Monday, April 28, 2014


Thirst consumed me.
In all my life, I'd never felt this thirsty.
There I stood in front of all those precious women,
and the only thing that stood between my glass of water and me was ...
the podium.
The appendectomy
and the infection that had spread
 throughout my abdomen had weakened me
the two weeks prior to this speaking engagement.
But I determined, by God's grace,
not to give the enemy victory.
After being handed a microphone
that I would hold throughout the presentation,
my first thought was:
everyone will see my hand shaking.
my right hip muscle decided to go spastic.
It was hilarious, really.
Had I not been advised -
 "never tell people you are nervous,"
I would have shared it.
It deserved a good laugh.
Halfway through the presentation,
the thirst crept in.
I looked across the podium to see my water glass.

I gazed.
I needed.
I thirsted.
I paused.
In those moments that would lapse by,
I thought I might collapse.
And I wondered ...
do I ask for someone to bring it to me?
Do I place this microphone down
and go get it?

I didn't.
There are things we need and never ask for.
Why don't we ask?
We don't feel deserving.
I blamed myself
for not taking a water bottle to the podium with me.
I should have known better, I told myself.
We don't want to be a bother.
Much had already been given.
Was it really important
in the big scheme of things?
I was afraid if I stopped mid-presentation,
in my weakened condition,
I might stumble over my words ...
get side-tracked.
 The need feels out of reach.
It was right there in front of me ...
I could see it ...
But I couldn't reach it.
When we don't feel deserving ...
When we dread being bothersome ...
When we aren't brave enough to ask ...
When we think something is out of reach ...
"... your Father knows
what you need before you ask him."
Matthew 6:8
Doubts, insignificance, fears, timidity -
in spite of my sundry weaknesses,
the Lord replenished my thirst.
He knew my need.
As I poured out my heart to those precious women,
He poured in.
The thirst passed.
I was enabled to press on.
He made me strong.

"Jesus answered,
'Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,  
but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.
Indeed, the water I give them
will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.'"
John 4: 13-14
We are but a vapor in need of a downpour of Jesus.


Friday, April 25, 2014


Bluebonnet season is here!
I wanted to get a new photo for my blog site.
Taking pictures in the Bluebonnets would seem so simple.
But ... it's not.
Waiting for the right flower height,
a sunny day with no rain,
and no wind
can be a feat,
with only about a two week window of opportunity,
to boot.

Texas will seem dry as a bone
until the Bluebonnets come out.
April showers bring April flowers
in Texas,
regardless of what you've heard.
The day arrived.
And I thought you might be interested to see the fun
Bluebonnet Bloopers!
Not quite ready ...
 and are you sure you can't see the Tigger beach towel I'm sitting on?

Not quite ready ... and starting to get a little aggravated here ...
and the sun is so bright.

Oh, the wind ...

Repairing the wind damage ...

The wind again! More aggravated ...

Praying for the nightmare to end!

My attitude began going South
smelled a little like this ...

but we'll focus on the flower.

And then,
lo and behold,
you finally get a decent picture
but humidity has definitely taken hold ...
and this is partly why people think women in Texas
have big hair.


And you realize the first one taken was basically the best.
Why didn't you just stop there?
(the lesson is never learned)

First one taken.
Another funny thing around our household ...
I have a ceramic eagle that I use throughout my book
in reference to a "bad gift."
See below ...


I had taken it down for a speaking engagement,
and look what filled its place ...


Day 1
Day 2

Aslan, our cat, is beginning to become a fixture around here.
Then, this little thing was just inches from me this week,
adding a new dimension to:
"if it had been a snake, it would have bit me!"

It's just a baby diamondback water snack ... I mean snake.

Don't worry ...
it's safe and sound
miles down the road!

The year's first scorpion was discovered
in Karalee's room.
She slept in Katelyn's room that night!
Unfortunately, it's not safe and sound.
And unfortunately, I don't have a picture of it,
but I do have a picture of the tiniest one we found last year ...
it's so tiny, it's almost cute:

This is a piece of a regular sized paper towel.
Oh, and I have a new article out in
WMU's Mission Mosaic magazine
"Bridging the Gap:
Friendships that Cross Age Lines."
If you'd like to order one,
go here.
I had the sweet chance to write about a very dear friend,
who is like an older sister to me ...

Ronda and me. And this is what humidity does to my hair
when I don't dry it with a hair dryer.
We went to Disney back in February.
I never had a chance to post any photos,
so here is my favorite photo ...

Pooh, me, and Tigger (hee, hee!) at the end of a very long day.
The best thing about this photo ... I didn't have to wait in line,
deal with the rain or the wind!

