Butterfly Crusher

She would not share her crayons or glue with me. We were grown ups. We were working in a child care and every two rooms were supposed to share crayons, glue, and supplies between all the kids.

She did not want to share her crayons and glue. She talked ugly to me and about me every day.

I told my husband about it. He said I should ask her why. There was NO WAY I wanted to go up to this angry, knife throwing, butterfly crusher of a woman and ask her why she wouldn’t share her crayons.

Preparing for the battle, I prayed and put on my best armor. I knew the next time she threw darts at my head I’d speak peace to her. It seemed she’d be pretty mad if I did this but my job was important and the need for income and to care for these kids outweighed whatever she’d do to me.

Right on cue as expected she tore into me, roaring loudly and cutting me down in front of all the teachers and children.

I calmly and genuinely said something like, “I’m very sorry. Please tell me what I have done to offend you. You seem really angry at me and I’m not sure what I’ve done to you.”

She broke into a hundred tears.

She cried and said she was so sorry. She just recently moved here, was miserable and she’s been taking all her stress out on me.

I was stunned.

The next time someone won’t share her crayons and glue with you remember there’s probably not anything you did. There’s probably stuff underneath that is creating anxiety or fear and it comes out as anger. Put on your storm gear and walk softly into the storm.

Your soft words can be a welcome and unexpected surprise and let her finally talk through her pain.

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Why are they laughing? -by Guest Writer, Daisy

What just happened?  Why are they looking at me like that?  Why are they laughing?  Did I do something funny?  No.  I’m just working.  So what’s so funny?  Is somebody behind me?  No.  Nobody’s at the window.  So why are they laughing?

I went immediately into “ignore mode.”  I kept my head down and made it look like I didn’t notice.  A few days later it was still going on and I couldn’t take it anymore.

I asked them to stop.  Okay.  I know that’s not the best reaction because then they know it’s bugging me or making me upset.

Okay so here’s something that people should know.  When you’re bullied for a year you are going to DEFEND YOURSELF.  And I mean A LOT!

Trust me.  I still defend myself.  Even from my family.  I don’t mean to.  It’s just that I’m so scared of the pain.  I cried after school almost every day.

Anyway back to the story.  I will not use names but I will let bullies be aware that I will never forget 5th grade.  I will never forget how mean you were but I WILL forgive you.

And I now know that no matter what people do or say, I am beautiful.  I am smart.  And I am more valuable than ANY riches.  And I hope that YOU realize how valuable YOU are.

Coffee, Donuts, and Carnations

When I was a little girl in elementary school my dad would take me to have coffee and donuts sometimes early in the morning before school. I loved it. We’d sit together sipping coffee.  He’d read the newspaper and I got a daddy daughter date.

I remember sitting there with all the business men and thinking how cool that was and what a lucky girl I was to get to do this with my dad.

We weren’t in a hurry.

And I got to get glazed donuts from my favorite donut place.  It didn’t cost much money.   Just a little of his time.  These memories are some of my favorite times I ever had with just me and my dad.

Then when I was in high school my dad would send me a carnation flower for Valentine’s Day and that meant so much to me. It made me feel important.  This was back when the school office would deliver all the flowers to the classrooms.  Many girls would get many flowers and I really appreciate that he took a few minutes to order that one flower just for me.  (Between you and me, I’m pretty sure my mom encouraged dad to do these things and that’s okay.  They created special memories.)

The important thing is that it really doesn’t take big gestures and whole days to make these memories with our kids.  Little girls need their daddies and good, healthy relationships with them.   If there is a healthy, close relationship between a girl and her daddy, then when a boy offers his “love” a daughter makes wiser choices and won’t fall for every boy who shows her attention.

Listen to your daughters speak.  Let them talk about whatever is important to them and engage in the conversation.  Take your daughters on dates to show them how they should be treated.

It just matters.

[Note:  I am a girl so I am writing from a girl’s perspective about her dad.  There are maybe other writers who write from a son’s perspective with mom or dad.  All I know is that a few minutes of real genuine, involved conversation between parents and kids matters.]

Research THIS!

Extensive studies show that a percentage of the time researchers waste money taking a poll about almost important stuff.

MY research didn’t cost money. MY studies have shown that out of 100 people ALL 100 people MATTER.

100 people usually inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. 100 people have internal organs that work pretty much the way they should. Regardless of the color, shape, hair, and the rest of the outside of their bodies 100% of their insides can feel hurt and pain and they have opinions and preferences.

My studies show that people are pretty much the most unique but very much the same.

100 people have the same invitation to accept Jesus as their personal Savior. 100 people can be buried with Him under water in baptism and come out of the water a new person. 100 people get the angels singing and partying just for them each time this choice is made. 100 people are the highest of all God’s creations and were made in His image. 100 people matter.

I didn’t have to spend a billion dollars to research this. Look around you. As a writer I recently met online said:

“The person standing in front of you is not just taking up space, she’s been carefully made in God’s own image. This alone makes her worthy of your attention, and your very best words.”
– Kim Hall http://www.givenbreath.com

100 people out of 100 people are 100% valuable. Period.

