well, your prayers outshine and out-battle any award. YOU are a blessing.

Friends, if  you ever  have a prayer need – stop by her place. God has given her a great gift!

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Today, my artist celebrates his elevenses birthday.

Considering that this son often comments when he wants to eat at irregular intervals and I remind him we recently ate, “Yes, that was first breakfast. But what about second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, first supper, second supper.”

When my oldest son came home from college one day and commented, “You know, Mom, we’re a peculiar family” – well, he might have been thinking about moments like that, where Tolkien takes over our conversations.

It is possible he was thinking, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

I know that when he said that, I was thinking 1 Peter 2:9. My oldest son’s expression was bemused, wryly so. I opted for the most postive translation.

Caleb's Art

But back to my elevenses son, apparently born into a “peculiar” family, the heart of the brotherhood (not to be confused with the Center of the Brotherhood). When he was born, my joyful son asked, “What’s his spirit name, Mom?”

“Peace?” I asked, hopeful, frazzled at the wrestling and arguing between the 2nd and 3rd one at that time.

“No, Mama,” he said, 5 years old, leaning into the baby of the brotherhood. “He’s LLLOOOooovvvvve.”

And, he has been. He is our human resource guy – the one everyone loves, the one who manages to reach into the hearts of each brother without getting into their bubbles.

Outside the brotherhood, he is an artist, a guitar player, a soccer player, a basketball shooter, a wanderer into his own space, a prayer warrior when his friends hurt, a seeker of solitude with a saucy sense of humor.

His art delights me. He’ll go into his room, or sit at the kitchen table, drawing for hours, gifting me with them – and I am humbled by his giving, by his art, by his heart.

Sometimes he draws cartoon story lines. He drew 3 pictures for my office, which I cherish.

This elevenses boy, in this peculiar family, brings things outside that God put inside before he was fully formed. God gave him a heart for drawing, for making music, for building things – and God’s generosity humbles me more because these gifts He gave my son overflow and touch me, this mother’s heart that so struggles to be the mother I am called to be.

Caleb Art

My prayer for this elevenses son who expresses himself with the workmanship of his hands instead of words, I pray for your mind that guides your hands, that you seek to do the work of God, the work He gave them the gift to do, that your mind gives your hands honorable things to do.

I pray that your mind stay good and true, striving to learn more. . . more of the good things in life, the true things in life – and that your hands create testimonies of faith, hope and joy from your brand of peculiar humor and insight into life.

I pray for those hands that work with artist tools: hammers, pens, pencils, things that cut, things that create – that the heart of God is shown through that work. I pray your hands are blessed with strength, courage, follow through, attention to detail, care, comfort and health, evidence of the wear and tear of nobleness.

I pray that your hands reach for God in love, in praise, in worship, in thanksgiving and in times of reaching from the tops and bottoms of life, even 5th grade life.

I pray that your eyes discover the beauty of God around you – in the green eyes of a cat, to windowsill raindrop patterns, a blue sky, the cinnamon sprinkle of freckles, sidewalk rectangles, friendship smiles, bicycle spokes, the sound of wind in a fast run, castles on a hill, even the pentagons and hexagons of a soccer ball sitting on tufts of green grass, in turtles crossing roadways – that in your art, you meet God.

I pray that as your gift grows, your art praises God, calls to people in darkness, calling them into His marvelous light, in an elevenses way, a teen way, a young man way – a growing with you way.

I pray that your heart continue to find contentment in the gifts God put within you and that God send laborers across your path to help you unfold His plan in your life, to develop the gifts He gave you, and to encourage you in your journey to become the boy to man God created you to be.

Happy Birthday beloved, peculiar son nested amongst a peculiar family. I am so blessed God gave you to us.

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Last week, I stood at the stove, praying for my second son who was in his 2nd week of Army Reserves Basic Training. Standing there, stirring and turning dinner, my mind worn out by other sick children and pressing issues, I tried to recall scripture.  I needed help. The mother within never ceases to search for comfort and strength and ways to encourage!

I sent out a request for scripture, to pray over a son in the military or training for the military. I was humbled by the generosity of so many women. Thanks Ladies – all of you, who sent me scripture when I asked – scripture that I can pray over my son during his 10 weeks of Basic Training. You so blessed me, with your scriptures and your comfort words that encouraged.

As I entered these scritpures, I realized what I wanted to say, how during the breaking of old ways and building of new during this 10 weeks – it made me realize what kind of man I hope comes out of the rebuilding – and it is a man like the centurion in Luke 7 – and between all your scriptures, your encouragement and a bit of dissension – my heart settled and I found what the mother within me was looking for.

Woven throughout in purple is my mama’s prayer adapted from Luke 7: 1-10.

The collage is now a mini-poster for my refrigerator – and saved as the background for my computer – and these scriptures are at my finger tips at all times.

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The Dinner table, well, really, any dining table I have noticed is a family demilitarized zone. Even Kitchen Counter eating, with all its charm is not a demilitarized zone. The dinner table, whether it is at home, in a restaurant, at lunch or dinner, neutralizes home-grown hostilities to build relationships.

Not pistol-packing hostilities. Just household, growing-up, parent-child, brother-to-brother, even husband-to-wife hostilities. Hostilities born out of differing expectations, simmer frustrations caused by non-household interactions, personal space invasions, authority issues, sometimes just breathing issues, unfulfilled needs, not-belonging issues from the out-side come in – all kinds of living issues – all living together, heading toward the dinner table.

There’s an un-spoken armistice or peace treaty at the table. Issues are left outside the demilitarized zone – kind of like leaving your gun at the sheriff’s office when entering town. Sometimes the need to disarm over a hidden issue occurs but is easily handled.  Behavior changes in this neutral zone we call the dinner table as we sit down, passing ketchup, A-1, or Worcestershire Sauce, salad dressing, green beans, meat, salt and bread.

Rules and authority are recognized at the dinner table, sometimes nudgingly but never begrudgingly. For example, no eating until prayer is said.

One night, the Dad was out of town on business. The second son, he was the oldest man at the table – so the dinner prayer fell to him. He balked the first time I asked him to say the dinner prayer, not wanting to lead this way. The second time I asked, he bowed his head and prayed over dinner. He even blessed the hands that prepared the food. It was a blessing moment, a giving and receiving moment.

Followed by laughter. All factions find common ground over the breaking of bread, the passing of seasonings and sauces.

“Why do we have to sit down to eat?” is a common question.

“So that if you’re ever invited to the President’s house for dinner, you’ll know how to behave,” I always answer.

We don’t always sit down to table for dinner. Sometimes it is just a kitchen-en-counter meal.

There is something about sitting down to a table and eating, sitting across from each other, facing each other. Learning to sit long and talk much over dinner.

“Can I be excused?” one asks, not particularly liking the evenings fare, wanting to be some other place.

“Even if you do not eat, you need to sit, talk and share about your day,” I answer.

Then there are Big Dinner days. “Big Dinner tomorrow night,” I’ll announce. At Big Dinner, there is big food and big talking – politics, faith, everyday living, story telling, joking, silliness and serious. The same as regular dinner table living but bigger. Everybody is expected at Big Dinner. The little guys squirm, not wanting to sit long and talk much.

I remember sitting long and talking much – it is a soul marinating time, a seasoning time where things go down deep inside that maybe you don’t quite understand. . .yet. Maybe the patience isn’t there yet to fully grasp the fellowship, of politics that affects you indirectly, of stories of people you don’t know, when the spotlight is not just on you, where things go over your head because when you’re little things do that.

Sometimes the dining table is in a restaurant. Recently, I had a lunch date with my two oldest sons. For my second son, it was a symbol of adulthood – to go to lunch while his other brothers were at school. At graduation, he crossed over to a different way of living. On that day, lunch was a sending-off lunch, commemorating the second son leaving for basic training for the Army Reserves.

We ate at our favorite Cajun restaurant, where my oldest son’s rehearsal dinner was, where the family celebrated the second son’s 16 birthday, and so many of my birthdays. Watching my sons talk, laugh, I saw the dinner table do what it is best at: providing a theater for relationship building. 

Two totally different young men with totally different approaches to life when not at the dinner table, today finding commonness, compassion and outreach to reach other. Relationship building was the main course. Amnesty from the demilitarized zone left the table with them, a peace accord not spoken reached through the breaking of bread.

Sitting at the dinner table, sitting long and talking much, Big Dinner or little dinner, passing salt and sauces, building relationships, leaving conflict outside the demilitarized zone, little ones learning so much – it is a good thing, living in the demilitarized zone that is the dinner table!

