This is the Day I Almost Died



Hello, November 20th! I am so happy to see you!

I bet you don’t know what day of the week Nov 20th was on in 2005. Well, I do.

It was a Sunday. The Sunday before Thanksgiving. It was also almost my last day on earth.

It’s funny the things we don’t know. I am a pharmacist. I am a healthcare provider and I did not know that you could die from a stomach bug. Well, I’m here to tell you that you can. You can absolutely die from a stomach bug and I almost did.

On November 20, 2005, I was 31 years old. I had been married to my husband, Bryan for over eight years. We were living in our new home.  Our daughter Ellie was three years old and our son Sam was nine months old.  Our lives were full!

We went to church that morning, and then out to lunch with family. I did not feel 100% myself, but I had no idea what was coming.

When we got home from lunch, I felt unusually tired so I went to lie down. Bryan was watching a basketball game while Ellie played and Sam took a nap.

Early that afternoon, my symptoms started. It was a very bad stomach virus. I had not had a stomach bug since I was 16 years old. I guess it came to me with a vengeance, because it hit me fast and hard!

I was very sick for hours and I found myself completely lethargic, lying on the bathroom floor. I managed to pull myself up and look in the mirror. I looked gray and I was scared.

The TV was on in the den and I was in our master bathroom. Bryan had no idea how fast things had progressed or how seriously ill I was. I did not have the strength to call to him loud enough for him to hear me, so I crawled to my bed and thought I would just sleep it off. As I started to drift off, I felt God urge me not to sleep. About that time, Bryan came in to check on me.

He panicked when he saw me! I had never been this sick before. He called my Mom to come over and stay with the kids and we drove to the ER. At this point, I was very dizzy and things were blurry.

By the time we arrived to the hospital, by kidneys were shutting down. My pulse was around 170 beats per minute and my blood pressure was 65/39 (normal is 120/80). The doctors told Bryan to call the family. This was a serious situation we were in.  They also told Bryan that if I would have tried to “sleep it off,” I would have died.

A whole team of folks came over to start working on me. Over the next few hours, they gave me EIGHT liters of fluid in order to make my kidneys start working again. I was given multiple antibiotics and was monitored very closely for the next few days. After several days in the hospital, my body began to improve, but I was not out of the woods yet.

Over the next six months, I struggled with more dehydration. I continued to have virus-like symptoms and was in and out of the ER getting bags of fluid. My resting heart rate was between 115-130 bpm (normal resting is around 70 bpm), so my heart was working like I was running a marathon at all times.  This made me lose significant weight.

I weighed under 100 pounds even though I forced myself to eat. Everything went straight through me and I was a mess. I had no energy…none! I could not take care of my family. I was out of work and I wondered if I would ever get better.

I would lie in my bed or on the couch asking God what was He trying to teach me?  I would be home alone throughout the day, and would say, “please let me learn whatever lesson I need to learn so I can get back to my life!”

I went through anxiety and bouts of depression like I had never experienced in the past. I wondered if God heard my cries. I wondered if this would be my new normal.  I prayed and prayed, begging God to fix this, but my body would not get back to normal.

My primary care physician was perplexed with what was going on with me. I was so young. Why could I not get better?  I saw every kind of specialist under the sun in hopes of finding an answer to this illness.

Although it took a full year for me to get back to having 90% of the energy I had before, life did get back to a more normal state.  Slowly, my body recovered, but I was not the same person I was before November 20, 2005.

This time in my life was dark and uncertain, but do you know what happened through this experience? I gained a fresh appreciation for the little things in life. My marriage grew stronger and I learned that every single day is a blessing from God!

I grew closer to God through that experience like never before.  I came to the end of my rope and I had a choice to make.

Do I believe God to be who He says He is, or not?

I decided to believe God and somehow, someway, He would work this illness for good.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  ~Romans 8:28

So here we are again…It’s Nov 20th.  It’s the week of Thanksgiving.

This is the season of Thankfulness.  It is the season of Gratitude!  I believe one of the keys to living a happy life is to have a grateful heart.  Being grateful to God for who He is and all He has done for you, is the starting point.

You see, when your heart is set on being grateful, there’s no room for complaining.  When your heart is set on being grateful, there is no room for bitterness.  When your heart is set on being grateful, there is no room for unforgiveness.

Sure—life is hard. Sometimes it is really hard!  People let you down. Sickness comes.  Dreams are broken.  Money is uncertain.  If we look hard enough, we can always find something to complain about.

But you know what else? When we look hard enough, we can always find something to be grateful for, too. Why don’t we choose to focus on that, instead?

So, hello to you November 20th, 2018!  I am so grateful to see you!

