Tag - parenting

The Whisper
The One Thing My Mom Did
Joy, Mamma, Joy??

The Whisper

Today let’s welcome Amy Daniel to the back porch up on Rocky Top.  Amy is the wife of Joseph and mom of two littles.   She also loves on lots of littles as she serves as a neonatal intensive care nurse part-time.  Amy’s other role is my middle daughter.  Thank you, Amy, for reminding us that God does “whisper” to us through His word if we will just take time to listen.

It’s 3 a.m.   I jump up frantically and run down the hall towards the screams of my baby. She’s hysterically crying. She won’t calm down. She won’t look at me. I hold her tight and say her name loudly over her screams. She finds my eyes and her little fingers grab my hand and she slowly  settles.
In the quiet I hear the whisper.  “AMY.  Look at me. Hold onto me. Settle.”
“Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭105:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

It’s way past the bedtime of my little girl.  She didn’t get her way.   A temper tantrum is on full display.   I get down on the floor with her and take her face in my hands. I say her name loud above her wailing and she finds my eyes. I say in a calm voice, “Breathe slow with me. Keep looking at me. Breathe.”  And slowly she settles down.
Once again I hear the whisper.   “AMY. Breathe. Keep looking at me. Settle.”
“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:25‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I’ve been distracted lately with the craziness of life.  There are daily stressors and the unexpected twists and turns of life.  Yet, God is good. He speaks to me in the midst of my stress. He calls to me the same way I do to my children.   When He speaks my name and I choose to find His face, He settles my soul.
He whispers“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28‬ ‭NIV

Allow the Lord to whisper to you today in the stress of life.  He will settle your soul as He calls you by name.‬‬

The One Thing My Mom Did

This time of the year always brings mixed emotions in my heart. I see many pictures and tributes on social media of women with their moms. It just makes me sad. However, it is not because my mom isn’t here on this earth. She is alive but she isn’t. Mom has Alzheimer’s. This horrible disease has robbed her of her memory and is beginning to shut down her basic bodily functions. As I sit on the back porch of Rocky Top today, I want to be totally transparent.   Even if my mom did not have this awful sickness, she was just not a good mom. Ouch, kind of cruel to say on Mother’s Day weekend. Please know my Mom is receiving flowers today, beautiful red roses in a gorgeous vase, along with a card that expresses my love to her. I will also travel this week hundreds of miles to sit with her as I listen to her tell me the same thing over and over. My hope is that as I walk in the door she will smile as she recognizes my face.

But I’m not one to play games and pretend. I have no memories of her brushing my hair, showing me how to apply makeup or giving me wise counsel concerning boys. There are no bedtime stories, songs of Jesus, or times we just acted silly in the back of my mind. She wasn’t even present at any of my children’s graduations or weddings by her own choice.

I do not share this to cause you to feel sorry for me or to dishonor my mom in anyway. I share it because there is ONE THING my mom did that changed the course of my life!

This ONE THING changed my life forever. It is a gift any mom can give her child.   As I have grown older I realize how blessed I am that my mom did this ONE THING.

My mom took me to church. Notice I didn’t say she brought me to church. That would imply that she always came with me, which she didn’t. Mom took me nearly every Sunday to a church where God’s word was taught passionately, preached with authority and Jesus was worshipped as if He really was alive.

So, MOM, thank you for taking me to a place where I heard about Jesus. Every good gift I have is because of one decision you made. You might have failed at many things as a mom but at least you were wise enough to know that there was a place you could take me every week that would introduce me to the ONE who is perfect and has blessed me with a life that is above and beyond anything I could have daydreamed about as a child.

So on this Mother’s Day weekend as I reflect on being a mom, I also celebrate the three children He has blessed me with. They are all adults now, married to three wonderful spouses and I now have two grandkids and one on the way!   Please know I failed my children many, many times. I was not the perfect mom. I yelled way too much and placed too much emphasis on things that really didn’t matter like perfectly cleaned rooms and perfect  grades. However, I did repeat the ONE THING and hopefully improved on it a little: I BROUGHT them to church and wanted them to meet Jesus. He was and is a REAL person in our home. I see them now BRINGING their children to church and Jesus is a very REAL person in their homes.

Mom, you were not a perfect mom. I am not a perfect mom.   But I did learn from you there is ONE who is perfect and HE will enable me to live the life He has called me to live. Thank you MOM for taking me to church!

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for HE who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:23-25



Joy, Mamma, Joy??

With much “joy”, I welcome Amy Daniel to my brown rocking chair on the back porch at Rocky Top!

Amy is my middle daughter! Yep……..middle child says it all about this beautiful young woman!

Amy is wife to Joseph and mommy to Addy…….the most beautiful 22 month old little girl in the entire world….don’t even try and disagree with that one! When Amy is not singing, reading, swinging, or playing with Addy or washing clothes, cooking meals or helping out at Mom to Mom (a ministry for and to moms), you will find her in the N.I.C.U. at the University of Tennessee Hospital caring for some special littles!  So, my precious daughter, what is God teaching you lately???


You know those summer rain showers…the ones where it’s pouring down rain but oddly the sky is sunny. That is a perfect metaphor for my life lately. My sky is sunny…amazing husband, great family, beautiful little girl…but I feel like I’m getting drenched in a rain storm of gloom. I find myself having pity parties over little things and stuck in this gloomy mood.

Nothing huge has gone wrong in my life lately but happiness seems to elude me. Maybe you have found yourself in my shoes or maybe you have big reasons to be feeling down, either way…how do we drag ourselves out of the mud and into the Son?

Well I recently learned this important lesson from my little girl. She is 22 months old.   Her favorite song, as of late, goes like this “I’ve got joy down in my heart, deep, deep down in my heart. J-O-Y down in my heart, deep, deep down in my heart. Jesus put it there and nothing can destroy it!”

She comes up to me daily and asks “Joy, Mamma? Joy?”….. wanting me to sing this song to her.   It dawned on me during the thousandth time singing this song that I do have joy deep down in my heart…. even when my emotions are telling me otherwise. His name is Jesus!!   Proverbs 17:22 says “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

So when I am feeling stuck in the gloom of my own pity…I remember my daughters sweet voice asking me “Joy, mamma? Joy?” I will choose to answer “Yes, baby girl, I have J-O-Y down deep in my heart!”

I will choose to not dwell on circumstances or emotions and dwell on Jesus and what He has done for me. Every time I start to feel the gloom creeping in…I will choose Joy.

It’s pretty hard to stay in the muck when you meditate on His glory. So if you are stuck in the rain today…whether the sky is sunny or stormy…decide to choose Joy! For His joy…….NOTHING CAN DESTROY IT!!

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