Monday, April 21, 2014


When my grandmother passed away a year ago,
I knew I had to speak at her funeral.
Knowing it would be difficult,
the temptation came to leave the speaking solely to the pastor.
But God gave me a sweet word over her.
I heard,
and after a brief moment of,
"No, no, no"
and then laughter and smiles,
I had to obey Him.
And I wanted to ...
for Him and her.
The funeral came,
and as I got up on that platform to speak -
the platform that ...
I had seen and heard my grandfather lead singing from,
teaching me the words to "Heaven Came Down" ...
the platform that ...
I had stood on in a little country church as a child visitor for VBS and
looked out to see and hear my grandmother sitting in the pew singing ...
the platform that ...
is next to the kitchen door that
I had walked through that I had always heard and I know houses the best made
chicken and dumplings that only those precious folks on this side of Heaven
know how to make ...
and oh, my grandmother could make chicken and dumplings ...
that special little church platform -
I looked down to see my beloved's precious body laying before me ...
in the precious light pink casket she herself picked out.


Overwhelm swallowed me,
and tears began to flow.
My heart was broken.
Life would not be the same without her.
My world had changed.
I grasped my face in my hands.
Only seconds of quietness passed,
and I heard a voice praying out loud for me.
I knew who it was ...
I knew the voice ...
I didn't even have to look up.
The voice was ...
She began interceding for me.
I listened.
Her precious intercession enabled me
to regroup and ...
I have to add that her sister, Margarett,
sitting beside her,
had near heart failure when Mom broke out in prayer.
And every opportunity I receive to speak on surviving hardships
and my mom is present,
I am tickled to pieces to caution the audience that ...
she will start praying out loud for me if she has to ...
if I need intercession;
and after all, it's only fair that I caution them.
"If she starts praying out loud,
don't be afraid.
She will do it.
She will do it!"
(Feel free to hear my Texas twang; won't bother me one bit.)
And I am tickled to pieces that I can count on her to do just that.
She's my momma of all.
When we are going through that hardship
that hurts so much ...
we don't know how we are going to make it
or how we are going to fare on the other end ...
when that platform hurts so much ...

that platform of loss
that platform of pain
that platform of guilt
that platform of abuse
that platform of blame
that platform of illness
that platform of disease
that platform of heartache
when our eyes are swollen from crying,
and we can't seem to lift our faces from our hands ...
we are going to hear our Father's voice.
And we will hear ...
Heaven Came Down.
And we'll listen.
We won't even have to look up.
We'll know it's
And we'll be able to regroup and ...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Recent appendicitis afforded me a glorious trip ...
in an ambulance.
The two EMTs were delightful,
handled me with care,
and transferred me from hospital bed to stretcher
as though I weighed no more than a mere leaf.
I wasn't in tremendous pain on the trip
from one hospital ER location to the main hospital.
No major bumps in the road.
The ride was smooth.
The trip was peaceful.
Arriving at the hospital, the red carpet rolled out ...
medical people came from every location to meet me at the door ...
to offer aid ...
to care for me.
I felt so important.
I couldn't offer thanks enough.
Weeks later ...
my husband said,
"I had a hard time keeping up with the ambulance."
I said, "What? Really? The sirens weren't on."
He said, "The lights were on."
I had no idea.
I didn't feel I was an extreme emergency.
I didn't realize they were treating me that way.
In my mind, they were simply driving me to the other location.
Little did I know that the lights were on.
Thinking back,
I realized I never felt us stop at an intersection ...
We didn't stop.
We sailed smoothly through every intersection
and didn't stop until we safely reached the main hospital.
It all made sense.

At Easter ...
we should realize we are important to God.
Much is going on behind the scenes ...
that we may or may never realize.
It may be years before we realize
something God has done on our behalf ...
to offer aid
to keep us safe
to handle us with care
to offer peace
to show His love
to make a way
to accomplish His purpose in us
to accomplish His purpose

Have you ever been given a gift you didn't realize?
You didn't understand?
A dear friend once gave me a gift ...
a bracelet.
And it's one of the sweetest presents
I've ever received ...
handmade and presented, in love, by a dear friend.
However, when I first evaluated it, I didn't realize it ...
I didn't understand it.
She quickly explained it to me.
She helped me realize it.
It all made sense.
And she included instructions in the bracelet package ...
to help me always remember.

