Saturday, January 28, 2012

Brackets & Wires & monthly payments, oh my!

Back in the Spring of 2010, our dentist mentioned that we ought to take Samuel to visit an orthodontist. We had already figured as much and had begun researching local doctors when he told us that. Samuel and Savannah, unfortunately, got my teeth. Their baby teeth were TINY & really crammed into their mouths, so when they started pulling them & the adult teeth grew back in their place, it quickly became obvious that there wasn't enough room for all their teeth and orthodontics would be necessary. (Sarah, however, seems to have escaped the clutches of that part of my genetic make up!)

At that time, Savannah was in her final year of braces so we asked her orthodontist about taking Samuel as a patient. Sadly, he was planning his retirement & did not want to take any new ortho patients. He gave us a list of 2-3 local doctors he recommended. I got on Facebook & asked local friends for recommendations. I called a girlfriend whose husband is a dentist & asked for his recommendation as well. A few of the same names kept popping up, so I called those doctors for prices. We made our choice of doctors and called for an appointment. Fortunately, they offered free consultations & our with our dental insurance, we get a small discount off their bill.

Upon the first visit (late Spring 2010), the doctor said that it was too soon to consider starting Samuel in any appliances, braces, etc. He said to come back in 6 months & we'd reevaluate things. In the late Fall of 2010, it was pretty much the same story. We returned for a 3rd consultation in the Spring of 2011 to hear the same story again, only this time he felt confident that by the next visit it would indeed be time to get started. Each time, there was still a baby tooth growing in, or a wiggly one coming out or a tooth that wasn't even wiggly yet that we needed to wait on. We filled out a reminder post card last Spring and went home.

Fall 2011 came & went without a reminder post card coming in the mail. Without that post card, I completely forgot about it. Over the Christmas holidays, it struck me that we were probably due to go back in to see him, so I stopped by his office & made the appointment. Apparently the reminder post card got lost in the mail because the office said they sent it in September! Oops!

We went in on Friday afternoon. The orthodontist's office is very interesting in that it's set up in one big exam room with 4 patient chairs. There are no divisions or boundaries between the patient chairs, so you can see all 4 patients at one time from the parent bench on the facing wall. (So much for privacy, huh?) It doesn't really bother me since orthodontic work isn't exactly like getting an OB/Gyn exam...but it still takes some getting used to. Anyway, we went in Friday afternoon & the orthodontist did his exam and declared that "It is time!"

Sidenote: I can't EVER hear someone use the words "It is time" without hearing this voice in my head. (just watch the first 1:10 of the video to hear what I'm talking about) Clearly I watched a little too much of this movie when Savannah was 2 1/2 & demanded to watch it over & over, 2-3x a day for months.

Anyway, the orthodontist feels like Samuel's mouth has matured to the point that he is ready to get things started. At our next appointment, they will take impressions of his teeth & put on the top braces. A couple of months later, they will put on the bottom braces. He is hoping to be able to get him all fixed up without having to pull any teeth, but still says there is a slight possibility that we may have to. His mouth is extremely crowded, so we may not have an option. Crossing my fingers that we don't have to do that, though! My boy is a tad allergic to pain, like his Daddy. Sam is not exactly THRILLED about having to get braces because he knows they will hurt.... but he does want straight teeth & he's resigned to the fact that this is the only way to do it.

Fortunately, we can wait until we get our tax return & use that as a big down payment, so that will help the monthly payment be a little less. It will still be tough to pay for, but it's necessary.

The doctor hopes to have him in & out of braces within about 18-24 months. I like the idea of that, but I'll believe it when I see it. Savannah was in them for 4 years and I had ortho work of some kind for NINE years. Kind of makes 24 months sound like a weekend at the beach, doesn't it?

I'm anxious to get started on this! I think Samuel will be so cute with a little metal mouth.

Driver's Ed

Back in August, Savannah turned 15. In Texas, that's the magic age for getting your driver's permit, assuming you have taken driver's education class. Savannah had not yet taken it at the time of her birthday, so no permit for her (yet). We called the local driving school back in the summer and checked the price. (Gasp! $375!) We weren't really sure how we would pull that off because last time I checked, we have all of about $70 in our savings account. We put her off through the Fall. Honestly, football season & band practices make her week very full, so adding in 4 days a week for a driver's ed class just didn't seem feasible. Plus there was still that whole money thing. We told her we needed to wait until Spring. She understood & agreed that was best.

