Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands….” 1 Peter 3:3-5

For years I have read that Scripture with awe. It is truly my goal to be that kind of a woman. Gentle. Quiet. Beautiful. It has nothing to do with outward appearance….my hairstyle, my clothing, or whether or not I wear makeup. It is all about inward grace and beauty. When I read those verses, I actually sigh out loud. Ahhh….to have a gentle and quiet spirit….

Why is it so hard for me – for so many of us -- to live that way? I think we live in a world that is so busy that we constantly feel rushed. We hurry our kids through breakfast so we can start school. We rush through school so we can get lunch in before PE starts. We run from PE so we can get home in time to start dinner. We live in such a hurry. It’s a shame, really.

I have a friend who stays home with her three children. I always admired her dedication to stay at home. She would call and arrange someone to take her two older children to co-op or parties if her youngest was napping. Now it would be like me to just snatch Anne Claire right out of her bed and drag her along. Not Sandra. She epitomizes a gentle, quiet spirit. She places great value in quiet times at home. She never seems to be in a rush. She is well put together, as are her children. And they also never seem to run late. How does she do it?

If you ask her, it begins in the wee hours of the morning, when she rises with her husband to have coffee and prayer together. Then they go their separate ways and have their individual quiet time. It never changes. She is not swayed by popular culture or by well meaning friends trying to get her to sign up for one more Bible study or one more extracurricular activity for her children.

In today’s world, women are not encouraged to be gentle, quiet, or submissive. I heard a song on the radio the other day called “In My Daughter’s Eyes” --- and I realized that now that I have a daughter, it is up to me to teach her what being a woman is all about. That it isn’t about looking like Barbie, or being the first woman president….it’s about teaching her what is really beautiful in God’s eyes. It is nurturing in her a gentle, quiet spirit. It’s about knowing who God is and what He has done for her. It’s about living a life that is truly beautiful by pointing others toward Heaven.

This week I am going to spend less time doing and more time just being. Being with my kids and my husband. Gently, quietly….and beautifully.

the wondrous cross...

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

For some reason, I woke up today with this hymn on my mind. I lay in bed at 5:00am going over the words again and again. It humbles me. It makes me ashamed of my pride and "all the vain things that charm me most."

God is really working on me this week.

Anne Claire's FIRST birthday!!

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beaming the light...

Our family loves college football. A few weeks ago, we received an email from a friend about Kodi Burns, a young Auburn freshman. It read, “Anybody notice what was on Kodi’s eye strips at the Florida game? It was Proverbs 3: 5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

What a powerful statement this young man made to his teammates, his opponents, and the media. He showed a watching world that his allegiance was to God. He ensured that other’s first impression of him was not of him, but of His Father. He pointed others to God.

It reminds me of Moses coming down from Mount Sinai in Exodus 34. The Bible records that his face was radiant “because he had spoken with the Lord.” The people actually could not even look at him – he had to put on a veil. His face reflected the glory of the presence of God. Which leads me to wonder….when others look at me, what do they see? Is God’s glory evident on my face and in my life? By looking at me, do they see Scripture? There is a hymn whose name escapes me – but the words are “May I prove I’ve been with Jesus…” and I wonder… by my actions, my character, and my conversations…..what the watching world sees when they look at me.

I am afraid more often than not, they see a tired, oftentimes overwhelmed wife and mother trying to keep her children in line, or attempting to check off another thing on her growing “to do” list. Instead of showing my family, my friends, and my community my allegiance to God by living out His will for me to join Him in His work, I can see that instead I am showing the world where my true allegiance lays….in being a wife and mother, in housekeeping and homeschooling. While these things aren’t inherently evil in themselves, they are not what should define my life as a Christian.

Matthew 5:16 says that I am to let my light so shine before men, that they may see my good works and glorify my Father in Heaven. Our church in Biloxi used to call that “beaming the light of the gospel.”

Kodi Burns beamed the light. Moses definitely did.

Are you?

