Wednesday, December 26, 2007

And So It Ends...

So, Christmas and the season that surrounds it, has come and gone. Soon, the crispy Christmas tree will come down, the decorations will get packed away and the house will be returned to its normal state. Isn’t it ironic how ‘bare’ the house seems after the Christmas decorations are taken down? Why is it that it takes a couple weeks for us to adjust to our homes again - post Christmas season - when it’s how they look all year long?

Personally, even though I look forward to Christmas and all that it brings, I am eager to move on. I’m eager to have my living room consist of more than a Christmas tree; I’m eager to listen to music that can’t be described as a ‘carol’; and I’m eager to return this ‘department store wrapping area’ back to my bedroom.

But, I will cherish all of the memories that were made, and I will smile when I think back on the moments that made this Christmas season special. A few of my favorites...

The spontaneity of buying our Christmas tree - 2 weeks too early - and freezing as we stood in the Home Depot nursery trying to decide between the ‘normal’ 5-6 ft. tree and the ‘bigger is always better’ 8-9 ft. tree. Bigger and better won out.
Decorating the tree - a week later - while Christmas music played in the background, the aroma of hot chocolate filled the air, and kids focused their attention on filling one-third of the tree with ornaments... the front-center portion.
Walking through the Gaylord Texan and being treated to Christmas done the Texas way... BIGGER! We also managed to get some cute pictures of the family, which is always a bonus.
Attending our very first tree lighting ceremony and being wonderfully amazed at how many times the name of Jesus was used and getting the privilege of bowing our heads in prayer as the Mayor led us all in a Christmas prayer. You wouldn’t see that happen in California.
Baking Christmas cookies on Christmas Eve and watching Teighlor and Marian engage in a flour fight when it was time to clean up.
Having Jason and Coli join us for a few hours on Christmas Eve and laughing at Coli’s inability to have the kids wait until Christmas morning to open the gifts her and J brought with them. I have a feeling their kids will be treated to Christmas Eve unwrapping because SHE won’t be able to wait until Christmas morning!
Celebrating old traditions - like the Happy Birthday Jesus cake - and making new ones... Coli and Jason are now OBLIGATED to bring gifts for the kids on Christmas Eve! LOL!
Playing jacks with Coli! No further explanation is needed.
Twister... who knew our family was so bendable?
Being able to buy a Christmas present for my Husband. I’ve waited for that moment for a long time.
And last but not least, having a ‘complete’ family - notice I didn’t just use the word family - to wake up with on Christmas morning.

These are just a smidgen of the memories that I’ve tucked away from Christmas 2007.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Beyond the Veil

About a month ago, Anthony, Teighlor, Alec and I attended a Friday night event at Gateway called Beyond The Veil. This special service was designed to teach about the temple of the Old Testament and how the why’s and what’s that went into the physical structure can be lived out today in our worship/prayer lives. It was a three hour service that felt like it went by in one - even to the kids.

The night was one I’ve never experienced before, and it was a night filled with the Holy Spirit. This movie (that’s played on the welcome page of my site) was created by Gateway specifically for Beyond The Veil. It is the most impacting video I’ve seen regarding prayer... “the incense of the saints”... and it encompasses the power of that night.

For several years now God has been opening me up to and letting me experience and partake in the gifts of the Spirit. My walk with Him has never been deeper than it is today and much of that is because I know Him and the Holy Spirit in ways I didn’t just 5 years ago.

I have, for a long time, yearned to be given the gift of tongues... my prayer language. I knew as a young adult that my main spiritual gift was the gift of intercession/prayer. I’ve never felt closer or more connected to the heart of my Father than when I am in prayer. There are many people I know who have been given their prayer language, and I wanted a deeper intimacy in my prayer life that I believed I could get if my spirit could - at times when my heart couldn’t - pray for me.

Although I’ve wanted this gift, I’ve also been a wee-bit afraid - faithless? - in truly asking for it. I’ve always wondered what it would “feel” like to pray in a language I didn’t know; to have my tongue speak a language I’ve never learned or probably ever heard. There have been a handful of times when I was deep in prayer, when I felt the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit and prayed to receive the gift of tongues. Two separate times I felt this power (for lack of a better word) build up in me and intuitively knew that the Holy Spirit was going to give me my prayer language. Both times I got just to the point where I knew if I simply opened my mouth and began to pray out loud that I would not be speaking English. And then I was overcome with doubt and literally pulled myself out of the moment; the same way you can imagine pulling yourself out of a dream.

