Finding the One in Wonder


My husband and I ran across this beauty in my hometown of O’Fallon, MO.

Isn’t she something???

Honestly, best scarecrow EVER!! I love everything about her. I love her hat, hair, her skirt, and of course her skirt!! What??? She has a skirt made of flowers!!!!  Every time I drive by her, I smile and think, “Amazing!” She leaves me with a sense of wonder.

In teaching and leading children, few things make a lesson great the way a sense of wonder does.

When we teach in ways that leave children with “ooo’s,” ahhhh’s,” “woad’s,” and wow’s,” we know we are doing something right.

Wonder causes children to want to explore, question and dig deeper. Wonder is a catalyst for greater learning.

Wonder may come in the form of a story or an object, an experiment or an experience. It may come from seeing, touching, hearing or smelling. Whatever form it takes, it’s desperately needed in our teaching and lessons in order to leave our children hungry for more. Because when used effectively, the sense of wonder a child experiences in our classrooms unveils a wonder for the One who made it possible.

God is the One in their Wonder.

God is the One who made the colors, made the smells, made the flowers, and caused the reaction in an experiment. God is the One we point our children to in moments of wonder.

Whether you are teaching in church, school, home school or you are just hanging out with your kids, take the time to find those moments of wonder together and find the One who makes them possible.


Photo Credit: My amazing husband, Tim Farris. Checkout his pictures on flickr.




You Will Not Talk to Your Mother That Way (and Other Great Things My Husband Said to Our Kids)

I have a really great husband. We have spent almost thirty years together and have raised two pretty great sons together.

He’s not a perfect husband. . . which is just fine. I’m not a perfect wife.

I am so thankful that Tim has always set such a good example for our sons. He’s one of the quiet dads, he may not say much most of the time, but when he does, it’s generally worth listening to.

Here are ten really great things he has said through the years that are worthy of passing along to the dads out there who are working to find their way in the parenting world.

1) You will not talk to your mother that way. She is your mother.

2) Let’s help your mom clean up.

3) Keep going. Don’t quit.

4) You keep driving from your direction. I’ll start from mine. If the car breaks down again, stay where you are until I get to you. If it keeps going, we’ll meet up and caravan home.

5) Great report card.

6) Hop in the truck, let’s go for a drive.

7) We’re going for it. If we have to turn back, we will. But if we make it, we’ll have one of the best times of our lives. (By the way, they made it, and they did, indeed, have one of the best times of their lives.)

8) I’m proud of you.

9) Good effort, son.

10) This is who we are. This is what we do.

Both of our boys have an overwhelming admiration for their father. He is strong, quiet, faithful, hard working and industrious. And he loves us. We know that, not just because he says that with his words, but because he models it to us every day in the little things he does and in the examples he has set.

Dads, I’m always telling the moms, “It’s the little things that are the big things.”

Be the dad in the little things, because those will be the biggest things in your kids’ lives.

On and one more:
#11) Real Men Hold Their Wives Purses.

Thanks to Sam McGhee for allowing us some time for silly snapshots during our family photo session. To learn more about Sam’s work go to

Oh Those Guys!–Dadderdays


You can’t really see them in this picture. Well, you can see Matt. He’s standing right behind our ice cream loving group of female volunteers. Timmy is somewhere over to the side adding up the points trying to figure out who won from his team. Jerry is sitting with his wife, Debby, on a bench, and my husband, the slightly infamous, “Mr. Tim,” is taking the pictures.

Oh those guys!

We spent last night playing putt-putt golf as part of what we call “Destination Unknown.” A little event I try to plan every year for my Wednesday night leaders’ team. This is the first time we included the men. Sure, they were a little nervous. But they were great, and we had a great time with them there.

These guys are those guys who are the guys who make me smile! They are those guys who are pretty darn humble. They are those guys who are standing by their women. They are those guys who are serving in children’s ministries. They are those guys who are doing things that make them a little uncomfortable sometimes–like going on our destination unknown night, suspecting they could be going to a flower arranging class, but showing up at the church anyway. (I, btw, would never take my leaders to a flower arranging class. Not that there is anything wrong with flower arranging. It’s just not my thing. Therefore, while I am in charge of planning the “destination unknowns,” we will not be flower arranging!)

As usual, I digress.

These guys are those guys who are investing in kids lives whether their kids are grown, they’ve yet to have kids or their kids are part of the action. They are those guys who love God. Guys who, regardless of their age, continue to learn what it means to be a man of God. They are those guys who, though imperfect, do their best to lead, love, and live for Christ and to show their families, friends and our church what things like love, sacrifice and commitment mean.

Oh those guys! I love them! I am thankful for them and I appreciate them more than they will ever know.

There are others, and I believe there will be others. Other men who will refuse to stand down, continue to stand up, stand in and stand on making a difference wherever God leads them.

