September 15, 2015
You know what makes this girl happy?
Cooler temps. It has been a long, hot summer and I am over it.
I’m over the sweat and the humidity and the frizzy hair.
The boys walked out the back door this morning in their shirt sleeves and shorts yelling, “It’s freezing!” as they ran to the car.
In reality the thermometer had made it to the mid-50s and it felt wonderful.
Oh, the heat’s coming back over the next few weeks. But a nip in the air, a reminder of what’s coming…I’ll take it.
The grocery store had canned pumpkin marked as a seasonal item for 89 cents each.
Yes, it’ll be warm enough this weekend to fire up the grill. But a taste of what lies ahead, yes please.
Life sometimes clings like the dog days of summer.
Burning out from the struggle of a season.
Sweating it out waiting patiently for a change to come.
Feeling the heat from work, marriage, finances, life.
Hold on. Keep the faith. Look up.
Relief is on the way.
September 14, 2015
“Aviation shrinks things,” the pilot explained as I commented on how small everything looked from up there.
My oldest, Camden, and I were on a short flight in a seemingly tiny airplane in an effort to have some fun and to support a missions organization based in our local airport.
That morning as I applied my makeup, Camden had come in the bathroom and pleaded, “I just don’t want to do it.”
“Oh, it’ll be great,” I assured him.
“It’ll be an adventure and we get to do it together. It’ll be a great memory,” I argued.
As we ascended to however many feet you rise to, (a lot!) I decided that in fact, we might not just be making memories, we might become one.
Yikes. “What had I been thinking?” I silently asked myself.
He is a smart child, a very intelligent child in fact. He is a cautious young man who puts a good amount of thought into major decisions. Why hadn’t I listened to my first-born, my dependable, reliable child?!?!
Now I had brought him up into the air against his wishes and my own better judgment.
Yes, aviation does shrink things….my courage and guts were nearly invisible.
I regained my composure towards the end of our adventure. Long enough to take it in and wonder at the vastness of the earth and the size of its creatures.
As we landed, I thanked the Lord above as Camden joyfully announced, “I want to do that again!”
We loaded up the minivan to head home. (Its tires attach to the road which all of a sudden sounded like a very good idea.) I grabbed the camera and looked through the pictures we had taken of the day.
There were Camden and I posed and smiling by the airplane. “Oh, we’re in the shadows,” I remarked disappointedly. I had wanted a great picture to remember our day.
My next thought: “…hide me in the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 17:8).
One of my favorite Bible verses.
When I’m overcome with weakness, He is strong.
When I’m feeling inadequate, He is able.
When my faith is small, He is always a great, big God.
Please check out the awesome work being done by Compass Aviation at
Our fantastic friends Andy and Esther are an integral part of Compass.
More info on their mission work can be found at
September 12, 2015
We’ve made it! It’s here!
Yes, we cheered through March Madness. We witnessed Curry bring the Warriors to a win. We saw finish lines crossed, by both horses and cars. We rejoiced when the ladies of the US brought home the World Cup. We are grateful sports fans. We really are.
But this. This is what we’ve waited for….NFL opening weekend. The season of the year when Sunday afternoon plans are set, emotions run wild, and children learn the importance of grit and loyalty.
Carolina Panthers Training Camp
They also learn how football food works. Start the season lightly. You snack, perhaps on chips or cookies or brownies. After all, you’ve just eaten a big Sunday lunch. As the season progresses, and more specifically, as your team progresses, so does the food. Night games call for pizza or subs….game food.
Playoffs take the menu to another level.
(Side note: I did order a nugget tray last season for a playoff game. I only did so after much hesitation. I was concerned I would jinx the team. We were over here eating Chick-fil-a nuggets trying to be calm and all. We needed them to play like it was a regular game. They lost. Order nugget trays with caution.)
It all builds to the Super Bowl when mama makes a spread to cover the kitchen counter. We’re talking meatballs, assorted dips, lots of things with cheese, and decorated cookie cakes.
