Sunday, October 31, 2010


Halloween is over!  Our family hasn't celebrated Halloween in 8 years.  When Grayson was in kindergarten, she told us she thought we shouldn't do it because it was mean.  As parents, we wanted to respect her convictions and truthfully, we couldn't find any good in it, so we stopped.  We began what I would now call "hiding out" on Halloween.  Although it was Grayson's conviction, we had a younger child that didn't have the same feelings!  He was not happy about our decision!  Sometimes we played games with friends at the church, sometimes we went to a movie and out to eat, one year we even went to the Missouri Baptist Convention, but we never stayed at home.  I didn't want them to see all of the kids coming to the door and think they were missing out on something. 

This year is different.  I'm not sure why - just feeling like we shouldn't be "hiding".  A friend put it best when she said, "How often do strangers knock on your door?  It's a perfect opportunity to witness!"  Our kids are now 11 and 13.  They both have convictions about Halloween, and are old enough to pass out candy without thinking they're missing out.  We made copies of Halloween coloring pages that we found online and printed a tract along with an invitation to our church on the back.  I just folded them in half like a brochure when I was done.  We bought mini boxes of crayons and passed them out along with our candy.  The kids had so much fun!  Both of our kids like young children.  I'm not sure why, but they always play with the little ones.  This was so much fun for them!  We ordered pizza and watched movies after the trick-or-treaters left.  What a stress-free evening - the perfect family night!


Friday, October 29, 2010

~larry hadley~

Today was a busy day.  Not that different from most days, but a day I'll always remember.  A few days ago I sent a Facebook message to a friend from high school.  Today while I was checking my Facebook account, George popped up with a chat message.  He's a songwriter in Nashville, so we discussed writing and high school English with our favorite teacher, Mr. Smith and eventually he asked who I kept in touch with.  Besides Facebook, unfortunately there's only one person from high school I've kept in touch with, and she was and is my best friend, Paula.  He gave me names of people he still talks to and we shared stories. Then it happened.  There it was in black and white:  


You're probably saying, "Who in the world is Larry Hadley?"  Larry lived across the street from me.  When I was the new girl in the neighborhood, Larry went out of his way to be my friend.  Larry was my first boyfriend, but only if you count 4th grade boyfriends.   He asked me if I would be his girlfriend by sending me a note that said, "check this box for yes".  I got to stay out late playing basketball with Larry and his dad because my mom could see me from the living room window.  We shot free throws for hours every night all summer - and most other seasons, too.  He gave me gifts.  Mostly cheap costume jewelry that I later found out he stole from his mom, but it still made me feel special.  Larry was a nice guy and he got along with everyone.  Everyone except his parents. 

When we were in high school, Larry's family moved.  He still went to our school for a while, but didn't live across the street anymore.  Later in high school, Larry's parents kicked him out.  I'm not sure why, but he never went back home.  While we were carefree and cruising Broadway as high school seniors, Larry was going to a nearby school during the day and working long hours at McDonald's at night to support himself.  I don't know how he did it, but he finished high school.  He also went into management at McDonald's.  From there, he managed a local Radio Shack, then I heard he became a regional manager.  That's the last I heard about Larry.  Until today.

Life is hard.  Harder for some.  I'm shocked that he's gone, but I'm saddened at the fact that I've never looked back and thought about him or his circumstances.  Did he have a wife and a family?  I don't know.  Was he sick or was his death sudden and unexpected?  I don't know.  Did he reconcile with his father before he died?  I don't know.  Did he ever confess Jesus as his personal Savior?  I.  don't.  know.

Life is hard......and busy.  I'm ashamed.  I have spent a great deal of time building new relationships with people so that I can witness to them about the mercy God has shown me through his son, Jesus Christ, but what about the relationships of my past?  Why don't we look up people from our past - who knew what we were really like - and re-invest in them?  Could it be that we're embarassed to tell people who know what we've done in the past that we were wrong?  I don't know.

Tonight I'm grieving the loss of a friend.  Not the death of a friend, but the loss of a friend.  Not the day he died......the day I quit caring about his circumstances.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

~father's wisdom - passing on a post~

Just want to pass along a link to my husband's latest blogpost.  I've done this before, but if you remember that, you'll also remember that it's been quite a while:)  He doesn't blog often, so I wanted to pass it along!

