To Root or Stake Down?

Parenting never stops. Just because you get them to 18, or 22, or in the case of the country of Spain 28, doesn’t mean you are finished parenting, it just morphs.  Just because our children are the age of an adult does not mean they can live on their own.  Even when our children reach adulthood it is hard to know what to do, and how to do it.  When they are little we never want them to fall or to struggle.  We don’t want them to experience failure resulting in bitterness against us.  What if they look up at us from their failure, eyes full of disappointment and this question, “How could you allow me to feel such pain?”  Blaming the parent for not protecting them from the storm of their own sin or, worse yet, the sin of others or the circumstances of a difficult world.

So many of my dear friends struggle with allowing their children to hurt.

Take a look at this tree:

Be sure to watch the linked video above.  Maybe ask God, “Am I staking my children-trees for too long?”

In her dissident research paper, The Myth of StakingDr. Linda Chalker-Scott took on power brokers and entrenched tree stake interest groups, saying:

Tree staking is done with the best of intentions but without regard to long-term tree health. Rather than helping a tree develop root and trunk growth that allow it to stand independently, improper tree staking replaces a supportive trunk and root system.  This artificial support causes the tree to put its resources into growing taller but not growing wider.  When the stakes are removed (if they ever are), the lack of trunk and root development makes these trees prime candidates for breakage or blow-down.

Can you see our children, the children of the 21st century?  Whether children of affluence or children of financial need, we have “staked down” our children for too long.  Be honest.  Can our children/young stand independently?  Can they pay their insurance? Rent? Utilities?  Do they blame outside circumstances for not being able to care for themselves?  Are our children easily “blown down” by the hardships of living in an imperfect world?  Can they solve their own problems without manipulating the strongest among their group to meet their needs?

What if we have staked them down preventing the development of the ROOTS NECESSARY for INDEPENDENCE AND PROBLEM SOLVING?

Stake #1 What if we have called their teachers or coaches asking for a reprieve from earned consequences?

Stake #2 Given them money for necessities, when they have spent their funds unwisely?

Stake #3 Intervened in life padding them from the blow that would cause them to cry out to God?

Stake #4 Given them so much they didn’t want for anything? (This stake leads to the dependent’s APATHY and lack of motivation!)

Stake #5 Paid their debts and not taught them to manage their own credit!

What are the signs that your child is too dependent upon you?

1. Apathy- it takes a train wreck or dramatic circumstances to move her to get up off the sofa.

2. Depression and Withdrawal- they spend a lot of time alone.

3. Partying or Addiction- he has fallen into a trap of relieving the pain of life in self-destructive ways.

4. Victimization- she constantly has excuses for everything that happens.  She justifies all her wrong behavior.

Here is an article by By ELI J. FINKEL and GRÁINNE M. FITZSIMONS called, When Helping Hurts. Click the previous link. It is a good one.

The Perils of Parenting Too Much, a video by CBS. Watch this!

Ok, so what do we do if our grown children have stakes, instead of strong roots.

1. Pray FIRST.  Ask, “How do we/I help my kids to stand alone?”

2. Do what comes to you after you have prayed?  Obey. Follow God’s Word, the Bible.

3. Ask your children to forgive you for crippling them!

4. Pull back slowly on your supports.

5. Use every means to encourage him to stand alone.

6. YOU GET HEALTHY and learn to stand alone.  The reason you have staked them out is because you couldn’t stand their pain.  All pain is designed to nudge us, push us, drive us toward a healthy relationship with God.

Co-Dependent parenting begins when children are young. Future posts will address helping children to have good ROOTS. Click this link and the following link to learn more about rooting our children

Mind Body Green has 11 things that are practical things to do that help with rooting rather than staking down.

Be sure to share and like this post, if it helps.


Identity Everything!

Identity Politics

Identity driven advertising

Identity Factor

Identity Theft

Egads! Defining ourselves is an impossible task in this complicated world.

There are many ways to think about or decide who we are. My take is this: I side with God on who He chose to make me. I don’t want anyone or any ONE thing about me to be a determinate of who I am. Well… except maybe the One who made me.

Focusing upon who I am in Christ has helped me to stay sane on days that Crazy threatened to drag me away. Keeping my heart centered on who He says I am has maintained strength at times that I should not have had any.

Anxiety is always lurking at the door growling at me from within.

Contempt for anything that disagrees with me stands blocking my path to peace.

Mental instability of many kinds grins from inside me when life seems to be nothing but a pit.