Start on the left to realize the meaning with me ...
There were 3 wise men
who saw a star in the East.
They took 3 gifts to ...
 the King.
He was a Carpenter
and a Fisherman.
He had 12 Disciples that He taught
the Truth.
He shed His blood
on the Cross
and died for our sins.
In 3 days He rose from the dead
and ascended to the Heavens
and now sits at the right hand of God.
And He did all of this for LOVE.
This is what Jesus did for you and me.
The Father had the plan ...
The Son carried out the plan ...
It all makes sense ...
We were an emergency
and the light was turned on ...
 for us ...
to offer aid
to keep us safe
to handle us with care
to offer peace
to show His love
to make a way
to accomplish His purpose in us
to accomplish His purpose
Jesus is a beautiful present.
Jesus is the light.
Instructions were left, God's Word,
handmade and presented
by the One
who yearns to be our dearest friend
to help us realize what He did for us and why ...
Accept Him.
Seek Him.
Love Him.
Meet with Him.
Sail with Him.
Work with Him.
Roll out the red carpet for Him.
Thank Him.
It only makes sense.
Celebrate Easter!
He is Risen!

Thursday, April 10, 2014


God spoke this over my heart recently.
When we give something, someone, or a situation our total focus ...
we are taking our focus off God.
It's a straight ticket ...
a straight spiral down to ...
And since it does not sound like a tropical location,
I, for one, do not want to go there.
My recent appendectomy left me too sick to be there for my cat, Lucy's death.
From lack of strength,
I could barely hold her when she was on her last breath.
But life went on.
The world didn't stand still.
A few days later,
I was stronger,
and I got to thinking about her ...
the whole situation.
I started bawling.
I wanted to.
I wanted to dive right into the situation.
I wanted to give it my total focus.
And get out of my way.
Don't dare hold me back.
I looked at myself in the mirror and said:
"Shelli, WHAT are you doing?
What ARE you doing?"
I realized.
You see, it starts out so innocent.
I began to ask,
"Why couldn't she have lived until I was stronger?"
"Why couldn't I have had just one more good day with her?"
"Why couldn't I have been there for her passing?"
(And this can be applied to my grandmother's passing a year ago, as well) 
And it goes from an innocent
 - to -
with a stiff hand ...
and ...

a glare in our eye and a grit in our teeth.

Matthew 6: 19-21, 24 says:
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy,
and where thieves break in and steal.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where moth and rust do not destroy,
and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also.
No one can serve two masters.
Either he will hate the one and love the other,
or he will be devoted to one and despise the other."
If our thoughts and our talk are consumed with
our problems,
leaving God out of the equation,
we've been robbed.

God's Word says we can't love both.

If we give our hardships total focus
- the love -
more than likely, we will despise God for them.
 And though our total focus on our hardships
may not be intentional love;
we are undeniably showing them,
by total focus,
the love.
We must have proper balance ...
for sanity ...
for peace of mind ...
for obedience ...
for protection ...
for trust ...
for love ...

We must focus on God

and purpose to see our hardships
... in His light
... in His hand.

Thursday, April 3, 2014


"Hobbies?" asked our daughter.
"Yes, many older people get a hobby of some sort when they retire."
(And we mull over a list of assorted hobbies and
examples our older friends have displayed.)
"Dad already has a hobby," she exclaimed.
"Pick up sticks."
We laughed ourselves silly!
Five ... Six ... Pick up sticks.
(Go ahead and sing!)
She was so cute and accurate.
We have many trees on our property.

Limbs are continually falling ... big ones ...
and small ones ...
And it's not uncommon to see my husband walking with a stick,
an armful of wood,
or driving the lawn mower with the trailer full of wood.
Sometimes my daughter drives the mower
and points out sticks for my husband to pick up.
And they have a glorious time doing that!
Picking up the big sticks - logs - can hurt.
They hurt the back.
They hurt the gut.
And there are ones called "widow-makers" ...
if they fall on you,
they kill you.
And gloves are necessity because of snakes.
Yes, walking the property takes alertness and caution.

They take all the sticks - wood - to a burn pile.
Huge ones that lap over the pit ...
and small ones.
And when that pile gets really big, we burn it.
That is a great time for S'mores!
And that is a great time to call friends over.

But it reminded me of all the sticks we pick up ...
All the sticks we carry and never lay down ...
Sticks of fear ...
Sticks of regret ...
Sticks of failure ...
Sticks of ugliness ...
Sticks of resentment ...
Sticks of abandonment ...
Sticks of discouragement ...

“Come to me,
all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest. 
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls."
Matthew 11: 28-29
Seven ... Eight ... Lay them straight.
What sticks have we unintentionally picked up?
What sticks are we carrying?
What sticks need to be laid down?
We must lay them straight.
Take those sticks to the burn pile.
Refuse to let them hurt your gut.
Don't let them kill you.
Lay them straight down.
Burn them.
Take them to God.
Call Family-in-Christ and celebrate.

Nine ... Ten ... Begin Again.

Thank you, Father God, for new beginnings.

(Caution: Picking them up again will only cause burn. Resist.)