Kids/Parenting, Link-Ups

Summer Fun

Well, mamas of school-aged kiddos, that time is upon us…summer…in some households, I think it could be considered a curse word! 🙂

For our house, this is the first time since I’ve been a mama I’m not working full-time this summer. The work that I will be doing is part-time (and I can take the kids with me), and of course improving my writing craft.

In case you don’t know, I have a 10 year old daughter, a 9 year old step-daughter, and a 9 year old son.

summer fun

Here are a few things that we will be doing for activities this summer:

  • Free bowling. Yep, I said FREE! If you go to this website:, you can see if this is available in your area. The kids get to bowl two free games every day, and for a small one-time fee (I mean SMALL, like $20 or something) you can add 2 adults to bowl with the kids. So, we are basically getting two games of bowling every day of the summer for less than the price of a movie!
  • Speaking of movies, I know in the past, our local theatre has done free or reduced price movies during the summer. While it may not be the latest blockbuster, it’s sure to kill some time and entertain the littles!
  • Of course, there’s always the park and the pool. Our local pools offer discounted rates for swimming after 4:00 pm. You could see if your pool does the same.
  • There are also crafts to be done during summer. Especially on those gloomy days. Here is one I really like: Heart Wreath Craft.
  • One thing we did over spring break was go to the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis. While we were there, we purchased a membership. Economically, it just made sense. For the five of us to go one time, it was over $100. For a full year membership for the five of us, it was just over $150. Plus, we get free carousel rides!
  • Other things that we will likely do to fill the days are: visits to the library, bike rides, walking some local, easy trails, and fishing (my son tells me that McDonald’s french fries make the best bait — which is good for me, since I don’t like slimy worms!).

The kids have some sports and church summer camps they’re planning to attend, so that will also use some time.

I know that, with a little planning, and some whitespace for down time in our schedule, we can make this the best summer ever!

I’m really anxious to see what kind of mischief we get into, since this is the first summer we’ve been able to do this. Don’t worry…I’ll report back as the summer progresses!

What about you? I would love to hear what your summer activities will be.

His Word, Kids/Parenting, Soul Relationships

Hard Lessons Learned

Happy Wednesday dear friends.

After driving for 22 years (you can do the math on my age), I can proudly say that I’ve never locked my keys in my car.

Until this morning.

I went into the kids’ school to talk party stuff. Tomorrow is the big Valentine’s Day class party. I chatted with a few other teachers and was headed out the door.

Until I heard my daughter crying out to me from the front door of the school. I was *almost* to my van. She informed me that she needed money for the book fair today.

So, I did what every good parent does. I grumbled under my breath the rest of the way to my van, got my wallet, and grumbled the whole way into the school. Once there, I discovered that I had a five-dollar bill and a ten-dollar bill. No way this could be split equitably between two kids.

I stopped in the office, knowing they must be tired of seeing me already this morning, to ask if they had change. No such luck. My next stop was the book fair. I mean, after all, wasn’t the blasted book fair the whole reason I had to make a second trip into the school this morning? The least it could do for me is give me change for a ten-dollar bill, so I could split it evenly.

The volunteer working the book fair so kindly gave me 2 five-dollar bills and as I was leaving, two mothers from my daughter’s class asked what they could send in for the party tomorrow. Being so grateful for their donations, I shared with them what we still needed and continued on my way.

I made what I thought was my final stop in the school office, so they could deliver money to my children for the book fair. YAY!

As I’m just getting ready to walk out the door, I realize I don’t have my keys. Trying to play it cool to the ladies in the office, I’m all like, ‘oh gosh, I’m sure they’re in the van.’

I leave the office and walk out to my van. The walk, which normally takes 2 minutes tops, felt like an eternity. I was thinking to myself the whole way that I NEVER leave my keys in my van. Nor do I ever leave my van unlocked.

You’re a smart bunch of people, you’re my friends, after all. You know where this is going, right?

I get to my van, look in the window, and see that sure enough, my keys are in the van. In a split second, I look down and notice that the door is locked.


AWESOMESAUCE! I’m so loving my luck right now! I only had about a gazillion things on my mind for what I needed to accomplish the rest of this week.

See, my husband and I have been having some *ahem* difficulties with one of our children. I will NOT name names, but suffice to say, said child has had a little bit of an attitude lately. So, I’ve been thinking about ways we could improve things with said child.

We also have a legal situation with another child that is looming over us. I know that God already has that situation worked out for His glory, but hey, I’m human, right? And I can freak out and worry and stress with the best of them.

Also on my ‘list of worries’ is previously mentioned Valentine’s Day class party that I promised and swore to myself that I wouldn’t wait until the last. minute. to plan…but, well you know how that turned out.

Then of course, are everyone’s every day worries and concerns.




Weight. (I’m a woman, remember?)


All of these concerns and issues came together in a perfect storm to cause me to lock my keys (and my phone) in my van today.

When I realized what I had done, I called my husband from the school. I knew the odds of him answering the phone call were slim, for two reasons. First, it was an unrecognized number. Second, he was at work and I rarely catch him the first time I try to call. Typically, he sees my call and calls me back. I had to get my daughter’s iPod from her class to text him and ask him to answer my call.