“They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over” (Mark 8:8)


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As we drove through town, just the two of us, me and my third son, a junior, we talked – about new friends and old friends. The early morning coolness blew though the windows, my hair tickling my cheeks. Sans little brothers, the quiet was perfect soil to grow meaningful words. Those words grew without coaxing – one of those true moments.

“They called me Jesus,” he said, this son who has a joy-of-the-Lord spirit, talking about his friends from where we lived the last 2 years. “‘Cause I always wore sandals.”

And because he believed when they didn’t.

My older boys love sandals – even in the cold months. Chacos are their favorite, usually hand-me-down Chacos from the oldest son, Old Navy flip-flops will do in a pinch.

“Most of them were atheists. One was a Jew. I still pray for them. I pray they’ll be saved.”

Despite their unbelief – He told them about that belief anyway, in words and actions, in their presence and in prayer.

We talked a little more, our talk winding around. I’m not sure where these next words came out of in that conversation, where I was listening more than talking.

“Yeah. I fell away for a time,” and as that sunk into my heart, he said, “But I came back.”

He saw I wanted to say something, and he interrupted, “I came back, mom. We don’t need to talk about it.”

Both he and his brother fell away for a time, after Papaw died. After our minister stood Hospice Compassion Care room and prayed for a miracle, a miracle for this man who was dying with cancer, who had played tennis just 2 months ago, this man adored by 12 grandsons.

I just wanted to reach over, grab his neck and hug the stuffing out of my son. If I tried, he’d just say, “10 and 2, Mom. 10 and 2,” reminders to keep my hands on the steering wheel. He’s always reminding me ’cause I’m either talking with my hands or trying to tickle a rib in the passenger seat.

That falling away – I remember fearing when I was little falling away. How can you be 8 or 10 or 16 or 25 – and think, “Is there enough good stuff in me to be faithful to God for a life-time?” Remember how forever it took just to get to Christmas each year?

At 19, I battled faithfulness. I had prayed for someone since I was a little girl, that God would lift her out of her struggles. I had a tantrum and ignored God for awhile. But He kept whispering to me, gently calling me – and one day I heard, “I placed the opportunities. It was up to her to use them.” I saw the truth, and turned back, wondering if I could be as faithful to God as He was to me. If I could live a lifetime of faithfulness.

The righteous flourish like the palm tree
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Let me be long-lived, Oh Lord, like the palm tree and the cedar in Lebanon. And like the Cedar, let me grow to my full potential, and like a cedar chest, let me keep away things that would eat at what is within me, keeping me whole and full, full of things of You.

They are planted in the house of the Lord;
they flourish in the courts of our God.
Let my faith roots be deeply buried in your house, Oh Lord. Let me bear hardships in faith, brave challenges without letting go, believe in the evidence of things not seen. Let me not just endure but thrive, grow, riotously blossom, reseed, and grow in your courts.

They still bear fruit in old age
they are ever full of sap and green,
to declare that the Lord is upright;
Let me show my children how to grow old, loving you Lord. Let my faith stories declare your faithfulness, your enduring love, your mighty strength. Let your Holy Spirit pull up into me, like water pulls up in a tree, replenishing the sap of my faith – and, at the right time, the healthy time, let it spill from inside out, these stories telling of your faithfullness, your love.

he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him” (Psalm 92:12-15).
You are my rock, my fortress, my deliverer. You are not a God who abuses, not a power-hungry God who wants us to dance for your amusement like a marionette on a string, but a noble, worthy God who loves unconditionally, who is better than I can imagine, who wants us to love you because we want to. I might shake. I might fall in a heap at your feet. But you do not. And when all the pieces of me crumble on You my rock, you breathe life back into me like you did to the dry bones in the valley(Ezekial 37) – and I will stand again, strong, tall, enduring, like the Cedars of Lebanon.

If the LORD had not been my help,
   my soul would soon have lived in the land of  silence.
When I thought, “My foot slips,”
   your steadfast love, O LORD,  held me up.
When the cares of my heart are many,
   your consolations cheer my soul” (Psalm 94:17-19)

Thank you, Father. You knew I would struggle. You knew it would take me a long time to understand that your kind of Faith is indeed a lifetime faith, an enduring faith. Thank you for not only catching me when I fall, but thank you for catching my sons when they fall. Thank you for being more enduring, more faithful, more understanding than we are. Thank you for replenishing my spirit, my faith, me with YOU. Thank you for moments in the car with my son when I see an enduring faith growing in him, a heart to call your children who don’t know they can be your children to you, who knew you enough to walk back to you when his heart hurt and he didn’t understand. The more I walk this life with you Father, the more I understand love and the more I love you real, Father. Thank you for giving me time to grow your kind of love inside me!

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Why can my words not communicate as eloquently
as the wordless lilies of the field
of the power of God and His Faithfulness
that reseeds itself in season

The lilies don’t speak words as I walk by
no rhetoric, no lecture, no cadence
a visual, tangible wordless message from God
blooming in season

showing me the power of not saying
but the power of praying
riotously, abundantly, colorfully
silently, Holy Spirit powerfully
like a field of lilies
witness of God in their season


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“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.”
— Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

I’ve knitted blankets.

Blue Cotton Blankets

I’ve cooked celebrations, comfort, hugs and just love.

Granola Bars

Scalloped Oysters

Holy Cow Cake

 Then there are the lectures I created to create a visual, to drive a point home, planned to plant a seed without a confrontational feeling. These were my favorites:

But I think the most important thing I have ever done is pray for my sons.  Not just Birthday Prayers or Prayers for my daughter-in-law,

but morning and night prayers,

prayers while I’m driving, doing the dishes, or watching them play a sport,

thank you prayers, help prayers,

prayers when we’ve all reached the end of ourselves,

forgiveness prayers, mercy prayers, protection prayers, hope prayers

desperation prayers, healing prayers, thanksgiving prayers,

humbling prayers, seeking prayers,

prayers that knock down walls

prayers that love

when all else fail

I may not pray well, but that is what is so stunning about the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit takes my inadequate words, looks into my heart,

and translates the power of that love

into something that has the ability to cling to my sons for a lifetime.

That is the Greatest Mother-Gift of All!

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Raising children really was a breeze – until they reach about 13/14.  The difficulty level ratchets up a few notches at about 16/17.  This growing up business is not for the faint-hearted. Some teens do not have both parents in their lives.  Sometimes, their parents are unable to be spiritual mothers and fathers due to challenges they face.  And, guess what? Sometimes, even very hands-on parents are unable to reach their children. That is why it is even more important to reach out to other children, other teens – to become spiritual parents to those who you do not claim on your income tax – but who desperately need to be claimed into the family of God.

You might be the only person who ever prays for that teen.

Maybe a kind word, a wise word, an uncalled-for prayer might be the seed planted that not only saves a life, but saves a soul.

And not just prayers and kindness for the children and teens that are doing things right. But prayers and kindness for the ones who are missing it – the sinners, the ones you do not want your kid hanging with.  The one you think, “My kid will never do that.”

However, if your kid ever did “that” – would you not want someone standing in the gap, praying for him/her – praying maybe for you, too – Comfort for you? Strength for you?  Hope for you?

Do for other teens as you would want someone to do for yours?

It could maybe save your kid’s life – when you yourself are unable to.

Hebrews 10:32-39 with a prayer from Blue Cotton Memory

“But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated”(Hebrews 10:32-33)

Being a parent can be a struggle. Sometimes people reproach, not understanding the situation.  Sometimes even my children may reproach – out of rebellion, speaking untrue words just to afflict.  Oh, Father, send friends who help lift us up when we are down, who encourage us on this child-raising journey. Friends who Extend a Friendship.  Encourage.  Pray.

34“For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one” (Hebrews 10:34)

Give me a heart of compassion on those children and teens who miss it, not just mine. I see teens crying out for help.  For a God they either do not know or refuse to acknowledge. Fill me with Love in my Heart for these youth – not judgement, not condemnation but love.  Let my hands reach out, both in prayer and help.  Let me not give up, either on my kids or someone elses.   Open my eyes to recognize the destruction for what it is – and see God’s plan beneath. Why? Because you know God has a better plan for you and for them.  I am assured of my place in God’s family.  Let me to effectively bring them into the family room of God, to discover their place in the most powerful family in the universe. Give me will and desire to serve with a heart full of love – not bedrugdingly, not judgementally, not dragging my feet.  Grow my heart to love both inside and outside my household family without resistance.

