Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Here's a list of things my husband does that drive me crazy, but make me love him even more:

*He uses a spatula to put peanut butter on bread

*He takes 30 minutes to load a dishwasher because everything has to be completely clean already, and put into the dishwasher spaced evenly 

*He drinks more coffee than should be humanly possible

*He can't fold clothes to save his life

*He gets up multiple times to straighten the blinds  because they aren't perfectly straight

*He can talk like Donald Duck

*He has spikey hair and I think he'll still be rockin' the same style when he's 90 years old

*He will sit and discuss deep topics with our 4-year-old for hours

*He can sew (and I can't)

*He's an amazing cook

*He falls asleep any time he sits still

*When he gets mad, his eyes get really dark green

*He hugs everyone

*He secretly loves our cats

*He smokes a pipe...like an old man...but I think its cute

*He's really great at putting IKEA furniture together

*He works so hard at a job that he hates, just because he loves his family, and wants to provide for us. 
This is the one that means the most to me.  He has worked construction for almost 7 years, and has been burnt out with it for probably 5 years, but still works as hard as he did on day 1.  He has never called in sick, has never missed work, except for the days surrounding his brother's death. (and he would have still worked if his bosses hadn't insisted he take a few days off).  His willingness to hurt his body everyday to provide for our family shows me how much he loves me.  I am so impressed by his work ethic, and his sense of responsibility for us.  He is amazing  :)

*When he gets tired, he starts giggling like a little girl.  (I just needed to add a funny one at the end)

                                            I love you, Jesse!   You Rock!

Monday, May 2, 2011


A few days ago I got a call from "Jane".  She said they made it to where they were headed, and are staying with her grandmother.  I guess that's good.  She said that CPS is still investigating claims that the baby wasn't being taken care of, and that I might receive a call from them.  So, I think the drama is over now and they are in a place to get some help, and make a better life for their daughter.  I pray that they make some tough decisions that will be what's best for the baby, and not themselves.  I guess only time will tell.  Thank you for reading their story and please keep them in your prayers. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

This song inspires me to love the unloved.
It reminds me of the John and Jane situation, and what my attitude should be.  
Hope it will speak to you, too.

Matthew 25:40
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

the rest of the story?

So, here's the latest in the saga of my friends "Jane and John":
I received a call on Thursday from Jane and she sounded hysterical, yet again.  She asked if I could come and get the baby and keep her for the day, or maybe longer, so that she could get some rest and figure out what she was going to do about moving, money, etc.  When I showed up at her apartment, she was very agitated and acting psychotic.  I was glad to get the baby out of there!  I was thinking that being so upset, and not sleeping in several days, was really taking a toll on her. I got home about an hour later, and she called me saying the police were at her apartment and needed me to bring the baby back.  I talked to an officer, and told him why I had the baby, who I was, and that she was safe and I was just keeping her overnight.  He said that was fine and took down my information.  Then I got a call from her husband saying that the police had arrested her, and were taking her to the hospital.  I was thinking this was a good thing, because she was so anxious and tired.  I was thinking nervous breakdown or something.  So, I kept the baby the rest of the day.
John asked if since Jane was in the hospital,  he could come stay with us that night to be with his daughter.  So, my husband, who works an hour away from home, drove an extra hour to pick him up and bring him to our house. It was around 7:00 PM when they got to our house, and my husband gets up at 4 AM for work.  He was completely exhausted.  At about 9:00 PM, John receives a call that Jane was being released from the hospital and she needed them to come pick her up.  So, my husband, who had already worked a 10 hour day of construction and driven for 3 hours, took John and the baby home.  He then picked up Jane at the hospital and was informed by the doctor that Jane had cocaine in her system.  She was still very agitated and jumpy.  I don't know if you have ever seen anyone on cocaine, but now I know what that looks like.  It's not pretty!  Finding this out, made her behavior earlier in the day make more sense.  She couldn't stand still, look me in the eye, form coherent sentences,  etc.  When my husband picked her up, she was still acting the same way. 
He took her home and then drove back home, getting home after 10 PM. 
He was supposed to work for someone on Friday, but John called him and asked if he would take them to the bus station, because they were going back east.  So, my husband drove an hour back to get them, and found them not home.  He had to drive 5 miles away to a friend's house they were at, and then they wanted to go to a store, and go by their apartment.  When they got to the apartment, the manager had changed the locks and evicted them, so they couldn't get their belongings.  Then they asked my husband to go to the bus station.  He was taking them there (another hour away) when they decided that they would take the money we gave them for rent (which they were going to use now for bus tickets) and spend the night in a motel instead of getting on a bus.  But, then they needed more money for the bus.  Oh, all this was after they spent $50 on nothing (Gatorade/cigarettes?) at yet another store. 
By this time, the whole day had gone by, and my husband was getting really ticked off.  He had been driving John around for two days, spending money on him, and they just kept asking for more.  They had no concept or thought to his time and money.  We threw our hearts, souls, money, time and sanity into helping them because we care so much about them and their daughter.  We really wanted to show the love of Christ to this family, but I think maybe we just got taken advantage of.  They called us again that evening while my husband was getting our kids to bed.  They asked for clothes and duffel bags so they could be presentable on the bus.  I thought my husband was going to blow a gasket!  I am impressed at his restraint and love for this family.  He did not yell at John, but firmly told him that we've done all we can do. 
How far should we go when helping people?  How many times do we let people take advantage of us?  Jesus tells us to forgive 70 x 7 times.  (Matthew 18:22)  So, I will forgive them.  I will try to be like Jesus, and I will not hold it against them.  Maybe when they get to their destination, and she gets clean, and things settle down, they will think back on how we helped them and showed them unconditional love.  Maybe they will see God's Love through our sacrifices and learn to love Him more.  That's really all I can hope for.  Please keep them in your prayers as they travel across the country with nothing but the clothes on their backs.  Please pray they find a safe place to stay and that Jane gets the help she needs.  Pray for their precious baby girl...she is very special to me.  And please pray for me and my family, that as we deal with this experience, that it will help us better understand what God has for us, and the best ways to help people in need. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

