Big Al’s Bartender

Ricky & I happened to be at Big Al’s today for a B-day party & before we left, we ended up approaching the BIG dude bartender with tattoos. I admittedly waited til I saw him smile and it drew out the teddy-bear in him so I was no longer intimidated. I thought his name might be Chris, but as I walked over to the end of the bar and motioned him over, I noticed his name tag read, ” Bryant”.
“I know you don’t know me but I feel like God wanted me to come over here & tell you he loves you (he smiled & his eyes brightened)…and he’s loved you since the day you were born. And he has a GREAT plan for your life.”
His face just beamed and he thanked me.
No one had come up for a drink from him yet so I asked him, “is there ANYthing at all I can pray for you about?”
He thought about it…
– Yeah, sure! I’m moving to Texas soon, taking a new job the day after Christmas.

“Ok! Anything else? How’s your body…any pain anywhere?!”
– I have back pain sometimes. I was in the military and it was injured, and then I got in a car accident.

A couple came up to order a drink, so I said, “YOU take care o’ them & I’ll be back to pray for you, k?”
– Ok! He said, excited.

I went & got Ricky at that point, and prayed for this bartender’s back (he let me put one hand on it and I felt his back getting very warm where I touched him) and for his upcoming move (for wisdom, no anxiety and total fulfillment) all in JESUS’ Name, thanking Him for all he’s doing in Bryant’s life.

As we left, he thanked us again and I looked him dead in the eye sternly reminding him like a momma, “He LOVES you.”

This was our first time stepping out like this, together as a couple.
It was pretty awesome.



Southbound – a poem on child sex trafficking




She used to be a sturdy branch, proud and blossom-bearing.

Now she is a piece of firewood, split with an ax and used to warm a man for a moment.

She stares from the backseat down a crowded freeway and ponders the irony of that word.




Cut from her life-source, now unable to bear the weight of fear, it gets so heavy that it crushes young bones.

It leaves her whiskey-scented, terribly fragmented.


At the Border


She recalls the shaky voice of her Sunday School teacher, Mrs. Ray, “all things work together for good” and asks herself if this journey could be included in the glorious idea of  “all things”.

Good, at one point surrounded her; it is now a speck on a mountainside with no road leading to – or from – it.

Her one piece of ID is taken. Soon after, another piece is stolen, never to be returned. This one, much more sacred – a blend of body, mind and potential.




Her eyes watch the signs blur by and the pavement turn to gravel to dirt

An unsuspecting field her suite, flowing curtains made of wheat

A client tries, her eyes to meet as she lets them close, recalling a song her Mamma lulled, “turn your eyes upon Jesus”.

She waits for things of earth to grow strangely dim.




Split with an ax by one more of hundreds.

Wholeness is a far-fetched dream of which she cannot afford to let go. There would be but one option left.

Stories of rescue, of raids and redemption resound with hope just palatable enough to grasp in her small hand.

She opens her eyes and discovers what was clenched in her hand: the corner of a stained sheet. Could have sworn she was in a field.

Knuckles turn white from this plight. If her spirit weakens any more, her hope will be reduced to a thread, spinning and taut.


Southeast bound


She hears a wrinkled woman humming a hymn & the words come back to her.

Its truth thickens the thread.

She recalls when that freeway used to be a free way,  summons the courage to imagine a listening, loving God and wonders if anyone is praying to him on her behalf.

And just in case they are not, she whispers, “I still believe in you. You are all I have. Free me. Please.”




Who Inspires You?

It’s a rare thing to find someone who inspires you. I mean really inspires you to be a better person.  Lately for me, it’s been Matt Chandler. Since Nov. ’09, when our local pastor told us about another pastor we’d probably enjoy listening to online, Ricky & I checked him out… & his honest, funny & applicable style has reeled us in weekly for new challenging messages.

But since the New Year, I’ve checked back to The Village Church site to listen for another reason: to get blog updates on how he’s dealing with the biggest trial of his life. On Thanksgiving morning ’09, he had a seizure & was shortly after, diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor.

After much prayer, Matt & his family decided to fight this battle publicly instead of privately, so he’s giving updates to his congregation and online listeners & receiving much support.

His character is so admirable. His perspective is so refreshingly different. His selfless response to affliction is one like I’ve never seen…as close to how my Savior, Jesus would respond, as I’ve ever seen demonstrated by anyone.

To give you a more tangible idea of what I mean, I’ll leave you with a few videos of Matt Chandler’s updates ~ the 1st taken before his brain surgery to remove the tumor & the 2nd, obviously taken afterward.

Just curious… Who inspires YOU? and Why?

