Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sometimes the answer to the question is "suitcase"

Asking Why

"The moment the word 'why' crosses your lips, you are doing theology."
                                          From When Life & Beliefs Collide by Carolyn Curtis James

Below is a clip off of a friend's wall on Facebook. I have deleted everyone name but mine to protect the innocent (dismantled the links) . However, it is publicly out there in my activity in this social media.

Mother #1
J. asked me "why" today for the first time ever. I think the day that I've dreaded for years may have arrived.
  • FB Friend Why?

  • Mother #2 S. LOVED when that happened with “oldest child.” His enthusiasm really encouraged me with that stage. And, yes, it is a stage.

  • Catherine Mullaney I certainly hope it is not a stage. This is inspiration for a blog post. All three of my children 20, 21, 23 still all ask the question why and plenty of other questions as well. We are the only created beings who have the ability to think and reason. (I better save the rest for the blog post)

There are things from my raising, training and loving my kids when they were very young that are very vivid. So, I am very aware of the question "why?"being a way to delay obedience and in our house, "delayed obedience was disobedience." Most of the time it was OK to ask but it takes great discernment and focused attention to help our children know when to ask questions and particularly the why question.

I would say that the first 7 years of a child's life that the number one thing to learn is how to joyfully obey mum and dad. And we encourage them to do it with alacrity.  Humble obedience is the key to the rest of learning. One of the saddest comments that other mothers in particular would say to me was "I could never homeschool because my kids would not listen to me." This is NOT the kids fault. Inside I would be screaming, "What?! Are you kidding me? It is your duty as a parent to train your kids to listen and obey." With most of these conversations, I did not have the type of relationship with the other woman to confront her and call her to the carpet.

It helped to say, "obey first and then we can talk about the reason or reasons behind our command." We did our best to not wield our authority over our kids with the "because I said so." There were times that it had to be said but we also wanted our kids to understand. For us to bring them up under our loving authority meant we were cultivating a loving relationship with each of them.

When our children were quite young we memorized Proverbs 2:1-11 together. And come to think of it we did not memorize verses that might read something like, "children obey your parents" because we were learning to live that and we did our best to remind our children that we too were under authority, needing to be obedient to the LORD.

My son, if you accept my words
   and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
   and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight
   and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
   and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
   and find the knowledge of God.
Proverbs 2:1-5

The verbs in this proverb are fantastic. It will not be long before the little ones who are the children of the "why" mamas are asking questions like, "Why did Jesus have to die?" "Why do we believe that Christmas is when we celebrate Jesus' birth and my friend says it is about Santa and getting presents?" "Why do we thank God for the food?" "Why is it called Good News if Jesus had to die?" Of course, the other questions starting with How, When, Where, What, and Who will follow as well.  

I think that Christian parents desire and pray for their children to know the LORD. And if we were to silence them into unquestioning obedience, we would crush their spirits and there would be a millstone awaiting us.

Each and everyone is an embodied soul. The wonder and questioning of the little ones help us to remember that we are children too with a Father who welcomes our questions, our fears and our doubts.  It starts with us knowing and trusting in who our Heavenly Father is. Yes, this takes time and patience and discernment and wisdom.

My favorite story about questions is from the Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. When they got a little older and started asking questions that they were not ready hear the answers to we would speak one word, "suitcase" and our kids knew what that meant because we used the following story to help us along the way.
“And so seated next to my father in the train compartment, I suddenly asked, "Father, what is sexsin?"
He turned to look at me, as he always did when answering a question, but to my surprise he said nothing. At last he stood up, lifted his traveling case off the floor and set it on the floor.
Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?" he said.
I stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning.
It's too heavy," I said.
Yes," he said, "and it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It's the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger, you can bear it. For now you must trust me to carry it for you.”

If we deny our children their questions and curiosities about life they will find someone else who is willing to listen, explain, and lovingly guide either to the Truth or to the ways of the world.  

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Lighting fires in hearts and minds

Education is TOO important

Before we go any further, we probably should define our terms:
according to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary


1. a : the action or process of educating or of being educated; also : a stage of such a process
b : the knowledge and development resulting from an educational process
2 : the field of study that deals mainly with methods of teaching and learning in schools


a : to provide schooling for
b : to train by formal instruction and supervised practice especially in a skill, trade, or profession
a : to develop mentally, morally, or aesthetically especially by instruction
b : to provide with information : inform
: to persuade or condition to feel, believe, or act in a desired way


a : to cause to know something
b : to cause to know how
c : to accustom to some action or attitude
d : to cause to know the disagreeable consequences of some action
: to guide the studies of
: to impart the knowledge of
a : to instruct by precept, example, or experience
b : to make known and accepted
: to conduct instruction regularly in


a : capable of being taught
b : apt and willing to learn
: favorable to teaching
(originally started in August 2011 when we could see the finish line of educating our children at home which "formerly" concluded in December 2011)

Now I am racking my brain to remember what I wanted to say, since "Education is TOO important" is not a complete thought. I don't know what I was thinking at the time but there is a lesson that I have continued to learn since the age of 19, that lesson is that I need to remain teachable.  I have been listening to Andrew Kern of CiRCE Institute who says, "When you say, 'I don't know' then you become teachable." Frankly, I believe that all human beings need to be humble and be willing to learn, change their minds, look at things from a different perspective. We will never know all that there is to know.  

