Monday, July 25, 2011

Stress Relief-Secrets for Making Life Just a Little Bit Easier

I have to admit, our lives are terribly stressful. We see evidence of this each time we turn on the news. I think that it is ironic that I had a Great Grandmother who didn’t have electricity, had to milk a cow, used a fireplace for cooking, well, you know the drill. Me, I have a gas stove, TV dinners, an automatic washing machine and dryer, a computer and all of the other normal appliances. I bet she had more free time on her hands than I do. Life is stressful and thus very hard.

But, I received a treasure this week. It was a list of 52 proven ways to cut down stress. Of course the list contains several ideas that I have heard before and forgotten and many that I had not ever considered. So, starting this week, I will begin posting one way to cut down stress each Monday for the next year. I will simply add it in the color gaudy green. Whenever you see gaudy green on this blog, you will know that it is a new stress reduction suggestion. I hope that these are helpful to the reader and to me. Each week, I will try to read my new stress relief suggestion three times a day. I may modify this , but I am going to try to turn each idea into a new habit. It can’t hurt to try. Any of you that have your own suggestions for reducing stress, please feel free to submit your suggestion in the comments section so that we can all share our ideas.

I look forward to this journey.

The first stress relief idea is:

1. Get up fifteen minutes earlier in the morning. The inevitable morning mishaps will be less stressful.

copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Heaven is For Real

A Book Review With a Personal Twist

A retired ordained clergy member loaned this book to a friend, who is a Dr.. She loaned it to me before she read it.

I read it in a day. Loved it!

This is the story of a family of four who is beset by one trauma after another. The final trauma is the sickness of the youngest boy, Colton: he had an appendicitis attack. One would think that an appendicitis attack would be a cut and dried thing. Except, in this case, it was misdiagnosed as a stomach virus. The three year old youngster seemed to improve and then worsened again. When he reached the point of near death, he received an accurate diagnosis and had emergency surgery. But at that time, his appendix had been burst for days. He survives the surgery but has to have the incision drained and repacked regularly until the incision heals. When he is about to be released, the hospital staff informs the parents that another surgery has to be done to clean up new pockets of infection that they have detected. The prognosis after the second surgery is not good. However, his condition improves miraculously after the congregation of the family’s church holds an emergency impromptu prayer service.

His condition improves and he is released from the hospital. This is where most stories would end. But not this one. For in this story, over time, a revelation is made by the little boy, Colton, that during his surgery, he visited heaven and sat in the lap of Jesus. Over time, he reveals other details, such as angels, rainbows, monsters, spiritual warfare in the heavenliest, meeting John the Baptist, seeing God, and seeing Mary, mother of Jesus. This is what would be an unbelievable story, except for the fact that this boy tells these details matter of factly and all of his descriptions and information parallel scripture.

Colton’s father is a pastor and the author of this book. The father reveals all of these experiences to the world in such a way that he points out the relevant scriptures that parallel Colton’s experiences in heaven. Both Colton’s experiences and his father’s wisdom come together to make up the whole story.

After I read this book, I told my friend who I said before is a Doctor, that I would love to be inside her head when she read this book. I wonder at what point, when she reads about the symptoms she would suspect appendicitis. That is when she explained to me that appendicitis is very hard to diagnose in a child, because the symptoms mimic so many other things.

Two days ago, I told my prayer group that I had read it this week as part of my study. Today, I received an email from a friend in our prayer group that the seventeen year old son of one of our members had been admitted into the hospital today for what was suspected to be appendicitis. He had emergency surgery today and is doing well as I write this. But his condition was originally miss-diagnosed as a urinary tract infection.

I went to the hospital to check on him and his parents, and I related the story about this book to them. Before I finished my story, the father was nodding his head. I asked him if he had read it. He said no, but he had been at a baseball game watching his other son play baseball, when another parent who had read the book told him about the story. He said that at that point, he had texted his wife.

I recommend that everyone from fifth grade on up read this book for a number of reasons.

The first reason is that this book is easy to read and the subject matter and language are appropriate for all audiences.

