“I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18 NKJV

“Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
Ephesians 6:2-4 NKJV

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY  to all those men who are strong when we are weak, offer shelter from life’s storms, and pull us up when we fall down.

In memory of fathers who served and sacrificed, held thankless jobs without complaint and simply did the best that they could…

Thank you.



Happy Mother’s Day!

“Her children rise up and call her blessed”

Celebrate your mother, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, godmothers, teachers, community leaders and all the women who have positively affected your life. If possible, give them flowers while they can smell them and kind words while they can hear them.

Here are ten lessons I learned from my mom…

Keep your eyes on your destination, not your current location

Good manners show respect for other people

The value of a good education

A great attitude can take you farther than a good education

Money can’t buy common sense

Don’t expect anything you aren’t willing to work for

How to cook with love


Unconditional love

How to pray!

  Be grateful for all the great women God has placed in your life. 

“Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise:  “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:2-3 NKJV

High Hopes!

“Next time you’re found, with your chin on the ground
There’s a lot to be learned, so look around
Just what makes that little old ant
Think he’ll move that rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant, can’t
Move a rubber tree plant”

My hopes haven’t always been high.

I’ve always been a “realist” even as I prayed to God for the miracles I sought. It is only in the past four or five years that I realized I wasn’t setting my “hopes” even remotely high enough.

As I began to see how God was using my son Lan to not only show me what He could do and would do for me, God also taught me to get my hopes up!

One small victory after another made me realize that I didn’t have to have the weight of the world on my shoulders. I somehow managed to let God be God and relax a little and truly trust God for the things I prayed for.

It has been my general experience that God responds to my level of expectation. The things I dare hope and dream for He brings (slowly) to fruition if I hope hard enough and trust that He can and He will.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:1-5 NKJV

 Hope does not disappoint.

I would rather hope for the best and be proven wrong than wallow in misery faithless.

Yes, there are things I will never understand. Yet, I cannot allow life’s disappointments to rob me of God’s peace when I choose to trust in Him.

Lan is asserting his independence more and more. He has “high hopes” for his future. If I tell him something’s not going to happen he just gives me “the look” learned from big brother that basically says I hear you but I’m not listening to a thing you say.

And that’s not always a bad thing.

I believe my past failures to hope as high as God would have me to do stem from listening to people instead of listening to God. If we are so tuned in to the multitude of “nos” coming from the choir, we will never hear God’s whispered “yes.”

Lan has confidence I never had at his age, partly because he had to work extremely hard to meet his goals. He learned far sooner than I ever did to tune out the “no.”

 I’m grateful to have come to a point where I can persevere and hope for God’s best fully aware that His best isn’t always what I want.

Hope does not disappoint.

“But he’s got high hopes, he’s got high hopes
He’s got high apple pie, in the sky hopes
So any time you’re gettin’ low
‘Stead of lettin’ go
Just remember that ant
Oops there goes another rubber tree plant”


**Songwriters: J. VAN HEUSEN, S. CAHN  High Hopes lyrics © BARTON MUSIC CORPORATION

Bee Yourself!

Comparison is the root of discontent.

This is one truth I discovered this last decade or so.

We will never fully appreciate what we have if we always compare ourselves to other people.

My solution for this is to stay focused and run my race.

I watched a great example of this during the Olympics. One of the track and field athletes actually lost his heat because instead of looking forward and pressing toward the finish line, he looked to his left and to his right for the other runners. If he had only focused on the goal ahead, he would have qualified for the next race.

This is something my youngest and I are battling at present.

The topic of ACTs and SATs is popular among seniors. However, test taking has never been Lan’s strong point. His acceptance into a graphics arts/animation program will not be due to high test scores.

Still, listening to his friends has made him anxious. Comparing their plans with his own is causing frustration for both of us!

I have repeatedly told him he doesn’t have to pursue his goals the way others pursue theirs. I’m trying to make him understand this lesson, one that I’ve had to “learn” myself a time or two.

 The temptation to compare ourselves with others is always present.  Often in parenting, the opportunities are endless. Yet, this is a dangerous habit because it is so easy to become disenchanted with what you have based on the briefest glimpse into someone else’s life.

When we allow these comparisons to root themselves in us, they often leach away the peace and contentment that God provides.

The infamous “why my child?” easily pops into mind.

God’s answer of “you can handle it” isn’t usually a welcome answer.