At about the 2 hour mark during Beyond The Veil, we were taught about the Holy of Holies and the prayers that were offered up inside the sacred place. We were in intense worship and prayer at this point, and the Pastor who oversees the Prayer/Intercession Ministry came to prayer over those in attendance. Her ‘job’ was to pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit as it concerns the gifts, and I was in a place spiritually where doubt and fear weren’t even on my radar. I prayed the most sincere prayer to receive my prayer language - no more doubting - and the Holy Spirit answered.

Like before, I felt this power build up in me but this time it was quicker and more intense. My tongue felt different - kind of thick and heavy. This time though, there was no backing out for me. I opened my mouth and began to praise God. It was intense and heavy worship. And then I simply let the Holy Spirit bring forth my gift. My tongue spoke in a language that I didn’t understand yet it felt so natural, like I had known it all my life. The words felt different coming off my tongue - I remember that distinctly. More importantly, I remember feeling overwhelmed with gratitude, praise, excitement and wonder as I realized that the Holy Spirit had chosen to anoint me that very night with one of His gifts.

Since that night I have purposed to use this gift as I’ve been in my prayer closet - no really, I literally pray in my closet because it’s my very own space (and quite a good size) where I can retreat to. I do not know why the Spirit waited or even chose this particular night to gift me with my prayer language, but I hope that this may encourage you. If you have been praying and longing for any special gifts of the Holy Spirit, don’t quit asking - and don’t do like I did... deny the gift out of doubt or fear. Go before the throne of God with boldness and courage!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


It’s finally here... Thanksgiving Day! A day when we wake up and immediately start thinking of turkey, potatoes, and pumpkin pie (or pecan pie for those from the mid-west). Some how, some way, our tummies seem to be emptier, hungrier on this day, and sweat pants don’t seem like such a bad option when choosing the attire for the day.

Yet, even though I did wake up - I’ll admit it - thinking about turkey and potatoes and pumpkin pie, I sit here now thinking about “giving thanks”.

I just got off the phone with my family back in California. What a treat it was to be able to catch (almost) everyone at my sister’s house already. In one phone call I got to connect with the people I’m used to spending this holiday with. Instead of allowing myself to be bummed about the fact that we all won’t be together, I’m thankful for the fact that one day - hopefully sooner than later - we’ll be sitting around a Thanksgiving table celebrating together again.

In just a short while, we’ll be trekking over to Coli and J’s house for... turkey, potatoes and pumpkin pie. Although this year will be different, I’m excited that the family that is here will be together and that we get to share this day with others (kids/parents from the Bible study) who wouldn’t necessarily be feasting on the traditional Thanksgiving goodies.

Thank You, LORD, for my many blessings and for your ability to connect hearts that are miles apart.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I Represent Him

Anthony and I have been reading The Blessed Marriage written by our pastor and his wife. After the introductory chapters of this book, Robert takes 3 chapters and writes directly to the man and focuses on the role and responsibilities of the husband. Then Debbie takes the next 3 chapters and writes directly to the wife, focusing on her role and responsibilities.

Tonight, as I was soaking in the tub, I picked up this book with the intent of re-reading those 3 chapters dedicated to me. As I read, I highlighted the significant and poignant passages that spoke to my heart. When I finished, I crawled into bed, picked up my laptop and typed up all the parts I had just highlighted. I wanted to have a list of the points that shouted loudly to me so that I could read through them as often as I wanted to, without having to rifle through the pages of the book.

Some of these principles are a call for change in my life - others are reminders of the blessings I already have with Anthony. I couldn’t simply kill myself with change, change, change... I also needed to encourage myself with what I already experience in my marriage.

After I finished typing, I got a call from my husband (who’s out of town on business) and I read him my list. As I began to read the first key point, I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to put each sentence into the first person narrative and use active, present-tense verbs. Basically, I was to personalize what Debbie had written and make these points mine to embrace. What a different perspective each thought took on as I changed the pronouns from “you” to “I” and from “your” to “my”. You’ll see what I’m talking about as you read the list.

I wanted to share many of these points, not only as a way to encourage you (if you’re female and married) but also to get you to think. I know putting the ‘stand out’ tenets in a list where they can’t hide among the text definitely put my mind and heart into gear.

