The Need to Belong

Humans have a deep need to belong.


“Even when people come to Christ and fill their need to belong to God, they still need to belong to the community of God’s people.” Victory Over the Darkness by Neil T. Anderson


Koinonia – the word used to describe Christian fellowship in the New Testament – is something the church must provide, or the church will lose its people.

We are the church. Koinonia is our responsibility. It’s a necessity and a need, not an option. Reach out in love. Welcome others warmly. Let God show people who He is through you.


“If your church doesn’t provide opportunities for legitimate Christian fellowship for its members, they will seek it someplace else.” Victory Over the Darkness by Neil T. Anderson



“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

Pinterest Lies

I’ve decided that Pinterest is a liar.

I use it often for recipes, but haven’t had much luck with crafting. And I’m a fairly decent crafter. 

This week, Wesley has a science project due on Friday at school. It has to be demonstrated in front of the class, so anything involving boiling water and other dangerous (or impossible) chemicals/tools aren’t an option.

We’ve practiced several projects. The first was bath paint. Easy, right? Just mix up the ingredients: shampoo of my choice, cornstarch, food coloring and water.


It turned into a pastel goopy mess that turned to glue on the bottom of the bathtub. My 5 year old was ready to cry because he expected paint. It was goop. 

The second project was creating an acid to restore dirty pennies to their bright, shiny finish. Just mix vinegar and salt, stir the pennies around for a few minutes, and Viola! Clean pennies right before your eyes. There were even before-and-after photos. 

We held our noses and poured the vinegar. We added the salt. We tossed in the pennies. We stirred. We waited. Nothing.


The result was vinegar – soaked, sticky, dirty pennies.

Today I went all out. I found a recipe for kinetic sand. Wouldn’t that be cool? Kinetic sand is unique because it doesn’t make a mess, has a texture similar to play doh, and doesn’t stick to your hands. We could put a little into baggies for each of Wesley’s friends at school! I went to the store despite feeling rotten from a terrible cold. I got all the ingredients: play sand (2 bags at $3.33 each), cornstarch (2 cans at $3 each). We came home and mixed them up in a bucket with water and Dawn. I even grabbed some lavender scented oil for a little extra sensory boost.

I cleaned out a yellow tub. We measured and added all the ingredients. We mixed and stirred. In the end, we had… 

…mud. It made mud. Lavendar-scented, sticky mud.

My kitchen is covered in sand. My cold is about 6X worse. 

But my sons are in mud Heaven. 

Misunderstood Lyrics

I’m always amused by a good case of misunderstood lyrics. Wesley has added to my list of favorites by singing the chorus of God is On The Move by 7eventh Time Down as, “Good is on the loose, on the loose, Hallelujah!”


But Caleb recently had me laughing until I was breathless at his interpretation of the chorus of Lauren Daigle’s First. He ROCKED the top-of-the-lungs shouting of the word “first” right along with her. But during the words, “I want to seek you, I want to seek you” Caleb belted, “I want a cookie, IIIIIIII want a cookie!”


Best misunderstood lyrics EVER.


And Then There Were Cupcakes 

Day Two of the detox phase. I haven’t been tempted by this point. 

But now there are cupcakes in my house. 

That’s my son’s hand, not mine, reaching for them.


I must stay strong… 

Detoxing Solo

I had the opportunity to meet with a nutritionist Friday morning. Macey was just as kind as she was beautiful. She has recommended a program that starts with a 2-week phase of detoxing, then we’ll slowly incorporate foods back into my diet and see if there are any food sensitivities I may be having.

Maybe that’s part of why I’ve had such a hard time dropping those extra pounds that seem to keep hanging around like a bad neighbor.

I have so much faith in Macey’s program, and I can’t wait to see how much better I’ll feel by the end of the two weeks. And get this – I even talked my husband into doing it with me!

