Children on Halloween Day

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Happy Halloween to you all!  This is one of those holidays that, in my mind, is created for pure enjoyment of kids and their parents.  We don’t get into the scary parts.  We just love finding a great costume, carving pumpkins, watching It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, and going trick-or-treating! Once the kids get their candy, they like to dump and sort.  It is all about having healthy, safe, fun for us!

Happy Halloween to all of you kids and kids-at-heart!  Stay safe and enjoy the candy!


The Long, Sleepless Nights


I don’t usually write on Wednesday mornings.  However, I skipped yesterday morning because nobody in our house slept Monday night.  Darling Daughter decided to keep us all up nearly all night long!

She is great sleeper.  In fact, she missed most of her first 8 weeks because we couldn’t keep her awake for anything.  In the evening when I ask her if she is ready for bed, she immediately goes up the steps and into the bathroom to brush her teeth.  If I don’t follow her fast enough, she fusses.  She loves sleep!

Monday night, when she couldn’t stay asleep, we knew something was wrong.  It could have been a tooth coming in, a hurt lip from a fall earlier in the day, or she could be catching a bug that made her feel bad.  I don’t know.  Her verbal skills are still very limited at only 17 months.  The fact of the matter is that the girl was up crying every twenty to thirty minutes all night long!

In the midst of a never-ending night, knowing there is a full day of work lying ahead, depression seeps into us.  It is one of those dark moments in the life of a mom when we call upon the strength of the Lord, because we run out of our own strength in the first few hours.  It can be so hard to hold a screaming child and feel helpless.  

When my nights are long, here are some things I try to remember.  First of all, God won’t give me more than I can handle.  That doesn’t mean it will be easy.  Sometimes I am only able to move forward because he allows me to tap into His power, strength, and might. Secondly, the sun always shines after the storm.  One of my favorite verses is Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may endure through the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

We all face our share of hard nights.  Usually they are due to trials with those we love.  What are our options?  I could give up my children and reclaim all nights as mine.  I could encourage others to not have children, or even get married at all, because both relationships mean extreme sacrifice.  I could tell others to not ever love another because love drives us to lose our “me-time!”  Hopefully you find these options as absurd as I do!

When we love, bring others into our lives, and live the life God designed for us, we will have hard, long, sleepless nights!  However, the joy that comes in the morning far outweighs the sacrifice.  


Superhero Son Races in the Superhero Run

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What a great weekend!  I got to witness my son display his strength, endurance, and stamina in his first race.  

Most of you know by now that I am a beginning runner.  This weekend, I ran in my third 5K.  I don’t run everyday.  In fact, I am lucky if I get to run 3 days a week.  My goal is to finish a 5K in under 30 minutes, but I am not there yet.  

Lately, Superhero Son has been asking to run with me.  I know he can’t do 3.1 miles, so we run around the house, through the yard, and short distances on our road.  A few weeks ago, I found a real race for him.  CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for children) sponsors a Superhero Run every fall.  Most racers, adults and children, run in superhero costumes.  The best part?  There is a family run after the 5K.  I thought a 1/2 mile fun run for Superhero Son would be perfect.

Race day comes!  It is freezing cold!  We get up early in the morning, load both kids into the car, and prepare to race.  My mom and I run the 5K while Superhero Son and Darling Daughter play on the playground with my dad.  After the 5K, Superhero Son runs up to me and asks if it is time for his race now.  We go to the start line, and I learn that the kid run is actually a full mile.  I sort of just froze on the spot.  First of all, less than 10 minutes before, I finished my race.  I didn’t want to run another mile.  Secondly, I wasn’t sure my four-year-old son could do a full mile. 

When the horn blew, he was off like a shot!  I had to race to catch up!  He finally found his pace, and he ran the entire first half-mile.  Then he stopped and told me he would walk the rest.  I convinced him after a couple of tenths that he could probably run a little more.  He sped up and finished his race hard!  