Second, all parents and Doctors should read this as a reminder of the difficulty of the diagnosis of appendicitis in a child and the propensity of this condition to mimic many other common childhood illnesses. Although the Doctor is responsible for making an accurate diagnosis, it is the job of the parents to take children back to the doctor when the condition does not improve. This story may be the story that saves someone’s life.

Third, I recommend this book for both Christians and non-Christians. I recommend it for Christians because it is a reminder of the beauty and magnificence of our final destination. There are points in this story in which scripture is given a more concrete picture.

I recommend this for the non-Christian because whether or not someone believes in God, this is a good story and this could be the seed that is planted that blooms one day.

Either way, this is a great book, that came at a unique time in my life and the life of my friends.


To order this book, just click here:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

We The People: Stop Our Representatives From Breaking our Backs

Other than casting my vote, I don’t frequently get too politically involved. But from time to time, I have to engage in the political debate. This is usually when I see thing getting so skewed that our way of life appears to be threatened.

In this case, unfortunately, the enemy seems to be our own congressmen. This is neither the first time, nor will it be the last.

The issue for me is the budget debate. First of all, I feel that we should not ever entertain defaulting on our debts; period. The results would be financially, and socially catastrophic.

From what I am hearing, the leaders of the budget talks are entertaining the concepts of cutting Medicare and Social Security. In other words, they are threatening to cut the benefits to the generation that has been the backbone of this nation. This includes the generation that has lived through the Great Depression, fought in World War II, Vietnam, and built this country into what it is today.

Yet we continue to send money overseas for foreign aid? We should cut the people overseas before we hurt our own.

This blog reaches an international audience. For those of you who are not citizens of this country, I am sure that you observe our government with many emotions, amusement being one of them. However, I think that it is still the best in the world.

I have already emailed all of my congressmen to express my opinion about this debate. And I will follow up with my opinion at the next election. I challenge every reader who is reading this to do the same. Whether or not you agree with my opinion, please weigh in with your representatives and let your voice be heard. That is the only way that we will avoid injury to our own citizenry in the form of broken backs.

For the citizens of Hays County, where I live, here are the links for your congressmen:

Senator John Cornyn

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison

Congressman Lloyd Doggett

For the representatives of all other states:

House of Representatives
 Go to this website and enter zip code in the box below the words ‘Find your representative’

Go to this website and click on the drop down box that is labeled ‘Find Your Senators’

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Discipleship Denied: How Two Pre-menopausal Women Almost Destroyed a Friendship

copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins

I am a member of what is called a reunion group. This is a form of a prayer group in which six women meet weekly to discuss our spiritual journey for the past week. We are to hold one another accountable for studying and spiritual action. We share our victories and defeats. We laugh and cry together, sometimes at the same time. We generally support one another as we travel throughout this difficult journey called life.

The name of our reunion group is Eagles Wings. I love that name but didn’t get to help to pick it because I am the second to newest member of the group. I have been a part of the group for 1 ½ years, but the original members have been meeting for about ten years. Informally, the group is called “the hens”. This is a name lovingly picked by the husband of one of the hens. But we wear that name proudly.

Each one of us hens shares something each week called “discipleship denied.” This is to represent a time during the week in which although called to follow the teachings of Christ, we failed to do so. This can be either a big or small event. To recognize our failures, we must be self-aware. This is like confession time. Sometimes, confessing our shortcomings is really difficult.

Boy will I have a big one for the hens this week!

See, I took my son to preteen camp. This is a christian camp for preteens. So far so good. Then, I went to pick him up 3 days later. Still, doing good. I was looking forward to seeing a good friend there. She and I both sent our sons, who are close to the same age. She and I have been friends for about 3 ½ years and I love her dearly.

So I walk in and see her standing in a group of people talking. She is very popular and knows a lot of people there. She was a camp counselor there for years. I decided to wait to speak to her. I didn’t want to interrupt her visiting. Finally, she sat down about 2 rows ahead of me. We stood to sing, and she kept turning around looking for someone. I was in her way. She would to look straight at me and then look around me. I knew that she was looking for someone really special. So I stood and waited. About the third time she turned around, I made eye contact with her and she stared at me for a minute and then walked up to me. I hugged her and told her that it was good to see her.

I have to admit, it wasn’t my normal hug. Usually, I would run up to her and give her a big bear hug. But this time, I was a little uncomfortable.

