Dollars like Pine Straw


It was a few short months before we would move. We were under contract with our house, but still using “if” and “maybe” terms with the girls just in case something fell through. Boxes were piling up and our already crowded living space was growing smaller by the day.

Some days I just couldn’t take it anymore and would announce to the girls, “Put your shoes on! We’re going outside.” It didn’t really matter if it was lunch time, nap time, something-else-important time, we would go out. One of the girls favorite places to go was the tennis courts. They could run around, play kickball (sort of), play baseball ( no apparent relation to the game you and I know), or sing the latest national anthem they had composed.

The little girls would often tire of the organized games the older girls attempted to play and begin to find fun of their own.


I was sitting there holding Zoe in a sleepy wrap, a little hot and so much on my mind. Gracie ran up to me with a piece of pine straw.

“Here! This is two dollars. You can buy a house with this!” she said with excitement.

I laughed. “I think we’ll need a little more than that.”

“Okay. No problem.” She ran off merrily.


It became a great game. She and Mckayla would hunt pine straw all over the tennis court and bring it to me for various things. Dollars for a house, dollars for food, dollars to buy the girlies a present, dollars for McDonald’s…

I received it all with great excitement – “thanks!”

I think I also received a gentle little reminder from the Lord.


Dollars really are like pine straw. He can find them wherever He wants and give or take them at His good pleasure. As silly as it is for my girls to pretend like a few needles of pine straw could pay for a house, it’s equally silly for humans to think that we can or cannot manage whatever God places in our path.

It’s easy to turn our attention once again to dollars at this Christmas season; but this is just a little reminder for me and maybe for you that our God really does own the cattle on a thousand hills, the wealth in every mine. The whole universe is at His disposal.

Our thoughts, plans, or worries regarding money – to Him might as well be pine straw.


Why it’s been so long…

imageSometimes it just feels good to say “No,” and know that you’re choosing the right thing. I’d be dishonest if I acted like saying no to the blog recently was hard; it wasn’t.

My sweet and energetic four-year-old is just coming out of two and a half weeks of sickness. This has meant multiple wake-ups at night, juggling homeschooling and other energetic children, mental energy trying to figure out what was wrong, and feeling like a thermometer was strapped to my hand.

Our children have been so healthy that I had never dealt with anything like this before; it’s nothing compared to what others live daily, but for me it was quite a valley.

The choice to rejoice and give thanks or to complain and despair was magnified with every day. I could feel myself getting weaker and weaker, and yet I could sense the steady current of God’s strength growing more and more apparent. You never really know when a hard time is coming, but sometimes in the middle you realize an overwhelming comfort that is just normally not sensed.

I have to admit, yesterday after we finally found out was wrong (which was an easily treated infection, much better than things we had begun to worry about) my trust and faith bottomed out. Obviously, when there was now a really good reason to rejoice! I was tired of being tired, and too tired to care that I had chosen the poor-me route.

Unfortunately, I can’t even say that today has been a complete turnaround. Though I woke this morning from an incredible nights sleep to four healthy, happy children, things in my heart are still working themselves out.

So here is what I’m thankful for right now: (and I’m preparing to be very convicted)

~ my husband, who carries more responsibility than I can even comprehend; yet is so loving and patient and understanding with me

~ the mercy of God, that daily keeps me from being consumed

~ our American healthcare system; yes, even that. I’m embarrassed at how many times I was tempted to complain while being helped by such caring, personal professionals

~ friends who cared and asked about and prayed for Sophia

~ a church family I dearly miss when we have to stay home

~ music on my ipad that speaks of God’s sovereignty, greatness, and deep love

~ other little girls who were about the cutest nurses you could ask for

I’m thankful that for now it seems we are out of the woods with this hardship; thankful for the opportunity to be tested and shaped; and praying that my faith will continue to grow as God gives opportunity.

lyrics i love

On September 11, 2001, I was watching a video of a choral group performing this song when I found out the tragic news.

Somehow the lyrics are still poignant to me when I contemplate our country.


We believe in the Father, who created all that is

And we believe the universe and all therein is His

As a loving heavenly Father, He yearned to save us all

To lift us from the fall . . . We believe

We believe in Jesus the Father’s only Son

Existing uncreated before time had begun

A sacrifice for sin, He died then rose again

To ransom sinful men, We believe

We believe in the spirit who makes believers one

Our hearts are filled with His presence

The Comforter has come

The kingdom unfolds in His plan

Unhindered by quarrels of man

His church upheld by His hand . . . We believe

Though the earth be removed

And time be no more

These truths are secure

God’s word shall endure

Whatever may change, these things are sure . . . We believe

So if the mountains are cast down into the plains

When kingdoms all crumble, this one remains

Our faith is not subject to seasons of man

With our fathers we proclaim

We believe our Lord will come as he said

The land and the sea will give up their dead

His children will reign with Him as their head


We believe

We believe


courtesy of

Prayer, pools, and sunshine


Last week after a few days of Sophia begging me to take them the pool, I promised that we would go on Wednesday morning.

Tuesday night I had the inclination to check the weather. Sophia was so excited and I didn’t want her to be destroyed if something like rain ruined the plans. Well, the mean ol’ weather channel divulged the news that there were to be thunderstorms and rain ALL DAY! Boo-hoo!

I told Sophia that we probably couldn’t go to the pool in the morning and that we would try to go again the next day.

I did think about praying with her that God would help it not to rain, but 1, though I want my kids to know how deeply God loves them, I do not want them to think of him as existing for the sole purpose of meeting their demands; 2 , I didn’t want to have to explain God’s transcendent will if she prayed that it wouldn’t rain and it did; and 3, this was all extremely close to lights out at bedtime and I really just wanted them to go to bed. Great mom, I know.

Sure enough, we woke up early to rain.

I stayed in bed after Paul left and debated whether I wanted it to stop or not. Again, Captain Unselfishness.

The rain stopped just as the girls woke up. I had decided that if it stopped raining we would go.

Sophia bounded out of bed, checked out the window, and danced down the hall, “Mommy, I prayed last night that God would help it to not rain, and it’s not raining!”

Wow. I was very humbled.

First, that my little girl would think to pray on her own. Next, that God would hear and answer her prayer.

The girls joy and anticipation was catchy so we all ate breakfast and cleaned up in a hurry. We marched down the stairs and the big girls came up with a little cheer that the little girls even joined.

“We’re goin’ to the pool.” Clap, clap. “We’re goin’ to the pool.” Clap, clap.

Even though it was not raining, I still didn’t expect it to be that great of a day. It was very cloudy and the water would probably be cold as it had been cloudy and raining for days.

I was in for one more surprise.

When we got to the pool, the whole area was bathed with warm, wonderful sunshine. This blessing was more than I could take; now it was my turn to be excited, “Girls, God is so amazing! He didn’t just make it stop raining; He gave us sunshine!”

We had the most amazing time at the pool. Measured by such milestones as Gracie jumping in with me holding her hands; Mckayla asking for me to let go of her in the water so she could float just with her jacket, and Sophia swimming the length of the pool.

It was so humbling to sit there and talk about how we don’t deserve anything from God, yet how he blesses us in ways that are so personal.

Thank you, Lord, for answering Sophia’s prayer, for our pool, and for the sunshine that tells us every day of your glory.