It would not be outside of my character to have thought, "Education is TOO important to just be left to the 'professionals.'" 
Let's think about that.

Education is too important to just be left to the professionals. 
(I thought that a calming photography might slow us down to contemplate that one thought. )

I am not a professional educator. However, along with my husband we have taught our own children who have gone on to college and have done quite well in those settings. (It is with sober judgement that I am able to declare this.) And I know that there are parents out there who have no business educating their own children and equally, and unfortunately, there are teachers out there who have no business being in the classroom.  
Teachers go through all that schooling are issued a certification in order to teach but there is something lacking that can not be learned in a book. Knowledge does not equal wisdom. Knowledge does not equal inspiration. Knowledge does not equal creative engagement with your students. To merely be a dispenser of knowledge limits both the student and the educator and a lot of times that is what education looks like. 

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." This quote is attributed to Plutarch and is my philosophy of education in a nutshell. After equipping students with the tools of learning, isn't education an opportunity to help students to think and reason for themselves? Don't we want them to learn and discover on their own as well as learn from others? Once I light a fire in the heart, mind and soul of a student, I want to see it ROAR! 

For me to say, "Education is TOO important to just be left to the professionals," is quite an assertion on my part. And I would say that it comes down to what is your definition of education. At the beginning of the post, I gave a number of definitions from Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Now I would like to turn to Noah Webster's 1828 definition which I think offers a broader scope. 


EDUCA'TION, n. [L. educatio.] The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties.

When it comes to children this is a great definition. I have written and said before that I do not consider myself a teacher but I am an educator.  It has been a great experience. I haven't quite put it to bed yet. And at the end of the post from June 24 there I have indicated some of my concerns. 

Firstly, all children are naturally curious. They are curious about the world around them and other people and their own little selves. This curiosity should be guided never squashed. 

Secondly, education is not just about acquiring knowledge. Of course knowledge has its place in the spectrum of education but it is not the whole. Knowledge is only useful if you have the wisdom to be able to apply it. 

Thirdly, teaching is an art form. It requires you to be able to inspire those you teach. In order to inspire someone you need to get to know your students and what drives them. When you discover that you can apply the right spark to ignite the fire in each of them. 

Lastly and certainly the most important, remember that your students are people first. Those you teach are equal in value to you because each and every person is an imagine bearer. The first word about us as people is "God created man in his own image." Our students need to know that we care about them as people that matter. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Child's cry for Justice (Everyone is Naughty)

"because children know that indeed they are not good and therefore when they hear a story of the clash of good and evil they cry out for justice and at the same time are overjoyed by mercy."
(December 14, 2012) (It is a day that some of us will remember as the Newtown shooting where 20 children and 7 (not 6) people were killed and yes, the man who committed the crime, his life counted as well, but I don't think he knew that.)
The quote however was from a podcast by Angelina Stanford entitled "Imago Dei and the Redemptive Power of Fantasy."  It made me want to repent for not having the vision and discernment to allow my children to read Harry Potter when they were growing up. If you have children 9 or 10 and older and you are reading this post, consider having your children read the series or enjoy the books together as a family. You can listen to the talk here
And I am sure that I wrote this quote prior to hearing the news about Newtown. However, I would like to take this opportunity to make some comments on the "Everyone is Naughty." Anyone who has had children knows that we do not have to teach little ones to throw a fit, throw their food on the floor or grab a toy out of another hand. They just DO IT because everyone is naughty.
If you find yourself out in public between Thanksgiving and Christmas you may overhear because you can not help but hear , "You better be good or Santa will not bring you anything for Christmas!" and not as common these days, "Naughty kids don't get anything for Christmas so you better cut it out!"
Usually, I just need to remove myself from the situation. Number 1 most of these parents are bold face liars because it is an empty threat. Number 2 It is one of the poorest examples of parenting. Number 3 it is a belief that our natural state is one of goodness.
(Let me just say that I believe people, every single human person is made in the image of the Living God)
Human beings are good is a common belief. It is that belief that makes people say, I can not believe that a person could kill those innocent children. Yet those same people are the ones who do not value the life of the Newtown shooter. So much so, that he is not named as one of the ones who lost their life that day. It was a heinous crime and I am not trying to justify his actions but it is just a matter of trying to understand mankind. Some people's naughtiness is more noticeable than others, but I think that it is harder to believe that overall people are good when it is easy to see the suffering brought upon us by our sins.

Monday, June 24, 2013


Bucket LIST

My friend said to me, "Put it on the bucket list" I said "First you have to have a bucket list to put it on" we laughed together and the conversation continued. But afterwards I was thinking, I am just SO grateful to have a bucket. What I mean is, I have a life. Hopes and dreams and desires.
(July 2011.  Anyone who has spent time with me knows that I have a notebook, index card or Endicott stationery at any given time and that I am a list maker. The Bucket List sounds like fun and who knows perhaps some day I will make one. For now, I am just going to do my best to live life to the fullest.)

