From the Inside Out


“Two coats of paint and that pink mess is still showing through!”

I was talking to myself in a VERY disgusted tone of voice. I was working on a “refinishing” project that I had GREAT plans for.

Does that ever happen to you?

We usually stoop to this behavior when we are frustrated that:

  • our work is not progressing as we planned
  • we are forced to repeat a task we already thought was finished
  • we have to repeat instructions ONE MORE TIME! (moms? teachers?)
  • things are not turning out as we planned

Pretty much everyday occurrences, yet we allow frustration to take over.

It started like this….

I bought an old buffet at a yard sale. It was in rough condition  – which made it affordable for me. It had a veneer surface, which I knew would be a challenge to repair, but the claw feet were so impressive. So, I got out the trusty stripper.

ok… VARNISH STRIPPER, old rags, and set to work. I realized very soon that this piece, because of its age, had old varnish that was not responding to my efforts.

I was undeterred. I kept at it. I had to justify this purchase as a hidden treasure – NO MATTER WHAT!

I finally removed all the old varnish that I could and it looked…well….terrible. Parts of the veneer were gone or loose, so I pulled them off. Now I REALLY had a mess.

So I did the next best thing. If refinishing fails, paint the wood.

I painted the wood, except for the top piece, because that wood was a solid piece of beautiful oak.

But the parts I painted antique white looked pink!

I painted on another coat – it still looked pink!

I let it dry…still pink.

Phil noticed my frustration and asked, “Why did you paint it?”

NOT what I needed to hear at this point….

But he did offer some good advice. He said I should get some KILZ paint which is made to cover mistakes. This project was turning out to be a BIG mistake, so I did as he suggested.

It worked.

After painting, I sanded some of the edges to give the piece an aged, distressed look. (It was aged after all and had caused me distress!)

Then I added some tiles I had purchased at a yard sale 3 years earlier, just because I liked the way they looked. They fit perfectly where I had pulled off some of the veneer.

tile backsplash

I spray painted the handles to look like hammered pewter and I was done.


I actually liked the finished results. The white paint ended up fitting in with the white cupboards in our kitchen so much better than a totally wood piece would have done.

We are studying the book of Colossians and the following verses made me recall my “refinishing” project.

Colossians 3:8-10 (NLT)

8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.

Just as I had to strip off the old varnish, God wants me to strip away my old sinful nature.

But that is not all – “put on the NEW nature.” I had to put on three coats of white paint to avoid having the old varnish show through as a pink tint.

As a Christian, I must get rid of the old nature and allow God’s Holy Spirit to renew me from the inside out. Then my new nature will be what shines through so others see Jesus as I am renewed to become more like Him.

May Jesus renew each of us from the inside out!



Game Plan for Parents


“No college scholarships will be passed out today”

These wise words from someone who knows what he is talking about. My daughter refered me to this post by Todd Raleigh. He is a former professional baseball player, former baseball coach at University of Tennessee and Western Carolina University, as well as the father of 4, all who are involved in sports. I called his wife Stephanie this week and received permission to share his post because I think ALL parents need to read this.

Then they need to follow the wisdom shared…

for the sake of their kids.

Grandparents need to pay heed as well.

“This letter is to all Jackson County baseball parents, Little League, Travel Ball, Sandlot, High School, Middle School etc…

I feel qualified to say what I’m about to say. I have coached over 100 players professionally and around 20 Major Leaguers. Won a lot of games. Conference championships and NCAA regional etc…

Not only the above but I’m also a parent that has gone through from Tball to College. Don’t think anyone else in Jackson County has my experience in these two areas combined.

Having a business on main street there is never a day that goes by that at least one person comes in to talk about their kid and baseball. That includes Haywood, Macon, Buncombe and the western counties.

Here is my message. Surround yourself with good people. Winning and losing isn’t important. It is life lessons and development. Your job as a parent is to get them to the game on time. Enjoy the game and support them. Your job isn’t to coach from the stands, second guess the coach and quit every time you don’t like what is going on.

Safe to say that Cal is a decent player. How many travel ball teams did he play on growing up?? How about one! He didn’t always bat 3rd, he played the outfield, he sat the bench etc.. When it didn’t go our way we didn’t pick up our bat and go home or call another travel ball coach and try to switch teams. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Cal’s baseball coaches didn’t have a great amount of baseball experience but they were good men. They helped shape Cal.

