This I Know

I want to encourage some hearts today! Here is a simple truth for you to consider. It is okay if you don’t understand it all, have all the answers or have it all figured out. 

I reminded myself this very morning of this same simple truth. I have been known to over-think matters. What about you? Not only that, I often grow frustrated with others who appear to be thinking too little. 

This morning I read in John chapter nine of a young man who had an encounter with Jesus. As is always the case after such an encounter the result was drastic change, miraculous even. People noticed. 

They did not instantly rejoice with him. Instead the people around him were suspicious, questioning, doubtful. They wanted answers, demanded answers. The young man did not know. He did not understand it all. He could not explain exactly what had happened, at least not to their satisfaction. 

Finally, he declared that he did not know the answers that they demanded but, he DID know one thing. I want to encourage you this morning to stop fretting over what you do not understand and rejoice in what you do know! What you do know is enough to celebrate, to embrace and to find hope in. 

What that young man said was “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!””

John 9:25 NLT

So, this morning I have a few things to declare myself and would invite you to do the same! 

I don’t know it ALL but this I know…

I was blind but now I can see! 

I was lost but now I am found!

I was empty but now I am filled!

I was hesitant but now I am sure!

I was without hope and now I hope again!

I was weak but now I’m strong!

I was without music in my soul and now it is filled with song!

I was hurt and unable to forgive but now I can walk in grace!

I was weary but now I am strengthened for this race!


Your Day Is Coming

Today, this very moment, I am the busy mom of many. I am trying to get myself together this morning before I wake the kids and prepare myself for the onslaught of activity and noise. I will likely have to raise my voice to be heard above the din. (In case you are wondering, din is a loud confusing mixture of noises that last for a long time and boy, does it describe my life.)

Today, this very day, I will likely speak with one of my teen daughters concerning her attitude and with my other daughter concerning her bossiness. I will most likely have to remind one son to keep on task and another to keep his hands to himself. I will surely pray hard as I attempt to teach my son with dyslexia his reading lesson. Oh, and let’s not forget the grown children. I’ll most certainly be cautioning and encouraging them. 

My life is full to the point of me trying to catch my breath and maintain my sanity at times and the reason why? These children. The ones I asked God to give me. My answers to prayer. They have filled my empty arms. They have stretched me and challenged me. I am stronger and wiser. I am exhausted and spent. I am their mother and it is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It is the greatest thing I’ve ever done. 

Even as I look for my courage to face my overwhelming day  I am remembering those who are still waiting. I am praying for those who will wrap their arms around each other and at times around themselves to try to cope with the terrible time of waiting for those arms to be filled with a child, their child, their very own child.

Your day is coming. Your path will be different than mine. Your disappointments may be many. Your waiting may seem unbearable. Your plight may seem hopeless. Your plan may be altered. Your hope may be almost diminished. But, I assure you, your day is coming. 

So, take courage if you are still waiting. Your day is coming. And when it does, I’ll be rejoicing with you.  And if your day has already come, seize the day and embrace every moment of your miracle.

Challenge Accepted

November has arrived and being a 30 day month makes it a perfect time for a 30-day challenge. #challengeaccepted

I’ve made myself a list for my 30-day challenges. It’s a list of a wide variety of things that I mean to do every day but sometimes get distracted from doing so.

What about you? What could you challenge yourself to do for 30 days? What simple, perhaps even ordinary thing could you commit to, that would make life sweeter?

Here’s my list! I hope you’ll make your own and join me in my determination to make these next 30 days the opportunity I’ve been waiting for. After all, 30 days of challenges equals 30 days of opportunities. Opportunities to love, to live, to laugh, to grow, to make a difference. 

November 30-day Challenge

1- Social Media – Thankful Tweets & FB Posts daily! #thankfulheart 💛

2- Marriage challenge – Goodbye Kisses every time we part company. 💋

3- Family Challenge – Text parents daily even if it is just to say ‘I love you’. ❤️

4- Writing challenge – Write a prayer daily and create a compilation. 📝

5- Physical challenge – Treadmill Walk daily even if it is only 1/2 of a mile. 👣

6- Spiritual challenge – Listen to more music. 🎶 

7- Mental challenge – Scripture memory benefits the brain and the soul. 💭 

8- Reading challenge – Daily Fiction 📖 

9- Prayer challenge – A former foster child each day, although there were more than 30. 🙏🏽

10- Parenting Challenge – Bedtime hugs and prayers without exception.  😴 

11- Emotional Challenge – Forgive myself and start fresh every morning. 🌅

12- Home challenge – Gather a bag a day to donate or throw away. 🏡

When is Thanksgiving Day?