Here it is:


Sunday, October 24, 2010

~do not disturb~

God is doing big things.  I don't mean to say He's beginning big things, but that I'm beginning to recognize big things.  As Christians, we can jump in and allow God to use us in His big plans, or we can sit idly by and watch God use others to accomplish what He wants.  What a tragedy that we sit too often!

Friday, Glen took half the day off of work so he could run errands for Soleful Saturday, an event our church organized to collect old shoes for The Shoeman Water Project.  He needed to pick up the Jump 'n Space and pick some things up at Sam's Club - both about 30 minutes away.  The kids and I spent the afternoon at homeschool co-op and by the time we were done, Glen was almost back to town so we met him at the church to help him unload. 

After all the food was unloaded, Glen and the kids began pulling the Jump 'n Space out of his truck (which was comical).  He saw a man walking up the street and came inside to ask me for cash.  The man had come by earlier and talked with him.  He told him his name was David and that he was homeless and out of money.  He has a job, but it's 20 minutes away and he doesn't have a car or a place to stay.  Someone he's been riding with was letting him stay with him, but they aren't letting him stay there anymore - he didn't go into the details of that.  Glen didn't have any cash (as usual), but told him to come by between 5 and 6.  It was 4:15.  Let me just say....the fact that this man caught anyone at our church is a miracle in and of itself.  Our church is a small church with a small congregation.  My husband is a bi-vocational pastor, so he isn't there during business hours, and he's the only paid employee (besides the people who clean the church once a week).  While there are people who come and go occasionally to make copies for their class or practice their songs, no one's there on a regular basis.

I had ten dollars on me, so I gave it to Glen.  Glen met the man outside and they talked for a long time.  I called a local motel for prices and Glen drove him there.  We invited him back for Soleful Saturday so we could at least feed him again.  The rest of the evening was busy with last minute things to do.  The next morning was my BSF leader's meeting, so I was up bright and early.  After my meeting, I picked up face paint and headed home to change.  Glen and the kids were already at the church moving tables outside, setting up the Jump 'n Space and setting the stage (or front porch as it's been called for many years!).  Once I got there, I began making tea and lemonade.  People from our church (and even a few friends) filtered in and jumped right in to help! 

As the music started and the hot dogs cooked, I wondered if David would come.  Later, about halfway through the event, he showed up.  As I saw him walking up the street, I was so relieved to see him!  As a church, it's our job to help those in need, but so often the church is taken advantage of.  Many get a little help then never come back.  It's for this reason that our town has a mission that most of the churches donate to.  This way, they can just refer people to the mission when they're asked for help.  A good thought, but here's the problem.....when David needed a place to stay, the mission was full.  All of the places we referred him to were full.  He had exhausted his resources!   It's our job to help.  Period.  Yes, let's be discerning and not give God's money to people we know for sure are taking advantage, but if we don't give because we're "afraid" of what they may spend it on, some will most definitely fall through the cracks.  What about them?  Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me."- Matthew 25:40

  I think He is shaking His head at the ones that think they have it figured out.  It's as if they're saying, "Just jump through all of these hoops and if you can pass the test, you've earned the money."  That's how it seems at times.  The early church took care of each other.  They sold all of their possessions and lived together.  They shared their earnings.  There weren't some in the church driving Hummers while some drove Kias.  They shared their wealth - or lack of it. 

Please don't misunderstand!  I know that this is a different time.  Followers of Christ were shunned from their families.  They were left without an inheritance or land.  They weren't allowed to sell in the marketplace.  I know it's a different time, but shouldn't we still bring them into the fold and take care of one another?  Too often we stand at a distance and judge the choices they've made.  We're all just a few choices away from where David is....and some end up homeless by no choice of their own at all.  Many have lost jobs and homes over ailing health or corporate down-sizing. 

David was one of the last ones to leave last night.  He stayed and carried in tables and lugged tea pitchers up the stairs.  He worked hard.  When Glen left, he drove David back to the motel.  This morning, David did not come to church.  We prayed for him, but I thought we had seen him for the last time.  We took up a special offering just in case, though.  When the service was over and people began to leave, David came in.  He had been waiting outside so he didn't "disturb" us!  Are you kidding me?  Is this the message the church is sending?  Do Not Disturb?  Wow!  We assured him he most definitely would not have disturbed us - that we would've LOVED to have him worship with us!  He then began to comment on what he was wearing.  That he wasn't dressed for church. This is why I love God!  He totally uses us when we don't know we're being used.  Riley was laying down in a pew waiting on us to get done talking.  We couldn't see him from where we were, but he raises his leg straight up in the air and says, "It doesn't matter what you wear.  Look, I'm just wearing jeans!"  Too funny!

