What is the cost of a gold tooth?

lillyMy brother and his little girl lived with us for a brief period of time. His little girl, Lilly, is my mini-me. She has lots of sass, a tiny filter, and her face can say more than her mouth which is a whole lot!

One afternoon, she and I were sitting on the couch coloring. I am not sure what we were coloring, but I am sure it was Mickey Mouse or Hello Kitty or the like. Out of the clear blue, she looks at me and declares, “I have always wondered what it was like to have a gold tooth.”

I immediately begin to snicker, but as I have learned over the years there is no time for snickering when Lilly is sharing. I was busting at the seams trying to control my laughter as she continued to explain herself.

“If I had a gold tooth, I’d have to have an eye patch and a big hat with a giant feather AND a puffy shirt with a sword. I don’t really want to be a pirate, so I guess I will never know what it is like to have a gold tooth.”

And just like that, her wonder was over. She had calculated the cost and she wasn’t willing to become a pirate, so she didn’t get a gold tooth. I chuckle as I type, because this conversation still tickles me.

As I recall this seemingly innocent comment, I think about the wisdom in this silly story which was not silly at all to her. I think about her counting the cost of the gold tooth at merely four years old. She learned that there is a cost associated with the things that we want.

I also thought about her perception of a gold tooth and how she counted costs that weren’t really associated with having a gold tooth. As adults, we understand there is a monetary cost for gold, but there is no expectation of becoming a pirate associated with a gold tooth. I , however, very much understand counting costs that aren’t necessarily 100% real.

Have you ever been counting the cost and it got out of hand? Like, were you thinking, “I’d like to go on that short term mission trip to Africa this year.” Then you began to think,  ” I am not sure if I should go on a short term mission trip or not.” Shortly after watching a few YouTube videos about Africa, you decide that there are deadly critters that could bite you or even eat you and no one would ever know what happened to you. Your parents and children would spend all of their time and money looking for you with hopes of finding you in some remote cave still clinging to life. They would all be broke and homeless and still empty from not knowing the specifics of your demise.  THEN … you quickly decide that Africa is just not for you. After all, you wouldn’t want your entire family to become homeless, right?

How quickly our minds can get out of hand if they are left to their own devices. The Bible talks about counting the cost in Luke 14, but I don’t think this is what He had in mind. Counting costs of our actions is normal. Evaluating the pros and cons of any decision is just good stewardship. Its when we let our minds wonder through the endless “what ifs” we become paralyzed by fear.

2 Timothy 1:7 is one of my favorite verses. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” KJV 

If the fear is not from God, then neither are the “what ifs” that led us into the fear place. Fill your mind, heart, and spirit with truth and love from the Word. Step away from the “what ifs” of Satan (death, destruction, mayhem) and into the “what ifs” of God (salvation, heaven, peace).

And for that pressing question from the beginning …

What is the cost of a gold tooth? About $500. No pirate crew needed.

Much Love Peeps!

I lost my dreams

52486578_10156502674883822_8446383019597496320_nAbout a year ago, I created a writer’s notebook. It contained all of my blog ideas, book ideas, to-do lists, etc. I called it my dream binder.

It was exciting to have a place to write down my dreams. I worked extra hard making it cute, designing the cover, filling the pages, and putting my hopes down on paper. I had all of the matching paper-binder essentials: page protectors, section dividers, sticky notes, paper clips, and cute pens.

In the beginning, I kept it with me everywhere I went. It was in my teacher tote bag or on my desk. I would think of something fabulous and write it down. It was tucked away and safe in that binder.

Over time, it began spending more time on the shelf and less time with me.

Recently, I went to a writer’s boot camp. It was inspiring and refreshing to be around others with the same aspirations. After this weekend, I realized I needed to take my dreams off the shelf.

This morning, I went on a search for my dreams. I was frantic. It couldn’t be far. It felt as though I just put those dreams on the shelf yesterday. Truth was that I could not remember the last time I saw the notebook and wasn’t even 100% sure what it looked like exactly.

No matter. I knew I would know it as soon as I saw it. As I was searching for my dream binder, I realized the irony that I had tucked my dreams so far away that I almost couldn’t find them.

