Good, good Father…..


Recently we have been singing a worship song at our church called Good, Good Father. I love this song. I have heard it said that the impression one has of God the Father is a reflection of the relationship one has with his earthly father.

In his book God Distorted, John Bishop writes – I think that whatever comes to mind when you think about your father, there is a good chance that you attribute similar characteristics to your image of your heavenly Father. Simply put, your image of God has been formed and shaped by the father figures in your life.

I have been incredibly blessed to have a good, good father. When I think about my dad I think about a strong man who can do anything.
He can fix anything.
He can build anything.

He loves his family.

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I remember when I was a little girl, one Saturday my dad starting nailing some boards together. I asked him what he was doing and he said he was building me a playhouse. Several hours later I had the cutest little A-frame playhouse in my backyard that you have ever seen.  My sister and I spent many hours playing in our playhouse.


My daddy was a hard worker. He was a machine operator in a factory that produced aluminum foil. His work environment was hot and noisy and my daddy worked the 2nd shift, meaning he would be asleep when I got up in the morning and gone to work when I got home from school. I didn’t see my dad during the week, but we made up for it on weekends.

I love going places with my daddy. I would choose going to a football game with my dad over going places with friends. He’s still the one I call to go to ballgames with me! He taught me to fish, how to shoot a gun, and how to fix things around my house.


My dad made sure we were in church every Sunday. He led the singing and I played the piano. He cared about my relationship with the Lord. I never wondered where he stood spiritually. It is evident in my dad’s life that he loves the Lord and follows Him daily.


My friends and family know that my favorite flower is the daisy. My husband gives me daisies on special occasions. My bridal bouquet was daisies. I just LOVE daisies! Recently my mom sent me a text of a picture of some wild daisies growing near their house. My dad had mowed around them, leaving the wild daisies, because he told my mom that when he saw the daisies he thought of me and he just couldn’t mow over them. That’s my dad.


So, as we approach this weekend where we honor our fathers, I want everyone to know that I hit the jackpot. I got the best daddy in the world. Sorry everyone, you can’t have him – he’s mine.

Good, Good Father

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There’s Something About Mary

MK2Proverbs 15:13 says – A happy heart makes the face cheerful. I have been blessed with a daughter-in-law with a happy heart.

Last week I spent the whole week in heaven on earth. I was visiting my son, daughter-in-law and twin grandbabies in Wisconsin. What a wonderful time I had laughing and playing with my little monkeys.

The twins are 2 1/2 now and MAN – are they ever busy!!! They love to dress themselves (most of the time the clothes are inside out and backwards) and they love to play! The sun comes up around 5:00 AM in Wisconsin and the girls are not far behind. From the moment they crawl out of their cribs, they are ready to eat, play, and make messes.


They are good little pumpkins, but even though they are good, they are still TWO and require so much energy! Two year olds are demanding. They don’t have a concept of time so they don’t understand “wait a minute” or “I’ll help you in a second”. They want so badly to be independent, but that independence means shoes are often on the wrong feet and feeding oneself results in more food on clothes, faces, and floors than actually inside one’s mouth. They don’t understand how cranky they get when they are tired. (Seriously! Why don’t little kids just close their eyes and go to sleep?!?!)


But, in every situation – no matter how stressful – no matter how annoying – no matter how LOUD – Mary Kate was cheerful.

And I don’t think she was just faking it because her mother-in-law was there. She is genuinely cheerful. I must admit – I was not always a cheerful mom. I was more like a drill sergeant. As a matter of fact, Lee used to call me Sergeant Carter. (I know I’m dating myself, so all you young folks watch this clip of Gomer Pyle USMC. )

I wish I could have been more like Mary Kate. No matter how difficult things get, Mary Kate keeps a good attitude and a cheerful countenance. I admire that – I truly do.

Mary Kate, you are good mom. I am proud of you and I am thankful that you are mommy to my precious grandbabies. Thank you for all you do and for always doing it with a smile on your face. I honor you!


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The audacity of discontent…AKA that time I visited an orphanage in Chengdu, China.

There are some memories that are forever burned in my mind. One of those memories was a day spent in an orphanage in Chengdu, China. I was honored to visit this orphanage with a group from my church and I was even more blessed to be able to have this experience with my then eleven year old son. I found my diary from that trip recently and this is one of my entries:

The orphanage was just outside of the city. When we arrived we met two young girls, around eighteen years old, who had been Christians for about two years. Since that time they have dedicated their time to caring for the children in the orphanage. There are currently thirteen boys and 1 girl living at the orphanage, but over a hundred children have been through their doors. The man in charge has a notebook with information on each child – where they were found (some at train or bus stations, some just roaming the streets, and others foraging for food in restaurant dumpsters), the day they came to the orphanage, and the day they accepted Christ – along with a picture of each child. The man who runs the orphanage relies solely on faith. The day we were there the girls were cooking cabbage and onions which they could get for $.05 per pound. They rent the building for $1000 per year. A pastor who was with our group gave the man enough money to pay the rent for the next year. At one point we all went upstairs to a terrace where they would hang their clothes to dry. The children asked to sing a song for us. They closed their eyes and lifted their faces toward heaven and began to sing in Chinese. Our interpreter told us they were singing about how much Jesus loved them. Tears rolled down their cheeks. Even the youngest children sang with such feeling. it was obvious that the Spirit of the Lord dwells in them.

