Outcast #119


“This is a FOREVER journey with this creative, funny, highly intelligent, aggressive, impulsive, nonsocial, behavioral, oftentimes loving individual. The nurse said to me after 6 hours with him ‘He is a gift’ INDEED he is.”
~Janet Frenchette Held, Parent


The other day I had the opportunity to listen to an individual discuss that a man she had a child with (along with many other women), fathered a girl who is around 7 years old and was not talking yet.  She considered it was due to autism, because none of the other (9 or 10) children had this ‘problem.’


It’s moments such as these that I have to be careful to not speak right away.  There could be many reasons as to why this girl is not communicating.  Instead of taking her words as a ‘jab,’ I created some other possibilities and then chose to direct our conversation elsewhere.

Ignorance is something we’ve all been guilty of.  What we can take away from these incidences, is knowledge – ironic, isn’t it?

Since my son’s diagnosis 20 some years ago, information about autism has BOOMED, however there still needs to be more done.  There continues to be a negative connotation surrounding autism, and in order for people to embrace it differently, those who understand it need to spread the power of it.


His dad and I (along with grandparents) fought for years during his education to get the support and understanding he needed.  Many times we were told by school officials that they knew what’s best for him, but it was clear from the mistreatment, and significant negligence, they did not.  We didn’t realize how brutal they had been until our other older children were his voice.  He was singled out from celebrations, recess, and other events because of behavior and medical issues.

“Behavior is communication. Change the environment and behaviors will change.” ~Lana David

Many times kids don’t understand themselves what’s going on inside, let alone how to deal with their developing emotions.  He was tagged as a misfit, and an outcast.  It’s difficult to learn when you’re isolated from schooling and other significant positive childhood experiences.


