Friday, October 31, 2014


Fragrances, colors, glances, foods, expressionsthe assortment of life's unexpected occurrences that jog our memories.

Jog my memory. Don't jog my memory. It can be bittersweet, can't it?

That's what I've been juggling in my mind all afternoon, since I picked up my daughter from her volunteer job. She greeted me at the car with a handful of candy from our church's trunk or treat.

As I looked at the candy, I said, "She always made sure I had plenty of tootsie rolls." The tears pooled and fell.

"You miss her, don't you, Momma?"


While I spend my days writing, she spends her days across the globe in language learning.

Memories are a precious thing. People are a precious thing. We don't always realize it until we can't reach them. Until we can no longer see them.

The ones who we can only see in thoughts and dreams.

Filter your pain through God's pane.

And grab the ones near and love them.

The ones that

don't put the toilet paper on correctly
mess up too many dishes
track in leaves all over the clean floor
leave their belongings strewn about
don't do and say the things we wish they did
don't get the job done to satisfaction

Choose to love. Demand less. Expect less. Make memories.

Don't be too tired to play.

Don't say, "Another day."

Monday, October 27, 2014


This post is about me. I'm sorry! But the sweetest lady and writer friend, Cynthia Herron, tagged me last week to share 20 random things about myself. Bear with me!
And by the way, Cynthia's list is fun and sweet, so I'm linking it here, "The 25 Tidbit Challenge."

1. How tall are you?

I'm 5'5" and praying I stay that way. After 46 years, I found out earlier this year that I have scoliosis ... slight curvature of the spine at the top and bottom.

2. Do you have a hidden talent? What is it?

Brace yourself.

Do you remember "Froggy" from The Little Rascals? I can talk just like him. It hurts my throat though.

This is so non-feminine, but I can burp any time I want to. You simply swallow air. And I can make that noise under my arm. I'll leave it at that. These talents were appreciated in my youth. Close friends requested my talented demonstrations!

(I don't like the word "burp" and am completely embarrassed that I wrote it here ... and when my daughters were little, I taught them to avoid that word and instead to say "I had 'air'" ... yes, I did.)

3. What is your biggest blog-related pet-peeve?

Spam comments

4. What is your biggest non-blog-related pet peeve?

When people smack their food. It has bothered me since I was a kid. It gives me chills. I'm sorry!

5. What's your favorite song?

The More I Seek You by Kari Jobe ... but I love any song that makes me soar.

6. What's your favorite Etsy shop that isn't yours?

What is Esty?

7. What's your favorite way to spend free time when you're alone?

Reading, writing, and arithmetic ... just kidding!

But I do love to read, write, and watch Property Brothers on HGTV ... the girls are begging me to find a way to be on "the brother's" show. They really just miss our granite countertops! And well, they may have a slight crush on the brothers. :)

8. What's your favorite junk food?

Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream ... Blue Bell or Baskin Robbins ... I've loved it since I was a child. The first cone I ever got had mint chocolate chip ... I took the first lick, and my ice cream scoop fell on Baskin Robbins's floor right there in the Tyler, Texas, mall. They gave me a new scoop.

9. Do you have a pet or pet(s)? If so, what kind and what are their names?

Yes, I now have three cats and two sheep.

Sandy, the beige sheep, and Bindi, the black sheep of the family

Shelli with Sandy

Aslan with the two kittens we found back in the summer, Blue and Hermione.
For those of you who remember when we found them, they are really getting big, aren't they?!
And they are the sweetest things. Aslan still isn't crazy about them.
10. What is your #1 favorite fiction and non-fiction books?

This question is so unfair. Out of order, non-fiction has to go to Beth Moore ... she helped me fall in love with God. Any of her works make me love Him more.

Shelli and Karalee with Beth 2010 at Life Today taping

Beth hugging on Karalee and Katelyn ... one of the sweetest moments of my life.
I began her Bible studies before the girls were born ...
using them to help seek God's direction in my life.
Fiction? I loved Savannah by Eugenia Price. And believe it or not, Scarlett, the sequel to Gone With The Wind. I really don't have favorites though.

11. What is your favorite beauty product?

I clean my face with Cetaphil every night.

12. When were you last embarrassed?

A few weeks ago, at a high school football game, I accidentally walked into the men's restroom.

