His Word, Kids/Parenting, Link-Ups


Sometimes I wonder if we’re close enough. Not as in geographically. Or even in the same house.

But are we close enough that it’s going to mean something when they get older. When they want to talk about things that really matter.

Do they genuinely see me as a refuge? As a safe haven? As someone who really has their back? Are we that kind of close?

I know at some point, they will turn to their peers before they turn to me. But, do we have that close-knit bond that will allow them to understand that, despite what predicament they get into with or without their friends, they can call home? They can call their Momma…and I will listen or help.

I want to be close enough to them that when they get older and they get into a wrong relationship, they can call me and I’ll listen without judgment or even negative non-verbal communication.

Will they know that I just have their best interests at heart?

Are we close enough for them to know that they can rely on me to be there when their friends decide to drink and drive and they aren’t comfortable getting into the car with them?

Are we close enough for them to know that they can rely on me to be there when they decide to drink and NOT drive and they need a ride home?

Am I laying the foundation, daily, that is required for us to be this kind of close?

Am I putting in the hard work, the dedication, the time necessary to make this kind of close a reality?

Am I praying the hard prayers that seem to go out into the abyss, only to be answered many days, weeks, months, and years later?

Book Reviews, His Word

Wild in the Hollow – Book Review

Recently, I was given the opportunity to read and review an author’s debut novel. Amber C. Haines has given us a true gift in her memoir entitled, “Wild in the Hollow.” This is Amber’s story of how she came to know a God who relentlessly pursues each one of us.

Amber’s story begins much the same way mine does – in a quest for happiness in the midst of brokenness, in the arms of one ‘love’ after another, in the bottom of a bottle. Her story is my story. Her brokenness calls to me. Her raw honesty haunts me and endears me to her at the same time.

Hers is a story of salvation and repentance and redemption. Hers is a story we can all relate to. With our busted self-esteem, mutilated hearts, severed family ties, broken society, we can all use the refreshing realness of a story that shows how God meets us in our shattered lives. He never stops loving us. He unceasingly demonstrates his desire that we would all be reconciled to His Father’s heart for each of us.

Amber’s transgression haunted me. And then her confession freed me.

Her words reached places of me that I had long forgotten about.

I cannot remember the last time a story moved me the way this story has. I laughed and I wept and I smiled and I hurt and I found myself praying right along with Amber.

Her story reminds me that, when it seems there is nothing to hope for, there is still good in the world. There are still pockets of community in the world reminiscent of days gone by. There are still friends that mimic family – His word tells us in Proverbs that, “Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.”

In Chapter 12, Amber shares her struggle of control. This is one area that is a challenge for me as well. In this chapter, she says, “Self-control is a rest in him and his way, and all other striving is an illusion of control that divided me in three, mind from body and soul. Dropping the illusion propelled me toward healing.” God is still working within me in this area. There have been more times than I would like to recall, in which God has had to pry my fingers away from a situation in order for Him to do His good work. Thankfully, I am learning to let go.

Amber’s words are like a breath of fresh air; like waves on the ocean, rumbling and tumbling the water; like a breeze rustling the leaves of the trees. Amber’s words will stay with me long after I write this review. This will be a book I return to from time to time. If nothing else, to be reminded that I’m not alone on this messy, broken, beautiful journey home to His loving arms.

His Word, Kids/Parenting, Soul Relationships


You know the old saying, “The days are long, but the years are short?” Yeah, it’s totally true.

Time…there have been books and blog posts written about it, movies made about it, podcasts recorded about it, cards dedicated to it…and yet here we are, talking about it again today.

I’m not sure that I have any aspects that give me qualifications to write about time, other than I’ve seen the passage of it.

Time Passing

This morning, my daughter and I were able to get some time just the two of us. We decided to curl up on the couch and do some reading. We are both avid readers and love the manner in which we can be reading together, but absorbed in our own books.

She is on her third reading of Ruby Holler. I’m told it’s a great book. I can’t seem to get away from my own books to delve into things my kids like to read. I’m in the middle of Flash by Rachel Anne Ridge. It’s a memoir about a donkey named Flash who appeared out of nowhere and turned their lives upside down. It’s quite remarkable.

What took me by complete surprise this morning was my reaction to her chapter on Beau, their lovable Yellow Lab. He was aging and she was discovering that there were many Last Times that were occurring right under her nose.

This got me thinking about the precious soul next to mine. See, she’s nine, soon to be 10. In two short months, she will be in double digits and only eight short years away from 18 and being an ‘adult’ in the eyes of the world. Soon, she will begin middle school. That time of life in which friends become more important than family and my opinion in her life will diminish.

