Subscribe: Perspective
Added By: Feedage Forager Feedage Grade B rated
Language: English
adoption  back  called  child  children  day  family  friend  god  home  integrity  life  love  nathan  new  people  time 
Rate this Feed
Rate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feedRate this feed
Rate this feed 1 starRate this feed 2 starRate this feed 3 starRate this feed 4 starRate this feed 5 star

Comments (0)

Feed Details and Statistics Feed Statistics
Preview: Perspective


"But if my fire is not large it is yet real, and there may be those who can light their candle at its flame." ~A.W.Tozer

Updated: 2015-09-16T12:15:45.285-04:00




This blog has moved!

Check out the new blog at

Change your Google Readers or other subscription hosts to reflect the new address!

Adoption Blog


(image) I created an adoption blog called Love Runs Deeper Than Blood

Check it out!

Orphans deserve better


I have been deeply disturbed by the advertisements I've seen for a movie coming out called ORPHAN. One time Nathan even flippantly said, "we do not need to go see that movie." Basically its a story of a child who is adopted who murders and tortures the very family that took her in. Being that we are in the midst of an adoption right now, it crushed me that they would portray such a deep need in such a negative way. Believe it or not, movies influence our thoughts and the idea that some would feel uncomfortable around a child who had no family just makes me sick to my stomach.

Then today I was encouraged when I came across a movement that felt the very same way and is doing something about it! Here is a synopsis from their website:

Orphans Deserve Better is a grassroots initiative to counter the movie Orphan. Join us in taking the side of those who cannot speak for themselves.

However far-fetched some stories are, they can still subtly shape our values and perceptions. So when a major motion picture leaves a lingering impression that orphans are damaged goods and that adoption can tear apart your life, those who know the deeper truth must speak up.

People deserve to know better. They must be told of the great needs orphans face. They should also see the joy found in loving them…and practical steps we can take to do so.

“Defend the cause of the fatherless,” urges the prophet Isaiah. We invite you to join in doing just that:

1) Send a message to Warner Brothers urging them to contribute a portion of proceeds from the movie to help orphans.

2) Share your stories of how loving an orphan can lift a child’s life and those who choose to love them.

3) Consider ways you can act to help orphans today.

Go and be a part of this opportunity to speak out and help orphans have a voice too!

Yes even there!


I wrote some quiet time devotions for the high school students at camp this past week. The theme was purity. We talked about sexual purity, mental purity, and spiritual purity. But I felt prompted to write a devo based on character purity and saved it for the last day. I can't help but think that if we could get a grip on maintaining integrity, a lot of other areas in our life would fall into more pure habits. So here it is, the devo. Keep in mind its geared toward students, but I think we can all learn a little something from it. Character Purity Psalm 101:2-4Christian’s are such hypocrites! So much talk for so little walk. We hear this case built against the church all the time, yet we do nothing to change it. Instead we confirm it by our lack of character and integrity. They say integrity is who you are when no one is looking, and for most of us that means we need to take a long, hard look at ourselves and start getting real.Integrity and sound character are big ideas so let’s break it down. Integrity is: Trustworthiness: Be honest. Don’t deceive, cheat or steal. Be reliable- in other words do what you say you’ll do. Have the courage to do the right thing. Build a good reputation. Be loyal and stand for what is right. Respect: Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. Be considerate of the feelings of others. Don’t threaten or hurt anyone. Deal peacefully with anger, insults and disagreements. Responsibility: Do what you are supposed to do. Persevere- keep trying! Always do your best. Use self-control. Be self-disciplined. Think before you act-consider the consequences. Be accountable for your choices. Fairness: Play by the rules. Take turns and share. Don’t take advantage of others. Caring: Be kind! Be compassionate and show you care. Express gratitude. Forgive others. Help people in need. Read Psalm 101:2-4 “I will walk with integrity of heart within my house.” Yes, even there! Not only did David recognize the need for integrity as king over God’s people, but also within his own household. Even there he was mindful of his conduct and dealings with others. Within our homes there is as much need for dependability, honesty and respect as in any other sphere of our activities. Genuine integrity is not for certain occasions or to be exercised only in certain places. A person who has integrity in one area of life while neglecting it in another does not really possess integrity. Let me give you a personal example: Going to the grocery store with two kids can make it difficult to focus on the task. While searching the aisles for the food you need, you are also trying to make sure no one falls out of the cart, one kid doesn’t push the other one out of the cart and you, or they, don’t run the cart into other shoppers. Basically it’s easy to get distracted. Well one day after I strapped the kids into their car seats, I unloaded the newly bagged groceries into the back of the car and I found a small package of taco seasoning that wasn’t rung up laying loosely in my cart. I simply threw the packet into another bag and decided it wasn’t that big of a deal since the package cost maybe .79 cents and wasn’t worth the amount of work it would take to gather the kids up again and head back into the store to pay for it. So I drove off. Most of you don’t think I did anything wrong at this point and would do it too. But a few weeks later the same thing happened again, only the item left unpaid for was a little more expensive but still not that big of a deal. Again, it wasn’t worth the hassle to me, so I didn’t go in and pay for it but instead drove away. Literally a few weeks later it happened again and FINALLY I paid attention. Was God trying to teach me something here? ABSOLUTELY! I had considered myself a person of integrity and yet I wasn’t maintaining that purity of character in the moment Go[...]