After we got back into the car, we talked about his race.  He told me that he was happy he ran the end.  He wanted to win, but understood that it was his first race, and he would have to practice more.  He decided that it was okay to not win as long as he did his best in his race. I was proud that he didn’t give up on running.  He realized that it wouldn’t be easy, like he thought it would be.  

I love comparing our daily walk with Christ to a race.  We have to stay focused, put forth tons of effort, stay on the course, and finish hard.  When the course gets tough or we feel like we are running out of energy, we don’t quit.  We just slow down, walk a little, and catch our breath.  Our time to run full speed ahead will come again soon enough!


Strangled by Stress

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18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word;19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Mark 4:18-19

I have decided to write a children’s devotional book.  Our devotional book for adults, With Unveiled Face, went on sale two weeks ago.  Our response has been great.  We are lining up book signings and hoping royalty checks come in soon to our church.  Our church is about four years old, but we meet at a local high school.  We have land on which to build, but are still short a bit to get the loan to break ground.  All royalties from With Unveiled Face go directly to my church.

The other day, my husband asked if I was going to keep writing now that one book was out.  I told him I was, but wasn’t sure which direction I should go.  After a couple of days of thinking about it, I feel like the children’s devotional is the direction for me.

That long introduction brings me to my point at hand.  Last night I was reading through some of Jesus’ parables while working on a devotional for kids and found one that applied to my life right now!  I know, shocker!  I was reading through the parable in which seeds are sown in random places.  Some wither and die, others grow successfully.  Like me, the disciples need a bit of explaining now and then.  In chapter 4 of Mark, Jesus explains why some seeds grow and others wither.

I am afraid I am too similar to the seeds thrown among the thorns.  I hear the Word of God.  I accept and believe the Word of God.  However, I let the worries, stresses, and plans for the future strangle my growth.  I focus too much on my day to day list of things to do.  I put too much emphasis on ways to make money, rather than trusting that God will provide.  I exert an extreme amount of energy on worrying that the kids will be okay, lesson plans are ready for the school week, our plates have healthy enough foods, our pantry stays stocked, the car gets the oil changed, and everyone’s clothing is presentable.  I understand these things are important, but not as important as keeping a focus on God.  After all, this life is God-given.  These worries are His blessings.

Today I am going to try to avoid letting the stressors of this life strangle the life God wants for me.  It won’t be easy. I have parent conferences until 8:00pm, dirty dishes in the sink, and laundry to put away.  But why wait until tomorrow?!  God wants my focus TODAY!


Finding Comfort

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I have written about this before, but I am a self-diagnosed stress eater.  When I get upset about work, overwhelmed by parenting,  or mad at my husband, I will sit and polish off a bag of chip with dip.  I won’t stop until the whole bag is gone! (I inherited this from my mother!)

Just the other day, I was reading a devotional.  I believe it was something written by Joyce Meyer, but I can’t remember for sure.  It said that each of us has an unfilled place in our soul.  This place longs for comfort.  Some of us fill it with food, others with retail therapy.  A few try to fill it in more dangerous ways with drugs or alcohol.

A minister at a church I attended years ago used to say that each of us had a “God-sized” hole inside of us.  This emptiness can bring despair and misery into our lives.  From this emptiness we have potential to make dangerous decisions, trying to fill the void.  I have known many young girls who try to fill that void with affection from men.  Occasionally, they get lucky and find a kind, caring, loving man to pacify the emptiness.  However, if the whole is God-sized, no human will ever completely fill the void.  No bag of chips will either.

We are created with a place in our souls to be filled by God.  We can search and search for other ways to fill it, but nothing will satisfy our soul like God can.  God intends for us to find comfort in Him. I am not saying that eating chips and dip in moderation is a bad thing, but it won’t fix your problems!  Believe me!  I have tried!  In fact, it just makes you sluggish the next day.

