The Weekends Are NEVER Dull!

This weekend’s post is coming to you LIVE from my niece, Annabell’s, room! Sure hope this works! LOL! Love you guys!

Look long and keep your eyes on eternity! Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here (2 Cor. 5:17).

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The I AM… Not the “I Might Be”

Never A Dull Moment – Week 2, Day 3

 

I AM

I literally laughed out loud when I read our first paragraph today!

I am more of what you might call a stress-ball, worry-wart, “hyperventilate because I don’t know what pants I’m wearing tomorrow” kind of girl.

I should have a t-shirt made!  I NEED the reminder that what is happening right now is the important thing.  I’m not suggesting we all cash in our retirement funds, quit school, or stop using the brains God gave us to think ahead a little bit.  I think there is wisdom in planning and preparation – obviously.  But for those of us who REALLY get lost without our planners and sometimes miss the preciousness of the moment because we are so concerned about what’s coming next, the struggle is most assuredly real.

The reason God can say “do not fear” and “do not be anxious” so many times in His word is because He fully understands our past, knows everything there is to know about our now and has been where we are going.  Our little brains can’t possibly comprehend the timeless, eternal piece of God’s character: that our WAS and WILL BE is just as RIGHT NOW to God as the sip of coffee we just took or the news we just received.

The Bible says, “He is the Alpha and Omega… who is, was and is to come.  the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.” He is the God of my past, present and future who knew me way back when, knows me better than I know myself now and numbers each day I will live until I see Him face to face.- from my monologue “The Perfect Fit”

It is not our job to figure it all out before we take the first step.  Our job is to TRUST that God is ordering our steps and follow so closely behind Him that we couldn’t possibly get lost.  Rest, weary one.  Every path He takes you down, He’s already walked.  Every role He casts you in, He equips you to fill.  He insures your qualification for every job He assigns to you.  ALL OF IT is for your good and for His glory.  Everything will make you more and more like Jesus.  Trust and be strong.

Just Like Maddy

Never A Dull Moment – Week 1, Day 6

Ok, Friends, I know I have said it before, but at the risk of belaboring a point with you, I MUST say it again: GOD IS SO COOL!  If you’ve already picked up Never A Dull Moment this morning, you know that the first sentence of today’s reading starts, “On my 22nd birthday…”  Well, guess what, TODAY is my 43rd birthday!!  What in the world?!  If you doubt for one second that God is not paying attention, that He has missed something, that we are forgotten or that maybe He ordained everyone else’s days BUT YOURS, this “belaboring” is for you!  God does not miss things.  God is working things out that you don’t even have a clue about yet – big things, little things, things that matter to lots of people and things that will only matter to YOU.  And do you know why?  Because HE LOVES YOU!

God does not waste things.  God does not allow ANYTHING into your life that He cannot USE for your good.  I know that our daily can be crazy.  I know that awful, life-changing things happen.  I know that we don’t always understand WHY.  I know that many times our prayers are not answered the way that we thought/wished/wanted them to be answered, but my friend, GOD IS STILL FOR US.  He loves us.  He does not forget us.  In fact, in my personal quiet time today, I was directed to two different passages that said even if our own families forget us, HE WILL NOT. (Isaiah 49:15-16 & Psalm 27:10).  Hang on to that truth this morning – and every morning.  Everything you know of Our Father and His Son, Jesus, from the WORD – not from your gut, your friend, your bitter distant relative… go with me here – but from the WORD is true.  Ponder the truth.  Speak the truth.  LOOK for ways God is showing up in your life.  I promise you… it makes me teary-eyed as I sit here and type it – HE WILL SHOW UP.  I know from my own personal experience: You WILL know that you are loved.  Just pause for a second and SEE HIM.  He will never disappoint you.

NADM Maddy

My Sweet Maddy Girl: the day I got her, at my bridal portraits, with the family (Kep in utero) and guarding her little brother and sister while Mommy ran upstairs.

