Lights of Grace



A Tribute: Moments With Teddie

My best friend and beloved dog of thirteen years, Teddie, closed his eyes on May 29, 2022. His tiny body was nestled in my arms, his face snuggled under my chin where I could feel his soft breaths. His head lay on my shoulder and was comforted by his scent while stroking the soft curls of his white fur; our hearts beating in the same rhythm, chest to chest, until that moment when his heart stopped.

A moment is defined as a brief, unspecified amount of time that our brain records an experience. Catching those moments requires paying particular attention to what’s happening at that time. We cannot capture moments by looking back to the past or looking forward to the future.

Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize-winning scientist, suggests there are 20,000 moments we experience each day. So, 13 years X 365 days = 4745 days X 20,000 moments = 94,900,000 moments over those 13 years. That’s a lot if I look back, yet not nearly enough if I look forward.

This is my tribute to a tiny, gentle dog who rescued me. Many will relate as I share some life-changing memories of the approximately 94,900,000 moments of our lives. To begin, Teddie taught me that there is no “in a minute” for dogs; there is only a now.

I adopted a four-month-old puppy named Teddie in 2009, a few months after my husband’s death. He was a rescue puppy and had been thrown from a speeding car window when he was two weeks old. Workers laying pipe on the side of the road rescued him. They took him to the local animal hospital, where he was cared for by talented and compassionate medical staff for the next few months. They nursed him through puppy strangles, oozing infection sores and bald spots on his face and body. He wasn’t expected to survive, but he did through God’s grace.

Teddie was my second introduction at the adoption meeting. While I walked the first dog, my daughter walked Teddie behind me. When I would stop and tell the dog I was leading to heal, it was the four-month-old, seven-pound Teddie that followed my commands. When it was my turn to meet him, I looked into his dark eyes, and he went home with me that day. I knew that God was working. After all, the name Teddie means Divine Gift.

My grief fog began to lift, and life with Teddie started to connect. When he wanted to go outside, whether to potty, go for a walk, chase a butterfly, or — stand still, his small face raised in the air. His pink nose twitched with the smells that told him of the secret activities in his world at that moment. The wind would blow his fluffy ears back, and the look on his face was contentment. I was included in his moments and my heart seemed to melt, and a tingly peace would spread throughout my body at the wonder of him. Other everyday moments could have been lost if he had not taught me how to pay attention to these fleeting bits of time.

Teddie refused to eat those first days after I took him home. I would sit on the floor with him in my lap, put a piece of kibble in hand, and offer it to him. He ate this way for many moments until I put the kibble in his bowl and held it while he ate. Soon I put the bowl on the floor, then stood by him as he ate from the bowl until finally, I could pour his kibble into his bowl and do other things. What I could never do over the years was put his food in his bowl and leave the room or the house, for he would follow me wherever I went.

As a recent widow, I was confused as I could only look back on what was gone; while the future was spent peering into a dense fog where there is no up, down, or side to side. Teddie sensed my pain and would sit in my lap. When the tsunami of grief washed over me, he offered quiet comfort, never accepting “not now,” even if it was only to sit by my side. I would sob until my strength deserted me, but Teddie never left. It seemed he had enough courage for both of us.

Our life became a routine of moments when we were together. Eating, going for a walk, napping, watching tv, watching it rain, planting flowers, jumping to catch the fall leaves, or shivering as soft flakes of snow falling from heaven.

He always made time to greet every person or animal who came close to him. The neighbors declared him the unofficial “mayor” of our community. I taught him tricks like sit, stay, rollover, come…he even helped a six-year-old boy that was a selective mute to begin to talk again. It seemed a miracle to me until I realized that since Teddie only lived at the moment, he provided everything the child needed – just as he did for everyone.

Teddie’s moments never included the need for voluntary separation. Although he adjusted when I left home – somewhat – he always waited at the door for my return. When I arrived home, I could barely get the door open and inside the house because he was on the other side of it. But when I finally did, he would rise on his back legs and, with front legs waving in the air, would do his “pick me up, pick me up, pick me up” poodle dance. Of course, I did, and holding him in my arms, at that moment, we continued our most happy of all happy dances – being together.