I believe God sends us comfort in many ways.  I believe that my husband was a gift from God.  He can’t fill the God-sized hole, but he tries to comfort me when I need it, encourages me, and helps me navigate through this life.  I often can find small doses of comfort in sitting on my back deck with a cup of hot coffee as the sun rises.  But this amount of comfort cannot fill the God-sized hole either.  Only a relationship with God can.

Here are some verses that remind us of God’s power and desire to fill the void within us.

John 14:1-3 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

James 1:2-4 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

The next time you reach for the bag of chips, or seek comfort in your own way, reach for God.  Strengthen your relationship with Him and find comfort in Him.


For the Love of a Husband

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Have you ever had a conversation with someone that left you feeling a bit jealous?  I rarely feel jealous of other’s belongings, but I sometimes long to have the relationships that others seem to have.  I have found that those relationships are not always as cheery as they first seem, but I think I found a marriage that I truly admire.

I work with a woman who has been married for 16 years.  Every time she speaks of her husband, she speaks in a loving way.  She tells us how much she adores him.  She has told us that she would marry him all over again.  She even tells us all of the great things he does for her.  At some point, somewhere between the comments about him cooking dinner and vacuuming, I began to think about how their situation sounds a lot better than mine.  ***Note:  My marriage is great.  My husband is great!  However, he doesn’t know how to run the vacuum, and we don’t want him to cook!***

The other day, she made a comment that really got me thinking.  She was telling me about her husband’s career and asking about my husband’s career.  I told her that her marriage sounded just perfect.  She replied that she isn’t perfect, he isn’t perfect, and their marriage isn’t perfect, but God is.  Since God is at the center of her marriage, she has no reason to complain.  Therefore, she chooses to share only positive things with others about her marriage and her husband.

I think my jaw dropped, and I just stood there speechless.  However, I heard her message loud and clear.  Her marriage may not be any better than mine, but she chooses carefully what she tells others.  She doesn’t make up lies to make her marriage look great, but she filters out the bad.  Her husband may snore, have a horrible temper, or never pick up his dirty socks, but she only tells us about his good qualities.

My friend went on to say that when she focuses on his good qualities, the bad ones just don’t seem as important.  She told me that it is much easier to love someone when you don’t dwell on their shortcomings.  That is only fair, right?  We don’t want our spouses to dwell on our shortcomings, so why should we dwell upon theirs?

I am grateful that my friend has been placed in my life.  I love her reminder to me about treasuring my husband and our marriage.


Still Talking About Rainbows

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Guess what?! It rained again yesterday!  There is just something about rainy days that make me feel like I might go crazy!  I don’t like dragging the kids around in it.  I don’t like driving when the rain is pouring so hard I can’t see well.  I just want to be home in my pjs!

Instead, I had to drag the kids around in it after school.  I needed to meet with a local Christian bookstore to try to get With Unveiled Face stocked there so we can set up a book signing.  I needed to get the kids to my in-laws so I could meet with the fundraising team from church. Finally, I had to get everyone home and in bed!

I bet you can relate!  I bet you can name rainy, yucky, but very busy days when you just want the day to end, curl up in bed, and rest!

As I was mucking through the drizzle to get to one of my meetings, I met a friend on the sidewalk.  She had her little girl, a friend of Superhero Son.  Sure enough, just as they were turning to leave, I caught glimpse of another rainbow!  This one was brighter, bigger, and substantially better than the one the day before.  Nobody needed sunglasses to see it. (see yesterday’s post)

This rainbow glowed so brightly, it overwhelmed the rest of the gray sky.  The atmosphere around me seemed to turn from dark and dreary to bright and cheery.  Once again, lesson learned!

God reminded me that my days won’t all be sunny!  That isn’t what this life is about.  However, during the darkest days and hardest rains, He will send us rainbows to remind us of His love.  Even when the sun isn’t shining, His SON is.


Trying to Find our Rainbows

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It started raining Thursday.  It didn’t stop until late Monday.  The sun finally popped out Wednesday around lunch time.  What did it do Wednesday afternoon?  RAIN!  Forecast for Thursday? RAIN!