I was so excited on the drive home from the appointment knowing I didn’t have to do this alone. Happy feelings abounded as I thought about being able to lean on him as I worked to stay disciplined.

I spent most of Saturday morning coming up with a menu (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks) using only the approved food items. I mean – so I can’t have cow’s milk products and wheat-based products. How hard can it be? I had already cut out white flour-based products because of severe inflammation that it consistently caused.  There apparently IS something to this whole gluten-sensitivity thing. Immediately after nixing gluten from my diet, my wedding rings became loose and I no longer had pain in my joints that made me feel like an 100-year-old woman! Wahoo!!

But as I began putting together menu items such as grilled chicken lettuce wraps, baked tilapia fillets with lemon juice and herbs, and fruit smoothies, a devastating realization dawned on me.

There’s no way my husband can do this.

I’m pretty sure he can’t go without soy sauce on his broccoli. He has a specific aversion to brown rice (white only, please). And when he began giving suggestions on dinners, he mentioned spaghetti. Which is an absolute no-go for two weeks.

Because, pasta.

I mean, we could probably come up with zucchini noodle substitute, and make a spaghetti sauce from scratch that has no sugar. But if it doesn’t taste exactly like regular spaghetti, I think my husband would keel over.

We decided he would follow the detox as closely as possible. So – deep breath – today is Day One of the detox phase.

I got up feeling hopeful and energetic. I threw into a blender some frozen fruit, greek yogurt and almond milk. I even added stevia because it wasn’t as sweet as a milk shake or, like, a liquid poptart. And I’m trying not to scare the husband off just yet.


It was gorgeous with a deep purple color, nice and thick. My mouth watered. I took a sip – oh, perfection.

Oh yeah. I can do this.

I poured some into my husband’s favorite Alabama Championship Tervis cup and handed it to him. My heart melted, because he had to pause from his task of folding laundry to try it.

He sniffed it and glanced at me.

I nodded in encouragement.

He crossed himself like a Catholic and took a sip.

I held my breath.

His face crumpled up like I had just filled his mouth with cough syrup.

“You don’t like it?” I asked, genuinely surprised. I thought it was incredibly delicious. I mean, it had greek yogurt, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and a splash of almond milk.

Everything he doesn’t eat.

He smacked his lips and handed it back. “I love you…” he said with caution. “I’m so sorry. I just don’t think I can.”

At the first sip of health, my husband has bailed.

But hey. At least the laundry will be folded. And that’s okay.

So here I am. Day One of a two-week detox phase. Detoxing solo.

The Search Has Ended

Every child has it.

That favorite toy. That special blanket. That irreplaceable stuffed animal. 

For me, it was Bear-Bear, a fluffy brown bear that my great-grandmother gave me at the age of 5. It was nearly as big as me. 

Wesley at the age of two adopted a small stuffed white dog with an orange ribbon on her neck and named her Baby Puppy. They’ve been inseparable ever since.

Caleb has latched on to a small Mickey Mouse doll that technically belonged to Wesley, but because Brother is so sweet and giving, he gleefully gave up Mickey as a gift to his little boy-shadow.

Caleb calls him “Mippie”, and asks for him every night when fatigue sets in at bedtime. But for several days now, Mippie has gone missing.

We’ve been busy. We’ve traveled several times in the last couple of months and Mippie somehow got lost in the shuffle. We’ve tried to give him a temporary replacement, like a  stuffed leopard or a quilted dog, but he still asks for Mippie with giant, inquisitive blue eyes.

Today, the search has ended.

I grabbed up a half-crushed shoebox on Caleb’s bedroom floor to throw away, but found it to be a little more heavy than I expected empty cardboard to be.

I opened it up, and there it was.

The Mippie.

*cue angel music*

All is well in Toddler Town today. The Mippie has been found.


Lesson of Faith from a Five-Year-Old


Our nightly bedtime routine consists of Kris rocking Caleb to sleep while I lay down with Wesley in his bed.