13. If you could drink one beverage (besides water) for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Diet grape soda

14. What's your favorite movie?

Peter Pan (Disney version) ... I laugh so much through this movie. When Nana the dog waves ... hilarious. The girls and I often wave like that ... we know where "the wave" came from!

15. What were you in high school: prom queen, nerd, cheerleader, jock, valedictorian, band geek, loner, artist, prep?

In high school, though I had many friends, I was a bit of a loner at times. My parents divorced right before middle school, and when my mother remarried, we had to move to another city. We moved from Tyler, Texas, to Terrell, Texas. So, I was trying to find my way in life. However, I was in the drill team, honor society, voted "Homecoming Queen," "Most Beautiful," and "Class Favorite."

I don't know how that happened. Only God can do something with seemingly nothing. I was truly a disaster on the inside. My family falling apart was tragic to my heart.

16. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

I love Texas. I can't imagine living anywhere else except in a little cottage with two mice at Disney World! But where my husband goes, I go; and where God leads, I hope to follow.

17. PC or Mac?

PC, but I have never used a Mac ... so I can't really say I have a preference.

18. Last romantic gesture from a crush, date, boy/girlfriend, spouse?

When I was fishing ... the day after, my husband said that he loved watching me fish and was reminded of our early days. We have been married for nearly 28 years.

19. Favorite celebrity?

Mickey Mouse

Karalee and Katelyn with Mickey ... on Katelyn's Make-A-Wish trip.
Katelyn is our cancer survivor.
Oh, I like Johnny Depp, too.

20. What blogger do you secretly want to be best friends with?

My blogger friends are becoming my very dearest friends. I've only met one in person.

Donna Pyle and me at Beth Moore's Siesta Scripture Gathering 2010 ...
my hair and the humidity=lovely

However, I would like my best friends to blog, too. :)

Your turn! If you are up to it, tell me one random thing about yourself! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014


It was an extra early morning.

As my husband walked out the door, he cautioned, "Don't let the closet scare you. Your clothes rack fell."

Oh, great, I think to myself. Really? What else can go wrong?

"Thanks for letting me know." I closed the garage door behind him.

As I walked into the closet, it boasted disaster. And four days later, my clothes still remained sprawled out on the floor. Still attached to hangers.

On his way home, my husband called to say that he had stopped at Lowe's to purchase items to repair the closet rack.

The evening went as usual. Dinner. Walks. Property Brothers. Good movie.

Near bedtime, I said, "We aren't going to fix the closet tonight, are we? I'm so tired." Please say no.

"Yes! It won't take long."

Trudging back to the bedroom closet, I noticed he was raring to go. Drill. Screws. He said, "This rack was held up by mere plastic and one screw. We'll go through and replace them all." You sure are enthusiastic. I'm not.

But upon investigation, I noticed that one shelf was the only one with plastic ... the rest were strong and stable, metal holders. I showed my husband. "How odd," I said.

The shelf was fixed. Metal holders. Three screws. My clothes won't fall now.

The clothes that I choose to return.

"I'm not putting these clothes on the rack just yet. By the looks of it, I've got some weeding out to do." I scolded myself.

Sometimes areas in our lives need weeding out. There are areas that need hanging up.

My grandmother hanging clothes on the line to dry reeled through my mind. If the weight was too heavy for the clothespin, the fabric would fall. She'd have to brush off the debris. Oh, how I wish I had a picture of her hanging out clothes. Priceless.

The breakdown in our lives often reveals that some area needs to be turned over to God for security and strength. Entirely.

We place too much weight on ourselves to find that we can't maintain enduring strength alone. We need help.

Sometimes we have to change the angle of our lens to realize that something is wrong. To see the truth. The color is different. This is too much.

When everything seems to fall apart and it seems we are continually brushing off our knees, the hope remains that we are still attached to the One.

It's really a quick fix. We don't even need an early start. And God already paid the price.

Oh yes, Jesus came down to offer repair.

When the fabric of our lives seems to fall apart, there is One who enables us to hang in there.

The One found hanging on a cross.

Friday, October 17, 2014


Things change.

Right in the midst of life.

How dare it?

Stretching the legs, I walked out to the property line to meet my neighbor, who was waiting there.

"Everything okay? What's wrong?" I ask.

"Have you seen the baby goat? It's been missing since this morning."

"No, we just got home from church." I pause. "Oh, no." My heart sank.

