A Mary–Martha Moment

People were everywhere. It seemed they were in every nook and cranny of my home. I looked at family and friends mingling, smiling, an occasional laugh and, of course, eating. I sat, however, in my overstuffed chair numb to what was going on. I watched but did not see. My feet swollen from the July heat and standing for three days in heels…I saw the puffiness but didn’t feel the tiredness. I leaned back and closed my eyes knowing sleep would not come, but rest, I just needed a few minutes of rest. Gently, I felt someone removing my shoes exposing my bare feet, and before I could protest, my friend said, “just lay back and rest,” and so I did. She rubbed and massaged my feet and legs, speaking soft words of comfort over me. So many friends milling about us, serving up food on plates, washing pots and pans, finding room in the refrigerator for more food coming in. But not my friend, she watched me struggle inwardly, she saw the numbness, and then gazed at my feet. She didn’t pay attention to the people, the fellowship occurring, nor food laden tables. She just saw me. She was ‘Mary’ in that moment. Yes, she tended to me, she comforted me, but also my other devoted friends were ministering to my family and their grief. They were feeding them, waiting on them, cleaning up so no family member would have one dish to wash. Weren’t my ‘Martha friends’ also having ‘Mary Moments?’ (At the Home of Martha and Mary) “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way,...

Does Your Character Need a Little Bling?

Tossing her hair back, braces flashing through her charming smile, hands on hips, sporting two different colors of polish on her nails, my niece stated quite clearly,  “I’m ‘almost’ thirteen!” She continued to explain she was just a few weeks from being a teenager. My captivating niece was having her room redecorated, as she put away her beautiful white iron bed topped with bunnies (bunnies are NOT for teenagers, she says) to be morphed into a teenage, blinged-out room done in lavender and yellow with a grownup-sized bed. Claire and her mom had been in continuous thought over how the room should look. Sooo…I decide to pass down to Claire a lovely wardrobe that belonged to her great-great-grandmother. Over a hundred years old, it was in really good shape but needed a makeover to give it a fresh retro look. I mulled over the color, settled on a silvery gray, then hauled this piece out of the basement and onto our bottom deck.  I was now ready to transform the character of this wardrobe! Pulling out the paint, mixing up the colors a bit, I began to apply the cool silvery gray over the old, tired wood. Taking out the old…adding the new….over and over again. With each stroke I thought about parts of my life that God healed and and how He covered me with His love and grace. As my brush continued, I prayed for my almost thirteen year old niece to follow God, make good choices, and become the woman of character that God deeply desires her to be. I didn’t know my husband’s beloved grandmother...

Look at Me…

Grabbing my face with both his hands, my son Luke said, “Mom! Look at me when I’m talking to you.” He then slowly closed my laptop saying… “Mom, you know I don’t like it when people aren’t looking at me when I say something to them.” “Honey, I’m not ignoring you, I’m just good at listening and typing at the same time, but I will not do that anymore…promise.” Luke shrugged his shoulders and said, “Okay Mom…but, remember you promised.” It was hard to believe that my almost thirteen year old had a pet peeve, but he did. And come to think of it…it’s a good one to have. When you speak to someone and they’re looking everywhere but your eyes, you feel very unimportant to them. I do know how that feels and felt really bad that he felt ‘ignored and unimportant’ because I didn’t stop my multi-tasking and look at him while he spoke. Sitting in my ‘quiet chair’ I pondered on that for a while realizing that God, I’m sure, felt the same way. Maybe this was His pet peeve too. When we, as His children, speak to God our Father, we have his full attention, his entire presence is amongst us. He doesn’t ignore (although sometimes we may feel that way) and never do we feel unimportant to Him. But, what about when He speaks to us? Do we listen? Are we so busy with our busyness that we forget to look up and listen to what He says to us? I know at times I am. Wouldn’t it be great if God would grab...