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!


Wake-Up Christian Mamas!



A friend of mine brought to my attention a video game that her 12-year-old son is begging for.  Most of his friends already have this game.  It is called Grand Theft Auto V, otherwise known as GTA.

Now maybe I’m coming in late to this party, but I had never heard of this game.

My friend told me she was going to order it on Amazon for her son’s birthday gift and wanted to know if I knew anything about it.  She said it was very popular among middle-school boys and since I have a middle-school-aged son, I decided to educate myself about this GTA game.

My goodness!  I was not ready for what I found out!

Here are the facts:

  • Versions are rated M for maturity (17+) or R
  • There are explicit sexual scenes throughout the game and sex is a part of the main story line or “campaign”
  • There is a strip club mini-game where you can “touch” breasts and save provocative panties
  • You can watch a man and woman having sex
  • Players can be required to take video footage of celebrities having sex
  • Players can participate in many sexual activities at ANY time
  • Bloody/gory/murderous violence is throughout this game
  • Players can shoot police officers and innocent people
  • Torturous scenes include beating a helpless man
  • Animals (including pets) can be killed at will
  • Players play the role of criminal characters
  • Players can randomly kill anyone in the game

This list goes on and on.

Do you want to know the most shocking part of this review?  This game earned $800 million in its first day of sales and $1 billion in its first three days.  It is one of the most popular games of all time.

Wake-up Christian Mamas!

My friend is a Christian.  She loves her husband and her kids deeply.   She takes them to church and serves The Lord fiercely.

She and I were in a casual conversation about how hard it is to buy a birthday gift for your 13-year-old son.  We were just chatting about ideas over lunch when this came up.  She said all of his friends played this GTA game and he wanted it too, so she was thinking about getting it for him.


My point with this post is that you and I need to wake-up and get involved in what our kids are doing behind closed doors.  We cannot just willy-nilly buy any video game or App for our sons (or daughters) without doing a thorough Mama-Bear investigation.

The images in these video games will be engrained in the minds of our sons for their life-time.  These games are evil and these boys will have long-term negative effects from filling their minds with these images.

Today’s video games are not like our video games back in the days of the Atari.  This is not your standard Pac-Man or Donkey Kong type of game.  Games like GTA are full of sex, violence, murder and more.

There is also an option with these games to connect to wifi so you can play with your friends. Kids gang up together in the storyline and engage in these activities together.

They talk about it at the lunch table at school.  They brag about how many people they killed while playing the game and how many sexual acts were performed.

Evil!  Pure evil!

Most of us would never knowingly allow this type of garbage into our homes.  The problem is that we are often uninformed.  We assume the game is safe because other kids are playing it.  We are also not informed about the ratings of these games.  We may not even know what “M” stands for.

Life is busy and time gets away from us….well this is a wake-up call to me that I need to be doing my homework!

Uninformed parents are in their living rooms watching “Fixer Upper,” while their sons are upstairs in their rooms watching people have sex on a video game that their parents ordered on Amazon for their birthday.

It happens every day.

It could happen to me.  It could happen to you.

This is a call to all Christian Mamas!  We need to be nosy!  We need to be educated!  We need to be involved!

Sift through your son’s video games.  Review every phone App thoroughly.   Be aware that kids can even hide games similar to GTA on their electronic devices.  Read more about that here:  http://abc13.com/technology/discreet-apps-help-teens-hide-things-from-parents/998592/

What can we do?

  • Pray for our kids and with our kids
  • Help our kids know God’s Word and what He desires from us
  • Talk to our kids about the dangers in these games
  • Be very frank with our kids about sex, shootings and crime
  • Talk to the parents of our kids’ friends and make a stand together
  • Be nosy
  • Ask questions
  • Set standards
  • Say, “no”

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…and He is after your son and mine.


~ Mama Bear Joy

I am going to run over your iPad with my car….


Sunday mornings can be tough for families.  Many times, Saturday has been filled with fun activities which can include staying up late.  When Sunday morning gets here, it can be hard to get out of bed.

So it was for the Greene family this morning.

As the rest of us were up, getting ready for church, Sam was still in the bed.  He was dead to the world.  Time was ticking and I was growing impatient because the Lord knows how much I hate to be late.

After I had called him FIVE times, Sam was still not downstairs.  He had let out an occasional grunt to let me know he heard me, but he was still dreaming away in his comfy bed.

When you’re trying to motivate a 12 year old boy to obey, you use whatever arsenal you can find in your brain at that moment.  Sometimes things come out of your mouth that you did not plan for.  It is also quite possible that sometimes as a Mom, I may overreact from time to time.