He called a local tow company and they said they would be out as soon as they can. Y’all know what that means…

After waiting for over two hours, and many more trips to the office (I’m CERTAIN the lovely ladies in the office were really ready for me to go), they finally showed up to unlock my van. During this two hours, I endured multiple well-meaning individuals sharing with me how I might be able to avoid this fate in the future.

Also while waiting, not so patiently, for my rescuer to come, I did some thinking. I thought about how, when we are in the waiting rooms of life, we typically don’t wait patiently. Most of the time, we are trying to figure out how we can get out of our current situation as soon as possible, with the least amount of pain.

As I was waiting, it occurred to me that God might just want us to chill for a while…or two hours…

We might need to learn something in that waiting room.

Perhaps He is keeping us from something worse.

Perhaps He is keeping us from something better, simply because we’re not ready.

Perhaps He has us there because we are going to encounter someone else in that same waiting room and we can positively impact their life. Or vice versa. Maybe we need someone to be a positive influence in our life.

My point here is that, if I had my books or my laptop (or even my phone) with me when I locked myself out of my van, it wouldn’t have accomplished the same mission.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with reading or, in my case, writing, to pass the time, it would have distracted me from the lesson God wanted me to learn. The hard lesson learned.

That patience is a virtue. And one that doesn’t come easily or without cost. (To the tune of $68, as a matter of fact.)

One further point I would like to make is from a book I recently started reading called Your Sacred Yes by Susie Larson. The subtitle to her book is ‘Trading Life-Draining Obligation for Freedom, Passion, and Joy.’ You can assume that this book was written to help free us from saying YES to everything that comes our way. Instead, we should select only those activities that He has called us to.

In her introduction, she says this, “Life is a gift. Time is a treasured commodity. When we open our hands and give what we have to Jesus–be it our moments, our gifts, our time, or simply room and space for Him to show up–we find life to be a sacred journey.”

This spoke volumes to me. When was the last time you had whitespace in your schedule? Whether it was for a lesson learned the hard way or whether it was to sit with your grandmother helping her figure out her phone–without having to rush to the next thing?

Either way, we all need to determine what our sacred YES is, so that we can truly be open to the nudgings of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

His Word, Kids/Parenting


Today I want to talk about restoration. 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, My 'Farm', Series, Soul Relationships

Apples & God

I’m in the process of moving old content to this new space…so I’m going to be posting some repeats…here’s the first of many. I hope you enjoy this. It was originally published on September 24, 2013.

I recently discovered that an apple tree in my backyard produces the most ah-mazing apples! They are the perfect combination of tart and sweet and produce the perfect crunch when you bite into them. The kids and I spent quite a while basking in yesterday’s glorious, skin-warming sun picking these little red treasures.

While they went onto ride bikes on the road surrounded by this year’s corn and soybean crops, I pondered long and hard about the many options for my apples. I grabbed a large bowl, my peeler, a knife and the basket of apples. I took my place on the front porch, with the long shadows of the house and the trees surrounding me and set about peeling the splendid riches God provided.

As I was peeling these apples, I couldn’t help but contemplate that this is how God means for us to be. He wants to peel away our tough exterior – the protective coating – the shell we use to try to keep all things at bay. He strives to shave away this covering so that we can be transparent – vulnerable – exposed so that we can be a witness to others around us.

Apples & God

As I was cutting out the bad spots in the apples, I realized this is how God prepares us too. He turns us all around, looks us over, and removes the ‘bad spots’ – things like selfishness, greed, laziness, pride, envy. He desires for us to grasp that we are more than our exterior – by what the world judges us.

Once my work with the apple was complete, I was left with a misshapen, grouted, ‘holey’ apple on the outside. It looked ANYTHING but perfect…you know, perfect like the ones you see in the stores – all perfectly apple shaped, perfectly polished and perfectly shiny – on display to be chosen as the best looking, sweet, crisp, perfect treat. But one bite into this deformed beauty would have your taste buds dancing!

It began to dawn on me that that is how we Christians can be made to feel – that we have to have it all together – we have to be perfectly smooth, impeccably glossy; perfect in our outward appearance. But what God glorifies in – – – what He lives, and loves, for, is allowing us to be bruised, broken, misshapen, and vulnerable on the outside, so that, when He peels back our dirty exterior, prods out our bad spots like pride and vanity, we can be cut into to be used in a recipe for something greater – something we may know nothing of…we are just trusting in the Master Baker. So when we have fulfilled our purpose, we don’t see ourselves as the beginning product – the ugly apple – we only see and experience ourselves as the beautiful finished product – an ingredient in God’s recipe for delicious apple crisp – tart and sweet at the same time.

Because life is full of moments that are tart and biting, ones that make us pucker up. But it’s also filled to the dish’s edge with sweet moments – those we know we should savor. And it’s the combination of these moments – the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ – that make us a creation of the Creator’s…a reason to cling to His goodness and rejoice in every acidic and sugary sweet flash in time.