Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Myth of Balance

I do a lot of things. I'm a doer.  I like doing lots of things.  But I want to make sure that I'm doing all those things well.  I don't like doing things half way or not being good at the things I'm doing.

I saw Frank Bealer's book at The Orange Conference.  Orange is a ministry conference I get to attend with cLife's Kids Ministry team each year.  It's a small book but it intrigued me.  How can I do all the things and do them well?

As you might has guessed by the name, Bealer doesn't believe that balance is possible.  It's a myth.  Rather you have to handle things as they come.  Sometimes home life is most pressing.  Sometimes you have a big project at work.  The key is to have a plan.

I like plans.  I can roll with plans!  When you plan ahead you're able to keep the most important things most important.

I don't want to give the book away but, Bealer has this great formula - When This, Then That - to help you decide, in advance, what your plan will be!  To me, the beauty of the When This, Then That plan is that it eliminates guilt.  Mommy guilt is real.  I've struggled with it BIG time this year.  But if you have a WTTT plan, you've already decided what you'll do when work needs to be a bigger priority.  It's just a fact of life.  Mommy guilt assuaged.

The Myth of Balance is a short easy read with questions and space to work out your balance issues.  Bealer focuses on life in ministry but the formula can be applied to any situation.  There are lots of examples and guidelines to help you create your own When This, Then That strategies.

I highly recommend this for working mommies.  Work out your strategies and enjoy all the things God has called you to do!  We are meant for a full life, not a life full of guilt!

You can get The Myth of Balance from Amazon here.  Or directly from Orange here.  I don't make a thing, I promise.

To see all the books I'm reading this summer you can read about my TBR (to be read) pile here.

Let us know what you're reading this summer in the comments or on FB or Twitter.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Tide Pools, not tadpoles

Sometime last week, B became very interested in (read: obsessed with) tide pools.

He created a couple of tide pool habitats in a plastic boxes and left them on the kitchen table.

He asked me if we could go to a tide pool.  I assumed he was talking about a wave pool and said "Yes!" enthusiastically.  Then he started talking about all the different animals we could see and touch there and I had to retreat.  And by retreat I mean, search tide pools on Google.

For those who don't know, like me, tide pools occur near oceans during low tide.  The tide moves out and leaves a rocky pool filled with sea creatures.  We live in North Texas.  Another Google search of "tide pools near me" informed us that the closest tide pool to us is in California.

Nope, kiddo, not going to California.

Undeterred, B started asking all our friends if they had tide pool experience with mixed results.  One sweet momma is from California by way of Spain. She had lots of tide pool experience! Including memories of her daddy getting sea urchins from a tide pool for them to eat.  She told B how they were a delicacy but very expensive so her daddy would go catch them himself.

Another hilarious exchange happened with our friend Mahlee.  She couldn't quite understand what B was saying.  She thought he was saying tadpoles.  She told B there were tadpoles near her parent's home in our town.  B got very excited until Mahlee's sister, Hannah, informed her that he was saying tide pool, not tadpoles.  Disappointment and hilarity abounded.

Thankfully, we were able to curb B's tide pool obsession on Monday by visiting the Dallas Children's Aquarium!  They have a touchable tide pool exhibit.  It's the first thing in the door.

B washed up and started exploring everything! The aquarium worker started tell him about the animals and he started spouting his own knowledge.  Eventually, she just started asking him questions.  I'm sure she learned a thing or two!

He was on cloud noun the entire visit.  He ran from case to case squealing about the animals.  He probably took 75 pictures with his iPad.  One family was trying to video on of the fishes but will find instead that they videoed a B-man talk on that fish.

The aquarium also has a stingray touching and feeding area.  B loved that as well.  He and I started petting the stingrays immediately before Ryan and the big boys had even made it to the area.  B did no walk anywhere in the aquarium!

B even fed the stingrays.  I was amazed!

We had such a great time at the aquarium.  It filled my heart with joy to see B so excited.  I loved watching him snap pictures and share his excitement with his brothers!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

TBR pile

Well friends, we've done it.  We've survived another school year.  Tomorrow is the last day of school for us.