Work was hard Wednesday, my husband wasn’t coming home due to an overnight trip, I needed to get groceries, my students needed more time to play outside, my own children needed more time to play outside, and I was crabby!  I did NOT want more rain!

As I pulled into the driveway of my sitter’s house, I saw a faded rainbow in the distance.  I quickly remembered God’s promise to help us succeed in life.  I also took a moment to thank Him for my blessings. Even on my hardest days, I know others have it worse than I do.

Once I saw my son, I tried to show the rainbow to him and one of his friends.  They couldn’t see it.  I realized that I was wearing sunglasses.  I put the sunglasses on the friend, and he excitedly saw the rainbow right away.  Superhero Son tried on the glasses and also saw the rainbow right away.

I am not an expert on color or light, but my glasses darkened the sky and the colors of the rainbow so it was easier to see.  Lesson learned?  Our rainbows are probably out there more than we think.  We just have to wear the right glasses to see them.  We can’t let our bad mood, woe is me attitude, and stressful schedules cloud out the beautiful gifts in our life.

I pray you each find your rainbow today!


It’s Picture Day

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Ah picture day!  We all remember picture day at school, don’t we?  I was the tallest in my class, so I remember always being told to stand in the back of the line.  I bet I am not the only one who remembers the little black combs.  If you were like me, you also had a mom who made you wear one of your best shirts, had your hair cut a few days before, and you couldn’t leave the house in the morning until you promised to stay clean and neat until after pictures.

Well, today is picture day at my school, and not much has changed.  My kids will come in all dressed up, hair slicked down, rocking their nicest clothes, and walking around very carefully so they don’t get dirty.

We go great lengths to make sure we look our best when we know pictures will be taken.  However, do we ever consider trying to look our best for God?  I don’t mean wearing our nicest clothes for church.  I am talking about making sure our HEART is clean, neat, and not getting dirty.

I believe that God looks down and watches us, but I don’t think he considers our outward appearance as much as our inward thoughts.  Do we ensure that we are keeping our heart clean?  Are we filling our minds with music that glorifies God or muddies our soul?  Are the books we read promoting Godly ways or filling us with rubbish?

What if we thought of today as a picture day for our hearts and minds?  Would we need to spiff them up a bit first?

“Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 NIV


The Bible and Real Life


It seems as if I write about my Sunday School class every Monday, but they are just so darn funny!  They come up with great writing material!

One child yesterday made a statement that probably summed up the entire lesson about Joshua.  He said, “Wow! The Bible has a lot to do with real life.” I laughed, then I sadly realized it was the first time this child had ever made that connection.  To him, the Bible was more fairy tale.  He didn’t see that it applied to his life today.  It is a great history book, but this child saw it as JUST a history book.  

He made the connection because he was picturing Aaron and Hur holding up the arms of Moses while Joshua fought Amalek’s army.  This child said it reminded him of champions from boxing and other types of fighting.  Someone helps hold the arm up of the champion when the match is over.  I laughed because it seemed like an odd aspect of real like to relate to the story of Joshua, but this connection is what he needed.  

As we continued the lesson, he was shocked to know that Israel is still a country, Jerusalem is still a city, and God is just as powerful today as He was when he brought down the walls of Jericho.  

Later on in the day, I felt incredibly sad for this kid.  For him to not understand that our God today is the same God of the Old Testament was heartbreaking.  I want this child to really witness and experience the power of God.  I want him to feel the Holy Spirit inside of him.  

I am asking a favor from each of you today.  This child is going to stand in front of our church congregation next Sunday.  He has volunteered to help with the service by reading a small passage in front of everyone.  Reading isn’t his thing!  I am asking that everyone pray for him to feel the Holy Spirit as he serves our church.  I want this child to experience God in a powerful and positive way.  He is about 13 years old and looking for answers in his life.  He is looking for a path to follow.  Please pray that he finds this path through our church, the Bible, prayer, and a relationship with God.