“Heavenly Father, I pray that you will change me by changing my heart. That You will help me to embrace each point listed here (where change is required) and take these to You each day in prayer. Father, thank you for my husband and for Your gift of marriage. May I one day be the wife who examples each of these traits without hesitation.”

Honor is the key to my husband's heart.

However my husband acts, it is my privilege and responsibility to respond to him with honor.

If I choose to honor my husband, might I be releasing him to do incredible things?

Wives are to respect and honor their husbands. Ephesians 5:33

Respect is a verb insinuating "to lift up the face."

Honor is my husband's number one need. Anthony is my husband; I cannot allow his needs to be met by someone else.

If I see how my disrespectful attitude is harming my marriage and holding my husband back from becoming the man God wants him to be, I know that I need to change.

First, I must recognize that my husband was a gift to me from God and is the head of my household. That demands my respect.

Second, my husband deserves respect for his hard work.

Finally, I should honor my husband because of the man he can become. This is called providential honor because it speaks of divine guidance.

Faith for Anthony's best is honoring because I am agreeing with God that Anthony can become an even greater man of God. I honor him for what he will become tomorrow.

Honoring in word and deed: Matthew 12:34-35 - "How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things."

My words have the ability to boost or deflate Anthony's potential.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Proverbs 18:21

I must make a conscious decision to work with God instead of against Him to release supernatural power through Anthony into our marriage and family.

Satan loves to harass me with Anthony's faults in an attempt to steal, kill and destroy our marriage. I know his schemes though, and I choose not to believe his lies. I opt for life in my marriage through honoring instead of death to our relationship through dishonoring.

I will learn to honor my husband not just in my heart and with my words but also by following his desires. As his wife, I represent him. Thus I should respect who he is by following his desires.

Even when Anthony messes up, I am still to honor him.

I know Anthony better than anyone on earth, and I know he is not perfect... but it is my joy and my privilege to keep his weaknesses between the two of us. When I do this I create a safe haven for him to take refuge in. Anthony's heart safely trusts mine.

If I have ever gone along with my husband's ways with a reluctant heart, I have been an obedient wife but not a submissive wife. Obedience is what I expect from our children; it is not how I should respond to my husband. Submission flows from a willing heart, I will yield my will even if I don't agree with or understand my husband's decisions.

Submit to God (James 5:7) and only trust in Him (Provers 3:5). If I am submitting to the Lord by submitting to my husband, then I can confidently ask God to move on my behalf.

Honor is my husband's greatest need; sex is his second greatest need.

God made my husband and me to be lovers. He wants us to be exhilarated with one another.

Satan loves to lie to me about my husband. If I choose to listen to the fictitious tales the enemy spawns, I fall right into his hands and away from the embrace of my husband.

If Satan can distract my mind and prejudice my thoughts against my husband, he has succeeded in entrapping me in selfishness. If I want to foil Satan's attacks on my marriage, I must start by fighting back on the battleground of my mind.

Only God can change hearts and minds... I can't. When I discover something in my husband's heart that is less than virtuous, I will give it to the Lord.

My husband is far more likely to change his mind in response to a question that causes him to rethink his position than if I blast him with my opinion. As a godly companion for my husband, I need to know how to communicate and express my concern in a manner that does not contradict my submission.

Submitting to my husband's headship does not mean surrendering my voice in his life. I will commit ahead of time to accept his response no matter what it is; to trust God to change his heart and refuse to force my side on him; and to approach him with humility at the right time.

Just as our young love is nurtured by spending time in some form of recreation, our old love will mature with time shared together!

Anthony loves to have fun with me, and I love being the one he has fun with. We are best friends.

When I walk closely with God, my relationship with my husband becomes easier. Filled with the Spirit of God, I am be able to honor my spouse with my words and actions.

My destiny lies in denying my fleshly desires so that I can be the companion my husband needs. When I meet his needs, I am fulfilling my calling in life.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Falling in REAL Love

This past Friday, God called Anthony and I to fast for the day. During my time with the Lord that morning, I spent time in prayer seeking God’s direction on the “topic” we believed was the purpose of our fast. In the midst of praying, God softly spoke to my heart and asked me what I wanted - not from the fast - but from Him. I told Him that I wanted to know, for the first time in my life, what it was like to REALLY fall in love with Jesus. Yes, I believe in Jesus Christ as God’s Son, I have asked Him to come take residence in me, I read my devotions every morning, I say my prayers, and I do my best to teach what I know to my kids so that as they grow older they will come into a mature and deep relationship with their Savior.