Well....the Spring semester of school has arrived. We called the driver's school back to recheck the price & see if it was still the same (it was), so we decided to check the online classes you can take instead. Fortunately, you can take the class online for less than half the price of the regular classroom version so we are going that route! We plan to get her signed up next week and will start the class ASAP after we pay the state their $20 fee for being an at-home student.

Here's the scary part. Savannah will take driver's ed now, then will have about 6 months until her 16th birthday. I believe the state now requires kids to have their instructional permit for 6 months before they can take their driver's license test, so this will work out just about right for her to get her license shortly after her birthday. She's already realizing how many big changes are coming for her in the coming year. A driver's license, getting a job (to pay for a car & contribute to our insurance bill!), her next-to-last year of high school, beginning to consider colleges and possibly dating somewhere in there. Lord, help me! This is happening too fast! I know it's all a rite of passage & part of growing up, but I'm not ready! (But then again, will I ever be?)

Slow down, baby girl. I'm not ready to let you go just yet. But when I do, the world better be ready for something big! They don't know it yet, but you are about to take the world by storm, charging Hell's gates with a water gun and a sweet giggle. I love you sweet thing!

I've been a bad blogger.

I've gotten into a lull lately & have not blogged much. Admittedly, I spend a lot of time on Facebook & less time focused on writing. I share about day to day stuff over on FB, so I have a hard time remembering to write things here too. Even if it's just a little "diary of what we did today" sort of entry, I want to write more often! I love to write, whether that is something serious, something funny, or just sharing about our life the way I used to here on the blog.

So here is your challenge as a reader of my blog.

What would you like to hear about? Do you have any questions for me? Any topics you're curious about my stance on? (please, no politics. I hate those discussions, we might not agree & honestly I'm an idiot where politics is concerned, so let's not go there!) What would you like to know about my loony family or myself? Anything you've been itching to get off your chest & yell at me about? (Just kidding about that last one. I'm a big wuss. Please be nice.)

Here's what I need you to do:
  • If you clicked this link from Facebook, you can comment here or there. (Or inbox me on facebook.)
  • If you are reading this post via email, PLEASE DON'T HIT REPLY & send it to the address that pops up. That will send an email to the gmail account that I never check! If you want to reply by email, send your email to
  • If you're here at the site, comment below!
I'd love to hear your questions & will do my best to answer them all! Ready, set, go!!!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Random Thoughts with Liz

*Last Thursday, my first column came out in our local town newspaper. Just wanted to update you that no limos have picked me up for work yet. No security detail is following me to the grocery store & monitoring the cashier as she checks out my milk & yogurt. No autographs have been signed. Life's pretty much the same. I guess the fame & fortune will come a little later.

Ha ha! Seriously, I am proud of the work they've printed so far. I'm excited to have this opportunity to share my faith & my life. For however long this season lasts, I'm grateful. It's really cool to be able to share something with the community that I love to do anyway! For those of you who are local & reading it, THANK YOU!

*While I marked off the miles on the treadmill this morning before my workout buddy arrived, I looked out the windows and zoned out a little. God tapped me on the shoulder & brought to mind the memory of walking on this very treadmill a few short months ago. Alone in the workout room, I prayed for the full 30 minutes that I walked. I was BEGGING Him to intervene for us....PLEADING for a financial miracle....DYING for some kind of answer to our never-ending money struggles. I had no idea that he'd already flipped the switch for that light at the end of the tunnel. I had no idea that a matter of days later Larry would get a part-time job. That job, combined with a gift we received in early November, has finally got us moving in the right direction. We are FAR from being debt-free and living in great comfort. But for the first time since Spring 2009, we have a glimmer of hope. I've found myself planning ways to pay off debt and revisiting the Dave Ramsey book we were given last Spring. To even be able to reach this morning is HUGE. To even be able to CONSIDER the idea of using a little extra money now & then to pay "up" on a bill is thrilling. Sure, Larry is working 6-7 days a week and that sucks, but we know it's just for this season. And knowing that a season is short and WILL COME TO AN END makes it bearable. We'll get there, one day.