Found: Longly, the Giraffe

Never A Dull Moment: Week 1/Day 2
A paired down version of this post made it into my devotional book because God used this little giraffe to teach me SO MANY THINGS. He still is using this little giraffe to teach this Momma lots of lessons. More to come…

Speechless Ministries

Those of you that read my blog will, no doubt, be thinking by the end of this post, “Gee, those Mulligans sure do lose a lot of stuff at their house.” – and we do!  At the risk of having you totally question my housekeeping skills, however, I must praise the Lord about yet another little “Lost & Found Incident”.  Caleb’s stuffed giraffe, Longly, has been missing for over a week.  Longly’s ten year-old, rightful owner has taken it like a champ.  His rightful owner’s Mommy has not.  I reorganized Caleb’s bedroom, cleaned up (and out!) the toy room, searched Keppley’s room, texted Mema, Granna, Papa and Aunt Sarah.  AND made Daddy PROMISE me that he had really, really double-checked his Jeep.  I also re-searched the Suburban… just in case my sleuthing skills were slipping.  I searched and looked and pondered and questioned where in the world this floppy, infant-sized…

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Week 1/Day 1: Yet Another Reason to be Speechless

It is so fitting that this is Week 1/Day 1!  Holy moly!  If you know me in “real life” – or have seen me on a platform speaking somewhere, for that matter – you know that the whole “Speechless” deal is VERY tongue in cheek!  In fact, part of the reason my speaking ministry was christened “Speechless Ministries” is because I clearly am not without words.  If you invited me, you intended for me to SPEAK.  And, gracious, if you didn’t, well, bless your heart, you were surely shocked when I arrived!  LOL!  But here’s the thing: there is simply too much to say when it comes to how God blesses me, the life that He’s given me, and the doors that He’s opened for me.  Psalm 40:5 is the ministry’s theme verse: Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done.  The things you have planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.”  Indeed, that God loves and cares for me, speaks to me, and uses me… is almost the only thing that really renders me speechless.  Really.

My parents we NOT surprised when I declared a Speech Communication major in college!  My mother’s exact words were, “I always knew you would try to get someone to pay you for talking!”  LOL!  I LITERALLY have a magnet on my refrigerator that says “Dear Lord – Please put your arm around my shoulders and Your hand over my mouth.”  If you’ve seen me perform “Southern Style” you are well acquainted with “JO-LEE!”  Lawd, that woman can talk!  😉  She’s a little over the top, but it’s ALL real life, my dears!

NADM Refridgerator Prayer

Who He is to me, what He has done for me; His faithfulness to me has made me BELIEVE.  And because I believe, I have to speak!  (2 Cor. 4:13)  What about you?  What has God had you “take note” of lately?  How has He made you believe?  Where are your words leading you these days?

O Father, our prayer echoes Proverbs 25:11.  Let our words be fitly spoken, like apples of gold in settings of silver.  Put Your arm around our shoulders and Your hand over our mouths.  May every word we speak, speak life and may the law of kindness be on our tongues for Your glory and for the benefit of the people You’ve given us to do life with.

Never A Dull Moment: Spending August with the Dramatic Daughter Herself

Hello Friends!  Those of you who follow my Facebook page know that we are walking through my devotional book, Never A Dull Moment: Conversations with a Dramatic Daughter of the King, this month.  The idea of walking through the devotional book hatched as a result of two things: First, I kept thinking about the stories I share in it.  They are all close to my heart and for some reason, God has been reminding me of them lately.  I personally wanted to read back through them to see what else God has taught me since I first wrote them down.  AND God has given me a platform to share the things that He brings to mind and puts on my heart.  Seems like what He’s teaching me is very often just thing He wants me to pass on… which leads me to the second reason we’re all here.

Over the last few weeks, several of you have reached out to me about your quiet times with the Lord.  We ARE busy people.  We DO have a lot on our plates and as much as we want to prioritize quiet time in our Father’s presence, it seems to be the first thing to slide.  So, my prayer is that this month together will help us establish consistency in our time with the Lord by providing an online community of people who will be traveling this road together.

Never A Dull Moment is all about finding God in the middle of daily “insanity.”  I hope that we develop a true HABIT of BEING STILL in His presence and SEEING HIM even in the midst of our crazy lives… especially in the midst of our crazy lives.  God is all about relationship.  He is not interested in you prettying up for Him.  He’s interested in being central as you walk the walk!  I’m so excited to be walking with you this month!  See you in the word!

Mother to Daughter & Back Again

I found a scrawled little “poem” under Keppley’s seat this morning entitled “My Mom”:

My Mom’s favorite color is green.
Her favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip.
My Mom’s favorite game is Pictionary.
Her favorite mood is happy. She is happy sometimes.
Her favorite sauce is steak sauce.
That’s all!