But who am I kidding? If, at 40, I can say that I still want to know what it feels like to REALLY fall in love with Jesus, then how can I expect from my children what I don’t experience myself?

So, when God spoke to my heart and asked me, “What do you want?”, I told him. I want to fall in love... with Jesus.

I know what it’s like to fall in love. I have a husband, I have children, and I have family and friends. To varying degrees and in different ways, I am in love with all of them. If I find it easy to understand love - falling in love - with one of these, why haven’t I completely fallen in love with Jesus? He is the one who has saved my soul from the pit of hell; He is the one in whom Eternal Life is given to me; He is the one who I run to when I’m in need; and He is the one who comes and sits with me while I worship.

“It’s a simple answer”, God spoke to my heart. “You know so much about Him, you’ve given your heart to Him, and your life is changed because of His death on the cross.” And this is where God brought my question to light...

“But, you don’t really know Him. How can you expect to fall in love with Jesus when you’ve never taken the time to really get to know him?”

And God was right. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my heart belongs to Jesus. I know that I will never turn away from the only way to eternal life with the Father. I know that Jesus lives and he longs to sit with me, minister to me, teach me, and worship with me. The only thing I don’t know is... Him. Why? Because I’ve never - yes, that’s right - never taken the time to read through the Gospel books of the Bible from start to finish. Yes, this is my confession, of sorts. I have delved through chapters, have memorized certain scriptures, and know of so many of the miracles he performed. But, I’ve never disciplined myself to actually read through each of the Gospel books from “cover to cover”.

So, I asked God, “What can I do?” And He answered, “Read my Word”. So, I asked, “What do you want me to read?” He said, “Matthew. Start with chapter 1 and don’t read anything else until you are finished with this book. Then read the next book, Mark, and don’t read anywhere else in the Bible until you are done with it.” Do you see the pattern God was creating for me? One last instruction from the Lord was that I was not to read through Matthew with the intent to study it. I was to read through it as if I were reading the autobiography of Jesus. Read the life of My Son so that you can know Him.

So, I did start. I opened up to the book of Matthew and just started reading. Today - this morning - I read a couple more chapters and discovered something... It’s one thing to open up to a chapter in one of the Gospel books and read an individual passage or story about, or from, Jesus. It’s one thing to acquaint yourself with Jesus feeding 5,000 from a few fish and a couple loaves of bread or turning water into wine. BUT, it’s something special to just sit and read through the life of Jesus, from one page to another, from one parable to another, from one miracle to another, and understand Jesus for who He is in whole.

As I read, I am realizing an even bigger truth... that I - not Jesus - have held myself back from falling in love. But I know this... at 40 my heart is falling.

Friday, October 19, 2007

You're Blessed When...

When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.

"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.

"You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for.

"You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

"You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.

"You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom.

"Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

Matthew 5:1-5 (The Message)

This morning God drew me near to Him. He spoke to my heart as I listened. He asked me to open His Word and He directed me to what He wanted me to read. One of the passages I read was Matthew 5 - more specifically, the Beatitudes. I’ve never read this passage before from The Message Bible, and it struck me how alive the words now seemed to me - as if I were reading them for the first time. I drew comfort, understanding, peace, and encouragement from reading the words of Jesus. I’ve kept my Bible open to this passage since reading this morning. I’ve gone back and read them again. And as I sit here typing this blog, I’m reading them again. It never ceases to amaze me how Christ’s words hold so much life in them, even when He says that I’m blessed when... I’m at the end of my rope, and I feel I’ve lost what is most dear to me. To the world, these statements would seem to be dichotomous. How can one be considered blessed when they’re at the end of themselves or have lost what is most dear or are persecuted for their commitment to God? It’s amazingly simple - yet so hard to live out on a daily basis, minute after minute.

With less of me... there is more of God!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Home Again

Vacations are a blast! And our family vacation to California was a true vacation... all rest and play. We didn’t come home needing a vacation from our vacation. We all came home not wanting to spend any more time than necessary in the truck, though. Four full days in the car, out of the 11 days we were gone, was enough for all of us for a while.

Aside from the road trip days, which really weren’t bad, considering... our days in California loaded us all up with memories to last a lifetime. I know we all came home with “our favorite day and favorite moment”. Let me share mine with you...

