Speak Words of Love

I reread a quote by Bob Goff in a forward he wrote for his wife’s book.  “Kind words from the people we love have the power to help us all understand who we are and what we want our lives to mean.” I found this so encouraging because I do love words, especially ones with shaping power. The problem is sometimes my words do not ring with love or help at all. They spill out in criticism and do nothing but tear down. Other times, I hear words that do the same. Sometimes I am so shocked by a conversation that I stay up long into the night reliving it. The result of this recently caused a fire to consume me and I determined to go another way for our family.

IMG_0138So, whose words do you listen to? Whose words do you allow the power to shape who you are? The words I listen to most come from the ones I love the most. God speaks to me each morning from His Word and I replay our conversations throughout the day. The Bible is shaping me, making me more into His likeness by changing my heart each day. I have a very long way to go, but I am closer today than I was yesterday. My husband and kids speak lots of words too and we laugh a lot. When we hear words that are not loving, do not build up or are untrue, we question the speaker. Sometimes the person speaking needs to go spend sometime alone and think about what is in their heart that is pouring out of their mouths. At times this is me. I come back and apologize and ask for forgiveness. When you see how you hurt people with your words by looking into their eyes, no amount of stubborn pride is worth leaving that look there. Do what you must to make things right now.

Sometimes words spoken sound like such bull. I want to shout, “I’m not buying it!” so loudly and one day I just might! Other times I want the speaker to keep talking and I soak them up like the sun. This happened recently when we got to catch up with friends that we haven’t seen in years. We met for dinner and I wished we had more hours in person together. This friend is one who loves Jesus with her whole heart, loves her family well and is trustworthy. We all need people like this in our lives. We can learn a lot from them. If you are running low on these kind of friends, pray and ask the Lord.

In the book of Ephesians, we read how we are to speak the truth in love. This is key. I listen when words are spoken in love. I close up when they are not. Also, it seems to not speak the truth is not loving at all. Why parents shrink back from truth baffles me. What are we so afraid of? Do we really think our kids need us to be their friend or do they need us to be their parent? I am siding with the parent role, friendship is there, but it is not the main part of our relationship. I have not seen this turn out well.

When we deny our kids truth, we deny them love in my opinion. To not share with them God’s plans, direction, promises, rules, love, who He created them to be and salvation, we lead them straight into the open arms of the world. Why are we so surprised when they have no purpose, believe whatever their professors tell them or get into trouble? Yes, their decisions are theirs to make and so are the consequences, but we could do so much more to lessen these if we would speak truth from the minute they are entrusted to us. This is what makes my heart race and a honest to goodness fire burn inside of me. This is what I want to shout from our roof to all that will hear.

Tell them, “Pay careful attention to how you live, not as unwise people, but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15). I want to raise kids who are wise, don’t you? Real wisdom is very easy to find, just open your Bible and it is right there in all 66 books. When they start to head down an unwise path, redirect them back to the path of the wise. We recently had to do this with one of our kids who started listening to some pretty bad music. The reason was that “everyone” listened to this kinda of stuff. We looked up lyrics to one of the popular songs and had this child read them out loud. The message of this song was discussed and then truth was put beside it. Just telling a child not to listen to certain stuff does not seem to work. Talk about it and see what God has to say about the matter. Do not make excuses for sin. That seems to be the most unloving thing we can do. It is as if we are saying, “Go ahead, head down that road straight to heartbreak and ruin.”

Tell them, “Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you…” (Isaiah 43:4). Tell them , “…everyone who bears my name and is created for my glory. I have formed them; indeed, I have made them.” (Isaiah 43:7). Tell them, “Guard you heart above all else, for it is the source of life.” (Proverbs 3:22). Tell them, “For a man’s ways are before the LORD’S eyes, and he considers all his paths.” (Proverbs 5:21). Tell them, “For He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.” (2 Chronicles  5:13). Even when we do not understand He is still good and His love remains. God sees it all, nothing is hidden from Him. Are they treating others with the knowledge that they too are precious, honored and loved by God who created them for His glory? Are we telling them this before they head out on a date?

There is so much to say here, but dinner needs to be made. We will sit around our table and talk about truth and in doing so we will be loving our kids the best way we know how. I can think of no better way to bring in the new year.



Some mornings ago, the youngest took a bath and asked me to help wash her hair. She is learning to do this on her own, but still needs my help sometimes. She must have been washing more on her own lately because her hair was a tangled mess! We ended up sitting on the bathroom floor together and I used every detangler, leave-in conditioner and product I could find to try and remove the tangles. As easy as I combed, it still hurt and a few tears were shed. However, after awhile the tangles were gone and my sweet girl climbed into my lap and gave me a big hug and kiss.