My favorite thing about summer is the chance to do some more reading.  I love to read! I've been on a nonfiction kick for a while now.  And the theme this summer will be leadership. Here's my current TBR (to be read) pile:

I think I'm most excited about the first book on the pile.  The Myth of Balance by Frank Bealer.  It looks like I'm going to be taking on additional responsibilities at school next year. Add that to my Valuable ministry, writing and full time momma-ing and my plate is full.  I want to make sure I am able to give what each role needs when it needs it.  

Visioneering by Andy Stanley and Amplified Leadership by Dan Reiland will be next on the agenda.  I want to be a good leader. I want to be a leader that speaks life into people instead of draining them.  I want to make people better.  I'm hoping these books will help me develop my leadership skills. 

SuperBetter by Jane McGonigal is about gaming life.  Several summers ago, I read Jane's book Reality is Broken and loved it.  McGonigal writes about how to take aspects of gaming and apply it to our everyday lives.  I'm not a gamer but I love her writing style.  I'm looking forward to the implications this book might have for education.  

The book not on the pile that I'm currently reading the Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow.  It's the book that inspired the Broadway musical Hamilton that I am obsessed with! It's a detailed and think volume.  I don't think I'll finish it this summer because I'm going to be reading it in between the other books.  But I do enjoy it.  It's right up there with Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, a book about President Lincoln.  

Are you a reader?  What are you reading this summer?  Tell us in the comments.  I'll keep y'all updated on my progress as well!

Note - the links above go straight to Amazon for your convenience.  They aren't affiliate links, I don't make anything if you buy one of these books.  I'm not that sophisticated :)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Facing Our Fears

the anti-bee get up
I've written before about B's fears, specifically stage fright.  B has many fears but the longest term one has been bees.  He is so afraid of being stung that he will get all covered up just to go outside.  I'm talking sweatpants, a hoodie and gloves.  In Texas.  In May.

As a result of this fear, he usually asks me to go outside and watch him walk to the neighbor's house.  I don't understand it.  Am I there to jump in front of a bee if it stings him? Am I there for moral support?  What is the point?

I guess I was feeling a little ornery Sunday afternoon because I told him no, I would not go outside and watch him walk next door.  This lead to a show down of epic portions.  I didn't really mean it to but once it started I was committed.

I told him I'd watch him out the window but I would not go outside.

I tried to explain to him that there was a very low probability that a bee would sting him.

I tried to point out the flaw in the idea in the first place.  How could I possibly save him from the bee anyway?

He was really upset.  I was amused actually. He comes up with some great lines when he's desperate. He cried.  He screamed, "I'm just a young boy! How do you expect me to go out there?"

This showdown went on and on.  He put on his sweats to cover up.  I thought he was going out.  Nope.  Still wanted me to go out and watch him.

There really was no reason that I couldn't go outside and watch him except that it was ridiculous.  But once I put my foot down, I figured I better see it through.  I knew it would help him in the long run.  He can't be trapped by his fears.

After a while, he gave up.  He stomped off to his room to find something else to do. I decided to take a nap.

Fast forward to yesterday.  After school B decided that he wanted to go hunt for critters.  Again,  he wanted me to go with him.  Again, I did not want to go.  Again, he puts on his sweats.  More begging ensues.  I tell him "I'm not interested in catching critters.  If that's something you're interested in, you have to do it.  I will watch to make sure you're safe but I don't want to catch or touch bugs or small animals."

catching bugs
Then all of a sudden, he's out on the sidewalk catching bugs.  Yes, in his sweats, in May, in Texas.  But he was out there without me having to be right by his side.  He caught 2 bugs and came inside to show me.  Once inside he realized he hadn't got any grass to put in the box.  So he went out all by himself to get more and pick up a beetle for good measure without even batting an eyelash!

After listening to everything he knows about his new bugs and sending a picture to his buddy, I pointed out what he had done.  "You faced your fear, buddy.  You went outside by yourself and you didn't get stung!"

He didn't really respond.  He just kinda looked at me like 'duh, of course I did'.  It didn't seem like a big deal to him anymore.