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As I stood there listening and watching the children sing I was ashamed. I was ashamed of how spoiled I am. I was ashamed of all the times I complained about the silliest of things – things that were so trivial. I was ashamed of all the times I had complained about being too hot, or too cold, or not having a cold coke in the refrigerator, or having to wait in a line. I could go on and on. Here were these orphans – rejected by their parents, some with disabilities, with only cabbage and onions to eat – but they are praising God and singing about how much Jesus loves them. They had almost NOTHING in the form of worldly goods. But they had faith and they had trust. They had a love for the Father like nothing I have ever seen before. They were content.

As a teenager I had memorized Philippians 4:11 – Not that I speak in respect of want, for I have learned, whatever state I am in, in this to be content. I had memorized that verse and knew it in my head, but on this day I was seeing it lived out by these orphans and I was embarrassed that I had not taken this verse to heart the way these children did.

I live an incredibly blessed life. I have a wonderful family. I have more clothes than I need, more food than I need, a nice car to drive, a job that I LOVE. I am rich beyond measure. There is NEVER a reason for me to be discontent. The audacity to complain is ridiculous. May we all look inside our hearts and take inventory. May we be aware when discontent starts to creep in to our minds.

And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. Timothy 6:8 

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The disappointment of unmet expectations – aka – the time I visited the Suwanee Diner.

This past week I had the pleasure of attending the Orange Conference in Atlanta with some of our ministry team. We had a great time of refreshment, learning, and challenges. We also had a great time just having adventures together.

On the way home we decided to stop for dinner fairly soon after leaving the conference to let some of the traffic clear out. I looked up places to eat on my restaurant app on my phone and one that popped up was the Suwanee Diner. Everyone loved the idea of going to a diner. Images popped into our heads of a jukebox, fun booths, burgers and fries, and of course, we would have to top it all off with a float or milkshake, right? I imagined that a little old lady with a nametag that said “Bernice” would take our order while managing several other tables at the same time.



The reviews were good and the menu on the website looked like we could all find something yummy for supper. So we put the address in the gps and off we went!

We pulled up to a rather non-descript building with a sign that said “Suwanee Diner”, so we knew we were in the right place.


The door was propped open, but when we walked in it looked nothing like we were expecting. They were in the middle of a remodel as we could see lots of sheetrock that had recently been hung. We started to turn around when a little Indian man zipped out from the back and assured us that they were open for business. There were lots of tables, but no other customers in the restaurant. We were given a yellow menu with lots of type, but no pictures. There was a chalkboard on the wall that listed the specials as Beef Liver and mash potato (sic) and Curried Chicken and Rice. For dessert there was baklava. Instead of a jukebox, there was a flat screen computer playing 80s music on Pandora.

I asked to use the little girls room. They said I was welcome to use it, but the sink had not been installed yet, so I would have to come behind the counter to wash my hands.  We meandered down this dark hallway and the little man flipped on light switches as we wandered through the maze to the little girl’s room.  He told the truth – there was no sink installed so I made my way back to the area behind the counter to wash my hands.  There was no soap at the sink behind the counter. Kay saved the day with a hotel soap she had packed in her bag.


Despite it all, we made the best of the circumstances and had a few laughs. The food was surprisingly tasty – although no one ordered the “specials”. The server was attentive – which wasn’t too difficult since we were the only customers the whole time we were there. That being said – I kinda doubt I would make a return trip to the Suwanee Diner.  I was really looking forward to a milkshake.  Sad day.

I started thinking about how that experience relates to church. In today’s world folks can check us out online before ever showing up to our campus. We put our best foot forward in our pictures and videos on our website. It is vital that we don’t disappoint our guests by giving them an experience that is different from their expectations based on what they see on our website.

Are our rooms well-staffed with friendly team members? Are they clean? Are they uncluttered? Do they meet the expectations of the guests?  Are our areas nicely decorated?  Does it smell fresh and clean?  Are we prepared for guests?

No one likes a bait and switch. It creates distrust. We need to be trustworthy in all we say and do. Because, like me, even though the visit ended up being okay, I won’t be going back.

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Prayer time!


