Monthly Archives

June 2011

Sweet Sleep

Sweet Sleep!

im not sure why the colors of the words are so funky in this post! i’ve tried (to no avail!) to figure it out and fix it but my suspicions are correct and i do believe wordpress hates me.

Jen Gash is not only a friend of mine, but an amazing woman of the Lord who has stepped out in faith and literally changed thousands of lives through her obedience. I have known her longer than I have known Todd as a matter of fact, and I’m pretty sure I have some rockin’ pictures of her doing a conga line at my wedding.

I have talked about Sweet Sleep on here before, but let me take just a second to tell you about it in case you don’t remember.

The goal of Sweet Sleep is to provide beds for orphans around the world, and last year ALONE they provided 10,000 beds (compared to 1,000 in 2009). There are several challenges that they are facing right now, but one in particular that I wanted to bring to you in the hopes that you will join me in making a difference in the lives of these sweet kids.

Next month, a team from Sweet Sleep will be heading out to Gulu, Africa and they had planned on providing 500 beds for orphans who had been displaced after 22 years of rebel attacks. Several weeks ago, they were told by partners that the need for beds in that area was about 4,300 and after consideration of the updated numbers they are doing their best to provide 991 beds when they go.

This is a God-sized challenge and they can’t do it on their own.

Our church has partnered with Sweet Sleep and during our version of VBS a few weeks ago they had a competition to see whether the boys or the girls could bring the most change. Abby and Ellie took it really seriously, because as soon as they got home they set up a lemonade stand in the driveway and sold lemonade “for the orphan kids.”

I laughed my head off when I went out there and heard them telling a passerby that they wanted to help the kids who had nowhere to sleep and then our little neighbor piped in and explained that the money she made would be going to a Pomeranian puppy she had her eye on. Ha!!!

Clearly she hadn’t been influenced by the power of a little boy against girl Bible camp competition…:)

I am really intentional about trying not to overwhelm you all with requests like this, and you can be sure that the ones I do talk about are near and dear to my heart. Jen is a hero to me and I would love to see my blog readers come together and try and make this happen.

Come on Sundays!!!! Let’s help these kids out!!!!

It’s only $8 for a mosquito net, $10 for a Bible, and $50 for a complete bed. If you donate $500 or more, you will get a Sweet Sleep t-shirt as your thank you :) $50,000 will provide beds for all 1000 orphans, and I cannot tell you the joy I will have if we all help out with this.

To make a donation online, click here and put “Gulu” in the comments box. If you would like to write a check you can make it out to “Sweet Sleep” and mail it to PO Box 40486, Nashville, TN 37204. Please put “Gulu” in the memo line, and remember if you donate $500 or more, please specify your t-shirt size.

Jen, I’m so proud of what you are doing…thank you for letting me share your heart and your passion here…and may God bless these precious babies with the sweet sleep they deserve.






Call me a proud wife. The boy can SAAANNNNGGG.

Call me a proud friend…Amy has lost almost 100 pounds. Does she not look UH-mazing?!?!?! And I for one can’t tell you HOW excited I am that she’s going to be putting a few of those back on in the coming months….

I love all three of these precious people and what they do for the Lord. They have a new CD coming out in August and I just saw this…their first single, “Hope of the Broken World” is gorgeous. If you are interested in hearing more about the backstory to it, click here.

In the meantime, take a few minutes and listen…you’ll be so glad you did :)

Click on the Youtube thing to watch it full screen (I think. I’m trying to figure out technology and it’s pitiful…)


Quick Favor?

Hey all! I am working on a little somethin-somethin and I would so appreciate your help. I’m brainstorming through some writing ideas and I think a little direction would be oh-so-helpful before I get started. Will you do me a favor and let me know if you have a favorite post of mine (it can be from whatever time period, funny or serious, whatever stood out to you!) I am curious about what has stayed with you. If you have a favorite (or a couple), could you leave a comment with either the name of the post or just a description of it?

