How have I failed thee? Let me count the ways.

“MOM! Someone got into my ice cream!!”  My jaw clenched involuntarily as I walked into the kitchen. Sure enough, the big new container of vanilla ice cream had little spoon marks all across its otherwise smooth surface—the ice cream that’s supposed to be off-limits to everyone but him. Out of my four kids and me, only one of us is skinny. We all battle our weights except for the baby of the family, Little Brother, who seems not to care in the least whether he eats—ever. This is why I worry myself sick over the fact that he’s tall enough for a pair of size 14 jeans, but in the waist he could wear size 8s. Or the fact that he could still be wearing the same underwear he wore when he was four had he not outgrown his fascination with Bob the Builder and Batman. This is why I feed him daily ice cream shakes of insanely high caloric values. I’m just trying to put some meat on the boy. But I really try not to keep junk in the house for the sake of everyone else—because when I buy a box of Twinkies, it’s gone the same day. Or if I catch the Blue Bell on sale, I go in late that night to sneak a teensy bowl for myself and find only a few spoonfuls left. Or I greet the kids after school only to find smudges of chocolate on their chins or chip crumbs stuck to their shirts, courtesy of their skinny, generous, junk-eating friends. We go home and I fix a nutritious meal and...

What a Missing Frappuccino Taught Me

It was a bad morning already. It was one of those walking-on-egg-shells mornings, with stress levels high and grouchiness oozing from every sleep-deprived face in the house. We all got ready for school in silence, but I just wanted to get out the door without any outbursts or meltdowns. I thought we’d made it okay until I got a text from my eighteen-year-old daughter on the way to school. It said, “Tell whoever stole my Frappuccino from the fridge that they’ve ruined my day now that I have to go to school without caffeine because I don’t have time to make coffee since I planned on drinking my Frappuccino that I bought with my own money. Thanks. Thanks a lot.” {Can you hear those eggshells crunching? A whole dozen, at least.} I questioned her younger three siblings, and wouldn’t you know, they all three said they didn’t take the Frappuccino. Since I can’t completely believe any of them because they all tell whoppers at times, the only thing I knew to do was ground them all from everything fun until the truth came out. But I had a feeling I knew who the offender was. Little sister really, really wants to be grown up—and what’s more grown up than drinking Frappuccinos? I decided to take a gamble. I looked straight at her and said, “I think you took that Frappuccino.” Then I watched her reaction like a mama hawk. There was no darting of the eyes, no overly emotional “No I didn’t!!”, none of the typical signs that tell you when they’re lying. It was just a calm, cool, expressionless “No, I really didn’t take it.” I kept pressing.”Yes,...

Why I Don’t Like to Vacuum

Welcome to OnePLUS, formerly known as the Marriage Counter. We invite you to pull up a seat and join us each week as we encourage and equip all Biblical relationships. Our purpose here is to continue ministering to the married woman as well as encourage those who find themselves in other types of relationships; relationships that still need to be fed the richness of the living and active Word of God. It’s our hope and prayer that as you visit OnePLUS you’re inspired to center each of your relationships around the Creator of intimacy and relationship, the ONE true God.   I’m not a great housekeeper. Even though I love the way it feels to have my house sparkly-clean, clutter-free, and smelling like a Fluffy Towels Yankee Candle, I possess neither the motivation nor the time management skills to get it there and keep it that way. I especially hate to vacuum. Maybe it’s because when I was little my grandmother accidentally vacuumed her fingernail off. Or maybe it’s because once my dad finally let me get my ears pierced after several years of begging, one of my beautiful gold studs got vacuumed up and I never saw it again. Or perhaps I’m just too lazy to enjoy the physical exertion of vacuuming. Besides, a vacuum cleaner in use just smells funny. But just this week I found a new favorite quote penned by a nineteenth century philosopher that made me think of vacuums a little differently. “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by...

The Big Picture

On the day I buried my husband, my pastor gave me a picture that revolutionized the way I see life. He compared life to a tapestry. He explained that here on earth we can only see the back side of the tapestry, with frayed clumps of string dangling and imperfect stitches all knotted up and messy. But even when all we can see is the mess, God is on His throne working on the most glorious work of art we could ever imagine. He’s using everything we perceive as ugly and imperfect in our lives, weaving all of it into His intricate design, making His handiwork all the more beautiful. He sees His work in its entirety, and from His viewpoint it’s magnificent. What if we approached our every-day lives with this same “eternity” perspective? What if, with each decision we made, we evaluated its eternal impact rather than its effect on the present? How would it change things? Think about a simple shopping trip to the mall. Would it change what you purchase? Think about running late to an appointment. Would it reduce your level of stress? Think about when someone treats you unfairly. Would it help you respond with the love of Jesus? Think about that big tragedy that’s happened in your life. Could you see it as His way of steering you onto a path to more abundant life? For me, looking at life in the scope of eternity changes everything. It helps me love the unlovable rather than exploding in anger. It makes me want to do for others instead of vegging in my pajamas all weekend. It refines me into a...

Amy Dane

Amy is a scattered single mom of four who’s learning to cling to Grace. Redeemed at seven, it wasn’t until tragedy struck at age thirty-seven that God blew her away with His amazing love for her. A Texas school librarian who dreams of becoming a full-time writer some day, she is passionate about sharing His love with those who are lost, wandering, and without hope. Amy blogs regularly about her adventures as an accidental missionary at http://amyinwanderland.com Amy in Wanderland</a>. You can also connect with her on <a href=”http://www.facebook.com/amyinwanderland“>Facebook</a> or follow her on <a...