Tuesday, July 13, 2010


A little background information for you: Cupcake was in speech therapy near the end of school this year. She is still having trouble with a few sounds she should have by now, most notably the "K" sound. She generally substitutes a "T" sound where the "K" should be.

So, the other day, I had the girls with me at JiffyLube. While we were waiting, Cupcake said something about "stool" when she meant "school".

Sugar says, "Skool. Can you say s-k-ool?"


"Just say 'cool'. Can you say, 'k-ool'?"

We tried "cup" and "candy" and worked our way to "Kit-Kat".

She finally got it at "Kit-Kat". Yeah! She said it several more times as she practiced.

I got so excited, I began to sing the Kit-Kat commercial. It should be noted that we were alone in the JiffyLube waiting room.

Give me a break.
Give me a break.
Break me off a piece of that...

At that point, I pointed to Cupcake to finish the ditty.

To which she replied, "granola bar".

Which reminds me of this...

Blessings to you,

Friday, July 9, 2010

My "Mount Carmel" Experience

One of my favorite Biblical accounts is the story of Elijah on Mt. Carmel. It is found in 1 Kings 18.

The gist of the story is this. Things are not looking good in Israel. Ahab (or Mean King Ahab, as he's known at our house) and Jezebel are king and queen. The people were confused about spiritual matters. Jezebel had brought in her gods and her religion. The True God seemed lost in the haze.

Elijah was the Lord's only prophet.

Elijah called for a showdown...a showdown at the Mt. Carmel corral.

The "odds" seemed pretty bad. Jezebel and her god, Baal, had 450 prophets. God had 1.

What happened?

The contest is set up in favor of Baal. Elijah talks smack. Baal gets the first opportunity to score.

Then...nothing.....Nothing....NOTHING..... Baal is not a real god.

Now, it's Elijah's turn.

His weapon is a simple prayer and a heart for the people who have lost sight of God.

Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.

And God answers BIG TIME! And the people see for themselves the awesome power of the TRUE GOD.

If you aren't familiar with it, go read it. Really. It's a good one.

Now what does this have to do with me?

Cupcake has had a wild spiritual journey in her (almost) 7 years of life. When she came home, she was openly hostile to God talk. At the same time, she absolutely adored church. She instantly knew these people were safe and friendly. She love, loved, loved the music.

But stories of Jesus?

"No, thank you."

Eventually, she came to like two Bible stories.

1.) Adam and Eve, and their big mess-up.
2.) Jesus blessing and loving on the little children.

Except for these, Cupcake will not allow me to read the Bible to her.

You see, Cupcake has trouble trusting people. That translates into having trouble trusting God.

She is confused about the true character of God.

For the past two years, we have prayed that God would reveal Himself to her in ways that she could understand. We've prayed that she would find Him trustworthy and good.

So, Tuesday night, we were up late after an evening swim. Cupcake was sitting in the chair with me, winding down a little before we put her to bed. I noticed it was 10:00 and I decided to flip on the TV and watch the local news, which is a rare treat for me. The top news story was of 4-year-old Alisa Meier, who was abducted from her yard about 70 miles north of here. A parent's worst nightmare.

It was too late. I couldn't undo what she had heard.

I watched my beautiful little flower shrivel up. Her eyes got wide as saucers and her breathing changed. Her body tensed and I could see her pulse pounding under her eye. Fear, wild fear, showed on her face.

She retold the story in her own words to make sure she understood. Then, she asked in a quivering voice, "Is that in America?"

This horrific tale hit too close to home. She has lived through similar experiences. We've worked overtime convincing her that she is safe here and no one will ever take her away.


Then it was time for bed. She asked me to pray for Alisa.

Most of the time, I pray in a very non-presumptuous, non-specific way when I pray with Cupcake. I pray for the presence of God and the peace of God in the situation, no matter what happens. I don't usually pray for a certain outcome, because I don't want Cupcake to confuse my desires with God's bigger plan. Sometimes, God answers "no" and we just can't understand why. Bad stuff happens.

The "odds" were stacked against this little girl. It had been 29 hours. The police just reiterated that after 24 hours, the chances of finding her alive and well go way down. The only lead they had in the case was the testimony of her 6-year-old brother who said it was a man in his 20's in a black car. That's it. That's all they had to go on.

With a heavy heart, I got down on my knees and prayed.

Oh God, You know where little Alisa is. Please hold her in Your arms and protect her. Lord, please let the bad guy change his mind. Let him drop her off somewhere safe so she can come home to her mom and dad. In Jesus name. Amen.