In case nobody told YOU today… YOU MATTER.

If you or your family member or friends have bodies that work differently than others due to medical or other reasons YOU MATTER. If you think differently than other people think YOU MATTER. If you feel deeper or even if you feel nothing YOU MATTER.

I studied, researched, and asked God above about YOU. And the results of all my research show that YOU MATTER 100%.

Who’s Your Daddy?

Do you have a kid?

Does she like chocolate milk or white milk or no milk at all?

If you give your son a choice between carrots or broccoli which will he choose?

What if your kid has a choice to take the cigarette or other drugs the other kids test him with? Did you MAKE him choose to or not to? No.

If you have a child, most of the time you KNOW what your child will choose
BECAUSE YOU KNOW YOUR CHILD.

People argue that just because God KNOWS your future that means He MAKES you do stuff kinda like a puppet. But this just isn’t true.

God does not MAKE you choose something. He KNOWS you.
He KNOWS which you will choose

BECAUSE
YOU
are
HIS
CHILD.

Get it?

Rotten Apple Peels

I love how God gives each one of us a different purpose. Like what if we were all created to peel apples?  Then there would be nobody to make the crust or the sugar or the pie pans or the oven in which to bake the pies.

He’s God and has given us all these different jobs so we’re not all slipping on rotten apple peels. That leads me to think of trash guys and composting and planting the apple trees to begin with…. See what I’m saying?

How do you care for the stuff and the jobs God’s placed in your care?  How do you care for the people around you every day?

1 Corinthians 12:12-26

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

She bluntly asked, “What’s WRONG with you?!” -by Guest Writer, Chloe Liv

I asked her what she meant.

She told me, “You’re different.  You don’t cuss or anything!  What’s wrong with you?”

I told her that I have Jesus. She said she wanted what I had.

She started to come to church with me and often our conversations would end in tears as she realized just how much God loves her and will love her no matter what. After a while her parents made rules. She could NOT come to church with me. Or go to “my” church. But she could go to someone else’s church and I could go with her… Rule after rule we gave up. I wanted her to be able to know more about Him and she craved it.

Finally I felt completely defeated. I felt like I failed.

And so I asked my mom if there was ANYthing ANY LITTLE thing I could do.

She told me (these are her exact words,) “Take church to her.” Me and mommy talked a little longer and then Jesus Club became an idea that would soon help tons of people.

As a freshman I was placed in a senior class on accident. I was in there a couple weeks and really connected with the teacher. I could see where his faith stands and who he is so I asked if I could “borrow” his class room. I didn’t even tell him why yet and he said “No! That’s like asking to borrow my car!!” A little shocked I was like ummmm okay then. I was about to turn around and leave and he said “Chloe, when would you need the room?” He still didn’t know why but knowing who I am and where my faith stands he opened up his class room to us.

Jesus Club.
-Chloe Liv

~
Sometimes kids tell Chloe they want to go but don’t think they should.

Some say they are atheist. Chloe says, “I don’t care. Just come anyway.”
Some kids tell her, “AWKWARD! I don’t go to church…” She says, “That’s okay. Just come anyway.”
Some kids say, “I’ve never prayed before.” She says, “Awesome. So let’s pray together.”

~
The best Christmas present EVER came from this teacher to Chloe.

Her teacher stopped her and said something like, “Chloe, I am so proud of you for starting Jesus Club. You are changing lives and I can see it. You’re planting seeds and I know it’s just going to keep on going even after you move to Alaska.”

THIS child. This VERY, VERY, VERY SHY child. This child would CRY if she had to ask for a straw at a restaurant. We had to MAKE her ask for a straw. She would beg us not to make her talk. LOOK at THIS child being used by God for His work AND loving it!

THE best Christmas present EVER is to know your child’s heart belongs to God. And on top of that leading other kids to Christ. No piece of plastic or electronics or even a house for Christmas is better than this gift.

God is very much at work. Open your eyes and watch His miracles that happen every day.

If our kids believe 2 + 2 = 7

We’re just gonna let our kids make up their own minds about math. We don’t want to force math on them. My parents and teachers forced math on me and I resent them for it. We don’t want to make the same mistake with our kids.

If they believe 2 + 2 = 7 maybe that is okay with us. We think every kid should have the freedom to choose how they feel about math and make up their own belief system.

NO. No. No. No.

You don’t leave deciding about math up to your kids. That would be silly. You teach them 2 + 2 = 4. Period.

I am not a Bible scholar. I will always be learning more as God teaches me more.

~God is God. Period. If you have ears to hear I pray you hear. Accept Jesus as the Lord of your life, be baptized under water for the forgiveness of your sins and say with your mouth that you believe Jesus is the Son of God.

~Give. Ask God where He wants you to give. Start with 10% and go up from there. It’s not an option. That is just something God says to do. Where do you think your money comes from? Where do you think your job comes from? Where do you think your talent to DO your job comes from? You give because God said to give. So do it. He doesn’t say when you feel like you have extra, then give. He says GIVE your FIRST gifts.

~Then, as you learn more, you live it. It’s not complicated.