Left-Brain with Peanut Butter, Please

Our pint-sized kitchen was clean and comfy as my sister and I were sitting around the oak table eating a snack when our mother dashed in from the den. We cautiously eyed each other as mom pulled out pans, beaters, sugar, flour and peanut butter. Me, being the talker of the two said, “Hey mom, whatcha making?” She turned with hands on both hips and said with a hint of dread, “YOUR daddy is going hunting for a few days, and I thought I would be the ‘good wife’ and make his favorite cake for his trip.” You see, mom was not a fan of Dad’s love of hunting, she lived with it, tolerated it, but loved it? Not one bit. However, on this particular day, Mom taught us how to be a loving wife along with how to tame your temper with one swoop of her hand. Mom baked away, I wouldn’t say with total enthusiasm, but no pans were being slammed either. The smell was wonderful, but as cakes sometimes do, the three layers split and slid uneven while the peanut butter icing oozed out and pooled on the plate. Not a beautiful cake but yummy nonetheless. Mom was quite tickled that she did the ‘good wife’ deed, and in addition, had not been pouting or pouring guilt on his head. God was, I’m sure, impressed. Proudly the cake sat on the kitchen counter and within the hour Dad came in through the carport. Mother grinned as she stood beside the lopsided prize. My sister and I sat with legs crossed as dad opened the door and...

Promises, Promises

“Yes, I’ll marry you,” I screamed (literally) with joy…and we married three months later. He had been a bachelor for 34 years and I was a single mom with two children. He had no idea what he was getting into, and I had no idea how making a promise to him before we married would be both a struggle and an incredible journey. You see, I promised to try to have another child, which was the desire of his heart. How could I not promise? He dearly loved my two children and was an awesome dad, so I thought, "of course I can do that." But, I’d had a tubal ligation at thirty, thinking that my family was complete. It would have to be reversed with zero guarantees, along with an exorbitant amount of money. Three years passed. The children were entering middle school and our life was going well. But in the back of my mind was the ‘promise to try.’ Tony never mentioned it, but I knew how his heart longed to have a child. Struggling inwardly, I wanted to keep the promise but the ‘hurdles’ were difficult and selfish on my part. I was thirty-seven, enjoying my family, not wanting surgery or constant doctor appointments, not wanting to disappoint my husband if we were not blessed with a child, and did I say I was already thirty-seven? Whew! “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.”—Psalm 13.5 I continually prayed for peace and felt God nudging me to forage ahead. I did. After surgery we waited for the stick to turn...

Clutter Be Gone!

My hands were full of packages as I walked into my mother-in-law’s home. I stood beside the kitchen table and did a dramatic heave-ho putting them where she could see what I bought. Clara ambled over slowly, at 93 her spirit is quite amazing but her legs don’t allow her much more than that. “What do we have here?” she said. “Well…I brought you some canisters and containers to organize your kitchen!” saying this as joyfully as I could. Clara looked delighted until she realized that ‘we’ were going to do it for her. For the last several years her kids with spouses would gather periodically to clean out her house. Not because she didn’t want to (quite the contrary) but because it was physically too difficult for her to keep a handle on things. She has been a widow for about 43 years and is quite independent and spunky and likes to make her own decisions. After a while we sat Clara down in her chair and went over the familiar routine. “Clara, we’re going to hold up everything and YOU tell us what you want to keep and what you want to throw away,” she nodded and tried to smile. Then we would start and for hours we would clean and organize and always towards the end of our purging she would be delighted. Why? Because it feels good to rid yourself of unnecessary, unwanted clutter, at times it’s a painful process but so needed. It gives you such freedom in your spirit when you’re not weighed down with ‘stuff.’ Many years ago my heart was cluttered and bruised, so...

Cooking Up Your Legacy

     Five years ago I had a strong desire to write a family history/recipe book. Family has always been a passion of mine. The links we have to one another, the details of daily life that weave a story, the secrets that emerge and make an eyebrow rise, the strengths that keep the family going and most of all, how the legacy of our Lord Jesus has continued generation after generation.      “I asked my aunt to send out an email announcing this new endeavor upon which I was embarking. Recipes came, information was sent and in the midst of acquiring all of this the phone rang… and in anguish, my dad told of my mother having a stroke. For two years thereafter, we helped my dad in the caretaking. Mom did well, and I took a deep breath to begin working on ‘the book.’ I started to gather and re-plot all the information I had so far, when once again, the phone rang and my heart broke permanently with the unexpected death of our daughter, Whitney. It has since been three years…twelve seasons of living life without her and quietly accepting our journey. God nudged me again. I took another deep breath. The phone stayed quiet. I plunged ahead. Gathering dates, stories, pictures, asking for personal biographies from each family and for all their favorite and most treasured recipes. For six months I typed. For six months I felt joy. For six months I lived the legacy. I loved every minute of it.” Something about that word, “legacy” brings about a strong emotion in me. I believe it’s...