Have you ever seen those videos of parents who get so frustrated with their kids and their electronics that they destroy them (the electronics, not the kid)?  I saw a video several months ago of a Dad who was at the end of his rope with his son.  The Dad was so outdone by the amount of time his son spent on his gaming system, that he took the gaming system out into the yard and ran over it with his lawnmower.

I guess this video stuck in my mind as a possible new parenting technique.

When Sam did not respond to me for the fifth time this morning, I had reached my “nice Mom” limit!

I walked upstairs and with a very calm, cool and collected voice, I leaned over and whispered in his ear, “I have called you five times this morning.  If you do not get up, eat your breakfast, put your clothes on, brush your teeth, fix your hair and have your Bible in hand ready to go in 10 minutes, I am going to run over your iPad with my car…….good morning, sweetheart.”

Ok, let’s wait just a minute here.  In hindsight, I probably overreacted and could have thought of a more loving (and less destructive) way to get Sam out of bed, but it was effective. Sam got out of bed….and fast!  Plus, he accomplished everything I asked him to, with his Bible in hand ready to go to church, on time.

Now, I’m not advocating that we take our kids’ belongings and run over them with our cars, but I am advocating that we take seriously the role we have as parents to teach our kids to obey.  I think this is one of the most difficult things we deal with as   parents, because as human beings, our nature is to disobey.

We see this from the beginning of time with Adam and Eve.  They disobeyed God.

The woman saw how beautiful the tree was and how good its fruit would be to eat, and she thought how wonderful it would be to become wise. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, and he also ate it.  ~Genesis 3:6

When we continue to look into the Bible, we see this same theme of disobedience with the Israelites.  I am reading through the Bible this year and I just get flat worn out with these Israelites.  Over and over, they did not listen to God.  In so many instances their hearts were not set on following Him.  In fact, they wandered around in the wilderness for 40 years because they had not obeyed God, and they missed out on a BIG blessing because of it.

Might we take notice that there are consequences to disobeying God?

The Israelites had moved about in the wilderness forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the LORD. For the LORD had sworn to them that they would not see the land he had solemnly promised their ancestors to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey.  ~Joshua 5:6

God is always faithful and loyal to His people, but His people are not always faithful and loyal to Him.

Isn’t this still true of us, today?  We love God.  We believe in His son Jesus and we follow Him.  Yet, we struggle with doing what God tells us to do.  Too many times we do what we “feel” like doing instead of doing what God commands us to do.

As far as parenting goes, my encouragement to you today, my friend, is to not give up.  Whether it’s getting your child out of bed in the morning or dealing with things much more serious, parenting can wear you down.

As Moms, we make mistakes, but when you and I fall down, we must not stay down.  You and I will battle with our kids over their disobedience.  It is a battle we must fight, with love, as we obey God in our calling as Moms.

Remember, if a child will not obey a parent they CAN see, how will they ever obey a God they CANNOT see?

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’-which is the first commandment with a promise-‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’” ~Ephesians 6:1-3

Just like God loves us and He promises to never leave us, our kids need to know how much we love them and how we will never leave them.  We may run over their iPads with our car, but we will always be there for them.

Thankful for you,


Make a Memory!



Fall is in the air and it thrills my soul! It is my favorite time of year as I love the cooler temperatures, the colorful trees, and the smell of pumpkin spice.

This is the time of year when I pull out my crockpot and make chili beans, vegetable soup, homemade chicken and noodles and all of those warm, “feel good” one-pot meals.  

I sip hot chocolate (with lots of marshmallows), wear wool socks, thick sweaters and boots! OH yes—fall is the most wonderful time of the year, for me.

Some of my most favorite memories are centered around the fall season. Memories of family get-togethers, camping trips, pumpkin patches and snuggling on the couch with those I love on a cool October morning.  

What about you?

What comes to your mind when you think about the fall season?

I worked at Union University (in Jackson, TN) for three years and my Dean, Dr. Sheila Mitchell, would make a statement from time to time. We would be talking about an upcoming conference or a family vacation and she would say “while you’re there, make a memory.”

Dean Mitchell is one of those people who lives her life to the fullest! She has wisdom to know that life is precious and the moments we have are gifts from God. She is quick to tell you that there is always something to be grateful for and that life is too short to be miserable.

Why focus on what’s wrong with your life when you can have a heart of thankfulness and focus on what is right with your life?

Dean Mitchell lives with purpose. Not only does she live her life to please God, but she also lives her life to serve others. She plans creative way to make special moments with her family, friends and those around her. It might be an evening boat ride on the lake with her husband, or a special tea party with her granddaughter.