Smallgmt_TrashTalking_mixedMedia digital

Art is thanks to Grace Turner 2017

Death, not life, is often the thing that characterizes my days. Joy is often a joke.

Each of these statements is true unless I devote my attention to God’s Word, the Bible. When I keep my eyes on His definitions of me, my identity does not flow like sand. Therefore, I can STAND! Like on Rock, The Rock.

There will be more to come on my blog page regarding identity. Till then, here are some links to help you to establish your footing in what God says about YOU.

Who I am in Christ a chart by Neil Anderson.

Who I am in Christ a deeper understanding with Biblical references by Neil Anderson

Our Identity a sermon by Neil Anderson



Anger? Yes, PLEASE!

This post is not a movie review. It is a ME review for all the world to see.

Kingsmen, The Secret Service

Kingsmen, The Secret Service

I had anticipated the movie for so many weeks.

From the first trailer I thought the movie would be like the 007-George-Lazerby-of-old spy movies.

So Perfect

So Perfect

But just before the villain commits an heinous act he states, “This is NOT one of…(blah blah blah)… those kinds of movies.”  I think this movie is an angry movie.  It is an expose’ of the human heart.  Like this:

Anger Uninhibited

Anger Uninhibited

At first, my christian sensibilities were truly offended that a church full of angry christians was being picked on by the author of the screenplay.  This scene is of a group of people in a church murdering one another violently, and our hero does NOT stand by and watch.  He participates.  At the end of the movie I commented to my friend, “Why did the writer select a church of fundamentalist christians for a mass murder scene?”  Then I considered, maybe  Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman were right to choose a church. We christians can be just like anyone else in the world.  I think ALL people are angry and a good litmus test of the human heart for anger is a fundamentalist group of what we today call, haters.

Allow me to explain the scene further without spoiling the movie for those who, regardless of reading my comments, will be driven to view it.  The villain has nano-technology that he gives away to everyone.  A FREE sim card inserted in phones allows FREE access to all usage of internet, etc.  After setting off a signal from the phones via the sim cards, chemicals rush to our brains removing all self control.  The result is the human race kills itself off.  Villainy at its best decides that the earth cannot sustain its population, therefore, he capitalizes on humanities anger by removing violence inhibitors so that people murder one another.

I was shaking by the end of the movie.  Not because of the violence, per say, but because of something it took several hours for me to process.  I AM ANGRY.  (click here for an answer)  More than just a little bit.  The thing that struck a deep cord in me is the fact that I would be among the murderers.  Violent thoughts live in my head… and in my heart.  In the car I sometimes think harsh murderous thoughts toward other motorists.  I think unforgiving thoughts toward my art students.  These come out as humor such as, “Mr. Gibson, I am seeing you bald right now.  I am so frustrated I have yanked out all of your beautiful hair.  Can you see yourself bald Mr. Gibson? It is not a pretty site.”  If my self-control mechanism were removed, then Mr. Gibson would indeed be bald or worse.

I KNOW IT IS MERELY A MOVIE.  Can’t movies penetrate into our reality though?  Can they not impact us enough to move us toward changing our minds?  What do we do about our anger?  What if our children and grandchildren are angry?  I PROPOSE THAT WE ARE ALL ANGRY, in 3 ways:

1) Angry with ourselves.  I think we loath ourselves.  We are so angry for existing and choosing poorly over and over again.

2) Angry with the world around us.  Aren’t we?  Angry with the people who are stupider than we are? Angry at the folks who are more selfish than we are?  Angry, angry, angry!

3) Angry with God.  Whether we believe in God or not we are angry with HIM.  Because we are who we are, and people are who they are, and He is in control and He won’t do anything about any of it!

AHHHHHHHHHHH!  What is anger?

This morning on our way to church after seeing Kingsmen, The Secret Service, the evening before I told my husband I felt as though I needed a soul-cleansing.  Listen to these words:

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide-

What can avail to wash it away?

Look! There is flowing a crimson tide;

Whiter than snow you may be today.

Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within!

Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that is greater than all our sin!

Keep an eye out for more on our anger.  I will process some more and maybe God will help us all.

Click the links for more stuff 🙂

Filter this link. She has good words.  Just insert Jesus and His Word where you need to.

Lot of Truth on Anger Link 🙂

Do’s and Don’ts of children and anger

Good link for Parents on Angry Children




Notes from a Really Great Funeral

What a weird thing to say!

My friend’s mom, Dorris went to heaven and though it was a difficult passing into the next phase of life there is joy inexpressible.  We do not grieve as those with no hope.