I promise this is not a late night project to boost my ego :) It will help me more than you know:)

Thank you so, so much!

Everyday life, Faith

Honeysuckle and Fireflies

The first time I saw him was at dusk on the kind of summer day that makes Southerners whisper, “I’ll be,” while fanning their necks with whatever they can get their hands on.

Needless to say, I was on my way inside when his silhouette caught my eye. I turned just in time to see him motioning to someone else while his pitcher’s glove hung at his side. He looked to be a teenager from my vantage point, but I didn’t look long enough to know for sure. I had things melting in my grocery bags and air conditioning whispering my name while the crickets started their night songs.

I closed the door, pulled the curtains until they met in the middle of the back door, and figured I would introduce myself to the boy in the common area behind my house another day. Surely there would be a cooler day when I could be friendly, right?

A few days later I was on my way to a play date and I could see him from the back again. He had his mitt and was wearing a jersey that looked more like a winter choice than mid-July clothing. I could hear him yelling into the distance at what I presumed to be the same friend, and I made a quick waving motion in their direction and got into my car in an attempt to look friendly. As I reversed out of my driveway I paused, and as I watched his arms move wildly, I wondered how in the world someone could be vertical in this heat, let alone moving.

Three hours later we pulled back into the driveway, and I squinted through the trees to make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me.

He hadn’t moved.

His jersey was soaked through with sweat, his hair sopping wet as he wiped his face with the back of his mitt-free arm.

“Is that…?” I stared straight ahead, convinced I must be imagining it.

“Those boys are always playing out there, mommy.” Ellie shook her head and unbuckled herself, eyeing the door and then in a swift, deliberate motion she burst it open and made a dash for the house.

I looked in the rearview mirror at Abby.

“Honey, have you met that boy yet? Does he play on the high school team?

Abby shook her head no and raised and lowered her shoulders, fingers on the door handle.

I carefully took Charlotte out of her car seat and watched him out of the corner of my eye. All of a sudden he shouted and I jerked her awake by accident. She was just a few months old at the time and had that newborn, panicked cry as I grabbed the rest of my bags and made my way inside.

He never turned around.

I walked into the house and told Todd that the boys were playing again and that I was going to go introduce myself to them. I handed the baby over, grabbed a couple bottled waters, and went outside.

Sometime in the span of those three minutes, he had completely disappeared from view. I sat on my back steps for a few more minutes and then gave up.

After all, it was hot.

By the time August rolled into our new neighborhood, we had gotten to know some of the other kids and one day while they were swinging outside I asked the little girl who lives across the street who the boy was.

“Oh that’s Andrew.” She replied nonchalantly. “But he’s not really a boy. I mean, he’s close to his twenties I think.” She sipped her drink and tucked her flyaway hair back under her hat.

“Really? Because every time I see him he’s playing baseball with someone else and he screams loud and points all around, and I can’t tell what…”

“Oh, Ms. Angie, he isn’t playing with anyone else” She interrupted. “He’s done that for years.”

She watched my eyes squint in confusion and offered up and answer before I could ask.

“He has Down’s syndrome. He just loves to pretend, I think.” She smiled.

I closed my eyes for a moment as I tried to retrace the outlines I had seen in the evenings, and I realized that I hadn’t actually ever seen another person playing. I had presumed there was because of his screaming, but there wasn’t ever another voice.

I looked at her and nodded. They ran off to play and I put Charlotte in a little bouncer in the shade while hoping he would come back out so I could meet him. He didn’t come out that day, nor the next. In fact, almost three weeks passed until one day I was upstairs cleaning and I heard the familiar sound of a player urging his players to round the bases.

I ran outside, bare-footed on the gravel, and started to walk towards him.

