Sacrifice Enough?

Last retreat I invited a friend of mine to come with me.  I knew she needed to be spiritually fed.  She is a mom of two beautiful children; last year the oldest was 3 and the youngest was 1 year old.  When I went to pick up my friend from her house, I could hear the screaming and crying of both children begging for her to stay home.  She was firm and consistent all the time; she wanted to go to the retreat.  She said she was determined to go because she wanted “to become a better mom, a better wife, and a better Christian.”  Would her babies’ tears be enough for her to quit her resolution? Would she be strong enough to close the door behind her leaving her precious babies crying for her?  Grandma was there to take care of them, but they didn’t care, they wanted “mommy” to stay with them as usual. My friend never before had been separated from her babies; I knew it was going to be hard for her.  I waited at the parking lot with a bottle of water on one hand and a box of tissues on the other.  For a second I thought she wasn’t coming; to my surprise she did.  She took the bottle of water silently and the box of tissues and started to cry like a baby.  I knew she was suffering; it was a huge sacrifice to go to a retreat miles away from her babies.  I asked her if she was sure she wanted to go, she nodded.     I prayed for God’s protection over...

My Truth . . .

My truth: Last year’s Time to Graduate Princess retreat was part healing and part misery for me. Fairly new to Everglades Community Church, I didn’t know many of the other princesses, and the ones I knew well enough to be comfortable with were busy putting on the retreat. My usual trick of hiding behind service to cover up my deficient small-talk skills didn’t work at this Christian function because I was there as a princess. Any offer I extended to help was rejected because princesses were to be ministered to. (Darn it, Girl Friday, are you sure you couldn’t use an assistant? Ms. Saturday, perhaps?) Making matters worse, one of my princess friends said something insensitive to me. I was hurt, but the thought of confronting her tied my insides into ginormous granny knots. The longer the day went on, the worse I felt. My kids were starting to get annoyed by all of my calls – the nerve! So when they stopped answering the phone, I overdosed on chocolate, catapulting myself into a migraine. Not a perfect princess. My graduation: Finally, I knew I had to stop wallowing in self-pity and talk to the princess who’d trampled on my toes. Through plenty of tears and a few stammers, I told her I felt she had given me the responsibility for something that was partly hers to bear. I spoke the truth in love to her. In response she told me she liked me. Not exactly what I was expecting, but on the other hand, I really don’t know what I was expecting. Later, I mustered the nerve to...

A Lesson On Teaching

In the spring of 1997 I was finishing my last semester of a bachelor of arts in linguistics at Indiana University. My studies included a research project that set out to find which instructional activities best achieved mastery of the target language in a high school foreign language class. I observed a first-year Spanish class twice a week for nine weeks to gather data for my project. The teacher, Mrs. Diaz, wasn’t much old than I, and we had similar ethnic backgrounds – one parent from Mexico, the other melting pot American. However, she was fluent in Spanish, and I still am not. Toward the end of the nine weeks I realized that it wasn’t the daily homework, carefully laid lesson plans or vocabulary drills that helped these 14 and 15-year-olds learn Spanish best. It was one of Mrs. Diaz’s classroom policies. Anytime a student blurted out something in English, she had to repeat the phrase in Spanish. In addition to the Spanish she already knew, the student could use a dictionary, her textbook, help from another student, anything. Having to apply the language in a meaningful, everyday circumstance gave the student purpose for her studies and thus helped her learn better. A novice in this area, I was shocked by my findings. Mrs. Diaz, on the other hand, either had a really good poker face or was too busy maintaining order in her classroom to reveal any surprise. These days the only students I see on a regular basis are my 12-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son, and they speak even less Spanish than I do. But the principle...

Timeline: 2006: Autism And Miracles

One thing about Broward County, miracles still happen. Here is an account of a miracle experienced first-hand by some of my sales associates who were involved in the event below — either as performers or as spectators. ________________________________________________________ On December 19, 2006, President Bush signed bills to raise federal funding for autism . . . Congress voted on Dec. 7 to significantly increase federal funding to identify the cause of autism, now diagnosed in one in 166 children. The Senate, acting a day after House passage, approved on a voice vote legislation that authorizes $945 million over five years for autism research, screening and treatment. Associated Press. December 19, 2006. “This was a most amazing moment.” In 2006 I was in the choir and cast of the Fort Lauderdale Christmas Pageant and had been for three prior seasons. During the 2006 season, we performed over nineteen shows, in addition to various rehearsals and four formal dress rehearsals. The entire cast grew quite weary but were determined to finish strong. Each night before the show the cast and crew received notes and information from the pastors as to how we could enhance our performance. We were read testimony after testimony of how various members of the audience enjoyed the show. One particular letter was extremely tough for Senior Pastor Dr. Larry Thompson  to read. It involved the parents of a young fourteen-year-old boy who had always been non-verbal and was diagnosed early in his life with autism. The parents provided Bible videos and cartoons which entertained him day after day. He had never spoken. For the first time, his parents took him...

Why It Is You MUST Come To Naples If You Are Reading This!

I laid on my death bed. Okay, it wasn’t really my death bed, but it sure felt like it. The flu can do that to you. I’d been sick for days, the kind of sickness where every hour tirelessly rolls into the next one. Sleep. Sneeze. Cough. Slurp soup. Sleep some more. It was out of this dreariness that suddenly and unexpectedly a ray of sunshine entered the room. Mr. Wonderful walked into the house with a letter! A real letter. The kind of letter with a real stamp and everything. A handwritten letter. A letter from Kat! But it would turn out to be what was inside that letter that would turn out to be the truest of delights. Inside Kat’s letter to me was a letter that I had written to her…in 2007! See, just days before writing that letter five years ago, I had met Kat in North Carolina where she was the Drama Queen (actually she played a witch, but she is a drama queen, so this title suits her), or what you might call the dramatist, at her sister Susan’s church retreat. Over that weekend I had spent a little time with Kat (thanks Gigi!) and the Lord had used Kat to greatly encourage me. While I won’t go into details, suffice it to say I went to this retreat one hurtin’ puppy and God used Kat to give me hope. Real hope. Bible hope. Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11 kind of hope. At the end of that retreat, Kat briefly shared with the group that she wrote a monthly newsletter, Kat’s Shot of...