Dorris Woods: A Life Well Lived

Dorris Woods: A Life Well Lived   *1 Thessalonians 4: 13        Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

When Mrs. Woods’ grandson got up to speak I didn’t know what to expect, but I certainly didn’t expect to take notes.  I had never been to a funeral in which I wrote down notes.  Not notes about what I wanted my funeral to be, like songs to sing or scripture for people to read. No these notes were about how I wanted my LIFE to be.  After listening to this young man in his 30’s talk about the impact his grandmother, Maama had on his life, I knew some things needed to change in my own.

3 Things to ask for in Prayer.  The results of a Savior-Saturated Life:

1.  This grandmother’s great-granddaughter, a 3 & 1/2 years old, when asked what she thought of her great-grandmother, said, “Maama loved Jesus.”  The child’s father said his grandmother acted on that love consistently as His follower, as a wife, a mother, a church member, and a neighbor.  My prayer each morning after hearing these words is:  Father, help me love each and every person you have placed in my life to love for THIS day.

2. This lovely woman (Proverbs 31 Woman) declared the excellency of Jesus Christ to others in her everyday life. My prayer: Lord Jesus, how can I today do my husband good and not ill? Please work in my life Your excellency that I may encourage others and pass it on.  Chris said, his grandmother had the family over through his lifetime for around 15,000 Sunday dinners.  During that time he NEVER heard her grumble!  I want to have a good word for all.

3. She was UN-selfconscious.  Though Mrs. Woods had a strong and healthy self image based in her knowledge of God’s love, she was Unconscious of herself.  In other words, she thought of others first, met their needs first, and like Jesus, she lay down her life in small mundane ways each day for those around her.  My prayer:  Good Father, the one who made me and engineered my identity, help me to get the food for others before I eat, help me to listen to others before I speak, in general help me God to be UN-selfconscious because I am conscious of YOU within and around me.  Work your Spirit within me so I may put others before myself.

Mrs. Woods’ son, Mike, (a pastor in Texas) had these final words as he wrapped up speaking about his wonderful mother: Repent and Live.

That is my plan!

Here are my notes from a funeral.

photo 4

Page #3

photo 2

Page #1

photo 3

Page #2





Control THIS! 4 things that help children develop self control

Davis_Photography_I Find It Very Satisfying_10 Davis_Digital Photo_11x14_

I Find It Very Satisfying, by Katie Davis, 10th Grade

Raising children is a bit like one of my favorite student’s photographs (above), it seems like we are out of control.  It was very difficult for her to control the substance in order to capture it with the camera creating this powerful image.  Capturing our children’s hearts, minds and wills is very much the same.  What a puzzle.  We want to train them to control themselves, yet we have difficulty controlling ourselves.  Who taught us to control ourselves… Our parents?

So how does it work best? By using these 4 tools:

1. Consistency: With a consistent, firm, loving, NO! Make certain you really try to pause before responding and mean that “no” when you weld it.

2. Consequences: With consequences, both positive and negative that make sense; that are reasonable for all parties concerned.  Parental agreement will add power to the consequences.  Children should see that the parents are in sync in order for the consequences to have the most effective results.

3. Contrition: With forgiveness if it is ever needed, on the part of both parties, if needed. Great Article from iMom

4. Choices:  By giving limited choices children feel they have power. (Example, rather than “Put on your jacket.” you ask, “Which jacket would you like to wear?”) Help children develop an Inner Locus of Control.

Remember the bad dog, Gracie from earlier blog posts?

Well, she is still bad.

Why? because we have lousy follow through and do not consistently train her to be the pet we want for her to be.

Training children to have the characteristics you want them to be equipped with as adults is so important.  Talking to your children, starting at 18 months old and consistently talking to them into their teens and beyond, about them BECOMING the people they want to be is vital for character building.  Train your children to think of themselves consciously becoming a person.

Gracie for webpage DAWN blog 6.20142014-10-01 17.18.48

Of course be in constant prayer for further ways to train the children to be responsible, interdependent, strong, courageous, kind, people!  God knows how to do this and He is great to use His word, the Bible, to further train you better how to do it.

Remember, people develop as a mixture of nature and nurture.  It is vital that parents control what they can, while they can.  So, control THIS! whatever is vital-  For you only have a moment.

Living Your Bliss: Christmas

The Christmas holiday has been such a sweet one filled with peace. Our home flowed with little voices precious requests, whines, and demands all from the same small people.