From the vault


I used to write a weekly devotional called Daily Bread back in my Nashville days. From time to time I look back into those files for ideas and as reminders of things God has taught me. I came across this one, and thought it might speak to some of you blog readers today. So enjoy!10.13.03 Take on your lions first Sometimes I get way ahead of myself when taking this walk with Jesus we call Life. I see the potential, the possibilities and the BIG stuff all the while dismissing the small steps I need to take to get there. Let me explain more clearly, I know the calling God has on my life. I am called to impact the youth of our culture with the love of Christ. I have seen that opportunity through inner-city ministry, through working as a youth pastor, through working camps, through missions trips to orphanages etc.The places where this broad calling can be applied are endless. So right out of college I started aiming at all of these places. Am I working in any of these areas now? Nope. Right now I work with the Creative Ministries Team at the People's Church. Im not discounting the effect my job has on people, but its definitely not where I thought I was headed. In fact, in some ways it feels like a detour from my designated path. Although I am in a church, Im not doing what I know I will be doing with my life someday. Is that a bad thing? Should I be discouraged? Well whether or not I should be, sometimes I do feel discouraged by that. I begin to question my calling, or if I've heard God wrong the last 5 years. I start to think, "Im doing this wrong. Im suppose to be with youth. Not in an office doing powerpoint for worship services." After a while of sorting through those thoughts and feelings I am reminded by my husband that I am getting ahead of myself. Every time I vocalize my doubts about where I am at vocationally he always says, "You are in a good place." Sure honey, I love my job but its not what I feel called to. "Either way, you are in a good place," he repeats to me. It is then that I realize I am getting ahead of myself. I am, what I like to call, trying to kill my Goliath before killing my lion or bear. In the story of David and Goliath we automatically jump to the exciting scene where the little guy makes the HUGE leap in his life and is granted everything he has ever dreamed of as a result of this act. But we fail to go back and see the smaller steps he had to take to get to that point. In 1 Samuel 17: 34-37 David says, " I have been taking care of my Father's sheep, when a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and take the lamb from it's mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. I have done this to both lions and bears, and I'll do it to this Philistine, too, for he has defiled the armies of the Living God. The Lord who saved me from the claws of the lion and the bear will save me from this Philistine." David had the experience necessary to take on this giant b/c God had trained him for this up and coming battle by putting lions and bears amongst his flock. He learned the skills and bravery necessary while working on his father's farm that made him fit to be a king. What if he had never encountered any bears or lions? Or what if he didn't take on the bears and lions in the field and just let them steal away his lambs? He wouldn't have built up the muscles and faith that were pertinent to taking on Goliath. He saw that God was faithful in the bear and lion incidents and therefore was lead to believe that God would be faithful again to him taking on this beast as well. God used his shepherding job to teach him the necessary skills he would need to be a king. What if David spent his entire life trying to be a king? Running for office, campaigning, becoming a general in the army instead of being a farmer. Who knows if he would have become the "man after God's own heart" that he is referred to as being in the GREAT BIG BOOK[...]