IMG_0614Because I look for moments to teach or where I am taught truth, this seemed perfect. The tangles reminded me of when we try to live life on our own, using our own strength and simply living for ourselves, we end up with a life tangled in sin. It may appear unintentional and not that big of a deal, but I believe it is. And what if we allow our kids to be shaped with this mindset? How will they survive as adults? Will they repeat this same cycle in raising their own children?

When I look in God’s Word, He tells us what He expects and how we are to live. He tells us how we are to teach our kids. Why do we look elsewhere and take “wisdom” from the world? Look with me in the book of Jeremiah. “For I strongly warned your ancestors when I brought them out of the land of Egypt until today, warning them time and time again, ‘Obey me’. Yet they would not obey or pay attention; each one followed the stubbornness of his evil heart.” (11:7-8). We have been instructed. We have been warned time and time again, yet we still disobey. We still bow and worship other gods, mainly self. We make excuses for our kids and say “it is just a phase” or “everybody goes through this”. For me, I am not buying into this way of thinking or passing this on to my children. I am going another way.

“Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, love the LORD your God, obey Him, and remain faithful to Him. For He is your life…” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20). This is the way I am choosing. It is a choice, make no mistake. I want life and life for my children, don’t you? A life lived apart from the LORD our God, is not life. The world tells you otherwise and it is up to you to decide who you will listen too.

“…The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7). With your heart and mind filled with the love of our God, there is no room for what does not belong. This is what I am teaching my kids that I have been entrusted with.

Might I also add, “Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that the Spirit of God lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16).  With the Spirit of God living inside of us, it is possible to have “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22). This is what I want my children to see lived out. This is the standard we hold up knowing it is possible. The one that sticks out right now is self-control. What if we started teaching our kids to ask the Holy Spirit, living inside them if they are saved, to help them have self-control? Then maybe they won’t have a long list of sin regrets when they get older. I believe with all my heart that this is possible. For those of us that are a bit older, can you honestly say that you are glad you made self serving choices to sin?

If you are like me, the list of sin choices sometimes comes flying through my mind and breaks my heart. Looking back my life seems like a tangled mess. I am so thankful for the grace that God showed me and how He allows me to come to Him. I come with my sins, which are many, and sit with Him. I sit and let His Word untangle the mess I have made. I repent and turn from my sin. He gently untangles it all and I hear words of comfort when it hurts and my tears run down my cheeks. Then the sweetest thing happens. I can turn back into my Father’s loving arms and feel like I have come home and know that I am truly loved. This is what I want for my kids too. May they always know where home is found, in the loving arms of God.

*I took this picture minutes after untangling Vivian’s hair. She fell fast asleep.


For the past couple of weeks, grief seems to role in unexpected. If I were given a warning, that would be helpful. Then again, joy does the same thing. I guess it is just part of having a heart. What has hit the hardest lately is loss. It seems that especially this time of year, I really miss my mom. She enjoyed every single drop of Christmas. She decorated  each room and it was beautiful. She used lots of bright colors and lots of trees. We went to a Christmas party on Tuesday night and the host’s home reminded me so much of how my mom decorated. It made me smile and made me feel at home again. I’ve really missed that. My mom had a gift of being able to pick out incredible presents. We would talk a ridiculous amount of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas about gifts for the kids. She knew them well and saw lots of things they would like. She needed help deciding what they would like best. I miss that.

IMG_0610We also would stock up on Yankee Mistletoe candles and she would always have one burning. I would have one lit at our house and she would have one a thousand miles away going too. I miss that smell. I think I will pick one up tomorrow. She would make the same treats each year and have plenty when we would arrive. I have bought the ingredients and plan on making them with my kids this week. Some traditions bring a smile now instead of pain and I want to pass them on to my kids. The girls enjoy baking and we all will enjoy having extra sugar in the house.

My mom would be the first person I would call when life got hard and no amount of sugar could fix it. I remember when I was single and really low on funds. I called crying one day and she sent my Easter basket early with lots of plastic eggs, each egg was stuffed with cash.  I am not saying that parents should always bail their kids out. But to be shown grace with no strings attached, means a lot and I will never forget her kindness. I miss that.

She was also the first person to call with any medical question. Anytime one of the kids was sick, I called mom and then their doctor. I miss that. For the past two Christmases I wish I could have called my mom when miscarriages began. She would have been sad with us and offered comfort. She would have been heartbroken too because she loved babies. She was the one that would come stay a week with us, each time the kids were born. I think I missed the first week of the kids lives because my mom was always holding them. She would have realized how great our loss was because she knew the gift of children. When you know how precious a child is and all that each one brings, a loss is extremely painful. I missed her a lot during those times.