Woke up in the cell, where am I at?
Yeah, it’s cold, but I like that
What, am I trapped?
Heart’s beating out of my chest
Door’s locked, but the keys are in my hands
Hm, yeah, that’s weird, it doesn’t make sense, does it?
I make songs, I don’t make friends, judge me
Might smile, but it ain’t that funny
Sing along to the pain, they love it
Life’s like a merry-go-round
And I’m still tryna figure it out
I like space I don’t fit in the crowds
My whole life I’ve been airin’ it out
Oh, I’m gettin’ into character now
Feels wrong, but it feels right
My feelings seal tight real nice
But I will fight anything to win
But I’m not Mike Tyson, I won’t bite ya’
But I will tell you if I don’t like you
I am not the norm
I got my own shoes, I ain’t tryna fit in yours
I ain’t never been married, but I’ve felt divorced
Hi, I’m Nate, have we met before
Somebody told you I was wack? Check the source
Somebody told you I was back? Yes, of course
You got a problem with the fans? There’s the door
You lookin’ for the old me? Check the morgue, ah
Not a fortune-teller, but I can see into the future better
Ain’t no tellin’ what’ll happen when I pick up the microphone, get the fans together
Same style, but the songs are better
Been a year and a half, feels like it’s gone forever
Ain’t no drink in my hand, but you know the buzz is comin’
Big steps in the game, yeah, the Hulk is running
My thoughts are funny, feels like I’m on to something, yeah
I’m high off the music, my head’s in the clouds
I kinda like it up here, I am not comin’ down
I’d rather be alone, I am not good in crowds
Which is kinda confusin’, I’ve not been that way since I was a child
They laughin’, they tell me I’ll never get out
I’m just tryna be me, I am nobody else
I don’t care what you think, I’m just bein’ myself
So I guess for now
I’ll just be the outcast
I’ll just be the outcast
I’ll just be the outcast
I guess I’ll be the outcast
Yeah, I guess I don’t fit the mold of rap
‘Cause I’m respectin’ women
“I heard your record, I was laughin at it”
Maybe they would like me more if I got a little graphic with it
Nah, I don’t wanna blend in with you little rappin’ idiots, I’d rather be the outcast
I ain’t never puttin’ out trash
I take a hundred and staple it right to my tongue
I always put the money where my mouth’s at, ah
Feels good to be here now
I’m a weird person with a weird crowd
What, you don’t like that?
That’s cool, that’s great, that’s fine, okay, you can leave now
Got a weird smile, but I like it though
I paint it on me and I’m walkin’ to the microphone
And put the caution tape around me like I did in Intro I, yeah
Yeah, they got me reminiscin’ now!
You done know I’m ’bout to go mad
Never wanted something so bad
Goosebumps through the whole track
Ain’t no way I’m gonna hold back
Got me thinkin’ that I’m cookin’ in a meth lab
I don’t blow it up in front of my own eyes
You look a little lost, you ain’t get that?
Comin’ from a town where nobody hears a rap like this
I never get the memo, must’ve missed that
Here I go in my feelings again, I can feel it again
So I lay in my bed, in my cell with the pen
And I dwell on my sins, I keep wonderin’ when
Time to open the the doors, they don’t know who I am
But I pick up the keys and I put on my Timbs
And I stare at the locks and the tat on my skin
And I think to myself, “I don’t wanna fit in”
I’m high off the music, my head’s in the clouds
I kinda like it up here, I am not comin’ down
I’d rather be alone, I am not good in crowds
Which is kinda confusin’, I’ve not been that way since I was a child
They laughin’, they tell me I’ll never get out
I’m just tryna be me, I am nobody else
I don’t care what you think, I’m just bein’ myself
So I guess for now
Yeah, I’ll just be the outcast
I‘ll just be the outcast
I’ll just be the outcast
I guess I’ll be the outcast
Yeah, tryna focus
Take a knife to my head then I cut it open
Take my brain, put it on the floor tryna figure out my motives
Y’all thought I was an issue when the door was locked
Nah, you should see me when the door opens
Every night I can hear voices
Put a camera in my face, might turn Joker like I’m Mike Posner
Always been a little complex
Difficult to process
Some of y’all wanna sit around and try to pick apart my bars
Here’s some lines you could dissect
If I’ma die, I’ma die givin’ everything that I have
Take a deep breath, I don’t need y’all’s respect
I’m a reject kid at recess playin’ games with his make-believe friends
Yeah, I don’t ever take a night off
Lights off in the room and I write songs
I might fall into my thoughts once in a while when the mic’s off
You ain’t ever seen no drive like mine, better hop outta my car
I’m about to unlock my doors
You ain’t got a seat belt on, better find one
Gettin’ sick of people tellin’ me to smile more
T.S. was a chapter I’ll never forget, it was therapy for me
But it’s time to turn the page now
Hey, shut up! I’m tryna tell ’em my story!
I’m sorry, I wasn’t yellin’ at y’all, I was talkin’ to the voices
I rip out the drums of the industry’s ears for tryin’ to ignore me
And playin’ while singin’ this chorus
I’ll just be the outcast
I’ll just be the outcast
I’ll just be the outcast
I guess I’ll be the outcast
I’ll just be the outcast
I’ll just be the outcast
I’ll just be the outcast
I guess I’ll be the outcast
Songwriters: Nate Feuerstein / Tommee Profitt
Outcast lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group







“This is the key to life: To expect everything to be given to you from above, yet to be genuinely surprised and forever grateful, when they are. Expecting all good things to be yours, while not knowing how to take anything for granted. If there may be a key in life, this is the key.”
C. JoyBell C.



Addictions #118


“Substance abuse and addiction thrive in the darkest corners; places where the only hope that remains is that everyone will stay silent, and the addiction will eventually fade away. We keep our loved one’s secret addiction from friends and other family members. We do things to “help” – like give money or bail them out of jail – and keep those actions from our spouses or other family members. We bottle up secrets and fight to keep them from being discovered.”

I have family members who would tell me that putting personal challenges on social media is wrong, but I say, in what way??  If it’s because it’s too personal, I would say, it’s all the more reason to air it out.  Hiding away our pain and discomfort is subjecting ourselves to enable the same behavior.  When it comes to family – there’s a certain duty to exhale and say, NO MORE!