*As I was typing this, I've had THIS BLOG's playlist going in another window. I love it! (the blog AND the playlist) She has great taste in music!

*Today I posted this to facebook. It's been rolling around my mind for days. I was finally able to get it out on "paper". I have been trying to figure out how to best word it until today.
I appreciate honesty, transparency & people who don't hide behind masks or walls. Being real is more awesome to me than a stack of degrees, piles of money or any other outward sign that you've "got it all together". We are all really screwed up individuals & without God, none of us, or anything we try to do to look perfect, is worth a thing!
*Realizing that I will be getting drug out of bed in about 5 1/2 hours to drive Savannah to the High School for an academic UIL meet, I'm going to cut this short. Good night friends.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

My ideal church

Through the years, Larry and I have tried to define who we are, as far as Christian denominations go, many times. We have never quite nailed it down because we haven't found any denomination that really fits us completely. We feel at home just about anywhere, really. Sure, there are places that feel a little more like home than others, but ultimately if they teach the virgin birth, death on the Cross, the resurrection & the 2nd coming, everything else is just fluff. And fluff can be pushed aside and/or ignored. Fluff we can deal with. Basic theological differences, we can't.

And since attending the Sheila Walsh conference today, I've been thinking about that on a different level. Hearing her talk about how God uses broken people, I was screaming "YES!" in my head. I've been thinking about it ever since. And I've come to a few conclusions about what the 'ideal' church looks like to me. (or at least something like this...)

The senior pastor is a recovering addict. He realized at 21 that he would be dead within the year if he didn't quit. He looked for help & got it. He started walking a sober life and failed. He fell back into old habits and realized how hard this clean life would be. And then someone told him about Jesus.

The associate pastor did time. He made some mistakes in his 20s, but after serving 4 years he got out & decided to turn his life around. Someone gave him a Bible while he was in prison and he read it cover to cover. He trusted God as his savior behind bars. Life on the outside would be hard. He'd have to start over and build new relationships, find a job and start a new life. This time, he would be doing it differently, though. This time, he wouldn't be alone.

The music pastor has a rebellious teenager who is giving he and his wife a lot of heartache. Despite raising her in church and having fed her Scripture all her life, despite all the summers in VBS and youth group meetings, she has never trusted Christ. He's terrified about what the future holds if she doesn't get her head on straight, but he's more fearful about her eternity if something doesn't change soon. After all, if she keeps hanging out with that crowd, she may not be alive in a year.

The youth pastor was a juvenile delinquent. At 16, he was locked up in "juvie". He still can't believe he and his friend robbed 2 stores before they got caught. Sure, he did his time & his record was sealed so that it doesn't haunt him now as an adult, the relationship with his parents has taken years to rebuild. It was so hard to regain their trust and he tries to get that across to the kids every week during youth group meetings. But with God's help, some of them are getting it.

The women's ministry coordinator had an abortion at 17. She thought he loved her, but when she told him she was pregnant, he gave her money for the abortion & disappeared. She really didn't want to do it, but she was too scared to tell her parents. She had a girlfriend drive her to the clinic & walk through the lines of protesters with her. She knew it was wrong, but she was terrified NOT to do it. It wasn't until she was 26 that she learned how deeply God loved her, even on that day. Ever since, her life has been changed and she desperately wants to reach other women for Him.

The children's director was a runaway who grew up in a single parent home. His dad left when he was in 4th grade. His mom always worked 2 jobs to pay the bills and he was home alone a lot. He knew he was just a burden on her, creating more bills, so he packed up his stuff one day when she was at work & hit the road. He lived on the streets for a little over a year before a preacher came to talk to the homeless kids he hung out with under the bridge. He didn't trust him at first, but eventually he learned that God had a plan for his life. It took another year before he went home to his mom. She met him in the yard, crying and cheering all at once, thrilled that he was home. She worried about him all that time he was gone. But when he sat her down on the couch that night & shared about what he'd learned about God, she realized that he wasn't alone all that time that he was gone, and that comforted her.

Why, you ask? Why would I love a church like this?

