Category Archives: Relationships

I Have A Teenager.

JH - young

These eyes have owned me since the first time I saw them.  I’m pretty sure that he knows that by now.

13 years ago today, he made me a mother.  And, what a beautiful journey it has been. There are some who have told me, “Just wait until they are teenagers….”  If you’re a mom, it’s probably been said to you and not so much in a positive way.  I have chosen to enter these years with “the best is yet to come” as the foundation for our home and for my relationship with this beautiful soul that I get to do life with every single day.

John Henry, every year with you gets better and better.  Every season with you teaches me something about love, forgiveness, and always looking for the best in others.  One of the most, if not THE most, amazing qualities about you is that I never hear you say one negative or demeaning word about any person.  You have spoken kindly about every teacher, every friend.  You continually remind me to give someone the benefit of the doubt.  You continually find the good in others.

You have a righteous anger for those who are treated unjustly.  For those who are made to feel less than they should.  Your compassion for people to truly know and believe that they are who God says they are is the banner you wave so fiercely.  And, I could not be more proud of the man you are.

Thank you for valuing human life and for reminding me to always value others.

Thank you for being my protector, the man of the house, when your Daddy Kris is gone.

Thank you for always trying to make life easier for those around you.

Thank you for striving to do your best in everything.

Thank you for understanding technology better than I do.

Thank you for being the household Math tutor.

Thank you for introducing me to cool music.

Thank you for not being embarrassed when I dance.

Thank you for looking out for your sister even when she drives you crazy.

JH - siblings

Thank you for being a gentle, big brother to Jett. And, thank you for letting him play the Playstation with you.

JH - with jett el toro

Thank you for being you.

You are not afraid to endure hard things.

You are not afraid to put yourself out there and try something new.

You are not afraid to admit when you’re wrong.

You are not afraid to love deeply.

You are brave.  You are brilliant.  You are funny.  You are full of compassion and love.  And, I cannot believe you are a teen.  Time certainly flies when you’re having fun.  What a fun 13 years it’s been.  And, as always, the best is yet to come.

Happy Birthday, Teenager.

I love you more and more every day.

Love, Mom

JH - Dusty

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Filed under Kid Stuff, life, making an impact, Motherhood, Relationships

I Could Write For Days.

I could write for days about how he lavishes mercy on people. How he rarely has to forgive, because it’s unusual for him to take offense to something said or done. Because, he is the master at making allowances for other’s faults. I could spend all day telling you how he pours out wisdom over and over and over again. How he has saved me from so many blunders. How he has kept me so many times from letting my words fall at the wrong time at the wrong place. I could tell you how much he loves God’s Word. How much he loves His Maker. How much he loves doing what he does. How good he is at doing what he does. How much he just loves. Doesn’t judge. I could tell you so many things.

How he is the most fun person on earth to sing Garth Brooks songs with.

How he can make you laugh harder than any other person.

How he can laugh at himself.

How adorable it was that his favorite part of Ireland was riding on this site seeing bus.

I could spend all day sharing all of the hilarious things, all of the inspirational things, all of the love-filled things about him.

But, it would take an eternity to tell you what it’s like to call him Dad.

It would take forever to share the stories of what kind of father he was to me when I was growing up. How he practiced patience. Made me laugh. Spent huge amounts of time with me. Didn’t buy into the “quality time is better than quantity.” He knew quantity mattered. So, he spent as much time as he possibly could with me. And, he still does.

Every single day that Kris is gone, he will call and ask me, “What do you need me to do today?” I thank him over and over again for helping me. He replies, “It’s a joy.” I called him the other day to say thank you for picking up the kids from school. He responds, “I love spending time with my grandchildren. I’m glad I get to do what I do for them.”

He does everything without complaining.

He does everything with immense joy. With immense grace. With immense love.

Dad, I could not imagine a more wonderful father than you. I could not dream of a more amazing, a more present grandfather to John Henry, Anna, and Jett. I am so thankful that I get to call you my pastor, my mentor, my friend. But, nothing compares to being able to call you Dad. Nothing. You are the best. Period.

Happy Birthday, Dad. Thank you for making life filled with so much grace, so much love, and sooooo much fun.

I love you,






Filed under God Stuff, gratitude, parenting, Relationships, Writing

Overlooking Offenses.

Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs. (Proverbs 19:11 NLT)


Sometimes, we think that if we overlook a wrong, then we won't be validated or defended. Remember, Jesus was wronged. Yet, He went it the cross like a lamb led to slaughter, and he opened not His mouth. We are never more like Jesus when we overlook an offense. And, we earn respect when we do.