What Box is Your Child In?

Hearing my cell phone go off at the office I quickly grabbed my purse and started yanking all my ‘stuff’ out before my hand finally found the phone on the last ring. “Hello,” I said. “Lisa, this is Megan at the school.” My stomach lurched after hello. Megan was the principal for the middle school at the Christian school where my son, Luke attends. I’ve known her for years and are on a first name basis, one because we are friends and secondly because I am on the middle school speed dial…kidding…sort of. “Hey Megan…I don’t guess this is a social call, is it?” Megan laughed and replied that it wasn’t bad news, just needed to explain what had happened and the consequences that lie ahead. “Consequences,” a word that can evoke pain in your emotions, the pocketbook, your life and the lives of others. It’s a word that I’ve heard several times lately and cringe with weariness. “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” –Isaiah 40:31 You see, my son has A.D.D. He has trouble focusing, following through, organization, not thinking before making a decision, and at times he says inappropriate things. These are all issues that we work on daily, but he does live in the real world and I can’t be at school to intervene. So therefore, at times there are consequences for his words or deeds. Everything is choice and consequence. Teaching an out-of-the-box child these things takes more effort,...

I Want What I Want…Now

My son Luke, who brings so much joy (and exasperation) to my life, said a few days ago…. “Mom, what is THAT?” “Chicken Cordon Bleu,” I replied. Luke made gagging noises. He finally looked at me after his drama presentation. “Really mom, why can’t you cook GOOD food? All you ever cook is ELDERLY food!” “Well, I happen to like ELDERLY food,” I replied while rolling my eyes. Luke, giving me his ‘put-out’ look, said, “I’m going to live with so and so’s mom, because she knows how to cook GOOD food.” I had no idea that I cooked ELDERLY food. I suppose that anything not resembling pizza, hamburgers, or mac & cheese is just food for us old folks. I had to grin; he’s probably no different from most twelve year olds. He wants what he wants when he wants it. But we as adults can cop the same attitude, the same dislike for not getting what we want when we want it. “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”—Psalm 27:14 Like David wanting Bathsheba, another man’s wife…not a good idea. Eve chose to eat from the tree of life….changing God’s perfect plan. Really Eve? Esau wanting food so badly he gave up his inheritance…bad move. Lot’s wife wanting her old life…oops, became a pillar of salt. Not good. Sarah wanting a child so desperately, she insisted her husband lie with a woman so she could conceive and give her a child….Oh my! Desperation makes you do foolish things. “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness,...

Aging Gracefully

  SO LONG SUMMER GIVEAWAY # 11 Forgiving Works Bracelet (1 bracelet) Jen Three FREE Coaching Sessions from Passion and Purpose Life Coaching with Elisa Pulliam  JoAnn Kristena Twelve Unlikely Heroes by John MacArthur (2 copies) Beth Farley Kate She's Got Issues by Nicole Unice (2 book & DVD sets) Dinah Ferrer Heather Daniels CONGRATULATIONS winners!! If you see your name on this list simply email lori@internetcafedevotions.com and we'll get those awesome prizes to you right away! Thanks to everyone who participated in the summer giveaway and a special thank you to the authors and artists who offered such amazing gifts! We've been abundantly blessed!! Happy Fall!!     "Ma’am? Would you like the 10 percent senior citizen discount today?" My big eyes immediately became slits as I jerked my head up to look at the young clerk. “Excuse me, did you say senior citizen discount?” “Yes, ma’am. Don’t you want it?” “No thank you. I don’t qualify,” I said with a bit of an attitude. The young clerk just raised one brow as she rang up the purchase. My good mood had turned a bit sour as I grabbed my purchase and left the store. Not exactly fuming, but definitely miffed that she thought I was a senior citizen. I certainly didn’t think I looked “that” old, but then again, what is old? I climbed in my car and started the ignition when I thought about my sister Lori, who is two years younger. When we are together with friends, I am her sister. When I am introduced to new people, I suddenly become the ‘older’ sister: not wiser, I might add, just older....