You Mommas know I smiled at her words and winced a little that I’m only “happy sometimes”, because really, really, I’m happy almost all the time, but I clearly don’t let it show often enough. I immediately knew I would write her a response and then my thoughts turned instantly to a written exchange my own Mom and I had. She started it when I was seven – Keppley’s age now. My reply was her 35th birthday present, written when I was 18.


Our Night
by Charlene Young, my Mom

Last night was our night
Everything had to be just right
Reservations for dinner and a show
I wanted your face to glow.

Hours before – you asked what to wear.
You insisted we dress alike –
even down to the hair.
Same color dress, you chose the perfume.
We both checked the mirror before we left the room.

I said you looked like an angel
And you giggled and said,
My gold necklace is my halo
that slipped over my head.

We ordered the drinks and our meal.
We talked and we laughed,
then we made a deal.
As long as you were good and did the
things you should
I just might let you decide when to call it a night.

I introduced you to the singer and the fiddler too.
I wish you could know how proud I was of you.

We talked until the show started
Then we watched – me – only half-hearted.
I watched your face – you were so excited.
You seemed so grown up, but I wasn’t delighted.
It was hard to sit and watch a show.
I felt sad – I could almost see you grow.

You ran into your teacher and a friend joined us.
And for your evening, all this was a plus.
You clapped, and you danced, and oh my, what a flirt!
Watching you grow up – will it always hurt?

Honey, I love you and I’m so glad
For the time we spent together and
the lovely evening we had.
And I thank God in heaven
For our night out – Mother and Daughter, age seven.


Joeli’s Reply
By Me, Charlene’s Daughter

That night was just right
Etched in my memories as a night of nights
Reservations for dinner and a show
Made not only my face, but my heart glow.

Hours before
I asked what to wear.
I wanted to be like you
even down to the hair.

You said I looked like an angel
And I giggled and said,
My gold necklace is my halo
that slipped over my head!

We ordered drinks and our meal.
We talked – How I loved you!
Then you made me a deal:
As long as I was good and did the
things I should
You just might let me decide when to call it a night.

You knew everyone: the singer and the fiddler too.
You introduced me. Mama, I was so proud of you.

We talked until the show started
Then we watched – me – whole-hearted.
Mom, thank you for that special time. I was so excited!
Being with you made me feel so grown up.
I was delighted!
It was easy to sit and watch a show.
With you, I felt safe and loved and free to grow.

I ran into my teacher and a friend joined us.
And for my evening all this was a plus.
I clapped and I danced, but Mom, I wasn’t a flirt!
Mom, growing up and moving apart – will it always hurt?

Mommy, I love you too and I’m so glad
For the time we spent together and
the lovely evening we had.
And I thank God in heaven
For our night out – Mother and Daughter, age seven


It’s funny how growing up hurts all the way around. Becoming a Mommy makes you love, understand and appreciate your own a little more. I bet if I had been the one to start this exchange way back when I was seven I would have thought my Mom was “happy sometimes”. Being an adult isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be and “happy” is a little hard to find some days. But if I had really been watching my Mom on “Our Night”, I bet would have seen something even better than “happy”. I bet I would have seen deep-down, soul joy at time slowly spent with her little girl – her little gift. I know, because when I really see my Keppley, my mood goes way beyond “happy”.

As promised, my response to my own angel girl:

My Kep’s favorite color is black (or maybe red!), but definitely NOT pink.
Her favorite ice cream is chocolate, but Mom’s lime pops will do in a pinch.
My Kep’s favorite game is anything outside with her friends. Or Twister if she has to be inside. Or maybe “Boomerang” with Caleb… which is probably really an outside game.
Her favorite mood is sassy (the good kind!). She is sassy most of the time unless she’s being silly or determined.
Her favorite sauce is ketchup… or ranch, if she’s eating veggies.
My favorite girl is her.
That’s all!

DSCN2647

Be A Christmas Mood Maker This Year!

For those of you that really want to celebrate Advent with your Kiddos, but are about to throw in the towel because, once again, it’s December 2 and you haven’t even started yet, here’s a list of simple ideas to spread some cheer that don’t take much time or preparation. OK, “Host A Neighborhood Drop-In” IS number 12, but that’s only because it was already on my calendar for December 12! I intentionally made the first 2 days super easy and the 3rd with store-bought Hershey’s Kisses in mind so you could “catch up” – or more accurately, JOIN ME in a late start! That’s right, I compiled the list and I still didn’t start on December 1!