I had realized that although we were what I would call good friends, I am almost always the initiator. I call, I email or I text. Usually, she responds, but it is almost always me that initiates the connection. That makes me wonder if I didn’t make the phone call or write the email, would we be friends at all? Would she care enough about me to call and say, “Hey, I haven’t heard from you. Is everything OK?” So, I was stewing about this a little. In addition to that, I had recently emailed her to ask her to please pray for my family about a difficult situation. She never responded.

So, I wasn’t my normal self. I did hug her, but it wasn’t my normal hug. She picked up on that immediately and said, “Wow, I kind of expected a warmer reception.”

I said, “Really?”

She responded, “Yeah, really.”

I said, “I’m sorry.”

She asked me if I was Ok, to which I answered to the affirmative. I asked her how she was to which she answered that she was well. And then she walked off from me and went back to her seat on the church pew two rows in front of me.

That made my heart drop. We weren’t, after all going to sit together and smilingly admire our two boys. We wouldn’t catch up with each other ,discussing our families, recent activities and mutual friends. No joking and giggling like kids; no, none of that would happen today, because we were busy ignoring each other.

This took me back to about the 6th grade, when we would go to school and get into a tiff with one of our girlfriends, with whom we shared many rites of passage, puberty being one of them. And we would get mad and ignore each other and then out of the corner of our eyes, keep our eye on the person who we were ignoring. Keeping one eye on the other was necessary to see how the other person was responding to the fact that they were being ignored. Boy! I had not done this in a long time! I certainly didn’t expect to be doing it at the age of 48, with another woman of approximately the same age, at a church sponsored function. We were both being so childish!

We ignored each other and I realized that I didn’t have my cell phone. I would just sit and text my oldest son. That would make the ignoring easy. So, I walked out to the car and got my phone. When I returned, her husband was sitting next to her, which I am sure made her ignoring me easier. Then I got a text asking what was up with me and my lack of greeting. Why had I given her the cold shoulder. I answered, “I am sorry. I didn’t realize that I gave you the cold shoulder.” Well, that wasn’t entirely true. I did withhold my affection. Because, well, I was a little hurt. Then, by text, she accused me of treating her like a stranger. Well, that wasn’t exactly true either. Because I don’t hug complete strangers. Again, we were both holding onto our hurts like children. Talking about discipleship denied.

By this time, I was so hurt and confused, that I didn’t even participate in worship. How is that for discipleship denied? I didn’t sing, pay attention or partake in communion. How selfish of me! After what Christ has done for me personally, I was sitting there denying his gift, all because I had gotten my nose out of joint over a hello.

Then, when we were finally released, I went to my son, helped him get his things, and as I went out the door, I patted my friend on the shoulder and said, “Bye Hon”.

At that point, she said goodbye and then almost shouted at me, saying “What is wrong?!”

My answer was, “ nothing, really, nothing at all.” And I went out the door.

The reason that I wasn’t being honest is that although I am sometimes a little bit of a writer, I can prepare my words before they are published. I can backspace, or delete or start completely over if I want. But life isn’t like that. There is not backspace in conversations. And I am not good at calmly expressing my disappointments to others, especially when I know that theirs was an act of omission rather than commission. I have trouble finding the right words. So, I bolt.

I drove the 2 hours home and immediately logged onto facebook. She instant messaged me asking me what was wrong. I told her that I had been uncomfortable and that it made me sad that I didn’t get to see her but once a year. She commented that she knew that it was more than that. I told her that it would be good to hear from her once in a while. I told her that it was good to see her, that I loved her and that I needed to go to bed. She told me that she loved me too.

I was upset that I had obviously damaged an otherwise good relationship. I hoped that I would hear from her again.

The next day, I texted her and told her to have a nice day. No response.

The day after that, a different friend called. He is a pastor. We were discussing business that we share in a particular ministry and began to discuss personal situations a little bit. I shared my story with him, confessing about how immature and childish that we had both been. He counseled me.

He explained that something had recently happened to another friend of his and he had shared with her the subject of a recent sermon. He would also share it with me.

He reminded me that we all have gifts that are given to us by the Holy Spirit.

