This weekend, Randall spoke to our church about faithfulness.

Sunday for lunch, my extended family got together to celebrate Mama and Papa Kirkland’s 60th anniversary.


Oh, the stories of faithfulness represented in the picture above.

They have loved and cherished for better and for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.

They have set the example for their four children and their spouses, fourteen grandchildren and their spouses, and at least four great-grandchildren (I’m sure there are many more to come).

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Legend has it that these two were married at 17 and 18 years of age.  Mama had a few months on Papa and he may or may not have lied to a judge to get approval to get married so young.

If you know my grandparents, then you know how faithful my mama is to God and his word.  She has been nicknamed the “kissy lady” because she greets everyone with a kiss (or a pinch on the butt).  She loves others with a passionate love and her smile is contagious.  If you know them well, then you know how faithful my papa is to his bride.  He has served her for over 60 years and continues to love and cherish her through the heartbreaking sickness that comes as she ages and loses her memory.

Papa sent some words to his children in gratitude for the celebration on Sunday.  But he ended it his note with a charge to live well.

                * Tend to your families and love each other well.

                * Live intentional lives.

                *Practice showing concern and kindness to each other and to others.

                *Be prepared to account to the heavenly Father for how you use the influence you have or can develop with others.

                *Don’t underestimate the value of money you may earn in this life.

                *Work hard and earn while you can.

                *Retain some of your earnings for security and freedom when you cannot earn.

                *Continue to worship your Father in Heaven by tithes and offerings.  It will also remind you of who made it possible for you to earn.

                *Mind your own business and don’t mess with things that you can’t influence or assist with.  Growing up in the country we often were told, “Close the gate and don’t mess with the bull.”  That is good advice for your life as well.

                *Surround yourselves with those who believe as you do and who may keep you accountable and may develop your strengths.  They will broaden your pathway.

            Continue to take control of your lives and make good choices.


Mama and Papa are still parents and as a child, I appreciate any wisdom from my parents.  It is refreshing and encouraging and challenging and makes me want to live to please my family.  As a kid, when my dad would lecture me for hours on end, I would cry and be resentful.  I would get lectures on how to be independent and not be one of those girls that has to have a friend to go to the bathroom.  My mother would give me lectures on how to be a leader and a good example to girls younger than me.  I always felt like I was in trouble when I got these lectures, but soon after I graduated high school, I appreciated every minute of their advice.

Teach your children and impart your wisdom on them.  When they are grown, you will still be their parent.  Don’t wait until they disappoint you, teach them how to be successful citizens now.  Teach them how to be good people.  Teach them to love others well, and put others before themselves.  Teach them to be good stewards of their money.  Teach them to choose good friends and not to “mess with the bull.”  Teach them to live intentional lives and show them how this is done.


Oh my God, how blessed you have made me to have such a history of parents who love you and want the best for their children.  May I grow to fill their shoes and pass on the same legacy to my boys.  In a day and age when children and adults are losing common courtesy and manners of old, may my family be different from the norm.  May we honor you and point others to you.  May we be faithful to you and to each other and to the heritage that was passed to us.

The Kind of Mom I Want to Be

Here’s another author I love:


I’m not sure the kids are ready for his stories yet, but he wrote this for a “This American Life” on NPR:

Neil Gaiman

I told my wife that I was going to write about adventures, and she laughed without stopping for two minutes. I timed her. She laughed from 11:09 until 11:11. “Are you going to tell them,” she said when she pulled herself together and more or less stopped laughing, “about how you call every trip to the store an adventure?” I told her that I wasn’t, that I was going to write something rich, and true, and wonderful for the radio.

There would be aliens in it, and prehistoric monsters, Aztecs and vampires, crazed scientists and their beautiful daughters. It would contain, somewhere in its 700 words, spies and swordsmen, oracles and barbarians, ghosts, a dancing bear, wise women, werewolves, foot-long carnivorous centipedes, and quite possibly some illicit sex.

She still laughed. I don’t think she believed me. And she’s right. I get it from my parents, I’m afraid. In my family, adventure tended to be used to mean any minor mishap we survived, or even any break from routine, except by my mother, who still uses it to mean what she did that morning.

I suspect that my father, who loved G. K. Chesterton’s essays, had encountered Chesterton’s aphorism that an inconvenience is only an adventure looked at the wrong way, and an adventure only an inconvenience wrongly considered, and he took it to heart. So any inconvenience, any problem, any struggle of a personal nature, any of these things in my family would be described as an adventure.

Let’s admit it. Real adventures are the sorts of things most of us would just as soon avoid. I wouldn’t know what to do if I were on a plane that crashed into an Amazonian dinosaur valley, or a Fumanchu unleashed his centipedes of doom in my general direction. Probably I’d die, quickly and fairly horribly. A character in one of my novels, Tristan Thorn, put this better than I or any of my family members ever managed to. “Adventures were all very well in their place,” he thought, “but there’s a lot to be said for regular meals and freedom from pain.”


There is something inside us all that craves Adventure.  I want to be the kind of mom; the kind of person that finds adventure every day.  Parenthood certainly is an adventure in and of itself!

If you think about it, we’re all living a story.  We’ll all leave a legacy behind us when we move on.  Some of us are living a story that just isn’t very interesting.  Living a great story doesn’t mean I have to be famous or do something hugely impactful in this world.  But it does mean I have to move.  I have to change.  I have to experience new things and take risks.  I have to use the gifts God’s given me.  And do what I do with my whole heart.  I have to try hard.  I have to love hard.  I have to live with passion.  And in doing so, I will make an impact on MY world.