She’s growing up so fast – physically and emotionally. We measured her height the other day as we were leaving CVS. Weirdest thing…as you leave CVS, there is a ruler of sorts, taped between the doors. Hmm… Anyway, she stood next to it and she’s like 5′ tall! Say what?!?!?

Of course her physical changes are nothing compared to the emotional changes taking place within her. She is beginning to understand the world around her in a way I can no longer protect her from. She’s formulating her own opinions and thoughts about how the world operates.

All of this is happening right under my nose and my head is spinning.

See, I had these grandiose plans for parenting. For being the best mom I could be. The mom who has fresh baked cookies for her kids when they get home from school. The mom who NEVER loses her cool about anything. The mom who always wants to play with her kids. The mom who always has all of the laundry done and always puts a nutritious, home-cooked meal on the table every night. The mom who taxis and shuttles her kids from one activity to the other, while singing worship music on the way.

In reality, it looks more like this: they grab a pre-packaged, processed snack from the cabinet when they get home from school…I lose my cool about HOW UNBELIEVABLY SLOW THEY ARE IN THE MORNINGS…sometimes I just don’t want to engage with my kids – yep, there I said it – there are times I would rather zone out on Pinterest, pretending to be the Mom of the Year than engage in activity with my kids…I have loads of laundry sitting around – some that need folded and put away, some that need washed…oh, and about that nutritious, home-cooked meal? Um, last night, Emma and I ate grilled cheese sandwiches and chips – yep, sure did…and do I shuttle and taxi my kids to their activities? Of course I do, but more often than not, I’m trying to find some semblance of peace to maintain my sanity. Sometimes that is in worship music, sometimes, it’s wishing I could play some Metallica without scarring their ears and brains.

This is happening folks…this is real, day-to-day life happening all around us. All the while, I’m scratching my head, whist it is spinning, wondering, when do I have time to do the REAL parenting? You know, teaching them all they need to know to hack it in the real world.

But you see, those lessons ARE being taught. My kids know that I love them by the way I care for them. The way I cook for them, and do their laundry, and help them pick up their rooms, and take them to activities they are interested in. I’m showing them that love equals care. When you love someone, you care for them.

I’m showing them how to roll up your sleeves and dig in and get it done, even when you don’t want to. All of those loads of laundry? Yep, they help too…even though they don’t want to, they know it needs done. Even better, they know when we pitch in and do it as a TEAM, it gets done that much quicker. And then there’s more time for FUN!

The worship music? Yep, it comes when the kids know I’m about to lose my shit over socks that are inside out. THAT’S when I begin singing my praises to Jesus for giving me these two blessings, without which, I wouldn’t have a full laundry basket or a full heart. It’s offering your gratitude, even when you don’t FEEL like it…because you know, you just KNOW deep down, that He is good.

So, this post started out about time…and how time is simply passing us by. We have to grab hold of that minute hand by living in the moment…capturing the scene in our mind.

Recently, I caught someone studying me while I was going about a simple, mundane, everyday task. When I turned to ask what they were doing, their reply was, “making a memory.”

Which leads me to my new favorite song…History in the Making by Darius Rucker. You should check out the YouTube video here. While it is about a couple, I think you could certainly apply the meaning to many situations in life.

His Word, Kids/Parenting


Today I want to talk about restoration.

Dictionary.com defines restore as: “to bring back into existence, use, or the like; to reestablish”

Think of all of the ways this applies…

Just this morning, I was watching a home show where one party wanted to restore an old home to its original glory and their partner was more concerned with renovating it into something new and different. It had beautiful hardwood floors that one party wanted to cover up and the other party wanted to restore and refurbish.

It’s also true with old cars. Some people want to restore vintage cars to their original beauty. They see the value in bringing the former brilliance to the surface.

People are able to restore items – things like cars and houses and cast iron skillets {random, I know, but it IS true}.

When it comes to relationships; however, restoration is God’s business. This is what He specializes in. This is His full-time gig.

I guess it’s no surprise that on Father’s Day my thoughts drift to the restoration of relationships. There are so many broken relationships out there. And unfortunately, many of them are between fathers and their children.

Many of you know that my own father and I had a broken relationship for most of my life. It was only on Mother’s Day two years ago that we began the arduous process of restoring what the enemy had stolen – 35 years of brokenness.