Because all of these people really know the love of God. These people have experienced grace and people aren't afraid to approach them. These people all recognized God's mercy and fell on their knees for forgiveness. These people all heard the call of God on their lives, educated themselves, fell in love with the Word of God and can teach it with authority and conviction based on personal experience. There are no masks or walls. They don't come with some set of rules about what is "ok" to discuss in church. These people are all 'real'.

I want to go to a church full of 'real' people.

Note: Please don't misunderstand. My current church is amazing, full of people who love God & mentor me all the time. None of the people I described here are leaders in my church (that I know of). I'm just thinking out loud.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Oh how I love Sheila Walsh.

Several months ago, author and Women of Faith speaker, Sheila Walsh, came to town for a 1 night, 3 hour long women's event. She lives just a few hours from here, so it's not a big stretch for her to make the trip to our little town to bless the lives of the women here. And I'm so glad she did!

On that hot night in July, she shared a little of her personal testimony that I had not previously heard at the many Women of Faith Conferences I have attended over the years. I knew she'd struggled with depression because she had shared that before, but she told "the rest of the story" that night. It was amazing and powerful and moving. She was totally humble & transparent for all of us strangers in sharing her personal & very private journey through life and what she'd learned about God through it all. At the end of the night, she hinted that she'd be coming back to share more at a later date. Sure enough, when the emcees took the stage to release us for the night, they spilled the beans that Sheila would be back in January!

Since that night, I've been looking forward to today!

This morning, I woke up way earlier than I typically do on a Saturday and made my way across town to one of the local churches where Sheila would speak. Girls (sorry, guys, if there are any male readers out there), let me tell you something. Sheila and I may not share a nationality. We may not share the same life story. We may be 19 years apart in age. But honey, Sheila & I share the same Savior! And ladies, that is all we need. I would love to spend a day, hanging out with Sheila, laughing and crying and praying. There is something about the way she talks that makes me feel like we've been next door neighbors for years, someone who I could pop by and see wearing my sweatpants and floppy, stained T-shirt without an ounce of judgement. (Well, ok, maybe not. After all, she is always dressed SO cute. I'd have to at least throw on some heels with my sweatpants before I dropped by to chat.)

Sheila's conference today (and new book by the same title) was "God Loves Broken People". As I listened to her talks, I heard a message that I've been shouting from the hilltops & trying to beat into the heads of my blog readers for several years now, but Sheila spoke it so much more eloquently than I ever have.

The heart of her message was that God loves to take all the broken, screwed up, messed up pieces of our lives and make them something beautiful.... that in the Church, it is us broken people that He uses most. That when an addict walks into the church building, they will feel out of place & like they don't belong & can't possibly be loved by God until another addict says hello & shares his/her story. When a woman who had an abortion walks into the church building, she will feel left out & like she can't be loved by God until another woman who had an abortion says hello & shares her story. When a person struggling with this sin or that sin walks in, it takes someone who has been there/done that/still battling that same issue to make that sinner feel welcome and loved. Just like when a person loses a child, no one really understands what they're going through but another parent who's lost a child. It's the same way in the Church. God uses our messed up lives to help other people, to demonstrate how vast & wide & amazing his love for us is. If we can't be transparent in the Church, then we're lost. The Church is a place for wounded people, not a museum for perfectly put together people to come & be put on display.

Sheila told a story about her native Scotland and how things work with sheep farmers. She said that sometimes, a mama sheep would reject one of her little lambs. The farmers have tried to figure out why that is, but there is no real explanation for it. If they leave the lamb in the pasture with the mother, she will kick it & won't feed it and ultimately, it dies of a broken heart. If the farmer goes into the field & attempts to feed it, it will not accept the food. The only way to help this little bummer lamb, as they are called, is for the farmer to bring it into his house, away from the mother, and nurse it to health. It sleeps by the fireplace to keep warm & cuddles against the farmer's chest to drink from a bottle. It becomes a member of the family, so to speak, living among the farmer's family for a while. Once it is big and strong enough to go back out to the pasture, the farmer returns it to the flock. But even years later, when the farmer comes out to call the sheep to him, the bummer lamb runs to greet him faster than all the other lambs because he/she knows the farmer's voice. The other lambs recognize that this farmer will feed them, but the bummer lamb understands the farmer's love and care on a different level. He really 'gets it'.

