Saturday, June 16, 2012


With fear and trepidation, I come. Reminders of pain in the past nearly stop my breath. What if You ask for it all? Can I be content to fix my gaze on You no matter what is demanded of me? Remind me, Oh Lord, that You are not out to kill me. The enemy has that job. You long to give me life. Take my dreams and sift through them. Let only the ones from You remain. Cast the others far from my mind that I may be wholly Yours.

I penned these words during one of my times with the Lord. Jesus was lovingly inquiring if I trusted Him. My first response was like Peter's. "Of course, I do." Immediately, my husband's face flashed through my mind and then the images of my children. "Do you trust me with these?" My response was slower, for you see, I come from a line of early widows. I have also felt the pain of losing a child. With a sigh, I answer "yes", but I immediately want a plea bargain.

Again, I am asked. This time I reflected on my years lived. Not once could I think of a time where Jesus abandoned me. Yes, there have been deep valleys, but He was there. He has danced with me in moments of joy. He has cried with me , held my hand and carried me. He has protected me and loved me. He has been there through it all. So, with open arms lifted up I relinquished my earthly treasures and wrote out the above prayer. It is a lifelong prayer.

"Choose for yourself this day whom you shall serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

Monday, May 21, 2012

Through her eyes

She is my last biological child. My pregnancy with her was disturbing. Days of no movement, periods of little activity, more ultrasounds than I care to remember. There are no words to describe the relief I felt when she was finally born - alive! We had been down the road of delivering a stillborn child once before. It was a sorrow I never wanted to feel again.

Life resumed, and we thought all was "normal". A few years later, this precious girl was not speaking. Tests began. Ear tubes allowed her to hear, but normal speech aquisition did not follow. More tests, more issues. A period of sadness followed as we struggled with a new normal in our family.

The diagnosis is minimal in the scheme of life. She has a learning disability which greatly effects her memory. At nine years of age, she still cannot remember the names of her Aunts and Uncles that she sees fairly often. Reasoning skills - just not there. Common household appliances cannot be recollected; dishwasher, microwave, oven, etc.

The sadness appears each time I hear that a child at school has called her "dummy" and doesn't want to play with her. My heart feels the pangs when adults wonder what exactly is wrong. She doesn't fit into the mainstream of life. And, until a few days ago, I mistakenly wanted her to.

I had fallen into the lies of society which look at mans' outward appearance. But God, He looks at the heart, and Olivia's heart is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

We celebrated a belated Mothers' Day last Saturday. In the midst of some special time with 2 of my nephews, Livi runs up to me and says she made a new friend; would I come meet her. The excitement in her voice and her giggles were contagious. I followed her outside, and then I saw. Her new friend has many special needs. To most, she is overlooked.

The girl's mother walked over to me. She said something that I won't soon forget. "How beautiful of your daughter to be my daughter's friend. She doesn't have any outside of the specialized school she attends." I thanked God right then and there for making Olivia so perfectly! She sees. She sees the things of God, the things most people disregard. Thank you, Jesus, for entrusting me with this precious child who is helping her mama to "see" too.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Good Girl Gone Bad

For much of my life I was the "good girl". You know the mold - praiseworthy grades, obedient to parents, no drugs or alcohol, wouldn't go against the law if my life depended upon it.

When kids in school would call me "Miss Goody Two Shoes", I took it as a compliment instead of the insult it was intended to be. Perhaps, you could even say that I made it my ambition to be one of the best good girls that ever lived.

There was a big problem with my philosophy, though. I wasn't ever sure what 'perfection' was. I could only compare myself to others and elevate my goodness based upon others badness. For example, I gave myself brownie points for being able to say I have never been drunk in my entire life, I have never smoked a single cigarette, done drugs, been to jail or had a speeding ticket (other than the one I received a few years back when Dale called and said one of the kids was missing. I figured, tickets don't really count if it is for a good reason.)

I was good because I wasn't doing those 'bad' things others were. It was all relative to others' behavior.

Then, I met someone who changed everything. He was the perfect man. HE alone was the one I needed to be comparing myself with. Suddenly, this good girl wasn't so good anymore. You see, He was sinless. Perfect. I now understood what good was and I was not.

He said if I had ever done one single thing wrong, and yes, white lies count (so do mean looks and hateful thoughts against enemies), then I wasn't good enough - good enough to get into Heaven. Wasn't that my ultimate goal? I didn't want to be good just for the sake of being good. I was in it for the reward.

I looked in His face and asked, "How, then?" How, then, can I get into Heaven? How can I ever be good enough?

He gently answered, "You can never be good enough, but I can. Realize that you cannot earn your way to Heaven; it is my free gift. " At that moment, I fell on my face and accepted the gift I had been trying to earn. For the first time in my life, I felt peace.

I was a mere 18 years old when I met Jesus, my perfect man. He turned my world upside down, or should I say right side up. The baby in the manger suddenly made sense. He had to come and die for me or I would be left to have to pay for each and every one of my sins. The price for just 1 sin was too great. When I saw my life through His lens, I had thousands upon thousands of sins. My debt was too much.

Christmas became more than presents and good food. The baby born that day became my life, my hope and my savior. He paid my debt and for that I am eternally grateful. I had no means by which to get into Heaven, neither do you. Jesus does, though. Will you accept the gift He is offering you this Christmas?

Maybe, just maybe, you are also a good girl who is willing to see her need to be rescued from her bad side - a redeemed, loved, bought with Jesus' life kind of girl.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I stepped down and the wall of heat met me instantly. The hours spent on the plane suddenly faded when matched against my excitement. I was standing on Filipino soil. Months of preparation for this moment were paying off.

