There is a battle brewing in the world. Some would say it’s war against nations. Some would say it’s a battle in the workplace. Others say it is among familiies. According to our Pastor, Terry Crist, he says the REAL issue is the issue of identity. We all struggle with  the question, “WHO AM I?  WHO WAS I CREATED TO BE?”

It makes sense that the common man wants to belong and be important somehow.

WE have a choice: One can listen to how the world defines him/her or one can listen to how GOD defines him/her. This is the message I want Tatum to hear. Her identity, our identity, is what GOD says about her and us.

So, Tatum here it is:

YOU ARE LOVED BY GOD; that is your identity. You will struggle with wanting to be affirmed by people. This is natural! But do you know what? A mistaken identity will lead to wrong behavior. This comes from Proverbs 23:7, As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he!”

Honey, spend time on your inner man. Spend time nurturing your soul and getting to know God. Know that He loves you with All that He is. You must understand who GOD made you to be. (too many people spend time on their bodies and minds and relationships and although VERY IMPORTANT, they can’t define you.)

Sure, you have your hard work. Some will say, “She is such hard worker.” Awesome!IMG_0811 IMG_0812That may be true. But that is not WHO you are.

Others will say, “Oh, that Tatum…she is so smart and well read!” She keeps on the latest world news, reads the funnies, enjoys books.. Again, wonderful! But this is not WHO you are.IMG_0817 IMG_0816 IMG_0815 IMG_0814 IMG_0813And then others will try to define you by your relationships. You have many loved ones, and even in church, when others are running amok, you listen and are kind. IMG_0819This is all important and good. BUT your identity is being at the HEART of God and His HEART is Jesus, His gift to us. YOU are more than the identities the world gives you. Ephesians 1:11 says IN Christ, we found out who we are. As a follower of Jesus, your identity comes from your relationship with him. 2 Corinthians 5:15-17 “and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.…”

Tatum, you are a NEW creation. Not as a little beautiful girl (although true), but ONE LOVED AND ADORED BY GOD. He has GIVEN you Jesus. Jesus gave HIS life so you could not only have Him live in your heart but also to have a relationship with GOD!

1. It’s a complete transformation. AND now..We live with a GREAT expression of gratitude and great expectation. 1 Peter 1: 3-4″ Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” WE ARE IN HIM!

2.  We now live a resurrected life. HE CAME TO GIVE US LIFE! (A new one!) and He came to give us life abundant. You’re a new self, Tot. Colossians 3: 1-3 “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.…”

3. SO this world gets tough and the people in it may disappoint, but know that your citizenship is in heaven and you’re a new citizen with a REAL Father. Jesus is your LORD (God is your FATHER!) Phil 3:8-10: “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;…”

Tatum, your identity is that of a child of THE Father. God. He gave us Jesus, His son, who died so that we may LIVE LIFE ABUNDANTLY and to HIS glory! Let’s do that. Let’s make the most of our life, loving others, being a light, leading others to the truth, and putting our FAITH in Jesus.

I love you darling, and may you always remember WHO YOU ARE.



Love Affair

I admit it. I love books.

Tatum seems to be adopting this admiration as well. This morning, she screamed, “MOMMY!!!”, and after the 14th yell, I came in. She had to go potty (yeah!) and wanted out (no!) It was tooooo early, but the potty did call, so I got her out. She asked if she could come into bed with me, and so I agreed. (can of worms just opened)

As she lay next to me with her babies nestled into my head, she whispered, “Mommy? What are we having for breakfast?” Toast, I’d answer. Then two seconds later, “Mommy? What are we doing after breakfast?” Amy and Jack, I’d succinctly answer. After the third, “Mommy?” I kindly said, “Tatum, go get a book and read.”

So she did and STAYED in her room. I slept for thirty more minutes.

This wonderful picture made me realize something about Tatum. She loves to relate. Her ability to enjoy the character in the book makes her experience that much more exciting. She has to FEEL something for an animal or a person in the book, and then she makes him/her come alive. The dialogue she uses is like what we see and do every day, and watching her act it out via a book is priceless.

This proves to me that reading really engages the mind, creates imagination, and allows one to not only laugh, learn, and grow, but to enter a new world for a short time.

