The beginning of Restoration Lane. . .

A great big shout-out to First Lutheran Church of Hot Springs and our faithful Abby Hill Team for serving at Abby Hill properties on Faith In Action Day. Kenny and Cory ran the big equipment while Chuck and Donny ran the small engines. We connected Restoration Lane to Cedar Creek and burned LOTS of limbs. It’s safe to say, “a good time was had by all” as Abby Hill begins the development of the Family Life Campus.

If your church would like to be involved, please email or give me a call (501-463-7551.) We look forward to hearing from you.


Cell Phones are the Devil. . .

Before you decide to get your child that cell phone for Christmas, I want you to think about the potential dangers to which you are exposing your child. I personally have very strong feelings about cell phones, especially for young people.  Too much cell phone usage is detrimental to children and teens.  Childhood and teen depression is skyrocketing, which has led to a tremendous rise in suicides.  In an article published by USA today, “The CDC found the suicide rate for children ages 10 to 14 doubled from 2007 to 2014.” Youth dying by suicide is now more prevalent than death in motor vehicle accidents.

What is leading to this overwhelming increase in depression and suicide in children and young adults?  I read a very interesting article, With Teen Mental Health Deteriorating Over Five Years, There’s a Likely Culprit. The article stated: “What happened so that so many more teens, in such a short period of time, would feel depressed, attempt suicide and commit suicide? After scouring several large surveys of teens for clues, I found that all of the possibilities traced back to a major change in teens’ lives: the sudden ascendance of the smartphone” (Jean Twenge.) I’m no expert, but I must say that I am in TOTAL AGREEMENT.

So let’s cut to the chase, I believe cell phones are from the devil (or at the very least, used by the devil) in at least three ways:

First, Pornography is far too accessible on a cell phone.  Back in the day, a person who wanted to view pornography had to be brave enough to walk into a store or rummage in their uncle’s or dad’s bedroom to get a glimpse of the trash.  Today, a child can be exposed to this twisted and perverted view of sex almost without trying. Did you know that by the age of eighteen, 93% of boys and 62% of girls will have been exposed to porn on the internet? As a mother, this is reason enough to have my children stay away from their smart phones as much as possible.

Secondly, cell phones isolate children. Sometimes we may excuse our children’s excessive cell phone usage believing that they are connecting with friends, but  connecting with friends “online” is not the same has communicating face to face.  “Research shows that spending time with other people in person is one of the best predictors for psychological well-being and one of the best protections against having mental health issues” (Jean Twenge.)  Texting is a mere facade of a relationship, and Instagram and Twitter posts can cause serious insecurities in children because they are comparing their real life to the pretend, perfect looking life of air-brushed pictures and snap-shots of happiness.

But the most serious problem I see with cellphones is the tragedy of the “selfie.”   Forgive me for being harsh, but the selfie is no good for anything.  Like I tell my own children, “If someone else doesn’t want to take your picture, you probably shouldn’t take it either.”  Posted selfies cause a person to continually think about how they look or how other people think they look.  My favorite kind of selfie to despise is the one where a girl wants onlookers to think she is pretty without others thinking she wants them to think she is pretty by making a “fish face” or sticking her tongue out.  Many are fooled by this, but not me.  Once a girl (or guy, heaven forbid) posts a selfie, there is the continual nag of “has anyone liked my status?” Or, “How many people think I’m beautiful?”  Or worse yet, “why has no one commented on my photo?”  Growing up is hard enough, but allowing our children to enlarge their audience of critics and “friends” by posting selfies for all the world to critique does not help a child grow up feeling loved or secure, but quite often the opposite.

So if your child is struggling with depression or seems to be turning out differently than the child you thought you raised, you might reconsider that cellphone.  That upgrade may be their downfall.


cell phone at dinner

The Trouble With Gladys

gladys 2

I am enamored with the great life of Gladys Aylward. 

(If you aren’t familiar with her story, here is the short, 3 minute version:  A short history of Gladys Aylward.)

I would love to be great like Gladys Aylward. She ran The Inn of the Sixth Happiness in Yangchen, China where hundreds heard the name of Jesus for the first time. She helped end foot binding, single-handedly stopped a prison riot, and saved over 100 children during a war by taking them on a dangerous mountainous journey out of China. Gladys was an amazing women who did great things for God.

But here’s the trouble with Gladys: her life was difficult, very difficult.  Gladys did not enjoy or seek the same things many of us do — a spouse, a beautiful home,  a comfortable life, vacations, money, time to herself.  God placed a deep burden on her for China, and she climbed difficult mountains, figuratively and literally, until she had done what God asked.

Recently, God has placed a deep burden on me for children in foster care.  And while I want to be great like Gladys, I am wrestling with the fact that doing what God asks will be a difficult life.  Am I willing to give up a comfortable life, vacations,  and time to myself to accomplish the plans God has for me? Am I willing to have a life that may be full of trouble and difficulty?

And of course, as it would go, this was my Bible reading this morning: . .

“. . . whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Matthew 20:26-28  

So today I am reminded that we are all called to be great, but greatness won’t come with my house being perfectly put together and lots of time to myself. The greatness God offers all of us comes from serving and giving up a life of seeking comfort for a life that may be filled with difficulty and trouble.

Yet again, I’m inspired by the great life of Gladys Aylward:

“If God has called you to China or any other place and you are sure in your own heart, let nothing deter you… remember it is God who has called you and it is the same as when He called Moses or Samuel.”

So called I will go, even if it brings trouble.

Gladys Aylward’s Testimony

Gladys Aylward Speaking in Person