Our team stood in line for Customs. As I looked around, I saw a sea of beautiful mocha eyes. I think the 11 of us were the only variation to our surroundings.

It was after midnight local time, but sleep was not on my mind. Too many thoughts raced through my head. Visions of underfed children running to greet me, sharing my testimony (yikes!), being the sole parent of an accident prone teenager in a Third World were just a few of the things occupying my brain space. Finally, I succumbed to sleep. Besides, tomorrow we would board another plane for our last leg of the trip, Manila to Tagbalaran.

Praising God for uneventful flights, I stepped once again into another wall of heat. We were here! I looked around the airport and immediately recognized Pastor Ariel from his visit to the United States. Close by him was his ever-smiling wife, Fely. They led us outside to a large welcoming committee. Several members of the church stood holding up a banner with all of our pictures on it. Before I could utter a word, Fely was placing a necklace over my head - the first of many gifts I would receive.

We squeezed our American behinds into a couple of vehicles and were wisked off to attend a Birthday Party. The team piled into Effret's house, along with about 50 other people. She had gone all out and served 2 favored items in the Philippines - lechon (roasted pig) and blood pudding (yep, exactly what you think it is). I tried almost everything, but the heat was really taking away my appetite.

I'm not sure how many of you have seen Gulliver's Travels, but I certainly could relate to Gulliver. My 5'9" frame was about 9 inches taller than the average Filipino. At Effret's house, I had to stay away from the ceiling fans or they would have rearranged my face. The furniture was all sized to accomodate their smaller frames. At times I felt a little bit like Goliath's sister. Keep this in mind, because it is an important piece to the next few days of my trip. For now, I'll leave you with a few photos.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Stepping off the Edge

I had been here many times before. Signing up to go on a mission's trip was easy...following through was not. There was always that one big hurdle that I just couldn't seem to get beyond.

It is what everyone dreads; it is what made me run.

Raising support. A leap of faith, too big for my feeble feet to take. I backed out every single time when it came to this part - until now.

One Sunday I sat in church, listening to the Pastor make announcements. He mentioned an upcoming trip to the Philippines. Something stirred in my heart. I tried to dismiss it.

My husband looked at me and shocked me with his words. "Honey, I think you should go and take one of the kids with you."

Gulp! I will have to raise HOW much? Impossible! Doesn't my husband realize we are in the midst of an economical recession?

Hesitantly, I sat through the informational meeting. I put my name and my sons on the list of those who were going. In my heart, I wondered if I really was or not.

The support letters were composed. The moment I released them into the mailbox, I felt instantly nauseous. What would people think? I don't like to offend.

The next meeting for the trip came. The leader handed me a piece of paper. On it was the amount of support that had come in. My knees quaked. My first goal had been met. Someone from our church heard God say that He would be sending her a check. She received one a few days later in the mail and gave it ALL away to Caleb and I.


The money kept pouring in. We were exactly where we needed to be for each goal...for a while.

We were half way and then the money stopped. The weeks were passing and soon we would have to make a decision - were we going or not?

I sat at my computer. Before I booted it up, I prayed,"Lord, make it crystal clear what Your will is in this. I surrender my plans for what You want. I have stepped out in faith. Maybe that was all You wanted for me - to take that step. Just, please let me know SOON!"

The computer screen came up. Facebook is my homepage. Immediately, a friend started chatting with me. She had remembered that I was hoping to go on a mission's trip and wanted my support letter. The tears trickled down my cheeks. "God, You are so good! You have put my trip on the minds of others."

Another meeting and I am informed that all but $60.00 has come in. God did it! He showed me that I can step off the edge of my comfort zone and He will guide me. God's wealth never changes - even in a recession!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

From The Beginning

It started years ago...perhaps decades ago. I was the child who always had a heart for the unlovable. Maybe it was my ability to identify with them, maybe it was that God was stirring my heart before I even knew there was a Creator.

While in High School, I discovered the One who loves me so much He died for me. He died for unlovable me.

He owned all of the riches in the world. In fact, He was the one who created the world and all that inhabits it. And, He GAVE it ALL up. Imagine that! How many CEO's do you know who would give it all up to have no home, one set of clothes, no consistent food, no health insurance, no car and no friends? I know not one, but my Jesus did this for me and you.

So began my quest to know this Redeemer more. Who is this man who would do this for me? And why?

I poured over Scriptures and saw Grace. Sinful, pitiful me looked into the eyes of my Savior and found grace. I didn't deserve what He had done for me, and I couldn't earn it. What I could do was become like Him.

I could learn to love like Him. I could ask for compassion like Him. I could live like Him.

If I really wanted to identify, I needed to go where He went and do what He did.

"God", I cried out, "send me to the unlovable." And, He did. A few years ago, I left my comfort zone and found myself in Africa. No electricity, no running water, no bathrooms, no abundance of food and no hope - this was my reality for 2 weeks. It is everybodies reality who lives there.

I came home changed. I saw how the rest of the world lives and I could never again be comfortable in America. My Jesus had grabbed my heart and changed it to look a little more like His.

I came home and wanted the rest of my family to "see". Now my cry to God became, "Lord, let each of my children be able to go and experience a Third World before they leave my nest. Mold their little hearts to be like Yours. Give them a heart that beats for the 'Least of These'."

Thus began my journey to the Philippines with my son Caleb. One, one child has gone and seen and came back changed. He now understands. He now "sees".

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


There's nothing like a good set of friends!


Contemplating his next move...

Olympic kicker!