Keep in mind also, that you get to choose what you do: make a “Top 10” List and do one thing every Friday, Saturday and Sunday plus Christmas Eve. Combine your favorites and have some awesome “Christmasy” family nights this month – whatever! The main thing is to celebrate with your families, keep your focus on Jesus and make the mood of your home festive. Last night, my son told the MC of our town’s Christmas Tree Lighting that his favorite thing about Christmas is “the mood that hangs in the air”. Such a proud “Mommy Moment”! I realized later that I am the “Mood Maker” in my house – and so are you! It’s not about the plan or the execution. It’s about the “mood”. Merry Christmas, Friends! May your mood be merry and bright! May you know peace on your little corner of the earth and joy that somehow spreads to the whole world!

1. Read the Christmas Story in Luke 2. Pray that God will show your family how to celebrate Jesus every day this month.

2. Make a paper “Countdown Chain” – as you remove links, write one way you celebrated Jesus that day on it. Save them all to review on Christmas Eve.

3. Take treats to the staff at school/church/work.

4. Adopt a family in need. Matthew 25:40

5. Pay for the person behind you in the drive thru – be sure to leave a Christmas card for them with the cashier!

6. Drive through a live Nativity – if you’re local, “The Living Christmas Story” at Union United Methodist Church is one you might like!

7. Have a “snowball” fight… rolled up socks work GREAT in SC!

8. Family game night – complete with hot cocoa and candy canes.

9. Donate everything in your family change jar to the Salvation Army Bell Ringers. Remember, the widow in Luke 21 gave all she had.

10. Go grocery shopping for the sole purpose of donating the food you buy.

11. Pay someone’s past due library fines! See Romans 13:8 and thanks to our Children’s Minister, Mr. Chris, for this idea!

12. Host a drop-in for your neighbors!

13. Two Words: Christmas Lights! Think popular local venues – like Saluda Shoals or the Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks if you’re here in Columbia – or a pajama-clad ride around your own neighborhood!

14. Watch your favorite Christmas movie – don’t forget the popcorn!

15. Fill out Christmas cards! Pray for the recipients.

16. Bake Christmas Cookies.

17. Make a gingerbread house. They even have foam ones at the craft store!

18. Tape quarters to note cards expressing the love of Jesus. Tape the cards to vending machines around town!

19. Wrap presents together!

20. Go on a search for Baby Jesus – see how many Nativity scenes you can find & leave a note thanking your neighbors for remembering the reason for the season.

21. Super Secret Sibling Shopping Spree – take your Kiddos to buy their siblings’ presents… make sure the present remains a surprise!

22. Go Christmas Caroling!

23. Make reindeer food for Christmas Eve – equal parts oatmeal & glitter. Don’t forget to sprinkle it in the front yard when you leave cookies for Santa!

24. Snuggle up and take a look back at all the celebrating you did this month. Thank Jesus for coming, living and dying for YOU. Merry Christmas!

Melchior & The Great I AM

Melchior & Caleb - Christmas 2008

Melchior & Caleb – Christmas 2008

Last night when Caleb went to feed his bearded dragon, Melchior, we discovered that he had died sometime yesterday afternoon. My veterinarian sister, “Dr. Aunt Sarah”, tells me reptiles are tough cases when they get sick, but neither my Boy nor I had any idea that something was wrong. Melchior acted weird a lot… so much so that “weird” was pretty much his “normal”. So, the passing of Caleb’s awesomely cool, Mommy-approved reptile that Santa brought from Australia on his way to South Carolina five Christmases ago, came as a big shock to all of us. Caleb cried lots of tears. I prayed. We talked about our fun times with Melchior, about how neat it has been to have a really cool pet like him. And Daddy figured out what to do next. The funeral is tonight and this morning, God, always faithful, lead me to just the right verses for such an event.

