Blue Eyes and a Smile

Today is my fourth-born child’s birthday. I don’t highlight all of My People’s birthdays each year because if I did I wouldn’t have enough weeks to blog about anything else. But last night I was unable to fall asleep and found my thoughts turning to my Joey.

Always smiling

Always smiling

Sandwiched between three siblings on each side, Joey was the consummate middle-child peacemaker. Well, except for the day at age three when ruckus in his and 4-year-old Jesse’s room found me calling Benny on the phone to tell him his sons were in a fist fight…with Joey on top pounding on his much bigger brother.

Joey’s peacemaking made him the natural choice for his siblings designating him as the “ask Mom” delegate…especially when the other kids thought I would say no to them but not to the adorable little guy with big blue eyes who did have me pretty tightly wrapped around his finger. It was one of those things I didn’t realize was going on — and didn’t find out until they were grown. (Those of you with adult kids know those “Ummm…we didn’t tell you that?” conversations around the dinner table when confessions are flowing so conveniently late.)

Everyone loved Joey’s smile. Sometimes I would catch him smiling pretty much for no reason. Life just seemed to be fun for him, no matter what was going on.Until he was 8 years old he smiled all the time, but then he started

Joey (bottom right) loved playing with the other boys, especially big brother Jesse (middle, second to right).

Joey (bottom right) loved playing with the older boys, especially big brother Jesse (middle, second from right).

playing basketball. Nope, no smiles there. Who tells little boys not to smile while they’re playing sports? Actually, all my sons suddenly developed a “game face” when they got a basketball in their hands. They learned to love and proudly display that face. And to this day, years after the only games they play are followed by complaints about how old and slow they are, I almost always have to tell them to smile in pictures. I don’t get it.

They insisted on a game face pic even at Jake's wedding!

They insisted on a game face pic even at Jake’s wedding last month.

After our move from Virginia to Florida when Joey was fifteen this mother and son became closer than ever. We were both homesick and would check in on how each other were doing. Just before the 3-year mark we were in the car during one of our many treks back and forth to the community college and I asked Joey how things were going.

“Mom, this is starting to feel like home,” he said. I agreed. God had moved in both our hearts. I didn’t mind that Joey wasn’t too interested in getting his license until he graduated high school because it gave me lots of time to chat with a budding young man who I increasingly respected and who was okay about sharing his heart with his mom.

Post Wales :-)

Those eyes and smile captured Lauren’s heart, too.

Then came the day when his heart was turning toward a cute brunette in our church. I won’t forget the night he made a customary stop into our bedroom to kiss me goodnight and sometimes chat with his dad and me about his day. That chat turned into a lengthy talk about Lauren. It seems an upcoming missions trip to Wales had him looking forward to spending some leisurely time with her to see if the stirrings in his heart would find their home in hers. They did. My son’s wise choice of a delightful, godly and fun wife resulted in Amelia Grace Phillips who may have Daddy’s coloring but certainly has Mommy’s love for dancing anywhere and everywhere, especially at Disney.

Several years ago Joey surprised us all with a new “gift.” It came seemingly out of nowhere and we don’t really know what to call it; a sense of humor is too weak so maybe the “gift of wit” as one guy called it will suffice. During his years of coaching high school basketball at our former church Joey started writing kinda true but humorously embellished recaps of the year to read at the annual sports banquets. While the room crescendoed with laughter as he read, Joey’s deadpan face remained unchanged. Those banquets produced requests to do his “thing” at birthday and engagement parties and for wedding toasts — and I’ve already told him his funeral debut will be for me. If you ever want a really good laugh that usually ends with heartfelt warmth let me know.  I promise you don’t even have to know the people.