And after you do this it does not mean your life will be easy. The enemy doesn’t go after people he’s already got. The enemy goes after people trying to obey God. But you have the Armor of Christ and that is everything you need to fight the battles that will come. Many times in our family we ask the Holy Spirit to go with our children when they leave the house. The Power they feel with them on these days is not of this world.  #notw

~
One day you will die. That’s not a question. That’s not a sad or happy thing. It’s just true.

I know there are exceptions and that’s up to Almighty God whatever exceptions He makes. Enoch and Elijah, for example, did not die but were taken directly to Heaven.

Hebrews 11:5
By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.

2 Kings 2:11
As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.

~This is THE ONE MOST IMPORTANT decision of your entire life.

God does not force you to choose. You have choice. You have the choice to love him. If He MADE you choose Him that would not be love.

You can be mad all day long and argue how it’s not FAIR that God gives you the choice to love Him then if you don’t you go to Hell. Go ahead and waste your time fussing over that. He’s not going to give you more time just because you’re throwing a tantrum.

I am not going to argue the details and rules with you but there are many other people who are happy to do that. Just START by loving Jesus.

I do know that if you lead someone AWAY from Christ, good luck with telling God you did that, when you stand all alone with no one to hold your hand in front of the One and Only King of Heaven…. . . Let me know how that works for you.

I love you with a vengeance. I believe Jesus does too.

I pray you choose Him before it’s too late. Because some day it will be one day too late.

It doesn’t offend me if you don’t say Merry Christmas

Some families are buying their kids every piece of plastic or metal or electronics they ask for this Christmas. That’s great if they want to do this, especially if they don’t go into debt doing it because debt is slavery.

BUT are they giving their kids THE BEST gift? Are they teaching their kids that Jesus is THE way? The Bible doesn’t say Jesus will tell you the way. It says He IS the WAY.

It doesn’t offend me if you don’t say Merry Christmas. I don’t care if you hate Christmas. I’m not going to get in your face and yell at you. It doesn’t offend me if you say Happy Holidays or Merry X-Mas, UNMerry Christmas or anything else. I do not care. Wish me Happy Hanukah, Blessed Mary Day, Sparkly Kwanzaa, Snowy Frosty Day, or you can say nothing at all.

I do not care.

No matter what someone says or doesn’t say does not change this fact. Jesus is the reason for the season. And do you know what else? Jesus is the reason for EVERY season.

What you decide about God is up to you and it’s YOUR soul you’re bargaining with if you don’t believe. Not mine. He ACHES for you to know Him.

It’s really your choice.  And He loves you VERY much (even if you’re not aware of who He is to you yet.)

 

 

You think you’re ALL THAT?! Trust me. YOU ARE.

I know you are sick and tired of hearing how awesome you are. People on the streets shouting all day long, “Hey, YOU! Yes, awesome, beautiful YOU! You are so great and we can’t wait to see what incredible things you’re going to do next.”

All your supporters. Crazy guys. They just follow you around and love you and serve others right along with you and support your dreams. I mean, COME ON, give you some room, am I right?!

You can’t even turn on your computer and check your email without hearing something great about you! Dude. Enough already. Try to look through your texts… Even more love pouring out of your phone! What are you to do?

You think you’re ALL THAT?! Trust me. YOU ARE. You ARE “ALL THAT” and God gave you breath for a reason. The world tells you you are not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not fast enough, ENOUGH. ENOUGH. ENOUGH!!!!

Let me tell you who you are.
You ARE good. You ARE pretty. You ARE smart. You are JUST RIGHT.

YOU are a child of the One True King. You are not forgotten.

You ARE on purpose. You are HERE on purpose and FOR a purpose.

Get that through your head. You were created with all the details of your personality and your body and your mind JUST this way. You are amazing and never, EVER let anyone else make you believe anything less about yourself.

In case nobody told you today… YOU MATTER.

I Never Even Said It Out Loud

I was not mean to anyone on purpose. That’s not how my parents raised me. I do not believe it is ever okay to be mean to someone or make fun of them. It’s very hurtful. It can be life ending. (And before you write a thousand word essay about how everyone hurts people, take a breath. I said I am not mean to people on purpose. I didn’t say I’ve never hurt anyone. Everyone has hurt others.)

In high school this girl started stalking me. I don’t know why but a few others joined her in her quest to make my life miserable.  One of the girls even used to be a friend of mine.

I remember this girl wanted to fight me because her boyfriend made her THINK he liked me.  I was pretty naive.  He was just talking to me.  He leaned over me with one arm resting against the wall in the downstairs hallway at school.  I saw him look at this girl, THIS girl who I did not know yet, this girl who was about to make my life really NOT fun anymore.  I didn’t know what he was doing at that time.  He was making her THINK he liked me.  He did this on purpose.  That’s all it took.  This girl was out for blood.  My blood.

I was scared to go to school every single day. She would follow me at lunch sometimes which was off campus because we didn’t have a cafeteria.