But even in the missing and the tears that have come, I have found God to be very near and faithful. Just this morning at church we sang songs with words that caused more tears. “Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy, from the ashes a new life is born, Jesus is calling.” Where else can we go with our sorrows and have them exchanged for joy? Only Jesus works this way, I have found no other. We then sang how He is the king of our heart and that He is good. How could I have sang these words, even with eyes overflowing with tears yet smiling, if it were not so? “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalms 34:18. I am able to sing because my God has been very close and is healing my crushed spirit. Sometimes I feel more healed than others and that seems to be okay with Him. He will do the same for you too if you will allow Him.

When I was reading my Bible this morning, I was greatly encouraged. “I lift my eyes to the mountains. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalms 121:1-2. As our family heads to North Carolina and is surrounded by beautiful mountains this Christmas, I will continually lift my eyes and remember where my help in all things comes from. I will be reminded that my mom now gets to see our Creator face to face and so do my precious babies. I see only His creation, but they actually see Him! Now that dries my tears real quick and brings incredible joy!

Friend, if this season has your heart hurting, know I am praying for you. Know you can take your tears straight to Jesus in prayer and let them flow. He has caught each one of my tears and I look forward to the day that He will wipe them all away for good. I have a different kind of heart now because of loss, but I find it to be much more tender, humble and loving than my old one. It was quite a painful exchange, but He has worked it for good and I pray my heart brings Him much glory. He is King of my heart and He is good. As I type these last words, my little girl is calling for me saying she needs me. Yes, He is good.

Merry Christmas!

*The lines from the songs mentioned were taken from “O Come to the Alter” and “King of My Heart”.

*The picture is of my mom and Maggie:)

The Circle

My mornings start early and are routine. I wake up, get my coffee and settle in my chair for a long stay in God’s word. This is what fills me up to pour out during my day. I have tried only taking a few minutes and reading a quick devotional. That resulted in little to give and me relying on my own strength. I found myself with some patience, some kindness, easy judgement, selfishness, pride and insecurity. Sounds delightful, huh?Simply put, I need Jesus to remind me of who He is and therefore who I am. My family and those I encounter during the day count on it. I need the daily reminder of the Holy Spirit living inside of me that gives me power, love, wisdom and strength for the day. I can look back over the years and know that it was the Holy Spirit alive and active in me that carried me through some unbearable heartaches. I am so thankful.

IMG_0523Back to the morning times. Today started the same and it is always exciting to see what the Lord will reveal. I started in Nehemiah and immediately read, “So I said to them, ‘You see the trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins and its gates have been burned. Come, let’s rebuild Jerusalem’s wall…” (2:17). This book always gets me thinking about families today. Everywhere you look, ruins can be seen. Divorce, affairs, the redefining of marriage, kids in foster care, child abuse, abortion, abandonment and the list could go on and on. All of this can of course be traced back to the selfishness of sin, ultimately worshipping oneself over God. We are in trouble.

I then turned to 1 John 4 and began to read. (Once you start spending time with your Bible open, it is amazing how He directs you. Try it.) I read these words, “There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears is not complete in love.” (4:18). When something isn’t complete, like a circle, there is an opening, a gap. If a wall goes around a city and a gate is missing, anything can come in. All that enters may not be good. How can we be complete and our “gates” closed? Love would be the answer. It does away with fear and punishment. Are you afraid? Then read the next verse, “We love because He first loved us.” (4:19). You see, He loved you first. Let that take some pressure off. You do not have to fear if He will love you. However, if you do not accept this gift of love, then by all means, you need to be fearful. What is waiting for you is not anything you can imagine. I love you too much not to warn you.

“The whole world is under the sway of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19). When Adam and Eve chose to sin, an opening in a sense was created and the evil one has been highly active ever since. There isn’t a person alive that has not been the victim of his sway. Because of the internet and social media, this is extremely evident. Evil has waltzed in and claimed so many victims. Broken people are everywhere and are trying to repair themselves in anyway possible. Sin is on display and all are invited to join in. The entrance is wide open and appears to be getting wider by the minute. Walk on in if you wish, but what satan will neglect to tell you is you will be trapped for all eternity if you have not accepted the gift of salvation, the gift of love.

“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. The one who has the Son has life. The one who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:11-12) Remain dead in your sin or come to life, it is up to you. “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved…” (Joel 2:32). The greatest act of love ever, was God sending His only Son to die on a cross to pay the price for the sin of the world. We have all heard John 3:16, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” However, you need to keep reading. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.” (John 3:17-18).