A Simplicity of Faith

Sunday after we got home form church at The Bridge, we were hangin’ out on the couch and Rick asked Braylon, “Hey, bud, how ’bout you tell Mommy what happened at church today?”  I thought he was referring to how he wanted to give all his quarters (including the ones he took from Angel’s castle-bank) to missions (BGMC). But instead, the conversation continued kinda like this…

“Oh,  I told them I wanted God in  my heart.”

“Really? Why?”

“I was not sure if he was, all the way, so I wanted to make sure.  Walker and his sister helped me pray.”

<proud little smile>

“That’s awesome!”

<awkward silence>

“Yeah. Can you turn the movie back on?”

By faith, Chelan…

Hebrews describes a list of people who lived by faith…or at least had a faith-filled defining moment that changed history,  ie: “by faith, Rahab welcomed spies.” or “by faith, Moses’ parents hid him for 3 months, from the king, knowing they had an unusual child.”

I wonder what I’ve done that could be one day be recorded, “by faith, Chelan…” I’ve been thinking about it. What am I doing now that requires faith? Continue reading

Protected in the Storm…but not so secure

Texas has the strangest weather. I will never get used to it. Last night I dropped off  Braylon & his buddy, Andre (9) off at another church for their first Royal Rangers meeting (Andre’s first church experience ever!) & then Angel & I drove down the road to worship practice. It was 7pm, in the nineties, & the sky was half filled with dark clouds. I thought to myself, looks like a storm’s brewin’.

After practice, I picked them up @ 8:15-25 & by this time, we could see lightning all around us, but no rain or wind. I got a text from my neighbor, Evie, “Sure is pounding, isn’t it!” We piled in the Scion & took off for home. It was a race against the clouds. Hutto had been hit, & it was headed south toward us. Continue reading

A Shout-Out to my Sis, a True Artist and Entrepreneur

I just have to say a quick “Hallelujia & YOU GO, GIRL!” to my sister, Charity, for kickin’ some bootay today at her 1st official art show!

Char, you encourage & inspire me to step out further into what it is I’m called to do, & do it to the best of my ability. You’re proving that when a hard-workin’ woman goes for something & doesn’t let people discourage her because of her age, gender, etc…truly amazing things can happen. I mean, you’re not only beginning to realize the tip of your creative potential, you’re making hundreds of dollars at your 1st show…and hundreds more in orders?! Come ON, woman! I just wanna cry with joy over you!

p.s. ~ I’ve officially fallen in love w/your “Coffee is my Friend” mosaic.

Anyway, enuf w/all that ~ if you are reading this, and don’t know my beautiful sister Charity, or what her artwork is all about, you must at least click on her site…&/or place an order…(or 3).



And… one more photo from today’s show, w/links so you can give some love by visiting her corner of the www.


“Momma Mosaics”

“Momma Mosaics Etsy Shop”


Get this one?

Sometimes, when you’re just doing the mundane responsibilities life demands, God wants to meet with you, one on one.

Last night at 10:04, I was tryin’ to finish a chapter in my current book when I realized just how sleepy I was. Finally, I let my eyes close…until of course, a minute later when I heard a baby cry & a husband ask, “get this one?”.

Angel (actually 28mo.s old) was struggling to find her way to the door I’d just opened… in tears, and shaking. She kept saying, “Oweee”. She seemed very afraid. Earlier, we’d noticed she was running a temp. I looked over at the new bouncy Ikea Poang chair I’d put in her room forher-rug1 nights just like this, but it seemed appropriate to just gather her in my arms and my criss-cross applesauce lap, right there on the floor.

She kept looking at me. I thought. I mean, it was kinda creepin’ me out. But then over the next 2 minutes or so, as I studied her eyes, I noticed they were looking right above my left shoulder. Her crying stopped. Her shivering stopped. But her eyes were wide and slowly blinking. There was a few feet of nothing behind me & then a wall, so I reluctantly broke the silence, “what do you see?” and with that, her eyes, as if tracing an object, quickly moved from behind my shoulder, to the door behind her, even causing her to arch her back a bit to see it as long as she could.

I prayed over her and hummed “My Favorite Little Girl“, until she found sleep again, in my arms. This is the third time something like this has happened. I’ve even written about an amazing experience when Braylon was her age. What a wink from God! That He would care so much to send us His angels to comfort & heal.  It pleases Him to minister to those who are too young or too disabled to articulate it. I share a belief with Christian author and strong woman of God, Pam Vredevelt, who wrote of a similar story in “Angel behind the Rocking Chair” …that once in a while, these little ones are blessed to experience His supernatural presence in a more tangible, visual way.

Next time your spouse asks you to take care of a crying child, count it a privilege. It may be more worth your effort, than you think. I’m so glad I “got this one”.

At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike.  Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way!” – Matthew 11:25