He was fierce, stubborn, brave, gentle, loving, and all-knowing. He guided me through confusing times, comforted me through sorrowful times, and loved me at all moments. I’ve learned from him that moments are the perfect time to be kind, brave, or silly. He was never wrong.

Mornings ebbed into nights, days into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years. Seasons changed, and we explored them all. Teddie’s opinion of rain and snow was avoidance and best left outside. He would stop at the doorway and dig in his tiny legs when I insisted we go out, glaring as if I had lost all reason, ultimately letting me win this one.

Windy and warm days were his favorites. When I was the busiest, he would jump on me and tilt his head with the message I’d learned to read: “Let’s go out.”

Our walks were always a great adventure. We had a deer who often joined us. At first, Teddie was curious, but soon, we walked down the cove toward the lake, lost in our own thoughts. Teddie didn’t seem to notice when the deer would leap in her graceful way and disappear into the woods. It was as if he knew where she was going and why.

He taught me that a sunny window is the best place to be because the warmth from the sun provides moments for contemplation or for taking a nap. I sit here now at my desk, feelings from somewhere inside me trickling down to my fingertips, tapping words with the keyboard and onto the computer screen. I glance to the floor beside me where the sun’s rays had warmed him during his naps, expecting him to be there. But that moment had become the minutes that make up a memory.

Each moment of each day, when I awoke and before getting out of bed, I would reach for him, and he would flip to his back to get a belly rub. I used this time to pray, beginning with, “Thank you, God, for Teddie, for he loves me through all moments, good and bad, leading me, guiding me, and directing me – just like you, God.”

He gifted moments to others. The upstairs window looked down at the house across the street that was under construction. If the carpenters didn’t see him up there, someone would ring my doorbell and ask where he was. Just his presence in a window made a difference to their day.

My friend had an irrational fear of dogs. Teddie seemed to know this. He would sit patiently waiting for her to make the first move until finally, he knew the exact moment to give her a puppy kiss or the moment to play.

We volunteered at the elementary school in the R.E.A.D. Program. The children were so excited to see this little white puppy, and they used their best manners. We worked with a homeless child who was also a selective mute. Teddie was not briefed on any of that, yet the moments we spent with the boy brought a tremendous change. The boy began to speak again. I know this to be true because when we went to the boy’s classroom, I heard a joyful voice saying, “It’s Teddie! It’s Teddie!”

I glanced at Teddie, who glanced right back with his dark eyes to say, “No big deal.”

Life went on, cycling as it does. Spring became summer, and summer became fall. Fall became winter, and winter became spring. The sun sat every evening and rose every morning. He remained at my side with unconditional love and faithfulness through it all.

Teddie was one of my heartbeats, and now that beat is gone. The morning after he died, I reached for him, and the pain of his absence seized me with grief. I prayed to God, giving thanks for the gift of Teddie, and at that moment, I gave this same gift back, knowing God has him.

At moments like this, I realize that grief comes because Teddie is gone. My sadness comes from the unconditional love that we gave, one to the other, at all our moments. Although the sadness will walk with me always, I give thanks for the love for and of my dog — Teddie.

Support animal rescue by donations of time, money or adopting.


bill cover

Family is a dichotomy of love and hate – especially true in the relationships of siblings.  Both emotions are steered by the conditions of their lives as they grow up.  There were six of us children, growing up as “army brats”.  That meant that every two years we moved to a new state.  As a result, we became each others best friends because we had to depend one-on-the-other to be the constant in our lives during our formative years.

Then as we grew up we drifted into forming individual lives, only coming together as a family unit on holidays.  That is until life began to bring us back to those feelings from our childhood when we were the only ones who recognized and who truly understood what the others were feeling.  It is those very feelings that cause us to join in God’s word in Isaiah 40:1 “‘Comfort, yes, comfort My people!’ says your God”  bringing forth the unconditional comfort of family.