If Christians are beggars looking for "bread," then we need to get out of the kitchen, into the throne room, on our knees with The Book open (August 2011) (Jesus is the Bread of Life. Jesus is the WORD  who became flesh. We are living in between the "already" and the "not yet" and these Words of His, Jesus said that they will not pass away.)

The Drafts
(emails never sent with some decent quotes)

"What we must do is to stop regarding unpleasant or unexpected things as interruptions of real life. The truth is that interruptions are real life, the real life that God sends us day by day. What we call our real life is but a phantom of our imagination." C.S. Lewis

If you debate for a second when God has spoken, it is all up. Never begin to say - "Well, I wonder if He did speak?" Be reckless immediately, fling it all out on Him. You do not know when His voice will come, but whenever the realization of God comes in the faintest way imaginable, recklessly abandon. It is only by abandon that you recognize Him You will only realize His voice more clearly by recklessness. Oswald Chambers

Dan just said to Katie, "I question whether Mr and Mrs Mort are really human, I think they are angels."

"There are people in AA that are not professing Christians that are more dependent on God's grace, more surrendered to God in a general sense, believe more in letting God be God in all circumstances, more grateful to be alive than a lot of Christians that I have met." CM

The Love of Christ

The whole self esteem movement makes the gospel unnecessary. If you keep telling little Janie that she is a "good" girl and she needs to be good. Romans 3 says there is NO ONE Good, no not one.

(February 2012) 

Reckless? Ruthless? Reformed? Redeemable?

"I just want him to be safe"

Safety is one of my mother's highest values. She just wants my brother to be safe and yes, I want my husband to be safe too. However, safety is overvalued
but the safest place to be is smack dab in the middle of God's will which sometimes means we are in a dangerous place, physically and often relationally. (February 2011...some kind of snow storm, I imagine)

Failing to Love and Acting in Love

It is to be our goal as followers of Christ to aim at always operating out of love. My son Michael has been involved for the last year in a video project with 6 of his friends. This is their last week, so I am working my way through the videos wanting to watch each one. After viewing two of them, I thought: Go to the children and they will speak the truth.

Two of these younger sisters in Christ asked questions that had to do with love and it got me to thinking. Michael and I just returned from two qualifying NCFCA tournaments, one of them was on the campus of Covenant College where my daughter Grace is a student and was on duty this week. We got to spend a good amount of time together and I am grateful for that.

This year I returned to tournament life after taking a full year off. The main reason for my return is this is Michael's last competitive season. And as a result of that decision I, like most parents in the league, want to be of service, contribute and encourage our students to develop their oratorical and analytical skills in the competitive arena by working on tournament staff.

At the GA Open the last tournament we attended was a mixed bag. I came not just as a parent of a competitor but also as a mother of a college student who happened to be on campus that week. My desire was to be of service when I could and to spend some time with my daughter. For the most part I did operate out of love.
(March 2011. Where I was both a trouble maker and a trouble shooter.)

Sometimes we are introduce to things that come in the post not addressed to us yet are available to read, like a magazine. It is a magazine about style called W which stands for who, what, where, when and why. Today I decided that I would read the Editor's Letter which was entitled, "Society Now"

Gossip and intrigue are at the heart of social life. (March 2011 It is an unfortunate commentary on 21st century life in USA)

Another page turned......

Being present for the chapter we are closing, Our last MassHOPE convention concluded yesterday.
(April 2010 and to think that was over 3 years ago. There are things that I am concerned about concerning the Christian homeschooling community. Two of those would be: how womanhood is viewed and the messages that the girls are getting: especially the idolatry of the family and secondly, "an idealistic Christian view where virtue is almost guaranteed and the reality of being sinners who are raising sinners is a topic not only avoided but not even acknowledged.) 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Clean out and posting continued

The other day I was thinking about the news. The home page for one of my browsers is The BBC. On occasion I read the Boston Herald or USA Today. Almost daily I listen to NPR on the radio.
(May 2010 Some of my readers may judge me for listening to NPR, some refer to National Propaganda Radio but really, ALL news sources have their bias)

Reading Blogs
I have been reading and started following more blogs, every time I have sat down to write a blog so here are some interesting places that I have gone to on the Internets, the web, and all the other goofy ways that people say when they go surfing on a up.....


(August 29 2010)
Does anyone really ever say, "linking up"? I probably just made that up. The "Inspiring" link that year has long since past but those growing young people did a reunion week last December. You can view that week here. The other three well, yeah they are thought provoking, heartwarming and interesting but I really don't read those regularly.

Genesis God a refuge and a consuming fire! (January 25, 2011) And we think that we can fully define God. Oh finite ones, we are so finite.