After Glen talked with him privately, David came out of his office crying.  He couldn't believe our church had helped him.  He made the comment that people of "his own race" hadn't helped.  We gave him a bottle of water and offered a few more to take with him.  He took one but said no to the others.  People would think he was a "hobo".  I thought that was interesting.  Still a man with pride.  It's true that people judge based on appearance.  It also seems as if the more you have, the more we're willing to give you.  Helping someone that actually needs help doesn't happen too often.

David explained that he's going to be trying to stay in the town where he works - which is sensible so he won't need a ride to work, but that probably means we won't see him again.  Glen gave him his business card to call us if he has any problems, and he promised to take up for Glen if he heard anyone bad-mouthing him or our church (not sure why he said that, but I LOVE it!).  On his way out the door, Grayson handed him a Bible to take with him.  He promised her he'd read it. 

Our family and our church family will continue to pray for David.  As soon as David left, the kids remembered they had two donuts left from this morning.  They grabbed them in a hurry and ran them outside to him but he was gone.  Nowhere to be found.  Coincidence?

Please know that I share this, not to lift us up in any way, but as a reminder that we are surrounded by people who need practical help, if we'll only see them with Jesus' eyes.

Yes, God is definitely doing big things.  Not because of us, but through us if we'll allow Him to.


Friday, October 15, 2010

~shoes, water and elvis~

What in the world do shoes have to do with clean water?  Well, last year, my brother told me of an organization near him that collects old shoes, sells them by the pound to retailers in developing countries, then uses the money made to purchase drills for digging wells.  My brother manages a gym and they were working with this ministry, The Shoeman Water Project, and collecting shoes from their members.

I thought this would make an awesome service project for our homeschool group, but Glen said we should get the church involved.  It's been a year, but we've finally gotten it together!  Saturday, October 23 will be "Soleful Saturday" at Community Baptist Church.  If you live in the area, please join us!  Everything starts at 2pm.  We'll have a bounce house for the kids, hot dogs and at 3pm, The Pullen Family will take the stage (or the porch, actually).  After the Pullen's, The praise band, "1-4-G" will lead us in a time of worship.  If you don't want to stay, but just want to drop off your shoes, that's also possible.  We'll have many eager hands waiting to take your shoes as you drive up. 

Today is Blog Action Day and the topic is clean water.  If you'd like to blog about this subject, just link up here.

I must confess, God is working on me.  I think I've been oblivious for far too long.  It's easy to ignore problems of others and focus on my daily struggles (which are NOTHING in comparison).   God has been dealing with me in this area for a little while.  I blogged a little about it here and here.  A few weeks ago, Grayson and I went to a Christian concert.  The Make a Difference Tour, with Max Lucado, Third Day, Michael W. Smith, and Toby Mac.  I knew there would be an opportunity to adopt a child, so Glen and I discussed it and felt it was worthwhile.  We have thought about it before, but wondered where the money would come from - the last thing we wanted to do was leave a kid with no help.  This time, we thought the same thing, but God seems to be telling us to take the step so He can show us how He can provide.  World Vision helps families in developing countries with clean water and food - specifically families effected by AIDS.  I prayed throughout the night for God to point me to the child He had for us.  To make sure I walk up to the right worker and that the first child's folder she took out, would be ours.  When I walked up to her, there was a man flipping through all of the folders and then handed them back and said he would look at more at the table.  What was he looking for?  When it was my turn, she asked if we wanted a boy or a girl.  I knew it had to be a boy.  Riley has been asking for a brother since he was 4!  The first folder she handed me had the meanest little face on it!  Scowling like he definitely did not want his picture made.  When I looked at his name, I could feel God's sense of humor - Elvis.  Elvis!  How sweet!  He's from Kenya and has 3 siblings and a single mom.  No dad.  Such a familiar story.  When I broght the folder home and showed Riley, the first thing he said was, "He looks really mean!".  Well, we'll tell him all about Jesus. 