One time the malicious vultures stopped me right in front of my dad’s office. It was on a busy street corner on the main street in town where lots of people could see what was going on. I’m pretty sure she didn’t know my dad worked there.  I did not want my dad to come out.  My world was in chaos and I was about to be killed.  He shouldn’t see that.  It would be ugly.  (Now that I’m a grown up I realize probably nobody in dad’s office even noticed the storm out front.)  She never hit me.  She just said bad words at me while her groupies cheered her on.

One morning I finally made up my mind to just fight her hoping that if I did then she’d leave me alone.

I didn’t tell anyone this.

It was only in my mind.

I never even said it out loud.

That very morning just minutes after I decided to face this fear she called me and apologized.  I didn’t know she knew our phone number.  (There were no cell phones 100 years ago when I was a teenager.)  She said she was so sorry she was acting this way and didn’t know why she was doing it.  She asked me to FORGIVE HER.

I was shocked! All I did was decide within my own heart that I would face this giant all consuming fear and God blessed me.  Just like that.  He moved the mountain.  I didn’t even know she knew my last name.

The stuff you think about?  How you feel about it?  It matters.  God is very much alive.

We’re Married. Friends or Enemies?

What I believe happens is that satan throws stones at us. He throws one at my husband and whispers to him that I did it and throws one at me and tells me that my husband threw it. Then he sits back and watches, hoping what he’s done will cause damage and confusion.

We have power over this. We are given power by God. If we claim God as our Savior we have nothing to fear. Do not be afraid.

I tried to figure out WHY marriage would be this hard when I knew with all my heart that God had brought my husband to me and we were supposed to be together. How come we argued so much? I’ve had other relationships and they weren’t this difficult at all.

That’s when it hit me. Through my tears I realized that satan has done this. We were and are going to do great things for God and somehow we allowed the enemy to get a foothold and a stronghold.

Here’s what God showed me:

We’re sitting. I’m reading a book and he’s watching T.V. and I feel a hard hit to my head. I spin around in anger and say, “Why did you throw that at me?!” My husband, who has also received a rock to the head, fights back, saying, “Me? You threw this at me!” So satan stands back and keeps whispering to us all the negative things about each other and enjoys the confusion he’s created. Then we realize in a sudden moment of clarity what has happened. We drop the rocks, drop to our knees, and pray together. Then, oh my, is satan ever mad!  But we push him out the door together and he shrinks into a tiny puff of nothing.

God didn’t cause the confusion. He didn’t make us argue. We forgot that we love each other unconditionally for a moment…. or actually a few years. We are meant to be together and because we want be used together for God’s will, we are able to refocus and forgive.

Think about this.  The enemy doesn’t have a need to go after people he’s already got.  If you’re having a tough time it may be because you’re doing something right.

 

Single? That’s cool. Window shopping? Probably always. What’s on “The List?”

[Note: This is written EXPECTING that the man is a man of good character and not abusing his daughters in any way. And, yes, I do need to mention this. Also I am a mom of two girls so realize this is written from a mom of two girls. I don’t have sons so I’m not writing from that perspective.]

Our oldest daughter was talking about a boy she thought was cute. I asked her what she liked about him. My husband started asking questions too.

I stopped and listened. I just froze. That was so cool. I wondered what that feeling was. What WAS that? It was BEAUTIFUL. Oh, it’s called LOVE. Our girls FEEL valued because daddy CARES who they hang out with.

Dads SHOULD be involved. Dads need to SAY to a boy, “My daughter is so valuable and I am trusting you. I expect you to treat her like you want your mom or sister to be treated.”

Make that list. If you choose to be married what would you want in a husband? I mean the stuff that really matters.

Here’s a start of a list to inspire you. And you are never too young to make “The List.” (not in any particular order)

1. Honesty and integrity in ALL things.

2. Loves Jesus and is a spiritual leader for your home.

3. Faithful to you and only you as his wife. No pornography. Period.

4. He will have a healthy relationship with your kids.

5. Learns what makes you feel loved on and acts on it.

6. Listens to the Holy Spirit to guide him.

7. Supports you in things you know God is leading you to do.

8. OUR money is just that. OUR money. Not yours and mine. Make the budget together.

9. Wait. Wait for God to show you who your husband is. Don’t just marry anyone you think may work. What God brings together let nobody separate.

10. He does not use credit cards. Period. Stuff is not so urgent that you must buy it now and pay it off for years. You want to live debt free. Debt is slavery. Nobody wants to be a slave.

11. You’re worth waiting for.

12. (Keep thinking. Keep praying. I’ll be praying, too.)

___
My daughters gave their list about dating. (This stuff should continue after the wedding.)
~

1. Treat me with respect. I am a person and I have feelings.

2. Open the door for me sometimes.

3. Be a gentleman.

4. Listen to me and really hear what I have to say.

5. Do not act like I’m not there when your friends are around.

6. Don’t cheat on me.

7. Be nice to my friends.

8. Be nice to me.

9. Call me every once in a while.

10. Tell me (sweetly) when I’m annoying you.

___
I asked my husband for his input when it comes to boys who want to date our daughters.
~
Advice to the boys who consider dating my daughters:

1. Get out of your car and ring the doorbell. She is worth it. If you can’t get out of your car to get my daughter and to bring her back and make sure she gets in the house okay then you cannot date my daughter.

