Random Acts of Kindness

Yesterday I experienced 2 situations that may seem trivial to you but they were people encounters that brought a smile to my face and reminded me of how the little things can matter so much.

Encounter 1

As I was going through the McDonald’s drive thru I asked the young lady if she had any anti-bacterial wipes and she kindly said “no Ma’am”.   I didn’t necessarily expect her to have them so I was not disappointed or upset.    As I waited for my food, I saw her run back and forth the front counter area rather briskly and she opened the window and handed me a plastic cup that she had squirted a generous amount of Purell into the bottom  of.   I was blown away by the extra effort she took to satisfy me.   When was the last time you had an employee in a drive thru  go above and beyond to make you happy?

Later That Day… Encounter 2

After filling my car up at the gas station, I realized I forgot to throw out my McDonald’s bag.    So I pulled up to the trash can and tossed my bag out and … missed.   I started to put my car in park with the intention to get out and pick it up off the ground.  As I was doing that a young man saw me, smiled, put his hand up to stop me from getting out and ran over and picked it up for me.   It’s not like he was standing right there, he truly went out of his way to save me from getting out of my car.   Again, I was touched by the kindness of this young man.

My Point..

Not to minimalize the two acts of service but I am saddened by how these two small actions caught me by surprise.  I was surprised because rarely do people go above and beyond to demonstrate kindness.    I seems like  it is the exception not the rule.   Neither one of these acts cost them a thing and neither one of them received anything in return but a thank you.   Yet both of them made me smile and impacted me greatly on the matter of human kindness.   Its immeasurable!   In the customer service world it is called “surprise and delight”    But it was more than a smile they gave me because their acts sent me an underlying  message…. I mattered, I was noticed, and someone cared.

Self Reflection

So I ask myself “Am I so preoccupied with my own agenda that I a miss the opportunities that are before me?”

Oh Lord,  Open my eyes  to see the world through your eyes, to see the opportunity to surprise and delight a stranger.  Open my ears to listen to what is not said but needs to be heard.    Give me words to encourage someone I may not even know who needs to be encouraged.  Open my heart to love others more than myself.  Make me an instrument of yours.

Merry Christmas to you all .  May you be the instrument that God uses to show someone that they matter, that they are noticed and they are cared about.

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers – not because you must, but because you  are willing, as God wants you to be;  – 

2 Peter 5:2






Who is defining you?

Kenz and Hals

Often times people have said to me that I did a great job raising my girls.  I am always quick to respond “not me but the Holy Spirit” and that “I was not alone because a community of people helped me”.  As a Mom, I fell short in so many ways but somehow my girls have forgotten those shortcomings and mercy has given them amnesia.

But in all seriousness, I heard a message tonight at church that summed up what I believe was the platform for Mackenzie and Halston to grow into God loving, tenderhearted, clear thinking and focused young women with a clear vision of where God is calling them.

I was so moved by the message that I felt I wanted to blog about it because although the message was about our kids it applies to us as individuals and also our marriages.   The credit belongs to Pastor Tyron Caswell of Milestone Church.  As the Youth Pastor his 3 points were from the perspective of the youth.

1.Recognize that culture is trying to define them

He makes some powerful statements.  Like if we don’t take the time to define our kids then culture and society will. Ouch!!, We must be present, encourage, ask questions and listen.  I like how he says that when our kids ask “why?” that this is a great opportunity to define and clarify.   Additionally, he states that it is important for them to have multiple anchor points such as pastors, leaders and families that are vested in their lives.  A Community

2. Model for them and introduce them to the voice of God

Evidently 1500 times God says “listen” or “hear:” in the bible.   Pastor Tyron then says that we have to teach our kids how to hear God’s voice.  It is their only hope!.  How do we do it? We do this by showing evidence of it in our own lives and praying together with them.  Oh thank you Holy Spirit

3.Place them in environments that will reinforce Gods voice.

Although having a well rounded child is good it’s important to keep  priorities straight.   Sports, Music, Theatre, Dance, etc can be good but should not be a priority over church, youth group, mission trips, service projects or bible study.   He continues to say when our kids leave and go out on their own, sports is not their saving grace.  Oh good point

I believe that if you were to ask the girls they would agree that those 3 points were the platform for their growing years and prevalent in their lives.  Ha, so there you have it, I was partially right.. , the Holy Spirit and Community!

But what moved me was the application to my own life.