“My favorite day” was our last day in California, spent at The Thompson abode. It’s not because of the location that I chose this day as my favorite - it’s because all the family that could have been there was there. Having all the California family gathered together felt like old times, except there was a bit of new... Anthony, Marian and Savannah. From bbq’ing to pool volleyball (sorry for the bump on the head, Riah) to good fun and lots of laughs... this day put a cap on a vacation that was already fantastic.

“My favorite moment” isn’t hard to choose... it was the moment we pulled into the driveway at Mom and Dad’s house. The long drive there was now behind us and every minute of our vacation still lay ahead of us. I had butterflies of excitement swirling around my bejjy (that’s for you, A), and it was all I could do to contain Teighlor and Alec as they “very impatiently” waited for Anthony to stop the car so they could get out and run to meet Grandma and Grandpa.

This vacation was all about “family”.... reuniting with familiar “loved ones” and introducing new “ones I love”.

Thank you to y’all for making our vacation one that we will never forget! Mom and Dad... for opening your home to a house full and for allowing our vacation to be one of total relaxation. Marg... for taking so much time out of your busy schedule (of sun tanning) to come hang with us. Bill and Marg.... for hosting us on our last day in Cali with all kinds of yummy foods and pool party fun. To all the rest y’all... thanks for coming and hanging out with us and making my new family part of yours!

Last, but not least... Thank YOU, our Father in Heaven, for YOUR provision! From the incredibly comfortable truck that got us there and back, to the necessary funds to pay for the trip itself, to the family that made my new husband and two new daughters feel like they had been part of our family for years. I am truly blessed beyond my dreams!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Missing U

It’s 4:45 on Monday morning, and we’re on the road, headed back to Texas. The nighttime sky, that hasn’t yet awakened to the dawn, still sparkles with a gazillion stars. It’s probably the most beautiful part of the desert. My heart is anticipating the day ahead of me -- we’re headed to the Grand Canyon -- yet, it’s already missing the family I am leaving behind.

It’s been a fantastic week. Our California vacation was better than expected and filled with memories that we’ll all cherish for a lifetime. But this blagh is not written to capture the week of vacation that is now part of my past, or the two days left ahead of us that we’ll spend on the road as we head home. This blagh is simply to share what is on my heart at this moment in time...

I’m Missing Y’all Already!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Triple Threat

I know, I know. The title for this blahg is a bit odd, but it’s simply the least brain-taxing title I could come up with considering the fact that I’m writing this particular entry at 2 a.m. (Nothing up... just stayed up past the time my body normally goes to sleep, and now I’m awake.)

So, last night my body was aching (have been working out a lot lately), I had a headache (‘cuz I had a knot on the inside of my left shoulder blade that was tweaking the muscles in my neck) and I heard the whispers of Calgon offering to take me away. All of this added up to one thing... the need for a nice, long, hot bubble bath and my iPod.

My iPod always goes to the bathtub with me because whenever I’m soaking, I’m also always worshipping. The two just go hand-in-hand for me. Last night was no different, except for one thing... Jesus showed up in a big way.

I was singing through my first three songs and then got to a song to which I didn’t know the lyrics, so I decided to simply let my spirit sing for me. As the song played, I lost myself in thoughts of Jesus. I began to pray and asked Jesus to come sit with me while I worshipped. Within seconds, I was overwhelmed (literally) with the presence of Christ in the room with me. My heart felt filled to capacity (a true physical feeling), and tears rolled down my cheeks beyond my control. I wasn’t surprised by my reaction because whenever I’m allowed to feel the presence of God I am always emotionally overwhelmed. I can’t imagine who wouldn’t be.

As I regained my composure, I began a conversation with Jesus; one where I not only spoke aloud to him but also “heard” his replies back to me. I’m sure they wouldn’t have been audible to anyone listening, but they were clear as day to me in my heart.

This may sound silly, but the first thing I said to Jesus was, “Hello.” Well, isn’t that what anyone would say to someone who’s just popped in? Even though I couldn’t “see” Jesus, I was given a sense of his reactions when they weren’t “verbal”. He just smiled at me -- the most beautifully warm smile I’ve ever “seen”.