Amelia's 3rd Birthday last week

Amelia’s 3rd Birthday last week

My favorite memory of Joey so far is one that made me realize my boy had become a man. Benny and I had just learned some painful news about someone we love and needed to confide in someone trustworthy. I reached out to a couple of my kids, including Joey. Looking back, it was the first time Mom went to the kid for help and advice rather than it being the other way around. Sitting in McDonald’s that night I was wisely and compassionately cared for by someone whose tender blue eyes searched my own to see how I was processing the news. Those same eyes had looked into mine hundreds of times over the years when he sat on my lap. Ran to greet me with outstretched arms when Benny and I returned from a trip. Silently begged me not to leave him in Sunday School before he compliantly turned to join his friends. Twinkled with joy when he made the select basketball team and later fell in love. And brimmed with tears the day we packed up his room (including a bunch of basketball memorabilia) to move into the first home he was about to share with his bride.

That night the peacemaker reminded me that I could trust the One who promised a suffering, hurting mom-turned-counselee peace that passes understanding. And since then I have found timely hope in those tender eyes again and again even when no words are exchanged.

Happy Birthday, Joey. Twenty-nine years ago today God gave me a baby son who is now I man I deeply respect. Your eyes and your smile still melt my heart. I love you — even though you lied to me about never leaving me and promised to live next door when you got big.

(But Lauren and Amelia — and maybe little Wiley someday? — are more than worth it.)

Last fall celebrating their 5th Anniversary…at Disney, of course.

Last fall celebrating their 5th Anniversary…at Disney, of course.

Advertisements

Going Through Tough Times…Together

In recent months I’ve become aware of numerous marriages going through hard times. Perhaps my eyes and ears have been more attentive because Benny and I have been walking through some challenges ourselves. If you or someone you know is feeling alone in their marital struggles I pray this honest and gripping song by Steven Curtis Chapman, a man whose songs have ministered to me for many years, will bring comfort and hope.

Blessings!

Sheree

Where is God?

My daughter Janelle wanted to share some thoughts on this, the anniversary of the Roe v Wade abortion decision.  She has used some strong language that, while offensive to some, accurately portrays what happens all over the world and in my own city every day. In fact, while you are reading this post about 40 babies will be killed worldwide. 

It was a cold morning, especially for Florida.  I was standing on a sidewalk at 6:00 AM with several other teenagers, wondering what in the world I was doing there.  I watched as several women lined up outside “Orlando Women’s Center” waiting for the building to open so they could go inside where it was warm.

I was sixteen and this was my first time at an abortion clinic.  Well, not really. My parents used to take me when I was little along with my brothers and sisters to reach out to mothers at a clinic near our northern Virginia home. But I was in a stroller and too young to remember.

My stomach felt nauseous and uneasy.  I was a little nervous — but mostly appalled.  There were so many women, so many innocent babies about to be killed mere yards from where I stood.

"Jane Roe" of Roe V Wade www.vox-veritatis.com

“Jane Roe” of Roe V Wade
http://www.vox-veritatis.com

My youth group had come to pray and try to talk to the women who were coming to kill their children.  Several adults were with us, most notably Allura and Patte, two women who I have now come to respect very highly for their work at many killing centers just like this one.  Numerous babies have been saved because of these two Godly women.

But that morning I didn’t know them well. I didn’t want to be there and I was fighting back tears of sorrow as we tried to stay warm.  It hit me that the children that were now safe and warm in their mothers womb were about to be coldly killed at the hands of  doctor doing the very opposite of the creed he had sworn to uphold.  As soon as OWC’s doors opened and the women filed in, I couldn’t hold back the tears.  The enemy of our souls was having a field day today as these children were being ripped from their mother’s wombs.  I wondered, “Where is God?”