It's the same way with God. It takes a season of brokenness for us to really "get" God's love for us. It's when we are battling addiction, depression, struggling through grief & loss, recognizing the loss of a relationship or a dying marriage (or a million other things that break us) that we understand God the most. When we cry out & beg for His mercy, we draw nearer to Him than we do at any other time in our life. It is then that we, the bummer lamb, really "get" our shepherd. We learn to hear His voice above all the other noises & voices of life because we've sat in His lap & curled up against His chest and have felt His arms around us.

I'm telling you, girls.....Sheila is good. I'm so glad that God gave her a story to tell, a testimony of hurt and pain and brokenness all throughout her life. Because it's with those stories of heartache and pain that He gets so much glory. He is gracious, friends. And He is faithful!

On a lighter note, at one point in the day, Sheila stepped away from the stage & the emcees asked that we all write a question for Sheila on the 3x5 cards they had left in our chairs at the start of the day. I didn't really have a question, but was feeling a little silly. After years of Women of Faith conferences and now twice hearing Sheila talk in our town and consuming scores of her books, I've heard many stories about her sweet son, Christian, who is the same age as my Savannah. Today was no different. She shared a story about her son leading a gas station cashier to Christ. What a great kid! So on my card I wrote "I have an amazing 15 year old daughter. How do you feel about arranged marriages?" I included a big smiley face & "ha ha" at the bottom of the card so she would know I was just teasing and that I was not some crazy stalker fan who legitimately wanted to set up her daughter with Christian. (well, ya know....unless she was on board, then maybe you could classify me as such.) I figured that, with the hundreds of other women there today, my card would get tossed after the person who screened the questions got a laugh from it. But alas, when we came back from our break & they began the Q&A time with Sheila, do you want to guess which question they read first? Yep....mine! All the women sitting near me knew what I'd asked and we all burst out into giggles. Fortunately, the rest of the auditorium did too. Sadly, Sheila was on board with the arranged marriage, but said that Christian was already promised to another friend's awesome daughter. ha ha!!! If you change your mind, Sheila, we can meet halfway to introduce the kids.

Friends, seriously though, go out & get Sheila's new book. I promise it will be worth it. Here's the LINK to find it on amazon.

And Sheila, THANK YOU AGAIN FOR COMING TO TOWN! We love you here. Come back soon!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Phone Dump....or not?

As I uploaded pictures to the computer tonight from my phone, I realized that I forgot to do the Friday Phone Dump post last Friday.

And no one noticed, I suppose. I didn't get any emails or comments asking where it was.

And then I realized that the pictures I was uploading would create my 21st weekly Friday Phone Dump post. When I began the FPD posts, I was hoping to have others play along & share their pictures every week. Maybe someone else is doing it regularly, but I have yet to ever have a comment on any of the FPD posts.

So I'm curious.........should I continue doing it? Comment & let me know what you think. Would you like to continue seeing pictures every Friday? Or should I give up the weekly photo sharing?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Boy this is weird.

For years & years, I've written for fun.

Kind family members have said "You ought to write a book someday." And while I think I'd really like to do that, the reality is very different. How can I write a book? It requires lots & lots of time, which I don't have. And there's the whole money issue. Or the lack thereof. Needless to say, writing a book has been on the back burner for a while. And I don't see it moving to the front burner anytime soon.

Back in the early Fall, I found a column in our local town's newspaper that I fell in love with. The writing style was very much like a mommy-blogger. The lady's articles were right up my alley. I really enjoyed her writing style and the stories she told about her life, her family, politics, faith and whatever else happened in her life that week. I sent her an email expressing that maybe I could be her fan club president and she was tickled that I'd let her know. We became friends via email and Facebook and she began reading my blog. All the while, I continued reading her column every week.

Right before Christmas, I emailed her again to praise her latest column. She replied that she would be moving away over the holidays and perhaps I should contact the newspaper editor about writing for them. I kind of laughed at the idea at first and then realized that I would LOVE to do it. I mean, I write all the time anyway so I might as well share it with others. Long story short, my first column came out in the paper today.