I came from an extremely false childhood.  And what I mean by this is…in the open, my parents made it seem like ‘all is good,’ however, there were secrets and had there not been, I wouldn’t be without my immediate family today.  I’ve lost them due to not living as if ‘everything was okay.’  If we love our children and family unconditionally, we have to stop enabling dysfunctional behavior and keeping secrets.  ~C. L. Baker-Smith


“Addiction is a hugely complex and destructive disease, and its impact can be simply devastating. All too often, lives and families can be shattered by it.”~Kate Middleton


Open up one of your social media outlets at any given point on any given day and you will most likely find a news feed full of personal information: Friends spilling on their breakups or divorce, family members posting pictures of their ultrasounds for unborn children, old high school acquaintances taking big stands on religious or political topics. Turn on the television and you’ll see a long list of reality TV shows, delving into the personal problems in marriages, businesses and friendships.

Everywhere you look, people have become immune to sharing personal secrets and opening up their lives to others with little restriction or reservation.


The exception: Addiction.

How Can We Gain Victory Over Our Secret Sins?

The conquest of these persistent sins can only begin when we decide that we want to change. We are quick to say we want to be free. But we may derive “benefits” — pleasure, power, influence, ego — from these sins. Do we really want to live without these “friends”? Do we really want to be healed? We will never break free until we believe life without our secret sins is better, in every way, than life with them.  ~Taken from NIV Essentials Study Bible

“Lord knows
Dreams are hard to follow
But don’t let anyone
Tear them away
Hold on
There will be tomorrow
In time
You’ll find the way

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you’ll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you
That a hero lies in you
That a hero lies in you!”  ❤


Families with drug or alcohol addictions are often families with secrets.

Substance abuse and addiction thrive in the darkest corners; places where the only hope that remains is that everyone will stay silent, and the addiction will eventually fade away. We keep our loved one’s secret addiction from friends and other family members. We do things to “help” – like give money or bail them out of jail – and keep those actions from our spouses or other family members. We bottle up secrets and fight to keep them from being discovered.

Keeping secrets doesn’t just make things worse, it keeps you and your loved one sick. The longer you hide their addiction, the longer they will continue to drink or use drugs. Keeping the secret allows the addiction to spiral further and further from the truth – and from help.


“It does not matter who you are or where you come from, we have all experienced hard times in our lives. Because music is one tool people use to reflect on the past and process emotion.”


The other ingredient to victory is inviting others into the struggle. The sin cycle is fueled by secrecy. We may have confessed these sins to God countless times, but we hide them from others because we are afraid to risk people’s esteem. But transparency and humility before others is an opportunity to put teeth to our belief that God has forgiven us. It provides accountability in our spiritual growth. And perhaps we need to care more about offending God with our perpetual disobedience and less about our friends’ opinions.
Sin grows in the dark. The psalmist said, “You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence” (Ps 90:8). The light destroys the darkness. The way to strike a fatal blow against secret sins is to finally decide we want to be free and then invite a trusted friend into our battle.


Psalm 103:2

2 Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—



False News #117


“Alternative facts and fake news are just other names for propaganda”
Johnny Corn

Yesterday, I had one of my students express his concern with hearing something about the world coming to an end in a few days.  Nonchalantly I said, “Oh that’s horse pucky.”  And then in the same breath, said “who’d you hear THAT from?”  I’m used to the kiddos saying things they’ve heard in the hallways or at lunch.  Through my experiences working with teens for decades, I’ve gotten used to these insignificant words of nonsense.

But he came back with, “No, I’m serious…I saw it on the news!

It’s difficult to not speak the ‘good news’ to our students when untruths such as these are being put in the face of our youth, especially those who come from poverty stricken home lives that unfortunately grapple at the minds of their parents also.

However, I do the best that I can to shake these nonsense headlines from their souls in order to comfort kids and lesson their anxiety; it’s hard enough just getting them to understand the importance of their education.