As adults we can ask ourselves the same questions.  Who is defining Me?  Is my culture and society defining me or am I defined by God? Am I surrounding myself with multiple anchor points?  Am I spending time with God and “hearing” his voice?   Am spending my time investing in God’s kingdom by using my gifts to impact others?

In the same way I looked at my marriage and asked myself the same.   Who is defining us? Are we surrounding ourselves with other God loving souls to hold us accountable, encourage us and challenge us?  Are we spending time praying and studying together to hear God’s voice?   Are we using our marriage as a means to glorify God and serve and love others?

So how bout you?  Who and or what is defining you?

Gideon’s Defining Moment:

When the Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon He said “The Lord is with you mighty warrior”            Judges 6:12


        Mackenzie on Mission In India                    Halston on Mission (VBS)- Honduras

                      July 2015                                                        August 2015


Finding my way back home

Wow, what a year it has been! Since last August Halston started college, Makenzie got engaged, I got a promotion, Pete and a relocated across the country, we sold a home, bought a home, I learned a new position,  I traveled a lot, we made new friends, Mackenzie and Dj married, and we finally began to adjust to an empty nest life.

Its not a wonder with all that change my heart would be unsettled with anxiety.   Now for those of you that know me, I am not one to suffer from anxiety so this unsettled feeling was quite foreign to me and one that lurked in the shadows.  No matter what I Just couldn’t shake that feeling.

I struggled to identify the source of the issue.  One thing I knew was missing was the intimacy I knew with God prior to this whirlwind year.  I knew that I had let the activities of life consume me and somehow I  had lost my way.   Try as I might I could not find my way back to that place of peace and connection with God.  As Tony Evans says in the book Dry Bones Dancing, ” just because you’re in the crowd doesn’t mean you’re making the connection”.   Oh, that was me!

One night, as an attempt to be productive I unpacked one of our few remaining boxes.  In it, a book caught my attention called The Calvary Road  It not only caught my attention but it was saying loud and clear “Read Me”.  So on the coffee table it went.  The next morning I awoke at 4 am wide awake. What was I to do at 4 am?   So I picked up the book and began to read it.    I couldn’t put it down.    The book is about personal revival and how we stand in the way of the fullness of God.   Page by page God began to show me how I had taken the reigns away from him and allowed the flurry of activity this past year side track me from my first love, HIM.   The anxiety that I felt was not the kind that comes from just having a lot on your plate, but rather from being separated from Christ.

It is no coincidence that anxiety filled my soul, that was God calling out to me.  It is no coincidence that I felt compelled to unpack that box, that was God guiding my steps.  It is no coincidence that I was restless and wide awake at 4am.  That’s what I call that a divine  appointment!

For 3 days I meditated and soul searched and allowed God to humble me so that I could find my way back.

Someone once said to me, “you have never been closer to God then when you first believed”  I had to ponder that but understand it because it  is there at the foot of the cross that we recognize that we are broken, sinful and cannot save ourselves.  It Is there that we understand the magnitude of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us so that we could be saved. It is there that we laid down our lives and allowed God to bath us in His unmerited grace and undeserving mercy.  It is there that we were  purified from all unrighteousness.  It doesn’t get any better than that!

It is there that I find my resting my place, at the foot of the cross.  This is home. This is where my heart is!


Its all in the name

So why Up In the Sycamore Tree you ask?

One of the things I have pressed upon our friends who blog while on mission is to not stop blogging just because they are back in the states.   My words came right back at me. Although I did not blog in the Dominican Republic while on mission, I did journal every evening and documented all the amazing ways God revealed Himself to me.   I know that God is present here in my day to day to life in the same way He was in the D.R.  So what’s different?  What’s different is that I do not intentionally seek him or look for him in the same way.    Thus, the name of the blog.   Zacchaeus was a man in the bible and he was short man.  He wanted  to “see” Jesus but the crowds were so large that he could not see over or through so he climbed up in a sycamore tree to see Him.  Not only did he get to see Him but Jesus called him down and went to stay at his house!   Although I  am not fighting physical crowds, I am amazed at how life crowds my time, my mind, my focus and my passions.    Up in the Sycamore Tree is symbolic of my desire to seek Him and see Him in my everyday life.   This is one of my favorite pictures from the Dominican.  This picture reminds me of how amongst the poverty and toils of each day, there is laughter and joy in the Lord.