I’ve often asked that question since then, both when I was going to the clinic regularly and even now that I am not. Where is God?  I’ve asked that as I  stood in front of that abortuary years later when I returned regularly in my mid-twenties with Allura and Patte and others.  I’ve asked that as woman after woman spurned our pleas to help them through their pregnancy or offers to find loving families to adopt their babies as they flipped us off, cursed us out, or even tried to run us over with their cars coming in.  I’ve asked that as some walked out the door sobbing — escorted by boyfriends, husbands, mothers, grandmothers and friends who forced them to do something they didn’t want to do.  I’ve seen girls as young as thirteen or fourteen coming to do something that will likely scar their lives in ways it may take years to see. I’ve asked that as I have had conversations with women, watched the anguish in their eyes and heard heartbreaking stories of the incest, rape or carelessness that led them to the doors of that place.

Where is God?

This leads to other questions; complicated and deep ones that are hard to answer.  Questions that bring up God’s sovereignty and control over all things.  Questions about His love and care for all his creation, especially the most innocent of us all.  Can He truly bless a nation that doesn’t protect babies?  It’s downright horrific to allow such things in a so-called “enlightened” culture.  Are we truly enlightened?  How can we be?  Medical and technological advancements have proven that life begins at conception, yet our “enlightened” culture turns a blind eye, refusing to see and acknowledge what God has made plain.

So where is He?

I’ve come to have some peace about this, even though I still struggle with it at times.  Here is how.

I have peace because I know that faithful saints, true heroes, are standing at the front lines pleading with mothers to relent and have compassion on the children in their wombs.  God is there.

I have peace because I have seen women change their minds and leave with courage to either keep their children or provide a much-desired family to eager adoptive parents.  God is there.

I have peace because I have seen pictures of these now-saved children with happy, smiling and relieved mothers who didn’t go through with the murder.  God is there.

I have peace because faithful, God-fearing parents are raising their children to love God and hate abortion while being compassionate toward those who made a choice they now regret — or continue to defend. God is there.

I have peace because there is a Savior who is a Man of Sorrows, One fully acquainted with grief who understands the plight of mothers who feel their only choice is to kill the person growing inside them; Who offers a way out but then will eagerly forgive each one who turns to Him for comfort and forgiveness when the weight of their choice bears down hard.

I have peace because that Savior was once a baby.  And he knows the vulnerability of being completely dependent on his mother.  He loves aborted babies more than anyone else can.  And he calls us to fight injustice, to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves and to preach the Gospel to mothers either bent on destructing their own flesh and blood or feeling trapped into the only decision that seems right at the time.

Can I make an appeal on this, the anniversary of Roe vs Wade, to get involved?  Perhaps you can do this by finding someone who is involved on the front lines at clinics and asking to be trained to help, helping mothers financially or volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center. Second, can I appeal for you to speak out?  Familiarize yourself with local assistance to women facing an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy so that when the topic comes up you can offer real help. When you are in conversations with people and the abortion issue comes up, educate yourself on how to respond in a winsome, compassionate and convincing manner, with relevant facts and Gospel-saturated words.  And lastly, can I appeal that you spread the life changing gospel with boldness? Only by the power the good news of the forgiveness Jesus Christ earned for us on the cross will hearts be transformed and minds be changed to have hope that life’s unplanned or unwanted interruptions can actually be avenues of blessing.

Please take a moment today, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, to pray for the end of abortion.  What a day that will be, either before the Savior returns or when He does.  Either way, it will end.  And He will still be there, getting all the glory for His good plan of redemption.

Will you Join Me on a Journey?

Aside

Roxborough12Last week I talked about an assignment a counselor friend gave me to become an expert at finding God at work in my and others lives. Becoming an expert at anything requires hard work. Consider someone who you would describe as an expert. Do you think they were born that way? Even if they had some genetic advantage, hard work and intentionality were surely a part of the process of their skill or expertise.

When I was nine years old a little boy was born in Brooklyn and later moved to North Carolina. As a high school sophomore he was cut from the basketball team but later went on to become the NCAA Freshman Player of the Year in 1983 at the University of North Carolina. He left UNC after his junior year to join the NBA where he was honored as Rookie of the Year, was drafted third and went on to win six National Championships for the Chicago Bulls. Perhaps you’re one of the blessed fans like me who was privileged to watch Michael Jordan score and soar and steal balls on the court.