It's a crazy kind of fun & excitement! I'm proud of the column. I'm proud of this particular article (which happens to be a slightly edited version of THIS post). I feel like I've had a hundred pats on the back from all my facebook family who I shared the article with tonight. I realize this is not the New York Times we're talking about. It's not even a daily newspaper. It's our little town's weekly newspaper. But it's still exciting. But here's the trouble. I don't want it to ever become a column about me.

Please help me remember that this is all about you, Jesus! Please help me keep my focus where it should be & give you all the glory. Help me to find way to weave a little bit of you into every article.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

a child will lead them....

When I was seventeen, the 13 yr old son of a family at our church was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. His name was Chris. He was the first child I had ever known who had cancer, or any other sort of terminal illness for that matter. I'm sure that there were plenty of families I knew who had lost a child in one way or another, but I was just too young to know that happened.

I didn't know Chris well, but I felt drawn to him. I wanted to be his friend, to love on him, to help him and his family somehow. I wanted to make him smile & offer a tiny glimmer of sunshine to his life. I didn't have the slightest clue how to go about that, though. I was terrified to approach his family because I didn't want to intrude on this difficult time of their life or appear like I was just trying to offer a pity friendship. Although I was scared to bug them, I finally called his house & hoped that one of his parents would answer. I don't remember which of them I talked to, but I asked if it would be OK for me to come pick him up & take him to Dairy Queen to get a burger. They were thrilled that I offered & readily agreed. Chris was still able to walk at that time, but was already bald & swollen & a little wobbly on his feet from the effects of the tumor, chemo and steroids. I wasn't sure if he felt self conscious going out in public since people automatically look & give you the pity stare when you're obviously going through chemo treatment. Chris didn't seem to mind, though. In fact, he laughed & smiled and entertained me through most of our lunch date. I was just hoping to brighten his day and he turned the tables on me! Looking back, I realize that Chris was probably feeling like a stud since he was only 13 and he was out on a 'date' with a 17 yr old girl -- ha ha!

Over the course of the next few months, Chris's condition rapidly declined and our time together was mostly spent in his bedroom, sitting on his hospital bed. We talked a lot. Sometimes he told me that he was dying & seemed focused on that. Other times, we talked about TV shows or books he was reading or anything else. When he reached the point that he was asleep most of the time, I would just sit with him so that his parents could take a break from counting his breaths & watching his monitors & listening to the IV pump beep. In the final moments of Chris's life, I was alone in his room with him and had to call his parents in to say "Something's wrong. I don't think he's breathing."

It was my first time to be with a person when they died. I was devastated. I knew that Chris was finally healed and that he was not suffering anymore, but the grief was almost more than I could bear. I stayed with the family for a little while after he passed away and then slipped out their driveway to cry for most of the rest of the night.

Being a part of Chris's life as a friend & prayer warrior forever changed my life. That experience has led me to today.

In 2003, a friend sent me a link to a caringbridge website for a little boy named Luke Ervin. Luke was a 3 yr old who had cancer. He was in his final months of life when I "met" him. His mother, Ivy, blogged about his condition daily and I prayed for him with every new blog post. July 31, 2003 Luke passed away. Ivy is still my friend, all these years later, even though we've never met face to face and both of our lives have gone in different directions since that time. The magic of the internet makes our friendship possible. We may not share family ties or locations, but we are bonded by the hours spent praying for her son.

Last year, a girlfriend forwarded me an email from a friend of hers. It was about a mom whose unborn son had been diagnosed with anencephaly. She knew I had prayed for another friend whose child had the same condition a couple of years ago and she felt led to share the info with me. I was able to get in touch & become friends with that amazing mom. Within days of meeting her (via email), a personal girlfriend from a town where we lived years ago was also given a grim prenatal diagnosis. We (separately) talked about these babies for a couple of months through emails & facebook messages. Both of these sweet babies are now in Heaven, but both women are still a part of my life.

Over the past 10 years, I've been sent somewhere in the neighborhood of 150 links to carepages and caringbridge sites & Praying for ___ Facebook pages of children with various terminal illnesses. I've had personal friends and blog friends who faced fatal prenatal diagnoses. I get phone calls & emails all the time about another child with cancer. I've prayed fervently for each one of them. Sometimes I know the family, sometimes I don't.