2. Before you leave with my daughter and when you bring her home, you will shake my hand and look me in the eyes.

3. Before you can have a relationship with my daughter you have to have a relationship with God.

4. You need a strong work ethic.

5. I want to see how you interact with your mom. Because if you don’t have respect for your mom then you’re not going to have respect for my daughter or me or my wife.

6. Bring her home on time. ALWAYS.

7. Our daughters are valuable and you will treat them as the treasures they are.

8. Whatever you do with my daughter imagine me doing that with you.

Where can we let off steam?

I’m not crazy. I’m a mom. And a wife and a leader and a servant and a taxi driver and a counselor and a nurse and a peacemaker and a teacher and a volunteer…

Where can we let off steam?

Where can we really say what’s bothering us? Where can we get support from someone and just be heard and not have someone call the authorities on us?
~
Church? Heavens no. Do we dare admit that we sometimes want to self medicate when they ask for prayers at church? (Or that we actually DO self medicate in whatever our favorite way is?) Oh dear. Not me! Right? I have to look like I’m on top of things. I have to look like I’ve got this all under control. My kids look perfect. My husband is presentable. My smile is on just right.

“Why, sure I can teach the 2 year olds and lead the women’s bible study and neighborhood prayer group.” “Of course I can make 300 cupcakes by Saturday and cut out 180 snowflakes this weekend.” “Yes, send me the documents so I can edit them for you by 3 o’clock today.”

Sometimes the answer needs to be “NO.” That is OKAY! When we take on so much and spread our love too thin we’re not that much help in anything we do.

~
School? Oh you must be talking about THAT mom who stood up for her kids when other students have been unkind for months and the teachers make sarcastic comments like, “Oh is she absent AGAIN? She’s sick ALL the time.” That does NOT help. That is NOT being a good teacher. I trust you daily to care for my child. Be someone I can trust who will speak to (and about) my child with respect the same way you want your kids to be treated.

THAT family where they’ve tried to help teach their child, “Ignore.” “Speak up.” “It’s better not to speak.” “Stand up.” “Be invisible.” “Stand out.” “Have courage.” “Jesus is with you.”

Then THAT family goes to the school for help and the school administration assures you, “That does NOT go on at THIS school!”

Either they are blatantly lying or are absolutely blind to the fact that it IS happening at THIS school. Kids are bullying other kids all the time. If my kid is part of the problem let’s talk about that. If not, then help me figure out a solution while she’s in your care.

Absolutely we [parents and school and church] should be teaching our kids HOW to stand up for themselves and that it is okay to fight back. Turning the other cheek does not mean let someone walk all over you and not stand up for yourself. Absolutely DO stand up for yourself and more importantly stand up for people around you who are being bullied.

What to do about it? I’m sure there is NOT just one answer for every case but maybe the first thing to do is just to admit there is a problem. Stop treating moms and dads like we do not know what is going on. Not everyone is going to try to sue the school if school admits they are not perfect.

~
Work? We go to work. We do our job. We take care of other people’s problems, possibly face a little sexual harassment, brush it off, stop by the grocery store to pick up spaghetti sauce for dinner, walk in the door to hear our kids say, “Hey, mom, I need $20 for the field trip by my first class in the morning.” “Here mom. Sign this please. The teacher said I’m going to need tutoring for a month or until I get this grade up or I’m out of sports.” And my sweet husband says, “Did you take the car to get the tires rotated today?” And I pretend NOT to notice him closing down something on the computer and wonder who he’s cheating on me with this time.

~
Home? What if we lose our temper at home? Mom’s gone crazy. She’s out of control. No. No she’s not.

Sometimes we don’t realize our kids ARE old enough to help at home (at just about every age.) Let them do dishes. Remember, if something accidentally gets dropped, to buy less fragile stuff next time. If a dish is more important than our kids learning service, responsibility and to take care of where they live (because they will ALWAYS need to take care of where they live) then maybe we should buy less breakable stuff from now on. Let them fold laundry. So what if it’s not folded the exact way we would fold it? Let them help. And praise them for it. It will build confidence.

Delegate a little of the housework to each person in the house, briefly teach them how to do it, and then LET them do it. Don’t step in. But DO tell them, “Hey I really appreciate your help. I love how you cleaned the sink.” “I’m having a tough time getting the floor clean in here. You have such great eyesight. Would you please clean to the edges when you clean the bathroom?”

~
Romance? Dates? Looking and feeling sexy as a woman? When do we have time for that?! I WANT that. I NEED that.

~
WHERE can we let off steam? Pretty much nowhere. NO WONDER we are under so much stress. I have seriously considered building a place where women can go and for a small fee they can take a baseball bat and smash stuff for 5 minutes.

On top of all that if we raise our voice to our families we feel like the biggest failure of the century.

THAT is a bad day. When I raise my voice to my family. Worst feeling EVER.