She knows how to love other people well and she works hard at making special moments with them. When those special moments come, Dean Mitchell fully embraces the moment. She doesn’t just let it slip away unnoticed. She soaks in all in and takes a snapshot in her mind that she tucks away as a treasured memory.

You and I have a role to play in making our life count.

God created you and me for a reason. He has kingdom work for us to do and He has good things in store for us!

It is easy for us to feel weighed down with the many responsibilities we have.

We need to clean our house, do the laundry, pay the bills, go to work and the list goes on. But, we also need to invest in our marriages, plan special outings with our children, show love to a friend in need, serve someone in need and take time to soak in the beauty of God’s creation.

There is much more to life than just the work we need to do.

Be determined this fall season to make special memories.

It is serving others that brings about the most joy so do your part to create special moments with your family, friends and those around you.

This fall season, start a new family tradition. Take your kids on a fun adventure. Serve at a local ministry. Plan a weekend getaway with your husband.

Put energy and time into planning something special as you love those around you.

As your special moments unfold, I hope you will stop and thank God for His goodness. I hope you will stop and soak it all in. I hope you will stop, take a snapshot in your mind of all God has done and “make a memory” that will last a lifetime.

So glad you stopped by!


I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.   ~Psalm 7:17


It will be the best you’ve ever had!



Ocean Isle Beach (OIB) is a quiet, family beach community where folks drive their golf carts on the roads and where life seems to slow down a bit.  It’s a small quaint place that Bryan and I enjoyed taking our children to when they were younger.

OIB is home to one of the sweetest ice cream shops around that serves the most delicious homemade strawberry ice cream.  I mean to tell you, it is yummmmmmy!

Years ago, my cousin Adam, and his family, vacationed with us at OIB for a week of fun and sun!  As we prepared for our trip down to the coast, I told Adam and Candace about the things we could do at OIB.  Of course, I mentioned this fabulous ice cream shop and the delicious strawberry ice cream.  I remember telling Adam it would be the best strawberry ice cream he had ever had!

Sure enough, while on our trip, we made our way to the ice cream shop and out of all the flavors available, Adam chose strawberry.  Smart choice!

I just knew he would love it as much as I did, so I paid attention as he took his first bite.  His expression was not as joyful as I had hoped it would be.  I wanted him to tell me how fabulous this strawberry ice cream was, but instead, he just told me it was good.  (Insert shock!)

GOOD?  What did he mean, good?  It is fantastic!


Here we are—back in 2009!

Adam and I have laughed about this strawberry ice cream story many times since that OIB trip.  When we talk about it, he jokingly says, “Joy, you over-promised and under-delivered.”

What about you?  Have you ever over-promised and under-delivered?

Maybe it wasn’t about how wonderful a flavor of ice cream was, but maybe you told someone you were going to do something and then you did not do it.  Maybe you told a friend you would be somewhere and something came up so you were unable to go.  Maybe a coworker asked you to pray for them and you said you would, but then you forgot.

Maybe like me you have had good intentions and you really wanted to stick to a commitment that you made, but life got in the way and you backed out of your commitment, letting someone else down.

From time to time, we break promises.  We don’t follow through.  We are not true to our word.

We over-promise and under-deliver.

It happens to us all.

Lately, God has been reminding me of how important it is for me to do what I say I am going to do!  He has been reminding me that I should be careful not to overcommit myself to things I do not plan to stick to!

He has been reminding me that I should be a person of my word and that my integrity is vital to my walk with Him.

Talk is cheap!  Living out my faith takes action!

Jesus emphasizes this point through the parable of two sons:

 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’  “’I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” “The first,” they answered.  ~Matthew 21:31a

The first son did not agree to go work, but he changed his mind later (another version says he repented), and he went to work.  The second son said he would go to work, but then he did not go.

Which son pleased the father?

When you and I fail to keep our word, it affects our trustworthiness.  It causes people to lose respect for us.

It also affects our friendships.  Friendships are typically based on trust and it’s almost impossible to trust someone who does not keep their word.

My friend, you and I need to be people who are trustworthy.  We carry the name of Christ.  We are to be like Him!

People should be able to count on us!  When we say we are going to do something, we should not need five reminders to do it!  If we say we are going to do it, then we need to do it!

You and I are human and of course none of us are perfect, but that does not give us an excuse to repeatedly not follow through on our commitments.

God’s Word is clear that our words matter!  We are accountable for our words—all of them!

“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”  ~Matthew 12:26

Let’s be ever-more cautious to be a person of our word.  When we make a commitment to do something, let’s be determined to stick to it!