If you are one of “those guys,” I applaud you. Literally, right now in my living room, I am giving you a verbal shout out and a ginormous “praisallujah!” As always on Dadderdays, I want to encourage you to stay the course (even in putt putt), don’t give up and don’t give in. Be the man God has called you to be today and every day.

And have yourself a very happy Dadderday!

Tea Time or Tee Time for Father’s Day–Tiny Tot Tuesday

< tea-cup-teapot-clip-art

I love tea! Love it hot, cold, or sweet! I’m learning to appreciate it unsweetened. I hear it’s better for you that way, but, well, sugar is just so darn tootin’ addictive. (But, that’s another blog post, I’m sure.)

As I was thinking about Father’s Day coming up, I got to thinking about Father’s Day presents. And Tiny Tots. But not Pinterest. So, seriously, you know, what can you get a dad that someone isn’t going to say, “Hey! I saw that on Pinterest.”

Don’t go thinking I’m a Pinterest hater. I’m not. I like/love it! But sometimes the best gift isn’t a gift. It’s an experience, and although I’m sure people are pinning their experiences and experience ideas, sometimes we just need to have them, and not search for them, you know what I mean???

So this Dad’s Day, why not sip on the idea of a little tea time for dad and the kids. Maybe it’s china cups and scones or maybe it’s Red Solo Cups and Oreos. Maybe it’s root beer and chips. The point is the experience. The point is making a memory. The point is sharing time with those you love–even if it’s a bit awkward at first. Sometimes it’s those little bits of uncertainty in trying something new that can make it the most precious in the end.

Clip Art Illustration of a Cartoon Golf Ball on a Golf Course

Of course, every dad may not be ready even for some Dad’s Root Beer and Doritos with the kids. But maybe he is ready for a round of mini golf, or some time with the kids in a simple course made in the back yard. It doesn’t really matter; again the point is time together, memories, experiences and sharing. Sharing love, honor, respect and fun together.

I hope that your Father’s Day is T-Riffic no matter what you choose to do and that you and your Tiny Tots have the opportunity to make time for tea, tee or whatever it is that comes to your mind as a beautiful,and maybe new way to honor Dad!

Being a Dad–Mama Mia Monday

I had the pleasure of meeting Brad Pesnell last year when I was out visiting son #2 during his summer internship. In just a few weeks, this son will be traveling back out to begin working with the team at Valley Real Life. Recently, Brad wrote and posted these words on his Facebook page. He says the things my heart knows to be true, and I was thrilled when he gave me permission to use them on my blog today.

So today’s Mama Mia Monday is brought to you by a dad. It would be my prayer that your heart would hear what he has to say.

Brad says,

“Some of my best memories of being a dad have been when I have intentionally invested into my daughter. My wife would always nudge me and try to get me to take my daughter out, but I don’t think I ever really understood until I actually did it. I would always take my daughter with me to do my stuff, but she was talking about me entering her world. My first date with my daughter, Lily, was when she was 4 years old. That day, I took her shopping and found a fancy dress and a pair of shoes. She was completely into princesses at that point, so we knew what we wanted.

Her mother fixed her hair and went with her to get a pedicure and manicure. All day they “girl chatted.” I have no idea how two people can talk for that long, but they never seemed to grow tired. I dressed in a suit that I had bought for a wedding and had arranged for a corsage that matched her dress. I had planned to pick her up at 5pm, so I showed up on time in my washed car and walked into the house and sat on the couch. My wife presented my little girl, and she walked in with the spirit of a queen.

I took her to a very nice local restaurant that had a ballroom. She heard music and danced around by herself and then out the door, down the sidewalk, and to the car while I followed and took pictures. People would stop, smile, and reminisce as she danced by them. She didn’t even notice them.

When we got into the car she began to sing . . . to God. She sang the entire 20 minute trip back to our house. Afterward, we talked all about the night with my wife–told her about the food, the ballroom, the waiter, the silly things that Daddy did at the table, and Lily’s new song.

That night, I opened the doors for her, pulled her chair out for her, complimented her appearance, goofed around with her, and just talked with her. It was the most intentional day of my life. Since then, we have supported a friend who has started an annual Daddy Daughter Dance at our church, because I want fathers everywhere to see the power they have in their family’s life. I don’t think most men are aware of the power they have in their relationships. Most men feel dismissed or disrespected, but I promise that if you decide to pull out all of the stops for one day and make your daughter feel like the most important person in the world you will never regret it.

As I continue to raise my daughter I see gaps, more than I can fill–and it terrifies me. I don’t know how to fix those, but I pray that if I just show her AND tell her what she means to me that God will fill the gaps. Trying to do it all seems to frustrate everyone. None of us are experts, so I wanted to share a few points that made me really think and examine. I hope they make you think too.

