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A Horrible Day?

alexanderA fan of the book and movie, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” by Judith Voirst, I never thought I would walk a day in Alexander’s shoes. But, haven’t we all had one of THOSE days?

Mine started with sitting on a committee watching parents do nothing to help their children succeed in their education. My mind reeling from the thoughts of how a mom can deny her child the education he needs because she doesn’t want to drive him to school or teach him to use the bus system at the age of 16, I finish the committee meeting exhausted mentally only to receive a text that my husband is locked out of the house.

I rush to pick him up only to discover, I don’t think I have a house key either. So, what do two irresponsible parents do when they’ve lost their house keys? Why visit their teenagers to retrieve their key. We drove to see our older kids at their dress rehearsal. After the rehearsal was over, many friends shared with me how well my kids had done. I was already crying because my son is graduating this year and part of that realization was sitting in. But, after the rehearsal and the constant crying, we retrieved the key and headed home.

Arriving home, we found my son’s graduation announcements at the front door. Half excited to see them and half concerned that I was an emotional wreck, I tried to decide whether to open them or wait until I was in a better state. No time for such decisions as we walked into the house to find the back door open. Not unlocked mind you, OPEN! Yes, the slider was open 2 feet and the dogs have just had the best day of their lives running in and out for the last 8 hours while we air-conditioned the neighborhood.

I decided to open the announcements, because truly I’m the most impatient person I know. Left to me, all the Christmas presents would be unwrapped on December 10th. The announcements were perfect, until my husband noticed that they were not. I had the wrong date! Not a day off, but an entire month off. More tears as this day hit disaster status.

But, just like Alexander, I learned something on my terrible day:
**Education is a gift & I’m thankful it is a priority in my family
**Dress rehearsal or not, every chance I get to see my kids perform is a blessing
**Open doors & wasted A/C reminded me how safe our neighborhood is
**A mistake often provides a company the best opportunity to prove its worth

Maybe a terrible day is all about perspective and as Alexander says in the movie, “you gotta have the bad days, so you can love the good days.”

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Posted by on April 25, 2016 in Moms, Parenting

 

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Over the Ocean & Through the River to Haiti We Go

 The splendor of the mountain landscape is the first notable clue we aren’t in Florida anymore. The walk from the runway to customs, the second. The chaotic baggage claim, the third in case you really need a third.

I left part of my heart in Haiti when I visited in 2011. This trip wasn’t about reclaiming that, it was about making another deposit. I’ve grown in the almost 4 years to the date since I had visited last. I’ve learned that when you give your heart away as you are lead to, you only have more to give.The bumpy, death-defying (only to those of us in the back of the van) 2 hour road trip in the complete darkness led us to San Raphael, outside of Cap Haitian. Weary from travel, I found the bedroom with a concrete floor a sanctuary for my tired body. I learned in 2011, when there is a generator, best to fall asleep before it turns off, because it controls the fan.

Waking slightly sweaty, but ready to take on the day, I rose to find some ants had found my socks interesting and a spider checking some things out, too. A great reminder to keep your luggage zipped tight & your shoes off the floor. No time for first world problems like pest control, we had work to do.

Breakfast was served in the Guys house, slightly further up the mountain. Arriving breathless from just carrying myself, I was amazed when I saw our breakfast being carried upon the head of a woman quite my senior while she walked up the mountain. Wow!

The first day brought us time at an established clinic & hospital, a surprise invitation to give my testimony on the radio, a bigger surprise to discover people heard it, and a large registration for a free clinic we would be giving. One of the highlights was during a teaching that evening on Children’s Ministry. I had the privilege of seeing my daughter give her testimony & teach the leaders from 2 churches how to use the Evagecube. Sarah shined a bright light of Christ and it was evident wherever we traveled.

That evening, a cold shower was a welcomed event and assisted in quickly shuttling us to sleep.

The next day we set up a clinic in a small church with a dirt floor and a roof made out of tarps. 175 patients waited to be seen. To some, the patients might have lacked patience, but the way I see it, I don’t have to wait hours for medical care. I drive to beautifully decorated offices with actual floors and roofs. Several of the patients just wanted to be reassured that they were healthy. Several had very high blood pressure. In the moments between patients, the kids enjoyed seeing themselves in pictures I would take. Fueled by a day’s good work, we closed the clinic and headed to the countryside.


Driving through a river, yes, THROUGH, we made it into farm land. It was here we saw the most interesting evangelism plan…Stop the Van. When a van with several white people comes into town, we draw a crowd. We would stop the van, present the gospel with a Gospel Story Soccer Ball (eBall) & rejoice over people accepting Christ. We invite them to the closest church & get their contact info for church leaders to follow up. Crazy right? Stop the van, that’s what we did & God blessed it!