I don't always keep my mouth shut about an offense. I don't think, if we are honest, any of us do. However, I have learned one thing about choosing to “vent” an offense. To make sure the offense is redeemed in that vent. In other words, don't share an offense without the intent of it leading to the redemption of it. In doing so, I am careful who I share, or vent, offenses to. I always know that if share an offense with my father, his response will not be, “I can't believe that person” or “I would be done with that person.” He first acknowledges my hurt and says he's sorry. But, then he quickly helps me see the hurt the offender is speaking from and also makes me look within myself at what may be drawing it out of that person. Then, I am able to release forgiveness, and overlook the offense moving forward. And so, it is redeemed.


One of the greatest examples of overlooking an offense is when King David traveled to Bahurim, and Shimei, a member of Saul's family came out to curse him. Shimei threw gravel at David and cursed him and accused him of stealing Saul's throne. David's officer, Abishai, couldn't take it and said, “Let me go over and cut off his head!” But, David responded, “Leave him alone and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to do it. And perhaps the Lord will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses today.”


Later in scripture, Shimei begs for mercy. But, to Abishai, this was no small thing. No small offense. To throw gravel at a king and curse the Lord's anointed was a huge deal. Most of us would have agreed with Abishai's response and wanted Shimei punished. But, David shocks his men seeking justice and says “what do I have in common with you?” In other words, how are we even alike? You seek vengeance, and I seek mercy? Ouch. And, then, he says, “Do I not know I am king over Israel?”


Ahhhh. The key to David overlooking an offense. He KNEW who he was. His security was built in knowing who he was. Not in other's opinions of him.


Remember who you are when you are offended. You are a child of the King. You are OF God. Let this truth go deep within you, so you can overlook wrongs. And, when you must vent, make sure redemption is the end result.


Filed under Life Experiences, Relationships, Virtue

The Wonder of 40.

mom - dad recent wp

These two lovebirds celebrate 40 years of marriage today.  I can honestly say, their marriage is better at year 40 than it’s ever been.  Yesterday, Dad asked Mom to accompany him on the EWC stage and share a few of the reasons they’ve survived 40….and each other.  While they both acknowledged their journey hasn’t been without failures, their longevity of marriage is the result of two people who simply continue to make it better.  I thought I’d share what they say has worked for them.

1) Always go back to your first love.

“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first!”
Revelation 2:4

Whatever you did to win his heart in the beginning, keep doing it.

2) Treat your spouse with the same respect you treat others.

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.  32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.  Ephesians 4:31-32

We tend to choose our words with other people a little more carefully.  We make allowances for their faults more easily.  And, we usually show respect to others more intentionally.  Be just as intentional with your spouse.

3) Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!  Song of Songs 2:15

Most marriages survive and recover from the big stuff.  It’s the small, trivial things that can really mess it up.  You can’t accept what you continue to complain about.  You’re going to have to accept certain things that will probably never change.  Choose your battles.  Don’t sweat things that won’t matter tomorrow.

4) Compliment his or her strengths.

So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.  Romans 14:19

Be intentional about praising one another’s strengths.  And, don’t ever bring up his or her weaknesses.  Focus on the good stuff.  Whatever you focus on, you give energy to.  Period.

5) Don’t take your marriage for granted. 

“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.  Remind me that my days are numbered – how fleeting my life is. 5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.”   Psalm 39:4-5 4

Set up guardrails to protect your marriage.  Be mindful that you can fall any minute.  Trust your spouse’s intuition and discernment.  Dad quoted Henry Ford’s advice on a successful marriage (who likened it to his successful business):  “Just the same as in the automobile business, stick to one model.”

6) Don’t keep a record of wrongs.

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.  1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Never, ever bring up past failures or disappointments.  Once it’s forgiven, leave it in the past.

7) Don’t ever give up.

Mom said, “There is no Plan B.”  Don’t make giving up an option.  There is always hope for a better marriage.  Always.

For me, I’m grateful for such an example to look up to.  They both continue to inspire me.  They have imparted good stuff to me that I can apply to my own marriage.

I just hope that after 40 years of marriage, I look as good as they do.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.  I love you both.  And, I’m so glad y’all got married.  Obviously.

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Filed under Love, Marriage, Relationships

Making Allowances.

* Written for The Grip, August 30, 2012

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  Colossians 3:13

It’s easy to remember the forgive part.  Okay, it’s easier.  It’s the first part we tend to overlook:  Make allowance for each other’s faults.  Most of us have a difficult time making allowances for each other’s faults.  In other words, we don’t allow people to fail us.  We forget to make those allowances.  The truth is every person we are in relationship with will fail us.  My spouse will fail me.  My children will fail me.  My friends will fail me.  And, I will fail them.  The key is to not allow those moments to define that relationship.  Instead, we must view it as a moment in time.  A moment where we allowed that person to fail us.  A moment where we forgave them as soon as they did.  A moment.  That’s all.

Even though none of us think of ourselves as perfect, we still have a tough time allowing others to be flawed.  As a parent, I have to constantly remind myself to allow my children fail.  I have to guard against over-parenting.  There are times I try to prevent them from failing instead of letting them make mistakes.    Allowing them to fail.  I want to protect them from failure.  But, if I could protect them from every single failure, they would never see their need for a Savior.