“The media are less a window on reality, than a stage on which officials and journalists perform self-scripted, self-serving fictions.”
Thomas Sowell, The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy



“All control, in essence, is about who controls the truth.”
Joseph Rain, The Unfinished Book About Who We Are


Jesus tells his disciples in Matthew 24:36: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

Scripture is clear: none of us know. Neither Meade nor any of the dozens of conspiracy theorists are justified in claiming foreknowledge of an event that Jesus tells us they can know nothing about.



Remembering Back… #116

“The past can give you hope for the future.”




Married people make it their business to remember how love began. Anniversaries recall their wedding day, year after year. Wedding rings remind them of their commitment. Wedding photos capture the moment when “two become one.” In remembering the beginning of their love, couples often find new hope for the future.

Forgetting, on the other hand, amounts to treason. If one person forgets the all-important anniversary, tears and anger may follow.

“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
Corrie ten Boom




“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
Mother Teresa


The book of Psalms remembers too. When things get bad, these poems often refer to the past — particularly to the great events when, under Moses, the Israelite nation began. God freed the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, carried them through the Red Sea, gave them directions for living and ushered them into the promised land. This miraculous beginning was as significant to Jews as the cross is to Christians.


Psalm 77 is a “remembering” poem. It starts with deep despair. “Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? . . . Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” (77:7,9). Imagine a wife asking such questions about her husband.

Then thoughts turn, deliberately, to the past. Remember the turmoil at the banks of the Red Sea? Could anything be worse? But in that turbulent water they had seen the Lord’s power: God had led them through to safety. He would do the same again.

The historical psalms (77, 78, 105, 106) invite us, along with the Israelites, to relive history. Like married couples remembering back, we can recall God’s work — his powerful victories recorded all through Scripture, his promises and proofs of love toward his people. And we can refer to God’s history with us as individuals, too. Who cannot count some blessings, some undeserved favors? Through such remembering, we are strengthened to face the future and to recommit ourselves to trusting God’s care.

If you were to refer to a single past event for encouragement, what would it be?
~Taken from NIV Student Bible





“In the BEGINNING The Word WAS with GOD AND The Word WAS GOD.”  ~John 1:1


“The God looked over all He had made, and he saw that it was very good!”  ❤
~Genesis 1:31



The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
Robert Frost




He placed one scoop of clay upon another until a form lay lifeless on the ground….

All were silent as the Creator reached in himself and removed something yet unseen.

 “It’s called ‘choice.’  The seed of choice.”




Creation stood in silence and gazed upon the lifeless form. An angel spoke, “But what if he….”
“What if he chooses not to love?” the Creator finished. “Come, I will show you.”

Unbound by today, God and the angel walked into the realm of tomorrow.

“There, see the fruit of the seed of choice, both the sweet and bitter.”

The angel gasped at what he saw. Spontaneous love. Voluntary devotion. Chosen tenderness. Never had he seen anything like these. He felt the love of the Adams. He heard the joy of Eve and her daughters. He saw the food and marveled at the warmth.

“Heaven has never seen such beauty, my Lord. Truly, this is your greatest creation.”

“Ah, but you’ve only seen the sweet. Now witness the bitter.”

A stench enveloped the pair. The angel turned in horror and exclaimed, “What is it?” The Creator spoke only one word: “Selfishness.” The angel stood speechless as they passed through centuries of repugnance. Never had he seen such filth. Rotten hearts. Ruptured promises. Forgotten loyalties. Children of the creation wandering blindly in lonely labyrinths.

“This is the result of the choice?” the angel asked.


“They will forget you? They will reject you?”


“They will never come back?”

“Some will. Most won’t.”

“What will make them listen?”

The Creator walked on in time, further and further into the future, until He stood by a tree. A tree that would be fashioned into a cradle. Even then, He could smell the hay that would surround Him. With another step into the future, He paused before another tree. It stood alone, a stubborn ruler of a bald hill. The trunk was thick, the wood was strong. Stony brow of another hill. And soon He would be mounted on it. He felt the wood rub against a back he did not yet wear.

