Friday, December 20, 2013



It's been a tough and good year.

And we are blessed to have a home

Favorite picture from Christmas 2012

And a place to hang our coats
(and purses and scarves and ball caps)

And extraordinary places to hang our hat

 And we are thankful for the warmer weather and a reason to
Momentarily hang up our hats and coats
And we inspect the damage from the recent ice storm
The tall oak tree fell and broke the fence
The fence now needs mending

And only half of the oak still stands.

  And the tiniest tree remains still standing undamaged

And I am reminded

We don't have to be tall to take it
We don't have to be big to be strong
We don't have to be strong to stand

And I remember the tough

My grandmother went to Heaven this 2013 year
And the earth didn't stand still

As a child, I would lie down on the floor, plop my feet in her lap,
And she would rub my feet
And I remember her cozy lap
She would always tease me about my tail bone being too sharp
And I remember getting too big to sit in her cozy lap but I still did
Because she would say, "You will always be my baby"

No Christmas card from her this year
No smallest gift from her heart this year
And I hold on to every single memory with her.
Her life was a gift to me.
She was not perfect
But she perfected me.

I barely had strength to take her loss
But with wobbly, weak knees, I stood broken and spoke at her funeral
One of my life's sweetest memories

And I am reminded

We don't have to be tall to take it
We don't have to be big to be strong
We don't have to be strong to stand
And I wish I could have shared with her the good
After her passing, I published my book
It's about surviving hardships
Weathering life's storms

When others break us
When we break ourselves
When God breaks us

The hard.
It's about hardships being gifts
Gifts are not always easy
But gifts are life-changing
And I refer to an eagle my husband gave me
That seemed like a bad gift
That didn't go with my décor

But that turned out to be a great gift
A keepsake
Just like hardships
And I can't imagine life without it

And it goes with my décor
And it fits perfectly right where God placed it
And the book is not perfect
And it will never be a best seller
And the earth didn't stand still
But God used the writing to perfect me

And revealing my faults and failures and weaknesses
My weak knees wobbled placing it out there for the world
And I am reminded
We don't have to be tall to take it
We don't have to be big to be strong
We don't have to be strong to stand

And as I watch my precious daughter read about Jesus' birth

I am reminded of the smallest gift
And the smallest gift that Christmas morn was the greatest gift.
And the best wrapped gift in the tiniest package was
A baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
The God-man
The best gift I ever received.

And I am reminded

Jesus didn't have to be tall to take it
Jesus didn't have to be big to be strong
Jesus didn't have to be strong to stand

The tough ...
With weak and wobbly knees
He stood upright hanging and nailed upon a cross
He gave up His life
For you and me

And the earth didn't stand still
The earth trembled

And life ... home ... will never be the same without my grandmother
Because I am not home yet
And I am reminded
The tough and the good ...
My real home is where the greatest gift is.

And the good ...
The greatest gift forever lives today to perfect this broken me
On this road called life
With the tough and the good.

And as I write this on my 27th wedding anniversary
I am reminded
It's been tough and good.
And though the earth didn't stand still for the occasion
And though my marriage isn't perfect
God is using my marriage to perfect me.
And through the greatest gift ...

We don't have to be tall to take it
We don't have to be big to be strong
We don't have to be strong to stand

 Remembering your birthday, Jesus.
Thank you for helping us take it, for being our strength, and helping us stand.

Before the tough has a chance to kill you
Give God a good chance to heal you.

 Merry Christmas, All


Monday, December 16, 2013


Because God is so good ...
A Savior was born in Bethlehem.
Because God is so good ...
A Savior born in Bethlehem
Bore our sin.
Because God is so good ...
A Savior born in Bethlehem bore our sin in dying
So that we could bear living.
Because God is so good ...
A Savior born in Bethlehem
Is the one we desperately need to grab by the hem.

Because God is so good ...
Hardships have not helped me sink
They have helped me sail
Right over and through every tear ever shed.
Because God is so good ...
In spite of infertility
I have a Karalee
Because God is so good ...
I have a Katelyn
And in spite of cancer,
I still have a Katelyn.