We can sometimes allow the progress we make to be diminished by what we perceive around us. However, what we perceive isn’t always true.

I choose to appreciate my here and now, very much aware plenty of people would be more than satisfied with my particular set of “problems.”

I’m trying to teach Lan, by example, to be grateful for gains. Personal “success” is independent of what others think or do!

Lan may not be the most academically strong student; however, he does have an artistic flair all his very own. When we focus on our strengths and not what we think we lack, we can fully fulfill God’s purpose for our lives.

I’ve learned the hard way that what works for someone else isn’t necessarily going to work for me. My “success” in life won’t come following someone else’s blueprint. God gives us what we need to create our own.

I found peace and joy when I nurtured my own talents. I found contentment when I learned to enjoy being me.

I pray Lan learns this lesson far sooner than I ever did.

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well. Psalm 139:13-14 NKJV

May He grant you according to your heart’s desire,
And fulfill all your purpose. Psalm 20:4 NKJV


I read somewhere that eagles teach their chicks to fly by dropping them from high heights. The parents will continue to catch their babies until eventually the chicks stretch their wings and begin to fly for themselves.

I dropped my own “chick” off at college last week. We prepared for his eventual departure by slowly nudging him out of the nest, giving him more responsibility and allowing him to do more for himself without out “hovering” to make sure everything was done to our standards.

Well, he is now settled in a nest of his own complete with a couple hundred dorm mates. The kids I saw as we moved him in looked excited, optimistic and ready for the future.

We “older” adults aren’t always as optimistic. We have experienced more “hard knocks” of life that leave us a bit jaded and perhaps a tad pessimistic.

“Realistic,” is what we tend to call it.

I enjoyed watching the kids full of potential walking around like they can take on the world. I am content knowing my child is confident in his own abilities. So much so that he had no problems kicking me and the hubby out!

And he was correct, it was time for us to go.

Time for us to let him stretch his wings, fellowship with other “chicks” and live his life without parents scrutinizing his every move.

It takes effort to hang on to hope when we forget that our Father created us to fly. Even though we sometimes feel like we are barely hanging on, God is always there watching and waiting for us to take flight.

Like the eagle, God doesn’t “drop us” until He knows we can fly.

 In Christ, we possess the ability to soar even in those less than ideal situations we loath. Still, we can crumble and fail to even stretch our wings when the fear of failure exceeds our expectations of God’s grace!

We must remind ourselves that should we fail/fall we too will be caught. Our wings may feel broken and our feathers a bit ruffled but our Father allows us to fall knowing it is the only way we will ever learn to fly.

 When we allow the negatives in life to build our character instead of fuel our fears, we can soar as God intended.

Sometimes those “youngsters” actually teach me a thing or two.

B Blessed class of 2020!

But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 NKJV


Today is the first day of school for my youngest child. Lan begins his senior year without the watchful eyes of big brother nearby.

There was a time I’d be worried sick.

Today, I’m simply grateful.

Today my kid is flying solo!

Class schedule finalized? Check!

IEP (individualized education plan) in place and all participants on board? Check!

No big brother around to chaperone? Check!

Lan is “free to be me.”

And that’s a good thing.

I vividly recall Lan’s first year of high school.  He was tiny compared to the other kids, walking out of class with his hands over his ears because he couldn’t stand the noise.

Three years later, Lan stands head and shoulders above most students and is an eager participant in the hallway chatter!

No longer a freshman or marching band “rookie,” he is making plans to map out his future. Lan envisions a future without his parents watching every single step he makes.

There was a time I pondered “what if” into infinity. I’ve learned to replace “what if” with “why not” and search for possibilities.

  We will never know how far we can go if we don’t dare move our feet!

Conquering Everest begins with one step. Even if we never make it to the top, we can still end up miles ahead of where we started.

Still, some of the most important steps we can take aren’t physical, but mental.

We can’t always change a condition, but we can certainly change the way we think about it, pray about it and live with it.

Autism is only one adjective used to describe a person. It doesn’t necessarily have to define him.

Party animal.

Marching band member.


These are words Lan uses to describe himself.

As parents, we pushed, prodded, and even yelled a time or two to get this kid to reach his potential, clueless to just what that “potential” would be.

Lan slowly made strides that eventually gave him both confidence and enthusiasm to go it alone. He is no longer afraid of flying “solo.”

I realize now, God did the very same with me!