Did you know that today is Thanksgiving? No, not here in America. But our northern neighbors are celebrating their national day of thankfulness today.  We will celebrate ours in six weeks with just as much abandon as they do today. 

When I mentioned to my children (whom I homeschool) that Canada was celebrating Thanksgiving today they were astounded. ‘We thought that was just for Americans.’ Never say something like that to a homeschooling momma. There will be consequences. 

That response led to a day of studying how other cultures (yes there are more than Canada and the U.S.A.) celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s really quite interesting. Did you know that during World War II the Americans and Filipinos celebrated Thanksgiving in secret while the Japanese occupied the Philippines?

The common theme for all Thanksgiving days is of course thankfulness. All forms of the celebration began as a way to express thankfulness for the bounty of the harvest. There are some feasts that even pre-date Christianity such as the Saxons who celebrated by giving the first sheath of corn to their fertility gods. When Christianity arrived in Britain, the thankfulness continued. 

As for me and my Christian household, we celebrate with a heart of thankfulness for far more than a good harvest. Our family has a lot to be thankful for and I bet yours does as well. At the top of our list would be that we are a family. You see our family was not formed like most. Our family was formed by determination, extraordinary circumstances, answered prayer, hurting hearts in the process of being healed and then finally forged together in the fiery trials of  battles fought and won. And who are we thankful to for this miracle of family? We are thankful to God, Jehovah, Yahweh, our Heavenly Father, the creator of this universe, the one who sent Jesus to redeem us.

The truth is, every day and every season is a good day to be thankful. Thankfulness is good for the heart and soul of every human being no matter where they live or what they believe. 

Today and every day I will be thankful. Let me tell you a few reasons, just a few, for there are many. 

1. I am thankful that after a dozen years of infertility God answered my prayer and began to fill my heart and empty arms with an amazing number of lives. We fostered for fifteen years, adopted seven of those and continue to have living relationships with many others. Because of this astounding opportunity for love I am thankful. 

2. I am thankful for this season of life where I am being given opportunities to write. It wouldn’t be happening without the support of my family and friends who encourage me and help me in countless ways. I am so happy to see my fiction books in print and especially happy to have the opportunity to write articles about adoption with the hope of informing and inspiring others about this beautiful way to form a family. 

3. I am thankful for my faith. Believing that God is who He is and that I am not on my own in this life, is a great source of strength. Believing that this life is not all there is and the end of this life is only the beginning of eternity, is a great source of comfort. Believing that I am a small part of something much bigger than me, is a great source of inspiration. 

I Didn’t Sign Up For This – Did You?

Life has a way of throwing us curve balls and catching us unaware. When that happens we sometimes  think ‘Whoa! I didn’t sign up for this!’  What we mean of course, is things aren’t turning out like we hoped. The wonderful expectations we had suddenly crash with reality and the result isn’t something we recognize much less something we hoped for. 

Sometimes the crash with reality is so jarring that we lose our balance and become confused as to what exactly went wrong and what exactly it was we were trying to do anyway. ‘How’d I get myself in this mess?’ You may be thinking. 

This disappointment could be a dead-end job, a poor business venture, the purchase of a money-pit house, a bad investment and other wrong choices. Financial hardship is tough, but it can be overcome with better choices. 

I think what really throws us into a dizzying downward spiral is when relationships disappoint us. People that we care about, people we trust, people that matter to us can betray, deceive and generally let us down. When this happens emotions swell and our opinion of self shrinks. After all, ‘What WAS I thinking?’

Self-doubt can be a result of broken relationships, dreams turned into nightmares and disappointment. Before long we may be asking ourselves, ‘What’s the point?’

A struggling or failed marriage is one sure example. No one marries with the intent to divorce. Yet, divorces happen every day. One or both spouses break covenant and the relationship dissolves. 

A distressed parent wonders what they did wrong. Guilt weighs them down as they decide they have somehow failed. Shame attempts to bind them until they feel powerless. 