I’m going to fail you.  You’re going to fail me.  When we do, we have a gap.  On one side of that gap is my expectation of you.  On the other side of that gap is what actually happens.  We choose what goes in the gap when someone fails us.  We can fill that gap with bitterness, anger, or hurt.  Or, we can fill that gap with forgiveness, grace, and allowances for that person’s faults.

We choose what goes in the gap.

Paul follows up Colossians 3:13 with this:

14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.  15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.  And always be thankful.

Get up every morning and wrap yourself in love.  Choose peace over being right.  And, be thankful for those people in your life…..

Even when they fail you.


Filed under disappointment, God Stuff, Love, Relationships

Who Is Your Neighbor?

Posted in The Grip – August 2, 2012

I have tried my best to stay out of the Chick-fil-A debates over Mr. Cathy’s position on gay marriage via Facebook and other social networks.  So far, I have been successful.  Many have asked my opinion.  Quite honestly, my opinion doesn’t matter.  When people ask, “What do you think about that?”  I simply respond, “I don’t.”  But for what it’s worth, I will continue to eat at Chick-fil-A, because I like their food.  I will also continue to buy Apple products (a company that supports gay marriage,) because I think the iPhone is the greatest phone ever.  This is all irrelevant to me.

What is relevant to me is this scripture Mark 12:30-31:  “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

That is it.  It’s important that we don’t forget the second part of this scripture.  If it is equally important to the first, then that is a pretty big deal.  We need to love people.  Period.  I recently read an excerpt from a church bulletin that pretty much sums up who our neighbor is.  Kudos to “Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Community” for embracing this scripture in such a bold way:

We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, yo no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds.

 We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our pastor who can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you’re more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in church since little Joey’s Baptism.

 We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion,” we’ve been there too.

 If you blew all your offering money at the dog track, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.

 We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts … and you!

There are times I am lovable.  There are times I’m not.  Don’t believe me?  Ask those closest to me.  But, I am thankful they still love me and accept me in both conditions.  May we discover who our neighbor really is.  And, may we all love them as much as we love ourselves.

No other commandment is greater than these.


Filed under God Stuff, Love, making an impact, Relationships

What the Hulk Taught Me.

It’s really me.  I know, right?  My dad has encouraged me to start posting some of my articles from The Grip to my blog.  So, here goes this one I wrote on the Marvel hero who scared me when I was kid:

I think I’ve said it before.  But, I am certain I learn as much from children as they learn from me.  We took our two oldest kids to see The Avengers.  (Loved the movie, by the way.  I, mean, what’s not to love about men who save the world by flying in iron suits and smashing stuff?)  My 9 year old is a huge fan of Marvel superheroes.  It’s probably a rite of passage into his manhood.  So, I asked him questions throughout the entire movie.

Is Loki good or bad?  Is Thor really his brother?

When I saw the Hulk first get angry and start smashing everyone, even the good guys, I asked him, “Is the Hulk bad?”

He replied, “He isn’t bad, Mom.  He’s just mad.”

His reply pierced my very core.  And, I haven’t stop thinking about it since.

It’s so easy to view other people’s behavior as bad sometimes.  When they say hurtful things.  When their actions hurt those around them.  When they go off on people.  When they seem to be so insensitive to others.  When they appear to be, well, let’s just say it….


Most of the time, these people who hurt us aren’t mean.  They aren’t bad people.  They’re just mad.

There is a deeper rooted issue than what is manifesting on the outside.  The deeper root could be a seed of rejection, envy, or disappointment.  It could be shame or guilt or never feeling good enough.  Whatever the root, it can manifest itself in ways that hurts others.  In the past, I had a difficult time understanding why some people didn’t seem to move beyond playing the role of victim or villain.  Now, I have stopped trying to understand.  That lack of understanding was turning into judgments I didn’t need to make.  My mother has always told me that I can view people as hurting, or I can view them as dangerous.  Once, I began viewing them as hurting, I found it easier to release forgiveness.

Remember, forgiveness is not just about the other person.  It’s about you giving yourself the permission to emotionally move on from being hurt.  It can be also be about setting healthy boundaries in your relationship with that person where you separate yourself emotionally.  And, that is okay.  Christ didn’t reject anyone.  He made everyone feel special.  But, He didn’t let everyone cling onto Him.

Boundaries are okay.  Unforgiveness is not.  May we all have a renewed understanding that most people aren’t bad people.  They’re just mad.  Release the hurts.  Pray they learn they aren’t the deep rooted issues they’ve made themselves to be.  They aren’t who people say they are.  They are who God says they are.

Because, it’s knowing and believing who God says you are that changes everything.

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.  Ephesians 1:4


Filed under disappointment, Relationships