35“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward” (Hebrews 10:35).

Strengthen me to Stand in confidence of God’s power. God’s Plan.  God’s Mercy. God’s Hope. Sometimes my teen and other teens seem like they are on a path to destruction – Let me not waiver, but stand firm in confidence in God’s plan for their life and mine as a parent.

36For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised” (Hebrews 10:36)

I will Not Give Up! Arise Faith within me that God knows everything going on in my teen’s life and the life of other teens God places in my life.  God is the shepherd who goes after every lost sheep. Because God. Promised. He. Would. Neither. Abandon. Nor. Forsake. He knows how to reach into the coldest heart, the most rebellious heart. He knows how to bring life back to the dead. He knows the desires of my heart – and the desire of my heart is not only for my teens to stand beside My Father – but for other kids, too.

37For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; 38 but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:37-38).

Yes, God finds no respect, no pleasure in rebellion, in disrespect, in sin.  But I cannot give up on the children God has given me and the other children whose lives I touch. I cannot shrink back – not matter the pain, the confusion, the frustration, the desire to walk away.

39But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls” (Hebrews 10:39).

On the Day of Pentecost, God gave us a great gift.  The Gift of the Holy Spirit, who so empowered the man who denied Christ 3 times before being filled with the Holy Spirit, that he went out, bringing multitudes to Christ, never shirking with fear from standing firm on the Gospel of Love. Because, if we shrink back, not only are we destroyed, but those who so need saving are destroyed.  What worth is my soul  if I give up and let another be destroyed because of my lack of initiative, strength or stamina? I must stand on my faith.  Persevere in the face of the storm. And continue reaching to pull someone into the loving arms of the Father.

Help me Father to be the parent I need to be!

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We were driving in the car, my joyful-spirited son who was not so joyful.  Change can be hard.  Being a teenager can be hard.  Having younger brothers can be hard.  Being a younger brother, too!

“Have you taken it to God?” I asked, about a struggle he was having, particularly with our move.

“Why?  God knows how I feel,” he answered simply and simply frustrated that his mother was talking to him.

  • The Answer I gave:”Because God does not just shove His way in to your life.  He waits until you ask him.”
  • The Better Answer: “Because God is not like your mother who just barges in and tries to help.  God waits for permission.  Then Helps. Perfectly.  God is not like your mama.”

Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’

 “Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness[e] he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:5-13).

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The mission statement for Blue Cotton Memory is to “share homespun stories that provide laughter, insight into raising sons, solution options for challenges faced on both mothers and sons in and  outside that relationship.”

Raising sons includes teaching them how to handle success, failure, pride, fear, competition, anger, relationships, humor, hurt, peas, ice cream, banana peels, and yes, even joy and mourning. Sadly, the posts of the last month have focused on the latter.  I have been so blessed by the blogahood – either with sweet comments that made me smile or cry or both – and wonderful posts I read that made me laugh: Olga, Sarah and the Gentlemen, Lily, Kristi, Jennifer, Shell, Corrie, RCubes, Rebecca Jo, Christy Rose, Patti, JDaniels4Mom, Meg, Mika, Kelly, Tina, Rebecca, Raising My 4 Sons, Colleen, Sasha, Jana, Paula, Beverly, Karen, Michelle, Heather, Summer, Teresa, and Jessica.

Thank you ladies for encouraging me through the journey through Blue Cotton Praying to Blue Cotton Mourning to Blue Cotton Joy – I’m getting there. This closes a chapter of posts on mourning.  You have been brave, courageous women to stop by and drop a line of kindess.  You blessed me.

I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow” (Jeremiah 31:13)

When David’s child was sick, he mourned.  Those closest to him thought he was losing his mind, so much so they were scared to tell him, fearful of what he would do. Instead, he “arose from the earth, and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes.  And he went into the house of the Lord and worshipped”(2Samuel 12:20).

David ate and his servants questioned him asking, “What is this thing you have done?  You have fasted and wept for the child while he was alive, but when the child died, you arose and ate food”(2Samuel 12:21).”

David answered, “But now he is dead.  Why should I fast?  Can I bring him back again?  I shall go to him, but he will not return to me”(2 Samuel 12:23).

And that my friends is how sorrow is turned into Joy!

Thank you God

for knowing that we would love people down here with all our hearts

and not want to be separated from them forever

proof of your compassionate never-ending love

Heaven is just a further example of that love.

Because love is a reflection of you,

and you think of everything before we even realize or need

your gift of eternal life is further evidence

Just as you want us to come home to you

so do you want that home full of those we have strived to love

just as you love us

Thank you God for knowing, giving us the hope

to meet again those we love

And I pray that you send laborers across the paths

of those who have not entered into the family of God

so that the door to Your home


will be open to them, too,

so they will not be left out

of the great family reunion

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing”(Psalm 30:11)


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About 11 years ago, my son, the Fire and the Power of the Holy Spirit, survived a cord-prolapse, crash c-section.  The last thing I heard before they knocked me out was, “I don’t have a heart beat.” Coming to, I was terrified – would my son be dead or alive.  Laying on my side in intense pain, with my eyes closed, I heard my father in law talking to someone, teasing about my snoring.  Then I heard those precious sounds only a newborn makes.  I knew everything was o.k.

Today, my father in law is in a hospice facility.  He’s snoring a lot. I wish I could say something to make everything o.k. However, that’s his gift, not mine.

My sons are part of an amazing group of young men: 12 grandsons who adore their papaw. Coming up behind them is a group of great-grandchildren who are in the Candy-and-Coke Store Fan Club group.  It’s a pretty special, select group. The benefits?  Unconditional love, hugs, trips to the Candy and Coke Store, front-row fans at any activity, a front door always open, a sit-down-let’s talk about life attitude, and tremendous generosity of spirit – like a vacation a few years ago when my husband and I -very out of shape tried to play tennis with him.  Three days of grueling play left us hobbling.  We were so grateful when he cried off due to a sore muscle, but I bet he just knew we couldn’t take it any more.

The birth of my second son found papaw hand-cuffed to anything, oh, about the level of couch legs, bench legs, table legs.  After about 48 hours, he probably wished he’d never bought those hand-cuffs for the new big brother.  However, he just loved making those boys smile.

I remember one of my nephews crying when he was about 4 years old.  He’d spent the weekend at Nanny and Papaws.  He hugged so tight to Papaw when  it was time to leave, sobbing into his shoulder. He’s feeling the same way today, and he’s all grown up.

We’ve prayed for healing. Daily. My boys have seen each other healed through prayer, so they faithfully joined in. 

The other day, the littlest one asked what was wrong with Papaw.  I guess he realized this wasn’t your typical, run-of-the-mill cold or flu.  I explained cancer: “You know when you watch Star Wars and the bad guys send drones into the land they want to take over?  Well, the bad guy is cancer, and they go into parts of the body, kind of like a planet in the universe.  When they take that over, they go to other parts of the body – like other planets.”

Being the Star Wars fan, he understood.

Last week, though, I had to move into phase two.  Phase 1 – you pray for healing.  Phase 2 – when you realize God has other plans – going-home plans. Then, it’s time to help that person go to the other side – cross over into heaven.

Peter Marshall, the famous United States chaplain, made even more famous in the movie, “A Man Named Peter,” describes dying the following way: “It’s like going to sleep in your mother’s bed and waking up the next morning only to find yourself in your own bed.”

Every person who lives for Jesus spends their entire life traveling to the gates of heaven.  Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton explain it perfectly, “When I get where I’m going, there’ll be only happy tears.”

Of course, the getting there can be kind of tough. . . on everybody.  We all want one more hug, one more joke, one more political debate, one more chance to say how much he meant to us.  But then, he always knew we loved him.  Telling him would just embarrass him.  He always said, “Words mean NOTHIN’.  Your actions are shouting so loud I can’t hear your words.” I guess he and Obama could have had a debate on “Words… just Words.”

The little guys and I were talking about what Papaw’d do in heaven.  Yep, play tennis. Yep, hug those babies he didn’t get to hug down here. He’ll walk with that Papaw-spring in his step. He won’t debate politics, though. We decided that there wouldn’t be political debate in heaven. But I can see him grabbing an orange or an apple and peeling, just like I’ve seen him do a thousand times.

I remember my oldest son’s middle school basketball coach was arrested for smoking marijuana on some backwoods backroad.  He really like this coach and tried to give him an ethics break, “His mom died.  He was just coping with his grief.”