AAAUUGGHHHHHHH!!!!!! ENOUGH. I need a moment to breathe. I need a little silence. I need someone to realize that I am a person, too. I am very great at what I do and yes I can handle 217 thousand things at once and (yes, we all pretty much wear the title “super mom” but) just let me catch my breath.

~~> I need Jesus. He can fill me and give me energy and the strength I need to be the mom and wife I need to be. Ask God for energy and thank Him for it. He is THE answer. He doesn’t HAVE the answer. He IS the answer. <~~

~ And then we kiss the kids good night and do it all again tomorrow. ~

I want you to know that I am praying over your life. I am praying over your jobs, your marriage, your search for a husband, your decision to be single, your church, your education, your kids, your life in general, and your heart. Just know that somebody cares and in case nobody told you today… YOU MATTER.

Just One More

Just one more hug. Just one more book tonight. Just one more kiss. Just one more.

Why not? We are not promised tomorrow and if time on earth was up, as a human mommy, I’d sure want that one more hug from my daughters right now.

We try not to get upset when the kids come downstairs, after bedtime, to talk to us at night. (When it happens more often, of course, we’re not so happy about it. We’re human.)

But, isn’t it nice that when we want to talk to God just one more time today, He doesn’t ground us. He doesn’t say, “I’ve had a rough day, Kerri, and I’m done for today. Maybe we can talk about it tomorrow.” He doesn’t say to me, “Go to bed. Daddy needs a break. I love you, and I need time to myself.” He JUST loves me. He JUST listens to me.

Just WHO AM I to be able to have just one more talk with Him?

Let Me Tell You About My Mom….

Let Me Tell You About My Mom….
Mother’s Day 2010

I remember my mom making sandwiches for the men who dad was working with on stormy nights at the electric company to restore electricity for the families whose houses were hit with lightning.

I remember the fun slumber parties my mom planned for my birthdays. She let me invite as many friends as I wanted to. Mom let us invite one friend our age to the other sister’s slumber parties, too. That was cool.

I remember the most beautiful birthday cakes ever made were the ones my mom made for us on our birthdays…. The kind someone would pay lots of money for, but my mom’s tasted better than ANY store could make.

I remember my mom making beautiful wedding cakes.

I remember telling lot of kids that I was going to have a party and to get off the bus at my house, and they did. My mom didn’t even get mad at me for that. I don’t remember how she got them all home.

I remember mom driving the camper and picking up ALL the friends I wanted to invite to Vacation Bible School, and never complaining about it or making me feel that it was an inconvenience.

Mom makes the very best grandma bread ever. Everyone loves her homemade bread.

My mom made sure we went to church, even on vacations, and that showed me how important church should be.

My mom chose the names for our streets on the corner where we built a house when I was a kid. That was pretty cool.

My mom makes the very best tasting food and makes it look very beautiful. Somehow my macaroni and cheese or deviled eggs just don’t measure up in taste or beauty.

I remember my mom giving up her bed to let company sleep there while mom and dad took a less comfortable place to sleep.

I remember knowing that if I told mom something, that I better expect that she’d tell dad because they had no secrets, and that felt secure.

I remember that mom let us play in the basement and color in coloring books.

My mom taught me hospitality. If someone needs a place to rest, clothes, food, my mom was there for them. I was hungry and… Matthew 25:34-36

Mother’s Day 2010
(From my sweet husband to my mom)
Why my mother-in-law is the greatest

My mother-in-law is the greatest because she is always helping others.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she makes the best bread in the whole world.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she always makes me feel welcome.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she gives the greatest Christmas gifts.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she has never judged me for my past.
My mother-in-law is the greatest because she had and raised the perfect wife for me.

This is a story about faith and moving to Alaska

Later we will write about all the things we’ve given up on this journey of faith because we do not want to forget and it’s worth sharing.

~
When I was a little kid in 6th grade, I noticed the funniest, cutest, nicest crush I’d ever met in my whole, entire life!

Well he was almost as funny and could make me laugh almost as much as my friend Terry Nishimuta. Terry was the silliest, greatest friend and he could make anyone laugh! I miss Terry. I hope you’re resting in peace in Heaven, crackin’ jokes up there and I just want to say, “Thank you, Terry, for making my school life fun!”

So this crush guy was almost as funny as Terry. He was so kind and nice and he never ever said a mean word to anyone. I loved spending any minute in his presence because he just radiated “friendship.”

Until 6th grade I never knew anyone thought I was weird.

I didn’t even know he thought I was weird. But now that I’m a grown up I don’t think there’s really another way to be. What kinda life is “normal, regular, worry about what everyone else will think of me?” It’s okay (and even envied by some) that we drive a free, somewhat beat up car, with NO car payment [Scratch that. The car’s been broken for over 2 months now so, yes, we’re the weird people with no car and walking most places we need to go.  The scale says I’m 5 pounds less. That’s cool.  Walking is something I WANTED to do but wasn’t doing with a working car.  I suppose we COULD have a car payment and then pay another payment to go to a gym but why?  So we walk a few miles each week for the past couple months.]  There’s just not room for negative energy from others (and thankfully, God has blinded us to some of the unkind looks and comments people have carelessly tossed our way.)