It wasn’t fun.

And it certainly wasn’t easy.

Yet, our Heavenly Father can force us into situations that will ultimately bring out the best in us.

I’ve learned how to write and have guts enough to let people read it. I can now work a camera without breaking one. My computer skills have improved exponentially. And honestly, none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been forced along this ASD journey.

God can take what looks like a mess and turn it into a message that will draw us nearer to Him!

Even when we feel alone, we are not alone. God is ever present through both fears and tears.

I don’t have to have the answers as long as I give God my problems.

 Like Lan, I’m now “free to be me.”

I’ve conquered my fear of flying solo!

“Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.”
Mark 1:35 NKJV

The Winds of Change…

cy·clone:  “storm with very high winds”  Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary

A new job.

Another new job.

A graduation.

That about sums up the changes in my household.

Sometimes change comes as a soft breeze, unexpected yet refreshing.

Then there are times when change pummels us with the fury of a hurricane.

Some changes we seek.

Others find us.

On more than one occasion in my “wilderness” adventures I received just enough of a “breeze” to keep me crawling moving when I felt like I couldn’t go on.

God is good like that.

Even in our wandering, God finds us and reminds us that our painful “now” is only temporary.

At other times God answers prayers so forcefully and abruptly I find myself awestruck!

Sometimes we think our prayers fall on His deaf ears when actually our “no” is really a “not yet.”

Very often I’ve found my answers weren’t delivered until everything came together better than I ever imagined and in the least likely of ways.

I’ve reflected this week on the many changes blessings that have come our way lately.

Having a child that graduates in two weeks will do that to you.

He’s a great son and I am very proud of him.

He is enjoying the benefits of his hard work even as I try to teach him that he may not always receive the benefits of his hard work (at least not right away) but always work hard anyway.

The difference between my “mini me” and myself is that early in life he has learned not to beat himself up over his mistakes. I admit that’s one thing I continually work on.

My son always manages to teach me a thing or two, including the fact that God’s answers aren’t always so close to home.

 Sometimes we have to change our mind (or at least broaden it) to receive the very best God has for us.

I can rejoice in my current season of “breezy days” as we celebrate graduation. Yet, I refuse to allow the fact that my “Cam Cat” is moving a thousand miles away to blow me over!

If anyone had told me a year ago I’d be sending him to Iowa (no offense to you lovely people in Iowa) I’d have said they were crazy.

But God knew.

Trust God. Pray without ceasing.

Significant changes from the person I was to who I am now.

Hopefully, Cam learns these lessons sooner than I did as well!

The wind goes toward the south,
And turns around to the north;
The wind whirls about continually,
And comes again on its circuit. Ecclesiastes 1:6 NKJV

*** Go Cyclones!!! Iowa State University Class of 2020!

Peace Keepers!

“Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification,” Romans 14:19 NIV.  

Paul was addressing Christians who were debating dietary restrictions. Paul saw their argument as insignificant, teaching them instead that God’s kingdom is more than food or drink and is of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 

We often allow ourselves to become bogged down in petty disputes. Trivial disagreements can often blow up to gargantuan proportions. Sometimes we are so determined to be right that we fail to realize when an argument is no longer relevant in the greater scheme of things.

Paul instructs us to make every effort to be peaceful and do what leads to “mutual edification.” We are implored to build one another up, not tear each other down.

When we go to extremes to prove our point or have the last word is that really satisfying? We can either draw people nearer to God with our actions or push them away. Do you have what it takes to listen to others, let alone respect their right to a differing opinion?

We won’t always agree with everyone but we should at least be able to communicate in a civilized manner. It isn’t necessary that we jump on every opportunity to prove others wrong.

We would all do well to evaluate the words we choose. Are our words helpful? Can they change a situation for the better? Or do we choose to expose the faults of others only to feel better about ourselves?

solitary white rose side 2014  Sometimes silence is the best solution. What we choose not to say is just as significant as the words we utter. When we choose not to condemn, criticize or gossip we perpetuate peace, not chaos.

“Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body, It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell,” James 3:5-6 NIV.

Every situation does not require our commentary. How often can we mirror God’s love by keeping quiet? Instead of commenting on what other people do, what if we prayed for them? What if we focused on correcting our flaws instead of exposing those of others?

God commands us to love Him and our brothers and sisters.

It is easy to love God. Loving our brothers and sisters is often much harder.