“Would you go down there?” the angel asked.

“I will.”

“Is there no other way?”

“There isn’t.”

“Wouldn’t it be easier to not plant the seed? Wouldn’t it be easier to not give the choice?”

“It would,” the Creator spoke slowly. “But to remove the choice is to remove the love.”

He looked around the hill and foresaw a scene. Three figures hung on three crosses. Arms spread. Heads fallen forward. They moaned with the wind. Men clad in soldiers’ garb sat on the ground near the trio. They played games in the dirt and laughed. Men clad in religion stood off to one side. They smiled. Arrogant, cocky. They had protected God, they thought, by killing this false one. Women clad in sorrow huddled at the foot of the hill…

Speechless. Faces tear-streaked. Eyes downward. One put her arm around another and tried to lead her away. She wouldn’t leave.

“I will stay,” she said softly. “I will stay.”

All heaven stood to fight. All nature rose to rescue. All eternity poised to protect. But the Creator gave no command. “It must be done…” He said, and withdrew. But as he stepped back in time, He heard the cry that He would someday scream: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He wrenched at tomorrow’s agony.

The angel spoke again. “It would be less painful…”

The Creator interrupted softly. “But it wouldn’t be love.”

They stepped into the Garden again. The Maker looked earnestly at the clay creation. A monsoon of love swelled up within Him. God’s form bent over the sculptured face and breathed. Dust stirred on the lips of the new one. The chest rose, cracking the red mud. The cheeks freshened. A finger moved and an eye opened.

But more incredible than the moving of flesh was the stirring of the spirit. Those who could see the unseen gasped. Perhaps it was the wind who said it first. Perhaps what the stars saw that moment is what has made them blink ever since. Maybe it was left to an angel to whisper it: “It looks like… it appears so much like…it is Him!”

The angel wasn’t speaking of the face, the features, or the body. He was looking inside–at the soul. “It’s eternal!” gasped another.

Within the man, God had placed a divine seed. A seed of his self. The God of might had created, not a creature, but another creator. And the One who had chosen to love had created one who could love in return.

Have there ever been times in your life when you doubted God’s power? Surely if he was the God who made the heavens and the earth, how could he allow my friend to die? How could He allow millions to starve every night? Isn’t God supposed to be almighty?

Let’s stop blaming God and blame ourselves. He spared not even Himself to bring about the salvation of man. He knew that He could lose us and yet created us. The most beautiful of all is that He gave us a choice to love Him because He first loved us.

~Max Lucado (“The Choice”)



Which ways will you choose?

“Apples of Gold” – PRICELESS! #114


“Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ballads and Other Poems


“Words that can erase years of pain and sorrow.
Words that are filled with love and acceptance.
Words that are priceless to those who hear them.”


Apples of Gold

In the 1950s, Mary grew up knowing she was different from other kids . . . and she hated it. Because she had a cleft palate, she had learned to steel herself against the jokes and stares of children who teased her about her misshapen lip, crooked nose and garbled speech. Mary was convinced that no one outside her family could ever love her . . . until she entered Mrs. Leonard’s class. Mrs. Leonard had a warm smile, a round face and beautiful brown hair. All of the children liked Mrs. Leonard, but Mary grew to love her.
In those days, teachers administered a hearing test in the classroom. Unfortunately, Mary not only had a speech impediment due to her cleft palate, she was also partially deaf in one ear. Determined not to let the children have something else to tease her about, she thought of a way to cheat on the hearing test: She could pass the “whisper test” by covering her bad ear and turning her good ear toward her teacher. On the day of the dreaded hearing test, surely God put seven words in Mrs. Leonard’s mouth that changed Mary’s life forever. When it was time for Mary’s “whisper test,” she clearly heard the words: “I wish you were my little girl.”  ❤


Solomon called these kinds of words “apples of gold in settings of silver.” They are words that can erase years of pain and sorrow. They are words filled with love and acceptance. They are words that are priceless to those who hear them.
If someone listened in on your conversations, would their lives be changed for better or worse?