An abandoned friend can’t comprehend that the person they trusted wasn’t the person they thought they were after all. They feel foolish for not seeing the truth. 

To these examples I want to speak a few words of encouragement. Your situation of disappointment may be slightly or vastly different, but I believe you too can take courage from what I am going to say. 

1- We can not control other people and in the end, we are not responsible for the decisions they make. We can love them, pray for them, forgive them, encourage them, attempt to teach them, guide them and advise them. But we can not make their choices for them. 

2- People make mistakes and we are people too. We need to forgive others and we need to forgive ourselves. Human beings are notorious for being hasty  and not thinking things through. They are sometimes reckless, impulsive, thoughtless and down-right mean. But that’s not all they are; it’s not all we are. A mistake is something we have done. It is not who we are. It is not who they are either. 

3- Make every effort to learn to trust again. Forgive, let it go, shake the dust off your sandals, see a counselor, take it to the altar, whatever it takes, find your courage to trust again. If you don’t, life will be lonely, your heart will be bitter, your future will be dismal. You can do it, it won’t be easy and yes, if you trust again, you can be hurt again. There is risk involved in every worthy venture. 

4- Find your courage to dream again, new dreams. Believe things can be better and different the next time you try, the next time you give your heart away. Make plans and develop goals and anticipate a better tomorrow. Remind yourself that no matter what is happening right now, it is only one chapter in a book of a lifetime. This isn’t the end of the story. 

5- Finally, sometimes you just have to accept things as they are even if you hope this isn’t how it will always be. I have a personal little beatitude that I often say to myself as a reminder when things aren’t going as planned. ‘Blessed are the flexible for they shall not break.’

Look, I don’t know if your marriage has suddenly ended or if your beloved child has landed themself in jail. I don’t know if your friend threw you under the train or your parent has rejected you. I don’t know if a church leader betrayed your trust or if a family member deceived you. I don’t know if your plans and dreams are piled in a heap of brokenness at your feet. 

What I do know is there is hope for today and yes, even tomorrow. What I do know is you can try again. What I do know is circumstances can change. What I do know is that different can sometimes be better. Don’t be afraid. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and take one tiny but brave step forward and then one more and then another. 

Mega Church Member – Who Me? Couldn’t Be!

We are members of what I believe is now the second largest church in our nation. It is indeed a mega church if there ever was one. We have tens of thousands of members and 14 campuses not including the 14 correctional facilities. 

Honestly, it still surprises me at times that we are not only attending such a church but enjoying it immensely and flourishing spiritually. The reason it surprises me is that before we began to attend Church of The Highlands, I had some strong opinions about how a mega church was. I had opinions but no personal experience. 

I blush to think of some of the assumptions and yes, even comments I made about how it must be to attend a church with tens of thousands of members. I was wrong and I don’t mind saying so. I was wrong and perhaps you are too if you, like I was, are struggling with skepticism. 

I assumed there would be no accountability. That’s simply not the case. First and foremost, the Word of God is taught and accountability is as real as I’ve ever experienced. The Holy Spirit is present and He convicts and comforts. We are held accountable. 

I assumed that with so many thousands, I’d be swallowed up like a salmon in a stream of other salmons, all looking the same, flouncing around and experiencing no individuality. That isn’t my experience at all. I’ve never felt that my unique abilities and talents have been more celebrated (and useful). 

I assumed it would be difficult to connect in a meaningful manner. That isn’t what has happened at all. As we attend small groups, serve on teams and attend events, we have developed real relationships with real people who know us, pray for us and call us by name. 

One of the best things about our church is the great diversity. It was one of the most important factors after solid Biblical doctrine that we were looking and hoping for. Our family is diverse and living in the Deep South limited possibilities of a good fit for us. Every single time we attend COTH, every single time, I am struck by the great diversity. There is every kind of people, every age, every economic status, every ethnicity. And guess what? I’ve met many other adoptive families. There are many foster families. There are many families just as large and unique and diverse as ours. It is marvelous. 

Many is a good word to describe our church. There are many, many people. And because of that you may come across a difficult person, an annoying person, a gossipy judgemental person, a bitter person, a mean-spirited person, a person that causes trouble and strife. They exist in a mega church just like they exist in a small church. Why? Because churches aren’t full of perfect people. By in large they are full of people who are trying to do better and be better but they are still human and make plenty of mistakes. 