unworthy of help?

I received a call yesterday from a friend and she was sobbing.  She told me that her Mom, who is a drug addict and wanted for crimes back east, showed up at her door and asked to stay there.  My friend let her stay , but when she found out that she was fleeing the police, asked her to leave.  Well, the Mom left, but not before stealing $450, which was this families entire savings and money for rent.  My friend is obviously heart-broken and scared.  She has a baby girl and is worried about being homeless and losing her daughter.  Let me back up and tell you more of her story:
My friend, let's call her Jane, came to Phoenix about a year ago with her boyfriend, let's call him John.  They are from back East and struggled with poverty, drug addictions, and family violence and neglect.  John's father drives a big rig and they decided that they would hitch a ride with him and come to Arizona to start over and get clean.  They made it here with basically just the clothes on their backs.  They found a little apartment in a bad area of town and could barely make rent.  John was frantically looking for a job and both of them got off of meth.  But, in order to safely quit methamphetamine, you have to take another drug called methadone.  So, they were both on Methadone when she found out she was pregnant.  She was terrified and realized that she was very far along, like 6 months!  Trips to the hospital helped Jane discover that  she couldn't quit the methadone or her baby would die.  So, she gave birth to a beautiful little girl who was addicted to drugs.  She had to stay in the hospital for several weeks and go through major withdrawal, she was one sick little baby.  Jane felt so much shame and guilt over this, that she didn't tell any of her new friends at church what was really going on.  Jane and John accepted help from their church, but with no car to get to church on a regular basis, no one saw them for a long time.  They felt very guilty about this, because it looked like they just used the church to get help.  There is only one family that lives close enough to bring them to church, and they don't have the room in their car for this family.
Around this time, my husband and I helped them out with money and emotional support, along with a few others from our church.  But we have very limited funds.  So, my husband approached someone at church who is in charge of a ministry that helps people in times of crises or need.  This person told him that this family was just wanting a handout and she sees this all the time.  There was nothing she would do to help.  I found this out yesterday and this deeply disappoints me.  Just wanting a handout?!  This family has been through hell and has made huge sacrifices to better themselves.  They are baby Christians and just want a better life for their daughter than they had.  They are hard-working, loving people who I know would help my family if our situations were reversed.  Their family has abandoned them, mocked them, and now stolen from them.  Jane's grandmother called yesterday and was saying she's going to call social services and get her daughter taken away, just because she made her Mom leave and the family is upset--not taking into account the fact that her Mom stole her entire livelihood!  If this family isn't worthy of our help, than who is? 
Jesus wouldn't turn someone away just because of where they came from.  My life verse is Matthew 25:40
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’  but reading it today I found a verse further down, verse 45, and I think that applies in this situation.  And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’  
I pray that people's hearts will be moved by the story of my dear friends.  How can we turn our backs on people because of their past, or their appearance, or their problems?  Jesus wouldn't....so I won't either.  Which may mean having a family of three moving into my tiny condo, which is already too small for my own family.  It may mean giving up my own comforts to help someone else.  It means spending my family's money to save the lives of my friends.  And if no one else will help us, my family will be Jesus to these precious people all by ourselves.    
If you want to help, please let me know.  Jane and John need a place to live, jobs, and food.  They need formula, diapers and wipes for their baby.  They need love and support from God's people.  What better chance has come along lately to give you a real opportunity to show God's love to someone who is truly alone, and hurting beyond what you can imagine? 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Am I a Fault-Finder?