Today, my guest blogger is my oldest brother, Bill.  When we were kids, he let me stay up late and watch The Twilight Zone with him on Friday nights, followed by those scary Godzilla movies on Saturday mornings, and laughed with me while watching Bugs Bunny cartoons, enabling me to face fear with the knowledge that better times always come.   When I was only nine and weighed 75 pounds, a bully at school stomped my foot, causing me to cry.  The next day at school, Bill walked up to the bully, stomped the bully’s foot and said, “Don’t ever do that to my sister again!”  And the bully never did, nor any other bully because words do get around.

Bill is the one who, when I was home with a very bad case of the flu, signed me up for cheerleader tryouts; not something I had even considered.  He then became my campaign manager by again signing me up to run for student council – also not on my “bucket list”.  He helped me write the words to my campaign speeches and encouraged me to reach all the way to my toenails and to pull up the courage to share them in front of the student body (I was very shy).  Imagine my surprise when I succeeded at both and both are two of my best high school memories.

He is the one, as I struggled with the decision to go to college after getting married said, “Just try it.  Take one class, make it your favorite subject – and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to go back.  You just need to know what it’s like.”  As usual, he knew me better than I knew myself.  Not only did I graduate cum laude from his favorite – The University of Alabama, I went on to obtain my Masters Degree.

He is the one who is calm in the storms of our lives as siblings today – all with words of peace, faith and hope, – and a whole lot of prayer.  I want to share the words of this man who backs them up with actions, making a difference.


BillWords by Bill Brewer

“I guess, just about everyone has heard the saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I, for one, have never embraced this saying, because words do have meanings and they do have consequences.

What if you had printer in your home and as you went through each day each word you spoke was printed from the printer, page by page? What would be there for you read when you got home? Would you share it with everyone or just shred it?

Then, what if for one day each word that you spoke would travel across the screen of all television sets in your hometown? Could you then go out and walk in public with your head held high? Or would you hide and only come out when it was dark?

In a spiritual way, each word we speak appears on the screen of God’s television. When each of us talk to people we meet each day, we should always strive to use words that God would approve of.  Always remember that a word of kindness and encouragement, especially to a child, could give hope to a person that had none before, or give that child the needed encouragement to excel.

A single kind word or act to someone close to you, or even to a stranger, could show them that someone cares. So as you start each day ask yourself. “What will my printer say about me today?” But more importantly, when the day ends, we need to ask ourselves, “What would Jesus say about the words we spoke today?”

Bill, husband to Kathy, father to two daughters and grandfather to five grandchildren, brother, friend, veteran, refers to himself as “Just a God loving country boy.”

And so he is.


Golf and the Imperfect Player


Today is July 8, 2015. Wednesday, a most serendipitous day as it turns out.

I was supposed to play golf this glorious morning. But I woke up with a stomach bug which can’t be ignored on a golf course. My partner to-be was one of my favorite golfing friends – rats!

So, I stayed home. As so often happens, there was something I needed to do on this day and it was not to play golf.

Wednesdays has always been my blog posting day. However, writers are creative people and that is why we find the most creative ways to avoid writing. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat, so I got my writing partner, Teddie, and we clicked on my blog.

“Time to update this,” I said to Teddie.

He responded by licking my chin and snuggling closer to the keyboard in hopes that I would scratch his ear instead of playing with the dreaded machine.

I rubbed my cheek against his furry head, hoping for inspiration. The Sparklers Blog site’s new look cried out for some refreshing blogs to go with it. After all, how long before my Facebook friends get weary of reading my same old words?

I put Teddie down, as I paced in my small office, tossing a golf ball back and forth in my hands, matching the cadence of my steps. My writing partner doubled my paces with his four paws, following my steps, turns and stops with great precision. I thought about doing the laundry Shuddering, I sat back down and Teddie curled up at my feet. “What’s wrong with me?” I asked Teddie. He cocked his head, his black eyes looking deeply into my blue ones before snorting and curling up for yet another nap.