Would they hear you speaking about the character flaws of others as if they were physical defects or would they hear that you consider others as beautiful in God’s eyes?

Ask yourself if your words build up or tear down. Do your words push others away from you or draw others near? Most important, do they draw others to God?
It’s never too late to dispense apples of gold in settings of silver. Seek someone who is downcast and whisper a word of encouragement. You never know who needs to hear the words, “I wish you were my friend.”


~Taken from NIV Women’s Devotional Bible



“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God . . . and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven.”
Orson F. Whitney

Special B-days #113

Wanting so much for those I come in contact with to know without-a-doubt  they are loved!  What better way to show them, but through their special day~  ❤


“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.”
Maya Angelou, Celebrations: Rituals of Peace and Prayer


Making sure to remember the girls on their birthdays…
Teens sure do love sugar AND CHOCOLATE!

In the beginning of the year, I always ask for the members on my squad the date of their birthday and what’s a favorite treat they enjoy; these are this years results – chocolate always remains on top of the list!  #whoelseloveschocolate






3 Musketeers

Kit-Kat, Twix, and Nerds

Gummy Bears/Hot Cheetos


All candy!

Almond Joy

Lindor Chocolates

3 Musketeers

Sweet Tarts

Almond Joy

Recess PB Cups


Hershey’s Chocolate

Peach Rings


Gummy Bears

Anything sour


“Tucker: “But she gave me the perfect gift.”
Clara: “What?”
Tucker: “You.”
Cynthia Hand, Unearthly


“Deep down I believe my year was a special year: it produced me.”
Ned Vizzini


“Happy birthday, Alexander,” Magnus murmured.
“Thanks for remembering,” Alec whispered back.”
Cassandra Clare, What to Buy the Shadowhunter Who Has Everything



Have I said lately how much I LOVE MY JOB?


Love Is… #112


❤ Love…simply just is~ ❤


Love is learning to love yourself first so you can love others better.
Love is being kind to them especially when they don’t deserve it.
Love is believing in them more than they can.
Love is making sacrifices without hesitation.
Love is thinking of them before yourself.
Love is growing with them.
Love is overcoming self-preservation for their safety.
Love is believing in yourself, sometimes for their sake.
Love is forgiving first.
Love is keeping promises in inconvenient times.
Love is remembering they’re good for you.
Love is providing comfort when grief enters their life.
Love is building them up every single day.
Love is being a mirror for them.
Love is having the courage to call them out.
Love is loving those they care for.
Love is making and realizing dreams together.
Love is being their rock.
Love is living without the fear of being enough.
Love is feeling less afraid with them.
Love is expecting better from yourself and them.
Love is being grateful for them.
Love is making them feel beautiful.
Love is bringing them a peace they have always deserved.
Love is asking them difficult questions so that they can be truthful to themselves.
Love is not giving up on them. Ever.
Love is winning at life together.
Love is dipping a life-long friendship in honey.
Love is accepting their history and flaws.
Love is making healthy choices because of them.
Love is living with fewer regrets.
Love is learning to lean on them.
Love is listening so they can be heard.
Love is saying sorry over and over again.
Love is proving love is thicker than blood, sweat and tears.
Love is burying them.

~Author Sartaj Anand






LOVE IS… being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of others without impatience or anger.

LOVE IS… actively fighting the temptation to be critical and judgmental toward another while looking for ways to encourage and praise.

LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to resist the needless moments of conflict that come from pointing out and responding to minor offenses.

LOVE IS… being lovingly honest and humbly approachable in times of misunderstanding.

LOVE IS… being more committed to unity and understanding than you are to winning, accusing, or being right.

LOVE IS… a making a daily commitment to admit your sin, weakness, and failure and to resist the temptation to offer an excuse or shift the blame.

LOVE IS… being willing, when confronted by another, to examine your heart rather than rising to your defense or shifting the focus.

LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to grow in love so that the love you offer to another is increasingly selfless, mature, and patient.

LOVE IS… being unwilling to do what is wrong when you have been wronged, but looking for concrete and specific ways to overcome evil with good.

