Categories
Humor

What’s In A Name?

I’m fascinated with names. Maybe all of us writers are.

I like creative names and creative spellings. I’m intrigued with old-fashioned names that come back in style, and I like unique names I’ve never heard of.

I’ve chuckled at names, like one of my college friends, whose first name was “Holly” and she married a gentleman with the surname “Wood.” She said she had trouble cashing checks with the signature “Holly Wood,” so she eventually stuck her maiden-name initial between the two words.

My brother had a friend named William Williams, but at least he went by the name “Bill.”

A convenience store in my hometown was owned by Billy Joe Deal who married a woman named Billie Jo.

When I became pregnant with our first child, David and I decided we liked the name “Jeremy.” I told my husband I thought it would be fun to give him a “J” name for me and a “D” name for him, so child number one became “Jeremy David.”

We stuck with the plan for child number two, and she became “Jenifer DeeAnn.” Yes, only one “n,” because my husband likes creative spellings, too.

Child number three answers to the name “Jeb Daniel.”

And then when God said there would be four, my husband and I pondered briefly abandoning our nomenclature method for fear of giggles from our new west coast friends.

Julie, we’re not in Georgia anymore,” fretted my Navy officer husband, who was serving a billet in California.

“Well, everyone out here thinks we’re tacky rednecks, so let’s do it anyway,” I joked. And our dear, California friends welcomed “Jessica Danae” to the mix, shortened to “Jessi” on occasion.

What my husband and I hadn’t thought about was that all of our kids would have the exact same initials, so their water bottles or snacks or other belongings were often labeled J1, J2, J3, and J4. We feared they’d grow up to tell a therapist: “We were just a number in my house.”

My favorite thoughts about a given name, however, come from Acts 4:12 (ESV) and says, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

I am so thankful for that Name.

Lavender FieldOh, and I did forget to mention – my parents named me Julie Anita Bland when I was born. So, when I married, my name changed from Julie Bland to Julie Lavender. My husband loves it when I say, “I went from dull to colorful when I got married.”

 

365 Ways to Love

BIO: Julie’s favorite color as a child was purple, so she loved adding “Lavender” to her name when she married. Julie Lavender’s newest book, 365Ways To Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments Into Lasting Memories (Revell), releases this month. It’s on sale right now, 40% discount, at Baker Book House with no shipping cost and is also offered as a giveaway at Goodreads.com.

Categories
Encouragement

Relationship Glue

 

“What did she use this time?” The kind man who cleans my white carpets squats down to inspect the splashed rainbow.

“Acrylic and oils.” I show him the finished masterpiece displayed on the easel above the carpet’s danger zone.

He nods appreciatively, and from his arsenal of stain removers, sprays over the area what I assume to be an anti-acrylic and an oil neutralizing solution.

“You must see this kind of cleanup project a lot in your business.” I think of the dropped plate of spaghetti he cleaned last time he was here.

“Not like this.” He gives the fading spot a thorough scrub. “Backed up toilets, pet stains, and shoes that should have been left at the door.”

I nod because he has cleaned all those at my house, too. And I remember when my young daughter showed me her painting. Her face had been alight with the artistic freedom that comes when her hands have translated her heart to canvas. Just as much paint lay on the carpet below and as she followed my gaze, she was incredulous.

“Sorry, Mom, I didn’t see that.”

Of course not. Nor did she remember to use a drop cloth the three times before. Which is how I have gotten to know the carpet cleaning guy well enough that he took one of our kittens home to his family.

Home is the art studio for life. And like all art studios, they are creatively messy, reflecting developing people, talents, and relationships. There is a tension between keeping a tidy house and using the living areas for – well – living.

The mother of Orville and Wilbur Wright commonly directed family and guests to eat meals in the living room since the dining room table was spread with the brothers’ latest invention. Because Mrs. Wright designated space for her children to test ideas, Orville and Wilbur turned the possibility of flight into reality. That mother’s legacy outlives her for all of history because she gave wings to her sons long before they learned how to fly.       

Our Creator, God surrounds us with opportunity to create beauty. By extending to one another big and small acts of kindness, respect, and thoughtfulness on a consistent basis during good times and challenging days, people form relationship glue, those touch points that hold us together despite crisis and through celebrations. Those connections, poignant moments, and laughing-until-milk-comes-out-our-nose form a shared history and confirm that we belong. Together.

We are most like God when we create and forgive. When we paint with abundantly broad strokes of grace and love, we form relationship glue.