Their having been


"Beneath the face I am a family plot. All the people I have ever been are buried there- the bouncing boy, his mother's pride; the pimply boy and secret sensualist; the reluctant infantryman; the beholder at dawn through hospital plate glass of his first-born child. All these selves I was and am no longer...I cannot even remember what it felt like to live inside their skin. Yet they live inside of my skin to this day, they are buried in me somewhere, ghosts that certain songs, tastes, smells, sights, or tricks of weather can raise, and although I am not the same as they, I am not different either because their having been then is responsible for my being now."

- Fredrick Buechner

The Alphabet of Grace

A Call to Action


Urgent Advocacy Needed On Proposed New Haitian Adoption Law SUMMARY:Haiti is currently operating under an adoption law that was decreed in 1974 by Jean Claude Duvalier. The 1974 adoption law is outdated, has serious limitations that are not in the best interest of children and causes confusion in its application resulting in significant delays in legal processing of adoption cases.Children in Haiti matched with adoptive families are waiting as long as 4 years to complete their adoption. Other children awaiting adoption will endure this same wait unless a law is passed now.With the help of UNICEF and others, a new adoption law has been developed for both domestic and intercountry adoption in Haiti. The law clarifies adoption processing protocols and mandates clear government oversight responsibilities which will correct many of the problems with the present adoption system.Many Haitian children are in desperate need of adoptive families and will benefit from this new law. This includes children who have been waiting in the adoption system (many up to three years) due to confusion and difficulties surrounding the outdated law.URGENT ACTION NEEDED:The Haitian Legislature will convene soon. It is URGENT that the new Haitian Adoption Law be included for approval in the agenda for the upcoming session.Contact your Congressional Representatives [click here for direct link and letter to your Representative] and urge their strong support of the new proposed adoption law in Haiti. Please ask them to contact the Haitian authorities. Please share this Call To Action with friends and family to join this effort.[...]

Not so girlie girl


I have had a photo shoot idea in my head for quite sometime now and slowly but surely got all the supplies I needed to make it come to life. But yesterday I got antsy and had to see what my baby girl would look like in the outfit I bought for the shoot. There is no editing on this picture. This is my blue eyed girl in her purple tu-tu. I am so blessed! Can't wait to do the shoot!


Bowling Night


We had a family night last week where we took Jaxon (and technically Jovie) bowling for the first time. Jax loved it! In fact he loved it so much he asks to go everyday but we have to explain to him, everyday, that bowling costs $ and we can't afford to spend $ on bowling, everyday.
They have this new (to me) feature where you can select the bowler that needs bumpers so that every time he would bowl, the gates would come up. But on our turns they would stay down. It was really spiffy! We ordered a pizza to share and drank root beer (not the kids but Nathan and I) in between games. Jovie wasn't too fond of the sound that happens when the ball would knock over pins, which happens a lot in a bowling ally, so Nathan and I had to switch back and forth between holding her almost the entire time. It would have been annoying if she wasn't so snugglie-so instead it was cute.
But needless to say it was tons of fun! I love times like these with our little clan.