Most of our fears are like that, don't you think?  In the moment they are huge and overwhelming.  You think there's no way you could possibly survive it. You lose sleep. You over analyze. You drive everyone crazy obsessing over it.  Then you do it and it doesn't seem like that a big a deal at all.  

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

No - not as many

Life with B, actually life with kids in general, can be a long series of saying no.

"No, buddy, you can't wear that."
"No, not right now."
"No, don't say that."
"No, not everyone is interested in hearing about that."

At times it seems like all you're doing as a parent is crushing little dreams.  B has such amazing thoughts and I find myself trying reigning his in a lot.   Why?  Sometimes for his own good but lots of times because I don't want to be embarrassed.  I don't want people to feel bothered by him or think he's weird.  I'm not proud of it, but it's true.

Monday morning B was up and dressed before I came to the kitchen for my coffee.  He didn't match.  He does this a lot.  He thinks that if his shirt is orange and his shorts are orange, he's good to go.  He doesn't care that they aren't the right shades of orange.  He and I have been arguing about his choice in outfits most of week.  Sometimes I can tell him he doesn't match and it handles it very well.  Other times it really sets him off.

Monday morning he's wearing a green shirt and teal-ish colored shorts.  I made a conscious decision to not care.  We didn't even discuss it.  And guess what happened?  Not one darn thing.  No one told him he didn't match.  No one called me to bring him something else to wear.  The world kept turning.
We did argue about a big box Monday morning.  He's been creating "toys" lately.  Which means he draws characters and then cuts them out.  Apparently, he's made a bunch of these paper toys for his friends they needed to be transported to school in a large box.

We went round and round.  I tried to find reasons to stall him. I tried to compromise on with something else.  I was getting no where.  I finally decided it wasn't worth it.  I let him take the dang box to school.

And guess what happened? Not a darn thing (that I know of ;). No one called from school to tell me what an idiot I am for letting him bring this giant box.  I do know that his teacher told him he couldn't leave it at school so he brought it home.  That's totally reasonable.  It's kinda what I did.  Make him take care of the box.  This may not be the whole story but, it's the story he was able to tell me so we're rolling with it.

This is why I love the summer.  I don't have to tell B no as much.  I kinda let him roam free. During June, we take a break from schedules and I let him lead.  By July he starts getting antsy so we'll start back on a schedule.  But for the month of June, I'm going to try not to tell him no as much on things that don't matter!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Free Enterprise Day

Last week, B got to participate in a really cool project at school.  His class, actually his entire grade level, had been learning about wants and needs and supply and demand.  To help the kids see the concepts in action, the entire 2nd grade would have a Free Enterprise Day.  Kids would set up stores with goods or services and the other kids would shop using their classroom money.

Getting to Free Enterprise Day was an exercise in frustration.  I wrote about it last week in this post Butting Heads.

As with most things that I get frustrated and upset about, Free Enterprise Day turned out just fine.

B woke up that morning so excited.  He dressed himself "like a business man" in a polo style shirt.  This shirt has a really cute pair of bright orange shorts that go with it but I couldn't convince him to wear the whole outfit.  I decided to pick my battles.

When I asked to take this picture he told me he needed to "stand like a business man".  For whatever reason this meant grabbing the front of his shirt.  It was super cute!

I was worried that B wouldn't sell all his tic tac toe boards since they were terribly overpriced at $2 each.  He tried to explain to me that it was fake money and would be ok.  I tried to explain to him that money is money.  Real or fake you only have so much and no one wants to spend $2 on a hand drawn tic tac toe board and 12 bingo markers from Mardels.  I, of course, lost and the boards stayed priced at $2.

When B got off the bus that afternoon he was so happy!  He said he sold most of his boards.  "Lot of adults bought them for their kids".   I think this means that lots of adults love him and didn't want him to be disappointed.  He thought that meant that the adults really saw value in his creation and wanted their kids to have one for themselves.  I don't really care, he was happy!  His principal tweeted about Free Enterprise Day and included a picture of B's group.  He looks so happy in the picture.