Romans 12:6-8 says,
We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; If it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

According to this scripture, encouragement is a gift from the Holy Spirit. This is to be used strengthen others. He said that he has this gift and so does his other friend. He said that this explains why she is frequently the initiator. Because she is called to check on people, to encourage them and through this gift, others receive the strength that they need. He said that we need to use these gifts of encouragement freely, without expecting something in return from the other person. We will get our reward from God, in the form of a blessing that we need, and sometimes from others, but not necessarily from the person who we have blessed.

Then he reminded me of the scripture from Matthew 6:5-7:

But when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. When you pray, go in to your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

My friend told me that this is further evidence and instruction that we are to use our gifts, without expecting reward from others. God will reward us, in his time, in his way, with what we need when we need it. He said not to depend on a specific person for the reward back, because that may not be what that person is called to do. We all have different gifts.

He reminded me of the scripture in Matthew, with the instruction not to use my gifts for the purpose of showing off to anyone, but to freely give of myself in private in the area of the operation of my gifts, for the edification of the body of Christ.

He told me that if my gift is encouragement, which it is, to continue to encourage and exhort without waiting for encouragement in return. If I am called to encourage and love on my friend, to do it, because that is what she needs to be strengthened and that God would bless me in other ways that I need.

Wow. What a word that I needed right then. I knew that I had denied Christ, but I didn’t realize that I had refused to use a gift from him to strengthen someone who needed to be strengthened. She had become used to me operating in the area of this gift. She had come to expect it. And when I withheld it, I hurt her. She told me later that she almost had started crying because of the way that I had greeted her.

Wow. I never knew that I had an impact on anyone to that extent.

I understood that I need to continue to operate in the areas that God assigns. For he will not bestow a gift upon us that he does not expect us to use.

I had a voice teacher years ago who told me repeatedly that if I didn’t use my gifts, I would lose them. For God gives them to us to use in order to strengthen the body of Christ and if we don’t use them for this purpose, then he will take them back and give them to someone who will use them according to God’s purpose.

After speaking with this pastor, I knew what I had to do. I texted my friend, and told her that I was sorry; that I had lost my way , but I had found it again. No reply. So then, I texted her and told her that I would love her whether or not she loved me back. She responded by apologizing for thinking only of her feelings on Sunday and not being there for me when I have needed her and that she loved me.

That was nice to hear. I told her that I did not want to lose her friendship because I loved her like a sister.

Thanks to another member of the body of Christ, who set me straight when I needed it, I guess you could say that my other friend and I were no longer ignoring each other. Actually, we had an “Oprah moment.” Now that is enough to make someone cry. J


Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I am stunned. Simply stunned. Not since the OJ Simpson trial have I been this stunned. But I am stunned again.

I watched the reading of the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial and had trouble believing what I heard. I had to listen to it several times to believe it. This was shocking.

I began following the story of a two year old little girl, Caylee Anthony, who was missing about three years ago. I watched the story unfold on the Nancy Grace show almost every night. I love Nancy Grace. She actually says what a lot of us are thinking and yes, she puts it abruptly and rudely at times. She reminds me of a law professor. She can be that brutal at times, even to her friends.

It was on the Nancy Grace show that I became aware of the missing toddler, who was the daughter of a young, single mother. Caylee had been missing for 31 days before any report was made to the police. And when she was reported missing, it was not by Casey Anthony, Caylee’s mother, but by Cindy Anthony, Caylee’s grandmother. Cindy was horrified to find out that her granddaughter had not been seen by a family member for 31 days and no police report had been made. So she called 9-1-1 and made the initial report, relating to the dispatcher that she desperately wanted to find Caylee.

What would come next would be a series of public outcries for help, numerous searches for the young child by authorities, friends and neighbors. Strangers from the area came forward to help to find the toddler. This was followed by shocking events and lies revealed that would all come together in the weaving of a macabre plot, the kind of which no fictional author could ever imagine.

A search for Caylee began and lasted for six months, when a meter reader by the name of Roy Krunk found the body in the woods not far from Casey Anthony’s home. Caylee was dead and her body was skeletonized.

The question was, who had killed her? Local sheriff’s deputies charged Caylee’s mother Casey Anthony with the death of her daughter. This began a legal case that would end on Tuesday, July 5, 2011 with a verdict of not guilty.