I will never forget the first time I witnessed a distinct and very clear answer to prayer. I had just finished my junior year of high school and had been chosen to attend Governor’s School that summer. Governor’s School was an 8 week long program for gifted and talented high school students and was known for being a very liberal environment and not super faith friendly. I had grown up in a Christian home and accepted Christ as my personal Lord and Savior as a child, but had never experienced any type of persecution for my faith. Growing up in rural North Carolina was a safe place to be a Christian and I had honestly never had to defend my faith. So, to say I was nervous about leaving home for the summer and heading into what could possibly be an antagonistic atmosphere for faith was an understatement. For the first time I prayed differently than I ever had before. I prayed very specifically. I asked God to please just give me ONE FRIEND at Governor’s School who shared my faith.

The day came to travel to the other end of the state for my summer experience. My mom was out of town, so my dad had to take me. He was in a time crunch to meet someone so we grabbed a quick bite to eat at a McDonald’s. I was chattering on nervously when I realized that my dad was being really quiet. When I looked up I saw tears in his eyes. Now, I had only seen my dad cry two other times in my whole life, so this was a little upsetting. I was already nervous!! After lunch my dad dropped me off in my dorm room at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian College. We had time for a quick hug and the next thing I knew he was gone and I was sitting on a bed that had yet to be made and a suitcase that had yet to be unpacked.

I was in a suite with 11 other girls. Everyone else had their families with them helping them settle in, making their beds, hanging curtains, laughing and joking. And I just sat. For some reason, my roommate didn’t show, so not only was I lonely, I was also alone. I could hear other girls meeting their roommates and getting to know one another. I just sat there and prayed. Lord, remember that prayer that I’ve been praying for the past few weeks? Now would be a great time to answer!!

It was time to walk across campus for the family orientation and one of the girls across the hall saw me sitting on my bed looking forlorn. She asked if I’d like to walk over to the orientation with her family. Her name was Karen and she didn’t know it but she was my new best friend.

As we walked across the bridge, somehow our conversation turned to faith and I found out that this was the like-minded friend and my answer to prayer. I found out that she had prayed the same prayer. What a good, good Father to answer the prayer of these two young teenage girls within hours of arriving on campus.

I could easily stop there and say – isn’t it awesome how God answered my prayer? But, in true God fashion, He went above and beyond – it turned out that 10 of the 12 girls in our suite were believers and another girl came to faith before leaving that summer. We were able to pray together, study the Bible together, and since we were all there for vocal performance, sing worship songs together with beautiful harmonies. It was an amazing experience and forever shaped how I felt about prayer.

Throughout the years I have had many, many more answers to prayer, but nothing would keep me on my knees more than news of my son and his fiance finding out they were expecting mono-mono twins.

After getting over the initial embarrassment of “Andrew, I taught you better than that”, I realized this journey would be a very tenuous one and would need to be saturated in prayer.

You see, mono-mono twins are very rare (only 1% of twin pregnancies) and also very dangerous (50% don’t make it to viability) and 95% are born prematurely and spend time in the NICU.

I have this horrible need to research things, which can be a very disconcerting way to be. The more I researched the more nervous I became and the more I realized how serious this was. The more I realized how vital prayer would be.

Since we are HUGE NC State fans, I went to Cracker Barrel and bought two pairs of NC State booties and placed them on my desk at work. They were my constant reminder to pray for my little grandbabies.


Mary Kate was very good about giving us information to pray about. She was very inclusive in telling us what was going on at each appointment. We rejoiced when we found out the girls were not conjoined (which is a risk with mono-mono twins). We prayed harder when we found out that one of the twins had a hole in her heart. We prayed every time the nurses came in to monitor the twins while Mary Kate was in the hospital (starting at 26 weeks). Her mom and I joined hands and prayed our hearts out when Mary Kate was whisked away for an emergency C-section on November 11. The next 24 hours was spent in constant prayer that these two little precious treasures would be ok. Every step of the way was bathed in prayer – from Amelia’s heart surgery, to every test that was performed, to bringing them home after 98 days in NICU.


God so graciously answered all of our prayers beyond what we could ever imagine. We are blessed beyond measure. Every prayer strengthened my faith and encouraged me to pray even bolder prayers.

Today I find myself in constant dialogue with God. I pray and ask for God to show me specifically how to handle a certain situation. I pray and ask God to show me who to ask to join our children’s team or who to ask to step into leadership. I pray and ask for ideas to reach children and families and help them grow in their faith. I pray for my family – that God would continue to lead and guide us to glorify Him. I wear a bracelet every day to remind me to pray for the safety of my Marine and the other military members and their families.


I think about how excited I am to get an unexpected phone call from one of my boys, or, in Joel’s case, an unexpected conversation over dinner. If I get that excited about conversations with my children, I know God loves to hear from me, His child, as well.