LOVE IS… being a good student of another, looking for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs so that in some way you can remove the burden, support them as they carry it, or encourage them along the way.

LOVE IS… being willing to invest the time necessary to discuss, examine, and understand the relational problems you face, staying on task until the problem is removed or you have agreed upon a strategy of response.

LOVE IS… being willing to always ask for forgiveness and always being committed to grant forgiveness when it is requested.

LOVE IS… recognizing the high value of trust in a relationship and being faithful to your promises and true to your word.

LOVE IS… speaking kindly and gently, even in moments of disagreement, refusing to attack the other person’s character or assault their intelligence.

LOVE IS… being unwilling to flatter, lie, manipulate, or deceive in any way in order to co-opt the other person into giving you what you want or doing something your way.

LOVE IS… being unwilling to ask another person to be the source of your identity, meaning, and purpose, or inner sense of well-being, while refusing to be the source of theirs.

LOVE IS… the willingness to have less free time, less sleep, and a busier schedule in order to be faithful to what God has called you to be and to do as a spouse, parent, neighbor, etc.

LOVE IS… a commitment to say no to selfish instincts and to do everything that is within your ability to promote real unity, functional understanding, and active love in your relationships.

LOVE IS… staying faithful to your commitment to treat another with appreciation, respect, and grace, even in moments when the other person doesn’t seem deserving or is unwilling to reciprocate.

LOVE IS… the willingness to make regular and costly sacrifices for the sake of a relationship without asking for anything in return or using your sacrifices to place the other person in your debt.

LOVE IS… being unwilling to make any personal decision or choice that would harm a relationship, hurt the other person, or weaken the bond of trust between you.

LOVE IS… refusing to be self-focused or demanding, but instead looking for specific ways to serve, support, and encourage, even when you are busy or tired.

LOVE IS… daily admitting to yourself, the other person, and God that you are unable to be driven by a cruciform love without God’s protecting, providing, forgiving, rescuing, and delivering grace.




“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”  ~Mignon McLaughlin


1 Corinthians 13:4-8 New International Version (NIV)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

The Heart of a Mother #111


“God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.”

– David C. Gross

“But there’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.” ― Mitch Albom, For One More Day

Upon wanting to write about ‘a heart of a mother,’ I opened a book off my shelf titled, “Parenting with Love and Logic.”  Written on the inside cover, “To Our Christine – Hope this makes your job parenting easier.”  Much love, Mom and Dad  (Christmas ’93).  Although it’s been many years since my mother has spoken with me, her soul continues to speak.  ❤

“Love…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails.”

 ~1 Corinthians 13:7-8


Why the terms love and logic?  Effective parenting centers around love:  love that is not permissive, love that doesn’t tolerate disrespect, but also love that is powerful enough to allow kids to make mistakes and permit them to live with the consequences of those mistakes.  The logic is centered in the consequences themselves.  Most mistakes do have logical consequences.  And those consequences, when accompanied by empathy — our compassionate understanding of the child’s disappointment, frustration, and pain — hit home with mind-changning power.  It’s never too late to begin parenting with love and logic.

The Bible provides insight on many parenting issues.  Much of what this book teaches is summarized beautifully in a familiar Old Testament proverb:

“Train children in the right way and when old, they will not stray.”  ~Proverbs 22:6

Written on page 20 under…“Parenting with love and logic puts the fun back in parenting.”  I wrote in caps – IDEAS  (Use board in entryway plus bans to reward for chores) followed by the 8 ideas I had for daily ‘order of business’:

  1.   Clean room
  2.   Pick up and put clothes away or in laundry basket
  3.   Shoes and coat put away
  4.   Brush hair and teeth
  5.   Turn lights, and television off when done using
  6.   Ask mom if there is anything you can do to help
  7.   Get along, speak nicely, and share
  8.   Play quietly; have fun!!

“Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials.”

