Your Love Letter from God

Dear Valentine,

Before you were even formed, I knew you. I made a way to bring you into my family because of my love for you. I am the way to your forever home. You are my child. I have made that home for you, but you also have made a home for me, right in the center of your being. If you heard me knocking and opened the door of your heart, then I came in. Even if you’ve almost forgotten that, you can trust my love for you and let it motivate you to move forward. I haven’t left you abandoned, an orphan in the world, but have given you my own spirit to be with you forever. Nothing can separate you from my love—not circumstances, not people, not problems, not even death. My love for you knows no bounds. So now, my Valentine, since you know who you are and whose you are, don’t be afraid to get out there and love others in my name. Then, they will know I’m right here waiting to be the Valentine for which their souls are searching, ready to rescue and love them, too.  Remain in my love — God

Wondering if those thoughts are just a whimsical notion, an early-morning flight of fancy from my imagination? Not so! Truth is, God has been trying to pass you and me love notes all along. Read More

Reading Roundup: 3 Takes on Family and Community

It’s been awhile since I shared some great books, so it’s time for another Reading Roundup. Other than the fact that all three of these reads have blueish-greenish covers, I thought they were an eclectic group. However, I realized while writing about them that they all touch on themes of family and community. Explains why I liked them so much, and why I think you will, too. Read More

When the Past Has You Tied in Knots

“I have tried and tried to forgive him. I want to forgive! But I just can’t seem to forget. Now, I’m so afraid of being hurt again by someone else.”

Ugh, that’s a hard place to be, and anyone who’s gone through pain and betrayal can probably relate. In fact, after this dear woman shared her dilemma with a group of us gathered to study the Bible and pray, more than a few ladies began to nod in agreement.

These were dear sisters who loved the Lord, and their pain ran deep. They sincerely desired to be obedient to God’s command to love others and practice forgiveness, but they felt stuck because the memories of hurt and betrayal were still not healed.

What we learned that night was this: Forgiving and forgetting are not the same, nor do they need to be.
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That Time My Dog Was Almost Lunch

On Tuesday, I was rambling around the lake with Bali, my fluffy little troublemaker of a dog, when a massive eagle flew over our heads and settled in a tree nearby. The bird was a motley-colored juvenile, so at first, I thought it was a hawk from the coloring. But no hawk is THAT big, and I swear this one was paying an awful lot of attention to Bali. Normally, I wouldn’t react—no way that bird was going to come near me—but I had just dropped the end of Bali’s leash so she could have a some freedom along the water’s edge several feet away from me.

For all I knew, my cavanese looked like lunch.

So, I did what any good dog mom would do and grabbed the end of that leash, tethering my oblivious pup to me. She wasn’t all that happy about it, pulling against me in protest since she was in the middle of investigating some smell or other.

But I was not about to let her become take-out for a teenaged eagle whose eyes were bigger than its stomach. Read More

Time for a Happy Renew Year? Strategies to Recharge You

Happy New Year! Just a note from all of us at the Glass house to wish you well, and a special “I’m right there with ya” from me to all you parents who are torn between gratefulness for a few more days of family time and a growing need for everybody to get back to school and work routines before you lose your mind.

We’re starting to feel a little on top of each other over here, and it’s coming out in weird ways. This morning, some of us were up and doing while the other half, including yours truly, were lounging around in pajamas pretending there was such a thing as peace and quiet. The up-and-doing half were breaking down a million boxes from Amazon, or as we renamed it this Christmas, Santa-Zon. This included much stomping on the bubble wrap filler so the house sounded like a war zone. Clearly, this was a campaign to drive the pajama loungers into action. I’m thinking the lounging half will stay in our protest-pj’s a bit longer, thank you kindly, but we may have to get to work taking down the Christmas tree. It’s starting to bug me. We shall see.

Regardless, working together to get things back in order does count for quality family time, right? And with busy teenagers, those moments are becoming rarer. I’m grateful, even though my introverted self is longing for a little “me” time soon. The “me” time will happen—I’ll make sure of it—but these precious days count for a lot.

And… I just now snapped at a kid for interrupting these thoughts on the preciousness of parenthood. Perhaps “me” time needs to be sooner rather than later. Read More

Why Rest May Be the Best Christmas Gift for Your Weary Soul

A few years ago my doctor quizzed me on how many hours of sleep I was getting. She said she was convinced sleep was more important than we realize for staying healthy. I probably said something glib about “8 hours,” though it was more like six. I began to notice, though, that I didn’t function well without regular rest. Everything from aches and pains to anxiety to the common cold—basically all that stuff that affects our bodies in stressful seasons—seems connected to rest or the lack thereof. I also learned something fascinating:

Rest is a gift of grace that God designed for us to enjoy. We can choose to unwrap the gift or not, but our lives function much better when we do. Read More

When Holiday Busyness Distracts, Battle Back

Happy weird week between Thanksgiving and December 1st! Maybe you’ve been more productive than I have, but I’ve treated it like the calm before the storm. I didn’t even do Cyber-Monday shopping like I normally do, opting instead to grab my dog and go play outside. Pretty sure I was trying to stay far, far away from the overflowing laundry after a great time with family last week.

