Category Archives: Faith

A Tribute to My Hero…

Happy Birthday!

I’ve never really been one to use the phrase, “my hero is…” and couldn’t even fill in the blank that easily, if asked.  However, I’ve found myself thinking, time and again, in recent years, “Wow, he amazes me!”  The oldest of my offspring, that is.

Sparing the details, I will say this…if I were asked to choose a hero, I’d pick him.          

 *Hero–noun,  1.  a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.*

I have watched, quiet and helpless, as my son has worked, endured, persevered and thrived.  He has not only pressed on through situations that would have driven me to curl up with a blanket over my head, but he has come through with dignity and earned respect.  Most impressively, I have never, ever heard him complain.  My oldest boy has shown strength of mind, body and character that I can’t help but admire. 

He is strong with a strength I didn’t, and wouldn’t still, know he posessed had he not gone out and faced the world.  He has some stories to tell and I don’t know the half of it.  I feel sure God will use them, everyone, someday.     

It’s interesting, to say the least, watching our children become adults.  There are times when I look back on this boy’s raising and thank God he made it to adulthood, especially as the *unbeknownst-to-Momma* tales unfold around the dinner table.  “You what?!  When?!  Where was I?! Why on earth would you throw a match into a puddle of unknown liquid to see if it’s gasoline or water…inside the garage!?!  Have you no brain?!” 

All those years my Grandma use to say, “Lord, have mercy!” and  I thought it was a figure of speech.  I’ve learned otherwise.  It was a fervent prayer and I pray it often.  And you know what?  God answers it!

My little boy, now my big college boy, is all grown up.  That doesn’t mean he is fully mature.  I think he may never be.  Come to think of it, do boys ever really grow up…fully?  A part of me hopes not.  I love the funny, if pesky, side of my college boy.  He brings laughter and fun to our family, though it’s sometimes accompanied by sisters screaming his name.  While at school, he lives with his eighty-something year old grandma, by his own choosing and doesn’t have to be told to go to churchHe takes his little brother and sister to “do things” and kisses me goodbye when he leaves the house (though I do sometimes have to remind him).  He buys sterling and diamond-ish earrings for his sister’s birthday, endures American Idol while college basketball is on the other channel, and always chooses to see the best in people.       

I could write a book about my children’s shortcomings; they reflect my own.  But in spite of it all, God has turned my big boy into a *make-his-Momma-proud* young man.

  Happy Birthday, Sporty!  You are a hero in my eyes!     

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True Beauty

Since before they could walk or talk, I have hoped my babies would grow to understand and believe the truth about beauty.  The Enemy is brimming with lies on the subject and he has a mass marketing agency in our culture, through which to sell them.  He’s good.  He’s really good.   

A few days ago, after a two and a half hour procedure, my middle-most girl met me in the waiting room of our orthodontist’s office.  There was a a river of tears welled in her eyes and when she tried to speak, the dam broke.  Tears spilled, rushing down her cheeks, finding their way to the floor.  It was a river.

My girl was devastated and had not an ounce of clarity.  She was ugly.  She would never get married.  

I will laugh about this soon.  My girl will laugh about it one day.  I should note, for perspective’s sake, that my daughter did not come out with braces on her teeth.  No.  That would have been “normal” and she would have been less stunned by the change.  Instead, she came out with an “I-can’t-believe-that-fits-in-your-mouth” sized shock absorber-looking contraption that we have come to call *shocks* (pun intended). For the sake of time, and lack of words, I will just say that the *shocks* altered my girl’s facial structure, smile, and chewing ability (try chewing only up and down, no side to side jaw movement…we chew a lot like cows, I’ve realized, but that’s not my point).  Her reflection was not her own.  The girl in the mirror was strange and distorted.

The whole way home she cried and I prayed.  My prayer was choppy and desperate.  Lord, use this in my baby’s life.  Help her to believe Truth.  Forever change her.  Help her to see herself through Your eyes.  Lord, teach my 15-year-old what has taken most women a lifetime to learn; that true beauty is unfading, eternal and comes from within.  Lord give me wisdom.  Lord have mercy.      