I did 2 tv interviews today in Tallahassee on 2 subjects. First was what mainly about how great of a kid Cal was and how the people in Tallahassee have adopted him and adore him. I was very proud and surprised to hear that. The 2nd was how he came to FSU so prepared as a Freshman to play not just physically but  mentally. He is the starting catcher and batting 3rd on one of the best teams in the country. They asked me point blank why he was so prepared. I told them this. When he joined a team that was his team. At the end of each game he was asked if he played as hard as he could. Performance was never brought up. He was told the coach was always right no matter what. He was told he would be the first one on the field every inning. He was told he was to be the first one out of the dugout to congratulate his teammate. He was told he would hustle regardless of the score for the entire game. He was told he would shut his mouth and respect his opponent and the game itself. He was told when the game started he was on his on. Don’t look to me for help and he was made to carry his bag to and from the game.

Now this wasn’t easy. We had plenty of bumps along the way. He didn’t run every ball out when he was 9. He was far from perfect on any of that. Still is a work in progress.

Me and his mom stayed consistent with our approach. Stay with good people and play the game the right way. When he got older  we had travel teams from California to Texas wanting him. He stayed with his group. Now every parent has to do what is best for their kid but teaching your kid to quit every time it doesn’t go right isn’t teaching him anything. Bad mouthing the coaches isn’t giving him life lessons that will serve him down the road. Worried about batting averages or winning games isn’t important. Wanting to win and preparing to win is important. Getting your kid a one hour hitting lesson once a week isn’t going to separate him from the others. Character and attitude will!

A parent can’t control the starting line up, the position they play, can’t control how many hits their kids get, can’t control the weather. They can control their kids state of mind, they can control their kids attitude, they can control their kids effort and hustle. They can control their level of respect they show their coaches. They can control getting them to bed the night before. They can control making them practice during the week. They can control not yelling at them in a middle of a game.

Let’s take all our energy as parents and focus on what we can control (your kid) and not what we can’t control. Let’s be part of the solution not part of the problem.

Baseball is a great game. Treat it good it will treat you good in return.”

I have had the privledge of knowing the Raleighs two oldest children. They are both great examples of what their dad wrote.

Proverbs 19:20 says

Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.
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I Don’t Know


Have you ever been irritated by a person who “knows it all”? Or more precisely, someone who ACTS like they know it all?

(truth be told, NO ONE knows it all)

This is very common with parenting advice…

  • “Well, when I was potty training….”
  • “My child never…”
  • “My child always…”


It is rare for life to be so absolute, isn’t it?

These statements sometimes come from a parent of an only child – a  compliant only child. Where is the control group? Where are the variables of gender and birth order?

The reality of parenting is that we don’t have all the answers.

I heard a preacher say recently “it isn’t about having all the answers… it is about knowing who to go to for the answers.”

I remember Elizabeth Elliot challenging young women at a conference in 1990 – “I don’t know what you are facing in your life today…but I know the One who does.”


Prayer is an amazing practice that opens our hearts and minds to receive God’s wisdom. Does this mean that when I pray I will receive an audible response telling me what to do?


Yet I do believe that God will respond to our requests for wisdom. I have experienced this myself many times. God promises to do so in His Word.

James 1:5 (ESV)

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

This promise applies to us as parents. James goes on to say in this same letter –

James 3:17 (ESV)

17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

How encouraging!

This is not the kind of wisdom that makes one feel dumb, ignorant, or inexperienced. It is …

  • pure
  • gentle
  • open to reason
  • full of mercy
  • impartial
  • sincere

That list embodies JUST the kind of wisdom I need when I don’t know the answer.

This wisdom may come from a thought given by the Holy Spirit. It may come from a friend who is unaware you even have a concern. The wisdom may be from something you read or hear on the radio. It may be in a song. God will use various means to answer our prayers for wisdom. His wisdom.

It is the kind of wisdom young mothers should seek.

It is the kind of wisdom grandmothers should share.

Gentle, not judgemental.

Open to reason, not hard and fast.

Full of mercy…knowing that God has shown mercy to me more times than I can count.

May we seek Jesus so we can receive His wisdom.

I may not know – but I know the One who does.