Well, I know you have a craving for a delicious scoop (or two) of strawberry ice cream!  If you get the chance, make the drive down to Ocean Isle Beach and enjoy some at the local ice cream shop!  Regardless of what my cousin Adam thinks, there’s a good chance it will be the best strawberry ice cream you’ve ever had!   🙂

Thanks for stopping by!


For more about keeping your word, check out this link:  https://www.openbible.info/topics/keeping_your_word



The Christmas Hairdryer!


The Christmas Hairdryer

Every Christmas, as I gather with family, the story of the Christmas hairdryer emerges.

You see, when I was little girl, my Dad, sister and I went to buy my Mom a Christmas gift. My Dad is such a great guy, but this particular year, he was a little behind on buying my Mom’s Christmas gift. It was Christmas Eve and off we went to the department store in town.

Interestingly, my Mom rode with us. Once my Dad parked the car, my Mom stayed inside the car while my Dad, sister and I went into the store to pick out a gift that expressed our devout appreciation and love for her.

I was four years old and my sister was nine. We did not know what a young wife and mother would want for Christmas so my Dad decided on a hairdryer.

You know, something practical and useful!

We purchased the hairdryer and I was beaming with excitement! I was so happy about this gift that I was about to bust! I thought a hairdryer was the most glorious gift ever decided upon and I could not wait to see the joy on my Mother’s face when she opened it on Christmas morning!

I was so elated that in fact, I could not wait until Christmas morning!

As my Dad carried the hairdryer in the plastic shopping bag to the car to put it in the trunk, I ran and jumped in the back seat. My Mom was still sitting patiently in the front seat of the car.

Before I could even get the door shut, I was overcome with delight and said, “Mama, we bought you a gift. I can’t tell you what we got you, but I’ll give you one hint.” My Mom’s eyes were wide with anticipation as she waited for my hint. Then I proudly said,

“It’s something you dry your hair with.”

Around Christmastime, this story resurfaces in our family. We enjoy a good laugh about that Christmas Eve, but do you know what really makes me smile? The fact that I still remember the joy I felt in my heart over the Christmas hairdryer.

It did not matter to me that it was a hairdryer. What mattered to me was that we had a special gift for my Mom. I loved her so much and I could not wait to give it to her!

When I think a little more deeply about the gift of the Christmas hairdryer, God nudges my heart about the most special gift He gave over 2,000 years ago in His son, Jesus. My heart is convicted because sometimes the weight of the world feels like it is on my shoulders and I lose my perspective about what really matters in this life.

I wonder if you ever feel that way?

Do you sometimes feel the weight of the world on your shoulders? Do you sometimes worry about your life and forget that God is in control?

Do you ever find that you have lost your excitement about your faith?

It’s normal to feel that way from time to time. The important thing is that you do not settle for being in a spiritual slump.

The important thing is that you find the courage to confess your sins, repent and get back on track with God!

As we begin 2016, let’s be diligent to spend more time in prayer, more time reading our Bibles and more time serving others. It won’t happen just because we want it to happen. Like all relationships, our relationship with God takes work!

We can have great intentions but not make any progress because we do not implement a plan. We need to implement spiritual disciplines into our lives that grow us closer to God.

We need to seek after Him with all of our heart!

Here are a few ideas that I have found helpful:

  • Go to bed 30 minutes early or get up 30 minutes earlier than normal so you can study your Bible and pray.
  • Pick a Bible reading plan and stick with it. You don’t have to read the Bible cover to cover in just one year (although that is a great goal to have). Pick a plan that works well for you.
  • Download a Bible podcast or Bible App (like the daily audio bible https://dailyaudiobible.com). Set a time and listen everyday.
  • Start praying with your family or change up your family prayer time to go deeper into God’s Word.
  • Start a “joy jar”. A joy jar is an empty jar you can decorate and place in a prominent place in your home. On a regular basis, have your family write down moments of “joy” where God has answered prayers throughout the year.
  • Memorize scripture. You can use simple 3 x 5 note cards. Write down one verse a week and start memorizing. I have found that posting the verse in my car is a great way for me to memorize scripture. Read and study the verse over and over throughout the week. You’ll be amazed at all the scripture you can memorize in a year.
  • Join a Bible study at your church or at a friend’s church. Plugging in at your local church is so important for your spiritual growth.
  • Get your mind off of your problems and invest in others. Get busy serving!
  • When you feel discouraged, stop and count your blessings!

As a little girl, I was thrilled about the Christmas hairdryer gift, but you know what? As followers of Christ, you and I know the GREATEST gift of all, Jesus!

Sometimes we don’t feel as excited to share Jesus as we once did. This often happens because we get too caught up in the cares of this world. We lose our perspective and drift away from God.