What a gift!
Because God is so good ...
Hardships can be beautiful gifts
How far
How high
How wide
How straight
How balanced
We can sail
When a Savior born in Bethlehem is our captain.
When a Savior born in Bethlehem walks on water.
When a Savior born in Bethlehem turns water into wine.
When a Savior born in Bethlehem is a miracle of miracles.
"Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance."
James 1:3

Because God is so good ...
What hardships can you kick thru Christ?
Don't fear
Because God is so good ...
He has given the ultimate gift ...
"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born
He is Christ the Lord."
Luke 2:11
Grab the Savior born in Bethlehem
By the hem. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Confessions of a Missions Writer

This blog post was written for Blooming with Joy's website
as a guest writer.
The "gift-a-way" is expired but ...
Re-posting it for anyone who may have missed it.
Blessed by you,

Heart Confessions of a Missions Writer
By Shelli Littleton
Typhoon Haiyan pummeled my heart along with the Philippines. Why? I have had the privilege of interviewing missionaries there and sharing their stories with the world. A missionary friend wrote to assure me that she was back in the U.S. for a visit; she was safe from destruction. But where was her heart? Yes; she longed to return to the Philippines to help.
Yes, writing for Woman’s Missionary Union’s magazine, Missions Mosaic, keeps my heart feeling a broad spectrum of emotions. My most embarrassing moment, you might ask? I couldn’t retrieve an email from Melissa Moore … Beth Moore’s daughter! I couldn’t believe God had opened this sweet door for me to write on her Compassion International India trip, and I can’t get her email. My husband had set up “outlook” for my email. I had to actually go on-line to view her email, and it took me a while and my husband to figure this out. She was so gracious. Me? H-u-m-i-l-i-a-t-e-d! I no longer use “outlook.”
My funniest moment happened while interviewing a young Brazilian missionary on mission in Africa. We spoke on the phone. Wow! She could speak a little English; I could speak no Portuguese. We laughed ourselves silly. Ending our conversation, I said, “I’ll let you go”; Texas translation: I would hang up the phone. And she laughed out loud. I realized she was thinking, “You’ll let me go … where?”
My heart’s greatest overjoy was derived from Ron Hall, author of Same Kind of Different As Me. I had read the book, and Ron said he would do an interview. Thrilled! I couldn’t believe when my caller ID declared: Ron Hall. I told him his book made me want to give him and Denver Moore big hugs. During that same time, he came to my church to speak. Sheer God-thing. I had the opportunity to write yet another article on him for our church newsletter. When I walked into the Visitor’s Center where Ron was autographing books, he greeted me with a big hug. I was overjoyed and couldn’t function properly the entire day! He had not forgotten my request for a hug.
When did my heart cry most? Challenged to write an article about a child forced into marriage and giving birth at ten years old brought me to tears. This precious child, who should have been chasing butterflies and dancing on her daddy’s toes, was living in a Nigerian, Muslim, lower-class society. Because her body was not ready for childbirth, she was left with a permanent limp and a chronic leakage of human waste. This is common. Their babies often die as they die to society. They are divorced … outcasts; but there is hope through Christ. One child said, “Rayuwu ba tare da Isa ba, ban’zane, na gan Isa, na taba shi, nakuma zama da shi,” which translates: “Life without Jesus is a miserable life. I have seen, touched, and even leave with your Jesus.”
My most heart-humbling moments writing for WMU are when I am blessed to share my own personal hardships of infertility, miscarriage, daughter’s cancer battle at one year old, parents’ divorce, and adoption stories. I thank God for taking the very things Satan would have loved to have used to destroy me and using them for ministry.
My future heart confession? My heart is breaking and overjoyed that my dearest friend is leaving on a jet plane this coming year for Asia. Though she will be missed terribly here, what I wouldn’t give to write an article on her work there!
Please, God?!

*Update ... my dear friend made it to East Asia, and I got to write that article on her. Glory.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


In my last post, I mentioned that we have had an ice storm.
On the way to church last Sunday morning ...
I fell.
I fell hard.
Instantly, after stepping on a patch of ice in a McDonald's parking lot
After eating breakfast
I was found face down on the ground.
It would have been comical had it not hurt so badly.
I felt & must have looked like a pancake being flipped on one side.
(and you have my blessing to laugh!)
When I landed,
One hand held my Diet Coke, cushioning the fall on that left hand
I busted my chin
Cut my upper gums
Busted my right knee
Hit my right wrist and hand hard
My right side is sore.
There is a tiny, straw hole size bruise by my left eye ...
My cup's straw must have hit near my eye when falling.
Tore a hole in my favorite jeans.
But I have my eyesight, and I didn't lose any teeth - silver lining
Glory to God!

Thankfully, I had on boots, jeans, thick coat.

My husband reached out his hand to help me stand.
Tears to the car
Tears on the way to church
Tears slightly at church.
And our 5th grade Sunday school lesson was on
Jesus' birth.
Because of Christmas.
And the lesson brought sweet tears to my eyes
Because life can be hard
One minute we are fine
The next we are suffering
We are falling

There I was bleeding in church
Aren't we all bleeding in church?
And I praise our Jesus
Who lived and died for us ...
Who suffered for us ...
To give us eternal life.
We are so desperate for Him.