I've been thinking about all the hassle leading up to Free Enterprise Day.  Should I have let him make his elaborate board then deal with the consequences?  Except for paying for all the supplies, it might have been easier.  Definitely the path of least resistance.  But the path of least resistance isn't always a good parenting strategy.  Kids have to have limits. I don't want squash B's dreams but I also don't want to shell out $50 in supplies for homemade board games. I don't want to think that I stifled his creativity.   I'd like to think that I did B a favor by helping him learn limits.

Yea, let's just go with that!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Congratulations Mommas!  You have survived half of May.  Well done!

Jen Hatmaker posted about the craziness of May last week and it really struck a chord.

This is all May's fault. May makes us crazy. December we're prepared for. August? We know to get our ducks in a row. But freaking May. Comes in like a wrecking ball and makes us act like lunatics.

I mean, for real.  Can I get an AMEN?

All the things happen in May.  End of year everything.  A million performances.  A thousand places to be, mostly at the same time.  It is some serious divide and conquer time for us.  Life devolves into a complicated military exercise.  "I'll go here. You take this one here.  I'll get Nene to go with the other one."  It is organized chaos at best.

But be watchful.  Stay on the lookout.  Some awesome things happen in May and you don't want to miss them.  In the midst of all the chaos, God will give you a moment of reprieve and show you why you do all this.

Mine was last Friday night.

Nene and B had cooked up a sleep over plan earlier in the week.  Our high school baseball team was in the playoffs.  Sam and Zac both wanted to go.  I wanted to sleep but I wanted to hang out with them more.  Ryan will watch baseball in any form at any time.  Perfecto!

We dropped B with Nene and took the Bigs to dinner.  Something amazing happened.  They talked.  Everyone was relaxed and joking about their day.  I noticed but didn't say anything as not to jinx it. the game was not great.  I'll just skip over that part...

On the way home we pulled in to Sonic for ice cream.  Zac decided he had to go to the restroom.  Did you know Sonic has bathrooms?  It's one of the many things I've learned being B's momma.  As soon as Zac closes the car door, Sam starts giggling.  He wants move parking spots to freak Zac out.  We pulled around the building looking for a spot on the same side so Zac wouldn't freak out too much.  He walked out of the into the parking lot just as we were passing by the bathroom.

Maybe it was the May delirium.  Maybe it was the ice cream high.  I don't care.  It was funny. I love being with my silly boys.  I tried to pause to take it all in.  In the middle of our chaos, God gave me a gift.  And I am so thankful.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Momma

Sue Gheen is my momma.  She is The Momma.

She has taught me so much about how to be a good momma.  She is always there for me.  I am younger than my siblings so they were grown up, married and out of the house before I started high school.  In high school people would think I was an only child.  Until my nieces and nephews showed up ;).

My mom and dad did a lot with my high school drill team.  They were at everything, all the games and contests.  I'm sure I didn't tell them enough but I loved that they were there.  When I left for college, Momma made sure I had plenty of mail.   That really helped me get through those rough, home sick times.

Momma is so generous! If she has something she thinks you want or need, it's yours. We rarely go to her house and leave empty handed. Lots of times, we leave with food. She's an amazing cook. She can make up a recipe and it will be delicious!  Just the other day she texted me "Made the best stir-fry today. Can't wait to cook it for you guys". She always thinking of us!

But, I did not realize the depth of my love for my mom until I became a mom.  When I started caring my for boys, I leaned on her to help me know what to do.  She's always so good at helping me without being too bossy.

Sue Gheen is also the best Nene.  She's Granny to my nieces and nephews.  But Sam had a little speech impediment so Granny became Nene.  She didn't sweat it.  She embraced being Nene and Granny.  She didn't try to make Sam feel bad or try to get him to say Granny instead.

She's as involved with my boys as she was with me.  She's at their games and special events.  Or she's keeping B-man at home so I can enjoy their games.  Last week she went on a field trip with B-man.  I couldn't go because it was during state testing and I had to be at work.  Yesterday she went to Zac's National Junior Honor Society induction.  I was supposed to be there but I was home with B, he was sick.