"There are huge claw marks on the fence-line. Panther, coyote ... something probably got it."

Stranger. I hope the girls and I will be safe out walking. It was only a baby, but it was a big, chunky baby.

"No trace?"

"No trace."

Yeah, it was "just a goat" ... but it was a sweet one. And we enjoyed his presence on our walks. He always met us at the fence. My heart hurt. My girls' hearts hurt. We felt uneasy knowing something was out there ... that strong, that dangerous.

It's hard to see clearly through pain.

I woke up this morning with a severe headache. Stumbling through the darkness, I fumbled my way into the kitchen to put a bite of sustenance on my stomach followed by Excedrin.

Crawling back under the warm covers, in the darkness, I thought about the pain. With no apparent choice, I grabbed my head. The simple compression, simple touch, seemed to relieve it through blurred vision. Tears pooled.

Pain ... makes you appreciate the times of ease. When every nerve is relaxed, when life feels good. When life doesn't throb.

But it also makes you realize how easily passing over to Jesus would be. Just to be pain-free. To grab the hand offering aid.

I lay there thinking about the Ebola scare. We are so near Dallas. We have several being watched in the county. Two schools are closed in our city because a nurse who aided the infected patient had kids that went to those schools. She informed the school, and now the school is taking precaution.

The evening prior while watching the news, I told my husband, "If I contracted that disease, I wouldn't last a week." Why, I barely survived the intestinal symptoms of appendicitis back in March. And three weeks after my surgery, I thought extreme intestinal distress from an apparent antibiotic reaction would surely kill me. I'd never been so weak. He agreed. He always tells me I need more meat on my bones.

My daughter smiled. "At least I know where I'll go when I die," she declared.

"You surely do." I returned the smile.

Change. Pain. We can't avoid it. But it's nothing new to God. Jesus is no stranger to pain. 

God is in control. If life were easy here, what would we have to look forward to? Why would we long for a heavenly home? Why would we long for the arms of Jesus?

God knows the enemy who claws the ground ... looking for us ... desiring to devour us. Why, He allowed it. He is in control. God in us gives us the power to be joyful, to see differentlythrough blurred visionto see in full color in the journey ... in the throbbing pain ... in the change ... in the midst.

Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise! —Revelation 5:12

Friday, October 10, 2014

Twitter and Pornography?

That's certainly not a one word title, is it?

Pornography. I can't believe I'm even using that word in a title. Pornography?

I may never live this one down.

I confess. I must be a hypocrite. I have a Twitter account. As a writer, I understand I need one. I need a social media presence.

And to this point, I've not had reason to fear or be cautious.

But recently, I had two new followers on Twitter. I always look at a new follower's page to see if this is someone I should respectfully reciprocate the follow. Is this another writer? Is this someone who follows God?

Pornography. Both Twitter pages were pornographic. Outright. No other description exists. The movie Fireproof scrolled through my mind. I refused to scroll ... I blocked them.

I suppose I'm just naïve enough to be the only person who didn't realize Twitter allowed that. And do they allow it? Was this something that simply fell through the cracks? Does Facebook allow this?

Obviously, there are no internet restrictions. I realized that the first time I googled "Whitehouse" and a graphic picture popped up coupled by my McAfee virus protection warning:

"Whoa! Are you sure you want to go there?"

No, I didn't want to go there.

And please know I don't mean to slander Twitter or anyone else. There is much good there. And I'm not comparing them to a spider. I do compare the enemy to a spider.

This is a dilemma that I'm not certain how to handle. I've always written to help others or pass on knowledge that I've learned, the easy or hard way. But this is one of those times where I need knowledge.

So I'm asking.

There is such a difference between seeking the bad and it seeking you. Pop-ups can be blocked on computers. But can you block those kind of followers on Twitter from ever following you? Is there protection available? Can you protect your eyes? Your heart?

I don't know.

But my first thought was ... children are on Twitter. What if these pornographic sites "follow" children ... and the kids look at their site, like I did?

And that may never happen to me again ... I may never get "followed" by something like that again ... but it did happen.

As a kid, I'd be so excited to go buy the next issue of Seventeen magazine. I'd run up to that store's magazine shelf to see a picture of Scott Baio or Shaun Cassidy or Andy Gibb ... and glance over, down the rack, to see the enemy glaring right at me. Magazines so distasteful there in full view ... being the tempter. Ready to ensnare. I'd look at the poor fellow standing there, and my young heart would sink for him. He'd clearly been entrapped. I'd get what I came for and get out of there. 