Do you see specific answers to prayer? If not, I urge you to start keeping track of your prayers and the answers. Sometimes the answer may not be what you expect, but I promise it is what you need. Answered prayer is faith building. Don’t sell yourself short on this wonderful opportunity to experience God.

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Adventures in Parenting

Several years ago I participated in a group project that had the participants write down their three favorite memories. We then split up into groups of three and shared the memories with the smaller group. After sharing your memories, the other two people would tell you what their perception of you was based on your memories. I can’t remember exactly what the memories were that I wrote down at that time, but I vividly remember what one of the participants told me. He said, “I can tell you are very adventurous”. To be honest, I had never really thought about it before, but after he made that comment I realized that I really did love adventure.

Over the years I have had some great adventures and as a result, I have some great memories. My favorite adventures have been with my boys. Travelling has been my “thing” with Andrew. We went to China together when he was eleven and climbing the Great Wall is something I’ll never forget. That trip is a blog post of its very own for another day. As he got older we enjoyed a road trip through Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. Hiking in the Grand Canyon was a highlight of that trip.


Another summer we would travel to Florida for a week of riding every roller coaster we could find. We hit every theme park we could find – Busch Gardens Tampa, Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios, Epcot, and the Magic Kingdom – and road every roller coaster in the park multiple times.


New York at Christmas was another of our adventures. We stood in line at 5:30 in the morning two days in a row to get in to see Live with Regis and Kelly. We didn’t get in the first day and were the last two in on the second day. It was worth it though! We had a blast! Walking in Central Park, riding the Staten Island Ferry, visiting the Statue of Liberty, and taking in a Broadway show were just a few of the adventures we had on that trip. We have some fun memories of crazy things that happened – like thinking we were going to a Broadway show, only to find out it was off Broadway, a little sketchy, and not at all what we were expecting!


I had my share of adventures with Joel and Ben too. Their “thing” was revolutionary war reenacting. Since they were minors a parent had to accompany them to the weekend reenactments. Since their dad thinks roughing it is staying at a Holiday Inn instead of a Marriott, it was up to mom to be the one to dress in funny clothes and sleep in a tent for the weekend. Some events were better than others. Cowpens in January when I woke up with ice on my sleeping bag was probably not one of my favorites, although, the History Channel was there filming for a tv series, so that was cool.

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I am thankful that God gave me an adventurous spirit since parenting has been the ultimate adventure. And….just when you think the adventures are starting to slow down, one of them calls and says they are moving your twin grandbabies to Wisconsin and another says they are joining the Marine Corps. Oy vey!


Let the adventures and memory making continue!!!

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Rejection – the disappointment of being told NO.

Screenshot_2016-04-11-16-51-04Get any group of children’s ministry directors together and probably the most common struggle you will hear is in the area of recruiting. We will share strategies and ideas, but often we just lament the fact that our biggest source of frustration is being told no when asking people to serve.

I’ll be honest – I used to get borderline depressed when I would ask several people about serving in children’s ministry and would get no after no after no. Who is going to minister to all these kids? I felt so responsible, yet I had no control over other people’s decisions. I would cry out to the Lord, “What am I doing wrong? Why don’t people want to be with the kids? Am I a terrible leader? Am I asking the wrong people?” Then one day the Lord spoke to me so gently and so clearly. He led me to 1 Samuel 8:7 – “Do everything they say to you,” the LORD replied, “for it is me they are rejecting, not you.” “Kathy, my love”, God said, “you just be faithful to me and I will handle the rest. If I direct you to ask someone to join the children’s team and they say no, they are not rejecting you, they are rejecting me.”

Oh, my goodness!!! How liberating that was!!! God’s words to me were a balm to my spirit. I had been taking no very personally, but God was telling me I didn’t need to do that. It wasn’t my problem, it was His, and He would take care of it. After all, He loved this ministry even more than I did!

From that day forward I approached ministry recruiting with a whole new attitude. I didn’t feel so desperate! I would ask God to direct me to whomever he wanted me to ask to join our team. I would ask them to pray about it and then leave it in the Lord’s hands. If they came back with a no, I no longer had bitterness or hurt. I was able to joyfully thank them for considering and move on to the next person.

I will say that one thing I love about Daystar church is our Growth Track process. Growth track allows people to assess their area of giftedness and passion. Almost every month someone decides that children’s ministry is a good fit for them. We are then able to determine where our needs are and how we can help people get acclimated to our team. We are able to train and equip team members easily and keep our teams well-staffed. Since implementing Growth Track, the need to actually recruit for children’s ministry has virtually disappeared. We are constantly being fed new team members, which helps us keep up with the continued growth we see in our children’s area and often begin staffing for growth.  I highly recommend this wonderful process!!

So, the next time you feel the sting of rejection, just remember – it’s not personal, and God’s got this!  And if you are interested in learning more about the Growth track process just shoot me an e-mail –

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