“My command is this; Love each other as I have loved you,” John 15:12 NIV.

“As I have loved you.”

Jesus showed compassion. Jesus forgave the very people crucifying Him. He even prayed for them! Jesus didn’t cast stones. Jesus met people right where they were, imperfections and all.

It isn’t always easy to love like Jesus, but shouldn’t we at least try?

“Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God,” Matthew 5:9 KJV


“Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:2-4 NKJV

One of my first memories of my father is standing in the yard with him as he examined a blooming hydrangea. I have several planted in my yard in his memory. Like my mother, Daddy enjoyed working in the yard.

He wasn’t the most talkative Dad but the bits of wisdom he offered certainly stuck with me. He wasn’t one to preach, but rather taught by example. He was loyal to his friends and never shied away from having a good time. Daddy believed in the merits of hard work and giving everything you did your very best.

Daddy was also a humble man. I didn’t learn about many of his greatest accomplishments until I read his obituary. We often take for granted the people closest to us and the ones we love the most. I didn’t get to tell Daddy I loved him that one last time as planned. He slipped away just hours before I could make it home.

DSC_0950 (2)  Thankfully, our eternal Father never leaves us.

God is always present, yet I believe even He appreciates an “I love you” or a “thank you from us as flawed as we are.

Our Heavenly Father wants us to believe that He is here for us, provides for us and that we can trust Him even as the people in our lives disappoint.

If your earthly father was less than stellar, God is more than able to fill that gap.

Trust God.

Like a good parent, God doesn’t always give us what we want, but definitely provides what we need. If only we would seek Him and run toward Him with childlike faith could we begin to grasp just how much our God cares for us!

And should you happen to have a father still here on earth, love him. Enjoy Him. Appreciate him.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY  to all those fathers, uncles, teachers, coaches and other great men who tackle the role of “Dad.” Bless you who are strong when we are weak, provide wisdom and shelter us from life’s storms. Thank you who pulled us up when we fell down.

In memory of fathers who served and sacrificed, held thankless jobs and simply did the best they could…

“I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18 NKJV



“Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion…” Hebrews 3:8 NKJV

Today my oldest son stated that I’m “less judgmental than I was five to seven years ago.”

Surely, I hadn’t heard him correctly. “Excuse me?!”

Was I a terror those years ago?


My mini-me calls it like he sees it.

He views most churches as “hypocritical.” He believes many Christians are judgmental and don’t even attempt to love their “neighbors” as Jesus instructed.


So, annoying when they are correct.

Thankfully, the kid does believe in God.

Faith in organized “church?”

Not so much.

DSC_0216 (2)  Yet, he managed to hear something today that penetrated his thick skull.Today’s sermon focused on the second chapter of James, especially the verses about favoritism and mercy.

The chapter ends with “Mercy triumphs over judgement.”

“Less judgmental.”

Seven or so years ago, I had a lot going on. Lots of changes, not all of them positive. I’ve had my “trials” that effectively served up a fair dose of correction, humility and mercy.

Like most people, I was trying to do my best. However, it was not good enough. I’m pretty sure I was left tired, angry, and bitter. I thought I was keeping my feelings to myself.

Apparently not.

Cam’s comment made me realize that people tend to be most judgmental when they are angry, broken and in a state of struggle. Lashing out at others is one way insecure and bitter people vent, release anger and irrationally view themselves in a more positive light.

What are we really doing when tearing others down?

Are our motives pure?

Is condemning people the way to draw them to God?

Judgement is not the love Christ commanded. Let alone mercy.

Jesus loved the people who needed Him most. Tax collectors. Harlots. Sinners.

People repented when healed, loved and touched by the Master. It is the “sick” who need the Physician. We are all “sick” at various times in our lives.

God’s love transforms people.

I am grateful God has made me less judgmental, at least in my child’s eyes. I am trying to parent by example. Trying.

Most of us strive to behave better, but how can we gauge our progress?

My oldest child provides checks and balances for me. Even if unsolicited.

If we take time to truly listen to others, we may learn from them where we are in regards to the changes we seek.

Is a compliment on my new outfit an indicator that I’m stylish, or a reminder I’m spending money I should be saving?

If someone comments they haven’t seen you in a while, does it mean you’ve abandoned “questionable” company or confirmation your church participation may not be what it should be?

God often speaks to us through other people, if only we have ears to hear…

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Matthew 11:15 NKJV