Points by Wayne Parker, Guide

1. Respect her mom. While girls like to love their daddies, their mom is really their number one role model. If you make an effort to show their mom respect, whether or not you are still married to her, it will help your daughter love and respect you more. If you demean her mom or make Mom seem smaller in your daughter’s eyes, you are just putting a distance between your girl and you.
2. Know her friends. Particularly in the later elementary years and early secondary years, your daughter’s friends become a really important part of her life. She will tell them things she won’t ever tell you or her mom. So make sure you know who her friends are. Host a few parties or sleepovers at your place so you can get to know them better.
3. Learn to listen. One thing I have learned is that girls need to be listened to much more than they need to hear what you have to say. Try listening without judging and without offering advice. Comment only in an effort to understand better what she is saying and what she is feeling. Reflective Listening is an important skill to develop as a father, and your daughter will appreciate your focused efforts to listen for understanding.
4. Read together. One of the things my daughter would comment on is the time we took when they were little to sit down together on the couch or the recliner and read books together. It not only helps them learn to love reading, but it gives you common ground for later discussions. For example, reading Alice in Wonderland together will help you later when you teach her about making good decisions, setting goals and getting and staying on positive paths.
5. Take her on dates. While I didn’t do it as often as I should have, taking your daughters on dates every other month or so is a great way to stay connected. Take her out to lunch, to a movie, or to the bowling alley. The one-on-one time a date offers, along with being in a more relaxed environment than at home, will be time you cherish and she will remember.
6. Get involved in her interests. If your daughter is into soccer, offer to coach the team or at least go to games and practices with her. If she is taking music lessons, listen to her practice and go to recitals. Complement her on her involvement in her interests, hobbies and diversions. Learn something about her interest so you can talk about it and so you can help her excel.
7. Help with homework. Now I have to admit, being stuck around the kitchen table for two hours doing homework is not my definition of fun, but it has been a great bonding time for me with my kids. And it lets your daughter know that you value education and developing life skills.
8. Be there at the crossroads. At the important moments in your daughter’s life, make sure you are there. Schedule and keep the appointments for the rites of passage like her birthdays, first day of school, first day at junior high, first date, first dance, first prom, and so forth. These are moments she’ll remember all her life, and you will have been a part of them with her.
9. Make and keep promises. The way we build trust with our daughters is by making and keeping promises. If you commit to take her out on a date, let nothing get in the way. If you tell her you are coming to her dance recital, make sure you are there. If you promise to keep a confidence, don’t share it with others. Her seeing you follow through on your commitments will build your relationship, and will let her know that other men in her life are able to be committed and trustworthy.
10. Be a little physical. Sometimes for whatever reason, we are a little stand-offish with our daughters. They do tend to usually be a little more touchy-feely than we are, but you can add an important dimension to your relationship by giving her hugs, goodnight kisses on the cheek and holding her hand. Our girls need to feel our love, not just hear about it.

As we work to build these important relationships, it’s important to remember that our daughters need us to be a great dad and the most important male role model in her life. Helping her have a great relationship with you is good for both of you, and will help her be a better companion, wife and mother later in her life.”

Mama Mia! That dad is (B)rad! Thanks for not just saying these words, but living them out as well.

Brad Pesnell is the children’s pastor at Valley Real Life in Spokane Valley, WA where he lives with the two loves of his life, his wife Jayme and daughter, Lily.

Today’s Post Is Brought to You By The Letter “F”

As I was jotting some things down in my “Twenty Minutes with Jesus” time today, I got to my personal prayer list and realized several of the the things I am praying for begin with the letter “F”. (Yeah, not much gets past me–LOL!) One of the things didn’t start with “F” so I decided to take that one and find a synonym that did and Voila! a slightly easier way for my brain to really remember the things I want to be praying for. Just in case your inquiring mind wants to know what they are, here ya go:

Disclaimer: Words are listed are in no particular order. Well, except for the first one, because it is the word “first.” On second thought I think I will put it last in accordance with the whole, “first will be last and last will be first” scripture (Matthew 20:16). Of course, last doesn’t start with “F” so it won’t be first here–or on the list at all for that matter. But anyway, to the list.

Faithfulness–I’m praying to be faithful, for my family to be faithful, the church to be faithful and my HiSKidZ, leaders and families to be faithful. I was reading in Isaiah today (chapter 57) and was reminded again that faithfulness is a big deal.

Family–I’m praying for families. For our church families, the families of our communities, my family, and my family’s family to be. I’m praying for our families to be strong, committed, and to keep trusting in God NO MATTER WHAT. (252 shout out) As our boys get older, I find myself praying more and more about the women who may become part of our extended family one day, and the generations that will come behind us. And, yeah, I’m praying that they will be faithful. Again, in Isaiah, I saw how easily families were deceived and left the truth.