"Live and let live" is a good principle but it should not always be applied. We can take it to the Nth degree and become cold and unfeeling toward those around us. Other times, we struggle to know when to step in and be a part of someone else's storm and when to step back. These are probably the most difficult decisions to make especially when you are invited into the storm simply by being a part of someone' s life. When we love someone and they need us, we want to ride out the storm with them, lay our lives down for them. But as the storm grows and includes others it can be hard to navigate, to decide to leave one person to go help another or to be standing in the middle, viewing destruction in one part of the storm and not knowing whether or not to report to those who have already suffered so much in the storms of life. Do we take it upon ourselves to burden them further or do we carry it for them?

There is One who spoke a word and the storm obeyed His voice and all became still. This stillness is available to us in the midst of the storms of life we can still find ourselves in Christ and know the peace that surpasses all understanding. It has been said, that life has a way of throwing the unexpected right in our path, but that we all ought to expect the unexpected.

The visible storms are accompanied by internal ones. When we are on the outside looking in we have no idea unless a person decided that they want us to know what kind of storm is brewing on the inside. We witnesses a lot of the external ones without even thinking about the internal ones that accompany them.

Perhaps a little disjointed this post but I think you get what I am trying to say.
(written on February 3, 2011 It has been stormy for quite some time in the last few years, I have no idea what I was involved with here. There are just too many storms to filter through for me to figure out which one and that is probably God's mercy.) 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Tag me on the Wall

The Wall
Meeting at the Wall
Talking at the Wall
Smoking while sitting on the Wall
hoisting myself up onto the Wall

(originally started in November 2010)

When I was a kid we wrote on the actual wall.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fate, Forgiveness and Friendship

"It's a life and death situation."
When this line is used in a story either real or fiction, we think of it in the usual way: hanging off the edge of a cliff, being an out of control drug addict, cancer, being held at gun point, etc. you get the picture. We think about the physical life of the person, which in turn ends the social life and the work life. Some people don't think about, believe in or talk about the spiritual life. Some people don't like to talk about what they believe and why they believe it, as a general rule. It means that one would have to stand up for what he/she believes. It can be controversial.

So I have been thinking about mortality and I can't remember a time in my life that I haven't. I remember at 10 years old contemplating the end of my own young life. When people bring it up, I usually don't comment. Even recently a friend said, "maybe you're too young to be thinking about your own mortality." I don't think youth has anything to do with it. Maybe the general happy go lucky youths don't think about it. I guess I had a couple of seasons of not thinking about it but overall it is one of those things that concerns me.
I care about the here and now, a little more about my future and the future of my children but I guess I give a glance heavenward quite often. When I think about people in general, I think of their physical and mental health, emotional well-being and the state of their soul. People and their lives matter and all people are in a life and death situation.
The wages of sin is death. Sin has got to be paid for in order to enter the Presence of a Holy God.
(May 2010)

What prevents a person from accepting forgiveness? In a word pride but the explanation is not that simple to understand or maybe it is. Perhaps, it is light finally dawning on marble head. Perfectionism is the culprit. I don't think that I should make mistakes. I make them and most often I admit them and ask for forgiveness. Intellectually, I understand how important it is to learn from one's mistakes. However, there is a good possibility that what was pronounced regularly, "I may not always be right, but I am never wrong," was also modeled for me. It seems to be ingrained. Like I have an allergic reaction to forgiveness, when I think I have made a mistake that I should not have made. I think to myself, you must pay for that mistake. People can't just let you off the hook.
Some of the most successful people have made lots mistakes: Einstein, Edison, Ford, Hughes and Gates just to
 name a few. The key is to learn from them. I realize that these types of mistakes are not the same as the one's we make when interacting with people and hurting them. However, if I could see that the fact that mistakes is one of the things that ought to bring us together as human beings, then my relationships would continue to grow.
Even though these are two types of mistakes, they both miss the mark. The Oxford dictionary says, "an action or judgement that is misguided or wrong," for their definition of "mistake."
“How many people are completely successful in every department of life? Not one. The most successful people are the ones who learn from their mistakes and turn their failures into opportunities.” – Zig Ziglar
(December 2010)

Learning how to be a friend and finding that it can be a really hard thing to learn.
(December 2010)

We live and die. God keeps saying yes to the human race. People keep getting together (some marry and some don't) and having babies. We still have a planet and the world continues to spin on it's axis and most of us expect the sun to rise in the morning. Yes, this is a bit of a heavy post but that is kind of like life sometimes.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Still on the Pilgrim Highway (drafts to posts cont'd)

One Door Closes..Another Opens

Revelations 3:8
When God leads you to the edge of the cliff, trust Him fully and let go, only 1 of 2 things will happen, either He'll catch you when you fall, or He'll teach you how to fly! 'The power of one sentence! God is going to shift things around for you today and let things work in your favor. God closes doors no man can open & God opens doors no man can close.. If you need God to open, some doors for you...

The above is from an email I received today, the same day that the hot water heater exploded in the cellar we are currently residing in......and in the words of Michael, "yeah, he definitely shifted things around alright" It was an internal explosion but we still experienced lots of wetness and Katie was the one who discovered it. So, I am just wondering, what is next?  