I then thanked him for coming to sit with me. His reply? “All you had to do was ask me.” I, again, was overwhelmed with emotion. Maybe it was the utter simplicity of his reply. Tears rolled down my cheeks once more. As I “watched” him, he said to me, “You know that I love you, don’t you?” I could only reply, “Yes.” Once again, I was fully aware of the presence of his spirit. It was so substantial that it felt as if a heavy blanket, like an old-fashioned, hand knit quilt, was covering my body.

As I took comfort in his company, I could feel my spirit basking in his holiness. After a short while I spoke to him the only words on my heart, “I love you so much.” It was at that point that Jesus became so clear to me. I couldn’t actually see him, but it was as if my spirit could -- and that image was being written on my heart. He looked at me with such affection, such tenderness. The delight that showed in his eyes made me feel like a small girl looking into the eyes of her Daddy.

I found myself captivated by his extravagant beauty... a regal beauty. The only words my mouth could speak were, “My God, you are so beautiful”, as more tears ran down my cheeks. It was a moment I hope to never forget.

At that time, the song that my spirit had been singing along to came to an end. As the next song began to play, I still felt Jesus’ abundant presence, so I invited him to join me in worshipping our Father together. For the next 3 songs I was given the privilege of knowing that Jesus was joining me in lifting praise to our Heavenly Father. It was truly an awesome experience.

For the past year I have thoroughly enjoyed, and looked forward to, my nights in the bathtub with my iPod and my worship music. I’ve always been honored to have been drawn into God’s throne room as I’ve lost myself in the music. Last night, God changed things up a bit... He came to sit with me.

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. ~ Romans 8:16

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Great M&M Race

Daily, I read a devotional from the Proverbs 31 Woman ministry. A month or so ago, I read an entry that intrigued me and I shared it with Anthony, letting him know that I wanted to hold the “The Great M&M Race” in our home. The devotional and race were based on this verse in Luke...

“Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." Luke 12:15 (NIV)

Here’s how the race works: A large bowl, filled with M&M’s, was placed in the center of the room, with a small bowl for each child placed at the corner’s of the room. Each child was given a tablespoon while they stood around the bowl of M&M’s waiting for us to yell, “Go”. The kids were instructed to use a tablespoon to transport the candies, one spoonful at a time, back to their individual bowls. If any dropped on the floor, they couldn’t pick them up. And the most important rule was this: When the timer rang, they had to stop at exactly the place where they were. If they were anywhere other than sitting in their corner holding their bowl, they forfeited all of the M & M’s they had gathered. And no, we wouldn’t tell them how many minutes the timer would be set for.

Here’s how Anthony and I predicted the race would go: The older kids would be careful with their M&M’s as they walked to their bowls but then would race back to the main bowl. Savannah, not yet having the capacity to understand that a hurried walk would cause her M&M’s to fall off the spoon, would walk as quickly as possible both ways. We also predicted that Teighlor would be the only one sitting down as the timer went off; that the rest of the kids would be found somewhere between their bowl and the big bowl of M&M’s; and that Savannah would definitely shed a few tears when she realized that she wouldn’t be keeping any of her M&M’s. All of our predictions came to pass!

What was comical was to watch how the race progressed. The older three all had the sense to sit down with their bowl of candy at various intervals of the race. The problem was that once they sat for 5 seconds and didn’t hear the timer go off, they got greedy and got back up for more M&M’s because they saw the other kids still moving. Savannah never once sat down - intent and focused to get as many M&M’s as possible.

When the timer went off, Teighlor was sitting with her bowl of M&M’s in her lap, Marian and Alec were on their way back to their bowls with spoonfuls of M&M’s, and Savannah was heading back to the big bowl for more M&M’s. The second Alec and Marian heard the buzz of the timer, they both leapt for their bowls and tried to make it look as if they had sat down before the timer went off. Savannah continued to walk with her spoon, seemingly oblivious to the timer. When she realized that her brother and sister had moved so quickly to sit down, she immediately sat down, as if believing that we hadn’t noticed she wasn’t sitting down when the timer went off.

At first, Anthony and I both chuckled when we realized the race had gone just as predicted -- then we waited and watched the faces of each of the “losing children” for their individual reactions. Savannah immediately put her face in her hands and cried. Marian jumped to the couch and didn’t say a word. Alec took his foot and pushed his bowl of M&M’s across the floor, in obvious frustration. You see, he had been sitting down just moments before but had gotten up for more M&M’s, possibly thinking he could make just one more round before the timer went off.