“Air Jordan” was obviously gifted. But Tim Grover, the trainer who worked most with him, said he was the hardest working guy he had ever seen and that “he practiced extremely hard which made the game easy for him.”

I’m learning that become skilled at seeing God at work also requires focus, devotion and practice. Apart from God’s help my tendency would be to see the glass half empty rather than half full, which means I’m better at seeing areas of lack than evidences of God’s work. And what’s interesting is this: to acknowledge God at work in my life has felt in the past like prideful boasting. How many times have you heard someone talk about themselves in a positive way and not feel a little uneasy? After all, we Christians are supposed to be humble and not draw attention to ourselves, right?

Right!

But what if admitting areas of growth in our lives is not drawing attention to us but to God? If God is the One who does the work, then why shouldn’t He get the glory?

The fine line between arrogant boasting and honoring God can be confusing. It doesn’t have to be! If I am taking the credit for personal growth then the honor should rightly go to me and boasting is the natural result. But if I am fully aware that God’s sanctifying grace is responsible for the changes in my heart and life then why is it wrong to boast in Him?

Okay, here I go. Tell me if this sounds like boasting.

My earliest memories of caring about others are from first grade. A friend was hit by a car while walking to school. Both legs and her pelvis were broken and she was in a cast from her waist down. I remember visiting her, taking her flowers and sitting with her to “help” her with homework. Our teacher was a lovely woman I remember fondly but I learned that she didn’t go to church. I vividly remember a picture I drew for her of my little church. Across the bottom it said, “Please come to Greenbelt Baptist Church. God loves you.” Mom reminded me of times I prayed for Mrs. Fink and my friend Pamela over dinner regularly, asking Jesus to heal Pamela and save my teacher.

When people tell me that they feel loved and cared for by me I know what they’re experiencing is the love of God working in and through me. I’m not tempted to take credit for this myself because I didn’t choose to be this way. I was made this way. Mom used to say, “Sheree, you came out of my womb loving others.”

That may be true. But I was also born with other things that came easy. My struggles with laziness, self-protection, jealousy, discontentment and self-righteousness are ones I still battle and have certainly threatened my ability to love others. Yet I’ve recently came to see that God made me with a capacity to love and care for others that is a demonstration of His work in my heart. It would be the height of arrogance for someone as selfish as I can be to pat myself on the back for loving anyone!

This God-given capacity is something for which I can thank Him. In the past I have tended to inordinately focus on the “threats” rather than on His signature on my life. While I want to continue to learn how weaknesses, wrong thinking and sin hinder my ability to love others, I also want to avoid robbing God of His glory for leaving His signature on my life in ways that honor Him.

Are there qualities, giftings or characteristics in your life that are also evidences of His work and grace? Absolutely! If you are a believer His signature has been left on you as God’s image bearer. I have a couple of questions for you:

  • Are you uncomfortable talking about areas God has gifted you because you or others would assume you’re boasting?
  • Are you aware of things God is changing about you? Ways you are making progress in becoming more like Christ? If not, it’s not because that’s not happening.  He has promised that He is working in you and will complete that work! (See Philippians 1:6)
  • Of which are you most aware: the areas God is at work in you or ways you still struggle with weak or sinful patterns?

I invite you to join me in becoming an expert at what God is doing and I’m asking you to begin with you first.  Why not take a few minutes soon to look back over the past couple of years and make a list of the ways God has been working in your heart. Are you more patient with the kids or less selfish with your time? Do you use your money more wisely or find more joy in blessing others? Do you less frequently deal with self-pity or enjoy more consistency in your devotional times with the Lord? Wow. The list could go on of potential areas in which God has been busy in your life!