I continue to LOVE buying books and my LOVE keeps growing for all that has been written! Man, the creativity! We also go to the library weekly and pick up about ten new ones and take them for a test drive.

Here is an update to some of my new favorites (from another post).The books I buy for Tatum are for four to eight year olds. Why wait?

Veggie Tales makes some fun books that sing the last page! She loves to play them all at the same time. Great messages. 

Bernstein Bears teaching values


HELP! Was a test drive from the library and we loved it. It’s about true FRIENDSHIPIMG_0706


This book is “What a Wonderful World,” by Louis Armstrong in a picture book. We read it (well, I sing it), then I play the real song along with the book. (He’s much better than me!)


This Knuffle Bunny trilogy is by my favorite children’s author, Mo Willems. It’s brilliant, hilarious, and down right FUN! Tatum just adores Trixie.

Another fun book. Inspires the underwear delight!

Fun to sing this book with Tot.

These were another test drive success story. This Little Cub and Old Bear find each other and fall in love. The become Father and Son. Sounds familiar: Mommy and Tot.IMG_0711

Froggy fun! This author has a great style and tends to keep his books with a similar rhythm.


More Mo Willems. Darn funny. I’m addicted and need to get all of them.


The Three Bears, More fun Bernstein’s, and PD Eastman fun.


New classics I came upon.

IMG_0716Yes, I am addicted to books, and Tatum is reaping the benefits.


Do you ever feel like you are hanging on by a….


IMG_0530 IMG_0531 IMG_0532There comes a time when, as a parent, you are hanging on by, not a rope, but a thread. You are tired, worn out, frustrated, and you just need a break. However, these are the times I grab on to MY rope (HIM) and I hold on tight. This means I sometimes need to lay myself down, sacrifice my needs, and apply the love HE has for me to HER. Why? Because God loves little offerings. Given in faith, the time I spend with Tatum, no matter how I feel, will feed thousands someday. This I know because I am investing into her my heart and my love of Christ. He did not do what He did everyday out of how he felt. He did it for the love of His Father and for His love for others. What manifested is millions upon millions were and are blessed daily (and then they pay it forward to others)

Another realization is that my hope often can be in ever-changing circumstances. I hope for her nap. I hope that she acts perfectly at the right time. I hope that she is kind ALWAYS. Sometimes I put more faith in that than the NEVER changing circumstances of the gospel. Rachel Jankovic, in the book Mom Enough, talks about this. “By God’s grace, I can resist the temptation to treat my children as interruptions to my will for my life. Instead, God enables me to shape me into his image according to His will.” Man, that hits me hard. When I do get frustrated that she is not fitting “my plan” for the moment, that is OK. What I learn in these “interruptions” to my plan is tantamount to any plan I have had.

This is the time to “apply what I believe about God’s mercy and kindness and long-suffering towards us and pour it out to them.” This means that I need to apply this same thing to Tatum, and with this comes not only my transformation, but Tot’s as well. So I apply HIM; I don’t have the time to read my Bible for hours, nor pray like I used to, but I CAN apply his precious Gospel to her and to others.

The key is to never stop laughing (as she wears a swim diaper on her head like a helmet)

IMG_0523And we never stop BEING in the moment…together.





He has the magic touch on those ivories with Tatum

Deno, Kasey’s husband, calms the world down. His ability to lighten a room and enliven a mood is evident every time I see him. IMG_6074

We sure needed him to lighten the air afterward. Tatum needed a diaper change, and I needed to retrieve a diaper from my car. I did not want her to come out with me, and as I closed the door, her finger was right there in the doorway. EEEEK! Oh, boy, did that hurt. She screamed and cried for about 30 minutes (oh, and so did Tatum! (haha). Wow, that was the worst feeling in the world. Helpless. However, she said, “happy fingers” after about an hour and was back to playing.

Tatum is definitely testing her boundaries in every way possible. She’s feeling her way around the world with what she can and cannot do. Most of the time she asks me, but she sure does love to try it on her own. “Help!?” is what I usually hear after multiple tries, but then she pushes me away and says, “Tata do it.” When she does not get what she wants at that moment, she cries, and oh, I can see how moms can give in! It would be so much easier. But, if I do, then she has me wrapped around her finger. I get it. Instead, I try to turn it around and say “Yes you can in…. or, “No, that would hurt you!” It is one new decision with less than one second to figure out the wise way to handle things.