I recently listened to a teaching and heard the question being asked if we believe if Jesus died for me, not just the whole world, but for me. Do you? It will make all the difference in your life, your family and eternity. Everything is not always easy, but you are never alone and can trust the One who loves you more than you can ever imagine.

It is your choice. We are in a state of ruin and there is only one answer. There is only one Savior who can close the gate and make us complete. You can say yes to the greatest love of your life today! Simply believe in the God who created you and gave you the freedom to chose life or death. You are free to remain dead in your sin or alive in Christ. Love and peace or fear. Confess that you are caught in the sway of the devil and sin reins in your life. Ask the God who loves you to forgive you. Now open your Bible and read the best love story ever written. He loves you so much! Your Heavenly Father is longing to have you home. You are safe in His arms.

*I took this picture today of Viv and Damon watching the football game.



And now it is Vivian’s turn to be celebrated! She turned 5 this week and I find it unbelievable that we are here already. Time has passed quickly and she has grown up. There isn’t much she cannot do by herself and she even helps the older kids. She is very much into all things girly, but can hold her own in a sword fight. It is very rare for her to leave home without lipgloss and I love it. She is very vocal on not liking to be rushed and expects me to plan my time better so this will not be the case. It has actually helped me manage my time more efficiently.

IMG_0450She lived out a lesson this week and I will share it with you. While I was applying my own lipgloss and more, she wanted to watch a cute cartoon called “Fancy Nancy”. I see lots of similarities between the two. After it was over, she brought me 3 options for her to wear. Each was more suited for a ball than Walmart. I thought this, but then just as quickly wondered why it mattered. The days of dress up are fleeting, so I think they need to be enjoyed now. She wore her fancy dress and literally twirled her way through most of Walmart, receiving numerous compliments. I do not think the thought has ever crossed her mind that this is not normal.

What occurred to me was that she put fancy images before her eyes for 30 minutes and then reflected this in her appearance and behavior. We might be way older than 5 years old, but do we not do the same? We spend our time on pure truth in God’s word or we get our “truth” from say the news. Does this have a direct impact on our thoughts, words and actions? You bet it does. It is my conviction, as a parent, to guard what goes before my kids eyes and in their ears. It has a direct impact on their hearts, minds and actions. In fact, Proverbs 62:8 says, “…he taught me and said to me, ‘Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments and live.” One of my main jobs as a parent is to teach my kids God’s word and His commandments. This takes time, being present and knowing the word for myself. However, they know and are shown that they are loved by us and by God, so that makes learning, trusting and obeying a bit easier.

This is just one example from the life of Vivian. She is brave, kind and often shy. She laughs easy and has an incredible vocabulary. She has a temper that flares and a heart that loves to serve. She gives hugs and kisses in abundance. She is independent and determined. She has style and grace. Her ballet moves are quite impressive and she can run extremely fast. She is being molded into who God designed her to be and it is beautiful.

Vivian, I love you and am amazed by you!


Another child was celebrated this past week and it was so much fun! We give the kids a few options in how they want their birthdays to go and Paxton chose my favorite. We take them out all by themselves. They pick the restaurant and stores to spend their money. To just have one on one time is rare in our family, so that makes it special. They have our undivided attention and this kid took full advantage. He really is a lot of fun.

IMG_0307So much could be written about Paxton. The things he says and does are remarkable. When he disobeys, it actually is a bit shocking. His heart just seems to be bent towards obedience and others. He is the kid that forgave a bully, multiple times and then wanted to include him. He is the kid who wanted to take his brothers place when he was going to be punished. He is the kid that holds the door for ladies. He is the kid who does not hesitate to stand in front of a crowd and pray. His heart will be burdened for someone and will not stop praying until an answer comes.

His favorite stories in the Bible are when David fought Goliath and the end stories in Revelation. He is pretty excited about a new Heaven and a new Earth. It is in these choices that I see even more of his heart. I see him a bit like David, “of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.” (Acts 13:22). It is when this started coming to light, that I started searching for books on how people who lived mighty lives for God were raised. Specifically, I looked mainly at Billy Graham. His mother played a huge role in shaping the obedient and available person he became.

You just never know who sits around your table. Any parent might be the one raising the next President of the United States. Another, the one who leads a nation to repentance. Maybe even one who does incredible military exploits, that saves the masses from destruction. Who knows? I have no idea what this child will become, but I trust the One who created him. It is my job to raise him to teach him this. It is my conviction that he needs to be pointed to truth. He needs to read and hear scripture that backs this up. He needs to know, “For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through Him for Him.” (Colossians 1:16). Also, read in Isaiah 43:7 “…everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” That is who we are and the reason we were made. And I will spend all my days showing, telling and teaching him that is who he is – made by God for His glory.

Happy Birthday Paxton! I love you so much!

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:11