When we were back to the safety of home, we talked.  I talked.  She listened between sniffs.  I said nothing new.  I’m hoping, however, that what had once been just words, now had more meaning

God says that our lives on earth are but a breath.  One breath.  How long, according to our culture, does a woman get to be a beauty?  Through youth and into young womanhood at best?  After that, it’s all about procedures and products.  For a small fraction of her life…a fraction of a breath…a woman gets to be beautiful.  The conclusion I draw is this: cultural beauty is skin deep and no one gets to keep it.  IF you were “lucky” enough to be born cute, you get to be beautiful for a little while, until the next group of cuties come in to replace you.  But still our culture urges us to chase after physical beauty and hold onto it for dear life.  Even as our physical beauty is fading at a rapid rate, The Enemy says, “Don’t give up!   Compare yourself to the younger more attractive woman, critique her, compete with her!”  But we can not win.  Whether lost naturally by aging or abruptly through an accident, beauty, according to the world’s definition, will not last.  Period.  “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting…” Proverbs 31:30. 

Contrast that to a woman’s true beauty, which is poured out by God into the human heart.  It is unfading and grows more beautiful with age and wisdom.  It is the mark of a woman who fears the Lord.  True beauty comes from within and radiates out.  1Peter 3:4 tells us that beauty doesn’t come from outward adornment, instead “…it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”  Did you hear that?  It is of “great worth in God’s sight!”  AMEN AND HALLELUJAH!    

My girl sat through my ramblings like a champ, as I poured out my heart and soul and everything else to her.  Then she decided she was ready for Mexican food.  A day or two later, my middle-most beauty came out with duct tape over her mouth.  It said, “Under Construction”.  Maybe we’re going to survive this after all. 

There is a road ahead.  We have not arrived.  But I’m hoping that, in the end, our girls will know that the physical beauty our world holds dear has no eternal value; that real beauty is on the inside and never fades.  It’s the truth.  BELIEVE IT!

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State Bound!

Road trip ahead…just twenty-four hours ’til take off!  The Lady Titans and their families will be headed to “State”, in a matter of hours, with a third overall ranking.  It is the Texas State Homeschool Basketball Championships drawing us to the Metroplex

Don’t let the “homeschool” part throw you.  This tournament is not for the faint of heart.  The number one team at last year’s tournament had so many Division 1 college scouts attending the final game that fans were hard pressed to find a seat (slight exaggeration, but you get the picture).  This same number one Texas team also took home the National Championship trophy, last March, at the National Homeschool Basketball Championship in Springfield, MO (the largest athletic tournament in the U.S., with over 300 teams competing at all levels). 

All that to say…heading into this tournament, ranked third, is a pretty big deal-e-o for this little team from a mid-sized Texas town!  Top teams typically represent the larger cities.  Houston dominated for years, but it’s been a team from the Arlington/Ft. Worth area that has been taking all the kudos as of late.   Austin also brings in tough competition (ranked second this year), as well as others from the DFW Metroplex and  Houston area. 

There is a tough road ahead for the Lady Titans and it won’t be easy.  To make it to the coveted Championship game, these girls will have to fight their way through three games, two of which are against a Dallas team (also in top ten) and Austin (number two)…not for the faint of heart!  Way to go Lady Titans to even be in this position!  Big deal.  Really big deal.      

Did anyone see the Daytona 500 last weekend?  20-year-old, Trevor Bayne and his team won it, one day after his twentieth birthday.  It was only his second cup race (whatever that means) and HE WON!  Talk about a Cinderella story!  And the best part was that he gave God the glory.  He said (as best as I can remember it…not exact quote, but close), “We prayed before the race…we pray a lot…it just goes to show what God can do.”  Does that make you want to jump up and shout “Hallelujah” or what?! 

Only God knows what this little tournament in Texas holds.  There are three things of which we can count on:  1. He will be there, pouring out His grace on all His children, 2. He cares about the simplest of things and this is yet another of His gifts, so many gifts, and 3.  The Lady Titans can hold their heads high and thank Him, already.  No matter the outcome of this tournament, they have already been blessed to go into it, not only in the top ten, but in the top three!  

Go get ’em Lady Titans!  Have fun!   

And give God the Glory…No. Matter. What.

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Snow Day!

Time flies.  Time stands still.  Both true.  Both false. 

Days passed at a crawl the week before our vacation.  Our week at the shore, however, was mere minutes.   Both were seven days.  Time stands still; time flies…or so it seems.

The reality is that the Creator of the Universe “changes time and seasons”  (Daniel 2:21), therefore we can be sure time is constant, consistent.  He gives us the exact same number of minutes every single day, without fail. 

Time is *flying* in my life right now.  Children are changing almost daily,  little girls have morphed into young ladies, mere babes threatening to graduate and go to college, and the firstborn keeps flitting in and out of the nest between semesters.  Meanwhile, we are going to basketball games, piano practice, recitals, basketball games, shopping for bigger shoes, parent meetings, home group, basketball games, shopping for longer jeans, having friends over, and going to basketball games.   Can it be, that in the midst of it all, I’m missing out on something? 