Since that time, I’ve given God the glory multiple times. If it weren’t for Him, my dad and I wouldn’t be where we are. I can remember talking to my dad so many times before then and telling him that I had forgiven him for his absence in my life. But the truth is, I hadn’t forgiven him. I had desperately wanted to forgive him, but it was impossible to do in my own strength.

It wasn’t until I had truly turned the situation and relationship over to God that I was able to accept the hurt and brokenness in my past and forgive. I had to say to God what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego said to King Nebuchadnezzar in the third chapter of Daniel when he ordered them to bow down and worship false gods:

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” {Daniel 3:16-18}

I have to remind the enemy that the God I serve was and is able to rescue me from any situation, but even if He doesn’t, I will not worship any false gods.

Recently, I read and reviewed a book called ‘Untangled‘ by Carey Scott. In it, she said something so powerful that I have continued to come back to it in my conscious and subconscious thinking.

“In His sovereignty, God knew evil would find me that day. And while He could have stopped the enemy’s plan, He didn’t. That’s been a hard reality to accept…But maybe, just maybe, he allowed it to happen because His plans were to also give me… a voice.”

See, that’s the key to it all. Remembering what Paul tells us in Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

Restore-Joel 2_25

So, while I had many years of sadness and asking God why I couldn’t have a regular relationship with my dad, my Heavenly Daddy had other plans. He knew what my earthly father and I would have to go through before being able to let the past remain in the past. We are both strong in our Christian faith now and I firmly believe that everything had to happen in order for us to be where we are. We can both look at the situation and know, to the very core of our being, that this is where God had intended for us to end up.

Many of you also know that Emma and her dad have a broken relationship. There is one that God is truly going to have to grab ahold of and work some serious miracles in order to restore. And right about the time I think He’s up to something really AWESOME, he shows his true colors again…and I go back to fervently praying that Emma will continue to seek her Heavenly Father above all else. As He is the one who will never let her down. And I know that, in time, God will restore this relationship. But even if He doesn’t, He is able, and me and my house will not bow down and worship false gods.

I have another friend who currently has a broken relationship with his grown daughter. She has decided to pave her own way and blaze her own path. But, knowing God the way I do, I know that He will work this out for His glory and for the good of those involved.

See, I think the thing that we forget most often is that God does not work on our timetable. He doesn’t consult us for our master plan. You can’t set a clock by His timing. He isn’t a train or a plane that provides a schedule of activities in advance. We have to adhere to His timing, because, as our Creator, He knows us better than we know ourselves. And He knows what we are ready for and when we are ready for it.

The bible shows us over and over how God is able to restore many things – including relationships. Especially those we think are impossible.

After all, impossible is God’s favorite word.

His Word, Kids/Parenting, Series


This post was originally published as part of #fiveminutefriday on March 14, 2014

TGIF! I’m excited to be here with you again on a Friday; writing the Five Minute Friday Challenge byLisa Jo Baker.

This week the prompt is ‘crowd.’

To my Emma: my one prayer is that you be strong enough to stand up to the crowd. That you are able to pave your own way and know in your core what’s right and wrong. I just read this morning of a 16 year old that ended up so close to death because she decided to raid her father’s liquor cabinet with her cousin. She had 2 beers and 6 shots…her blood alcohol level was high enough to kill a grown man. I pray you will know and understand that at 16, you have no business messing around with things which can impair you in this manner. She followed the crowd.

I also read of a young girl who decided she didn’t want to follow the crowd. She had taken her younger sister bra shopping and was so disgusted at the ‘options’ available to her sister, that she decided to create her own bra for the preteen and teenage girls who aren’t looking to have their cup sizes ‘enlarged’…there’s enough time for that…trust me. She didn’t follow the crowd.

To my Elijah: my one prayer is that you have a voice that others will follow. That others will be drawn to you and you will lead them on the path of righteousness. That you will not succumb to the society’s objectification of women; that you would see we are all beautiful in our own right. That you will be a Godly man in this God-less world and you will stand up for the ‘weaker’ sex.

I pray that you will understand what it really means to be a superhero. That it’s not about the glory received, but rather the glory given to our Creator that really matters.

My overwhelming desire in life is that I show you both what it means to stand out from the crowd. To go after what you desire, but all the while, showing kindness and compassion to those around you. To fight for your beliefs and never. give. up. while being a voice of encouragement. The world needs more of that.

My prayer is, in its basest form, that you will recognize the crowd for what it is and remember that God made you to be unique. We aren’t all meant to be alike and following along the same path.

I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my babies you’ll be…

Your Momma