Our Home Study


Well today we met our social worker Donna Bradley from Adoption Home Services for the first time. We have chatted over the phone on many occasions but today we put faces to voices. There were no handshakes, we went straight for hugs. We all know what a bond bringing a child into our home will be and anyone who takes part in that journey (including all of you) become part of the family. It takes a village to raise a child and all of you are a part of that village for us! We let her stretch her legs from the car ride between Tampa and Naples and refresh on a glass of green tea and small talk before we launched into the interview. Basically it was a lot like the application questions. One by one she asked us to describe our background, our families, our childhood, our hobbies, how we met and married, how we handle conflict in our marriage, and what our parenting styles are. Interspersed in all of that was the nostalgic walks down memory lane through our wedding day in Hawaii in 2003 and our trip to Africa in 2006 accompanied by the corresponding photo albums. Of course Nathan broke out the Noodle Arm man Youtube video as an example of how we both love to play with our kids and how our home is more like a playground most days. Never a dull moment in the Gaddis house that is for sure. Over all it was VERY comfortable and we felt at ease during our time with Donna. The kids woke up before we ended so she got to see and talk to them a little bit too. It was neat to watch her apply what we had shared about our children, to her interactions with them. She shared with us that she is a Christian so our talk of God as the center of our life was comforting and a "plus" if you will. Overall our time with her was sweet and we don't get the feeling that there were any red flags that would make us think our study wouldn't pass. So now we wait...

Our feeling about the whole thing is this: If this is God's plan, which we believe it is, there is nothing we can do/or not do to cause it to fail. Therefore we are just going to be ourselves and trust God with the outcome. If we don't pass, then we will see it as God's way of saying WAIT or NOT THIS WAY. But ultimately the results are not on our shoulders, they are in more Capable Hands.

We appreciate your prayers and encouragement. Once this study gets approved we apply for grants while we continue down the paper trail and writing checks we know God will provide the funding for. There are 271 people in our Facebook group...If everyone gave $10 we would have enough for our Dossier! Imagine the possibilities if we all work together to bring this child home!

I look forward to those miraculous moments. We look forward to sharing these exciting moments with you!

Sin portrayed


I was moved last night, at first in awe but then it quickly turned to disgust and hatred. As I watched dancers Kayla and Kapono portray the power of addictions on So You Think You Can Dance, I was struck to my core. As Nathan and I kept rewinding it and watching it over and over again we began to see the similarities of this drama and what sin does to us. That is when my feelings turned to disgust...not for the dancers, but for the power addictions and sin itself have over us. We go back to it again and again, it tears us to shreds and we cry, and scream only to beg for more. This is a powerful picture. Watch it for yourself with the image of sin (portrayed by the guy) and us (portrayed by the girl) in your mind.

(object) (embed)

Buy stolen stuff


My mom pointed me to a new website this week. Its called The Property Room. Its a place where the stuff the police department has confiscated from people they arrest, is sold at low ball prices to anyone willing to bid for it. Its like ebay for stolen stuff that was not able to be returned to its original owner. Pretty cool and pretty funny if you ask me!

Check it out HERE.

It's go time!


I have been talking about training for another marathon for several months. Because I am so out of shape I am going to have to start at square one again. Then last month I stated to my husband that July was the month I would get serious about working out & running again.

Well today is the first day of July and in honor of that fact, I went to the local running store, had my feet tested and bought a new pair of running shoes (a gift from my dad for my birthday- which was 2 months ago, Im such a slacker.)

Anyway, here I go again.

Gigi and Bobo


(image) Many of you were prayerfully a part of my life when my mom and stepdad moved here then had to move to Phoenix, AZ less than a year later due to the lack of jobs here in Naples, FL. It was really hard to see them go. Well the difficulty didn't end there. Less than a year after moving to Phoenix they both lost their jobs on the same day. I was so angry with my stepdad's employers who promised him up and down that his job was secure enough to move back across country for it and then they let him go anyway. This hardship brought my parents to a decision point and what it really boiled down to was this: they couldn't make decisions on where to live based on jobs anymore. So they turned to what they could depend on, family. Now my 2 sisters, 1 brother and I all live at different ends of the US (FL, CA, UT and NH) so they did some traveling to figure out which location would best fit their needs and abilities at this point in their life and settled on....drum roll please...Naples, FL. That's right, they moved back! I thought I had lost my chance to live near family but what a gift to be given for the second time. They returned to Naples a few weeks ago and have found a great condo just 5 or so minutes from our house! They are still looking for jobs but thankfully aren't dependent on them to be able to stay here. Please continue to pray that they will find something either full or part time, just to keep busy and meet new people if not for the financial assistance as well. I feel tremendously grateful to have them so close and I look forward to doing life with them, again.