Has that ever happened to you? Have you had a dream that was so amazing when you first dreamed it, but the idea of it actually happening seemed so foreign that you tucked it away for later and then it almost disappeared?

Dear Friends, God wants us to dream big! He created us and planted those dreams inside of us. I pray Ephesians 3:14-21 for you today as you seek God’s big dreams for your life. Much Love Peeps! 

I threw an axe today

Today started as an ordinary day. I got up, got ready, and joined a few of my favorite people for a couple of meetings. We were praying for one another and planning some great things for our church family and outreach.

Before we left, our pastor told us to bring closed toe shoes for team building. A knot immediately grew in my gut. I started imagining all matter of things from ziplining to ropes courses. The questions in my mind grew as the day went on. Would I be able to participate? Between my back, my not-so-ideal weight, and extreme fear of closed spaces, my anxiety grew by the minute.

As our pastor told us that we were going to an axe throwing venue, all kinds of new concerns came to mind. Would I be able to throw the axe? Would I chop off my toes? Would I end up at on one of those reality emergency room tv shows with an axe in my face?

We arrived at the venue. My fear growing and my nerves wrecked. We signed waivers which made me wonder even more if I needed to be doing this axe throwing stuff, but I wasn’t going to be the one to wimp out.

We were instructed in safety and technique then we were handed an axe. Yep. A real live chop-some-wood, cut-your-hand-off axe. What in the world? I thought, “I can’t do this. I’m too old. I’m too out of shape. I am girl for heavens sake.”

Has God ever told you to do something and your knee jerk reaction was “I am too… or not enough…”? Did you tell him why you couldn’t do the thing he told you to do? Did you say, “I’d love to be obedient, but did you know I am a girl?”

Did God respond with, “Oh no! I didn’t realize you couldn’t do this thing. I will get someone else to do the thing I meant for you to do.”? Nope. I can assure you he did not change his plan because of your perceived ineptness.

Just like when Moses asked God, “Who am I?” and God responded with “But I will be with you”, God is with us. (Ex. 3:11-12) God is with us when he says do this thing. God is with us when our circumstances are more than we can bear. God is with us when we are walking in the valley.

Our ability or inability is not what matters. God with us is what matters. In his presence, the impossible becomes possible. In his presence, we find strength. In his presence, chains are broken, marriages are rescued, and hearts are made new.

Psalm 114:7-8 says “Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord … “.

Psalm 16:11″… in your presence there is fullness of joy …”

James 4:8 “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you …”

I was asked to throw an axe as a part of team building. I was asked to do something that I could not do. I did it anyway. I picked up that scary cut-your-hand-off axe and threw it.

All of the sudden, that thing that I couldn’t even imagine myself doing, I was doing. I was not only doing it, but did it well. Not only was I doing it well, I became comfortable doing it.

Today I threw an axe … like a boss.

In the midst of throwing an axe, God reminded me where I find strength and peace.

Much Love peeps!



Risky Business

I havRiskRelease-700x467e never thought of myself as much of a risk taker. I like good odds and playing it safe.

My dad taught me to plan and to think. If you ask my children, my brother, or any other family member what quote we could attribute to my dad, it would be, “pay attention.”

This phrase has stuck with me everyday whether I am driving, deciding what’s for lunch, planning a trip to Disney, or something far more serious. I am always paying attention to all the details. I am keenly aware of all the variables.

Part of my safety first mindset is due to losing at the risk-taking game. I took the risk and lost. I gave my heart to the wrong person. I chose the wrong job. So, now I play it safe.

So as I sit here today debating between the safe and the risky, I wonder what if God intended me to be risky. I am not suggesting to be irresponsible, but risky in the sense that only God can accomplish this thing deep inside you. What if that thing deep inside you was not only put there by God, but will only come to fruition if we give it to him and step away from the safe? 

Ephesians 3:14-21 is one of my favorite passages. I feel like it is the best pep talk ever. It is a charge to be filled with his Spirit, know the love of Christ, be filled with love and the fullness of God. Then there is a shift from the author’s wish for the believer to a praise for God that makes me want to cheer like Alabama just won the National Championship game! It gets me fired up! 