How did this happen?

The state presented evidence indicating that Casey’s death was a homicide. The cause of death was unknown because of the condition of her body when the body was found. The prosecution presented evidence of a foul odor emanating from Casey Anthony’s car, the presence of chloroform in Casey’s car, a hair from Casey’s car that had the “death band” around it; the hair belonged to Caylee. They presented evidence that duct tape was placed over the mouth of Caylee and that the last person seen with Caylee was Casey. They presented evidence that Casey lied repeatedly to the police, about a fictional babysitter, about being employed by Universal Studios, about conducting her own investigation, and many other things. They presented evidence of a computer search that occurred on the computer in the Anthony home about neck breaking, and chloroform.

For every fact that the prosecution presented, the defense presented testimony that rebutted the facts: a medical examiner who testified that there was no certainty that the death was a homicide, an allegation that Caylee’s death was an accident, an allegation that Casey was sexually abused by both her father and her brother from the age of 8 years old, an allegation that she was taught to lie at the same age and had to for the sake of survival in a dysfunctional home. He presented Casey’s mother, who alleged that it was she who performed these questionable searches on the computer in the Anthony home. This was proven to be false by the prosecution.

The defense presented a female who alleged that she had an affair with Casey’s dad George and that George had told her that Caylee’s death was an accident that snowballed out of control. George denied the same on the witness stand.

The prosecution’s case was strong. The defense’s case seemed desperate. Every day, the trial was shown on live TV with commentary by legal experts. They pointed out the good points made by the prosecution, the defense and the mistakes made by both. They pointed out and exaggerated Casey’s mannerisms, and reactions to everyone.

When the closing arguments were made, they were vigorous. At one point, one of the attorneys for the prosecution was laughing during the closing arguments of the defense, which produced a comment by the defense attorney that angered the judge. The Judge called both attorneys down and made them watch a video of their behavior, admonishing them and telling them that if it happened again, the offending lawyer would be barred from the remainder of the proceedings.

The defense finished their closing statement and the next morning, court opened with the rebuttal statement of the prosecution that was nothing short of brilliant. All of the legal experts on TV commented that they knew these final words of the prosecution would be ringing in the ears of the jury as they began deliberations that afternoon.

The next morning, the jury began to deliberate again. They announced a verdict about 2:30 pm.

The prosecutors looked relaxed as they sat in their chairs waiting for the jury to be announced. They knew what a great job they had done. They knew that they had a slam dunk. Everyone assembled in the courtroom and stood as the jury filed in.

The defendant and her legal counsel were asked to stand for the reading of the verdict. The first charge, capital murder was not guilty. The second charge, not guilty. The third charge, not guilty. As each charge was read, Casey Anthony tried to stifle tears. She appeared to be shocked. Everyone else seemed to be shocked as well. The jury found her guilty of four counts of lying to the police. Whoop-tee-do.

This is a misdemeanor. She is going to be sentenced on Thursday for those crimes. She could get a maximum of four years in jail per misdemeanor.

She will probably get off for time served.

The prosecution sat in stunned silence. The defense celebrated with hugging, crying, and a group hug. The observers could tell that they were as shocked as everyone else.

So what happened? How did such a sure prosecution lead to a not guilty verdict? The lawyers on TV were in a tailspin. They were at a loss to offer an immediate explanation. Many of the locals in Orlando were angry. Many people feel that Caylee Anthony’s death has not been avenged.

So is it now legal to kill your kids as long as you hide the body long enough for all of the evidence to be destroyed?

What went wrong? By late last night, many of the legal pundits had regrouped and had begun to offer plausible explanations for the jury’s verdict. But, these explanations were just guesses.
What do I think went wrong? I don’t know. But I am going to offer some guesses here, just like a lot of the people on TV have.

One is that the jury was sequestered for approximately six weeks. It may be that being sequestered affects one’s logic. The stimulation that one receives by being sequestered is severely limited and this may affect the mental health and the brain processing of an individual. Intellectual stimulation is necessary for good brain health and the lack of normal social interaction and intellectual stimulation has to have an effect on someone’s logical reasoning, mental health and judgment.