PS this blog post was written in response to being asked what was going on with my parents and the confusion of my Twitters talking about them being here and not knowing why they were in town. Hope this clears things up!

To see past posts about their story go HERE HERE HERE



Some friends of mine needed a photographer for their impromptu wedding before the groom was deployed...for some reason they called me. I don't do weddings but it was low-key, on the beach and she is a girl from the youth group so I said YES!

Then I started shaking. I am afraid of weddings. I always say no to weddings. What about weddings make me nervous? The looming fact that if I don't get it right the first time, then I am screwed. I typically run in the other direction but the family seemed forgiving enough. So I said my prayers and tried to rest easy. Then the day of the wedding came and it was rainy. Quick change, now in the chapel at our church. Ok another thing I am afraid of is working with flashes. I don't understand them and I am not good with them so this was a double whammy for me: Inside and wedding- YIKES!! I tried to play it cool the entire time I was there but I was sweating bullets. Especially when the batteries in my flash decided to die on me. I did my best and some of the shots turned out well so I hope they are pleased with the uneducated, unconfident, and unrehearsed results. Here are a few of my favorites.

(image) (image) (image)


Congrats Taylor and Kylie Hayes!

Family Pictures


One of my students loves photography and is soooo much better at it then I am. Since I can't afford the photographers I like and don't like the photographers I can afford, I asked her to do some family shots for me. We played around and posed a few times & they turned out amazing! Here are a few of my favorites.

There are more...many more. Go to my Facebook account to check out the entire album!

Our adoption letter


ADOPTION: TO TAKE BY CHOICE INTO A RELATIONSHIP AS ONE’S OWNAt the age of 19 I, Bethany, felt deep in my heart a call to international missions. For some the “where” is not clear but for me, it always has been: Africa. I began dreaming of a life in a red dirt hut working with African children on a daily basis. After I got married those plans were put on hold while Nathan prayed through his length of calling toward Africa. In 2006 Nathan and I made a trip to Uganda that confirmed in our hearts that we were indeed BOTH called to lifetime missions through international adoption. However when we returned to the states we were discouraged to learn that Uganda was not open for international adoption. We prayed and waited that something would change and a way to adopt would present itself. In the meantime we searched the WORD and found that adoption is clearly God’s heart. It says in Ephesians 1:5, “…He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.” There are roughly 100 million orphans around the world and if God can adopt us into His family and call us His own, we too should feel called to follow His example by adopting. So this year we committed to taking the steps toward “legal guardianship” which is available in Uganda but very difficult to navigate through by yourself. A few months into that I received an email from a friend thrilling us with the news that Uganda was now open and that Holt International ( was offering assistance toward adoption from that country. PRAISE GOD! We jumped online, learned as much as we could, attended a web seminar, requested the information packet and completed the application. We could not be more excited to see yet another promise God has placed in our hearts coming to pass in His perfect timing.As many of you know, adoption is a costly process. Please trust that we will be doing everything we can by applying for grants and scholarships along the way but some of the steps have to be completed before we can qualify for those. The first steps are the application and homestudy. This is performed by a social worker and quite simply they are called in to evaluate our home life. Upon approval we begin what is know as the “paper pregnancy” where we complete a dossier telling the Ugandan government about ourselves in great detail and depth. The next step is our child placement stage where they will send us as much information as they can attain about our adoptive child and send it to us for “approval.” Then we arrange travel and go to Uganda to pick up our new child and bring him/her home.So what are we asking for? Help. We believe God has already provided the money we need to fulfill this calling He has placed on our family. We also believe that some of it has been placed in your care. All we ask is that you take a moment to prayerfully consider if what you have been given might be in part to help us on this journey of expanding our family. We know these are tough times but every little bit helps.The cost coming up most quickly is for our homestudy. We will be working with Adoption Home Study Services ( and need to raise $1,100 as quickly as possible.Is that all? No, this is simply a step. But it’s a step toward a miracle. As we continue, the costs will continue. Once we get through the homestudy phase we can apply for grants to help supplement for other parts of the process. We will likely call on you again to help with what is not provided after pursuing those options. For a full breakdown of our costs refer to the attached sheet[...]

