One Teen’s Love for People and Missions

One little girl's love for people that has grown into a love for missions

Back in December, our oldest child walked in the house announcing that she wanted to go to Kenya this summer. My knee-jerk response as I unloaded the dishwasher was “ummm…let me think about it…no.” Crushed spirit, frustrated dialogue, closed bedroom door. Maddie, like many teenagers, is prone to presenting massive ideas to us with very few details. The Kenya trip was no different. Thankfully, a short time later, we were introduced to The 410 Bridge.  A local business owner is leading a team out of our hometown to Karogoto, Kenya in June. Quickly, we realized we know many of the participants personally and trust them to take care of our girl. I can breathe now.

Later that night, I laid in bed still wondering if Maddie had lost her mind asking to go on a $4000 mission trip. David lovingly reminded me that for Maddie’s entire life, she has been exposed to and knows personally, real-life missionaries. Heck, David was a missionary in Croatia with Cru! Maddie knows families in full-time ministry. She keeps in touch with college students from Pine Cove and YoungLife who are making intentional decisions to invest in the lives of others. Not to mention the countless people whom she has witnessed love and serve Jesus so well in our church families over the years. No wonder it seems natural to her. What we have prayed for, for our children to know Christ and to love others, has taken root and begun to grow.

As a mother, there are moments in the journey when all of a sudden we wake up one day and our children have moved to a new season of life without us even noticing. The passage into maturity, no matter what the stage or skill, is bittersweet. Moms prepare for months and years to launch a child into a next stage. A big potty or a big bed, kindergarten, overnight summer camp, middle school, high school, a driver’s license, or college.

This past year has been full new seasons for Maddie, and thus for me. Driving, traveling out of the country to Honduras, taking the ACT, starting a small photography business, and putting her entrepreneurial gifts into action as she raises the needed funds to go to Kenya. She helped design and is selling the t-shirts pictured below! Like always, the transition to the next level of maturity seems to come out of the blue. Yet, in retrospect, the growth has been taking place for a very long time in her heart.

I gave a lot of thought to what David said that night, and a beautiful picture began to take shape as I placed all the mental puzzle pieces together. Maddie has always been a little girl with a big heart for people. Suddenly, I remembered the following post I wrote in 2012. It captures the essence of Maddie’s love for others that continues today.

Originally posted August 7, 2012:

August 7, 2012 was an ordinary summer day for us in Arkansas. Stay-at-home mom, three young children home all day, dreadful temperatures and a growing list of errands I was avoiding with said three young children.

Reluctantly, we headed out and our to-do list slowly dwindled as we made stop after sweaty stop. A red traffic light slowed our car to a stop at a familiar corner in west Little Rock. And there he sat.  A tattered, handwritten sign simply read, “I need help.”   

My tender, yet fierce 11-year old inside our air-conditioned car begged me to empty coins into his hands. I suggested to her it may be a better idea to offer a meal or a cold drink. Like I always said. Yet…I had never stopped to offer a meal or a cold drink to anyone.

Routinely, similar souls sit at another red light in town where I turn towards the mall to shop for overpriced eyeshadow. My heart aches for them. And still…I avoid eye contact and turn up the music.

Back to West Little Rock in August 2012…we pulled away as the light turned green, and a decision loomed. Keep driving home or go back. Nervous blood pumped hard through my veins as we exited the parkway into a gas station. Looping back around, I prayed silently that traffic would allow us to stop close to the man who sat baking in the Arkansas sun. In no coincidence, traffic stopped us eye-to-eye.

This time I turned the music down. “Sir, would you like some cold water?” I nervously inquired. He ambled over to the window, took the water from Maddie’s hands, politely declined the Gatorade (notable, seeing how desperately hot he was). He thanked us profusely in a cadence revealing a lifetime of disability.

In the short seconds before the light glowed green, he eagerly gulped. He leaned his head forward and down and let the rest of the bottled water rush over his head and neck.

And Maddie wept.

My strong-willed, yet ohso-tender-hearted child literally was the hand of Jesus reaching out a car window to meet a real, felt need. I cannot help but be reminded of how many times I cry out those exact words. “I need help!” Jesus has lovingly answered my cries for help in unique and unexpected ways over the years through real people offering real help. He is El Roi, the God who sees me (Genesis 16:13).