I still love watching clips of MJ on the basketball court. His natural ability and hard work resulted in some stunning results. Imagine how much more joy YOU bring to God when you operate in the gifts He’s given you as He sees the fruit of your Spirit-born efforts to grow in Christlikeness.

It’s not boastful to put His grace on display. So make your list and start becoming an expert at seeing Him at work in you.

Cape Cod and the Dream

I grew up in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC.  I was blessed to attend school with kids of several races. Unlike my husband, who spent his school-age years in Alabama where “coloreds” had their own water fountains and were forbidden to be out on the streets after dark, my parents welcomed people of any race into our hearts and home. Mom in particular taught me by her example to treat everyone with warmth and respect, and I remember hearing her angrily chide relatives who used racial slurs around us kids.

In 1994 the Lord surprised our family with a beautiful bi-racial baby girl through adoption. When we met her teenaged birth mother and asked about her plans, she said, “Well, no one’s gonna want a black and white baby.” Folks, this wasn’t the 1960’s in the deep south. This was the mid 90’s just south of Washington, DC. She was grateful to hear she was wrong and that we would be happy to take her baby. A few months later we were blessed to be there the day she gave birth to our daughter and to bring her home to six eager brothers and sisters.

A year later we were vacationing on Cape Cod and showed up at a large pond with a lovely beach with our seven children. As we started to lay out chairs and toys and blankets our barely walking baby began interacting with a little girl nearby. Within minutes the parents of the cute caucasian toddler began gathering their belongings. We assumed they were leaving but then noticed they were simply moving farther down the beach.  A Jamaican man with whom I was interacting noticed and asked how I was doing.

“I’m shocked,” I said.

“Don’t be. Get used to it,” he responded.

The next day we were in a restaurant when I noticed a woman and her husband looking at our family. The looks turned to stares, then to the husband turning to look over his shoulder at our brood. After several return looks something rose in my heart. I quietly left my seat with Benny and the kids to approach the couple.

“I noticed you staring at our family and wondered if you have any questions. If so, I would be glad to answer them,” I offered.

“Hmph…we weren’t staring,” the woman responded.

“Well, maybe I misunderstood, but if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask,” I said as I made my way to the restroom to deal with the tears I didn’t want my kids to see.

I’m grateful that Martin Luther King, Jr had a dream. But those early months and years of having a bi-racial daughter taught me that the dream still remains only a dream for many. For the first time I saw and felt the piercing arrows of racism in mild but nevertheless painful forms.  And I was reminded of the help we received from God and others to confront previously unknown seeds of racism in Benny’s and my own proud hearts during the months leading up to the adoption when our motives were duly questioned and explored. I thank God for the friends — both black and white — who helped us uncover stuff in our hearts that continues to serve us to this day. Dr. King’s dream inspired an elementary aged little girl years before that summer in Cape Cod. And his dream continues to challenge me today.

Me and my kids

Me and my kids

Last week Benny was driving with several of our grandchildren and mentioned there would be no school today. They were thrilled — but then didn’t know who Dr. King was and why his birthday is a holiday. Papa decided it was time to tell our grandchildren about a dream, so tonight we’ll go from house to house gathering them for time with Papa and Granma to hear about racism and the civil rights movement and why Papa teared up in the van when he started telling them about the dream.

We’re praying they’ll begin to dream, too.

The Assignment

I was in my 20’s when I got my first pair of glasses. I didn’t think I needed them but my eyes had never been checked and someone talked me into going to the eye doctor for some problems I was having with nighttime glare. I left the office with a prescription that landed me with glasses. I can still remember walking outside that day and realizing trees had individual leaves on them!

Recently I was in a conversation with a longtime (and long distance) friend who suggested I needed a different kind of vision correction.

Expert pinned on noticeboard

“Sheree, I have an assignment that I think we really help you.” I had just admitted I was pretty discouraged about some things going on in my life and in the lives of some folks I love.