It takes persistence to write and send my words out to the world. “Same old words,” I thought. “Hitting golf balls is much more fun because, at the end of the day, it’s is all about competing with yourself. That makes it the game for me.

When I first began to play, I missed the ball more than I hit it. Oh the times I hit the ground behind the ball, feeling the shuddering jolt from wrist to shoulder, with the golf ball still in place, or worse dribbling on the ground in front of me. Initially I would cut my eyes around to see if anyone saw it, relieved when no one seemed to be looking in my direction.

So, I took lessons, practiced, practiced, practiced and practiced some more until I finally learned to play the game. Imagine my surprise when, as I played and began to keep score, I wanted a better score than the one before. I began to analyze, not what I did right, but what I did wrong. What made me miss that ball? What made the ball go in the opposite direction from where I aimed it? What made me miss that putt?
I had the best game of my life recently and was so very anxious to go “show off “my improvements at the ladies Wednesday league play. Instead, here I sit writing my first blog on my new, improved blog site while dodging puppy kisses when I asked Teddie why it had been so long since my last blog.

Why did I avoid writing my blog? Why did I look for things like pulling weeds, Facebooking, or internet shopping (but not buying). Analyzing the whys of this I realized perhaps I was afraid of sharing my own opinions… .

No, my feelings… .

No, my heart.

That’s it, heart. My heart is shielded by my desire to be better than I was before this moment. When I stop to think about that, I realize that being better doesn’t mean being someone you are not. Just like I’ll never be on the LPGA tour, I’ll never be a perfect person. Just as the persistence with my golf game allowed me to learn the self-improvement of the game, God’s grace allows me to be forgiven and to just be who I am as I strive to be the best me. My words are free to be shared because they come from the faith in my heart. This sparkle was for me today; yet I am hopeful that this sparkle from my imperfect heart, will bring just a bit of light to someone else.

How good is that?

I kissed Teddie’s head and felt that spark of God’s Grace!

Squeeze Life Out of Every Second Because You Never Know When the Clock Will Stop Ticking! by Pastor Mic Barnett

Pastor Mic Barnett“You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).
I love the fall season with its brilliant colors, crisp air and the smell of football in the air. I feel so much more alive, getting up on these early mornings and walking out to the truck, the cool air hitting my face. I then travel to work through Horns Valley and Chandlers Springs into Clay County in beautiful central Alabama. It is twenty or so miles of pristine, brightly colored rolling hills and deep valleys. Many mornings, heading East, I can see the beautiful red and orange colors of the sun trying to peek through the dense fog as I drive in and out of valleys into the countryside. I have lived all over the world but this little piece of paradise is special and tranquil. Some mornings I just want to keep driving and not stop at work because of the beauty God paints for me each morning. So majestic and powerful are the colors that it sometimes blinds me with its beauty and takes my breath away. I know many who cannot see and I am amazed that God would bless me to have the sight to be able to see His beauty.

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 1 Corinthians 2:9

I don’t know if it is me getting a little long in the tooth or getting wiser, I try, but often fail, to enjoy each day as if it is my last. I notice the things and the people around me more than when I was younger and running a hundred miles an hour. I call it “living in the moment”. Let me explain my change in thinking.

A little over 10 years ago, I had my first stroke. I woke up that morning assuming it would be like any other day. While taking a shower, I realized it might not. I was having a problem standing up straight. I went on to work, made an appointment to see my doctor (wife wouldn’t stop bugging me about getting an appointment) and went about my daily business. When the doctor said, “You have had a stroke and I will be admitting you into the hospital immediately” I was stunned. This could not be happening to me. I’m in great shape. This is supposed to happen to someone else!

As I lay in that hospital bed that night with my wife, Dot, sleeping in a chair beside my bed, I looked at her for a long time, appreciating her for all she had done for me over the years and forgiving me for all the wrong I had done. I asked myself, “Does she know how much I appreciate her and love her?”