I pray my boys love me as much as I love my momma.  I hope I'm as good a mom to them as she is to me.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Happy Blogiversary

Well, lookey here!  It's been a year since I committed to writing everyday and posting 3 blogs a week.  And I've done it!  I've posted 3 blogs a week, every week for 52 weeks.  I'm kinda proud of myself.

Thank you all for reading and supporting me on this journey.  I have really appreciated y'all reading what I write.  I enjoy crafting stories and lessons and sharing them with the world.  Thank you for coming along on my journey.

To celebrate, let's look back at this year!

My favorite posts 
Life Well Led - about my sweet Grandpa Mays
Sorry, Not Sorry - when I decided I'm done apologizing for B being friendly
Screwing Up - Ryan messed up and I was so proud of him (still am)
Square Pegs - don't damage my peg
Overcoming Stage Fright - B's Veteran program at school
Cure or No Cure - why I don't want autism cured

Your favorite posts
Through God's Grace - B shares in church
My Daddy - about my awesome Daddy
Racism -  loving one another
Thank you, JCPenney - JCP's wonderful sensory shopping experience
1460- the number of weeks our kids are in high school

Thanks again for a great first year! Here's to many more!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Clean Heart

On of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 51.  David wrote the Psalm after his sin with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11-12).  He desperately wanted God's forgiveness and restoration.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presences, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirt
Psalm 51:10-12

Last Sunday, I got to teach about having a clean heart in our Valuable (special needs) class.  I was excited to teach on one of my favorite Psalms.  But at the same time, I was concerned that our very literal kiddos would be confused by the phrase "clean heart".   I wanted to be able to explain the difference between our human heart and our spiritual heart.

A little Googling revealed that people used to think of the heart the way we think of the brain.  They thought the heart was the control center of our body.  They thought the heart controlled our thoughts and actions. Isn't it strange to think that if they had known better, we'd say "Create in me a clean brain O God"?

There is nothing new under the Sun.  David wanted to a right relationship with God and so do we.  David sinned and so do we.  David wanted to be closed to God but knew his sin prevented it and so do we.  The difference, of course, is Jesus.  David was looking forward to Jesus.  We know Jesus.  We know he died on the cross to put us into a right relationship with God.

God listened to David.  He restored His relationship with David.  He forgave Dave.

God listens to me.  He restores His relationship with me.  He forgives me.

God listens to you.  He will restore His relationship with you.  He will forgive you.

He creates clean hearts in us daily!

Shane & Shane also have a wonderful song of Psalm 51

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Butting Heads

The B-man and I are butting heads a lot lately.  It's a dangerous combination of a worn out momma and a headstrong autistic son.

At first I thought I was losing patience with him because I'd been out of town and away from him.  I had grown used to caring for myself and needed to get back into the groove of caring for him.

Let me pause here to say that I am never alone in caring for B.  Ryan, the bigs, my momma and my friends all come along side me and do a terrific job.  It truly takes a village to raise a child and I love my village!  That said, I am B's go to girl.  If there's a problem, he wants me to solve it.  Back to our story...

B's school and teachers are super creative.  This is so good for him as he is also super creative.  This is not so great for me when I am super tired (read - all of May) and just want to mail everything in. B has no idea how to 'mail in' anything.  This week they are having a Free Enterprise Day.  The kids are in groups and they've been learning about supply and demand and wants and needs.  So each group is going to set up a table and sell things to their classmates with fake money this week.

A note came home last week, or the week before I can't remember (I am so tired), explaining Free Enterprise Day and what our child has agreed to bring.  B wanted to create game boards and origami animals. Let me pause here to say that B has never in his almost 9 years on this planet created an origami animal.  We discussed it over breakfast that morning and I thought we had a plan so I signed the note and sent it back to school.

For the record, I thought we would be making tic tac toe boards and origami animals.

That afternoon at Michael's I was informed differently.  B wanted to hand craft a wide variety of board games.  Including Candy Land made with real candy.  Obviously, B didn't understand the economics at play here.  I tried to tell him he couldn't make 25 elaborate board games.  I thought we came to an understanding.  He picked out the colored poster board and we moved on.