Deno, thank you for teaching us to be fun in the midst of an estrogen overload in a two year old! 🙂

A Purposefully Purposeful Purpose

Say that fast 5 times

Isn’t that we all yearn for? To find OUR purpose? What the darn was I put on this earth to  accomplish? Or am I supposed to wander through life without a direction?

IMG_5695Every child (that means all of us!) was born with a need to find a purpose in life. Tim Kimmel in his book, Grace Based Parenting, says there are levels of purpose to be found.

The overarching first level of purpose is for us to have GENERAL purpose. Therefore, I purpose to purposefully put purpose into Tatum; she needs to know she was CREATED FOR A PURPOSE…as a Knight Light


Let your LIGHT shine

“You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.” Matthew 5:13

With that, the core values for me to instill (a work in progress still):

  1. Leave the world nicer than you found it: Be kind and show respect: (Because) “you Love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and you love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:30)
  2. Commit to a lifetime of learning:  “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Col. 3:23) + “Make it your ambition to a lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you so that your daily life may win the respect of the outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” (1 Thess 4:11-12)
  3. Learn from life’s experience so that you are more valuable to others. (God doesn’t waste anything): God, “who comforts us in all our affliction (struggles), so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Cor 1:4)
  4. Be a Leader: Encourage and develop the potential of as many people as you can: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Phil 2:3,4)


Little does she know that many people live a purposeless life with no hope. With the knowledge that God did put her on this earth for something great, she can have hope at all times. The next level, being a SPECIFIC purpose, is where she needs to discover her strengths. All I can do is encourage her and help her stay focused.

IMG_5684She just needs to look UP and find direction.


Three needs; it starts with Grace

As I consider the MISSION statement I’d like to place on Tatum’s wall, I’m also thinking of the VALUES we stand for as a family. The book I’m currently reading has me thinking about it in a whole new way. Now, it’s not really new, it’s what I have known all along, yet have not been able to articulate its meaning.

It’s called “Grace-Based Parenting,” coined by Dr. Tim Kimmel from his best-selling book. These kinds of parents spend their time entrusting themselves to Christ. The offspring are the receivers of the grace we are enjoying from God. The GRATITUDE we feel from the grace we have received is bestowed on the children especially when they are so difficult to love. (He would have their advice be):

“You are a gift from God; go make a difference.”

“You may struggle doing the right thing sometimes, but you’re forgiven.”

This all stems from Romans 1:17 “Those who are right with God will live by trusting in Him.”

But it does not stop there. It’s an awareness that there are THREE inner needs of children; everything must funnel from these:

1. A need for security

2. A need for significance

3. A need for strength

(we give our children love, purpose and hope to meet these needs, according to Kimmel)

What sets Christian faith apart from all others is GRACE; It’s that wonderful gift offered by God to us (undeserving!) that makes us fall in love with Jesus. (our Savior)

So for me, as Tatum’s mom, I want her to start with a SECURE love. According to Kimmel, this is a steady and sure love that is written on the hard drive of children’s souls. It’s a “complete love that they default to when their hearts are under attack. It’s the kind of love that children can diffidently carry with them in to the future.” And she will…she will come under personal struggles, heartbreaks, rejections, enemies. What will carry her through when mommy’s shoes won’t be there to find comfort in?


“There is a love that we can pass on to them that is steady, sure, and available to them whether we are here or not, and I’m talking about the infinite love of God.” When she is with me, I can significantly increase her capacity to move into her adult years with that security in place. This “transfer of love is called grace and that is the result of parents loving children the way God loves us.” 

To be continued…..

I Love You Forever


The new satin jammies were a perfect complement to her most favorite book. Tatum cannot get enough of this book:


She goes through each page commenting and singing.

images-1The thread of:
imagesweaves through the book as the “baby” grows older into a man and then full circle loves and holds his mommy when she is older. Then transfers the tradition back to his own child.

The child’s mind works in interesting ways as she is attached to some books and pictures while others she does not touch. Same with her babies. She has been around multiple little bears, but the look on these babies…

IMG_5344makes her joyful beyond compare.