Stockings Hung With Care

Stockings Hung With Care

As I watched my grown children interact with their little ones I noticed both my son and daughter seemed really unhappy. Not unhappy in a circumstantial sense in which they wanted different lives, but more an unhappiness as a result of the life battle. The regularness of life had set in and the result was malaise.



Joseph Campbell, the 20th century mythologist, said this, “If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.”

Though I have always thought Campbell to be full of empty sweet sounding platitudes of epic dysentery proportions, the looks on my children’s faces brought up the idea of Campbell’s Bliss.

What does it look like for a Christian to live out his bliss?

1 Peter 1: 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance that does not fade away, kept in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now, if for a little while, you have had to suffer various trials, in order that the genuineness of your faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tried by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom, having not seen, you love; and in whom, though you do not see Him now, you believe and you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, receiving as the result of your faith the salvation of your souls.

What could be more bliss-filled than 1) abundant mercy, 2) living hope, 3) an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance that does not fade, 4) kept in heaven, 5) being protected but he power of God, 6) enabled to greatly rejoice (even through suffering), 7) genuine faith more precious than gold, 8) being able to praise, glory, honor, and love our God, 9) rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory because of 10) we have faith that has resulted in the salvation of our souls?  In spite of all of these assets of following Christ how can we still be mired down in malaise?  It is so easy!

The tyranny of everyday life reminds me of the words of my grandson, “We get one more Christmas, right?” What he meant was that he wanted 1 more toy.

I asked him, “Which do you like better getting toys or playing with the toys you have received?”

He replied with, “I always like getting the toys more than playing with them.”

This attitude is typical of many of us.  Being satisfied with our everyday of lives is the key to finding our bliss.  Being satisfied with the provisions of Christ to live our daily lives is the power, the fuel, to digging through the rubble moments of arguments, disappointments, stresses, strained relationships, etc. to discover the anti-moments of these negativities with true gratitude that is the Bliss of Jesus Christ.

Our Bliss is a Person, His character lived out in us. Our Bliss is His presence, His power alive in us.

Our Bliss is the Child born in the manger long ago.

Let us celebrate this Bliss in our everyday lives through gratitude in the most benign tick-tocks of life.




Everything is Redeemable

Never Toss It Out

Never Toss It Out

This painting was one I had tested photo transfer methods upon.  I looked at the canvas for almost a year.  Praise God, I could not throw it away.  I love this painting after working back into it.  It is in a friends collection because I didn’t throw it away.  My students laugh at me because they think I am a pack rat. I am not really, honestly… I’m not.

But I do teach my art students when painting or printmaking not to toss out anything, because, “everything is redeemable.”  God does not toss out any circumstances in the lives of his children.  If we submit ourselves to Him and His Goodness and His Ways, He can bring those characteristics out of everything in our lives.  Deep depression, terrible struggles, and illnesses, everything.  I believe God never wastes the pain of the children He loves.  He redeems all the things we think are His mistakes in our lives.

John 15:4-6New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

Look, even the obstinate branches are thrown into fire and made into fuel.  He uses everything.

 The chief end of man is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.







I love Edit UNDO! Honestly, mistakes-are-us is my business.  What I really enjoy is when I have deleted something that I needed to keep and then I get to go to Edit Undo that which I undid by mistake.  Win win!

Edit Undo!

Edit Undo!

Life seldom affords us an opportunity for edit-undo.  Sometimes though, if we are looking, we can notice the times when forgiveness comes or the consequences we deserve are suspended.  I am so grateful for those times.  I depend on them.

It is like the days when I paint and I must use the base color in my paintings to cover a place I didn’t intend.  In other words, the color of the background can be used to paint over a mistake.  I depend on the people around me to love me in the same manner.  Maybe I need to be more careful with those I love?  Paint within the lines of life more intentionally, doing less damage.

Maybe I need to love more intentionally, less haphazardly.  That way forgiveness is less constantly necessary.  Click the previous if you want to know what the bible says about loving with intention.

For Jesus, on the Cross there was no Undo.  Praise be to God!  His love was so intentional!  He became our eternal Edit-Undo. Though we will suffer earthly consequences of our actions, often reaping the seeds we have sown, there is no Karma with Jesus.  His Grace, His blood covers our sins.  The Father sees them no more because Jesus did ALL necessary for our sins to be undone.  Check out this great blog on the Redemptive Blood of Jesus.

I love the Edit Undo of Jesus in my life.

Redeemable… A City?

