Here comes the bride....

As I have had a couple of unexpected moments lately to contemplate and ponder, my thoughts have been flooded by memories and thoughts/prayers for Kellie (and Tim) as we will celebrate their wedding next week.

Indulge  this momma of the bride for just a moment with a quick stroll down memory lane....  Kellie was our 1989 baby who came bouncing into the world at 9 pounds 1 ounce.  She was the most content baby we have ever known - we often said the only trouble she offered was the fact that we had to carry her car seat along with us.  As a toddler, Kellie looked up to and always wanted to tag along with her "Sissy".  She was thrilled a few years later with a new baby sister to take care of and to mother.  Kellie was almost nine when Clay was born, and he was, almost immediately the love of her life.

Each of our children has taught me so many things about parenting, about patience and about how to love, and Kellie is no exception.  She has always been very organized; her favorite "chore" was to line up all the shoes in anyone's closet so that each pair was perfectly paired and in their proper place.  Kellie was and still is our creative fashion coordinator - she has the ability to put together an outfit or a room with few resources to achieve a beautiful outcome!

Kellie's first love language is that of giving and receiving gifts.  Her gift-giving is always thoughtful and intentional with much time spent in shopping, deciding on the perfect gift and even in packaging the gift.  She cannot wait for the recipient to open their chosen gift. 

As her dad and I send off to this new chapter of her life, we send her with much love, much respect and knowing full well that her strength of character and intense sense of right and wrong, black and white, will serve her well as she becomes wife and life partner to Tim.  Our prayer for both of them is that they will continue to grow in the Lord both individually and as a couple and the God will bless their marriage as they seek HIM first. 

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4

Kellie, always my daughter, now to my sweet friend and encourager!  I love you!

Author's Note:  My unexpected moments have come during the week leading to Kellie's wedding as I broke my foot - and, yes, she is getting married on the beach...  another blog to come...


For fourteen straight years our home included at least one teenage girl.  As of February 3rd, 2014 all our daughters are now in their 20's.  Frank grew up with one brother, so his experience with girls was limited to say the least.  I don't know at what age our girls moved from calling Frank, 'Daddy' to the shortened version of just plain, 'Dad'.  As they got older, what I do know is that when I heard any of our girls' voices on the phone or in person, began their conversation with Daddy (in full drawn-out syllables), I knew they were either very sad and needed his comfort, they had made some reasonably big mistake and needed his forgiveness, or they were in need of money and needed his provision.  And let me just tell you, they could always count on his comfort, his forgiveness and his provision. 

Recently during a Bible study entitled, Forgotten God  by Frances Chan, I have been reminded of several names and character traits of our Heavenly Father.  One name that has come up now a couple of times and offered me some "pondering time" is that of Abba.  Like most of you that have heard that name of God, I understood it to mean in the Aramaic language a word similar to our "Daddy".  I found, with a little research, that some scholars don't really agree to that thought, noting that Abba is more closely associated with a personal "my Father" interpretation.

I can only find Abba Father used three times in the Bible - once in Mark at the time of Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane when HE called out to His Father, saying, Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

The other two references are made by Paul in Romans and Galatians, referring to the fact that "we" have been adopted into God's family as HIS children with all the privileges to call HIM, our FATHER.

Now I would never begin to compare Frank to our Gracious Heavenly Father, but I can appreciate the reality of our Father's provision for an intimate relationship and intentional connection with us.

It is amazing that a holy and righteous God, who created and sustains all things, who is the only all-powerful, all-knowing, ever-present God, would allow sinful humans to call Him “Daddy” and "My Father", isn't it?

Regardless of scholars' thoughts, the term "Abba Father" is significant in helping us to understand how our Heavenly Father relates to His children, with a close, intimate relationship reminiscent of how a young child would communicate complete trust in her Father.

When we accept His gift of salvation through Jesus' death and resurrection, we are fully His.  That, my dear friends, offers us comfort and peace that cannot be explained or understood in this world's terms... 

Who should I tell what??

When the Holy Spirit nudges... let's be honest here... convicts me of something, then I feel the need to encourage you in the same way.  No cute little story today, just us.  These are the moments when I think of you, dear "reader" friends and wonder what you doing when you come by - are you having a good day, is it early in the morning as you check email and maybe facebook and have only a quick second or two?  Is it late at night, when you are really ready for that extra moment of sleep?  Is it the middle of your day, when you are taking a bit of a break from work or maybe your precious little ones are taking a much needed nap?  I just wonder...