I have to say, every time I hear about "Elvis" - you know...Presley, I think about our Elvis.  Elvis from Kenya - and I'm reminded to pray for him.  Every time I pray for him, I can't help but smile.

If you would like to learn more about sponsoring a child, visit World Vision on the web.

For too many years I thought I didn't have enough time or money to help.  God is showing ways that don't require "too much", but do require me.



Today is the last day for a giveaway at "Starkey Family Three".  Hop on over here and register for the book "Adopted for Life"!


Monday, October 11, 2010

~tough decisions~

Let me start this post exactly like I started the last one:  This week has been a tough week.  I don't know what else to say.  I've been dealing with a "situation" for quite a while that reared it's head again this week.

Three years ago this month, my favorite lady in the entire world died.  My grandma was the only person I really ever wanted to grow up to be like when I was a kid.  She was sweet and kind and always had a smile on her face, plus her fried chicken and mashed potatoes were out of this world! 

After her funeral, we received a rather hateful letter from a mentally ill relative attacking Glen, and though some of what he said can be attributed to the fact that he was grieving, most was just an outlet to spew hate.  He said very hurtful things to Glen regarding his ministry, saying he was hypocritical because he hadn't consoled him at the funeral.  Umm - he was consoling me and our kids (who were 8 and 10 years old).  My gut reaction was to fire a letter back defending my husband, but Glen asked me not to - it would only fuel the fire.  A few weeks later, we received another one.  This one was worse and he even threw in a few curse words for flavor.  Again, I didn't reply.  Over time, with much prayer, I forgave him, though he never asked for it or gave an apology.  Though I forgave him, I knew we couldn't open ourselves up to that kind of abuse again.  Even if he has a mental illness.  Somehow for three years I have avoided being around him, but this weekend was my cousin's wedding. 

A few days before the wedding I received a private message from him on Facebook that simply said, "hi".  When I realized he was on Facebook, I was immediately overcome with anxiety.  He would definitely ask to be my friend.  What do I do?  This would open me up to his comments anytime he had a whim to leave one - no matter how angry or depressed he may feel at the time.  I simply replied, "hi!".

I tried to be cordial at the wedding.  I waved and said hello.  I smiled from afar, but I didn't speak privately to him.  Immediately after the wedding I stood outside of the church talking to family I hadn't seen in years, while he waited in a car to be driven home.   In my head I went back and forth between wanting to reconcile and wanting to make sure I protect my husband.  I had pretty much decided I would try to be Facebook friends and see how it works out.  After all, he had behaved at the wedding and I could always delete him later.

When I came home after the wedding, I had two messages from him - and a friend request.  The first message simply said that the wedding was beautiful, it was good to see me and he wished we had gotten a chance to talk.  The second message was sent exactly one minute after the first and it said, "Have you ever heard of reconciliation?  Or forgiveness?".  That's all.  Nothing else.  No apology.  Not asking for reconciliation or forgiveness, but have I ever heard of it?....

Immediately I knew this "friendship" could not work out.  Though I love him and only want the best for him, I must decline for now.  I don't make this decision lightly, and I've prayed diligently over this matter.  He is a Christian and has many Christian friends.  Hopefully he'll find what he needs in those relationships.
I have always been a defender of this relative and his many "moods" - even before I knew it was mental illness. After working at a mental health center, I grew to understand a little more about his illness, but I must confess, it's still a mystery to me. 

In the ministry, you become a target.  People hold you up on a pedestal and expect you to be perfect and accomplish things no one else can, then they say and do hurtful things when you can't.  I was reminded last week that my confidence is in Christ alone, but also how important it is to place yourself around people who believe that very thing. When you start doubting your call or where God has you, Christian friends will encourage you and lift you up, reminding you where your strength comes from.  "Enemies" will remind you just how incapable you are to complete any task, much less those of Christ, until you doubt you were ever called in the first place.   I only have Christ to model my life after and it's clear that while He ministered to many people from many walks of life, His friends that He surrounded Himself with were like-minded with the same focus.

I'm sure this isn't goodbye forever.  I've realized that though Facebook is wonderful for connecting with people and keeping in touch, I don't think it's the way to go in this situation.  Eventually I'll be open to other forms of communication like letter writing,  but just not eager to get knocked down again so quickly.

Tough decision?  Yes.  The right decision?  Only God knows for sure.