Memphis is like a woman who has been abused and now kicked to the curb by many of her inhabitants.

Used by Permission of the Phillip Van Zandt

Used by Permission of the Phillip Van Zandt

What does it look like for someone to love her?

What does it look like to live forgiveness as a community?

We must do it with Words and Deeds!

Words are so powerful.  We can speak wisdom, goodness, unity, faithfulness, peace.  Or we can speak dissension, division, disagreement, and ultimately death.  The Bible says it this way,

Proverbs 18: 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.

Therefore, how we talk about this incident really matters:

10 teens, 1 adult charged in brutal Kroger parking lot attack

Do we say as I heard some of my friends today, “There is no hope… Nothing will change until Jesus comes again.”

We cannot give into cynicism! We MUST hold to our belief that God is Good and His goodness is for individuals and cities, even Memphis. It is imperative that we see, believe in, and speak the goodness of our city.  The city is redeemable, just as individuals are redeemable.  It comes through the same way an individual is rescued from evil and sin, one incident at a time.  Choosing to forgive those who would tear us apart.  Choosing to still help those who need.  Choosing to reject fear that can overpower our emotions allowing faith to move us beyond all that is logical or expected, all the way to sacrifice of pride, self-justification, and destruction.

Jesus reigns. Either He does or He doesn’t.  There is no in-between on this point.

Our Father, who are’t in heaven, Hollowed be Your name.

Thy KINGDOM come. Thy will be done on earth, in my life, in my city, as it is in heaven.

Buy Phillip’s Photos!

Click on the links for and choose901.c0m

Both are terrific ways to connect to some great stuff about Memphis.

Here is what a terrific musician has to say about Memphis:


Opposite of Depression, Joy?

What an enigma!

When I bought these I expected them to flourish. Look at them, they are so alive. Blooming is a sign of life. The verbena plants were cultivated in retched fertilizer and REGULAR watering by the farmers who sold them to Lowe’s.

It is the same with our joy. Joy is not synonymous with happiness. Happenings result in happiness, joy is the result of the object of our hope. Look again at the flowers. They were so ready to be planted.  Then I bought them…

Joy in Hope

Verbena today…

What happened to all the blooms?  Being planted isn’t enough. Only the fertilizer of life, the difficult parts, the pain, the poop, can give us an opportunity to see a glimmer of hope that spawns the response of joy. Look again at the bottom right corner, that is a picture of HOPE.  Hope is a glimmer of expectation that all will be well, life will bloom once again.  The result of such a confidence, if we allow it, can spring forth as JOY.

Isaiah 58:8 (English Standard Version)  Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.

Doesn’t that sound amazing! That is something I want to meditate upon!

We can see our light breaking forth and our healing springing forth speedily and the glory of God having our back.  Truly, there is joy in that picture.

So I will fertilize my verbena with terrible stuff and I will water consistently.  But, I will also pray and ask, -God, make the verbena bloom with joyous flowers once again and do the same for my heart that seems to ache with dryness unexplained.  Make your goodness a glimmer of hope that spreads the life of joy through out.-


Also worthy of a meditative read:

Valley of Vision: JOY
The Banner of Truth Trust ^ | 1975 | Arthur Bennett 

O Christ,

All thy ways of mercy tend to and end in

my delight.

Thou didst weep, sorrow, suffer that I might rejoice.

For my joy thou hast sent the Comforter,

multiplied thy promises,

shown me my future happiness,

given me a living fountain.

Thou art preparing joy for me and me for joy;

I pray for joy, wait for joy, long for joy;

give me more than I can hold, desire, or think of.

Measure out to me my times and degrees of joy,

at my work, business, duties.

If I weep at night, give me joy in the morning.

Let me rest in the thought of thy love,

pardon for sin, my title to heaven,

my future unspotted state.

I am an unworthy recipient of thy grace.

I often disesteem thy blood and slight thy love,

but can in repentance draw water

from the wells of thy joyous forgiveness.

Let my heart leap towards the eternal sabbath,

where the work of redemption, sanctification,

preservation, glorification is finished

and perfected for ever,

where thou wilt rejoice over me with joy.

There is no joy like the joy of heaven,

for in that state are no sad divisions,

unchristian quarrels,

contentions, evil designs,

weariness, hunger, cold,

sadness, sin, suffering,

persecutions, toils of duty.

O healthful place where none are sick!

O happy land where all are kings!

O holy assembly where all are priests!

How free a state where none are servants

except to thee!

Bring me speedily to the land of joy.