So for this moment, hear my heart - I so wish we had just ordered a yummy cup of coffee or tea, in a fancy cup.  We would embrace the warmth from the cup as we shared our thoughts together.

So who do I tell... what?  This is the challenge - as a friend approached me recently with the words, "Can you believe...", I felt that little sting.  Hmmm.  Was that really how it happened?  Words are ours for the taking, for the using, for however we choose them. How often do I begin a conversation with,  it was funny when... or this is crazy... or what do you really think about... 

When my kids were younger we chose a Bible verse each year that we would learn and try to live by.  For several years the verse was Ephesians 4:29:  "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."  I was the mom after all, so I did get to determine the verse based on the needs of our family!  :) 

So we plastered that verse on construction paper and taped it to our wall.  We added to the verse, the following criteria about what could and could not be said or repeated:  Was the conversation or statement about to be made TRUE, NECESSARY, AND KIND?  If so, it could be said.

My conviction lately has reminded me of our wall hanging and, in particular the word: necessary.  I love to talk - I love to share good things!  There it is for me, anyway... Are the words I am about to share really necessary?  Will they build not only the listener, but anyone else, up according to their needs?  Will my words benefit those who hear and those about whom they are spoken?  I'm not talking about unkind or mean spirited words, just unnecessary.  I was just talking to Frank about this, and he agreed that sometimes we don't even realize where our conversations are headed. 

So my challenge for this week, this time is to choose my words carefully and graciously with the counsel and guidance of the Holy Spirit and the reminder to ask myself.... is it true, is it kind AND is it necessary?

Okay so... let's talk!

I dare ya....

Can I just start by telling was not my most shining parenting moment!  I WAS the Preschool Director after all.  I WAS called by some... the Principal - it would not be the goal of any child to be brought to my office by the teacher.  Our staff was the absolute best - the most patient, caring. loving so I knew that any child coming my way was in need of a change of scenery to encourage a change in behavior.

Imagine my surprise (well, we are talking about my Clay, here...) as I walked out of my office to see MY boy being "marched" toward me.  His head was a bit downcast... but something did look a little off... was the top of his head wet???  Hmmm.  As his teacher explained the scenario of what had taken place, I'm sure my embarrassed parent hat took over my level-headed director one.

It was restroom break time, so several of the boys were in the restroom...  As boys act like boys... there was a bit of playing around.  And then... the dare....  "I dare you, CLAY. to stick your head in the toilet.   Key word was... of course, you know... DARE!  Even at 4 years old, those were words that challenged!  So, without much thought, he did it... hence the walk to the director's office.  I can only imagine his thought as he made that long walk up the stairs, through the double doors, down the hallway to meet his Maker... me, that is!

I was mortified; I was embarrassed; I was furious; I was disgusted; I was... NOT interested in offering any grace, and I knew many were watching for my reaction.

First things first - in my mind, can you only imagine the germs that were having a hayday on top of his head.  So I took his chubby little hand, and we headed to the counter with the sink.  I used the only option I had Dial anti-bacterial hand soap, and I began to scrub his head.... and believe me, I really SCRUBBED - I was certain I would take care of all those said germs.

I had to work through all my levels of emotions before I could even begin to discuss his poor decision with him.  More than the decision to stick his head in the toilet was, of course, the process that went through his little brain BECAUSE he was dared - that was what escalated the importance of the decision for him.

We dealt with the immediate issues - wrong decision making, wrong thinking process.... but it was a reminder for us, as parents, and even still reminds us, that we have a great responsibility to teach our children not just to make good decisions, but WHY and HOW do we make decisions.  Now, don't think we sat down with our 4-year-old for an hour-long discussion about how we do or don't allow others to determine our decisions.

Lessons to be learned... for all of "us" children of God.  Our decisions must be grounded in the thinking and basis of Biblical principles, not what our culture, our society or maybe even our friends say or do.  We simply must allow ourselves time to hear from our Heavenly Father so that we can more clearly know His leading in our lives.  Jesus said it more than once... the most important one.. when asked, which is the most important commandment... Jesus replied with these words...

“The most important one is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." 

This most important commandment demands and requires our time.  So just for this week... spend an additional 15 minutes with your Heavenly Father... I dare ya!