I wish I could say my childhood was without mistakes. Oh, a different set of mistakes. But I wish I had been a Pollyanna. Oh, I was so close. But my mistakes caused me to feel just enough discipline from my heavenly Father to know that I don't want to go down any outright, brazen disobedient road again.

Obedience is the path to take. But we must be on guard.

In this world, we can be following on the path so innocently ... only to discover ourselves entrapped in a web.

The enemy is intentional.

The enemy is there, in the dark, waiting for someone to devour.

God is there, in the light, waiting for someone to reward.

Guard your hearts.

Parents, guard your hearts.

Parents, guard your children's hearts.


Thursday, October 2, 2014


My eyes crafted a special uniqueness and painted an undying beauty regarding my grandmother from the moment I could stretch out my once tiny hands and arms to her. So naturally, and so naturally, her wedding band was equally special. Equally beautiful. It only made sense ... and with such ease. In my mind's eye, I still visualize her twisting her band with a nervous hand when she felt lost for words.

Was it her first marriage? No.

That little band represented much in this world today ... the imperfections. The imperfections in this world. The imperfections in our worlds. The imperfections that seek to slay. And oh, how they can slay. Just given the chance.

That silver band graced with diamonds was missing two stones.

One on this upper corner

And one on the opposite bottom corner

Was my grandmother happy about that? You be the judge. She had taken it to the jeweler on more than one occasion to replace the stones. The stones just wouldn't stay. And though perfection seeking, one by one, they would fall again and again.

Was it time for a new band?

Not on your life. She loved that band. She never took it off. Was she crazy in love with my Pa-Paw? Sometimes. Sometimes not. I remember her teasing to hit him over the head with a cast iron skillet. And he stopped smoking the day an ash set her dress on fire. Yeah, that story was repeated over and over. They always teased. They often got on each other's very last remaining nerve.

But my grandmother had experienced a very turbulent first marriage. Most of her stories died with her due to shame. After surviving that, I believe she just wanted stability. And I think she had discovered, as we all who have gone astray, the importance of obedience to God. And I don't mean to blast her first husband, who I have been led to believe was my biological grandfather, and whom I never met. In all fairness, I only heard her side. And he never came around to offer a second. I was okay with that, too. I had a Pa-Paw, and he didn't have to be flesh and blood. We belonged to each other because we loved each other. Plain and simple. We were there for each other. And yeah, his history before my grandmother died with him. I wish they hadn't been ashamed of their pasts. They had so much to teach me. And repentant hearts should never feel shame.

After my grandmother's passing, while her spirit went missing in soaring freedom and while her precious body was being prepared to be transferred to the funeral home, out in the hospital parking lot, my uncle made it clear that he wanted her wedding ring to be mine. Melted my exhausted heart.

"I'll take it," I said, my mind still reminiscing my hands touching her hair, her cheeks, her hands for the very last time. 

And since that time, I've been trying to determine what to do with the beautiful thing, the beautiful thing tucked away in my heart's closet.

Do I get it fitted to wear? Do I try once again to have the stones replaced?

The beautiful thing that reminds me of her. Of her beautiful life. Of her imperfect life. Of the things that were missing in her life. Of the things that went missing in her life. Of the things she just couldn't quite get right in her life. Of the things that sought to slay her life. And oh, I know they secretly slayed her.

And yeah, that ultimately lead us straight to Jesus, the repairer of the broken.

Because Jesus is the only one who makes us beautiful. He's the only one who perfects us. He's the only one we are missing in life. He's the only one we should never be without. He's the only one who can take our fallen lives and help us mend unashamed. He's the only one who can help us get this life right. He's the only one who can roll away the stones in this life that are sheer barriers to Him.

We can't replace the void—the empty holes—with children, with hopes deferred, with a new spouse, with a parent, with prescription medicines, or with a new jewel.

When every corner of our lives seems to fall apart, again and again, when the band tightening our world threatens to kill, when the temptation comes to just go missing ...

Jesus is the only Stone—the Cornerstone—who remains.

Dear Lord, let me live and die imitating her imperfect faith. Can I? May I? The faith that trickled down to me. Down to my girls. Let it continue to trickle. And may the course of action, the missing pieces, continue to perfect to resemble you more.