Tonight, as I tucked him in and we settled down, Wesley insisted that I get a piece of paper and a pen to write something down.

Suspecting that he was just stalling, I told him “no”, that it was too late, and he really needed to go to sleep. But he continued to insist that I needed to write something down, although he wouldn’t tell me what needed to be written or why. I began to sense a need in him to express whatever words were on his heart, so I relented. I crawled out of bed, grabbed some scrap paper and a brown marker from his coloring book drawer, and settled back down next to him.

“Now,” I said. “Tell me what you want me to write.”

He took a deep breath, and words poured out.

I love Mommy and I love Daddy and I love Jesus. Cover your power all over our house. Please protect us. Help me do what is right. Please help me, because I am your love. Please heal my eye. Thank you for protecting us. And please help me find what you want me to do when I grow up. I love you, Jesus. Amen.

My heart swelled with pride and my spirit soared. This powerful prayer of a child was spoken with confidence and boldness, because his trust in Christ is absolute.

Tonight, I was taught a great example of pure faith – from my five-year-old son.

Babies Don’t Keep

Song for a Fifth Child (Babies Don’t Keep)

by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Jun Aviles

Mother, oh mother, come shake out your cloth!
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking!

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby, loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo.)

Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby. Babies don’t keep.

Run Wild

My sweet friend Heather Palmquist enlisted me in a challenge of her making:  to create a poem using only the song titles of my current playlist. I used my two Spotify playlists that are basically the background music while I’m working on my Young Adult novel. The music has helped propel me to a manuscript that is nearly finished – only about 4,000 words to go!

You can read Heather’s quite amazing poem Shuffle (allegro) , along with the two other friends that participated as well. Angela’s Playlist Poetry, and Jinxie’s Out of the Black.

Run Wild

Run Wild

Run Wild, Now We Are Free.

Keep Fighting, White Angel.

Can You Hold Me, Unbroken?

Tangled Strings, The Warmth, Elixir.

Out of Nowhere, Illumination.

May It Be.

Out of the Woods, Small Memory.

Skimming Stones. Geronimo.

Sailing Again, Crystalline.

How You Love Me, Illusion.

When the Days are Long and the Kids are Small

Every so often, I go through my sons’ closets and drawers to organize, pull out what is worn out or no longer fits, and neatly put back the keepers.

This afternoon was for one of those tasks. I pulled boxes down from the attic with Wesley’s hand-me-downs, and started the daunting task of going through clothes. Wesley was downstairs helping Kris with some woodworking, and Caleb followed me around with his giant blue eyes and babbling conversation.


As I carefully unfolded and refolded every item of clothing, one by one, I was grateful for the salvaged clothes that gave Caleb plenty to play in. My heart ached with the memory of Wesley wearing the same things when he was 2 and 3. The blue shirt with sharks on it. The Avenger’s PJ’s that have seen better days. The monster truck shirt that he grew too fast to ever wear.

I held the monster truck shirt up to Caleb, and he pretended to fold it (wad it) and toss it back into my lap, making the sounds of a crane on a construction site.

Then he turned and began to squat-stomp, making the sound effects for every step, stopping to roar every few seconds. He stretched his little neck and opened his mouth wide, showing me how a T-Rex would tromp through the piles.

He draped over me and gave me a hug so tight, I couldn’t breathe. Then he turned and plunked down into my lap, wiggling his toes as he babbled on and on about something of epic toddler importance. Then he stood and wrapped his arms around me in another tight hug. Back and forth he went, lap then hug, then lap, then hug.

I could have gone on like that forever.


He’s still in diapers now. It crinkles when he walks. He’s growing out of his shoes way too fast. With every fresh hair cut, he looks a little bigger. His vocabulary is expanding.

One day he’ll tower over me and lean down to hug me. But for now, I’ll sit on the floor and let him squeeze me in a hug as many times as I possibly can.