Getting to class on this icy day was not a hazard for us; it’s just down the  hall and through the doorway on the right.  But we took a *snow day* anyway.  We (I) need to slow down.  Sit.  Breathe.  Enjoy. 

This snow was the perfect reminder to be still, to appreciate the time He has given me today,  to take in these little chickadees.  

   

I love snow days.  I loved this day.

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Age…From My Vantage Point

God frequently uses my children to keep me humble.  Today however, on my forty-somethingish birthday, I am kept in my right place by a Mount Everest-sized pimple positioned right next to the most prominent wrinkle on my face.   

Something is just not right about a huge zit and a deep crevice taking up residence on the same face…especially my own!  How’s a girl suppose to “treat” this situation?  With makeup, I know, but do you you moisturize the wrinkle and risk exasperating the acne or do you treat the pimple  at the expense of drying out the aging skin?  Sheesh.  It makes me think of a time, not so long ago, when we were raising toddlers and teenagers under the same roof.

I will give no more thought, however, to the mountain next to the deep rift on my face because today is my birthday.  Today I will celebrate and be happy.  Today marks the day that I am officially closer to the age of fifty than I am to forty.  Weird.  Is this what forty-six feels like?  Looks like?  I would not have thought so, even a decade ago.  I guess I thought I would be much older by the time I reached this age. 

I remember my own mom at the age I am now.  She was only forty-four on my wedding day.  Perception is influenced by perspective.  On my wedding day, my mom was “middle-aged” and maybe “a bit fluffy”.  That was my perception twenty-five years ago.  (Sorry Mom, I’m sure your grandchildren are vindicating you this very day through their own view of yours truly.)  Today, I see that my mom was beautiful.  She really was.  I miss her, especially today.  It was really her “birth” day after all.  If my mom were still living, I’d take her to lunch to celebrate at a little tea room and I would tell her thank you for giving birth to me, for raising me, for praying by my bed at night and on the way to school in the mornings, and  for teaching me to believe in Jesus and answered prayers. 

My mom died young.  It has been only eight years and even then I didn’t realize how very young she really was.  My Mama was sixty years old when she met Jesus.  I’m a slow learner, but thanks be to God, at least I’m learning.  From where I sit today, I can see a bit more clearly.  Age is relative.  Age is beautiful.   

 Lord, give me perspective, Your perspective.  Today I turn forty-six.  I look forward to growing old, but for today, I shall celebrate my “youth”.  From this vantage point I really am still so very, very young. 

I even have a pimple to prove it!

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A Mother’s Work is Never Done…

This is my “Concordia Mom” mug.  

Sometimes it makes me smile.  Often it causes a little tug at my heart.  Occassionally, it brings on a slight wave of naseau.  Always, it takes me before the Lord in prayer! 

As mothers, we will never, ever be out of a job.  Never.  As long as I shall live, I will be drawn to go before the Almighty in prayer for my “babies”.  It can be quite a chore at times.  If I’m not focused directly on Jesus,  I can’t seem to finish a prayer before I find myself deep in “problem solving”.  It takes a very concentrated effort for me to pray for my kids sometimes.  Oh, but I am drawn to do so.  That is not to say that I always feel like it.  Sometimes it’s just plain tedious and I want to move on into my day.  I can pray as I go, of course, and I often do.  But that is not the same as being still before the Throne, interceding for those precious fruits of the womb…who can be such stinkers sometimes. 

I purchased this mug at my big boy’s school in August, when I left him there…all alone…without me…by himself….alone.

  I could have chosen the T-shirt for all to see (I am a proud momma, ya know), but when I saw the mug I knew I had to have it.  I love to have a cup of cream and sugar with a splash of coffee in it during my quiet time and I am picky about my mug.  It has to be large enough, but not too big.  It has to have a good handle that allows my whole hand to get a good grip on it.  I want no dinky little handles that require the pinky to stick up…those are fine for tea, not coffee.  Last, but not least, I want it to mean something…my mug can bring back a fond memory or reminder of a fun trip or maybe just cause me to reflect or ponder something I value.  Whatever.  I just like things to be quaint, by golly, especially if it’s too early to be up and I’m grouchy about it.  

This purple mug fit the bill on every count.  I didn’t anticipate the spiritual value it would hold for me.  I suspect  that it will remain my morning companion for the remainder of my boy’s college basketball years.  It reminds me that a mother’s work is never done.

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