Okay back to Cute Crush David. He could entertain and make us laugh and it felt good to be around him. I’m sure everyone thought so. In all my life I’ve never met anyone as genuinely kind as he was to me way back then. He had the cutest, crooked smile and he said in a sweetest voice that he was going to call me Hee-Hee. OH the way he smiled as he said it! I think it’s cute that people who knew me from 6th grade through high school will still refer to me as Hee-Hee.

David VanBuskirk was his name and I think he was in the 8th grade. He was the kindest, cutest, almost funniest guy I’d ever met. And I’d like to thank him for the nickname, Hee-Hee. In fact, the first time any guy ever told me I was cute was Jeff Caruthers. Our senior year in high school he told me that some of the guys were talking and they agreed, “Hee-Hee’s gettin’ good lookin’.” THOSE were the sweetest words and least expected compliment I could have ever hoped for at that time!

So now… I’m a writer, artist, photographer, a mom of the 2 greatest girls in the world, and wife of a good, Christian man.

Hello, my name is Kerri, and I’m a Child of the One True King!

(Child of the One True King. Thank you, Jordan, preacher’s kid from Kentucky, for sharing your life’s story, and thank you, Matthew West, for writing this song because now THOSE words sing through my mind throughout the days! WHAT a relief from all the lies the enemy tries to put on my name tag!)

Anyway about 3 years ago I clearly had a thought hit me. From God? I think so. I believe God puts things on our hearts every day. So this voice or thought was telling me something like, “You’re going to move.” I was like, “NO WAY! I did not want to hear that! Let’s go on putting this laundry away and not think about that anymore.”

Well… it looks like we actually are moving. I need to move with my husband, 2 girls, a rat named Lancelot, (R.I.P. Sir Lancelot. Lancelot isn’t going with us now.) and a mouse named Charming (Charming won’t be going with us either. R.I.P. sweet Prince Charming) to Alaska.

Why Alaska? We believe God’s moving us there to do ministry work; specifically, moving us there to open a homeless teen center in Wasilla, Alaska.

So as I’m praying something like, “So, God, hey, where is the money going to come from to move to Alaska?” And as the few days go by since the realization that this is actually happening, this morning it hits me, “use the weird in you.” (This of course made me go back to 6th grade and look into David VanBuskirk’s, beautiful brown.  No blue.  No. Hazel? Whatever color those eyes were, they were CaaUUTE! I went back to 6th grade and unashamedly looked deeply into David’s eyes as he sweetly named me Hee-Hee.)

This morning I thought about that guy who took a red paper clip and traded and traded til he traded for a house. That’s kinda cool. (The Internet has a few videos about Kyle MacDonald and his trade of the One Red Paper Clip. One interview was done by the TV show 20/20 if you want to check it out.)

What a great idea. So I look through my house to see what I would offer to trade like that and I was led to a book. It has a picture of snow, snow dogs, a sled, a couple of people in warm coats, an airplane, ice and mountains.

WHAT? I’ve never noticed this before.  Looks quite a lot like Alaska.

[Quick fun fact: A few years earlier I had bought several old books from a garage sale for 10 cents each.  There were two books with the same title.  Interesting:  One of them has a picture of snow etc. resembling Alaska and the other book has a cover picture resembling life in Texas -which is where we live now.  Interesting coincidence -if I believed in coincidences …which I don’t.]

And the name of the book? Roads to Everywhere. Hmmm.  Interesting name.

Okay so what if I could trade this book and a few photo shoots to make enough money to move with my husband, 2 girls, and 1 rat (again, we miss Charming and Lancelot) to Alaska?

Hey! It’s worth a shot! If we try and fail to get a house this way, at least we tried! Try and succeed, or try and fail. At least TRY! Some will cheer. Some will boo. Some will laugh. That’s totally okay. Just be determined to try with 100% as our daughter’s teacher tells the students to do.

~~~~~ Since writing this we have made 3 trades (which is actually 4 things, total.)

We traded the book for binoculars.

Then traded the binoculars for a flowery, fruity, vintage chair.

Someone traded the chair for a Bose speaker set.  NICE!

Now we’re looking for the next trade; someone to trade the speakers for something bigger and better.  The trade can be new or old; doesn’t matter.  If you want to be part of this amazing story please send us your idea for a trade.
~~~~~
We sent Tony’s updated résumé out and we needed a new email address for his job search. We knew it was all about faith so… what to call it? As we sat together in front of the computer and talked, it came to us; itisallaboutfaith@gmail.com

Because you know what? Finding a job, enough money to move and live in Alaska comfortably (and by comfortably, I mean enough to pay all our bills and save, give, go on dates, and send our kids to college or online college, a car or 2 that will not break down with the right tires and no car payment, the right equipment and clothes to not freeze in 40-below weather,) and facing the looks and comments that people subtly (and some not so subtly) toss our way that we must be crazy, is ALL about faith.

By the way, I didn’t tell you yet that I’m TERRIFIED to be out in cyber world on the internet and put my life out there, up for criticism and hate mail, but again, this is a big step of faith. Something that millions of people do every single day without a care; put pictures of themselves and put their lives out in the wide, never-ending space of the internet; it is just something I’m NOT comfortable doing.