Someone asked me recently "How do you hear about all these kids?? It seems like you know a lot of people with sick & dying children." The truth is, I don't even know. People just always seem to send them my way.

Honestly, I wish I had never seen a little boy die before my eyes. I wish that no one would ever have to face tough decisions about their child's lifespan. I wish that no one ever had to place an order for a coffin the size of a throw pillow. I wish that no father had to hold up his sobbing wife as they walked back to their car at a cemetary. I wish that no mother had to sit in her child's room and pack up their belongings after his/her death. It's just not fair for parents to bury their children. But, sadly, it happens all the time.

Most of us are not scientists or doctors who can offer some sort of solution to these children's sufferings. But if I can offer prayers for these kids and their families, then by golly, I'm glad to do it!

It may seem morbid or weird to some, but I am in the brainstorming stages of creating a new ministry. I may do it all by myself or it may grow to many participants. I may create a website/blog for it or I may create a facebook page for it. I'm not really sure how it will look. It will be called Praying for the Kids (P4TK for short). It will be a hub for families & friends who know of a child with a terminal condition (or one who has become gravely ill) to come and ask for prayers, a place for compassion & love & support. I (we?) may never meet the families on the other end of these prayer requests, but it will be a place for families to go and know that someone cares and is lifting up their child. I hope that we will see miracles happen, but I know in many cases we will not.

Not on this side of Heaven anyway.

Today, a 3 year old little girl of a local couple named Haven was healed. It didn't happen the way I hoped. God chose to heal her by escorting her to Heaven this afternoon. She had 5000+ people praying for her because of her facebook page. Just a couple of hours before her death, her grandmother posted this picture on Facebook. That sweet little angel was praying!

Tonight, her family is grieving. Please keep them in your prayers.

And if you would like to join me in this new ministry endeavor, P4TK, please let me know. You can leave a comment here or email me (

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Book Review: The Encounter by Stephen Arterburn

I recently agreed to read & review this book, The Encounter by Stephen Arterburn, for Booksneeze. You can click the button in my sidebar to learn more about the book review program for bloggers.

The Encounter is a sweet story of a wealthy man, Johnathan "Gold" Rush, who is searching for answers about his birth mother. He was given up for adoption by her at age four and though he has a few memories of their years together, he has no idea why she abandoned him. He's become bitter & angry as the years have passed and his pastor encourages him to go back to the town where he was given up by his mother to search for answers.

When Mr. Rush comes into town (Fairbanks, Alaska), the community is abuzz with rumors that he is bringing his Fortune 500 company there to relocate. The media meets him at the airport asking for details. When he refuses to give interviews & insists that he is in town for personal business, one reporter won't "let it go". Little does Mr. Rush know that this reporter will become his personal investigator in finding his mother.

I'd rather not give too much of the story away, but rest assured, Mr. Rush finds peace & resolution in the end. While great detail is given to the character description leading up to the end of the story, I felt like the resolution fell short. It seems like many movies that I've seen where there is a great build up and then the movie just sort of ends. You feel like you've been led to the pinnacle of a mountain & then .... just left there. While things do end well, it seems like there should've been a little more to the story included in the book.

Overall, the book was a quick, easy, lighthearted read that I would recommend. The small paperback book could probably be read all in on sitting if you have the time to devote to it, but I did not. It took me a couple of days. If you're looking for a really 'deep' storyline, this is probably not the book for you since it is so short & sweet, but if you need a quick weekend read, The Encounter would be a great one for you to pick up!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My leaky putter cup

First of all, this is a putter cup.

I learned this little tidbit of information about 25 years ago when I was helping in a preschool Vacation Bible School class & we used these (communion) cups to make a craft. The box they were in called them putter cups. I don't know a single person who still calls them putter cups these days. In fact, when I googled putter cup to find this image, I could only find golf equipment. But I think the word is cute, so I still use it. It's fun to stump people with. Throw it into conversation this week & see how many funny looks you get.

So anyway, today at church, we had communion. To help you envision how this all went down, let me explain some things.