The good news is that we serve a gracious God and we can come back to Him!

Do you want a closer relationship with God? You can have it! You need the right perspective, a plan, and perseverance!

Be determined to make 2016 a year of dramatic spiritual growth!

Grateful for you!

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

-Jeremiah 29:13

Speedy, the Three-Legged Turtle


Sam and Speedy

I just had to write to you and tell you about Sam’s turtle, Speedy.

Speedy is a red-eared slider turtle that Sam found three years ago while we were living in Tennessee. Speedy only has three legs, so he is a special turtle!

Speedy lived in Sam’s room in a nice, big, aquatic turtle tank where Sam took good care of him.

What you might not know about red-eared slider turtles, is they can live up to 70 years! YES, that’s right! 70 years! I had no idea about this tidbit of information when I agreed to this turtle idea three years ago.

Last summer we moved to NC and of course Speedy came with us. It was then that I noticed how much he was growing. We already upgraded Speedy’s tank the Christmas before, but now he was growing even bigger.  I had no idea what to do about it, so I decided to do a little research and see what other people had to say about these terrapins.

It is never good when you come across a blog about red-eared slider turtles that reads, “Think twice before keeping that cute little turtle.” I learned that these adorable tiny shelled critters grow larger than a paper plate and require much attention and money!

One might ask why a responsible parent did not do this research before they gave an innocent child permission to keep the turtle. Yes, one might ask.

Well, by now it was too late! Speedy was a family member, and he was getting bigger by the day.  Bryan and I were not sure what to do, so we did what any desperate parent would do. We tried to talk our nine year old son into releasing a three-legged turtle back into the wild.

Yeah, it did not go so well.

We have a pond right beside our house so we began talking with Sam about how wonderful it would be for Speedy to have more room to swim. We told Sam that Speedy deserved a chance to have a family (including a wife and potential baby Speedy turtles). We talked about how happy Speedy would be basking in the sun on a nice big rock with other turtles.

You can imagine how that turned out. Sam would not have it! He was totally against it. He quickly reminded us that Speedy only had three legs and that he was not a strong swimmer. He told us that Speedy could never survive on his own and how he would most definitely die! AND–how could we do that to a member of the family???

At the rate this was going, I was quite sure Speedy would end up in the nursing home with me.

Much to my surprise, last weekend (out of the blue), Sam runs into the house proclaiming, “I am going to release Speedy.”

Wait, what?

I had already given up on this turtle moving out of my house, and had already begun researching 100 gallon turtle tanks!

Sam just up and decided he wanted to set Speedy free and he wanted to collect baby turtles in his tank. He told me he had been thinking about it and I was right.

Wait, what?

Speedy was getting too big for his tank, so he was going to set him free and set up a turtle care center in his room. Grow the turtles up, release them and catch new ones.

This happened fast, my friend!

Within minutes, Sam got Speedy out of the tank and he and his friend, Ethan, put Speedy on the bank of the pond. I grabbed my phone so I could capture this moment with photos and videos as we watched Speedy, the three-legged turtle, set sail on a new adventure!

Just like that!

As I watched Speedy’s shell sink beneath the pond’s surface, I thought about how hard it was for Sam to let Speedy go. I saw a few tears in Sam’s eyes, but I also saw joy on his face when he saw Speedy swimming on his own.

I was reminded of what it’s like being a Mom. We have these sweet little babies and little by little they grow up until one day we realize just how grown up they are. We begin to understand that they no longer need to be under the direct supervision of Mom and Dad. We realize they are ready for a life out on their own.

There is a time when we must let them go.

If you’re a mom, then maybe you’re like me and your kids are still at home. Or maybe your kids have already set sail on their own life’s adventure. Either way, life passes by quickly and with each season of life, there are challenges which pull at our heart strings.

Ecclesiastes 3 tells us “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. There is a time plant and a time to uproot. God has made everything beautiful in its time.”

I think Sam learned a valuable lesson by releasing Speedy. He learned what it’s like to love something with all your heart and how to have the courage to let it go. He learned that some things in life only last for a season and then they are gone.

You know what? I learned those lessons all over again, too.

Sail on, Speedy!





Just last week, my kids and I were leaving for school and we had some leftover Easter candy on the kitchen counter. So, unbeknownst to me, Sam (who is 10) grabs a handful of solid milk-chocolate eggs as he heads to the car. I begin talking with the kids about their plans for the day and I notice that Sam is unusually quiet in the backseat.

Sam is very rarely quiet, so I knew something was up.

