Can I Come In?

Little five year old boys don’t usually want to play with girls putting on makeup – unless it is boring because there are no other boys around. That changes everything. At least it did for Jude, my grandson. My four granddaughters had locked themselves in the... read more

My Mother’s Christmas Wish

Devotion: When I was a little girl, the number one question I asked all my family before December 25th was “What do you want for Christmas?” I asked my sisters and my brother, my mother and my father. It was a huge question for me because my funds were limited to a small... read more

Can I Come In?
Little five year old boys don’t usually want to play with girls putting on makeup – unless it is boring because there are no other boys around. That changes everything. At least it did for Jude, my grandson. My four granddaughters had locked themselves in the... read more

My Mother’s Christmas Wish
When I was a little girl, the number one question I asked all my family before December 25th was “What do you want for Christmas?” I asked my sisters and my brother, my mother and my father. It was a huge question for me because my funds were limited to a small... read more

Hidden Danger
It never occurred to me that my husband’s favorite hobby, coon hunting, could be dangerous. He mentioned that to me one time and I couldn’t help myself. “So, what’s the danger?” I asked him. “When the raccoon chases YOU instead of the other way around?” I joked... read more

Wise Counsel
Week after week the young woman in our Sunday school class shared that her marriage was in trouble. No excitement, she said. They had grown apart and their interests were totally different she told us. Just not sure she loved him any more, she would comment over and over. And each Sunday... read more

A Message for Dan . . . and Me
There were probably more times that I blew it as a parent than times that I got it right as my children grew up. But I will never forget the beautiful lesson that I learned from a very wise parent one morning at the school where I worked as the nurse. The mother of Dan, a high school junior... read more

Living in Fear
An unwelcome guest moved into my home immediately after my husband passed away. No matter where I turned, he was there. And he never slept. I would wake up and he would begin to whisper and taunt me repeatedly. With every attack my heart would race in my chest as if I had just run a marathon... read more

Dare to be Bold
I learned a great lesson about boldness from my granddaughter Lola when she was in the second grade. Her sister Ava, who was a first grader, was being bullied by another student. Ava, who was very shy, had tried unsuccessfully to get the girl to stop her behavior but it continued... read more

On the Outside
“In just a few moments we will talk with three members of the sexiest congregation in NYC,” the morning talk show host shared with the viewing audience. Huh? The young men and women interviewed were very polite, well-dressed, personable and... read more

She Sure Knew How to Laugh
I come from a long line of laughers. You can quickly identify anyone in my family because when we laugh, we cry. Sounds strange, but it’s true. My sisters and I have mascara running down our faces most of the time when we laugh. And my brother (if he wore mascara) is the same way... read more

Innocent Bystanders
Subbing at school is always entertaining and a bit interesting – especially in the younger grades. A few weeks ago I subbed in a 5th grade classroom in the morning and in a 2nd grade classroom in the afternoon. My conversation with a little boy in the afternoon class as I walked in the door went like this... read more

Two Faced
For 20 years my husband worked as manager of a propane business in our town. And for most of those 20 years he truly loved his job. Except the day a man who was unhappy with the price of propane walked into his office, having concluded that somehow my husband was the one who set the... read more

Her Lips Were Moving
My car is equipped with a wonderful thing called Bluetooth. It is a hands-free way to communicate with my cell phone through my car. By pressing one button, I can contact anyone on my phone list and chat without holding a phone to my ear. I love it... read more

Mislabeled
The jacket the woman was wearing was beautiful – a soft shade of pale yellow with a hint of cream and brown swirled throughout. But what caught my eye in just seconds was a strip of masking tape on the back, just below the left shoulder. On it was written “jacket, $5.00” with the initials C.R. beside it... read more

Is It Okay To Add or Subtract?
The title of the article caught my attention: “Eleven Secrets of Irresistible People.” I have friends I would consider to be in that category so I read on to determine if they were in possession of any of the “secrets” that made them impossible to ignore. The first two “secrets” stated... read more