A wake up call


A friend of mine is working in Uganda, Africa at a babies home and periodically she sends out updates letting us know how to pray for them. When I read her most recent letter I was moved to tears at the thought that somehow, so many people STILL don't understand how different and hard things are for the children there. Here is what she said, quite simply:"I hope that you are all doing well! I am doing great, I have settled back into life here nicely! And I am really enjoying it! The last week or two has been very eventful!Last weekend some of us volunteers took one of the children ‘Abdul’ out for his 5th birthday, we also took out his friends, some of the special needs children at the babies’ home. It was a lot of fun and they all really enjoyed it! On Wednesday we had a birthday party for all of the children that have a birthday in June.This week has also been exciting for Abdul because he is going to Kenya for evaluation and possibly surgery to diagnose some of his difficulty eating, due to being fed acid as a baby. I just ask if you could pray for him as he is there that everything goes smoothly and that it is successful. And also for the volunteer Molly that has gone with him!Today I took some of the children out to the Watoto village “Bbira” for a visit, to get familiar and spend some time there before they move there this Friday.We took some of the girls out to pierce their ears on Friday, this is for their protection, because it makes them less likely to be abducted or used for child sacrifice, because they are not completely “pure” if that’s the right word...There are about 25 to 30 children moving up, it is both a sad and happy occasion, because although we will miss them, it will be good for them to be in a family, and have plenty of room to run around and explore!I am loving every single day here! I look forward to hearing from you as well! Thank you for loving me and supporting me!"Look at that again... A 5 year old trying to recover from being fed acid as a baby. Girls getting their ears pierced as a way of protection against abduction and use as human sacrifices. This is reality to these people folks. How can you hear something like this and not DO something? How can a person not be willing to make a sacrifice to help these helpless kids? Here are some places to start:OUR ADOPTION FUND- we are adopting a child from Uganda Africa right now!WATOTO BABIES HOME (BULRUSHES)- This is where our friend is volunteering and its owned and operated by the organization we served with while we were there in 2006.INVISIBLE CHILDREN- Motivated by the unseen war in Northern Uganda, Invisible Children was created by three young filmmakers with a singular mission: To use the power of stories to change lives around the world.[...]



Late Friday night I returned from a 5 day missions trip with our youth choir. (image) This year we went to Immokalee, FL. It is about 45 minutes from Naples and is considered one of the poorest communities in the state.

SIDE NOTE: Ironic don't you think, that the poorest and richest communities in the state are within the same county?

We took with us 38 students from 6th-12th grade to serve the nearby town and people. Originally we were intending to do "backyard Bible club" types of ministry but the week before, plans fell through and the whole trip changed.
(image) Instead of having a ton of interaction with kids, we would be doing a wide variety of service projects through organizations such as IHOPE and Timber Ridge Community Center as well as not only serving, but eating dinner with the residents of Friendship House Homeless Shelter each day.

It was an amazing time! We learned about flexibility, God's ultimate purpose being fulfilled, how our attitude reflects our heart condition & how there are no limits to what God can do through a willing person. I watched kids grow up in a matter of days and I pray the desire they have now for serving the needs of our neighbors will only continue to burn in their hearts as time wears on.

I always love going on trips like these not only b/c its a break from the norm or because I love missions but also b/c its an opportunity to know these youth beyond merely face recognition. I teach 12th graders but I don't often get to know the guys and girls that are in the other grades due to family obligations. This past week I met and spent time with some amazing teenagers.
I walked away from this trip with so many things but mostly with a renewed hope in the future and it being placed in the hands of the next generation.

Nana & Pop


For the past week or so we have had Nathan's parents in town. I affectionately call them MamaJ and Dr. Bob. It has been such a blessing to have them here so that I could go on the Lightforce (youth choir) mission's trip this year. I will blog about that trip next. But this is post is about them.
(image) (image)
I grew up spending weeks during the summers with my grandparents & that is always something I wanted our kids to experience too. Jaxon has gone to KY on many occasions and the Gaddis' have stayed here with him/them a few times as well. Its such a precious time for every one involved.