You know what happens when there are many people? There are many hands to make light the work. There are many voices to be lifted in prayer and praise. There are many opportunities to serve in the community and make a difference. There are many hearts willing to be a small art of something that is much bigger than they are. There are many to give when there is a great need. 

I am proud and thankful to be one among the many. And yes, although I never thought I’d say it, I’m glad to be a member of a mega church that moves mountains, builds bridges, supports missions, encourages the masses, ministers to ministers, trains workers, parks cars, serves coffee and cries out to God in prayer for mercy and the salvation of others. Hey, try it, you might like it too. The mega church is not the right church for every family, it may not be the best choice for you. The truth is, God can move in the smallest and largest of congregations. It’s not a competition and it should be a joint effort. 

Wherever you attend and call your church home, get involved, do your part and be just like us, enjoying it immensely and flourishing spiritually. 


A simple definition of the word imprint would be to make a mark using pressure. Every day we imprint others and they imprint us. Parents most certainly imprint their children and this can be a scary thought. 

I, as an adult, was imprinted by each child I fostered. My outlook, my attitude, my opinions were all marked by the pressure of the moment. When you open your home and your heart to a child who is a total stranger one moment and then your responsibility the next, it imprints you. 

I remember one small girl who was blonde-haired, blue-eyed and fair-skinned. She was so fair-skinned that when her abusive momma slapped her hard across the face, her handprint was evident in a red welp. This child, who was about four years old only stayed with us a short time as the system sorted out an appropriate family member placement and yet here, twenty years later, I can still see her face and that hand imprint. 

One of the greatest challenges I face as an adoptive mother of older-children is helping my children deal with the imprints they have received before they arrive in my life. One of the greatest challenges any parent faces is being very careful about the inevitable imprints we make upon our children. 

Let me tell you truthfully, there are plenty of imprints that I have made that I wish I could erase. Imprints aren’t easily erased however. Even if the ink is removed from an embossed piece of leather, the impression from the force (pressure) of the mark remains. It scars the material you might say. Lots of hearts bear many scars. 

The hearts of foster children are marked, scarred, imprinted. It is unavoidable under the circumstances. I wish with all of my heart that I could say the negative imprints my adopted children received who came at older ages simply vanished when I made them my own. I wish I could say my children have never been negatively imprinted by me, the momma who loves them deeply. But, yes, I’ve spoken carelessly, lost my temper, reacted wrongly and left my own negative imprints. I may have left imprints of disapproval or rejection when that isn’t what I intended at all. 

So, then what hope is there? How can we, as well-intended yet imperfect parents raise our children without ruining them?

We, as parents need to do our best. We need to improve our parenting skills. We need to break unhealthy cycles. We need to encourage our children to try rather than discourage them when they fail. We need to accept them, love them, nurture them and imprint upon them a sense of self-worth, compassion and integrity. We need to do everything we possibly can. But, we can’t put our hope in ourselves or in any other person to make perfect imprints every time. 

We have hope because healing is possible. As a Christian I have hope because I believe God heals, prayer matters and in the end love wins. 

The most important parenting tip I could ever give anyone is to not attempt it alone. If you don’t have a supportive family structure, purposely search out support from other sources. Our church promotes small groups as a way to connect with others. If you are a single parent, an adoptive parent, a special- needs parent, a parent of multiples, a parent who is struggling, find a group of people who will relate to those issue and understand those struggles. 

I believe as a #momofmany, that the negative imprints in our life can be turned around and used for good. We can be made stronger, kinder, more compassionate than we would have been otherwise. If you have been wounded or if you have wounded another, there is great power in forgiveness. There is great hope for healing. I know it because I have seen it, I have lived it, I have witnessed it. 

Today my prayer for myself and for you is that our words, our actions and reactions, our attitudes, our lives would leave imprints of hope, joy, peace and love on our children, our families and our friends. I pray that not one person will part from our presence feeling the sting of criticism, sharp retorts, impatient words or angry looks. I pray that today we ourselves will be shielded from those who would negatively impact us. I pray that we would be healed and our hearts will be made whole. I pray that we ourselves would be used by God in the healing process of others, especially our precious children. I pray that tonight when we consider today we will be able to say, “I’ve done my best, I’ll trust God with the rest.” Amen