The most heart wrenching event for me was the visit to the once orphanage, a shell of a building with half of a tin roof. A beautiful woman wanting to make a good impression stood sweeping the floor. Within minutes we were surrounded by children and neighbors that long to see this orphanage operational again. The adults told stories of children sleeping on the streets and promised to help however they could. But, the tears flowed when I was invited into one room that still had a roof. One of the orphans is grown and has a child of her own. They both live in this room with one mattress and one cooking pot, buckets under each hole in the badly worn tin roof. Trash lined one side of the room and rocks are used to secure the back entry. I sought air from outside to catch my breath while trying to hide the tears streaming down my face.


We are home now and I’m thankful for little things like air conditioning and ice cubes. I remain haunted by the images of the orphanage, yet encouraged by the love and grace of the friends I’ve met in Haiti. What lies ahead for my involvement with San Raphael is unsure, but I am in prayer for my new friends in the beautiful city of San Rafael. I know that God has an amazing plan and if I’m able to be a little part of that plan, Lord I’m ready. Here I am, Lord, send me.

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2015 in Haiti Mission Trip

 

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Don’t Forget

dont forgetThe words sound like me, but I have no memory of them. The distance in time is great, but I expected a recollection.

I recently spent time speaking with a life coach. She said something I have never heard, but it stung the way only truth can, “you are on the wrong side of humble.”

Humility, seldom seen in our boasting culture. Humility appears on milk cartons while we read of every accomplishment posted on social media. Certainly I am guilty of lacking humility on social media, so I wondered what she meant.

Honestly, I momentarily thought, yes, I am very humble. When you finish laughing at the absurdity of that statement, rejoin us.

I lacked belief in myself. I thought others could do it better, so I shouldn’t. I thought others had a bigger platform, so I should stay quiet. I thought others were better educated, and I would just mess up the message. Shocked, I faced the fact these thoughts are deeply embedded.

Today, I re-read every blog post I’ve posted. The words seem so foreign. I lack the memory of the words or the thoughts, but something else happened. I enjoyed reading them. Many of them are great. It is SO hard for me to say that.. I encourage you to read a few, especially if you are new. Share your favorite & get ready for the ride, because I’m convinced I need to continue writing and speaking!

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

It’s not where I’m headed…

detourI love to travel. I dream of exotic ports of call, sandy beaches, crystal blue water and languages unknown to me. Traveling remains more about the journey than the destination. Same can be said of our lives.

Whatever we long to create or be begins with one step headed in the direction of our destination. We journey towards the dream.

In the journey, God often refines us so that when we arrive at the destination, we are ready.

I never set out to be a Children’s Minister. I planned to be a nurse. I wanted to be an ER Nurse. I believed the fast pace and the opportunity to help people in crisis would be an amazing destination. My journey to become a nurse was detoured by illness and then, a wonderful surprise of being pregnant. After many years of living with regret over not finishing my education to become a nurse, I honestly can say, I don’t believe nursing was God’s destination for me. God used every part of the journey, though. I know enough nursing to be dangerous, but this knowledge has helped me treat wounded children throughout the years.

My journey to become a Children’s Minister wasn’t any smoother a paved road. I remember the journey began with a meeting where I told our Senior Pastor I would help organize the classes and ensure the correct number of volunteers, but I didn’t like other people’s children, so I didn’t want to teach. Boy, did God have a field day with my ultimatum. Within just a couple of years God had broken my heart for children in such a profound way, that not only did I care so deeply for other people’s children, I adopted someone elses child.

I told Him MY plan and He showed me in the journey a detour I might have missed. A detour with such beauty and joy I couldn’t wait to wrap my arms around her.

Many years later, God revived a dream I had to write. The destination seemed direct to me. I’ll write a book. So, I began writing and friends, who read the first chapter, began encouraging. I wrote the book proposal and traveled to a writer’s conference. I hoped to hear one person say I had talent. God opened up doors like I had never experienced. I gained insight, interested publishers, a literary agent and an award. I returned home believing this was going to be a non-stop flight to my destination as a writer. Yet, with the first rejection letter, I pulled into the airport, yet never boarded the plane.

In the last several years, I have watched several friends take off towards their destination of becoming a writer. I have felt immense joy for them and at the same time deep regret for myself. BUT, all is not lost. God is still here with me at the airport. He is not only at the destination, He is with me on the journey!

I don’t know what destination you are headed towards, but I know that God is willing to do a mighty work along the journey. So pay attention to every pot hole and detour, because God has a souvenir to give you at each pit stop that you will need at your destination.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2015 in Book, Childlike Faith, Moms

 

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Blank Page

DeathtoStock_Medium9In the beginning, writing provided healing for me. As a teenager longing for stability, writing gave voice to words I dare not speak. Now, writing proves to be a responsibility.