Now if we can just get to see our nephews more often, we should be good.

Better pictures


Here are some better pictures of the new look Jax is sporting. He tells everyone he went from surfer hair to rockstar hair! Too cute.(image)

Big change


For 4 years my son's hair has been long. We love the surfer look and he fit the profile perfectly. But this summer we decided to change things up a bit & cut his hair. I even allowed Nathan to do the cutting- YIKES! Nathan did great though!

Im not sure how I feel about the new look yet since I LOOOOVED having his hair long. But there are moments I like the new do in a different way. A good thing is that it will help keep Jaxon from overheating this summer. Florida summers are HOT! Plus it will grow back- his hair grows so fast! Enjoy the journey through photos.
(image) (image) (image)
This is what it looks like flat
This is what it looks like REALLY spiked!
I like it best somewhere in the middle- no pictures of that yet

I'll take one Jesus to go please!


Last night I was walking my high school students through the following verses.

John 15:1-8 (The Message) “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.

Then something I have heard a thousand times stood out. In verse four Jesus tells us to LIVE in Him. In other versions its ABIDE or REMAIN. This is a constant. It means continually being plugged into Christ. Yet often times we have the "Jesus to-go" mentality. We attend our services, Bible studies or Christian events to get what we want/need from them and then hit the road.

Here is the imagery I used last night to explain the difference of what this verse is asking us to do and what we tend to do:

Imagine a bowl filled with punch and to the side a plastic cup. Pour some punch into the cup-This represents Christ in you. You can see Him, and you can conveniently take Him with you wherever you go. You might lose some of His presence (evaporate, spill out as you walk etc), but who cares, “once saved always saved!” But is that sufficient for you? Is that enough? Or would you rather it be like this? Place the cup inside the punch bowl-This is you in Christ. You are so engulfed in Him that all anyone can see when they look at you is Christ. You go where He goes and you are always full of His Spirit when you are in Him.

Notice the differences? Typically we reflect a "Christ in us" attitude where we take Him wherever we go. But Jesus desires an "us in Christ" attitude- we go where He goes.

That's what this verse asks us to do but why? So that we will have life, bear fruit, and grow. The longer a piece of fruit is away from its vine, the more it decays and rots. The same takes place the longer we are away from our life-giving Source, Jesus.

He doesn't want to see us just take some Jesus to go. He tells us to remain, abide, and live with our roots in His love constantly.

A friend is...


As a child I thought a friend was someone that I played with everyday, that lived in my neighborhood and wouldn't call me names at school.

As a teenager I thought a friend was someone that did the same activities I did, liked the same music I did and wouldn't steal my boyfriend.

As a college student I thought a friend was someone who helped me study at all hours of the night, tell me he was wrong every time I fought with a guy, and took a lot of pictures with me to decorate my apartment with.

As an adult I thought a friend was the person standing closest to me in my wedding, someone who threw me surprise parties, and would come over unannounced just because.

As a mom I thought a friend was someone willing to babysit for free, cook my family dinner if I was sick, or hire a housecleaner when the laundry was overwhelming me.

I am learning that a friend could be all of those things but its much, much deeper than that. A friend is someone who loves YOU. Not who you are as a friend to them, as a neighbor, as a classmate or roommate, as a bride's maid, as a wife, or as a mom. A person who loves you... AS YOU ARE. They don't have to be like you at all but if the love is there, the friend is there. They never have to question your heart because they know yours as well as they know their own. They tell you like it is and not how you want to hear it. They challenge you to be true to yourself. They challenge you to do the right thing- no matter what it costs. They challenge you to take responsibility for yourself and let the rest of the junk, work itself out.

I am learning that I only have a few friends. I know many but not many know me.

Memorial day


Look the slide is red, Jaxon is in white and Jovie is wearing blue. Thats as American Flag looking as we get.(image)