My ears perked up. I’ve always liked assignments, especially those with an attached goal. Like when my third grade teacher assigned a reading program that would result in completing a stack of books by years end with the promise of a shiny red ribbon. Reading was one of my favorite things to do so quickly made my list, devoured the books well before the deadline and couldn’t wait to get that ribbon.

My friend’s assignment is one I have also enjoyed working on. It’s taken some hard work at times. Other times, though, it’s felt nearly effortless. Some days the assignment has been on my mind all day, while other days I fall into bed at night only to realize I haven’t given it a single thought. But I can honestly say that after a couple of months I’m starting to experience the fruit of keeping this project in mind.

And here’s the assignment she gave me: Become an expert at seeing God at work. 

Her words have rolled around in my mind again and again.

  • When a friend expressed her battles with discouragement over a difficult relationship I was able to point to several clear evidences of God’s grace in her life and the life of her friend. As tears fell we both marveled at how easy it is to lose sight of Him when times are tough.
  • When my daughter recently shared some wearying encounters with one of her children I was able to empathize with her maternal frustrations but also remind her of some key areas in which God has been at work in my grandchild. She agreed and we realized how important it is to lift one another’s gaze to God’s activity, especially when it seems our labors are in vain.
  • As I recently poured out my heart and complaints to God (yes, we can do that…the Psalmists surely did!) about some common struggles married couples walk through, including Benny and me, I experienced a fresh awareness of the importance of thanking God for some specific things in my marriage that are clear examples of His work.
  • During a challenging week when a several weighty pressures were bearing down on me I felt hopeless for needed changes in my heart. Yet God gently reminded me of an area in my life that used to be a substantial weakness but that He has turned into a Christ-empowered strength. I was reminded that His work in the past is a pledge that He will keep strengthening me to become more like Him — even in the very area about which I was feeling hopeless.

The amazing thing about these experiences was that I didn’t have to stop and put my “God’s at work even and especially during hard times” glasses on. It was as if God had given me spiritual laser surgery and I didn’t even realize what was happening until the clarity had already come. How amazing!

Becoming an expert at seeing God at work doesn’t diminish the hardships or pretend everything is okay. It also doesn’t deny that I live in a broken, fallen world with fellow weak and needy and sinful people. Rather, it puts the darkness of hardship and weakness against a backdrop of the radiant work of God’s Spirit in our lives that says, “Yes, you are weak, tired and battling hopelessness. Things are hard. People around you are hurting and you realize your help is just not enough because they need Me. But I am near. I am good. And I am busy in ways you see and in other ways you cannot yet see. Trust Me. Allow Me to open your eyes to glimpse My power on display. I am working and My work always produces fruit.”

I’m still not an expert. But something precious is happening my heart…and with my eyesight. I still get weary. I still battle discouragement. I still wish I could be more helpful in the lives of those I know are struggling. I still squint to see more clearly at times because all I can see are areas that seem to lack any activity of the Spirit of God.  But my eyesight is improving and I’m seeing more clearly that God is busy doing His marvelous work of helping His children grow and change and become more like Him.

I’ve never been an expert at anything. Hmm…in fact, I’ve never really wanted to or had the time or money to.  But becoming an expert at God’s work in the lives of those in whom He has promised to be busy is something I’d love to accomplish. 

And today my friend and I will talk again to see how I’m doing.

Two Babies and a Wedding

It’s been quite awhile since I posted a blog. Thanks to those who have reached out to ask where I am.

I haven’t been anywhere. But lots of stuff has been happening in my life. I know some of you are understandably disinterested in the personal details, but for those who are….

Silas Christmas

Now three months old

In early October we welcomed our 12th little person. Silas Joshua’s entrance into the world was all too slow for Janelle, but the room full of family and friends who weathered his leisurely arrival fell in love immediately. I spent two weeks hanging out with my new grandson and seeking to spoil my Missy. Watching her embrace motherhood with such passion warmed my heart. It’s a powerful experience to watch your child have a child, especially for the first time. And seeing Eric enjoy being a first-time Dad reminded me of how much I miss my own daddy who left for heaven nearly 40 years ago.  (How can that be?) For some reason this fall was a sad time for me as I thought about how much Mom and Dad would have loved knowing and welcoming all their great-grandchildren.