We were sitting at the front of the church, on the 2nd row. The men who are serving the elements start at the front of the building & carry 2 little trays (one with the bread, one with the cup) and pass them down the rows of people and work their way to the back of the building. It take a few minutes to get it all passed out. Once it is all passed out, they return to the front & Scripture is read & the elements are prayed over. Then we eat the bread and drink the cup.

As communion began, the elements were passed down our row of seats & we each got our bread & cup and sat patiently, holding the two items as the men made their way toward the back. Almost immediately Sarah pointed out to me that her cup was wet on the outside. I figured that some of the juice had dribbled onto the side of the cup when they were filling them, so I traded with her. I wiped away the wetness from the outside of the cup & then relaxed, holding it in my right hand while the bread/wafer thingie rested in my left. Only moments later I realized that my hand was puddled with grape juice. Hmm....that's strange. I wiped it on my pants & then held up the cup to inspect & realized that it was steadily seeping out the bottom of the cup. The cup had a teeny hole in it. I looked up & the men weren't even halfway through the building. I realized then that I would not have anything left in this cup by the time we drank it if it continued to drip. I tried to plug the hole with my fingers but that wasn't working. The family sitting across the aisle from me had realized my dilemma & they were giggling too. I mouthed to the mom of this family "It has a hole in it! They need to hurry up!!" ha ha!

I spotted the little baskets that we use to dispose of the cups after communion under the chair in front of me. It had a napkin in it, so I grabbed that & wrapped it around my cup. It was hilarious to see how quickly that very absorbent white paper napkin turned totally purple. I could've wrung it out in my mouth when it came time to drink the juice.

Sarah sweetly shared some of her juice with me (she poured some into my cup), but it was still pretty empty by the time we all turned up our cups in remembrance of the shed blood.

I had to laugh through the whole thing. What should've been a really quiet, reverent moment was quite comical. And I have to believe that God was laughing too.

Sometimes church is pretty quiet. Today it was funny....and I love that. Laughter is good for all of us. And keeping with the funny day theme, this video was played as a sermon illustration. Smart....but funny!

Friday Phone Dump (one day late)

Sorry I missed my Friday Phone Dump post last night. Time to catch up for this past week. Join me on your blog by emptying your phone's pictures & show us your week. Link back here & comment so I can check out your pictures.

Last weekend was Christmas. This is how I spent much of Christmas day --- relaxing on the couch or on my bed, napping, hanging out with the family. Perfect!

Sarah got some colored duct tape to make duct tape crafts with & created this pink bow for me. Beautiful isn't it?

On Christmas night, we all went to see a movie (We Bought a Zoo---loved it!!!) and I played around with my hair. I had to take pictures of the back of it & text them to 2 girlfriends for advice on which way to wear it. What do you think? Which way is best? (I'll tell you after these 3 pics which way I wore it.)

#1 Twisted back, held with a ponytail holder:

#2 Braided back, held with a ponytail holder:

#3: 2 twists, sort of interconnected, bottom 1/2 flowing loose:

I ended up going with #3. I was sort of tired of messing with it & decided that I was going to the movie where I'd sit in the dark & no one would see I just quit & went to the theater. ha ha!

On the day after Christmas, Sarah took the money she had been saving for most of the past year and went to Walmart to buy her own Nintendo DS. She & Samuel have been sharing one for a few years now and she's wanted her own, so I told her she'd have to buy it. She was pretty proud of herself when she put down the cost of the DS in cash!

My favorite issue of People all year! I always enjoy reading this one & seeing how people accomplished their weight loss goals! So inspiring!

Today, Sarah was bored & asked if she could do a makeover. She does this every few months. It's funny to see how her skills progress (umm...well, sorta...). ha ha!

First, she put on moisturizer, then foundation/base. She followed this with powder.

Next, it was eyeshadow & mascara time.

And finally, some blush. "Pucker your lips, mama!"

The finished product.

When she was done, I removed my clown face & wow....that washcloth was COVERED in make up. It was super heavy, but doesn't appear quite as dark/heavy in these pics. Felt nice to get back to clean skin......the way I remained the rest of the day.

Hmmm....maybe I should've put some of that make up back on, after all! ha ha!!!