Ephesians 3:20-21(ESV) “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen”

Are you standing up? Are you cheering like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman at the horse show? You should be! That’s good stuff right there!

That thing that God has spoken into your heart that you are afraid to even speak, give it to him. When you are afraid, read 20-21 again. When you are unsure that you can accomplish this thing, give it to him. He is able to accomplish more that you can ask or imagine!



I’m Not Anxious, You’re Anxious

philippians4_6_7 (2)

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything …

Monday morning, I got up and got ready for work. I was feeling a tad bit under the weather, so I thought I might go to the doc and get a quick shot to get me over this sinus crud then on to work.

For the past couple of weeks, doctor’s offices have been overcrowded due to the flu. I heard stories about lines around the building, so I left early with the idea that if it was too crowded, I would go on to work and try again later.

I arrived and there was only one other person to sign in before me and she was a new patient which meant paperwork for her and first dibs for me.

Much to my dismay, the receptionist began to call several people that came in after me to the window for their information and copay. I began to get antsy. She hadn’t called my name or asked for my copay. That meant I was moving further down the line.  

I wondered what happened. Had she forgotten me? What if my sign-in sticker got stuck to another? What if my doctor wasn’t here yet? What if I was going to be stuck in this germ-infested waiting room?

As my mind continued to race with “what ifs”, I decided I should ask if she needed my card. This was my polite way of asking, “have you forgotten me?” As I approach the window and offer my cards, she graciously says, “Yes. I need those. Those other people had appointments at 8 am.” Then she smiled sweetly as always.

Well didn’t I feel silly? They had appointments. I was doubting her. She was working for me, but I didn’t realize it. Because I didn’t know what was going on, I became impatient and anxious.

I have been to this doctor time and time again. Kristy, the receptionist, has performed her duties flawlessly every time.  But today, I decided to doubt her abilities. She had never let me down. She has never failed to complete her duties and get me promptly back to the doctor, but still I doubted.

Philippians 4:6-7 came to mind. I am guilty of the same thing with him. I know he handles everything, but still I doubt and try to figure things out on my own. Be anxious for nothing and the peace of God will overcome you. I know this to be true. I have experienced it. Still I choose to fret.

Lord, help me to rely on you and not on me, so the peace you extend will wash over me in moments when I am anxious and afraid. 

What’s Wrong With People?

What’s wrong with people? This seems to be the theme of most social media posts this past week. Most of these posts are in response to the recent law in New York that basically says a baby has no rights until it makes it outside of the womb. Even though that baby could come at any point after 21 weeks and be viable, you can take its little life in a horrible and painful way. The kicker for most people is that in New York you cannot get the death penalty no matter how horrific your crime. So, an innocent baby can be killed but that serial killer that chopped people into to little pieces and had them for dinner gets to live? What? That doesn’t even make any sense! So, we are outraged. We are sickened. We are angry. We are on a posting frenzy of all the pro-life websites we can find with all the incredibly compelling stories we can find.

Several years ago, my oldest son and I had a conversation about how we have never had our minds changed by someone’s angry rant or social media post. NEVER. It doesn’t work. It is ineffective, but yet we are compelled. Why? Because we want “them” to know. “Them” being anyone that is not with us, right? So who is “them”? To figure that out we must first establish who “we” are?

“We”, for the most part, are the ever shrinking population of believers. We believe Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again to life. We believe that church is essential to having a good week. We believe the Word of God is not only true, but holds life giving principals that need to be studied(usually with friends and food!). We believe that small groups were created for us to do life together and have accountability(whether in Sunday school or at someone’s home). We wonder what ever happened to training union? Like… did someone decide that studying God’s word together once a week was the absolute limit? (Another blog post for another day…) “We” are believers.

So… What IS wrong with people? I grew up spending every Sunday, Wednesday, jubilee, Vacation Bible School, revival, and dinner on the ground at my church. I was taught that God is good and life is valuable and we should be kind and we should love and we should abide by ten specific rules(just kidding… there are over 300 rules, right? yet again… another blog for another day). Do “we” really expect “them” to think and respond the same way we do to every issue when, for the most part, “they” have no idea who God is or what the Bible says? They have not attended church regularly and never studied the Word of God and never been to revival in July in Alabama when the preacher is talking about hell and the humidity is at least 110% with the temp at 104.