Heavenly Father, Show us how to slow down and spend sweet, uninterrupted time with You so that we can go away from our encounter renewed, refreshed, and glowing. Help us to live out our lives in such a way that we may as well have Scripture written on our faces. Help us to beam the light of Your gospel to a dark and dying world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


So we decided to skip school today and go to the zoo. We are lucky enough to have passes, so we can go whenever we like, and going during the school year on a weekday is always a treat because it's not crowded. I love this picture of the boys walking ahead of me. They are growing up so quickly...sigh....

My attempt at a group shot. It rarely works anymore.

My favorite grumpy gorilla was napping. Tucker kept yelling "Hey wake up!" but he wouldn't budge.

I missed getting some pictures at Monkey Hill. Audubon Zoo has a fantastic area for kids where they can swim, run through waterfalls, climb's really lovely. I couldn't get pictures because I was chasing the little miss, who was insistent on getting in on the fun with her brothers. Needless to say, she was soaking wet and I had to buy her a tee shirt at the gift shop just to get her home.

(By the way, her American Girl Itty Bitty Baby came earlier this week. It is *precious*!!! The boys and I were so excited you'd have thought it was for us.

priestly garments

Now Samuel was ministering before the LORD, {as} a boy wearing a linen ephod. And his mother would make him a little robe and bring it to him from year to year when she would come up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. Then Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife and say, "May the LORD give you children from this woman in place of the one she dedicated to the LORD." And they went to their own home. The LORD visited Hannah; and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew before the LORD. ~1 Samuel 2:18-21

When I worked in NICU’s, we always had volunteers from churches that would knit baby hats, booties, and blankets for the premies. It was a wonderful ministry; one that fulfilled the volunteers by knowing that their gifts were being put to good use, and one that blessed the parents when they would see their sick little baby in a cute and colorful cap. Sewing as a ministry. It has been used throughout generations to bless others. I think Hannah’s is the most personal and intimate example; she was, after all, making priestly garments for her own son.

When I think of Hannah I can’t help but grieve for her and the pain she must have felt when she took her first baby, Samuel, to Eli and left him there. I’m sure had it been me, I’d have tried to bargain with God. She so desperately wanted this child, and now here he was, a newly weaned three or four year old, and she’s leaving him at the temple. My heart actually aches when I consider having to do that.
Fortunately Hannah was not like me, and she was obedient to her promise.

But can you imagine her emotions each year as she sewed him a new robe – I love how the NASB calls it “a little robe” – wondering how much her boy had grown in the past year, wondering if this robe will fit well. I suspect when she got to the temple and was able to present it to Samuel, she had a few alterations to make.
I wonder what she said to him as she presented him with his new clothes? Did she remind him of the high calling on his life? Did she just hold him close and remind him of how much she loved him and missed him?

I think about Hannah and realize that I am so privileged to be a mother. God controls the womb; He opens it and closes it as He desires. Psalm 139 reminds us that “in Your book were all written The days that were ordained {for me,} When as yet there was not one of them.” It was not my timing, or my planning, that brought me my children; it was God’s will that they came to me when they did.

I would think that when I stood up in front of 3 different congregations and presented my children to be “dedicated to the Lord” it is drastically different than what Hannah did. Or is it? Although I didn’t have to say goodbye to my children and leave them in the care of others, I am to acknowledge that they are not my children….they are God’s children and I am simply a steward of them. After all, isn’t the purpose of bringing children into the world to further God’s plan that the world come to know Him? Part of my job description as a mother is to nurture and encourage the gifts that God has given my children so that they may be used for His glory and His kingdom.

So next time I am buying clothing for my children, I will remember Hannah. I will remember that although I am not clothing my children in a linen ephod, I am clothing them in “priestly garments” of sorts. After all, we do not need a priest to bring about forgiveness of sins or to offer sacrifices on our behalf. What we need is to raise a generation of young men and women who are not ashamed of the gospel; children who desire that every tribe, tongue, and nation would come to know the saving power of Jesus Christ.

In that sense, I guess I’m not so different from Hannah after all.