Thursday, July 24, 2014

Vacation Postcard 

We are on vacation in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Two nights ago, Kevin, the boys, and I toured the historic bathhouse row in downtown Hot Springs. These famous bath houses use steaming hot water that comes up from the ground out of several natural springs. Our family walked in front of the bathhouses on the main street and admired their stunning architecture, and we walked behind the bathhouses on the Grand Promenade and saw the water bubbling to the surface and the steam rising up out of the springs. We all appreciated the beautiful landscaping, the brick pathways, the ivy covered hills, the fireflies glowing, and the antique architecture. “Spa City” is truly a magnificent city! 

Today, we are still on vacation here in Hot Springs, and I get out my Bible to do my morning devotional, and it just so happens that the scripture I read is all about springs.

James 3:10 – 12, “Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus, no spring yields both salt water and fresh.” 

In Hot Springs they built bathhouses on top of springs that were always, consistently hot. Would they have built these spas on springs that were sometimes hot and sometimes cold? I doubt it. Why? Because they were building businesses that needed reliable springs. They needed springs they could count on to always be hot.

The one and only Great God wants to build something on my life. My kids are building lives, and I need to be a steady, reliable spring for them. People are counting on me to be consistent. Am I reliable? Am I always hot? Or am I sometimes hot and sometimes cold?

I thank God that HE is that for me. People will fail. I will fail. God never fails. HE never changes. HE is reliable, faithful, consistent, and trustworthy, and I am supposed to grow more and more like HIM every day. 

It’s been a great vacation! If you haven’t been to Hot Springs, Arkansas, I suggest you take a trip here sometime. It’s a gorgeous town!



Monday, April 14, 2014

I Just Want to Say . . . .

Thank you. Thank you for the blessings that I can touch with my hands – My kids’ dirty hands and strong shoulders, my car that runs. Thank for the blessings that I can hear with my ears – my husbands’ voice reading the Holy Word to our family, the glad voices singing at our church. Thank you for the blessings that I can see – my mother and father now called Nana and Poppa with their streaks of silver hair, laughing and playing with their grandkids. I thank you for the blessings that I can smell – the sweaty 6th graders after they come into my classroom from playing outside, the dirty socks in my laundry basket, reminding me of all the extra clothes we are blessed to have. I thank you for the blessings I can taste – the spaghetti from a jar, the homemade beans and cornbread, the cold cereal and sandwiches, even the quick fast food grabbed on the go – all provided by You. Everything I have, I have because of You, my Savior, my Lord, my Provider, my King . . . . . and I just want to say, “Thank you.”

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"Thriving in the Madness"
I have a confession to make. My life is not perfect. In fact, sometimes it is downright chaotic. In fact, I’m just going to come clean on a few things right here and right now. Here goes.

1.)  I left the house this morning with dirty dishes in the kitchen sink.

2.)  I’m not very good at keeping my laundry done.

3.)  I never fold socks.

I even have pictures to illustrate these shocking admissions.

Exhibit A


Yikes. Dirty dishes left in the sink all day? Don’t show my mother.

Exhibit B


Here is a picture of my overflowing laundry basket. To be completely honest, there is more dirty laundry behind the closet door in this picture, but I didn’t want to burn your retinas with the horror.

Exhibit C


These are my family’s socks, and guess what? They are never folded. I mean, never. My whole family knows, if you want socks, you go and find a matching pair in the basket.

I did not take a picture of my husband’s bathroom sink. There are limits to this madness. I mean, whyinthenameofallthatisholy can that man not learn to put the cap on his toothpaste and wipe his sink out?


Why am I “coming clean” about all of this? Well, my husband has been preaching a series at our church this month entitled, “March Madness,” and I’ve been thinking a lot about how to not just survive the madness of life, but to actually thrive in it, and I’ve come to a few realizations.

Realization 1 – We all have “madness.”

I am well aware that the things I am calling Madness in my life are very, very minor. There are people at this moment who are dealing with Madness that I can’t even comprehend. There are people who are battling illness, watching their precious children battle illness, searching for a job, in the middle of a divorce; Christians are being persecuted for their faith – This is all Madness. I have learned that we all have Madness. There may be people who hide their madness better. There may be people whose Madness is not visible, but we all have our own chaos that we are dealing with.  You are not the only person who is struggling with Madness right now – I promise.

Realization 2 – We thrive in the madness by knowing the difference between the temporary and the eternal.

It gives me great peace of mind when I remember that all of this Madness – whether it is big Madness or small Madness – is just temporary. I have an eternal home in Heaven waiting for me, because I have made Jesus Christ the Lord of my life, so why should I let anything earthly get me down?

Remember, the only thing you can take to Heaven with you is OTHER PEOPLE. So, what that means to me, is that I am going to make every effort to express my love to my family and work on my relationships with them tonight, and I am going to try to get the dishes done, but if it doesn’t happen, oh well. The most important job I have is making sure I know Jesus and my children know Jesus. Their homework, meals, baths, laundry, and sports are all temporary. I must remind myself of this often.

In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter if my kids miss their bath tonight, but it DOES matter if I neglect praying with them tonight.  

When this temporary, earthly life makes no sense, offers no stability or peace, or is just stinking frustrating, remind yourself of this powerful scripture -

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

In all of the Madness of life, remember, that Jesus is Lord and that true peace is only found when you focus your life on Him.

Have an awesome day!



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Cinnamon Coffee Cake
I certainly don’t consider myself a gourmet chef, but I think it is fun to share some of the “old-standbys” from our family. Occasionally I will share recipes on my blog that would really give you a “taste” of what it’s like around our house. (ha, ha, pun intended)

Here’s a recipe I started making almost fifteen years ago when I found myself desperate to make a fast “breakfast-y” dish for a “Payday Breakfast” at work, or a treat for a Sunday School class, or something for a brunch party. I love this recipe because I usually have all of the ingredients in my kitchen, and I don’t have to go to the store, and it is super yummy! It’s great served with coffee, juice, or milk, and some awesome fresh cut fruit or melon. Sometimes I even make it at home, and it is “Fouts Kid-Approved!”

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

¼ cup vegetable oil
1 egg
½ cup milk
1 ½  cups flour
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt

Mix all above ingredients together. Pour mixture into a greased 9x9 pan.

¼ cup brown sugar
1 tblsp. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tblsp. melted butter

Sprinkle topping over batter.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes.