Posted by: Beth | May 8, 2023

no time for a picture

It’s one of THOSE afternoons.

No, not the kind where I’m battling a crisis.  I’m thankful for that.

No, no one is sick.  I’m glad.

It’s not even one of those days we’re gone for twelve hours or so.  We did have one of those last week, and survived very well thanks to a little help from some friends.

It’s not one of those weeks when we have so many appointments in different towns that the dirty laundry piles up, dishes are washed as needed rather than as dirtied, and the mail stays in the box a few days.  I can handle that mess because we are so busy and tired that I can ignore it.  If I don’t see it, I can’t do anything about it.

Oh no.  It’s none of those.  This is the week that we do have some “free” time at home.  The clean laundry needs folding. I heard a kitten in the house – which is NOT supposed to happen. (It wasn’t.  The door was open a minute.)  The sink has dirty dishes.  The mail needs to be opened and dealt with.  I have plants to get into containers or the ground.  Nothing unusual about any of that.  But, added to the piles of things that are still out of place after the tree fell and a child who cannot seem to acquire enough Lego sets and a few other things I would LIKE to do, it’s a bit much.

So …… at least today I sat to write a minute instead of playing a game on the phone.  That’s my usual I-can’t-decide-where-to-start activity.

While your list isn’t like mine, I have heard a number of folks express that they feel the same.  Too much to do.  Too little time or energy or both.   There’s a zillion or so books and podcasts to tell us how to set priorities and accomplish everything we need to do.  I’ve only read a few of them.

I have now accomplished another thing on my list – to write.  How much sense it makes doesn’t really matter to me at the moment; it’s just that I’ve done it.

And now that my spaghetti thoughts are written, and the boy is tapping his toe impatiently for me to help him spend his birthday money on Amazon, perhaps I can knock out another item or two.

Oh yeah, there’s that Paper Pie party I need to do a few things about.

A side of ADD anyone?  Seems I have some extra that I can share.


Posted by: Beth | February 19, 2023


               .  Some are well-thought-out; others, rants.  Some are very positive; others, negative.  There’s already a lot of articles and videos about the Asbury Revival. Rather than delve into what’s happening or how genuine it is, I want you to think about a few things closer to home.

            Have you been praying for revival?  I’ve seen quite a bit on Facebook about Christians wanting revival.  Every great awakening has been preceded by months of prayer – alone and in groups.

            If revival happens in your home, your church, your community …. What will it look like?

            If you want revival – a renewal of the first joy of your salvation, a rededication to following God closely, seeing others coming to know Jesus personally – are you willing to invest in the possibility?

            Are you willing to pray?

            Are you willing to be inconvenienced?  Getting back to Asbury for a moment – can you imagine your church, school, or community being flooded with hundreds or thousands of visitors when you had made no preparations?  People need water and restrooms and food and rest.

            The following inconveniences are more likely to happen.  An acquaintance calls ten minutes before your favorite TV show starts and really needs a listening ear.  Do you listen or hang up and your show?  Your child’s classmate has only worn-out shoes.  Can you buy a pair?  Elderly people in homes – many who spent years teaching, caring for children, serving in the military, working in production or maintenance, serving in ministry – sit alone most days.  Can we spare an hour a month to listen to their wisdom? 

            Are you willing to share what you know of Jesus, his love, his redemption, and his teachings?   Videos from Asbury have gone viral.  What are the chances someone in your neighborhood has seen them?  What are the chances that a young person in your town has seen them?  If they have questions, how will you react?  Will you judge the whole event at Asbury (good or bad, depending on your view)?  Will you walk through the door the video just opened for you?  Will you grab hold of that opportunity to share the gospel?  Are you willing to take the time to nurture and guide young believers, whatever their physical age?

            I think I’ve rambled a bit.  That’s not very unusual.  And I need to wrap this up. 

            Whatever your view on the Asbury Revival, if you call yourself a Christian, believer, follower of Christ, etc., PLEASE  find a way to use the interest generated to share the gospel.  Paul’s letters remind us to be ready to give a reason for your belief and use whatever means you can to reach people with the gospel.  If the means is a video, so be it.  Share the good news.


Posted by: Beth | February 1, 2023

New Mercies in the Morning

It’s been a hard day – emotionally.  Nothing significant really – no funeral or anything like that.  Just one little thing and then another.  This nagging headache isn’t helping matters any.  AND I got up tired this morning.  Later in the day I was thinking, “What’s the big deal about getting up tired?  I used to do that every day.  EVERY day.”  But, it’s been weeks, maybe a few months, since I got up this tired – the kind of tired that gives you brain fog on top of having no energy.

            Maybe this tiredness is leftovers from yesterday.  Yesterday was one of those days that looked like a pleasant, stay-at-home-a-while day.  Looked like – there’s the hint that I was not at home much. 

            A friend and I ate breakfast at Waffle House.  This was the only item on my calendar.  We ate and talked and laughed and laughed and talked 😊  We did not cry.  It was great.

            Then I took a child to the doctor about a nagging cough.  I had also noticed in the last few days that his epipen had expired, and wanted to get a new one.  Thankfully, that visit didn’t take long.

            Just before we got home, my sister-in-law called.  They were headed to ….. drum roll, please …. You guessed it! Waffle House.  Would we like to join them?  Went home, checked with husband (He said, “ no.”) and both children (They said, “ yes.”  ).  We arrived just as they were served.  The waitress said, “I’ve already waited on you once today.”  We all laughed.  Bless my sister-in-law and brother!  They took one of my errands and ran it.

            Once we were home again, it was tablet time.  Chuck and I had some cleaning to do while the boys were entertained.  We thought we had put toys and a few other things in storage.  We found out some of our son’s things were still there.  That was a bit of an emotional struggle.  (He died in October, 2018.)  But, we made it!  We saved a few things and trashed more. 

            School?  Yes, schoolwork.  We made time for paper and pencil schoolwork.  During this time I realized I had not received a text about the prescriptions being ready.  Well, duh!  They were at a new-to-him pharmacy.  Thankfully we were done in plenty of time for me to get there before they closed.  Of course I picked up a few groceries while in the store.

            Once home, we still had to get ready for co-op today.

            Of course, there were other conversations and texts.  Some were pleasant and others were stressful.

            If you’ve read this far and you aren’t tired just thinking about the activity, good for you!  If you’re wondering how I have energy to do it, I can share that another time.  For those of you with a house full of children, this sounds like a piece of cake! 😊  I admire your ability to get through the days.

            Regardless of your reaction, I hope we all can focus this evening on one of my favorite scriptures.  “His mercies are new every morning.” – the Prophet Jerimiah

            No matter how pleasant our day – or how stressful and out-of-sorts it is – God’s mercy and grace are showered on us anew every day.  Let us share that grace with those in our paths.


Posted by: Beth | January 1, 2023

Happy New Year 2023

In the new year may you

Soak up the sun and

Dance in the rain.

May you have strength for your journey

Along a path made plain.

May you overcome obstacles

And laugh again.

…… and may you find real poetry to enjoy 🙂 …..


Posted by: Beth | November 25, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving

I want it to be a happy holiday.  I do.  Really. And honestly, the last few weeks I have felt better physically and been more jovial than I have in months – or years!  So many things to be thankful for.

Yet, my heart is weighed down with sadness.  I don’t know if more people in our community have died the past few months than usual, or if I’ve just known more of them.  Young people were killed in car accidents, some leaving parents and children.  Middle-aged people who struggled with chronic illness left behind parents and children.  Older folks who were more than ready to meet their maker left families who were simultaneously glad the pain was over and lonely and sad about the empty place at the table.  And whenever I learn of another parent who has buried a child, I feel a little of their grief and emptiness.   And then there’s the folks who are literally on their deathbed, with vigilant family watching over them.

Those things are in our community.  You know the national and international news – probably better than I do.  That’s enough to make you crazy or grief-stricken or something bad I don’t even know a name for.

And yesterday was just A DAY I don’t particularly want to repeat.  No one terrible thing, just a string of unpleasantness.  And on Thanksgiving Eve, at that.

Yet, there is hope.  There can be happiness.  Wherever there is Jesus, there is hope.  Where there is hope, there is some (maybe just a tiny bit) of strength to go on.  Where there is strength, you can put one foot in front of the other, or maybe pick up a phone.  When you can reach out to someone else, something mysteriously wonderful happens.  There is more strength.  There may even be a shared memory and a smile.  On very blessed days there is laughter.

And then, a bit of guilt kicks in.  How can I dare be happy when someone I really care about is no longer here?  Or will be here on this earth just a short while?  Because we can.  Because we must.  Because, whether we like it or not, death is a part of life.  Grief must be dealt with, and every one of us does it a little differently, and that is okay. 

So, on this Thanksgiving Day, if tears fall down your cheeks, let them fall.  If in spite of your pain, you smile and laugh, good for you!  Laughter is good medicine, and we all need some goodness in our lives.  If it happens that you’re having a pleasant day filled with family and good times, enjoy!  There is a time for everything.  Occasionally our heart times match up with the calendar.

Wherever you are in your journey, may you find some warmth and friendship this holiday season.


Posted by: Beth | November 11, 2022

New Things

Colorful leaves

Cooling temps


Pumpkin spice



New beginnings

Wait a minute.

Those first things are fall things.

New beginnings? In the fall?  No!!  Fall is the ending of things.  Dying leaves.  Trees that look dead.  The end of daylight.  Okay, no, not really, but the shorter days grieve my soul. New things are supposed to happen in the spring.  Or summer when the garden harvest is in full swing.  Or maybe late summer when football season starts.  But October??  New things?  I’m kidding, right?

Nope.  I am not kidding.  October, 2022.  New things.  And I am so very grateful.

Mid-month my favorite aunt, aka my “ ‘nuther’ mama,”  and I were shopping in Hobby Lobby.  I have crocheted off and on since I was too young to remember when I learned how.  I have tried a few times to knit.  I can’t do it.  Something about two needles instead of one and the coordination required made it impossible.  I mentioned that as I looked at darling patterns for — you guessed it — knitted items.  The kicker was a hat kit for children.  Each kit was just a small skein of yarn and a head of a Sesame Street character.  But I fell in love — okay, probably lust —- with them.  My dear aunt said something like, “You’re so talented in things like that.  If you try it, you’ll get it. You’ll figure it out.”  Into the buggy went two hat kits, a learn-to-knit kit which included all the paraphernalia I remember my mama having, a few extra skeins of yarn, and a pair of needles the size required for the hats.

After a few false starts, including a humorous moment when I somehow had the yarn I needed to be working with at the wrong end of the needle, I managed to knit what could be the beginning of a scarf.  It was so full of mistakes I cast off the stitches and started on something else.  But that little scrap is a new thing for me, and I am thrilled to be learning something new while I am  on the plus side of sixty.

About the same time, the fine arts time at our coop began studying basic music theory and learning how to play a simple song on the tin whistle.  This is our third year with this experience, but it is the first time I have also attempted to play to the tin whistle.  It’s fun :). 

That made two new things in October.  Maybe I’m not so very old after all.

And then the last week of the month. 

Back in August, I had mentioned to our choir director and pastor that I might be interested in filling in as pianist from time to time.  The real need was for someone to play parts during choir practice.  I can handle that, so I started attending choir practice and took home a couple books to practice.  One Sunday in October a chain of events happened that could not have been happenstance.  The end result was that our choir director knew I was willing to play on Sunday morning.  The next week he asked if I could accompany during the morning service.  Of course I said yes.  Sometime between that moment and Sunday morning, I realized that Sunday would be the fourth anniversary of our son’s death.  Suck it up, buttercup, it’s showtime! I messaged my prayer support folks and they covered me in prayer.  I don’t think I told anyone at church about the anniversary until that evening at choir practice. While playing the piano that Sunday was not a completely new thing, it was the first time I had played for a congregation since a while before our son died.  If I had realized the significance, I would have still said yes, probably after hesitating a bit.  I’m glad I said yes.  I now have a new, happy memory for that date.

So YES, Fall can be a time for new things 😊.

Enjoy the holiday season that is fast approaching.  Be brave.  Try a new thing.  Even if your heart is hurting, when another part of your heart yearns for something a little different – a different food, a new road trip, a new hobby, a new book – be brave and try.


Posted by: Beth | July 28, 2022


My motivation for writing “The Hand You’re Dealt” got lost in the process of thinking of some light-hearted examples.  The next statements may seem unrelated, but hopefully by the end of this you will see some connectedness among them.

No parents wake up one day and say to each other, “Why don’t we have a child with special needs?”

Families who appear to be perfect, have it all together, and are breezing through life probably have a challenge or two that 99% of the people around them don’t see.

If a stumped toe is the worst pain you’ve ever felt, it’s awful.  If you’ve had major abdominal surgery or a few broken ribs, you can laugh at how minor your stumped toe is.

If your great uncle you’ve only seen once in your life is the closest relative you’ve lost, the grief can be painful.  Until you lose a parent, a sibling, a friend you see every day, or a child.  Those are all different kinds of grief.

If the worst remarks you heard made behind your back are about how your clothes don’t match, and you care what people think, your feelings are hurt.  If you grow up and have children and see people whispering about how different a child is, remarks about clothes don’t even warrant a half a thought.

As children grow older, we expect them to communicate their needs and problems.  A number of physical and mental differences can make this difficult to impossible for some years or the child’s entire life.

Some folks park way out from the store so the car paint doesn’t get scratched.  Some parents can’t go to the store because there is no one to stay with a child and a screaming child, even one that is being cared for, is a magnet for calls to the police and DSS. 

For those who aren’t well trained and/or experienced, it can be difficult to distinguish between a child who is being abused or abducted and one that is struggling mentally, had a breakdown in the store, and the parent is simply trying to get groceries and get home.

Some “different” children are runners.  Some trust everything that everyone says.  Some can’t yell and get your attention.  Some can’t hear you calling. Anyone who has watched young children for a few days knows that they can get out of your sight for a moment no matter how diligent you are.

The point of all this is that parents, caregivers, and siblings of children who are not average/normal (I don’t even know the current politically-correct term) are playing life with a different “deck” than families of close-to-average children.  The causes of the differences are many and varied.  The challenges the families face are dependent on the causes of the differences and their support circle (if they have one). The intensity of the feeling of loss and grief vary from person to person.  What loss?  What grief?  What pain?  Think of all the milestones we expect children to meet – kindergarten graduation, playing sports, being involved in church or scouts or both, high school graduation, a decent-paying job, perhaps a wedding and grandchildren.  Some or all of those are either lost completely or greatly different than you anticipate when you first learn that in a few months you will hold a baby in your arms.  The grief and accompanying
 pain are real.

Most do share some challenges.  Scheduling anything – doctor appointments for yourself, counseling, dental check-ups, parent-teacher conferences – can be a bit challenging.  Trying to attend church or social gatherings is often more stressful than the good gained from the comradery, and the family becomes isolated.  Children can’t tell you when they hurt inside, and it can take minutes, hours, or days to figure out that the screaming is from a physical problem.  A simple dental check-up can be an ordeal.  Yeah, yeah … you just have to prepare them and find the right dentist.  That’s a great theory but it doesn’t always work that way in real life. Learning social skills can take longer than typical, so the children end up being bigger than those they can appropriately interact with.  Only then, the other children’s parents aren’t comfortable with the situation.  The fear of making mistakes is intense.  The fear of a neighbor or someone who sees you in town calling child protective services is real.  Children are tiring!!  Healthy, “normal” children can drain your energy.  Multiply that by 4 or 5 or maybe some power of ten and it’s close to how draining it can be to care for children with special needs.

So what can you do to help someone sort out the different cards in their decks?

Just be there. 

Be a friend.

 Be present.

 Be quiet.

 Be accepting. 

Bring a cup of coffee or a bottle of soda pop and sit and talk about the weather while the children play – and expect them to be strange, weird, loud, or unusually quiet. Share a gift card for gas or pizza delivery if you know those could be helpful.

 Riding along on appointments is time consuming and draining for you, but it can be helpful. 

The real key to being helpful is to listen a lot, talk none to others about it, and offer very little advice that isn’t asked for.  If you can do that, you will be a priceless gem.  I know.  I have a few of those.


Posted by: Beth | July 27, 2022


Perhaps you can relate to one or more of the following scenarios.

You are choosing a checkout line at the local department store.  Every line has six or eight people, except one.  For some crazy, unknown reason there are only two people in that line and neither cart is overflowing.  Of course you choose the shortest line!  And then customer service is called.  The issue is resolved.  The customer attempts to pay.  The card doesn’t work.  It takes a while for the person to realize he is not getting out of the store with the desire merchandise.  He does, however, have some cash and has the cashier void all but four items.  Whew!  Finally, that’s done.  The next person has only a few items.  You should be out of here in minutes.  But, no!  Two items do no have valid tags.  Of course this is realized one item at a time and everyone waits on price checks from two departments.  Meanwhile, that eighth person in three of the other lines are heading out the door.  And you’re still stuck waiting for a chance to pay.  Tough luck, buddy.  You were dealt an icky hand.

For the first time in you life, you buy a lottery ticket.  It’s not the big bucks, but it is $5000.  Woo-hoo!!  Lucky hand that day.

You’re a college freshman registering for classes.  You need three or four 100-level classes.  Only one is available.  Why?  Juniors and Seniors, who get to register first, filled them up because when they where freshmen, the classes were full.  This is a so-so hand.  You get some electives out of the way and take those classes when you’re a Junior.  It’ll work out sometime in the next three years.

Your parent is diagnosed with cancer.  The survival rate is 85%.  Within a few months, your parent is dead.  This is a (fill in with a bad, bad adjective) hand.

Your sister is diagnosed with a cancer with a 5% survival rate.  She lives another ten years with minimal side-effects.  Woo-hoo!  A winning hand!

You live in the South.  It snows eight inches on January 3 and the temperatures stay near freezing for a week.  If you’re a child near a hill, this is a 5-star hand!  If you’re a parent ready for your children to get back into school, maybe it’s a 2-star hand; you do enjoy the snow a little.  If you’re an emergency response worker, this is overtime.  This is a tired hand.

You’re an 18-year-old male.  You answer the house phone.  (Yes, there was a time when each house had ONE phone and everybody living there shared it.  And it was tied to the wall with a wire.)  No matter who is calling, they think you are your mother when you say “Hello.”  This is a frustrated will-my-voice-EVER-change hand.

Sometimes we have some control over the hands we’re dealt in life.  More often, we do not. But always, “You gotta play the hand you’re dealt.”

For people living with long-term health problems (physical, mental, or emotional), the hand is complicated.  The top picture shows a few hands of cards.  Hopefully you’ll recognize at least one.  Below is a picture of the hand of folks struggling with health issues of themselves or their children.  Some of them seem strange?  I hope so. Can you imagine playing your favorite card game with this hand?  Navigating life can be complicated in the best of circumstances.  When life deals a much-less-than-ideal hand, it’s even more challenging.  Let us all extend a little more grace to those around us.  Some of us are still trying to figure out which game the cards belong to.