Writing begins in the mind and only with time and precision touches the blank page. The blank page screams for creation. The blank page longs to showcase the talent given to us by our Creator.

What is your talent? What do you create?

It could be an aeronautical drawing, artist rendering of a building, or a seascape painting so real we hear the waves. It may be a corporate rally speech, a closing argument, or a letter to a loved one to be treasured. Is it a business plan, a book proposal or a life plan you are dreaming of?

The blank page calls each of us to do our best, to keep trying and to press on. Should your effort fail, tear away the page and you are met with another blank page.

What do you dream will fill the blank page before you? What do you long to create?

Have courage to speak your dream to others, because they will encourage you when the ink runs dry.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2015 in Book

 

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Need Encouragement?

When darkness sets in and threatens to pull you under, do you have good friends to turn to? When lies steal your joy and torment your mind, do you have good friends to call?

I pray you do. Good friends provide encouragement during the worst times and accountability during the best times. I am blessed with good friends like those mentioned in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “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!” In times of success, my friends hold me accountable and when I fall, my friends help me up. What about you? Do you long to find a friend to encourage for you? 

Here are some ideas to find encouraging friends:glass

  1. Be an encouragement to others. The glass my friends is FULL. The portion of the glass not occupied by liquid is occupied by air. Philippians 2:14 instructs, “Do everything without complaining or arguing,”
  2. Seek friends who know from Whom encouragement comes. One benefit of belonging to a church is encouraging friendships. Hebrews 10:25, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
  3. When you find encouraging friends, make sure the relationship is a give and take. I Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

Ladies, these steps may over simplify the process, but I believe they are the building blocks of true friendships. To enjoy a lifelong friendship of encouragement & accountability, do watch out for these snares:

  1. Not being authentic. Facebook might provide snapshots of all the times your life is glorious, but being a true friend requires living an authentic life. Being fake might win you lots of “likes” on Facebook and you might look great at church, but you will miss the true joy of knowing friendship on a deeper level.
  2. Gossip. Telling stories whether true or false when not permitted will bring an end to friendships and possible friendships very quickly. Hold what others tell you in confidence and take what they say only to the Lord in prayer. And, no, prayer request time is NOT an excuse to gossip.
  3. One way calling. If you expect always to be called, your phone will soon stop ringing. Value others by calling them. Even a simple text occasionally can be encouraging. Everyone wants to be encouraged, so stop asking when is the last time they called, friendship does not take score. Pick up the phone and call!

Again, I am blessed with friends who are authentic, accept me as I am, encourage me to be better and pick me up when I fall. So, to all my friends, “I thank my God every time I remember you,” Philippians 1:3.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2015 in Childlike Faith, Moms

 

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End Grocery Store Madness

End Grocery Store Madness

If you have a toddler or preschooler, chances are you would rather have a root canal than take your children to the grocery store. Let’s see if this sounds familiar:

In the midst of colorful boxes containing sugary cereals, you choose the healthy boring cereal and then it begins. You look for exits knowing a full meltdown is on its way. Your precious, darling child sounds the alarm alerting all other shoppers to the injustice happening on the cereal aisle. You contemplate giving into your little one’s desire in hopes of ending this meltdown, yet know you can’t continue to give in. Other women pass you and you feel their disapproving glare. You find yourself wondering how can you get out of the store and why can’t you afford a Nanny?

Have you been there? I know I have. As a foster parent, I found myself often in the store with 4 or 5 kids at a time praying I could race through the store before a meltdown occurred, until I found something that worked for us.

1.  Before entering the store, give each child a job & let them know how to do that job. Connor, today you are going to be the coupon hunter. You are going to look for coupons and then we will sneak up on the coupon and take one. Leslie, you are going to be the grocery getter. When I ask you to get the grocery, you can take one off the shelf and place it carefully in the cart. 

2. Let the children know that you have a silly bands/bracelets or something else to slip on their wrists for every 3-5 groceries you get. This helps your children focus on how many items you have versus how many other things you don’t have (the sugary cereal).

3. Let your kids know the reward for ending up with the silly bands/ bracelets at the end of the trip. This may be the free cookie the grocery store gives kids, an extra chapter in a read aloud, a favorite CD on the way home, time at the park or an extra 10 minutes of television.

Setting up the trip before you walk in the door, giving your kids something to focus on, and rewarding their good behavior should make grocery shopping much more tolerable. 

Rock on, Momma, rock on!

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2015 in Parenting

 

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