I flipped open my Bible to this morning’s passage and read what Jesus said in Luke 20:38: “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive.” Have you ever considered the full weight of that verse? God IS the great I AM. While we try to overcome our past, figure out our present and worry over the future, God simply IS. He is as fully involved with our future as we are caught up in our present. “For Him all are alive”… what an incomprehensible, comforting thought. God IS. He KNOWS everything we wonder about or wish was different and is there – past, present and future – working. I don’t know if it’s OK or not to apply scripture directly to the life of a lizard, but I was comforted by the simple, straight-forward way this verse spoke to my heart: “For Him all are alive.” Even though Melchior is not with us anymore, he is alive to God. Even though I don’t always understand circumstances and situations, God does. The past is never gone to Him. The future is never a question mark.

How awesome that our God – the Great I AM – is also the Creator of Caleb’s cool bearded dragon. We named him “Melchior” because church tradition says that one of the three wise men answered to that. Since he joined the family at Christmas, it seemed only right to pick a name that was both a part of Jesus’ beginnings and worthy of a “beardie”. Caleb’s interest in all sorts of animals – especially ones that definitely fall into his Mommy’s “Creature” category – inspired me to find verses in the Word about God’s love for cool creatures, verses that confirmed for Caleb that he indeed was made in God’s image. Psalm 104:26 says “the leviathan, the pet dragon, the sea monster [God] made frolics, romps and plays in the sea (see NIrV, The Message and the NIV).” The Lexham English Bible says God created the leviathan to play WITH. Caleb would totally do that if He could! God clearly loves an interesting animal – just like my Caleb.

I don’t know exactly what happens to bearded dragons when they die, but I DO know that when it’s all said and done, they will be able to sing and praise the Lord just like we do (Revelation 5:13). I know that “the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind is in His hand (Job 12:10).” I don’t know how it all works and I wish Melchior was still basking in Caleb’s room, but because of who God is and what His word says, I know that He does not simply discard His creation. And I like to think that the Great I AM is happy to have Melchior hang out with Him. Maybe the leviathan needed a break.

Picking fights with some of Caleb's other "dragons" - Circa 2012

Picking fights with some of Caleb’s other “dragons” – Circa 2012

Found: Longly, the Giraffe

Those of you that read my blog will, no doubt, be thinking by the end of this post, “Gee, those Mulligans sure do lose a lot of stuff at their house.” – and we do!  At the risk of having you totally question my housekeeping skills, however, I must praise the Lord about yet another little “Lost & Found Incident”.  Caleb’s stuffed giraffe, Longly, has been missing for over a week.  Longly’s ten year-old, rightful owner has taken it like a champ.  His rightful owner’s Mommy has not.  I reorganized Caleb’s bedroom, cleaned up (and out!) the toy room, searched Keppley’s room, texted Mema, Granna, Papa and Aunt Sarah.  AND made Daddy PROMISE me that he had really, really double-checked his Jeep.  I also re-searched the Suburban… just in case my sleuthing skills were slipping.  I searched and looked and pondered and questioned where in the world this floppy, infant-sized stuffed animal could be: the one I bought for my first-born that very first time I left the house after his birth, when he was just 3 days old?  (Can you feel the stress, Fellow Mommas?) All the while, I kept thinking, “Bet he got folded up in Caleb’s sleeping bag.”  You need to know that by “kept thinking”, I really mean: repeatedly, obsessively thought, over and over again, as I was driving down the street, doing the laundry, cleaning the toy room, praying about the day and this one little stressor, THOUGHT, “I really should look in his sleeping bag.” But I never did… until this morning.

Finally, today after swim practice, I looked.  And guess what: he was there… right where the Holy Spirit had been telling me he was.  Kep walked into the room as I was fighting with the sleeping bag zipper.  She offered to crawl in to look for Longly herself, but I, of course, insisted that it needed to be fixed anyway.  She stood there looking anxiously with me at the sleeping bag as I finally opened it to reveal our missing Longly!  I told her my story: the one about how God told me several times to look in Caleb’s sleeping bag while I was praying about Longly; the one where I, for some reason, kept putting it off.  Do you know what she said?  She said, “Mom!  The Holy Spirit was talking to you!”  Yep… He really was, Kep.

When asked what the lesson of this tale and trial was, both of my kids responded in kind: “when the Holy Spirit (or anybody in authority over you, added Caleb!) tells you to do something, DO IT!”  Amen Kiddos!  Way to pick up that lesson your Momma is clearly still learning!  Thanks again, God, for caring about those little things that truly don’t mean anything to anyone but me!  You’re quite awesome!

Longly with his sleeping bag and his rightful owner.

Longly with his sleeping bag and his rightful owner.

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