On Dad’s Shoulders



Many children in Texas took the standardized STAAR test this week. All of their hard work and all of the teachers’ efforts for the year were put to a test. That can be a lot of pressure for everyone. The school sent home a reminder sheet, “Prepare for Testing Day”:

1. Get a good night of sleep;
2. Eat a good breakfast;
3. Arrive early;
4. Use your testing strategies;
5. Double check your answers.

The morning of the first testing day, I loaded up the car with my three elementary school children. Their bellies were full and they had their sharpest No.2 pencils in hand. On the way to school, I gave them a pep talk. “Take your time. Don’t get nervous. Do the best you can do. You’ve worked hard all year. I know you’ll do great.”

As we approached the school, there were the usual parents scurrying here and there. Children with backpacks were scampering out of cars and making their way to their classrooms. I waited at the intersection while the crossing guard protected the line of children trotting across the crosswalk.

Then I noticed a very tall and youthful dad with his son on his shoulders. His son was smiling and laughing as his dad took the time and effort to trot towards the school. He even stuck his hands out like an airplane in full trust that his dad would not let him fall. This child was about to take the same test as the rest, but he did not have anxiety on his mind. He was focused on the comfort and joy that his dad had to offer.

And then it dawned on me. Our Father! He lifts us up so we can soar on wings like eagles! So I am offering a new “Prepare for Testing Day” list:

1. Pray for wisdom;
2. Have faith that your Father has your back;
3. Do not be anxious, but instead rest in His comfort and have peace;
4. Rejoice in everything; even testing day, because this is the day the Lord hath made;
5. You worked hard all year, so go rock this test and do it for His glory!

My kids and I said a prayer before we exchanged our usual morning hugs, kisses, “I love you” and “Have a great day!” His peace and glory were upon them as they rushed to their classrooms.

We all go through tests in life. Some tests are academic, some are related to work and others are a life test of some sort. And yes, good sleep, good food and good strategies are good things to do to prepare. But let’s not forget our Father! When we have a test, he is always there waiting for us to climb on His shoulders and rejoice. We can do all things through Him who strengthens us. No matter the test, we can soar on wings like eagles.


A Blue Jay Visited Me Today



A jay visits to encourage you to have great faith and standup for yourself or for others.

The blue jay symbolizes determination, assertiveness, and intelligence. It is fiercely bold against its enemies. Fearless when it comes to protecting its partner, young and territory. The jay resonates truth, faithfulness, and solidarity because they are vigilant in their tasks. They also keep the same mate for life, which is symbolic of endurance, patience and loyalty. The jay is an excellent symbol for those wishing to honor their long-lasting bond between friends, family and lovers.

A jay visits to encourage you to have great faith and standup for yourself or for others.

Watching Her Son Die



“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary, wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.” (Jn 19:25)

As a mother, I cannot possibly fathom how Mary managed herself during the tragic days when they arrested and crucified her Son. She stood on the road and watched her precious Jesus pass by struggling to carry the burden of his cross. When all his disciples fled, she remained with him. I think no one could rip her away. She was completely helpless to do anything for him. Even more, she knew she had to support him to accept the suffering to come. All the while knowing that he did nothing to deserve such punishment. He was perfect and pure in every way. While she watched her Son die, she did the only thing she could do, offer her love while he suffered. Stand by and watch in hopes her presence might offer some comfort to her precious child. What an incredible amount of faith Jesus’ suffering and death had to demand of Mary. When he died, they took him down from the cross and placed him in her arms. She held him and looked at him. I am sure through her tears she thought of her precious baby boy from long ago. Probably never wanting to let his body go. Her Son displayed perfect faith. Her Son died to save the world. Oh how she must have had an overwhelming mix of emotions. Debilitating grief, proud of his courage, proud of his faith, angry at those who killed him and anxiously putting all of her hope in His resurrection so that she too might survive another day.

The Night Before


Jesus knew what was about to come….

He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luke 22:41-44 NIV)

He didn’t deserve it, but he willingly accepted it for us….

Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46 NIV)

…dying for the sins of his enemies. Forgiving them. Saving them. Forgiving me. Saving me. Forgiving you. Saving you. Pure, selfless, perfect love like no other.

Rejoice in Injury?



My 10-yr old son recently had hernia repair surgery. Upon arrival at the hospital, the pre-op nurse began asking me a series of medical history questions about my son. She rattled off a very long list of illnesses and health conditions. Asthma? No. Cancer? No. Lung conditions? No. Neurological issues? No. Heart conditions? No. Diabetes, blood pressure, head injuries….? No. No. No. The list was painfully long. Tears came to my eyes. I began to think of all the families that answer “Yes” for their children and loved ones. And I thought to myself, “Dear God, thank you for this blessed life of ours. Please Lord, please, hold up those that are tasked with managing pain or illness in their lives.”

As much as I had succumbed to “mommy worry” for my son, his issue was minor in the scheme of things. He came home the same day. He will be back to flipping in the gym and competing within 6 weeks. With an overwhelming heart of gratitude, I will not take our good health for granted. I will rejoice in our Lord and say “Thank you.”

Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice. Let all know your forebearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.”
-Philippians 4:4-9

An Angel at Starbucks


Dear sweet lady who paid for my Starbucks just now, you are my angel.

It has been a yuck out-of-nowhere pity-party morning. I had just left my cat at the vet for a pretty severe injury and as I was driving, I became overwhelmed with thoughts about his pain, the stomach bug that will not leave my family alone, my 10-yr old son’s hernia repair surgery tomorrow, My husband’s knee surgery on Wednesday, my poor dog Pablo’s recently torn ear…. I am talking full blown, all out pity-party. I’m usually an upbeat person that likes to encourage everyone to be happy and high spirited. Feeling down was even starting to make me feel down. I never feel down. Why am I feeling overwhelmed? It was all starting to get to me.

So where does everyone go for comfort? Starbucks…. duh. I decided I would waller (that’s sourthern speak for wallow) in my favorite iced green tea. When I pulled up to the window, the barista says, “The woman in front of you paid for your tea and she said to tell you ‘Be blessed and have a great day.'”

Well that just brought tears to my eyes. I am blessed. I’m sitting in a nice car in line for Starbucks. We’ve got a great roof over our heads, plenty of food to eat, lots of love and all of these injuries will be repaired. “This too shall pass.” Why am I wallerin? Why am I down? Snap out of it!

So thank you, angel lady in the Starbucks line. You completely turned my day around. I only wish I could tell you how much your small gesture helped me today.

So as soon as I finish posting this message, I’m going to go to the ultimate comforter, the ultimate healer, the ultimate hope…. I am going to sit down with God. I am going to stop these seeds of worry and do some much needed devotional time, reading my bible and praying. I feel better already and this is the best tea I have ever tasted.

I hope the person behind me enjoyed their free Starbucks as well, because I had to pay it forward. “Be blessed and have a great day.”