Most words associated with "fall" are negative.
Fall out
Fall away
Fall down
Fall captive
Fall from grace

Why do we fall away, per se, from Jesus?
We all receive that worldly invitation
And if we aren't on stable ground
Our feet will slip right out from under us.

Is it pride? Like Satan.
Or maybe we can't quite grasp that following Jesus means
Life or death
Maybe we don't take God seriously.
Maybe we don't take the consequences seriously.
Life's pain lassoes us by the ankles to drag us down

One certain thing
Falling hurts
Falling away from Jesus results in a
Bruising, battering, and splattering

And when one falls,

We usually drag others down.

How can we stand?
Reach out and take Jesus' hand.

How do we stand firm?
Stand up for Jesus.

How do we remain standing?
Stand for Jesus.
Fall in love with Jesus ... He is heart-capturing
Fall down on your knees before Jesus ... He is breath-taking
Fall captive to Jesus ... He is captivating

Standing for Jesus is
Our life's calling
Jesus took the fall that we might stand.

When life beckons us to fall

Follow Jesus

May we strive to be the strong one
Offering others a hand up.
When pain is severe and befalling
Don't sever ties.
Collapse into Jesus' arms that are calling
And persevere.

"To him who is able to keep you from falling
and to present you before his glorious presence
without fault and with great joy"
Jude 24

As a missions writer
I dedicate this post to
God bless you, Malaysia.
God remembers you
I remember you
 Prayers for you.
Stand for Jesus.

Friday, December 6, 2013


We are in the midst of an ice storm
In Texas.
We are so blessed to still have electricity.
We are doubly blessed to have a warm home
To have food 
To have each other
To have
To have Jesus.

We have to be prepared for life's storms.
They will come.
What will hold us up through life's storms?
The storms that weigh heavy
The storms that threaten to break us
The storms that cloud everything living
The storms that seek to bind
"The Lord is my shepherd
Psalm 23
Simple as that.
In other words:
Lord, you are all I need.

Through the cold
He brings warmth
He brings life
He brings stability
He brings freedom

To have
And it is that simple.
We can't trust ourselves.
We can't even trust what we think about
Over-rated is self-esteem
So unpredictable it seems
It will lie to you whenever it deems

Self is here
Self is there
Self is everywhere

Self can’t be trusted
Was given a chance, but got busted
For after others it lusted

Christ-esteem is a worthy endeavor
He doesn’t change, the same forever
Will He lie to you? No, not ever

Is a lethal infection
That needs a Christ injection
By Shelli Littleton Copyright 2013

Only in God can we trust.

We can have
each other
self esteem

But without Jesus
We are utterly destitute.

See the big picture

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Matthew 14: 25-31 leapt off the page at me
in a brand new way.
25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
There is greatness here.
What I had never noticed before was
Peter gave Jesus a command.
Peter asked Jesus to prove Himself -
To prove He was who He said He was.
He didn't listen or recognize Jesus.
I often hear people praise Peter because
At least he had the courage to get out of the boat.
And while this may be true ...
If he would have listened and believed
Jesus would have come to him.
Jesus was on His way to him.
Seems like that is the nature of things ...
How many have asked Jesus to prove Himself?
I couldn't count them.
"Are you the king of the Jews?"
In living and in dying.
It's unbelievable that we have the audacity to
Command Jesus
Do this or that for me ...
Prove you are who you say you are.
But will we simply listen?

Yes, like Peter,
One minute Jesus will say
"On this rock I will build my church"
And the next minute
"Get behind me, Satan."

God often gives us our way ...

And we fall flat on our faces.
Because ...
We didn't trust.
We couldn't wait.
We wouldn't listen.
Should've, Would've, Could've
Because Mary found favor with God and listened,
"Merry Christmas" was found
wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
Because Joseph heard God and truly listened
King Herod could never see.
The Magi listened and followed the star to ...
The Majestic ...
To truest Stardom
A maze of incredible events led to
An amazing birth
Because of the ones who listened to God.

If Jesus had a Christmas list ...
I think His #1 wish
Would be for us to simply ...

Will you be the one who will listen?  

Fall on your knees
Oh hear ...
And listen to the One you need.

Look at the proof ...
What God will do with ONE
who will simply listen.

Seize the season.

"For my eyes have seen your salvation."
Luke 2:30
Lord, let me be one to listen.