Before I could say anything, my daughter Ellie (who is 12, and was sitting in the front seat), whips her head around and notices the crime Sam has committed. She sees the empty Easter candy wrappers on the backseat and she has a look of complete disgust on her face as she sees Sam’s cheeks puffed up with chocolate from one side to the other.

She blows the whistle on Him and yells, “SAM IS EATING CHOCOLATE….IN THE MORNING….AND THAT IS NOT RIGHT!”

Now, siblings will be siblings.  Deep down, brothers and sisters love each other,  but they can be very quick to tell Mom and Dad when the other one is doing something wrong.  

Is it ok to sneak milk-chocolate Easter eggs for dessert after breakfast, in the car, all the while hiding it from Mom?  Of course not, but that’s not the point of today’s blog.  My purpose today is to share with you how God used this situation to remind me of His Truth.

I can relate to Ellie in this situation.  Ellie is a child who has a deep conviction in her spirit for what is right and wrong.   Most nights, she and I lay down in her bed and she talks about her day.  Often, she confesses her sins to me and wants me to pray with her.  Her heart is concerned for justice.   

I can also relate to Sam in this situation.  Sam was tempted to eat yummy milk-chocolate candy.  Those eggs were laying right there on the counter and he could not help himself.  He knew better than to sneak them in the car, but he did it anyway.  Temptation got the best of him. Haven’t we all fallen into temptation?

In the book of Micah, there is a question answered as to what God requires of us.  

Look at this verse in Chapter 6:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.  ~Micah 6:8

We are instructed to act justly.  To be “just” is to do what is right and fair.  We should treat others fairly and we should be honest, (even when no one is watching). God has told us in His Word what is right and good.  We should do what is right and good.

We are instructed to “love mercy”.  This means we should show compassion and kindness toward one another.  We often see the definition of “mercy” as “tender mercy.”  It’s easy for us to extend this type of compassion when someone has an illness, or a tragedy has struck their life.  It can be harder for us to extend this type of mercy when someone has fallen into sin.  

Lastly, we should walk humbly with our God.  The word, “humble” is also translated, “lowly.”  It is the opposite of pride and arrogance. Being humble is understanding our right place with God.   He is God.  We are not.  He is always right.  We position ourselves in reverence to Him because He is worthy of our worship!  We should walk with Him in this way.

The church should be a place that is safe for people to share their struggles.  The church should be a safe place for people to fall.  Sometimes, it is not.  Instead of being a group of believers who come alongside hurting and broken people, we often throw stones at them with our words and with our actions.  

I am guilty of doing this.  What about you?

My friend, you and I need to be people who do what is fair and right, while showing tender mercy and compassion to others.  Let us not think too highly of ourselves. We did not save ourselves. We are saved by the tender grace, and loving mercy of God, through the blood of Jesus.

I hope you will take some time today and think on this verse in Micah.  Let it penetrate into your heart and ask God to speak to you.

We need to be careful how we respond when we find out about another person’s sin.  There is the temptation of tearing someone down with our words or actions, but God tells us to extend tender mercy and compassion, instead.  

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap,in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”   ~John 8:3-7


Do justly, love mercy….walk humbly with your God.


I am very grateful for you!



When Christmas is NOT the most wonderful time of the year…


I am not a coffee person. I know!  I know!  You probably think there is something seriously wrong with me!  Well,  I have tried it many different ways but cannot get past the coffee taste. For me, the coffee bean is not flavorful.  Although coffee is not for me, I do think that people who drink coffee look sophisticated. I am very impressed when I hear folks speak the “coffee language” because I have no idea what they are talking about. Coffee people understand the differences between Mochas, Iced Coffees, Cappuccinos, Cafe au Laits, Frappes, Macchiatos, Lattes, and Espressos. Just thinking about it makes me dizzy.  Just look at this menu below:

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 3.50.07 PM

No, I am not a coffee person. My favorite cold weather beverage is hot chocolate!   YUMMMMM!  When it is loaded down with marshmallows and whipped cream, I am one happy camper. I love a cold night when I can wear my fuzzy wool socks, put on my soft, comfy pajamas, and have my favorite mug full to the brim with that warm delicious drink from heaven.   It is something I look forward to as the Christmas season approaches.

What do you look forward to as Christmas gets closer?

Many of us get excited when we pull the Christmas decorations out of the attic and begin putting together our own winter wonderland. We look forward to finding that perfect gift for our loved ones and we smile when we hear Christmas music on the radio. We often sing, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, but for many people, the Christmas season is not the most wonderful time of the year. For many people, Christmas is full of painful memories, loss and sadness.