Never Stop Sharing Truth
“Children Say the Darndest Things” was a popular television show years ago hosted by the famous personality Art Linkletter. He would ask children several innocent questions about everyday life and then simply sit back and listen to their hilarious answers... read more

His First Choice
About three years after my husband passed away, I received a phone call from an acquaintance asking me out on a date. It caught me by surprise because I had given no thought to dating at all. The conversation – or rather, his invitation – left me speechless... read more

When God Has a Detour
It took me a few minutes to calm my shaking fingers and get my courage up to open the email. It was from a children’s editor with a very well-known publishing company and I knew she was responding to my proposal on my latest children’s book, a rhyming story about creation... read more

Why Ya Gotta Be So Mean?
Some people are just plain mean. Not by accident, or a malfunctioning gene, or because it happens to be a bad day. They simply make the choice to be a combination of Cruella De Vil, Attila the Hun, and Taylor Swift’s ex-boyfriend – every day of their lives... read more

Early in the Morning
When my children were small, I had absolutely no time to myself. From the moment they woke up until they fell asleep at night I heard “Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom” from three kids ages 5, 3 and almost 1. There is an old saying that having children is like being pecked to death by a chicken. How true... read more

The Hunt Is On!
One of the best times I remember as a teen was going on a scavenger hunt with friends. We had a list of things that had to be retrieved in order to win a prize. Things like “hair off Grandpa Dale's head” and “get a quarter from someone parked at Simone's Drive-In” topped the list... read more

Quit Focusing on the Giant
Watching the Miss Universe contest has always been a fun experience for the gals in my family. We pick out our favorites and keep score as to who looks the best in each gown and swim suit and answers the tough questions without messing up... read more

Not Forgotten – Help Is On the Way!
Captain Scott O’Grady – a name you might hear and forget but whose story is unforgettable. Captain O’Grady is a former United States Air Force fighter pilot. He was shot down during the Bosnian War on June 2, 1995, but was able to eject safely and hide for a week in rough woods before being rescued... read more

Battle of the Wills
When my children were small, they struggled with decisions all the time. Which cereal to eat, what outfit to wear to school, which television show to watch. So I made it easy for them: I gave them options. Rice Krispies or Cheerios? The blue shorts and blue and white top or the green outfit?... read more

I’ve Read the Book
“Come watch a movie with me, Grandma,” my granddaughter pleaded. “It’s a really good one!” She added that last statement to try to entice me to join her, knowing that for me to sit and watch a movie, it truly has to be “a really good one... read more

Explaining Away My Sin
“I need to send a note of encouragement to Sadie” I thought as I read her husband’s obituary in the local newspaper. I even bought a card. But I got busy and didn’t send it. “I’ll do it tomorrow when I have more time,” I rationalized. I forgot... read more

Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be
One of my duties as school nurse was to conduct scoliosis screenings for fifth grade students every spring. Backs were checked for an abnormal curvature of the spine that might need medical attention. The process was simple. Girls and boys were checked separately... read more

Secret Sin
As I listened to a dear friend confess something from her past during Bible study, I quietly kept my eyes focused on my feet but my heart was pounding. I tried and failed to ignore the truth: I knew how she felt. I had something hidden, too. We were challenged by our Bible study leader... read more

Who Does Brian Walk Like?
“There’s Brian,” I told my husband, pointing to the tall dark haired young man on the basketball court as we walked into the gym. “He is terrific,” I continued as we sat down to watch the game. “His Christian faith is very important to him and he is one of my best role models at... read more

Guard Your Heart
It seemed quite funny to me as a little girl to hear my grandparents talk about what had happened to our minister in our small town. They felt badly for him but, as a10-year old girl, I could only giggle as they described the situation. Pastor Sanders was walking down the sidewalk in town and... read more

Barb
When someone needs to be admitted to a hospital because of a serious illness, there usually isn’t a lot of smiling or laughing. That is, unless it happens to be one where my friend Barb is a patient. Barb doesn’t look forward to going to the hospital, but she still has to go... read more