(June 2009 I believe that this was also the day that the freezer at Endicott quit. Fortunately, I did not have to drive back to the store, it just made life interesting. At the time I was running the store (Endicott) for my brother in law.) 


Katie got on the computer after I did, looked in the google search bar which read "Target Locations" and thought "what, is she launching a missile?"
(June 2009....Katie has given me great tips for more effective "googling" since then.) 


In February of 1994 Michael took his first steps and I was in New York City he was back home in Waltham with his dad and sisters. Some may say "no big deal, there are probably tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of kids who do that with a daycare provider every year." Our parenting has been intentional and we decided to educate our children at home and we do our best to be present for these experiences.
Part of our children's education as high schoolers has been to participate in competitive forensics. Yesterday, Katie and Michael set out for the National Championship and I am back here in Massachusetts. I am missing one of the events of their high school years. It is hard for me to miss it and at the same time I know that I am exactly where I am suppose to be: Endicott Variety.
(June 2009 I believe that Nats were in SC at the time and I remember the ache in my heart that week. It was very hard to be left behind and at the same time I had the peace of Christ. It was great to be there for SO many moments and milestones in my children's lives.)

The Kingdom, the Escape, the Walk
Yesterday we gathered with the family of God in Auburn, MA and we heard a word from Brother Ralph and Sister Pauline. Ralph talked about the Kingdom of God being within us and that it is quite possible to not be in it. There are things that keep us from entering in and we must find a way of escape from those things in order to walk in the Spirit and at the same time be in this world and in the flesh.
(This took place at our friends, Ken and ClaraJean's in September of 2009. It reminds me of how rich our pilgrim journey in the Spirit and in the Body has been so far.) 

Monday, June 17, 2013

The stories continue

Tell me the Story
is a book by Max Lucado
We owned it at one time and in story form tells us about creation, forgiveness, redemption and other matters of faith. I sure hope it is in storage somewhere. It was delightfully written and the paintings by Ron Decianni are captivating. (July 2008 Indeed it was in storage which we finally got rid of last spring when we bought our house in Boylston MA. I think Dan will probably add it to his save it for the future grandchildren collection.)

Life is richer and deeper than we know. Are we willing to question? to understand? to find meaning? or are we trudging along? putting our collective noses to the grind stone?

What? How about the economy? the upcoming election?

It is still worth
(October 2008....questions, the meaning and purpose of life.)



Hey there! I have put up the new blog for my raw fiction. So you can check it out anytime or not.

There are so many people that I love! God has been gracious to us.
(October 2008. I still like this story in the making but I never went back to it.)


Sunday Morning December 21, 2008
Writing to you from Sutton, MA where it almost seems like what CS Lewis called Narnia at some point, "where it is always winter but never Christmas." The reign of the white witch I believe. We have our little tree, a few other decorations and the music of course. There is just something different going on. (some might say, "it's the economy stupid") I received a phone call from an older woman last night, I answered and she said hello, then brief silence, she said it's Jules, and I said who are you looking for? and she said Judy, I said you must have to wrong number, Merry Christmas and she said Merry Christmas to you too, dear.
When people say Merry Christmas it is softer not as rushed, like they really mean it. Like they're saying keep your chin up. Times are tough but we can still enjoy the simple things.
Tuesday Morning December 23, 2008 (Ah, winter in New England. This is also the year we had that terrible ice storm. We lost our power for about 10 hours but some people went a week or more without power)


Relationships come in all different flavors. As a traveler, I had to be willing to give my heart to people even if I would only walk through their life and they mine for a matter of days or weeks. It has enriched my life so much. Some people I keep in touch with, some I don't and some may read my blog regularly and are reading this very post and I don't even know it. The point is we are made to live in community and have all kinds of different relationships. (February 2009  We are all travelers and one day we will come to the end of the road and it will be our last day here on earth and then on into eternity. Even for someone who never ventures out of their own parts, it still holds true.)


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bringing back the memories (more drafts)

As you may or may not know our family has been involved with Communicators for Christ ( for the last few years. Last night I took Katie, Michael, along with our friends Dominic and Madeline Penson to a speaking engagement to promote CFC. (March 2008 The website is outdated and the name of the organization has changed. I remember this was one of those last minute speaking engagements. The kids spoke with Tim Nichols of Teenpact, some place near Attleboro, MA. At the time we were living in Hull. This was the beginning of the Chapters program for ICC formerly CFC.)

My aunt use to say, I read the obits first and if my name isn't there, then I can read the rest of the paper.
George Carlin died this past Sunday and my uncle John J. MacDonald died last month.

There is no better place to live then in a home whose foundation is the Lord Jesus Christ.

(written in June 2008. Death is 100%, none of us will get out of here alive. )


Something Bigger than ourselves
There are times in our lives when we are caught up in something much greater than ourselves.
(August 2008. I am not sure what I was thinking about here. It makes me think of something my friend Kathleen use to say: "My life is none of my business.")