It was a remarkable day. Not because we gave water to a man who needed help. It was remarkable because we realized what we’d missed all the times we didn’t.

One little girl's love for people that has grown into a love for missions One little girl's love for people that has grown into a love for missions






Green Beans with Bacon

There are 2 million ways to cook green beans, and green beans with bacon is a family favorite around here. They are packed full of flavor and transform the blandest of canned green beans into true comfort food! Green Beans with Bacon are so easy to throw together, too. These green beans can be assembled ahead of time, making them perfect for a busy weeknight or to take to a friend alongside a main dish.

Easy Green Beans with Bacon








Easy Green Beans with Bacon

3 cans green beans
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
Real Bacon Bits (Oscar Meyer) near salad toppings

Drain the green beans. Place green beans in medium bowl. In a separate small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Next, add the brown sugar to the butter and stir til combined.  Pour butter mixture over the green beans. Stir gently to coat the beans. Transfer the beans to a glass baking dish. 

Lastly, sprinkle the desired amount of bacon bits over the top of the green beans. Cover with foil and bake at 350° for about 30 minutes. 

This easy and delicious green bean recipe came from my late grandmother’s sweet neighbor, Miss Betty, who is like family to us, in Woodville, Mississippi. Like so many of my recipes, this one brings back memories every time we have green beans!

Ham and Swiss Quiche-Leftover Ham Recipes
Wondering what to do with all the leftover Easter ham?  This Ham and Swiss Quiche is a perfect breakfast, lunch, or dinner and is quick and easy to throw together!  Enjoy!

Ham and Swiss Quiche

Preheat oven to 350°.

1  9-inch pie shell
1 ½ cups chopped ham (if buying at deli, ask for 2 thickest cut slices)
1 1/4 cups freshly grated Swiss cheese (fresh vs prepackaged makes a big difference in flavor)
1/4 t. dried basil
1/4 t. salt
5 eggs, beaten
1 cup skim milk (for richer quiche, use whole milk or half and half)
sprinkle of dry mustard

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and pour into pie crust. Place quiche onto a cookie sheet to collect any spills while baking. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes to one hour or until top is light brown.
Printable Recipe


How To Spray Paint Brass Hardware
This tutorial is way overdue, but recently, my Craigslist Hutch Makeover went crazy over at Hometalk and on Pinterest, and I realized I never posted how to spray paint the brass hardware with oil-rubbed bronze spray paint!  So several years (yes years!) later, here is how to spray paint brass hardware.

Below are the Before and After photos of our Craigslist Hutch Makeover, and you can clearly see what a difference a little spray paint can make for brass hardware!

Supplies Needed:

Dropcloth or large piece cardboard
Steel Wool, Grade 000
Toothpicks (for swing pulls like these)
Spray Paint Gun
Metal Primer (Rustoleum)
Oil-Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint (Rustoleum)

*The oil-rubbed bronze that I used is a paint/primer combo. You can skip the primer step if you use this product, but I wanted the assurance of good coverage after my first attempt failed.  (See below).
An inexpensive spray paint gun like this one below will ensure even coverage.

First, sand your hardware with Grade 000 steel wool. You do not have to remove every tiny bit of brass.  The goal here is to remove the top coat and to scratch it up a bit so the paint will stick better. After sanding the hardware, wash with warm soap and water and allow the hardware to dry completely.
Spray Painting Brass Hardware 4
To show you exactly what will happen without sanding first, see the photo below of the oil-rubbed bronze paint sprayed directly onto unsanded hardware! Fail! I did some research and started over.
If you have “swing pulls” like these, you will need to secure the handle in mid-air so the spray paint will cover the entire piece! Pull the handle out and insert a toothpick to keep the handle upright. You are now ready to paint!
Attach the spray paint gun to the primer can. Spray the first side of the hardware with primer according to the directions.  Be SURE to follow the directions, allowing the specified amount of time for drying.  Repeat process for the opposite side.
Spray Painting Brass Hardware 5
After the primer has dried for the specified time, spray the hardware with a first coat of oil-rubbed bronze.  It has been a while, but I know I painted at least two coats, allowing the paint to dry for the specified amount of time listed on the paint can.
To be on the safe side, I allowed the hardware to “cure” for 2-3 days before re-installing onto the hutch.

Be sure to check out the full Hutch Makeover with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint!  Happy painting!