I just looked him straight in the eye and said, “I hope that when it’s my time to go to heaven, that you will celebrate my life instead of going to some backwoods backroad and drowning your sorrows in drugs.”

Crossing over is an odd time – it’s kind of like blue cheese and honey. The sweet and the pungent – but when mixed together, it’s just right.  Now is the time of great loss, but also the celebration of a life well lived and well-loved. The sweet and the pungent!

Some dear friends from when we lived here before bought the Candy and Coke Store a few years back.  They called Nanny the other day and told her, “If Papaw can’t come to the Candy and Coke Store, the Candy and Coke store will come to him.”

I bet Heaven feels like Papaw taking you to the Candy and Coke Store.

Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton did an excellent job singing about what it’s like when we get where we’re going.  It’s great to sing about our own little selves going. It’s just tough when the life of the party, the heart of the family, the world’s greatest father in law, dad, husband and Papaw head there before we get to.

I wish he wasn’t leaving the party so early!

When I Get Where I’m Going

by Melvern Rutherford Ii, George G. Iii Teren


When I get where I’m going
on the far side of the sky.
The first thing that I’m gonna do
Is spread my wings and fly.

I’m gonna land beside a lion,
and run my fingers through his mane.
Or I might find out what it’s like
To ride a drop of rain

Yeah when I get where I’m going,
there’ll be only happy tears.
I will shed the sins and struggles,
I have carried all these years.
And I’ll leave my heart wide open,
I will love and have no fear.
Yeah when I get where I’m going,
Don’t cry for me down here.

I’m gonna walk with my grandaddy,
and he’ll match me step for step,
and I’ll tell him how I missed him,
every minute since he left.
Then I’ll hug his neck.


So much pain and so much darkness,
in this world we stumble through.
All these questions, I can’t answer,
so much work to do.

But when I get where I’m going,
and I see my Maker’s face.
I’ll stand forever in the light,
of His amazing grace.
Yeah when I get where I’m going,
Yeah when I get where I’m going,
there’ll be only happy tears.
I will love and have no fear.
When I get where I’m going.
Yeah when I get where I’m going.

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momboysbarnRaising Boys to Men has moments of glory and moments of unabashed obscurity.

For some reason, God put the mama (and Dad) in charge of filling these boys with humbleness, loyalty, honesty, courage, a hard-work ethic,  resourcefulness and caring-ness – and independence without sassing, breaking the rules, or not telling us where they are going. Like any big job, there are stages – and as a mom, each of these stages has particular job requirements, benefits, and challenges.

The newest stages to each of us individually usually require an adjustment period.  It has been the same with the last stage with my oldest son who recently married. However, an insightful post from the blogahood has helped me with that adjustment. Let me start from the beginning, so you can get a feel for the last great challenge in the relationships with our sons. As Mamas of these boys to men, our relationships go through various stages, but one things stays the same – prayer.

Survival Mom – Face it, for the first 3.5 years of their life, our sons cannot survive without us.  We feed them, change them, potty train, teach them how to walk, to talk – all the basic fundamentals.  Our reward?  Great big slurpy kisses, hugs, and unconditional adoration.  Survival mommy rules the world and prays that God show her how to rule his little world.  Prayers for healing, strength, insight, patience, solutions, and, oh, that God places a hedge of protection around his future and that this future wife have a heart for us – all while our future DILs are still in diapers!

Rock Star Mom – ages 3.5 to 7 – They love us, adore us, and want to marry us. Life without mom? Unimaginable. We create art projects, find books to inspire, set play dates to develop friendships, and teach them to swim, swing a bat, throw a football, play an instrument, sing songs, and to love Jesus. Full-time,  instructor-mommies training our little guys for the next step of independence though they so desperately do not want to leave us. Separated from mom? Appalling!  Huge Tears! Wailing! They want their mama! And their mama prays for guidance, for their life, for their struggles, for healing, for solutions, that they succeed in school, make good friends, embrace honesty,  for good character (in each of us), and, yep, for their future wife.

Fading Star Mom – 7 to 12 – That mom-son love is still there, but it comes and goes, like watching a star on cloudy night.  The pull to independence starts, realization that mom is not perfect – and maybe a little uncool – leads to testing, questioning, and developing their own tastes, likes, and dislikes.  They go into school without looking back, or trying not to look back.  However, they still love mom-son time.  They love it when you make hot chocolate on a snowy sledding day!  They’ll still snuggle, cuddle up while you read a roaring good book, and tell you absolutely everything that happened at school.  However, they really love hanging out with Dad now. It’s an equal-love world developing in the house. They want to pick their own books to read, which movies to see, and don’t wake you up in the middle of the night to climb in bed with you. And we pray – for Godly friends who help lift them up when they fall down, for wisedom, discernment in how to handle the bully in the bathroom, honest, self-discipline for spelling words,  insight, favor with God, solutions for challenges, and, yes, for their wife.

Underground Foundation  Mom – 13 to 19 – Stealth support – that is how I define it. The quest for independence steps up, but tricycle-style independence becomes the mainstay. We finance it, we attend it, we transport it, support it – Sports, music, extra-curricular activities – here they come. My husband and I have sold pork butts, stood with athletic teams outside Wal-Mart to raise money for the entire team, pancake breakfasts, sat through music practices, lessons, and recitals.  We let them drive our cars (I need therapy after this), learn how to cook, choose friends, develop a social calendar, when and how to say, “NO,” all the while reminding them to find God throughout the day.

We drove them home from soccer games where they seethed anger at their performance (whether they won or lost). We helped them pick their tux out for prom. We helped cook beautiful dinners for two proms where we along with other parents served  the attendees and then sat down to eat after they left. I stayed up all night on Project Graduation working so my son had a great night, a safe night. We reigned in poor choices, encouraged good choices – and prayed – for safety, wisdom, laborers to come across their paths to bring them closer to God, insight into God’s calling on their lives – and for their future wives.

Occasional Mom – 19 to 22 –  At least, that is how it seems on the outside with the  Independence-with-Training wheels stage.  Off to college, off to find their future and take it. Success or failure, it is all up to them, but at least they have a soft place to fall – home – and a mom and dad who are there to lift up, encourage, and pray – for good choices, insight into their future, a good work ethic, Godly friends who help lift them up when they fall – and, yes, their future wives.

Confused Mom – Post-College – All independent, out in the world (but hopefully not of the world), seeking and finding their wife, building a life of their own, as it should be.  The book, I’ll love you forever, “I’ll love you for always, as long as I’m living, you’re mommy I’ll be” – is so true – however, I do not think my daughter-in-law would appreciate me climbing in through her window every night, rocking my son,and singing that line to him.  I think it would freak her out.  It is a book that has so much potential, but really misses it there in an “Everybody-Loves-Raymond-kind-of-way.” There’s more to this mothering-job than climbing in his window at night when your son is all grown up.

There are times I felt like Galadriel from The Lord of the Rings when she says, “I have passed the test. I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Galadriel.”

So what was my Role? What was my mommy-job in this phase?  Mommy-ness doesn’t just stop because  they get married.

Then, last week, I read Lidj’s post “Alabaster Jar,”  from Crown of Glory where she wrote:

  “As a mother, I am called to be the “family remembrancer,”

the one who remembers,

the one who points out the signposts.

I am also the gatekeeper,

 the watchman who stands guard,

 the priest who intercedes,

and who holds the cup of God’s healing oil.

May I be found faithful”(Crown of Beauty, 35-37))

I am no longer Confused Mom. My role is two-fold.  Foremost, it is about prayer.  It was all along – Intercessory prayer, vigilant prayer, healing prayer. Secondly, my role is to witness – to remember, to tell the stories of how God moved in our family, protected us, healed us, gave us life, sustenance,  of God’s faithfulness to His promises – and still does! As Lidj prayed, “May I be found faithful.” My role for the son who has grown up and moved out?  Prayer Mom who tells stories – I can do that! I will so have this stage down by the time by youngest one gets married!  Thanks Lidj!

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Simply Saturday

 “You have been a refuge for the poor,

a refuge for the needy in his distress,

a shelter from the storm

and a shade from the heat”(Isaiah 25:4)

Injustice and unfairness used to tear me up inside, especially when it dealt with my children. One day a friend said, “You’re going to be going around this tree (i.e. the same problem/different situation) until you get this figured out.” 

Then one day a while later, I realized that instead of chasing this problem around this tree, I just needed stop chasing, sit down, and rest in the shadow God provided under that tree. 