In another time and place.....
"What are some of your favorite stories?" the young speaker asked her audience.
"Today my sister is going to share a story with you in a different way. The Butter Battle book by Dr. Suess brought to life."
So many stories to love, to share and to read again. One of my favorite storytellers is George MacDonald.
(September 2008  I remember this event. Grace was introducing Katie at a private school assembly. My kids are pretty skilled at sharing stories.) 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Previously not posted (Drafts continued)


Grace and I stood outside the gate of our apartment complex and looked down the street less than 100 yards away at the intersection. "What could you call that?" I pointed down at the lights.
"Crossroads" she answered as if to read my mind.
"That is where you are right now at this point in your life. We are about this far away from the crossroads. You are not alone, your dad and me, we are with you. And the Lord is with you."
Grace shock her head in agreement. I will hold off on this point until we draw closer to that crossroads.
(written in December of 2006 in Gainesville, FL  I have a vivid memory of that day and part of me wanted to just leave this draft in the "drafts." Fear, faith, reality of life speeding on down the road and not wanting to be one of those parents who cling and attempt to put the breaks on life and make their children remain children. Even now, as much as I do my best to treat them as the adults that they are, I fall into the trap of mirroring my own parents at times and that is SO painful. Dan and I have been graced by God to do it very differently than our parents did in raising our own. We would send Grace off 7 months after I wrote this post and never returned to finish it. And before we sent her off we moved to Charlottesville, VA which would have been move #11 since 2003. And since then all 3 of our children have walked through their own crossroads.)

Book idea while reading Angie's blog June 9th post:
An author encounters a young lady who checks out her books regularly, it is such an honor to have a great influence on a younger generation. (June 10, 2007 I just went back to Angie's blog, Angela Hunt that is, an author that we truly enjoy. Katie introduced us to Angie's work years ago. When we lived in Florida Katie, Grace and Dan got to meet her at a Florida library I believe. So in Angie's post she mentioned a website and I still like the idea. Whether or not, I would write the story is yet to be seen.)

So, we are at it again. The other day I received a phone call and the person on the other end said, "so what are the Mullaneys up to today?" I said packing and the person said for what? I said, we are moving. This individual is not really aware of how we live and was sorry for interrupting but I put his (June 2007...stopped in the middle of the sentence probably needing to attend to the logistics that go along with moving.)

When I was her age . . . .

(this was August 2007 and I could have been thinking of Grace or Katie since they both have August birthdays and those are around the corner.)


"Don't like the weathah, just wait a minute"

or at least 24 hours. This is just one of those sayings that is truly in New England.

 (October 2007 we returned to Massachusetts there was a bit of Indian summer that first week and then a 30-35 degree temperature drop. It is amazing that we have been back in the Commonwealth nearly 6 years.)


Back in Massachusetts
It is good to be back and I say that in all sincerity. Returning to New England for the winter, snow, wind and cold are a part of the package. It is refreshing to be able to experience the seasons again. (December 2007 and I meant every word.)


Jigsaws are also something I enjoy. We usually do one when my mother comes to visit us. At the moment life has been on a bit of fast forward, we now live fairly close to my parents but their hasn't been a chance to visit. I was hoping to do one that my dad gave me. It was the one he did the day I was born, back in the day when dads waited outside of the delivery room. I would like to do it sometime in 2008. (It was not until December 2010 that we actually sat down and did the puzzle when we were snowed in with all the kids home. The puzzle is round and a computer theme. You can see the binary number along the outer edge - the circumference .) 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Drafts Spring/Summer 2007

Better Off Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende
(A book I read and enjoyed and perhaps I was going to review it. It was read in the spring of 2007 when we lived in Gainesville, FL)

"This is the first time that I have felt extremely honored by a group for how we have chosen to raise our children. Our time of sharing with one another was so encouraging, reassuring and inspiring. Each family spoke a blessing over their own and many over the group as a whole."
(This was written in July 2007 when we returned home (Charlottesville, VA) from the commissioning of our daughter Grace for interning with an organization that would travel the country training & inspiring others to communicate well on the public platform for Christ. It also stood as the first test launch of sending our children out of the nest.)

When I help my children with their academics, I don't think, oh now I am Mrs. Homeschooler and I never have. Do I instruct my children? Yes. Have I equipped them with the tools for learning? It has been a team effort ( Dan, myself but mostly GOD). Do we continue to guide, advise and provide for our three who are now young adults? Of course, and they still seek us out and want our input for this I am very grateful. My life is very much integrated, I never think now we are on school time and now we are on living life time. Like Mark Twain said, and I paraphrase, I never let school get in the way of education.
Even in the grocery store, its back to school time. And unlike back to school, our family never leaves learning behind. "Oh. I am not sitting down with a textbook, this can't be learning I am having too much fun taking on a cover at the spy museum in Washington DC or listen to David Barton give a history lesson on a Sunday morning in a tiny congregation in downtown Charlottesville, how there were 27 reasons why the American colonists declared their independence from King George" Perhaps most of you are shaking your head, saying well of course that's learning but it is not school and to some in the growing community of home schoolers, that doesn't count, Sat in DC and Sunday in Church.
ALL of life counts!!! (written in August 2007)  (My comment for this particular draft may bring this post to a close. Especially in light of a reflective conversation I had this week with a dear friend. Upfront, I freely admit that I get a little passionate about my convictions and at the same time, I strongly believe that the educational choice of our children's is just that - our choice. Educating my own children  was not something that I was "cut out for" in fact, I would say that clearly, I did not see it coming but I am so grateful to have had that time with our children and to introduce them to the world of learning. Grace graduated from college this spring. Katie and Michael are both college students. As I continue to learn, it is becoming evident that experiential as well as textbook learning are becoming more acceptable these days. It is just one of those things that I strongly believe in.)