Posted by: Beth | May 19, 2022


I’ve been angry.


There.  I said it.

I’ve confessed my anger.

“Angry about what?” you may wonder.

It’s very simple.  I’m angry because I can’t do as many things as I used to do. I need more rest. I bet most folks over 40 or 50 can empathize with me.  Meanwhile, my friends who are 80 or so are chuckling to themselves and thinking, “Honey, you ain’t seen nothing yet.  Just wait. I hope you live long enough to see how good you have it right now.” Some folks my age who have serious health issues are thinking about the same thing. 

I am trying to learn to be content.  I’m better at it than I used to be.  My brain knows (mostly) what I need to do to take care of myself.  But, my silly want-tos sometimes don’t listen.  Fortunately, the take-care-of-yourself part of my brain is winning more of the time than it did twenty or so years ago.  Yes, I have been stretched too thin (energy-wise, not my body; it’s never been too thin) for most of my life.

Recently, my evening devotional ended with Ecclesiastes 3, the chapter about there being a time for everything: to be born, to die, to love, to hate, for peace, for war, to build up, to tear down, and a lot of others.  The VERY next morning the verse of the day that popped up was Ecclesiastes 3:1.  Well, well.  I wondered what opportunity was about to pop up in front of me that I really needed to evaluate before I opened my mouth.  That very week, two opportunities were literally in my face.  Things that I have done – or something very similar.  Things that I CAN do.  But SHOULD I? 

The prayerful, thoughtful answer was a quick “No” to both.  Could I enjoy those ministry opportunities?  Most likely.  Do I have the skills needed?  I think so.  Would my other responsibilities suffer?  Yes, they would, because every day has only 24 hours and I cannot work twelve or fourteen of them.  Maybe if I hadn’t in my thirties and forties I could now, but that’s water under the bridge and we’ll never know.

Maybe, just maybe, I am learning to be content.

I still wanted a garden this summer!  Oh well … maybe next year.


Posted by: Beth | May 15, 2022

Wouldn’t it be nice?

Oh, that would be so nice!

I watched as children splashed, swam, and played around in the pool.  Their parents sat at a nearby table, dressed NOT in swimwear but as if they are headed to dinner at a sit-down restaurant.  HOW in the world can you DO that? Well, I’m sure it helps that your children are confident and secure being in the water twenty or forty feet away from you.  Meanwhile, we have one grandson, aka fishmonkey, who happily swam away and started conversations with others, and one who clung to me like white – or brown- on rice.   There I stood in three feet of blissfully cool water, encouraging him to put at least a little space between us.  “I’ve got you.  I’m not going to turn loose.  You have on a life jacket.  You are fine.”  I sighed deeply as I thought, “This is not a restful vacation.  This is work in a different place.”

Across the street at the ocean, a similar scene played out. Fishmonkey needed someone very near him because he is fearless and would go out too far.  Honestly, you can’t hear well over the sound of waves.  And clingy one would barely get into the water, and only if I was with him.

Fast-forward just one year.

I sat beside the pool, dressed in shorts and a shirt and watched BOTH boys playing in the water.  Fishmonkey splashed everywhere and talked with people.  Little clingy one, secure in a floatie, clung not to me but to the edge of the pool, venturing toward the middle from time to time.  He contentedly played by himself until time to get ready for bed.

At the ocean, they both played in the edge of the water. The threat of rip tides was high, so none of us ventured out past our knees.  Okay, fishmonkey went out waist deep on the days the ocean was calm.  They built sand forts and dug for treasure. Sometimes I was out in the water, too.  BUT I was able at other times to wear my shorts and shirt or a summer dress, sit nearby, and watch them.  It was nice.  Very nice.

Parents and caregivers of young children — yes, they will grow up.  No, they will not be permanently attached to your hip.  It will seem like it. For some children it is a very long and sometimes painful process moving away from clingy. However, time passes and things change.  Let us attempt to find contentment wherever we are.


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