But taking time to reset was good. I’ve needed to prepare mentally and spiritually for Christmas and to allow God to remind me not to lose sight of Him in the midst of the busyness. I’ve gotten the biggest soul boost from Him this week from the most un-Christmasy Bible passage you could imagine.
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Doc Answers: Angry God or Loving God?

In the last two posts I’ve been discussing the ins and outs of anger, including how to keep it in balance and when to pay attention to it. This week, though, I’m digging into the subject of God and anger. Sometimes God seems extremely angry in the Old Testament, especially with the people who are supposed to be his chosen ones, but he seems extremely loving in the New Testament. Does God have two different personalities? What’s the deal?

I asked my dad, Dr. Thomas Nunnally or “Doc” as he’s known to our family, to share some insights. Doc is a retired English professor who loves to fish and loves God’s word even more. He’s taught academic classes on the literature of the Bible as well as more informal Bible studies, and he consults on Bible translation projects. All that to say, I have an amazing resource for the hard questions of the faith! Here’s how he addressed the questions of God’s nature as angry or loving, and whether the God of the Old Testament is the same person presented in the New Testament. Read More

When to Give Anger a Green Light: The Ins and Outs of Anger, Part II

“Have you given yourself permission to be angry?” Several years ago a counselor surprised me with that question. Pretty sure my answer was a big, fat “Nope!”

McLeod and I had been in marriage counseling for two months, but I felt stuck like we weren’t making much progress. In fact, one of the things I most wanted was to STOP feeling angry and frustrated with our relationship all the time, so giving a green light to my anger seemed counterproductive.

Turns out, though, I was angry about quite a list of grievances. I was stuck because I’d been working so hard not to feel angry while I exercised what I thought was my Christian duty to be forgiving and understanding that I’d overlooked an important truth about anger: Anger often indicates that something needs to change. Read More

Toasty Warm or Too Hot to Handle? The Ins and Outs of Anger, Part I

A friend posted earlier in the week as we got our first real cold front of the fall: Texas will be closed today. We’re all looking for our jackets.

I would add, and our fuzzy socks.

There’s nothing funnier that watching Houstonians bundle up against 60-degree temps. We know we’re being a little ridiculous, but really, we don’t care. We don’t get a leaf change here, so we’re doing the best we can with whatever constitutes autumn. (And by the time I post this, pretty sure the temps will be back in the 70s or 80s.)

Perfect excuse, then, for my kind of autumn contentment: steep some hot tea and light a fire in the fireplace. Pure bliss.

I’ve been thinking about fire in general lately. Such a strong, important force. Contained, it brings warm, toasty goodness in my den, but let loose, it can bring destruction. Kind of like anger—it can be an indicator that something is wrong, a motivator for change, and a jumpstart for justice, all really good things. But good grief, anger can spread like a wildfire given half a chance. What, then, keeps anger in bounds? Read More

Why Every Super Hero Needs Her Team

A few weeks ago, we were just about to kick back for a relaxed Sunday evening of cooking out and watching the Astros play the Red Sox. While McLeod grilled burgers, I stepped inside to heat up some sides, but when I looked up from where I was stirring at the stove, I found my son at my side, grimacing in pain.

“Mom, I think I need to go to the hospital again.” Just like that, I turned off the stove, and within ten minutes we were on the way Texas Children’s.

He’d had surgery earlier this year and was having similar pain, so while I thought he was probably ok, I wasn’t about to wait around this time and let it get worse. I told McLeod he might as well finish cooking the burgers and start helping our other kid prepare for the week ahead. Then, I was out the door.

Believe me, my husband was on standby to join us at any moment if needed–he’d already gotten on the phone to call ahead to our doctor while we were en route, but I wasn’t sure what we’d need yet. I was in full-on Super Mom mode devising plans, issuing orders, filling out forms at the hospital, and answering the intake questions with precise medical history as only a veteran mama can. At some point, though, I noticed I’d started to shake a little bit from adrenaline. That’s when you know that though you’re doing your best to pretend you’re fine, you’re really worried and scared. Read More

5 Ways to Fire Up Your Prayer Life

We’ve been fired up around here lately. Not only did we replace our lackluster grill, but we’ve got a fire pit that’s proving to be a huge hit, and not just with the younger set. Fresh pop corn and marshmallow goodness, here we come.

Sometimes, though, it takes a few tries to get a fire going. The grill gave us some grief at first because turns out, the wire to one of the igniters was not plugged in. Nothing sadder on a football Saturday than a fire that’s not firing up at all. Read More