The Time Out Lesson
My kids hated time out when they were little and got into trouble. To be honest, I think it was as much for me as it was for them. Love my kids? Passionately with every ounce in my body. Protect them if someone tried to hurt them? Like a seven foot tall gorilla with a stun gun... read more

The Starter Marriage
The article titled “The Starter Marriage” caught my attention. I’ve heard about starter homes – a smaller version of the bigger home that you want some day but all that you can afford or need right now. But a starter marriage? The article said that 20% of divorces of first marriages are within... read more

Junk
The drawer on the left side of my sink has become a junk drawer. I have no idea when it happened. It seemed like a perfect place for pens and pads of paper. But in the blink of an eye it morphed into a drawer crammed so full of a mountain of “stuff” that I struggle to close it without pushing and... read more

This Is . . . the Voice!
I decided to take up walking to get in shape. One program after another on television touted how beneficial it was to the entire body: inches would miraculously disappear, muscles tighten up and, better yet, body parts return to their pre-baby positions... read more

Best Reunion Ever

The videos showing a family member coming home from the military to surprise those they love get to me every time. I automatically get out the tissues when one pops up on the internet or on television. They all make me cry. The son who thinks he is throwing a pitch to his catcher... read more

Not My Battle

For two weeks the Lord had been preparing me for the missile attack. At first during my prayer time, the Scriptures that leaped out at me were, I thought, intended for other people. My Bible fell open to Isaiah 41:10 "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God... read more

Making a Memory

The question asked by the man on the phone late one evening caught me off guard: “Is LeRoy there?” he asked. “What?” I responded. He must have thought I didn’t hear because he repeated his question more slowly and loudly: “Is . . . Le . . . Roy . . . there?” My husband had passed away 5 years earlier and... read more

Try Laughter

Do you ever have “one of those days?” You know what I’m talking about. When you can either laugh or cry or kick the dog so you choose to simply let life . . . be life. My “one of those days” started off innocently enough: dinner with good friends followed by a Christian concert... read more

Know Your Opponent

The football game was the most important one being played that season. If our team won, they would advance to the state championship. If they lost, their season was done and they would go home. Both teams were strong and talented and rivals for years... read more

Bankrupt

Have you ever prayed for someone and then realized much later that you had not been praying the way the Lord would have wanted? Probably we all have. A friend of mine shared with me how the Lord redirected her prayer quickly and clearly... read more

Don’t Tell Me What to Do

Flying through the air on amusement park rides has been one of my favorite things to do for as long as I can remember. There is a healthy fear mixed with excitement as you experience the feeling in the pit of your stomach of being suddenly twisted or... read more

Behind Her Eyes

I see her immediately as I enter the room. She’s at a table, alone, with a Styrofoam cup in her hands. She’s beautiful. She’s always been beautiful. No matter her age or illness, that will never be taken from her. I gently touch her hands. “Hi, Aunt Pat... read more

Right Where the Lord Wants You to Be

Jan, a good friend of mine, shared a lesson she learned in, of all places, a supermarket! She had decided to make a quick stop on her way home for one item. The evening meal had already been planned along with a restful outing to the park with her husband and children and... read more

Some One Is Watching

The student nurse stuck out her hand and introduced herself. “Hi. I’m Sarah Stephens. I have been assigned to follow you around today. And I’ve got to be honest with you. I’m really nervous!” I shook her hand. “Don’t be nervous,” I smiled back confidently... read more

Will Anyone Come?