I am looking forward to looking through the rest of my drafts. I enjoy laughing at myself as well as strolling down memory lane.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Anytime is a good time to Look unto Jesus, The Resurrected One

Can You Go Without?

This post was started on Resurrection Sunday April 2011

Will you go without? There are lots of things that we can do without: computers, chocolate, dishwashers, heated seats in our cars, satellite radio, television, bias news reporting, video games, facebook (& twitter), wars, family feuds, disease, nightmares (real & dreamt), resentments, unnecessary laws, misunderstandings, language barriers, etc. Some of those things we would rather not go without but we can definitely live well without them. However, there is one thing that lots of people cannot do without including myself. Other people seem to be just fine doing without it and still more people who suffer miserably without it, now and into eternity. What is this thing that I cannot do without? Forgiveness.

Christians around the world celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. So what does that have to do with forgiveness? According to God and His Word, there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood. Throughout the Old Testament we can see how the shedding of blood for forgiveness of sins was animals blood, the sacrifice and it was done annually. Jesus Christ offered Himself as the sacrifice and it was done, "once for all." Jesus from the Cross said, "It is finished," in another word, DONE. The blood of Christ still to this day is more than sufficient for the forgiveness of sins.
In Isaiah 53 it says, in verse 5:
But he was wounded for our transgressions;

he was crushed for our iniquities;

upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

pand with his stripes we are healed.
If Jesus had simply died and was buried PERIOD, then He simply would have been a martyr, a liar and a highly esteemed preacher of the 1st century. In Matthew, Jesus forgives the sins of the paralytic, the Pharisees know that only God has the authority to forgive sins and even prior to the shedding of His own blood, Jesus exercises His authority forgives the man's sins and heals the man's body.
The Resurrection sermon at BBC was from Hebrews 9 & 11.......
From Hebrews 9 "there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood"
Hebrews 11 "without faith it is impossible to please God"
Christianity is a bloody religion. We serve a holy God who cannot tolerate sin. He is altogether just and altogether loving. God is beyond our human understanding but I do understand that it is impossible to lead a sinless life. I believe that ONLY One has ever completed the sinless Life and that was the Lord Jesus Christ - perfect Righteousness. But Justice needed to be served. The LORD God sent His Son to make the forgiveness of sins possible by pouring out all His Wrath upon His Son Jesus Christ at the Cross. The Wrath that we deserved was indeed upon Him. It seems completely radical in putting my trust in the God who sacrificed His Own Son for me and that this Jesus went willingly. Even Jesus cried out in the Garden, Father if there is any other way but nevertheless not my will but yours.
Thou He slay me yet I will trust Him. By the power of the Holy Spirit, through the bloody sacrifice of the life of Jesus at the Cross and the perfect (incomprehensible) plan of the Father, FORGIVENESS OF SINS is provided. Though we mourn on Good Friday, we still call it good because it was on that day that all our sins were washed clean as the new driven snow in the blood of Jesus Christ. I have lived without the precious gift and it nearly drove me insane and to an early grave. The burden of guilt and sin are too much for me. Jesus lifted the burden first by forgiving all of my sins. When I am cognizant of this fact of ALL my sins have been forgiven, who am I to not forgive those that sin against me. It is an act of love as illustrated beautifully in Luke 7. The conclusion is "she who has been forgiven much, loves much."

Monday, June 10, 2013


Anyone who knows me well, knows that I own more books than I have read but I am attempting to read more. 
Currently reading:
 Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry (recommended by Grace, Michael and Katie in that order). From the Garden to the City by John Dyer, The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology is the subtitle(I had the good fortune of sitting under John's teaching and visiting with him and his dear wife, Amber this past week at Gordon-Conwell) Dan and I just finished The Meaning of Marriage by Tim & Kathy Keller. The Kellers give a sobering and biblical look at marriage for the long haul. A great source of encouragement. Yesterday we started Living Into Focus by Arthur Boers. Dr. Arthur Boers was another one of the speaker at the Conference that I attended. It is about prioritizing in the sea of distractions. Last but not least, The Holy Bible with its multiple human authors and the One Divine Author; it is the Word of God. 

Books on deck is Forever by Paul David Tripp. Eternity anyone...we will all face it. Within the Walls by Stephanie Bennett is a futuristic novel. 

