Week 47 Memory Verse: Fishes and loaves and cozys

I woke up in the middle of the night this week with an incredibly clear thought: fishes and loaves.

Let me back up. My sweet 13 year old daughter was featured on NBC Nightly News last Wednesday. An hour after it aired, I was on the phone with the manager of Shop Athens Ohio, the store where Jordan sells her handmade coffee cup sleeves.

“I think we’ve been hacked,” the manager said. “We are being totally inundated with orders for Jordan’s products.”

Oops. I had forgotten to give her a heads up that Jordan’s “Cozys for the Cure” creations were going to be seen on national television.

Within 2 days, we had gotten orders for 700 coffee cup sleeves plus dozens of bowl cozys.

Jordan makes each one by hand. They take her about 7 minutes each. She has two weeks to get them all done. My math stinks, but I think if she worked on them an hour a day, it would take her 81 days to finish.

I toss and turn at night wrestling with other concerns like, Walmart has just stopped carrying the special buttons she uses. Where are we going to get 700 buttons? We don’t have enough fabric. She still has to go to school every day. I don’t know how to sew.

Can you feel my anxiety rising?

So that was my state of mind in the wee small hours Sunday morning when I woke with one clear thought: fishes and loaves.

Four different times in the Bible, we are told that Jesus took five loaves of bread and two fish and fed 5000 men, plus women and children.

He took the little bit that one boy in the crowd had to offer and he multiplied it to the point that there were 12 baskets of leftovers!

But before he did that, Jesus talked with his disciples. They were adamant that this was an  impossible situation.

“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!” they answered. -Matthew 14:17 (NLT)

How often do I say that to God? But I only have…

I chose that as today’s memory verse, because it reflects my own thinking. Maybe it reflects your thinking too.

It never feels like we have quite enough, right?

And yet, God proves again and again that He can take our little and make it much, not because of who we are or how hard we work, but because of who He is.

Every time I walk through the kitchen and see Jordan’s sewing machine or a pile of half-finished cozys, I now think, “Fishes and loaves.”

I don’t know how it will get done, but it will. And we will have God to thank.

P.S. I’d also like to thank Andrea Coombs, Blow’s Sew & Vac, Jordan’s Cozy Tribe in Fargo, Teresa & Dave South, Kathy Hartman and her quilting group, Rachael Blatt, Leslie Zalecki from Designer Window Treatments, and Janome who have quickly come to our rescue. We’re not nearly done yet, but you are all proving that many hands make light work. We are so grateful for your encouragement.  

Kindness Podcast Episode 6: What a Wonder!

I remember walking downtown with my youngest son when he was about four. It’s that beautiful (yet exhausting) age where kids are becoming alert to the world around them, and vocal enough to give you a play-by-play account of what they see.

As we strolled along, I spotted a college-age woman with a significant limp. Sure enough, so did my son.

“Mom, look at that lady. She walks funny.”

I froze with a terrified smile on my face because I knew the woman had heard my son. “Um, I’m really sorry…” I sort of mumbled.

“That’s okay,” she replied. With a huge, friendly smile, she turned to my son. “You’re right! I do walk funny. I was born with one leg longer than the other. It makes it awfully hard to run. Do you like to run?”

All of sudden, my son was caught up in the excitement of talking about himself. The attention was off of her, and all differences between us were erased.

I have never been more grateful for the kindheartedness of a stranger in my whole life.

She saw a sticky situation and gracefully taught us how to handle it.

There is a mom who has to deal with situations like that one all the time. Her son was born with Apert Syndrome, an extremely rare craniofacial disorder. Her only chance of creating some normalcy in her son’s life was to greet the odd looks and pointing fingers head on — with kindness.

Taryn Skees joins me on The Kindness Podcast to talk about her son Aiden, what she does to address the curiosity, and what it will mean to see a story so similar to her son’s played out on the big screen in the new movie, Wonder.

You can listen on iTunes or NPR.

And please be sure to stop over to Taryn’s website, MoreSkeesPlease.com to learn more about Aiden, Apert Syndrome and the mom of four boys who calls herself the “coordinator of chaos.” You can also catch up with the family at https://www.facebook.com/MoreSkeesPlease/

Week 46 Memory Verse: Got Flood Insurance?

Sometimes I wish I could spend more time, money and energy on myself and less on others.

Selfish? Yep.

True? Absolutely.

I bet I’m not alone. I bet there are times when you want to say, “Sorry, God, find someone else today. I’m busy.”

Only we’re not busy. The truth is, sometimes we just don’t feel like doing the right thing.

We talk a lot about integrity in our house. That means doing the right thing even when no one is looking.

It’s easy to be your best self when you have an audience — or someone to hold you accountable. It’s a little trickier when we’re alone and we start hearing the voice of the enemy whispering in our ears… Do you know what you could do with that money? Don’t you deserve a little extra kindness for yourself today? Let someone else be in charge of spreading the light, they’ll probably do a better job anyway. 

Lies. All lies.

They come up against us, again and again, like a series of waves trying to beat us down and make us fall so that eventually we drown.

How do we stand firm in the face of the temptation to do our own thing, make our own rules, give up on the light?

We go to the Light.

I sat in God’s presence, humbly apologizing for my hard heart, when I opened up to Luke 6:48 (NLT), “It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.” 

Jesus is the one speaking here. Notice he says, “When the floodwaters rise…” He knows that those powerful waves will come. But he also knows that God is more powerful, and if we commit our ways to Him, again and again, even when we are tempted and ashamed to admit what’s in our hearts, He will hold us strong.

I take immense comfort in that. God sets us on firm ground and gives us exactly what we need to weather the storm. Far from perfect, and far from strong, our only job is to keep coming to God day after day, allowing Him to fortify us and provide the best flood insurance possible. All we have to do is ask.

God, help me build a solid foundation in you so that when the storms come crashing, I will stand strong. Amen.