Also, the jurors may have just wanted to go home. Had they given a verdict of guilty for the capital murder charge, they would have had to stay longer because they would have had to evaluate and deliberate about the sentence once they rendered a verdict for guilty for capital murder. Also, a capital murder conviction would have required close deliberation and discussion. They would have had to taken the time to review the evidence in light of the instructions for the jury rendered by the judge. Evidentiary evaluation would have required value judgments: the deciding of who they believed and who they didn’t, one fact at a time. This would have taken a lot longer than the ten hours that they spent deliberating and maybe they were physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted from not only the trial itself, but from being sequestered. Maybe the sequestering process needs to be studied and evaluated . Maybe this practice introduces an undesirable element to the process: the element of inadequate factual review, and ultimately, making serious mistakes with the verdict.

Another consideration is that all of the lawyers were making evaluations of the performance of the counsel, based on their trial experience and their education at law school. The jury is not made up of people with copious trial experience and a legal education. It is made up of people who don’t have the benefit of a legal education. On the contrary, although many of the people had professional occupations, such as nurses, teachers, IT professionals, this education is not legal in nature and they had no expectations for legal arguments; they had a layman’s expectations, which is not subject to pre-conceived notions of the lawyers.
In other words, rather than to get inside the heads of the best legal minds in this nation, maybe someone should have been getting inside the mind of the jury, I.e. regular people who don’t have the benefit of a legal education.

Maybe the average jury is not intelligent enough to understand the very detailed forensics that is presented by some of these prosecutors. Maybe it needs to be dumbed down.

Or, maybe I am wrong and the jury got it right. If so, Caylee’s killer still needs to be caught and charged. Or maybe Casey is the killer and the prosecution just didn’t have enough direct evidence to prove the case. I do think that they did the absolute best that they could with what the available evidence.

There are many more guesses to be made, more theories to be presented by many more people than me. These are just a few that I can present.

Still, I am completely stunned. After the OJ Simpson trial, I was stunned, shocked and angry. I was angry that a jury had allowed a murderer to go free. I felt that they had ignored a lot of evidence. I think the same thing now. I’m older now. I am not angry this time. It would serve no practical purpose. I think that in the long run, Casey Anthony will continue to self-destruct in a similar way that OJ Simpson has. She will probably be convicted of more crimes in the future. I think that inevitably, justice will be served.

Regardless of whether or not justice was served, the life of Caylee Marie Anthony had meaning. Rest in Peace, Caylee.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Simple Illustration of Faith

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

Hebrews 11:1

It is when you know, that you know, that you know, that you know.

Faith is a belief.

When I was a young girl in bible school, faith was explained to me as belief. When we make the decision to sit down in a chair, it is because of faith. We believe the chair will hold us without us falling. We are said to have faith in the chair.

Obviously, the Christian model does not charge us with having faith in a chair, but in God. Our belief in God means that we believe that he is the Supreme Creator of the universe and the ultimate authority. He is the Alpha and Omega; i.e. the beginning and the end.

“He replied, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.’”

Luke 17:6

A mustard seed is one of the smallest plant seeds. It is said to be smaller than a grain of salt. That, as a size of faith, is a very small amount. A small amount of faith can have huge consequences, many time larger than the original seed.

Isn’t that how seeds work? Something large comes from something very small. As long as it is planted in fertile soil, and becomes rooted, it can grow when tended properly.

Children are like this. They are small, but can still have a huge amount of faith because they have not yet become as desensitized to life’s ideals and skeptical like we adults have learned to become.

Another illustration of the power of a small amount of faith can be made with a can of shaving cream. A can of shaving cream has limited, specific, dimensions. We press the button on the top of the can to push out the shaving cream and it flows, and flows and flows. The volume of the pile of the shaving cream that comes from a can is much greater than the volume of the original can. This is like faith. A little faith can produce a much bigger result than the size of the original amount of faith.

This illustration is one that we used to use at Blue Lake United Methodist Church camp when I was a lifeguard and camp counselor at the age of 17. This has also proven to be very effective when I have done children’s sermons.

Something about making a mess with shaving cream really is very appealing to children.

But come to think of it, life can get messy sometimes. And sometimes this messiness is just a sign of progress.