It was hard to watch Alec, Marian, and Savannah as their bowls of M&M’s were removed from their possession; harder when they watched their bowls being given to Teighlor, the winner; and almost comical when they watched her being given the large bowl with the remaining M&M’s. Every single M&M was now in the possession of Teighlor, except for the ones that had been dropped on the floor.

Herein lies the catch they weren’t told before the race began... whoever was sitting down when the timer went off “won” the M&M’s of those kids who weren’t and all of the M&M’s left in the big bowl. With Teighlor surrounded by hundreds of M&M’s, I thought both Alec and Marian would give in to tears too.

Anthony and I then began to teach about greed as we discussed the passage in Luke and the details of the race, focusing on the point that each of the older three kids had sat down numerous times throughout the race. We wanted to show them how their greed in “going back just one more time” had caused them to lose what they worked so hard to get. I went to the bowl of M&M’s, scooped out a spoonful, and counted how many were on the spoon. I could see Alec and Marian’s wheels spinning as they realized that they had each forfeited their entire bowl of M&M’s in order to gain about 13 more. Savannah never sat down once, but she was able to grasp the concept of the game and how it related to greed.

The best part came in watching Teighlor exhibit a heart of selflessness that almost brought tears to my eyes. As she sat there with 5 bowls of M&M’s in front her, and 3 distraught faces staring at her, she did what both Anthony and I wondered if the winner would do... she gave each bowl of M&M’s back to its “unrightful” owner. Not only that, she also split the remaining M&M’s from the big bowl between the other 3 kids - not taking even one for herself. In the end, she walked away with fewer M&M’s as the winner, then her brother and sisters did as losers.

All in all, they walked away with three lessons learned that day -- one on greed, one on being content with what you have, and one on the art of sharing from your heart.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Pooh Sticks

Today was the 8th thunderstorm in just as many days. We’ve had more rain than we know what to do with. Not exactly summer as I’ve known it, but I’m not complaining because “I love me some rain”. As I pulled into the driveway from a trip to Half Price Books with the kids, I couldn’t help but notice the gushing rivers; more commonly known as rain-filled gutters. The thought hit me upside the head like a brick thrown through the car window... WE NEED TO PLAY POOH STICKS!

I must have thought out loud because my thought was met with resounding shouts of glee from the back seats. I’ve never seen kids move so fast to get out of the car and into some “okay for getting soaked” clothes! We chose our straws and headed outside. Wouldn’t you know it... just as we got set to begin our game, the skies opened up and the rain came pouring down. These pictures are just a snapshot of the fun we had for the next 15 minutes. Oh, and the day was even better for Alec because he ended up the victor!

Monday, March 19, 2007


“And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So your God will rejoice over you.” (Isaiah 62:5)

As I was reading through a new website tonight, I came across this verse. By coincidence? No. By Providence? Yes. Considering all that today held, from talks of the past to what's in store for the future, I have no doubt that my God, My Abba, wanted me -- no, needed me -- to read this verse.

I will never stop being amazed at how my Father in heaven takes care of me and how He always finds a way to let me know how much He loves me. Today He reminded me of that through Coli, through Erin, and through Anthony. When I doubted today... they were there to remind me of how God sees me.

As I asked for forgiveness tonight from the last puzzle piece of my past, God released me from my burden and replaced it with fresh vision for the future... His dream for me!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Lazy Day

It's been a while since my last "new" blog. You'd think that after taking so much time off from the blogging world that I'd have all kinds of life events to update -- I do; or that I'd be filled with a plethora of clever quips to unload -- I am; or that I'd have more than my fair share of God moments to talk about -- I do. Trust me... I do, I am, and I do! But today is not the day for all of that.

I officially declared today "Lazy Day", and I am living up to the standards of my Lazy Day to my full potential. My bed is the one piece of furniture that is absolutely essential for carrying out my mission in ultimate laziness, and I have used it well today. I have only crawled out from beneath my cozy comforter for necessary reasons -- potty breaks, to make my son lunch, and to return a rented DVD. Other than that my bed has been my sanctuary; a sanctuary that I am overwhelmingly appreciating today.

Did I plan my Lazy Day? Nope. But circumstances allowed this day and since it's been ages since I've indulged in a "Do Absolutely Nothing Day", I figured... why not??? So here I sit (yep, in my bed) recording my day of nothingness so that I can look back on this day and reflect on... reflect on... well, I guess there would be nothing to reflect on, would there?

Well, nothing except the gluttony of laziness!