Then I lay down next to my scared little girl, ran my fingers through her hair, and prayed some more.

Oh God. I just put You on the spot. Cupcake needs to know that You are real and powerful and that You love lost little girls. She needs to know You answer prayers. Lord, if something happens to that little girl, she may never trust You. Please, God.

I went to bed with stomach flipping for little Alisa, for my own daughter.

Then next morning, Steve woke me with the good news. Alisa had been found safe and sound. Her abductor had gotten spooked and left her at a car wash.

Thank you, Jesus! You are the God who loves little girls and who answers prayer!

The cool thing is: God had answered our prayer before we even prayed it. She was found at 9:45 Tuesday evening! What a lesson for my little girl!!! And her not-so-little Mamita! :-D

He put one more brick in the foundation of her faith. He gave her one more reason to trust the Savior that loves and cares for her.

Now, I don't want you to think that I'm so self-absorbed that I believe it was my prayer that saved the day. The God I serve works on a cosmic scale. He paints on a canvas that is outside the scope of what we can grasp. His plan involves entire communities. He is at work in the lives of every single person who was affected by this kidnapping. He works within the dynamics of families, and yet, He reaches and teaches us on a personal level. He speaks to the heart of the individual. He is doing this at the same time using the same situations. This is merely my perspective from my little earthly view. I know He cares deeply for Cupcake and she needed to see His power and goodness at this stage of her life. He loves little Alisa and her family and I'm sure He is at work in their lives, as well. I know that He also works in our lives through tragedy and disappointment. This time He chose a happy ending.

Blessings to you,

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Anniversary Getaway :-)

We're back from our little excursion. It was really good.

Good for the marriage.
Good for the mind.
Good for the body.
Good for the soul.
Good for the Mommy.
Good for the Daddy.

As I said, on Friday night, I received a mysterious letter asking me to pack an overnight bag with casual clothes (also bags for the girls to go to Grandma and Grandpa's).

On Sunday, as soon as Steve and the girls got back from their birthday party, we dropped them at the grandparents' and jumped in the van. I was driving.

"Where are we going?"

TomTom will tell you.

TomTom directed us about an hour northeast of here. We traveled along the scenic "Great River Road" (That is along the Mississippi River, for all of you out-of-towners.) It's known for it's beautiful scenery and an abundance of eagles. In my 24 years in St. Louis, I've never been up this way. It was beautiful and we saw lots and lots of eagles.

We ended in the little town of Grafton, Illinois, at the Tara Point Inn and Cottages.

We stayed in the cottages. The view was gorgeous! Who knew we had such a beautiful vista right here in the St. Louis area? They were clean, spacious, private and altogether perfect for a little retreat.

After a relaxing hour or two, we headed out to eat dinner. We chose the Fin Inn, with it's large table-side aquariums. It's kind of fun to eat with the fish.

Oh, I forgot to mention, the Mississippi was at flood stage and we had to take several detours just to get around town.

Oh, and while we were eating, a massive thunderstorm roared into town. It continued to roar throughout the evening.

We spent the evening winding down and relaxing, watched a movie, read books, and other fun stuff. It was so peaceful and refreshing. I love being inside a cozy room, watching a big storm roll through. It was quite a lightening show being up on the bluffs. I wish I could have gotten some pictures.

Monday, we slept in, ate a light breakfast in the cottage and spent the morning reading on the front porch, watching for eagles, listening to the wildlife, soaking in the quiet.

We attempted to drive up to Pere Marquette State Park to see if we could hike a little while, but the rains from the previous evening closed the road.

We tried to wind our way around to find entry into the park from another way, but to no avail. And we were making TomTom really mad by this time. I thought for sure it was going to start yelling at us to TURN THE CAR AROUND AT THE FIRST STINKING AVAILABLE POINT!!!

So, instead, we hit a few antique shops and flea markets, as well as a fudge shop. :-)

After we were shopped out, we started back down the "Great River Road" to Godfrey, Illinois, so we could dine at the famed "Josephine's Tea Room" for lunch. It was a lovely day, so we ate outside. After about one minute, we realized that Steve was, indeed, the only man in the entire place. Even so, it was a very, very good lunch, and the dessert was fabulous.

After our lunch, we jumped in the car and wound our way home, rested, refreshed and ready to tackle crazy family life together.

Together. That's where I want to be.

Together, with my adorable, kind-hearted, thoughtful husband, we can tackle anything.

Blessings to you,