God was the tree.  Instead of resting and letting God take care of it, I needed to let the problem go.  It sure is easier to sit in the shadow of His love, His protection, and His comfort.

Of course, this does not mean you should not have a dog-with-a-bone attitude about problem solving. A couch-potato mentality is not an over-coming mentality. It just means that obsessively thinking about an injustice or unfairness will just tear you up, leaving you on edge, turning you into a victim, no sleep, no peace.  Injustices come.  Life is unfair – blame it on Adam and Eve for that old apple.  That apple released Satan in our world to steal, kill and destroy. However, God overcomes!  Amazingly, if you will let Him, for every injustice, God Blesses.  His blessings are always bigger than an injustice.

I still get riled up – those patterns of behavior are hard to break.  However, it has gotten easier to stop those thoughts.  I did not think it possible, but nothing is impossible for God.

During this Christmas season, sit in the shadow of God’s cooling, comforting presence.  Stop, listen and just sit with God. Sometimes you do not even need to say anything. We always think about God-time as prayer/communication time – asking, praising, repenting, thanking, reading His word.  It is also work – a helping hand to a stranger, a friend, family, or church community.  However, just sitting with God, just being with God, in the quiet, watching those Christmas lights twinkle, the snow fall, or cars pass by outside your window – that is important, too!

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The Family received some heart-wrenching news today.  I was praying about it on the way to Hobby Lobby – I know, you are thinking heart-wrenching? Hobby Lobby?  Huh? Well, yes! And, yes! All I can say is that life is like that. I always focus on the little things in a big storm – “Gotta plug that Christmas tree in! Gotta replace that falling-apart Garland. . . Gotta take care of the little things so it seems like something is getting taken care of.”

Here I am in a new town with new people  and tons of family – and I was sorely missing, needing my support system.  Where I came from, I could always find someone to pray with – in the grocery story, at my kids’ school, at the coffee shop.  If I needed, God always sent someone across my path to help lift me up when I was down.

Tears welled up – a double punch – the heart-wrenching and the missing was like a double wave trying to knock the faith out of me. I went to the back where the garland was since my fresh garland had died, dropping little pines onto the floor. Staring, thinking, praying – sometimes you know how you do it all at once – “Garland. . .Garland. . . Dear Jesus, . . .Blank Space. . .help me. . .Garland. . . Miss home. . . . Looking for . . . Faith. . . so lonely. . .” Yes, not an effective way to pray or shop – but sometimes that is how moments are.

I turned – and standing behind me was a friend who had moved here a few years before I had.  We had not had the chance to get together since I moved back, but there she was.  She hugged me and the tears pushed upward so wanting to spill out. 

She told me, “I just talked to my husband before as I was walking in and said, ‘ I forgot why I came.'”

But that’s God for you.  He knew I needed help. And he sent someone to pray with me.

So, if you were in Hobby Lobby today and saw two woment with bent heads, clasping hands, talking quietly – that was my friend praying for me – yes, in the back of Hobby Lobby where the wreathes were – God was there today!

Thank you, God!

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I asked my son, Faithful, a few years back what type of scarf he wanted me to knit.  He looked through a book and chose the hardest one because he wanted me to work hard for him.  Those of you with 14 year olds, maybe not your first son, but your second, might find them challenging, fraught with difficulty for both mother and son. It’s a stage, but some 14 year olds are like emotional fireworks while others are sparklers.  Still, either way, it is a tough time. 

While I knit this scarf, I noticed that working it was just as frustrating as being with my 14-year-old at times – the humor sustained me. My love for my son kept me unwavering in my doggish attempt to finish the scarf in time for Christmas.  I must admit, he secretly loves it, though he would never admit it.  I often find it neatly folded all by itself – which he does not do with his other clothes. 

I boasted in the interim (between then and now) that I needed to write “Ode to the Sock Scarf:  how like a 14-year-old you are.”  I thought now was the perfect time to tackle that task – and after researching the Ode – I must say, it is up there with the sock scarf, though not as time-consuming (as you may be able to tell).  The first two stanzas are constructed 75% according to structure.  The last stanza is not – because motherhood is often fluent, unstructured in our attempts to meet challenges and think out of the box.

If you notice, there is a prayer mixed in – because when I knit knitty things for special people, I always pray for them.

Ode to the Sock Scarf

How Like a 14-Year-Old You Are


“A sock scarf, I want you to work hard for me”

The fourteen year old teen cleverly decided

Bravado brimming, carelessly deciding to torment his mommy

His ploy she saw but never chided the invited

“What scarf shall I craft you – I’ve made for your 4 brothers

But not yet you? –  A quality time love langauge gift  designed

To wrap a hug about my son, a colorful, warm mother

gift from a mother’s heart that loves blind

loves even 14-year-old grumpiness wrapped in nails arguing anything,

struggling, frustrating, trying to wriggle out of the cocoon and spread wings


The scarf I started, tube first, heels and toes last

The tube, so easy, so simple, like little boy 2,4, 6, and 8

36 stitches divided evenly over 3 double point needles, so quickly past

Careful not to twist stitches, knit and pearl consistent, not trusting to fate

Grafting waste for heels, a holding place, almost ready, not quite

For grown up product able to fulfill the design created for

Decrease, increase, slip, slip knit, drop a stitch, not loose, not tight, 

Count, knit, pearl, discovering a dropped stitch, heaving a great sight over this labor

Shaping this scarf of my heart, unraveling, backing out, re-knitting boldly

Constantly questioning, “Am I doing this right?”

Waste yarn pulled out, time to knit the heels, the heels so 14-years-old

My job so close to completeness – yet the hardest part


Slip stitches from one needle to another, right side facing

Knit one, pray for Godly friends;
knit two, pray for a heart that seeks Godly things;
pearl 3 his choices

Slip, Slip Stitch God planned his days before he was born

Increase his awareness of truth, decrease rebellion,

Slip Slip stitch, undo discontent
Knit two together for Faith

Pick up and knit 1 stitch between, knit, pearl, pray

2 rows at end of needle – graft stitches together

Grafting his heart to our Lord’s heart

Wrestling, frustration, repeat,
lost stitches searched

For, found and fixed, unravel, re-stitch, knit and pearl

Weaving prayers through tube, heal, and toe

Knitting in faith directions true, hoping in the end product,

Loving through the heel of 14 years old, crushed all but for faith

That God’s promises reign true, sore fingers, worn mind,

Questioning my actions, trying so hard to create

What the directions promised, the plan, wholeness and strength

Blindly working, knitting Faith, Hope and Love
I complete this Sock Scarf so like my 14-year-old

Permission granted from 14-year-old to use picture!

The Sock Scarf.  Scarves, a Knitter’s dozen. Published by XRX Books.

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Simply Saturday

Promise Journal

 I am telling you the truth: those who believe in me will do what I do—yes,

they will do even greater things, because I am going to the Father.

And I will do whatever you ask for in my name,

so that the Father’s glory will be shown through the Son. 

If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it” John 14:12-14

 Wow!  Whatever I ask for in Jesus name—there has to be a catch?  Right?  Or we would all be rich as kings on the beach in the south of France—who would want the Bahamas if they could have the south of France?

  • What you ask has to line up with what God promises.  If you do not know what God promises, you do not know what’s available.  What does God promise?  Remember that song “Make Me Glad”?  “You are my shield, my strength, my portion, deliver, my shelter, strong tower, my ever present help in time of need?”
    • Prosperity
    • Healing
    • Protection
    • Strength
    • Family
    • Encouragement
    • Help
    • More

 If you do not know what God wants to do for you, how can you ask God to do it for you and have FAITH and HOPE that it will be done?  God’s words are not only an instruction manual for how He works, but they are also a love letter to His children.  Maybe you are missing out on what he has planned for you because you have not opened his “e-mails.”

Dear Father, I thank you for everything you have done for me.  I thank you for what you’re going to do for me.  I thank you that today my body will be stronger, my mind will be shaper, and that not only will I be blessed by my family, but I will be a blessing to them, too.  I pray that today I will let somebody know about the love of Jesus Christ either through words or actions.  I thank you for answer my prayer because Jesus said you would—it lines up with your promises for it is in His name I pray.

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Christmas is creeping up, but Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  I started thinking about what I am thankful for. 

You might have heard the song, “What if Jesus comes back today,” but what if Jesus had not come yet today?

Imagine – only going to temple once a year to pray and say, “God, help me. . . . God, heal my son. . . .God, send mentor’s across his path to open his eyes to Your Truth. . .God, I am scared. . .God, can you hold me because I feel like crying right now and I don’t think anyone else can understand except you. . .God, forgive me – I really missed it today. . .