Focus–I’m praying for focus. I’m praying that we will focus on Jesus, His Word, His truth. Psalm 119 is filled to the brim with encouragement and direction for staying focused on God’s word, statutes, precepts and direction for our life. His Word is truly “a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.” We need to keep focused on that path and the One who lights it for us.

Future–I’m praying for the future. Not just our future here on earth, but the certain hope of our future in heaven. We are reminded again and again (and I was reminded again today in Isaiah) that this world is not our home–we are just passing through. It serves us well to keep our eyes on the prize at the end of this race. I’m praying that we will live for the future as we live in the present.

Faith–I’m praying that my faith will increase. The disciples once said to Jesus, “Lord increase our faith.” What a request! Oh that we would have our faith increased each and every day and then share and live out that faith with the people around us. That’s what I’m talking about!! and. . .

First–I’m praying to keep Christ first. First place, all the time, every day. My son Trevor used to say something like, “If you didn’t get first, you lost.” Of course I would tell him that it’s not all about winning. It’s how you played and what you learned and the attitude you did it with. But in this case, I think 1st is it!!! If He doesn’t get 1st in my life, I lose. There is no other place I want Christ to be. There is no other place He deserves to be, and ultimately, there is no other place He will be, cuz He is God and there is no one like Him.

So thank you, letter “F”, for some inspiration, motivation and the chance for some exclamation to be going out to the Faithful God who has brought me into His Family, taken First place in my life, is growing my Faith and giving me a Future.


I Find That Very Pinteresting

Ahhh yes, I have become a Pinterest fan/follower/almost addict.  There are some things I really like about this wonderful sight where I can find awesome things–well, I mean where other people have found awesome things for me, and all I have to do is “pin” them to an imaginary board  (is it imaginary???) so I always know where they are.  I have yet to score a direct pin. But, alas, maybe someday.

However like all good things there are pros and cons to this Pinteresting phenomenon. Here are a few I’ve found.

5 Great Things About Pinterest

1.  Pinterest can spark your passion for God.  Through pics and posters of great Scripture, you can find your heart renewed and excited about the things of God.

2.  Pinterest can show you some great ways to show love to your spouse.  I made a board simply called “Husband Love” and am filling it with things that remind me why I love my husband, things I can do or make to be sure I’m showing him that love.

3.  Pinterest can help you better yourself as a parent.  I love all the great ideas for activities, helps, tips, etc. that I’m finding that relate to parenting. Chore Charts, postive sayings, love notes, winter (summer, spring, fall) things to do with your kids. Get out of the rut and find some great ideas for free.

4.  Pinterest can be a catalyst for bringing back the lost art of hospitality and entertaining.  There are more than a bajillion ideas on how to have any kind of party, gathering, game night. . . .don’t know what to do? Now you do.

5.  Pinterest can motivate you to get healthy and fit.  I have to admit, I get a little motivated by the slogans and sayings and Dr. Oz’s list of foods you should have in your house. I’m eating a little better and moving a little more than I did before.

5 Not So Great Things About Pinterest

1.  Pinterest can fool you into thinking you have passion for God. Pinning a page with a great scripture is not a substitute for digging into the treasure of God’s Word and then living it out. Take Caution that you don’t spend all your time “pinning”, and find yourself stilling “pining” for the One who wants your heart most.

2.  Pinterest can keep you from really loving your spouse.  If what your man or woman really wants and needs is for you to spend some time with them– like really talking or listening or going out sometime–Make sure you aren’t spending those precious moments with a laptop pinning “How to Really Love Your Husband” pictures to a board. Reading about love and really loving ARE NOT the same thing.  And one picture from someone else’s life does not their life make. Yours either. Grass looking greener. . . .start taking care of your own yard.

3.  Pinterest can mess up your head when it comes to being a parent. If you make the subtle mistake that a good parent is one who is doing all the stuff you see on Pinterest you are going to find yourself pinned to the wall, so to speak.  You probably can’t afford all the stuff you are pinning, and your kids don’t need all the stuff you are pinning. Your kids need you, so turn off the computer and go play with your kids, oh, and read the Bible with them. Maybe you can share a verse you pinned!

4.  Pinterest can actually keep you from entertaining. When you realize you don’t have that many mason jars, and that fondant isn’t really your friend, and that there is no way to keep up with the cyber Joneses who live, well who knows where they live but not down the block, you are likely to just forget having the real Joneses over. Besides who wants to have anyone over when you can just pin pictures about having people over. And then you won’t have to clean your house or do the laundry.

5.  Pinterest can motivate you to a false body image.  As far  I can tell, I’m seeing a lot of young (and older) women pinning pics of women who have been airbrushed and eating disordered to fame (I wanted to say  “to death”, which sadly is the truth, so I’m saying it anyway) . It’s not real, it’s not realistic, and it’s not healthy.

So have fun, just be careful little eyes what you pin. . . .