What’s wrong with them you ask? Friend. Can I gently suggest that “We” could be part of what’s wrong with them? Christians not acting like Christ could be what is wrong with “them”.

  • Romans 10:14- How will they know if you do not tell them?
  • In Matthew 7:7-11, Whatever you ask(in accordance with God’s will) will be done. (Mark 11:24, James 4:3, John 14:13-14, Philippians 4:6-8)
  • James 14:26(14-26), Faith without works is dead.
  • Matthew 28:19-20, Go… Teaching them… making disciples…in all nations

What would happen if we change our question? What if we ask, what is wrong with us? Instead of posting our scripture or rants or whatever, maybe we could grab some real face time with someone that doesn’t know God. Perhaps, we could share what God has done for us. Perhaps, we could share God’s story with them. Perhaps, there would be change in the world.  Much Love peeps! scripturepicture


So I Won An Irma…

Just in case you do not speak LulaRoe… An Irma is the most fantastic shirt and it is manufactured by a home based business company, LulaRoe. If you have not experienced LulaRoe yet, do it. Do it soon. Do it Now! You get to look super cute with fun patterns, but feel like you are wearing your jammies! Image result for irma lularoe

So, I won an Irma…

My introduction to LulaRoe  came from my sweet friend, Tana. She and her friend, Angela began to sell LulaRoe last fall sometime. I had no idea what it was, but wanted to support my friend. So, I volunteered to host a pop- up party at my home. Tana and Angela came to my home with bag after bag of comfy cute clothes that little did I know I was about to be completely obsessed with!

I began to join facebook group after facebook group. Every time there was a contest for free LLR, I entered. I won a pair of leggings and that added fuel to my fire! I was so excited!

One day, I came across another friend of mine, Meg, that had a LLR business. She had a contest and you had to tell how you thought your friends might describe you. I was completely uncomfortable with the question. I have a very hard time seeing the good or positive in myself. There are many reasons for my struggles with self-image and some of those include others negative comments infiltrating my mind. These comments and other things left me feeling “less than”. I seem to have a constant feeling of not being good enough or maybe that people just don’t like me. BUT, Meg was offering a free IRMA to the winner of the post! An Irma was the best prize I had seen offered anywhere. I had to enter.

I sat for at least 30 minutes trying to think of descriptors of myself that would be positive, true and not boastful. After all,  no one wants a debbie downer on a LLR post. So, I couldn’t write what I really felt or better yet feared that some might say about me. Silly, that was the first thing that I could think of positive. I’m not 100% sure what else I said, but it was something to the effect of I love love and pink.

After about a week, Meg tagged me in a post. I eagerly clicked to see what I had been tagged in and much to my surprise it was an announcement that I had won an Irma! I quickly posted, “Shut up! I feel like I should give a speech or something. Thank you!” My friend, Kellie posted a congrats post and then Meg posted, “ That’s why everybody loves you! You are too funny! You’re welcome!”

I froze. My heart sank. A tear welled in my eye. I couldn’t believe it.  Did she say everybody loved me? Had she not heard that not many people loved me? Had she not heard that I was “less than”? And at that moment with tears stinging in my eyes, I began to realize God decided to reveal to me through a free Irma from a sweet friend that I was loved by more than Him. My sweet friend, Meg, has no idea (well until now if she reads this post) what a huge impact her 3 sentence response had on my soul. It was food for my soul. It was much needed words. It lifted my spirit and reminded me how lucky I am to be surrounded by women that will speak life into me when needed.

The moral of the story is not “everybody loves me”. It’s also not “winning is everything”. The point to this crazy post is that God is the provider of our everything…. even a silly girl’s need to feel loved.  

God alone is the provider of affirmations of love, acceptance, self-worth, and purpose. When we begin to look in other places, we are left feeling “less than”. This was a punch in the gut for me as I realized that some of the things I believed about myself were not true.

1 John 1 tells us that God is love. He loves me and you just the way he created us. He can choose anyway to reveal that love for us… even an Irma!


For your Reflection:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

1 John 4:7

1 John 3:16-18

John 3:16