Imagine – saving it all up – all that need bundled up only to be released once a year.  Buy the spotless lamb and offer it at the temple for sacrifice – just to be able to cover your sin so God could gaze upon your need once a year, hear you, and comfort you.  

No emergency room pleas, “Dear Father, save my son.”

No twilight drops to the knees, “Dear Father, help my son be the man you created him to be”

No huddles in the closet when everything is overwhelming, “Dear Father, lift me up, hold me, comfort me”

Only yearly visits to the temple to say, “Father, help me.”

And that is only if you were a biological apple on Abraham’s family tree.

I would have been a gentile. A gentile did not even have the one-year temple visit with God.  Gentiles were unclean.  Gentiles were not in the family.

No hope! No help! No Mercy! Nothing!

Just waiting, waiting for God to send His son who would be the permanent living sacrifice to forever, once and for all cover my sin so that God would not turn away in disgust at the filth of my soul – Because of Jesus sacrifice – the sacrifice with a life-time warrently replacing the lamb whose blood apparently secured a 1 year warranty – God looks upon me, watches me, never takes His eye off me or my children

He is beside my sons on the soccer field, on the playgroun, at school, at a friend’s house , as long as they’ll have Him there

He was in the delivery room when the doctor said, “I don’t have a heartbeat,” and He held my son in the palm of His hand until he was born, health and hole with APGARs of 9

He heard my please for a faithful husband who would love  and value me, and sent my husband to me

He heard the prayes of a little girl in the back yard on a Spring day, calling out to Him, to please love her and never abandon her

He heard the prayers of a mother who son was tormented by stomach pain for 5 years and sent a laborer with the name of a doctor who took that pain away

and a mother’s prayer for her sons’ wives

prayers for children, friends, family, strangers

 for fear, for deliverance, for pain, for confusion, prayers for forgiveness

prayers in my van, at my kitchen sink, in a grocery store, the laundry room, lots of prayers in my van

asking prayers, praise prayers,

forgiving prayers,

and thanking prayers



all because

God sent His son

Thank you, God

from your daughter, adopted into the family of Abraham, because Jesus said so!



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We moved into a new neighborhood in August, 3 days after school started. We unloaded 18 years of life in another state, 4 boys more than when we left.  Tough was an understatement .  No neighbors showed up on our doorstep with cookies or a pie.  No matter how many boxes I dug into, not a single friend was found to be pulled out.

However, one thing that did not change in the move was the world of women’s blogging. Women stopped by to say hi, to encourage, and, gee, some even brought awards.  I could not eat them of course, but encouragement heartens the soul, does it not?

I want to thank some of these encouragers whose friendship, encouragement, and prayers made me feel less lonely as I began to re-build my family’s life in a new community.


Thanks Frugal Vicki from Frugal Mom Knows Best. She sent me the Heartfelt Award.  She had this to say about the award:

“This award is bestowed on to blogs that are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose six more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.”

These are women who would be welcome at my Thanksgiving Table! These women last summer so encouraged this new mom on the block of the blogahood.  What a dinner we would have with such women of faith, determination, and conviction- and the most amazing thing – these women, even if they would disagree, would do it so nicely!


Buckaroo Mama at Mamahood, Among Other Things didn’t bring any pie to my house, but she did award me the Honest Scrap Award.  All you moms out there know that we do not often get encouragement within the household (I’m talking our children,not our spouses)  for the honest of our values and ideas and implementing those ideas.  This award sweetened my day, along with my Orange Dolce tea! This award is for those women who stand up for what they believe in. Some show it with words, some with art!

Here are the rules that go along with the “Honest Scrap Award”:

Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design.

Now I am supposed to tell you 10 honest things about myself

  • My eyes are green.  My husband tried to persuade me they were blue when we first started going out.
  • One of the happiest days of my life was when my 4th son’s eyes turned green.  I know what the world felt like when movies discovered color!
  • My sons have proof that I am not perfect when I am behind the wheel of a car.
  • My favorite color is blue
  • My favorite ice cream is Marble Slab Deep Dark Chocolate with Lemon Custard.
  • My favorite Birthday cake was made by my dad’s mom-Strawberry Cake.  I finally got the recipe for it a few years ago.
  • I always wanted children with red hair, like my husband had when he was little. 
  • Chocolate Truffles and Majeskas are my favorite Christmas Candy.  I’ll share the recipes with you in December.
  • I hated pizza when I was little.  The fam had to buy me a hamburger while they went to Pizza Hut.  I certainly cannot get mad at my littlest son because he hates pizza now and wants a hamburger instead.
  • I do not like scary movie!

Lastly, I want to thank Tracy at Light House Academy and The Home School Post.  She did not bring a cake to my blog door, but she did sparkle up my header, by getting rid of the fisherman and the odd boat, and brightening the scenery. She is a beautiful example of the generosity I have discovered in this community.

Today’s theme goes with my Simply Saturday theme of Generosity of Spirit 

“God puts things in our hearts, and whispers, “Pass it on.”  Of course, sometimes He has to shout, but we pass it on. I have been so blessed by so many wonderful women who have passed on a ”God” message that was spiritual water to my thirsting soul.

That message gets passed on, maybe through words, maybe through actions to my children, family, peers, acquaintences, maybe the cashier at a store.  It might not be a sermon, but maybe it’s a smile, a pat on the back, a hug, a word of encouragement,  just showing interest, making eye contact, a reaching into someone’s life that needs to be reached. The ripple effect of “Pass it on” – just think about it.”

Thank each of you for blessing me!

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.Simply Saturday

All week long, I have been wanting to share a funny story, an incident to laugh about. After the serious posts of the last few weeks, I thought, “I need to lighten this up.”  However, as much as I try, God has not let a funny story walk through my door, be pulled up from the memories stacked within, or just dog-gone hoped for. 

I’m not depressed or sad, no, not even mad.  Of course, as a mom, that could pop up at any moment, just like that funny moment that I’ve been waiting for.  My little guy did decide that he’d better not dress up dad in a racoon costume and put him outside because he was snoring too loud inside.  The little guy decided that the bears might eat his dad, and he didn’t want that to happen. 

Content is what I feel.  Rare contentment.  Like how the warm cup feels on your cold hands at a soccer game in 52 degrees and the steam warms your nose. 

The tallest one of them all came off the soccer field plastered in mud.  He had a good night.  He needed a good night and, despite the mud and drizzle, he was everything he and I know he is. His jersey is still soaking.

The joyful one, he’s been struggling with the move, missing the familiar.  He had some friends over yesterday. His roots into the community grew a little more.  My mother-spirit sighed relief.

The two little guys went to the grandparents today to play with their cousins.  Something like that hasn’t been an option for 18 years.  We were too far away.  My sweeter-than-ice-cream mother-in-law made curtains for the boys’ rooms today.  How blessed am I!

I have a job I love that allows me to work from home.  No more grading college student essays.  No more college students who don’t want to be there, don’t want to do the work, don’t want to get an insufficient grade for doing nothing.  I do miss the students who love to learn, but I so love my new job. 

I am in a place God brought me.  I didn’t want to come.  I miss where I’ve been.  Yet, I am content, quietly content, a sitting-with-a-cup-of-coffee-and-my-world-is-at-peace-contentment.

“He who dwells in the shelter of The Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91)

As most of you mothers know, that contentment rarely lasts as long as that cup of coffee, but I will feel that moment, that sustaining moment through the toe-to-toe battles, the moments where you cannot emotionally flinch, the disappointment, the brotherly bickering, the no-matter-how-hard-I-try-I-cannot-make-everyone-happy times,and my constantly disappearing Dr. Pepper bottle. 

For now, I’m going to curl up in a quilt of contentment, breath it in, savor it, and rest in it.

Thank you, God, for the funny moments,

the heart moments, the proud moments,

thank you for carrying me through the hard moments

 that make

all the other moments

so much


and thank you, God,

for this contented time

of spiritual, emotional, and physical


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scbcaleb2The ACLU and timid school administrators keep trying to squash prayer in school.

My oldest son came home from second grade afraid that his teacher would know that he was “praying in his head” and he would be punished because prayer was not allowed in school.  A mother-son discussion ensued.  Years later, he told me about a pre-class discussion among his peers (respected football players, basketball players, and, of course, soccer players).  Before class started, they debated the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Speaking in Tongues. Yes, I had a mom-moment, seeing a seed bloom. A lot of these young men became Young Life Leaders in college, ministering to high school students.  Wow!  Seed harvested?