To the origami books.  A Pokemon origami book. A book that's easiest Pokemon could be completed in 47 steps.  Not happening.  I feel compelled to mention here that I had made an unfortunate shoe choice that day and I my feet were killing me.  I was so ready to get home.  We finally settled on a beginner book and get out of Michael's.

That evening B again asserts that he's going to be hand crafting individual board games.  I reiterate that this is not what's going to happen and that he's going to make tic tac toe boards.  This goes on all week.

I try to pass this off to Ryan.  He nor B are having it.  This is a momma and B thing.

We go back and forth all week.  I proceed with the tic tac toe plan and B proceeds with his plan.

It all comes to a head Sunday evening.  I finally lose my cool and tell B I don't care what he wants this is what's happening.  He somehow recognizes that I'm on the edge and agrees.  But, he adds, it's going to be hamburger and burrito tic tac toe.  He'll draw the hamburger and burritos and I'll need to cut them all out.  NOOOOOOOO!!! Simple tic tac toe!  Simple game pieces that I already purchased at Mardel's.  For the love of pete, this is going to be simple!!

After much praying, texting my friends to pray for our family, arguing, gnashing of teeth and straight up yelling, B has 26 sets of hand drawn (not great looking) tic tac toe boards to take to school tomorrow for Free Enterprise Day.  And I need a nap.

I felt compelled to include a sweet picture of B
since I'm so over him right now. 

I keep trying to remind myself that this is really my problem and not his.  I am so thankful for my creative little man.  My stress is not his problem.  I love that he has his own ideas.  But, good gravy, sometimes I'd love for him to be able to read my social cues and know "Momma's had enough now. I better just go along".

In June, after I've slept several days in a row, I'll be so thankful that my B-man has no idea what it means to 'just go along'.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

My take on Special Needs Ministry

The first thing in the first book I read about Special Needs Ministry was "don't ask a parent to run a special needs ministry".  It meant don't ask a parent of a special needs kid to run a special needs ministry.  So, right out of the gate I'm a rebel.

At Orange last week, I found out I'm a bigger rebel than I thought.

My goals in Special Needs Ministry is for kids to know:

  • They are made in the image of God
  • God does not make mistakes, He loves them just the way they are
  • Jesus died for them
  • They are loved
We don't try to make anyone is still for the Bible lesson.  Kids are jumping on trampolines.  Kids are sitting.  Kids are wandering around.  Kids are in a tent.  Kids listen and pay attention in lots of different ways.  

I believe God has a plan to bring everyone to Him.  To quote Emily Coulson, "He speaks their language."

I want church to be a warm, inviting place where kids (and adults) feel comfortable being themselves.  I feel like kids work so hard to fit in at school all week. They should have places to be themselves.  

I went to a breakout session at Orange that really upset me.  The speaker is a trained ABA therapist.  I have some SERIOUS objections about ABA.  To me, it seems to focus on kids' weaknesses and I'm not down with that.  The speaker was talking about using ABA ideas to help kids participate at church.  For example, having a goal of sitting at story time for 5 minutes without being disruptive.  If the goal is met, a treat is given.  This reminds me a whole lot of dog training.  

I know every church and every kid has different circumstances and are equipped differently.  But, please in your efforts to help a kid do not harm a kid.  Don't accidentally say, by your actions, God didn't create you right so we need to fix you.  Don't let your need for order send a message to a kid that they are 'less than'.  

There are difficulties in Special Needs Ministry.  I get it.  You have to think about all kids.  You have to do what's in the best interest of all kids.  You MUST keep all kids safe.  I'm just asking, please put yourself in the place of the kids.  Would you want to go to the place where you are to be loved the most and have someone focus on your weaknesses for an hour (or two) a week?  Or would you rather go and be loved.  

Please choose love.  Jesus did.

This article sums up my thoughts on ABA and links to some adult autistic people's takes on it as well.  

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Church's Role in Racial Reconciliation

From time to time, I wade into the deep end of topics I know very little about.  Usually, these topics just hurt my heart and I want to try to do my part to make them better.  The last time I did this it was also about racism.  But God has put this on my heart so here we go...