So, my mentor and I are starting this book study together.  The book we chose is called "In The Grip of Grace" by Max Lucado.  I have read the first chapter and already I feel convicted.  He is discussing the four types of people that are mentioned in Romans 1-3.  They are 1. Hut-Building Hedonist 2. Fault-Finding Judgmentalist 3. Rock-Stacking Legalist and 4. Grace-Driven Christian.  I always thought of myself as a Grace-Driven Christian. I love to serve, counsel and teach our college ministry.  I pray and teach my children about God and His Grace and Jesus' sacrifice for us. I love to sing and worship God!   But, through this first chapter of Max Lucado's book, I am seeing myself differently, and I am a bit ashamed of what I see.  I think I may be judgmental. 
Now, I have to say that I come by this character trait honestly.  Judging others, and thinking you are better than them, seems to run in my family. I thought I was above all that, which puts me precisely in the same boat!  How frustrating!  I am realizing that when I look at others, I see their mistakes, and I get frustrated about them. I think that others can see the dumb stuff they do, and should change it.  I am a fix-it type of person.  Even when I counsel people, I tend to think "why can't they just stop being selfish and fix this?!  Just do it!"  Because of my position as a pastors wife, I get to hear a lot of stories about a lot of people's lives, and it frustrates me that people are such a mess.  But, what I do NOT usually look at, is my own mess.
I have a big mess, too. I guess I should be open and tell you a few of the things I have been dealing with:   I have been grieving several really hard losses of loved ones, I have two extremely needy preschool-aged children, I have gained a lot of weight, I am ashamed to look at myself in the mirror, I stress eat,  I don't have the energy to exercise,  I don't sleep well, I don't have many close friendships, my husband works a lot (which I appreciate, but its still hard not to see him much), I am frustrated with our housing situation, I wish that I had a place where I belonged and had a purpose, I feel basically lost.  And here I am, looking at others and getting worked up over the way they handle things.  I am ashamed and convicted by my judgmental attitude.  Oh man!  Do I feel like crap after reading chapter 1!  Thanks Max  :)
I am so glad that God forgives us and allows us to change our attitudes.  This is something I will continually work on, and hopefully can learn the humility that I should have.  Thank you God for making my mess into something for your Glory!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

another loss

My daughter is grieving again.  No, no one died this time, but she certainly feels like it.  Her best friend, Adrian, moved away.  She didn't get to say goodbye to him, and she has been crying for two days now. 
Here's the story of Adrian: 
Adrian came to Macy's class a few months ago and they have been fast friends ever since.  On his first day, Macy ran to him and tried to talk to him and gave him a hug.  We found out quickly that he and his Mom don't speak English.  But that didn't stop our kiddos from loving each other!  We walk to school in the mornings, and Adrian and his Mom would meet us by the park and the kids would walk together (holding hands all the way) to school.  It is so difficult as an adult to befriend someone who doesn't speak the same language as you.  It was frustrating to me to not be able to communicate with Adrian's Mom at all!  But, I could tell that her heart was also warmed by the love our kids have for each other. 
When Macy got out of school yesterday, she immediately started crying.  She said through tears that Adrian moved to a new house and a new school.  It just broke my heart to watch her lose someone else she loves.  She has lost two guys really close to her in the last two years, but this loss hit her harder than those.  And he's still alive and well!  I guess a loss is a loss, no matter why the person is gone from your life.  So, please keep my baby girl in your prayers.  Her heart is sad, and she didn't enjoy school much today.  But, she is tough and I know she'll be fine. Her Mama is just getting tired of watching her hurt.