Last year, my little guy came home concerned about one of his BFFs.  The class bully was picking on him.  His friend had missed school because of the sitution.  Sometimes his friend cried.  My little guy came home and said, “I prayed for Joshua today.”  He had prayed for someone he cared about who had a need! Another mom moment. A seed planted was sprouting.

A few days ago, my little guy came home from school.  We had our daily discussion about lunch, school, and what the little boy who causes trouble did that day.

“When I was in the bathroom, I prayed for him,” he answered. He had prayed for someone that had a need, not because he was a BFF. Rather, this was someone who made the day tougher sometimes.  Another mom moment! That sprouting seed grew another inch.


My little guy says he wants to grow up to be like The Biggest Brother of Them All. I would say he is on his way.

As long as parents pray with their children at home, in the van, on the playground, the soccer field, or any place for any need, there will be prayer in school. Don’t just pray, though.  Discuss who needs prayer besides ourselves and our immediate family members.  On the way to school, one son leads The Lords Prayer, another leads the Psalm 23. Then I pray, “Dear Lord, I pray that today we let someone know about the love of Jesus either through our words or actions.”

Prayer in school?  It  is going on in student’s heads, at the flag pole, during the moment of silence when students bravely lead The Lord’s Prayer, and, apparently, in the bathrooms. Our children can make a difference one prayer at a time.

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For the last 20 years, when traveled home to visit family, we passed this house. It is like an old friend you sitting on a porch as you go into town. We watch for each other, greet each other and pass on by. I have seen it in various stages of seasonal dress, warm moods, stormy moods, desolate moods. I always wonder about its heart, about what kind of love lived in there.

What do you see, when you look at this house?

Do you see



Sometimes, I see Loss

At othertimes, Unsustainable Change,



Not what I asked for

Maybe Life without God


do you see



 Hope of Home Sweet Home


that swirled

within those walls

Laughter wafting out the windows

 opportunity for Shelter

to put down roots

to build a life

out of






New Life all around


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Each picture, the same house, one symbolizing hopelessness and confusion, the other hope.

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1)

Which House are You Living in?

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prayer_1 I am forgoing Simply Saturday this week to promote Monday as a day of Prayer to Stop Violence in our Schools. A few years ago, when my one son was threatened at school, I dealt with this issue.  A fellow student showed him a knife and said he was going to stab him in the back and kill him with it the next week.

This student missed school often, disappeared for weeks at a time, and eventually, after an altercation,was put in a foster home.  Every time this student came back into the classroom, my son’s grades went down.  The administration recommended that he have a witness with him at all times, at the bathroom, on the way to soccer practice, in the hallways.    I know what you’re thinking, but let’s follow my point for the moment.

One Spring afternoon, I sat on my porch, probably grading papers, and thinking about this issue.  This boy thought my son had it all. He was 6 ft. tall in the 7th grade.  He was popular, but he didn’t realize it.  Like any child he had his own issues.  This boy didn’t realize that everyday when my son came home, we scooped his emotional self up and helped put him back together. 

I realized that this young man’s spirit cried out for what my son had, parents who cared enough to help him put himself together, loved him through the good, the bad, and the ugly to help him become the man God created him to be.

By 7th grade, you cannot schedule a play date.  If you have smaller children, you cannot risk a dangerous person coming into their environment.  I sat there, the mother in me, grieving for this young man who needed a mom who would fight for him.

This young man needed Jesus Christ in his life.  Yet, how do you say to a boy who doesn’t know the love of a Father, God, come meet my Father?  How do you encourage someone to become a Christian, give their life to The Father, when maybe their father beats them or abandoned them?  The book, To Tell the Truth, by Will Metzger discusses this same issue.  So many youth today are not raised hearing the language of God, instrucuted in the Godly principles of God, introduced to the nature of this awesomely loving God.  We have to start from scratch.  From a very first introduction, one stranger to another.

As I sat there, on my porch, I realized this boy, almost a man, did not have a mama who prayed for him. Probably few people ever did.  I started praying for this young man. I say young man because according to Judeo-Christian values, 13 is the age of accountability, where one becomes responsible for the condition of their souls.  I think that is pretty manly.

Yesterday, when a school brawl resulted in a student being critically stabbed, I realized that even though we had moved to another state, back to my husband’s hometown, that violence in school is not just an isolated incident, but crosses district lines, county lines, and state lines.

To end or greatly reduce violence in our schools, we need to reach hurting, hopeless, and spiritually hungry students  to give them a hope that God in a covenant relationship provides abundantly. Hope stiffles the urge to lash out.  Hope sees positive solutions. Hope may results in the aggressive defensive use of force, but it is never the offensive use of force. Hope brings light to dark places.

I pray that eyes will be opened, ears will hear

and hearts will be changed

that God will send laborers

into the hallways, the lunchrooms, the classrooms

who either by word or example

plant the seed of hope

through the Love of Jesus Christ

who is our hope

Our youth need to find the one true hope in a loving God who knows their needs, knows their hurts and fears, knows their dreams.  They need to be introduced to the God who promises the following to His children:  “If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands,

  • I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crop and the trees of the field their fruit. 
  • Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting,
  • and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land.
  •  I will grant peace in the land,
  • and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid.
  •  I will remove savage beasts from the land,
  • and the sword will not pass through your country. 
  • Your will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you.
  •  Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.
  •  I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers,
  •  and I will keep my covenant with you.
  •  You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you have to move it out to make room for the new.
  •  I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you.
  •  I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people”(Leviticus 26:1-12).

Please join me Monday in prayer to stop violience in our schools by praying that the seeds of hope are planted in their lives.


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I am resposting “Shouldn’t Children be Encouraged to Defend Themselves” today. Sadly, a high school student at my sons’ high school was stabbed during an in-school brawl with a kitchen knife. He was air-lifted in critical condition. Word of mouth discusses one student taunting, both fighting, one evening the odds. The school went into lock-down mode. I firmly believe that a passive approach to bullying and mis-behavior breeds out-of-control violence. I cannot express the saddness in my heart for these two young men and their families. I cannot express the feeling of frustration that makes me feel like sending my sons to school is like playing Russian Roulette with their lives. I am going to make Monday in my home an unofficial Day of Prayer Against Violence in Our Schools. Won’t you join me?

Shouldn’t Children be Encouraged to Defend Themselves

soldiers“The world is governed by the aggressive use of force,” was played out last week with the death of an honor student in Chicago by violent gang members. Aggressive force ruled. There are two types of aggressive force: Aggressive forced used offensively, and Aggressive force used defensively.

In the public school system, Aggressive Force Used Offensively wins. If Johnney, uses aggressive force offensively by kicking, punching, or pulling a knife, and Sam, uses aggressive force defensively to stop the kicking, punching, or pulling a kinife. Both are punished. Equally. Sam gets suspended for defending himself. Johnney gets suspended, too.

The young man-yes, young man, not a child, who was killed would have been suspended for defending himself if that had happened on school grounds.

The system emasculates rule-abiding students, while empowering rule-breaking students

My 3rd grader is being kicked, shoved, and verbally assaulted consistently. The teacher admitted using everthing in his behavior-solution bag, “I don’t know what else to do.” My son’s 3rd grade world is governed by the aggressive use of force-except the governing force is a fellow 3rd grader.

My husband told him that if the child hits him, to hit back twice as hard. However, if that happens, my son risks earning the same rap sheet as the instigator.

fight2One of my sons had a similar, but more threatening experience in 7th grade. As the principal explained to me, it all stareted when the class bully kept throwing tootsie rolls at a girl and hitting her in the eye. My son told him to stop. It was Halloween. After Thanksgiving, this same student pulled a knife on my son and threatened to use that same knife to stab him in the back and kill him the next week.

My son’s middle school world was governed by the aggressive use of force.

I asked the principal, “Is this a kid who is just having a tough day, or is this a kid with a history of issues?”

She couldn’t tell me. She also could not do anything about the student with the knife: even though other students had seen the knife, it didn’t count because a teacher didn’t see the knife.

My son was told to always have a witness with him, whether he went to the bathroom, soccer practice, or changed class.

boxingI was assured that my son had just as fine of privacy rights as the student who pulled the knife. I countered that my son didn’t have anything to hide, so I didn’t need those privacy rights.