Last week at the Orange Conference, Dr. Bernice A. King spoke.  Dr. King is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter.  She was 5 when her father was killed.

The theme of #OC17 was For Our Neighbors.  One of the strands that came from that was the idea of being for our neighbors, even when our neighbors are different from us.  Valuing all voices.  At the beginning of Dr. King's conversation, I tweeted this:
Orange was founded by and is lead by Reggie Joyner.  Reggie is an older white gentleman.  I found it telling that he was leading this conversation. Orange has African American speakers and leaders.  Reggie could have chosen for one of them to lead the conversation with Dr. King. But he did not, he did it himself, sending a powerful message.  Reggie has a heart for the next generation and not just the ones who look like him!

I guess I should back up and explain "conversation".  Dr. King did not stand on the stage and talk to the audience.  She, Reggie, Cara Powell, and another leader (this was the first session after lunch and we were running late getting back, forgive me).  They all sat at a table to the left of the stage and talked.  It was clear that Dr. King and Reggie had a friendship.  This was not their first encounter.  This was a continuation of many other conversations.

What has haunted me since the session is something Dr. King said about her father's death.  She said it wasn't hatred that killed her father.  It was apathy and indifference of God's children that killed him.  Southern pastors had the opportunity to join with Dr. King and bring racial reconciliation to the South.  But they did not.  This spoke volumes.

In Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus tells us to the love God most of all but then love your neighbor as yourself.  He did not say love the neighbors you like the best.  He did not say love the neighbors who look like you.  Love. Your. Neighbors.

Friends, let's not miss the opportunity again.  Let's work towards racial reconciliation by starting conversations with those who aren't like us.  Let's visit each other's churches and work together.  We are ALL God's children.  And he has commanded us to love one another.

It's not easy but it is important.  It may feel awkward.  But start the conversation.  Love someone different from you today.  Take the next step in love.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017


Last week I was able to attend the Orange Conference 2017.  I traveled to Atlanta with the 4 children's ministers and 4 preschool ministers from our church.  I love Orange because their strategy is to bring the heart of the home, represented by the color red, together with the light of the church, represented by the color yellow, to impact the next generation for Christ.

Orange this year was challenging.  Not in a bad way, though.  I mean we did have some rocky moments.  We missed our flight to Atlanta because we were trying to get to the airport during a hail storm.  At the end of a very long day, I wanted nothing more than a gigantic Sprite.  After taking one sip, our Steak n Shake waiter promptly knocks it over onto me, my phone, Kyle and his phone.  Lesson here: don't leave your phone on the table.

No, Orange was thought provoking.  The theme was "For our neighbors".  How can we go into our neighborhoods and represent Christ?  How can we help our neighbors know Christ?  How can the church lead racial reconciliation? Here are some things that really made me think, quick hit style.  I've tried to credit the speaker on each thought...

  • Do something you don't have to do.  Reggie Joyner
  • Christians should lead the way to inviting everyone to the party. Reggie Joyner
  • Start a party to prove that people matter more than our opinions.  Reggie Joyner
  • God is into people so, we can not be wrong with our brothers and right with God. Andy Stanley
  • Your love for God is demonstrated and authenticated by your love for His people. Andy Stanley
  • Disability doesn't disqualify you from serving.  Megan Wall
  • No one asks you to work on what you most need to do. Carey Nieuwhof
  • God hasn't exhausted your call, you're just exhausted. Carey Nieuwhof
  • Be intentionally kind. Ryan Leak
  • Ask the people who serve you how you can pray for the them. Ryan Leak
  • Don't trust anyone who gives you advice that rhythms. Bob Goff
  • Love everyone. Always. Bob Goff
  • If you hold a grudge long enough, it will start holding you. Jud Wilhite
  • If you don't let God transform your pain, you will transmit it to others. Jud Wilhite
  • Love the people you lead. Doug Fields
  • Busyness is a badge of brokeness.  Doug Fields
  • Busy is the enemy of neighborly. Doug Fields