The fall was filled with anticipation and preparations for my youngest son Jake’s December 28th marriage to Sarah. What a joy it was to watch them (umm…Sarah, that is) turn yard sale finds into lovely pieces for their apartment and to experience their growing excitement for sharing life together as husband and wife. As any of you who have watched a son marry can attest, the convergence of the joy of my sons’ upcoming wedding and the melancholic sweetness of his years as “my boy” coming to an official end resulted in a strange roller coaster of familiar but nuanced emotions. Jake is the sixth of seven of my kids to marry so I’m pretty accustomed to the ride. But him being my last son to marry during the same year I will turn 60 made me feel…old. More on that another time.

Caroline Christmas

Merry Christmas to Granma!

Three days before the wedding brought a surprise for our family. Our oldest daughter Jaime, who typically gives birth a week or so late, called me the morning of December 23rd, about ten days before her due date. “Mom, I think something must be happening.  Can you come over?” Gratefully Jaime and PJ live just minutes away. Her biggest concern was the wedding. How could she be a bridesmaid with a 72-hour-old baby??? When I arrived it was clear that Caroline Rae was going to be the best Christmas gift a Granma could ever receive. In just a couple of hours she whisked into a room full of eager observers (yes, my girls actually like giving birth in a crowd!) and by early afternoon everyone was off to enjoy their Christmas Eve plans. Benny and I left asking ourselves if we really did just watch number 13 enter the world with just enough time to get ready for our 26 People to show up the next morning for Christmas breakfast?

Sarah and Jake

Jake and his beautiful bride

Jake and Sarah’s wedding was a wonderful celebration of God’s faithfulness. Benny enjoyed the privilege of performing our 6th child’s wedding and PJ worked hard the night before to “hem” one of the layers of Jaime’s dress (with scotch tape) so it would keep his no-longer-nine-months-prengant wife from tripping down the aisle. As I stood in the back waiting to be seated by my handsome and beaming son I realized afresh how forever blessed I have been. The doctor who told my parents when I was a teen that I could never have children didn’t know God had other plans. And that day I witnessed my youngest biological child say “I Do” to the godly woman for whom I’ve prayed for over twenty years.

Me and my beautiful daughters (and Jaime has a three day old baby!)

Me and my girls…yes, that’s Jaime 2nd from the left with her husband-hemmed dress.

After the whirlwind of two babies and a wedding the reality of life with a daughter still in college, getting caught up on some needed items with my part time job working for my son, ongoing adjustments to having Benny’s mom living with us and the joy of helping two daughters with newborns has left little time for writing.

Plus, God has been moving around in my heart about things I will likely write about at some point. In the midst of all the wonderful new things that have been happening in my life there have also been challenges. Isn’t He kind to wisely and lovingly govern both the joys and sorrows we face? Puritan Thomas Watson wrote about pharmacists of the time who skillfully measured just the right amount of ingredients to cure a patients’ specific need. And mixed in with the medicinal items was usually a bit of arsenic.

There’s a lesson there: sometimes poison can actually be added to life’s vicissitudes to heal what ails. And over these months I’ve seen that principle at work in my life. Through good times and hard; laughter and tears; joy and sorrow; bursts of faith and bouts with unbelief He has been near. My times of solitude with Him are among the most prized moments in recent months, even though they often happened through tears of joy one moment and sadness the next.

A few of you have asked how often I plan to post. I still don’t know. But there are some things stirring in my heart that I want to share. I think the time is right for some of them is soon.

I’m sure God has been busy in your life, too. What has He been up to? More on that in the next day or two.