The thought had gone through my mind several times: “Instead of leaving cookies for my neighbor and hurrying away, I need to take the time to sit and visit with her.” She is absolutely precious and I thoroughly enjoy chatting with her. But I had been busy with everyday life and... read more

Coming Home
I’m leavin’ and I’m neber comin’ back!” my three year old grandson told his mother. She glanced up while doing dishes. “Why would you leave, Honey?” His little hand reached up to grab the doorknob as he gave her his best angry look. “You make me have jobs. I don’t like jobs... read more

Anger Issues
I love my children more than anything in this world. And I truly want to be the best Christian mother ever. Not that I have to win the “Mother of the Year” award, although that would be nice. The problem is I have blown it as a mom more times than I can count... read more

No Match
A professional show basketball team put on quite a display at the local high school last week. They had obviously practiced long hours together because they never missed a beat as they executed one unbelievable play after another. They got the crowd into their act by... read more

Peace in the Attack
The birthday party for my one year old granddaughter Ava had been a huge success, right down to the helium filled balloons floating around my living room and kitchen. But now the presents had been opened and the cake and ice cream eaten and the guests hugged as they left for the evening... read more

Defective Clothing
Hand-me-down clothes were the norm for me growing up in a family of five kids. And being the middle child assured me that I would always be the recipient of whatever my older sister outgrew like shoes, shorts, and shirts. I never really cared because we were the same size... read more

Warning! Warning!
My oldest daughter has different identifying rings on her cell phone for each family member who calls her. I found out recently quite by accident that she has an especially “unique” one for me. She had misplaced her phone so she asked me to call her on mine... read more

The Old Red Sweater
I have an old red sweater. The tag says “This has been knitted especially for you with love by Patty Hallam.” It is a comfort to me…it is precious to me…one, because it was made for me by someone who loves me (my sister) and two, because when I am hurting, when I am sad... read more

Jerry’s Christmas
I’ll never forget that precious little boy: freckles scattered like tiny raindrops across his entire face, including his ears. Big brown eyes partially obscured by wispy blonde hair that brushed against an ever present smile minus two front teeth. Jerry was a first grade student at... read more

Speak for Me
There was a good reason why my daughter Leigh did not talk until she was 2 years old. She didn’t need to. She had an older brother who took it upon himself to talk for her. She struggled with her words as she tried to explain what she wanted but Tyler was able to tell by... read more

A Constant Reminder
I was asked by an elementary principal to observe Grant, a new student at our school. The teacher had serious concerns that the boy might have some problems with staying focused in class and wanted me, as school nurse, to do an observation of his behavior for a few minutes in the classroom... read more

R-rated
It was one of those moments that, years later, still makes me shake my head and smile. Noah and Lola, both 4 years old, were having a heavy conversation over a lunch of mac ‘n cheese and chocolate milk. “Noah, when I’m 10, I’m going to see an R-rated movie,” Lola informed him... read more

The Bitterness Root
She didn’t realize that I happened to turn and look back at her at the exact moment that she was making fun of me, but I did. And it hurt. I was leading music for a church service and had some ideas about making the worship time a bit livelier... read more

The One He Loves
When my oldest grandson Noah was a little guy, I always told him that his name was really “best boy in the whole world.” He would call me on the phone and when I heard that sweet voice say “Hi Grandma,” I would immediately put on my gruffest sounding voice and say... read more

Say What?
My family and I went to a unique restaurant this weekend. It was full of dinosaurs - all shapes and sizes and names that none of us could pronounce. But what interested me more than anything were the “facts” included on a plaque by each dinosaur figure... read more

The Candy Corn Reminder
There is a small bowl full of candy corn sitting on my coffee table. It’s almost always there. I keep it as a reminder of something that happened to me as a small child and as a reminder of my behavior as an adult. I remember it like it was yesterday. My parents played cards with several couples and... read more

Like A Child
We could all see it coming. My son-in-law had only seconds before said “Nothing good is going to come from this” as we all watched through the window as seven year old Jude built a ramp out of boards and a card table and then ran to get his bike... read more

Weighed Down
A young woman came in to the gym where I was working out a few days ago. She walked around looking at all the equipment and stopped in the area that is usually reserved for squats. She was looking at all the different sizes of weights as if unsure which ones to add on the bar so I... read more

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Copyright 2010  Nancy E. Hughes