I took a few steps and stopped, sensing that it wasn’t time for me to speak. Without taking my eyes off of him I lowered myself onto the little brick half-wall around our porch as he raised his hands high in the air and shouted. It was clear that the game had gone his way, and as he waved to all the fans and made a victory lap, I was mesmerized.

My sundress was sticking to my back as the gnats made a mess of my legs. I tucked them up underneath me, scraping them along the ragged brick as I craned my neck to see what was going to happen next.

It was at this point that I noticed that although he always had a mitt, I had never seen either a ball or a bat. I smiled as I realized he didn’t need them.

He had everything he needed for the perfect game.

Something to receive the imaginary ball.

The voice to thank his adoring fans.

The persistence of a seasoned ballplayer on a hot summer day.

And last, but not least, the ability to see the whole thing in a way I never could.

Because on that night, and dozens more since then, I have seen the same thing happen.

A man-boy with a leather glove and a field of fireflies believes that he is victorious.

I have never spoken to him.

In fact, I don’t even know his last name.

As many times as I have watched him play, I have yet to even see his face. My house sits behind the catcher, I suppose. There isn’t much need to turn away from the field.

I asked one of the other neighbors and she told me he doesn’t really like to be bothered when he’s playing. As much as I would love to shake his hand and tell him the joy he has brought me, I have the sense that my back porch is close enough for his comfort.

I have prayed for him many times, and asked the Lord to grant me a version of what he has, because I realize I am woefully unable to dedicate myself to anything the way he has devoted himself to the game.

The game.

How do I play it?

Well, first off, I run away from the heat.

Also, I wouldn’t dare play without a proper bat and regulation-sized baseball.

I would have real bases, real fans, and also, real prize money.

And I wonder if I would bother to play at all if nobody was watching.

Yet day after day, season after season, the same boy in the same jersey with the same dedication takes his place on the field.


Well, I suppose it’s because the win isn’t in any of that other stuff, and more than that, I’ll tell you this:

In a solid year of living here, I have yet to see him lose a game.

He cheers, he runs, he takes grandiose bows in front of an empty field while we shuffle our groceries and our children and our dreams in and out of the car, in and out of the house, in and out of, well, life.

It was a mild October afternoon when I realized I didn’t ever need to see him to love him. I had started to learn some of his motions and what they meant, and one day before the sun fell down I heard him call out into the silence.

“Bring ‘em in! Bring ‘em in! Come on! Run! RUN! RUN!!!!.” He was waving wildly and I was sitting with a book on a blanket in the backyard. I tried to peek through the slats in the fence but he moved just out of sight. I jumped to my feet and while I have no idea what possessed me, I just got so excited that I lost track of monitoring my responses. His voice hit a fevered pitch and I felt my fingers tighten around the top of the fence, waiting in eager anticipation for what would happen next.

I would swear to you that just for a brief moment, I saw what he saw.

There were runners on the bases, coaches in a frenzy, and a crowd on the edge of their seats.

The ball dropped, the men ran, and the boy made me believe.

He threw his glove on the ground and started jumping up and down and clapping, and before I knew it, I let out a holler like I had just won the lottery. I knocked over my diet coke, and covered my mouth out of fear that I would scare him.

I didn’t.

In fact, he never knew I was there.

And you know what?

I made a promise to myself that I have been intentional about remembering when the days get long and the heat is oppressive.

It doesn’t matter who is watching.

It doesn’t matter what you think you can bring to the game.

What God needs from you is the sweat rolling down your neck and a heart that believes He can use you.

Every time the air starts to smell like honeysuckle and the fireflies dance through the trees, I peek out the window, hoping to catch a glimpse of the boy who taught me how to love the game.

I pray this is the summer that you see the glory of God through the lens of a boy who plays like he can’t lose.

Soak every bit of it up, even if it means your ice cream melts.

Because before you know it, the leaves will be falling and it will be too late. You have exactly what you need right now, and more than that, you have a God who stands perched while waiting to round you home.

Take your place, friends.

It’s time to play ball.


With love,