So on Sunday, grab a snack and enjoy a game. I’m including a recipe for one of our favorite sweet and salty combinations. It typically wouldn’t make its way into the picture until later in the season, but hey, we’ve waited a long time for this weekend.
Current Panther Kicker Graham Gano and Future Kicker Cayson
Crunch Time Mix
5 cups Rice Chex cereal
2 cups Cheerios
1 ½ cups thin pretzel sticks
10 ounces M&Ms
12 ounces white chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
In a large bowl, mix together cereal, cheerios, pretzels, and M&Ms.
Put chocolate chips and oil in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until chips are melted and smooth.
Pour melted chocolate over chex mix, coating evenly.
**This recipe easily doubles for a game day crowd.
**Raisins and nuts can be added to a flavor boost.
**If you want to get sassy, add your team-colored M&Ms. Blue and black will look best…Go Panthers!
September 10, 2015
He sat in the dentist’s chair and answered some of the typical questions, “Are you ready for school to start?” “What did you do fun this summer?” I knew the answer to the first, “Yes.” I listened to hear what highlight he would choose from the summer.
“We went camping.”
We actually stayed in a three bedroom house, with a full kitchen, air conditioning, and the essential bathrooms. But it was covered with wood siding to make it look like a cabin and it was absolutely in the middle of nowhere.
Close enough, right?
We did build campfires. After all, what’s “camping” without s’mores?
One night, along with our chocolate and graham crackers, we took along glow sticks and leftover July 4th sparklers. We donned our glowing necklaces and bracelets while we roasted our marshmallows. The boys danced around the fire, swirling the sparklers and writing their names against the dark sky.
The fire’s flames burned hot and steady and the sparklers shimmered and entertained. All the while, the colors from the glow sticks would not fade.
All three sources, though very different, provided the same thing: light.
Light to shine in the darkness.
I’ve sat in the dentist’s chair before too. In fact, I’ve sat in many places: offices, church pews, my own recliner and been asked some of the same questions, “What do you do?” “What’s happening in your world right now?”
While at times, I’ve desired to answer that I’m a roaring fire, the reality is that often I feel like a glow stick faintly shining.
I am called to be light. While it may seem that the importance or realm of my light isn’t glaring, I am still called to shine.
That light may not shine from a stage, but from a small corner of the world.
We sometimes get caught up in titles and resumes and neglect the importance of the work we’re doing in the not-so glaring moments. The everydays.
Maybe you’re a flickering candle longing to create the brightness of a beacon. Take heart. No matter the size or the glow, shine your light. You are breaking through the darkness.
Whether you’re a camper or a wannabe, ignite your campfire.
Whether you’re a stay at home mom or a corporate giant, let your light shine.
Whether you’re a voice booming to thousands or a whisper to the lonely, hold out your flame.
Even the smallest light can penetrate the darkness.
“Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
September 9, 2015
I cannot stand mice.
Ooh, even to type the word gives me the willies. So, their little cousins, hamsters and gerbils don’t top my list of favorites either. Somehow, though, as a young girl, I had a hamster as a pet. Oh my word, I can barely stand the thought now. I have no idea what I was thinking back then.
Anyway, I remember we had one of those wheels for it to run on. You’ve seen them, the hamster gets in and runs and runs and runs and arrives absolutely nowhere.
Does your mind ever do that? Get on a thought and it goes around and around going nowhere? Happens to me often.
The other day I was all caught up in a thought, actually a worry. My mind was racing in circles trying to figure things out and come up with a solution.
“What am I going to do?”
“How can I fix this?”
What if, how long? Am I wrong?
And around and around I went.
The phone rang. I momentarily hopped off my wheel of worry.
The caller basically said, “Hey, Denise. The Lord laid you guys on my heart. Just wanted to call and encourage you.”
Wow. Those words put the brakes on my thoughts which were quickly spinning out of control.
I’m so thankful for a God who takes care of me.
A God I can trust to turn the world, so I don’t have to.
My kiddo in a human hamster wheel
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