What if I had another stroke before she woke up and I didn’t get a chance to tell her? I reached over and touched her arm and quietly said, “I love you with all my heart and appreciate everything you do. I just wanted you to know.”
I felt a huge weight roll off my shoulders. I then started to evaluate my whole life and wondered if I had done everything I was put on this earth to do. I realized then that many opportunities to touch other people and to truly appreciate this thing called life had passed me by. I had been too busy living life to truly LIVE life. From that time on I’d like to think I am different and I do cherish people and the years, months, days and every second God has given me as a gift.

I guess since that day God has given me a new perspective. I take time now to enjoy everything and everyone that crosses my path. I say, “I love you” a lot more than before and I do things now that it might not look cool but I do it anyway. I’ll get down in the dirt with my grand-kids and not care how dirty I get. I laugh hard now not caring how I sound. Most of my hair has waved good bye over the years, but that doesn’t bother me either. God has a wonderful way of talking to us, if we will only listen.

At one time, having male pattern baldness really bothered me, having that round spot on the back of my head reached down deep into my vanity but then something happened that stopped it from mattering. One day our second grandchild, a beautiful little girl of six months, was sitting on my shoulders and I noticed she had put her hands right in that bald spot. I moved her hands to see what she would do and she put them right back in that spot. They were a perfect fit! I almost cried. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “Now do you know why you have that spot? It is so your grandkids have a place to put their small hands when they are on your shoulders.” Wow! My male pattern baldness doesn’t bother me any longer needless to say.

Living with the certain knowledge that your life is fragile and limited is different than just living. Things here are passing away. You’ve got to hold on to what will stand. Savor what matters. Showing love to your fellow man will last forever.
A few years ago I tried this principle out. It was Christmas time, Dot and I were in the toy section of a local WalMart. Talk about a mess; toys were everywhere!

A young clerk was on her hands and knees frantically trying to pick up and re-organize her department. No sooner than she’d clean up one area, kids would come through and mess it up again. From the other end of the aisle, I saw her just sit on the floor with her shoulders slumped over. She was in deep despair.

I knew then why I was there. It wasn’t just to shop for gifts, but to uplift someone. I walked down the aisle and said, “Miss, thank you for keeping this section organized because if you did not, no one could find anything. Merry Christmas.”
The young lady looked up at me and said, “Thank you. Merry Christmas to you, too.” Her face had changed from a deep scowl to a smile, all because of a few kind words that didn’t cost me time nor money. Kindness and love are amazing aren’t they? They are a great tool against sadness and depression.

Life Is Short. Eternity Is Long. Live Like It.

Surely God means for our minutes on earth to count for something significant.
You will exist forever. How long doesn’t matter. How you live does! Time is precious.

Psalm 31:19 Oh how great is your goodness, which you have laid up for them that fear you…

Squeeze Life out of Every Second by making those seconds count!

Circle of Love – An Adoption Story

Circle of Love – An Adoption Story.

Driven to Distraction

I am excited, once again, to have Pastor Mic as a guest blogger.  He’s a regular man, walking his faith, and telling his truth.  His blog, Driven to Distraction, is a good old fashioned reminder that God loves us enough to do what any good parent does, provide caution when needed.  After reading his blog my epiphany is that God is not a rock star.  We don’t need that “backstage pass” to get to know Him.  We don’t have to wait for death to give us a better life.  He is with us, this day, this moment, right where we are.  His sparkles of grace are all around us!


John 8:12King James Version (KJV) 12 “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

Football season is here! This means less yard work, summer vacations are over, and that new sixty inch television will be able to display all its HD magic! The important thing to remember is – no distractions.

I drive to work every morning through the beautiful countryside of eastern Alabama with its rolling hills and valley. With that beauty, comes also rain and fog that hovers in the valleys. Many times I have to slow down and use my fog lights so I can see better and to keep me from running off the road into a ditch or over a cliff. This morning was one of those mornings and as I drove I thought “That’s the way the Lord is”. He brightens our path. When the storms of this life rolls in like a thick fog and our lives are filled with rain, He will light our path with His written word or a word of encouragement from another Christian that will illuminate our path with His love, keeping us out of the ditches of this world and taking us safely home.