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Honor the Gift Giver

"He who loves with purity considers not the gift of the lover, but the love of the giver."Thomas a Kempis

Is it possible to be grateful for what we have and give thanks and credit to the One who is the Giver of all good gifts? I believe that we can. In my lifetime, I have encountered people who are very grateful for what they have but they give credit to the universe or karma, but not to the Triune God, our Abba Father.  
It is so easy to forget to just be grateful never mind to give Thanks to the One who is due the honor of thanks and acknowledgement of the Gift Giver. 
So my prayer is that I will be able to give thanks in all things (which does not require a prerequisite of giving thanks for all things) no matter how difficult, no matter how painful, no matter how vulnerable and exposed I feel, and especially on occasions of joy, excitement and blessings of all kinds. May I be overflowing with thanksgiving to the One True God. I do not want to take God for granted. The other prayer is that I continue to learn to practice the Presence of God and simply be grateful for my LORD JESUS Christ who has redeemed me from sin and death and will One day make me NEW, an everlasting daughter. 

"We can be certain that God will give us the strength and resources we need to live through any situation in life that he ordains. The will of God will never take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us." 
Billy Graham

Saturday, June 08, 2013


I have hope!  Two big changes happened in my life last summer one on the heals of the other. Our oldest daughter Grace married our son-in-law, Austin Humbles and 2 weeks later I drove our youngest child, Michael off to college. It was incredibly overwhelming for me. I had no idea that it would hit me as hard as it did. It was not the identity crisis that a number of women experience when the kids are grown and gone, nor the wring of hands, oh what will I do now? Dan and I so enjoyed raising and being with our children, it was like when you read a really good book and you don't want it to end. Life with our children was not absent of pain or struggle but there was much joy. M. Scott Peck began his book, The Road Less Traveled with, "Life is difficult." and more recently, Dr. Brene Brown said in her Vulnerability TED Talk, "We were born for struggle." And Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world."

Grieving is a part of life that most people do not make space for anymore. And this year, I have made space for it. More importantly, Dan and my counselor have helped me to make space for me to grieve. A few dear friends have walked this road with me. Comforting, counseling, and praying for me, these dear ones held me up and held me close. One of these friends: Jamie continually held up the banner of HOPE and she believed for me that the LORD Jesus would see me through this season. Time and again, with the Life Giving WORDS of God's Holy Word, Jamie would remind me of God's Promises. The season is not really over but more and more, I am feeling hopeful and more importantly, I am believing in the HOPE of the Gospel, the GOOD NEWS of JESUS CHRIST.

The countless, phone calls, texts, emails and then a wonderful visit in the beginning of March of this year with Jamie and her dear husband, Craig have been life giving. It was so sweet to have some face to face time. The LORD is GOOD and Jamie is a great ambassador for Christ and counselor in Christ. I think counselors need to be compassionate and also carry the banner of HOPE. In Romans chapter 5, God's Word says:
"we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."

"Hope does not disappoint" and fortunately, Jamie reminded me of the truths and promises of God. In 2Corinthians chapter one it says, "As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. 19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. 20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him."  (Which I believe that I have quoted earlier this month.) The LORD JESUS is ALIVE and well, working through the body of Christ to help me to remember that my hope is in Him.
There is so, so much more that I could write about HOPE but we will leave it there for now. It is a topic that never grows old.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Grateful & Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Meister Eckhart is credited with the quote: "If the only prayer you ever pray is Thank You that would be enough."
What an acknowledgement of the Sovereign King, the LORD of Lords, the Triune God, Creator, Ruler, Sustainer of ALL things.

Today I am grateful for my husband, always supporting and encouraging me to pursue what it is the Lord would have me do, as I have been in the midst of transitioning from a season of life that has been rich and full and SUCH a blessing, having raised 3 children and educating them at home.
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary treats women the way the LORD would intend for them to be treated as equals, who are also the called out ones, willing to educate and equip them to serve the LORD our King, Jesus. It was so refreshing to be around men who not only care for women but respect them and are humble enough to learn from women.
There is a great disservice happening in our churches and in various groups of Christians. Women have been given gifts and talents from God and often these go untapped and women who are IN CHRIST are suppressed from LIVING the ABUNDANT LIFE that the LORD Jesus has given us.

"Now tthere are varieties of gifts, but uthe same Spirit; and vthere are varieties of service, but uthe same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is uthe same God who empowers them all in everyone. wTo each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good." 1Corinthians 12:4-7  

BUT there is GREAT HOPE because of places like Gordon-Conwell and women like Dr. Stephanie Bennett, Dr. Alexandra Cist, and Dr. Roslind Picard who were a part of the 2 day conference that I just attended, The Promise and Challenge of Technology. The attendees were mostly men and dare I say that women are not encouraged to go to these types of events. O How women need to go to these types of events. It was such an encouragement on so many levels. The speakers challenged us to explore, discover and create for God's glory. There is much that I need to think over, ponder and read about, but for now, I am full of thanksgiving to God for the opportunity that I had the past couple of days and I look forward to fleshing it out and gaining some clarity for myself.