-Meryl Streep


“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”  ― Washington Irving


“A mother’s arms are more comforting than anyone else’s.” – Princess Diana


“A mother understands what a child does not say.” – Jewish Proverb


This quote belongs to Honore de Balzac (born Honore Balzac, 1799 – 1850).

“It is difficult to grow up in a foster home or worse if the street is your dwelling place. These cases do exist. Blessed are you, who are fortunate to have grown up in a home with two loving parents. Your mother plays an extremely important role in your destiny, as you will always carry with you the “inner child of your past.” A mother’s love is unlimited and not time bound. You are grown up and may have children of your own, but you never have enough of your mother’s love. A mother’s love transcends the grave. No matter how old you are, you never outlive the need for a mother’s love. But beware; do not abuse this freely given mother’s love, as it is a special gift that must be continually cherished and nurtured, as well.”





Spiritual Growth #110

“Believe in your infinite potential. Your only limitations are those you set upon yourself.”  ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart


“As soon as we put our trust in the blood of Christ on our behalf the spiritual growth process begins. The Holy Spirit begins to work in us and transform us. We become less like the world and more like Christ. The Spirit helps us to overcome sin and deny the flesh.”



❤ “He’s making beautiful diamonds out of us.” ❤


8 Keys to Recognizing Spiritual Growth

Philip Nation


1. Bible engagement

Transformation can be recognized in people when their minds are sharpened by the Bible, their perspectives are shaped by the Bible and their actions are directed by the Bible.

2. Obeying God and denying self

Discipleship is the process of obedience to one who is in authority over you. In our study, we found people progressing in their faith prioritize God’s desires over self-will. Transformation can be seen in them, because they progressively set aside earthly delights for Kingdom priorities.

3. Serving God and others

Just as Jesus said He had come to serve and not be served, so must believers. The choice to serve others is just that—a choice. It highlights a maturity of soul that we allow the needs of others to trump our own. Transformation is evident when personal needs, and even life goals, are set aside for the needs we see in others.

4. Sharing Christ

Inherent in being a disciple of Christ is the making of other disciple makers for Christ. Even with the need to live out the effects of the gospel, maturing believers know speaking about the message is a necessity. Transformation is evident when we talk about the source of it.

5. Exercising faith

Can you measure a person’s faith? Probably not. But you can see it when it is put into action. Believers participating in the research noted they knew the importance of living by faith as opposed to living by personal strength. Transformation is seen in believers when risk aversion is set aside and lives are characterized by faithful obedience to God’s will.

6. Seeking God

People become disciples of Christ because they intend to follow Him and become like Him. A continuous hunger should arise from this life. It is referred to in Scripture as our “first love,” and believers are commanded to return to it. Transformation is seen when our desire is to know God more deeply and experience His work more fully.

7. Building relationships

Our faith is personal, but it is not intended to be private. Jesus established the church for our collective good and our collective growth. After all, humans are naturally relational. Spiritually, we are no different. As believers, our horizontal relationships with others should develop just as our vertical relationship with God does. Transformation is occurring when relational maturity is evident in our lives.

8. Unashamed

The research noted believers felt it appropriate and even necessary for others to know them as Christians and be held accountable for a life exemplary of that name. Transformation is evident when a believer is unashamed in presenting his own life as being aligned with Christ.

The adage is “if you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” At the very heart of Christianity is the work of making disciples for Christ. It should never sit at the fringe of our lives or the church. Through work like that of Transformational Discipleship, we are able to better recognize when we are effectively reaching toward that goal.


This article first appeared in Facts&Trends magazine. For more information visit LifeWay.com/factsandtrends.“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”


“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”


We can think of spiritual growth just like growing up.

1 Peter 2:1-3 So rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander. Like newborn infants, desire the pure spiritual milk, so that you may grow by it for your salvation, since you have tasted that the Lord is good.


“Life is like a game of chess.
To win you have to make a move.
Knowing which move to make comes with IN-SIGHT
and knowledge, and by learning the lessons that are
acculated along the way.

We become each and every piece within the game called life!”
Allan Rufus, The Master’s Sacred Knowledge