I just got back from an HR conference in Orange Beach and one of the classes I attended was entitled “Driven to Distraction”. The class was all about how we as drivers are distracted by so many things other than what we are supposed to be doing – driving. The instructor talked about the dangers of not focusing on the road and the vehicles around us. Most of the distractions were obvious such as being on the phone, texting, changing the radio, putting on make- up and passengers. He explained how dangerous it is to be distracted. As I sat there I started thinking about the spiritual aspect of this subject. As Christians, we too are driven to distractions that can take our eyes off the Christian road.

1. TV
2. Facebook
3. Sports
4. Shopping
5. Work
6. Hobbies

I’m not going to elaborate on each one and how it can distract us. I’m sure you can look at each one and KNOW how it can distract us can’t you?

I’m not talking about not doing any of this; everything in moderation. With football season starting, I think you know what I mean!

Making use of the most widely read guide book, the Bible, will help us with avoiding the pitfalls of distractions. It is a “cautionary tale”, it’s purpose to help us “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”(Philippians 3:14).

Did you ever notice how much of life is full of warnings and cautions? You can’t drive anywhere without seeing something that’s a direct warning or caution, or at the very least, a law or a limit with an implied warning.

Speed limits are an example. They’re an implied warning that if you drive over that limit, you can be ticketed, or get yourself hurt, or hurt someone else…. that’s why we have limits.

There are road hazard warnings. The road narrows ahead – move over or you’ll run out of pavement. There are all kinds of warnings in life.

Most products we purchase have labels warning about improper use. I found a great list of these kinds of warnings. Believe it or not, these are all real. Here’s a few:

– A fishing lure, with a warning that reads: harmful if swallowed.

– A warning label found on a baby stroller cautions the user to “Remove child before folding”

– A cardboard car sun-shield that keeps sun off the dashboard warns, “Do not drive with sunshield in place”

We can laugh about these and think who would be foolish enough to need such warnings?

But apparently someone did something goofy enough or some lawyer thinks someone is or will be foolish enough to actually drive with the sunshade in place.

Then of course, we often hear about warnings that go unheeded and the sometimes very serious consequences of these things that aren’t at all funny.

For example, how often have we heard the clear warning: “don’t drink and drive?”
But then how often do you hear or read of a drunk driver who causes an accident that kills someone.

Focusing on warnings or admonitions can help us know the difference when making choices that hurt or help ourselves and others. Cautions and warnings can be our friends. They exist to keep us well. Sometimes they exist to keep us alive.

The same is true of our life in Christ. While we rely completely on the grace of God, through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for our eternal destiny, we Christians sometimes do things to mess up our lives on earth.

We can all think of things we’ve done or not done, things we’ve seen others do or not do, things that had at least some short-term negative consequences or often even long-term or life-altering consequences.

The Word of God is first and foremost is a story of how Jesus lived a life worthy of eternal salvation, as it details His plans for our eternal salvation. It is a guide that helps us focus on making us better and in the doing, makes our world better.

For, it’s not just a book full of caution and warning. The readings helps us understand how we can live Godly lives for Him and in doing that, escape the consequences of what we’d otherwise have to classify as foolish behavior.

While this world just about guarantees some measure of trouble, illness, or hardship, by walking wholeheartedly with Jesus, by devoting our lives to Him, we can escape or handle the hardships that we have to deal with in life.

There’s no guarantee of total bliss, even with the Lord, but things do go better as we focus: “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 ESV)

—Mic Barnett, Alabama

WHEREVER THE RIVER RUNS: how a forgotten people renewed my hope in the gospel by Kelly Minter

REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY:Whereever the River Runs

I am a lover of books and stories of inspiration and faith. I choose to view the world through rose-colored glasses, content in the happy glow it gives me.