My Mother-in-law was admitted into the hospice unit at Presbyterian Hospital the day before Christmas Eve many years ago.   All she wanted was to spend one last Christmas at home with her family, but instead, she was rushed to the hospital in respiratory distress because the cancer had spread violently to her lungs. So that year for Christmas, we all crammed into a small hospital room and spent Christmas listening to the sound of a breathing machine while nurses and physicians came in and out every hour to check her. She was jaundiced, weak and unable to speak clearly. She was dying. We set up a tiny Christmas tree in her room.   We held hands, we prayed, we cried, and we told her how much we loved her. Just as we had done for seven years, our family pleaded with God for healing, but in His sovereignty, He chose not to heal her. She died at the age of 46.

Our family had Jesus with us each step of the way that Christmas. He never left us. He was there to comfort us. He was there to love us. He was our strength and our joy.

For many this Christmas season, there is no joy because they do not know the giver of joy. There is no hope because they have never met the one who brings hope into this lost world.

This Christmas season, I hope you and I will pay close attention to those in our midst who are struggling with sadness and pain. I hope we will not turn a blind eye to them, but instead, I pray we see their needs and step into their lives to bring HOPE. We can bring hope to them because we know the HOPE of the world! We need to tell them that God sent His son into our world to save us. We need to tell them that Jesus is HOPE. He is LOVE. He is JOY. He gives us every reason to smile and sing, regardless of our painful past.

If someone you know is hurting this Christmas season, I encourage you to reach out to them in a special way this year. Invite them to be a part of your family tradition or ask them to come share a cup of coffee or hot chocolate with you. However you reach out to them this season, just be sure to tell them about your amazing Savior, Jesus, the one who gives life everlasting.

Merry Christmas to you, my friend!


It was that kind of night…


Have you ever had one of those evenings when you had hopes to have a fun night with your family and it turned out to be a disaster?

That was my night recently.

We went out for pizza and then decided to go to watch a movie.  I checked online and found the movie we wanted to see and we headed out.  It was a 25 minute drive to the movie theater and we were on schedule to make it with no time to spare.

As we got in the car….it started.  The bickering in the back seat!

Ellie and Sam were not happy with each other at all!  Just the slightest thing set them both off.  They were arguing back and forth and Bryan and I had had enough.  So then we started fussing at them and how they could not get along and the conversation escalated.  Before I knew it, we were all arguing with each other and I had no idea how it all even happened.

There was heavy traffic and we hit every light on red.  By the time we arrived to the theater, we were all in a terrible mood.  I was just ready to get into the theater, sit down with my popcorn and enjoy a good movie.


I think all of the greater Triad area decided to go to this same movie theater on this particular night at this specific time.  There were at least 50 people in line to buy a ticket and by the time we pulled into the parking lot, we were already 10 minutes late.

There was no way we were watching this movie.  We could never get through the line in time, so we got back in the car to drive 25 minutes home.

I wish I could say that we all had a positive attitude, ended up doing something super fun and made a beautiful memory with the kids!  Nope!  We didn’t.

We were frustrated and in a bad mood.

As we drove home, the complaining began about all the time we had wasted, and how this night had turned out to be a terrible night, and we didn’t get to have any fun and now we wouldn’t get any movie popcorn, and we should have never came to see a movie, and how we should have stayed home. etc. etc. etc.

So I sat there, in the passenger seat feeling sorry for myself over something so ridiculous, but when you’re in the moment, you do not have good sense.

I was discouraged that my kids were not getting along.  I was discouraged that we missed the movie.  I was discouraged that we wasted so much time driving to see a movie we couldn’t even see because half of America was there to watch the same movie.  I was disappointed.

As we were nearing our neighborhood, it was quiet in the car and we had our radio on the local Christian station.  I heard Bryan start to sing along with the radio.  This song was playing:

As Bryan continued to sing along, Ellie began to quietly sing too and then Sam joined in.  They were singing, “Lord I need you, Oh I need you”.  Eventually, they all three were singing to the top of their lungs this beautiful song about our dependence on God.  I sat there with a smile on my face because God was using this evening to remind me how desperate we are for Him.

We need Jesus.  Without Him, we have no hope.  We need Him every minute of everyday.

Life isn’t what we see on Facebook.  No one has a perfect life.  People have troubles.   People argue.  People get on each other’s nerves.

You and I should strive to love each other the best way possible, but we will have moments of failure.  We will fail as a friend, spouse, parent etc and when we do, it’s a good reminder on just how much we need Jesus.

When people and circumstances disappoint you my friend, I encourage you to remember this beautiful song sung by Matt Maher.  Listen to the lyrics and sing out loud, “Lord, I need you, oh I need you”, because….you do.

Hoping your next trip to the movie theater is better than mine was!