This student was in and out of school for the rest of the year. Each time he came back, the threats would increase. We met with the principal again. We told her that we gave our son permission to take 2 hits (understand that in the 7th grade, he was already 6 ft. 2 inches tall with the strength to seriously injure this little guy). If someone didn’t pull the young man off of him, then he had our permission to knock him to the next county. Even though, after taking 2 hits, and finally defending himself would result in a suspension.

“The world is governed by the aggressive use of force.”

Students who are coached and threated not to defend themselves are being subjugated by those using the aggressive use of force.

The public school system is training children and young adults to not fight back, while letting those who use the aggressive use of force freedom to do so. Why? They have simply exhausted their bag of solutions.

They are creating a country of citizens who do not know how to defend themselves, to stand up and face an enemy force, to possibly save their life. Iwant the school sytems to stop tying my son’s hands behind their backs and forcing them to take the aggression.

marinesI want the school system to teach that right is might.

Sometimes the aggressive use of force, when used defensively, stops the bullies, bad guys, and murderers from continuing their reign of terror. Self-defense is an American right, for the adults and the children, too.

Sometimes a strong defense is the solution to the aggressive use of force. Sometimes the defensive aggressive use of force can bring peace to the world. . . and even the 3rd grade.

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.Simply Saturday

“As the rain and snow come down from heaven

And do not return to it without watering the earth

And making it bud and flourish so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater

 So is my word (the bible) that goes from my mouth;

It will not return to me empty

But will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;

The mountains and hills will burst into song before you

And all the trees of the field will clap their hands

 Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree

And instead of briers the myrtle will grow”

 Isaiah 54: 10-13

Speaking the word of God—the words in your very Bible—will go out from your mouth and bring blessing—just like the hyacinth bulbs planted in your garden that at the right time bless you with their beauty. 

“Amen I say to you, whatever you will have bound on earth, shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you will have released on earth, shall be released also in heaven” (Matt. 18:18)

Release the Word of God in your life. When you became a child of God, you contracted yourself into relationship with God.  There are two parties with two different responsiblities in that contract.  Yours is live and love others as God prescribed.  Most people forget that God made promises in that contract, too.  If you don’t know the promises, how can you freely go to God and say, “Father, You promised.”  Because He did!  However, if you do know the promises of God, how can you say, “Father, You promised.”

Spend 2 minutes a day reading about what God has promised you.  Then remind God of those promises. God will not run roughshod over your life.  He is waiting for the invitation, permission.  That is the kind of Father God He is!

 Prayer:  Dear Father,

  you promised that if I love You and

 love others(even those I don’t want to love) that I will go out in joy

and have contentment in my life

 even the mountains and hills will burst into song before me. 

Lord, let your spirit water my soul,

strengthen my body,

bring joy to my mind. 

Thank you

 for Your faithfulness

 to Your Word, 

In Jesus Name I ask this of you

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masterdetectiveMy youngest has a solution to his Dad’s snorning.  While he’s sleeping, dress him up as a racoon, and carry him outside. What a solution!  I can’t stop visualizing that.

However, most problems that need solving cannot be done with such cute, creative fixes. Some problems take years to resolve.  Why?  For some reason, we have to walk down that path, study the problem, try varying solutions, search for clues.

A dog-with a bone, never-give-up, always-reaching-for-resolution attitude.  When I took this job as “Hey, Mama,” I had no idea of the high-level problem solving skills that would be required.  I probably wouldn’t have applied if I had known.  How many of you would have run screaming?  No, don’t raise your hands.

However, on the day my first son was born, something inside me was born, too.  God’s pretty amazing.  He doesn’t let us realize all the abilities He stuffed inside us all at one time.  It is almost as though there are boxes and boxes of amazing gifts, like on Christmas, all wrapped up.  Except, we don’t unwrap them until we need them.

It’s almost like on the Wizard of Oz when the Great Oz presents the scarecrow with a sheet of paper:

Wizard of Oz:: Therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Universitartus Committiartum E Pluribus Unum, I hereby confer upon you the honorary degree of ThD.
Scarecrow: ThD?
Wizard of Oz: That’s… Doctor of Thinkology”(Wizard of Oz).

RumpoleProblem Solving?  Unraveling mysteries, deciphering handwriting, solving a riddle.  Sherlock Holmes, watch out, Ms. Marple, step aside. Rumpole, it’s not your turn..  The Great Mommy Detective – that’s me.

I’ve solved the following mysteries:

The Case of the Missing Turtle Head

The Case of the Missing Homeschool Work,

The Case of the Missing Ice Cream,

The Mystery of the Missing Words

The Case of the Missing Cell Phone,

The Case of the Missing Fire in the Belly for Life,

The Case of Not Being Able to Pass an Open Book Test,

The Mystery of the Big Kitchen Mess

The Case of Not Following Directions,

The Case of Sitting on the Bench,

The Mystery of the Door Knock

The Case of the Stalking Stomach Ache,

The Case of the Missing Passing Grade, 

The Case of the Sore Knees and Feet,

The Missing Thin Mint Mystery

The Return of the Stalking Stomach Ache,

The Case of the Son who Would not LISTEN to Lectures,

The Case of the Missing Child

The Case of the Problem Logic Couldn’t Solve,

The Case of the Missing Facial Cleanser,

The Missing Sub Sandwich Mystery

The Case of the Empty Laundry Detergent Bottle,

The Case of the Stinky Feet

The Great Christmas Present Mystery

The Case of the Missing Dr. Pepper Inside the Bottle

The Case of the Blown Transmission

The Case of the Mysteriously Appearing Tinkle on the Toilet

However, I cannot take credit for the trickiest mysteries.  In the most difficult cases-I was just the ghost writer for God. After I had collected all the information, stacked up all the clues, consulted with specialists, I found myself missing the key information that would solve the mystery. I had followed all the leads, logically approached the problem from every angle.

No, I didn’t pick up the phone.  I dropped to my knees, bowed my head, and through my tears, gave the case to God.

He has people. When He sends His people, problems get solved.

From 1st to 6th grade, one son had a stomach ache that grew and grEW and GREW.  In 3rd grade, we sent him to one children’s hospital for tests. “Just give him more fiber,” they said.  So I did, and chocked it full of chocolate, so he’d eat more.

We spent 3 hours a night just to help this son who had once been an top student make Cs.  He ran more and more like his great-granny ran, this one son who had run like a gazelle.  The 6-pack he had been born with disappeared.  A haunted look appeared on his face.

In 6th grade, his pediatrician did an x-ray and ultra-sound.  Nothing.  “It must be in his head,” I was told.  I was angry, angry at my son because he was either lying to me and at the pain, because if it were real that meant there was a problem.

I literally wanted to punch a hole in a wall. How emasculating to be a woman and not be able to do that!

Instead, at 4 p.m. in the afternoon one late Spring day, I dropped to my knees.  I prayed, “You know what is in him God.  You put it there.  You planned his days before he was born.  YOU know what is going on.  YOU know what he needs.  YOU know the solution.”  And I cried.

Three days later, I was talking to someone at his school about the pain. Sometimes, when God is moving, you end up telling people your need story.  While you’re telling it, you wonder, “Why am I doing this?  Why can’t I stop this?”  Because, for that day, that person is one of God’s people He sends to give the key to unlock the mystery.  She gave me the name of a doctor her daughter used.

Sitting in his office 2 weeks later, the nurse asked, “On a level of one to 10, what would you say your pain level was?”

painscale“Nine,” he answered.

When she left the room, I said, “Really? You’re a nine.  One more and you’d want to go to the hospital?”

“Yes,” he said.  His answer humbled me.

When the doctor came in, he pushed around his stomach.  At one point, my son about came off the table.

The doctor informed us that where the pain was located was not an area where “in the head” pain occurred.  I hadn’t even said anything about that.  He scheduled a scope.

He had esophagitus.  Where some people have really bad acid reflux, others have pain that resembles pain from a  heart attack, which is what he was having.  Imagine, you ladies out there, having severe menstrual cramps 7 days a week.  It would wear you down, be difficult to concentrate at school, interfere with you athletic ability, and give you a haunted look.

They put him on Nexium.  He cannot have chocolate, caffein, or mint. The pain went away, but the real work was ahead. The re-emergence of my son began.  He had to rebuild his strength, re-learn how to run, and re-build his grades.  His teachers were amazed at the difference in the boy who came to class.  He greeted them with a smile, participated, led.

This was one of my biggest mystery cases.  However, I cannot take credit for resolution.  I have to give that credit to The Master Detective, God. Thank you, God!


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