PeggySue Wells
PeggySue Wells

PeggySue Wells is the bestselling author of 29 books including Homeless for the Holidays, The Girl Who Wore Freedom, and Chasing Sunrise. Watch for her newest book, Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make with Pam Farrel, releasing in September. Connect with PeggySue at www.PeggySueWells.com.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Devotional

Sunday Reflection: Early Easter Morning

Easter for a child can often only mean candy, ducks, bunnies and an Easter egg hunt. And for the

children and Easter Basket

first six years of my life, I am sure waking up to find out how many jelly beans and chocolate bunnies were in my Easter basket must have been my priority– that is until one Easter, when my mom’s best friend recognized how much we needed the Easter message:

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.

1 Peter 1:3 

My family NEEDED that living HOPE! My parents’s marriage was unraveling and hanging by a weak, fraying  thread. And we also needed the unconditional love Christ demonstrated when HE CHOSE to leave the glory of heaven and come live among we lowly, imperfect human beings– and my alcoholic dad especially needed to hear he was loved, even in his unlovely state. We needed the grace and mercy the Father extended. To this day when I wake up, I pray God’s grace and mercy over me, my marriage, my family and my future:

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

God give me GRACE: Lavish me with the blessings I DO NOT DESERVE but that you freely give

  • I am a sinner, You are the Savior

God give me MERCY: Hold back the wrath that I DO DESERVE but You shield far from me

  • I am unrighteous, You are the Redeemer

As a little girl, in my pajama’s, I used to tip-toe out to the living room, pull my flannel night gown over my knees and turn on the TV to watch a Christian television cartoon that showed a healthy mom, dad and happy children. I would pray, (not even having a clue who I was talking to in the cosmos,), “I want a happy family like that.”

Soon, God sent my mom’s best friend to invite us to her church. My mother, sensing this was an

Pam Farrel first Easter

important day, dressed us all up in our very best and bought me white gloves and an Easter bonnet to wear on my first day of going to the “House where God lives.” There, in that little tiny church, in a little tiny town, a little tiny girl met the GREAT and GLORIOUS GOD.

My life was forever transformed for the better. I soon began a personal relationship with the Creator God I had been whispering to. Eventually my mother, my siblings all began a relationship with Christ– and the day my dad died, he too, while reading Steps to Peace with God by Billy Graham, finally gave his broken heart to the One who had been lavishing love over his life, waiting patiently for His prodigal son to come home.

This is why we write — we write, we speak, we teach for the reason Christ came and gave His –to reach the lost, the hurting, the broken and the bruised,

The Easter Sunday, or any Sunday after, be brave enough to pray one of two prayers:

  1. Lord, give me eyes to see who needs a relationship with you, and the courage to invite him or her to come hear about You, the God who loves us all enough to go up Calvary’s hill and give your perfect life, in payment for our imperfect lives. 
  2. Lord, I want to know You. I, too have been talking to You, hoping, wishing, praying for a better life here on earth and an eternal home one day in heaven. Thank you for dying on the cross for me. I receive that free gift of Your love.  

Pastor Pete Jankowski once put it like this, “The cross was not Christ’s destination– YOU were.” .Jesus went through the grueling pain of the cross out of love for you! God reached out in sacrificial love to you, now, simply reach back in surrender to the God who created you, knows you and loves you.

 

Pam and Bill Farrel, authors of 45 books

Pam and her husband, Bill are passionate about sharing the good news of Christ’s redeeming, life-transforming resurrection power through their ministry Love-Wise. The Farrels are the authors of 45 books, including A Couple’s Journey with God,  her newest, Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience (penned with Jean

Pam Farrel, author Discovering Hope in the Psalms

E Jones and Karla Dornacher) and the Farrel’s best-selling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti  The Farrels have experienced many of the merciful answers to Pam’s “little girl” prayers, including a happy marriage of 38 years and three grown sons, three daughter in laws and four grandchildren who all love Jesus too.Pam and Bill live in Southern California, where they enjoy Easter sunrise services on the beach.

Categories
Encouragement

I Deserved the Traffic Ticket

Kathy Collard Miller
Kathy Collard Miller

Greetings from Kathy Collard Miller in the desert of Southern California where we are finally seeing the end of the heat and welcoming cooler weather.

Driving down a California freeway on a superbly beautiful day of fluffy clouds, I just felt very happy. My happiness pressed my foot against the accelerator as I didn’t see the Highway Patrolman until the red lights from his cruiser caused me to pull over to the side of the road.

He came up to my side of the car and asked me questions. Then I said, “I don’t expect you to not write a ticket but my husband will ask me if I told you that he’s a police officer in Huntington Beach.” I gave Larry’s name.

He didn’t smile as he walked back to his cruiser. I was getting a ticket and deserved it.