So… here I go, in faith.

Time to write.

Nevermind.

I can’t do this.

Yes, I can do this.

Okay, for real this time.

Here it is.

It is all about faith.

~

Thanks for all prayers, business, trades, and contributions!

Please share with other people who may support our Alaska movin’ family?

You stole pieces of me and left me broken and afraid (Sexual molestation)

I was 9 years old.

You stole pieces of me and left me broken and afraid. I believed the lies that I was nothing. I believed that this was all I was good for. You belong in prison and you know it.

You took my innocence and my confidence. You are the lowest of low people and you have NO excuses for what you did. You say it’s because someone molested you so you molested others? That’s a bunch of lies!

You molested ME and I would NEVER hurt another person this way.

There IS a choice. It can stop with YOU.

I matter. You should have seen that I matter. You should have been someone good in my life. Instead you are someone who wrecked into my life and made me feel like nothing.

If you repent and are baptized and go to Heaven, that’s great. As for this life, you belong in prison. I forgive you because my heart needs to be free to love on other people and help them heal. I forgive you because God says to. I forgive you because you are so broken that you don’t even realize what you’ve done to so many people. I feel sorry for you.

You made me afraid for so many years. I thought you would come after me. You don’t even know that part. All those years I spent afraid that you would come after me, I now realize you were thinking nothing about me AND you were still molesting other kids and sleeping with anyone of “legal” age who would have sex with you. The damage you did was still happening and you just lived care free.

You are nothing but a coward. You will answer to God FOR EVERY THOUGHT you had about me and you will also answer just the same for all the other kids you molested. Yes, you have to answer to Him. He’s my Daddy and He is NOT happy about the way you think about me and what you’ve done.

Thank you for inspiring me to write this. I know it will help so many people.

See?

That’s the thing.

God is using the very thing that you used against me to help other people heal. I am NOT afraid anymore. I am very worthwhile and I matter.

And now I will spend the rest of my life telling other people that they matter.

Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now — life for many people.  -Genesis 50:20

I forgive you and, NO, you may NEVER be around my children. I forgive you. I’m not stupid.

Sincerely, Me

~

Let me tell you something.

There is NOTHING sexy about a 9 year old little girl. There is NOTHING sexy about a 3 year old or a 15 year old for that matter. Some of those years it’s just called puberty, you piece of trash. A 15 year old child is a child. She may have a body starting to look like a woman but her mind is nowhere near ready for sex or a “relationship.”

People who molest and rape children are lower than bill collector scum. They are NOTHING. God can love them and forgive them and that’s way beyond my understanding, because I do not see HOW He can, but that’s because I’m human and I have only limited understanding.

~

POEM – or whatever you want to call it.

Please let me be a kid.

Please let me get to play hide and seek, ride my bike and play on the playground without you looking at me like that. Please let me walk with my friends without worry that you’ll take me from my family or take away my childhood.

Please see that I’m a child of God and know that He’s gonna be really, REALLY mad about what you’re thinking. Please let me be a whole, confident, safe kid and grow to be a person who can help other people in the world find their talents and meet their goals.

Please let me just be a kid.

I only get one opportunity to be a kid and you can help make it a wonderful time or make it the most horrible memory for me.

Please just let me be a kid. Please do not take my pictures. Please do not have wrong intentions toward me. Please don’t bother me.

Please know that if you do anything to me that is against God, you will answer to Him for it. You will stand in God’s presence and He will ask you, “Why?” and you, alone, must tell Him, our Daddy, why you hurt me. I don’t know if He’ll take the excuse that someone touched you so that’s why you can’t control yourself. Please don’t make excuses at all. Please don’t touch me in a way that God would be sad about. Please just let me be healthy and please don’t introduce sex to me when I’m only a child. You don’t have the right to do that. You don’t have the right to hurt me. You don’t have the right to even think the things you are thinking about me.

I can tell. I will tell. If someone isn’t smart enough to help or hear me, then I will tell another grown up and another and another until someone is smart enough to help me get away from you. You do not have the right to make me a dirty, little secret. You do not have the right to take away my innocence.

I’m bigger than you. I’m braver than you. I’m braver because I pray for you now. I pray that you feel loved on enough at home and by God to not ever bully or hurt other people.

Please, please just let me be a kid. -Kerri Stites

Be kind ON PURPOSE.

You do not know the stress someone else is under.

Be kind ON PURPOSE. Just be extra kind just in case someone needs it.

The other day I saw a woman be verbally and physically rude to a check out lady at the grocery store just because the equipment was not working at the self check out. There were other checkers open. There was nothing this worker could do to fix the equipment that second. She sweetly apologized to the rude lady. After the rude woman left and took her poisonous attitude with her I walked over to the check out lady and said, “Please don’t let that ruin your day.” She said, “I have a cancer screening this afternoon. There are bigger things going on in my life.”

I wish the rude person could have heard that. Maybe it would have changed the way she treated her. Don’t know. But maybe…

You do not know what someone else is going through. Just be kind.