I hate darkness, bugs, snakes and water so dark that you just know no good can come of its deadly flow to nowhere. This describes my perception of the Amazon River as I began reading the novel by Kelly Minter, Wherever the River Runs.
Ms. Minter’s slowly drew me into a book that I didn’t think I wanted to read. Assuming the book was yet another story of well-intentioned volunteers out to change the world one week, one year at a time, I too journeyed as her life was changed more than those she went to help, and in the doing, changed my life.

From the beginning of the story, Ms. Minter tells of how the journey captivated her and her Western-theology perspective, “forever shape the way I spend money, value prayer, consider the poor, view modern-day miracles,” as she quickly asked, “Which way to the jungle?”

And so my own journey began, with each word and each turn of the page as the beautifully written descriptions of the land and the people allowed me to experience, from my porch swing, as the ice melted in my forgotten tea glass, the unexpectedness of people whose lives were more difficult than today’s world finds acceptable, thus our journey to minister to those less fortunate. This one week in the Amazon changed how Ms. Minter, upon her return home, caused discontentment with the security of her own world through revelations from eyes that learned to see those who needed help that were right in front of her as she went about her daily activities.

These experiences allowed her to see that it is not what we do or don’t have, rather it is what we do with what we have; we can begin this day, at this time, right where we are.

Funny how God works… .

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Official Family Christian Blogger


The new school year has either begun or is about to begin. I remember how excited I would be getting paper, pencils, a dictionary, and crayons. I was not so excited, however, getting calculators, compasses, and rulers for the dreaded math classes, because I refused to enjoy math.

Why?  Well, first I’m a girl and girls aren’t supposed to be good at math.  Although I usually made an A in math because, well, why would you not want an A? I simply saw no value purpose for math.  Sure, basic arithmetic is fine for balancing check books, figuring out percentages of 20% off of those shoes I’ve been lusting after, and perhaps the 10% tithe that the pastor occasionally reminded us about, never specifying if it was pre or post-tax dollars. I realize that math is one of the oldest academic fields, but I just don’t see why there has to be so many other kinds, such as:
linear algebra
differential equations
real analysis
complex analysis
abstract algebra (includes group theory, ring theory, field theory, and module theory)
number theory
game theory
functional analysis
algebraic geometry
differential geometry
dynamical systems (includes “chaos theory”)
numerical analysis
set theory
category theory
model theory

See my point?

Until today when I attended Ms. Billie’s Watercolor Demonstration Class. This is what I learned:

My mentors Nelle and Lehehia are on the left - they actually think I can paint!  Ms. Billie is on the right.  Stay tuned for my progressive musings as I take her course over he next few weeks!
My mentors Nelle and Leheia are on the left – they actually think I can paint! Ms. Billie is on the right. Stay tuned for my progressive musings as I take her course over he next few weeks!

1. Good paintings begin with a good value plan. Your painting begins by first recognizing shades of black and white in order that those shades may become shades of rich, soft colors that envelop you in the warmth of peace.
2. Have a focal point and paint everything toward that. Everything painted around that focal point is there for the purpose of illuminating the artist message.
3. There are no rules, therefore go ahead and paint outside the lines – in fact you are encouraged to do so. This form of self-discovery allows the freedom to create art without restriction.
4. Always go to the edge of the canvas with lots and lots and lots of color. This seems scary, but by going to the edge comes the realization that we don’t have to jump or fall. We learn that beauty can be brought back from that edge.
5. Allow the paint color to run. Just like life meanders seemingly without purpose, the varying hues and shapes make it a life worth the living.
6. Don’t copy another’s paintings. True artists pull out their own creativity, creating their own joy.
7. Keep your sketch pad accessible at all times and don’t be afraid to use it. While stopping to smell the roses, it is important to memorialize the hues, shapes and flaws of the rose.
8. Take time to step back and look at the focal point using the value plan. Assessing our path along the way serves as a gentle reminder of a purposeful life.
9. Never ever construct without a value plan….of faith, of hope, or of love – all given so generously by God and should be generously received by us.
10. Perspective in watercolor art is a mathematical principle (geometry) and is learned from a square block.

After all, as Anais Nin said, “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.”

Aha! Math is an art and that is why math is important.



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