Ladybug Day

We went for a walk today, down a sidewalk right after lunch.  The temperature was perfect and the sky was blue like Caribbean water.  It was a day that feels like God is showing off.  The plan was to walk a little bit before we headed back to the car to go home.  And then one daughter stepped off the sidewalk and shared that she was just going to walk in the grass…off the path and into open space.  I kept walking until daughter number two said, “Let’s go with her.”  Before I knew it, we were sitting in the middle of the grass in the park.

That in itself would have been fun enough, but our day turned into an adventure when we started to notice all the creepy crawly things around us in the grass.  It was as if we had just sat down in the middle of a city of bugs all very busy with their tasks for the day. The spiders scurried, the black things climbed over and under blades of grass, the ants quickly moved about and the ladybugs found their way into our hands with grace.

We were having a LADYBUG MOMENT.  A moment in our day when we just stop doing what we planned to do and take notice of what is going on around us.  It was a moment we would have missed if we would have stayed on the path trying to get more steps on our fitbit.  It was a moment where we sat together and just enjoyed each others company and the company of the creepy crawly things.

Over lunch we enjoyed a LADYBUG CONVERSATION.  A conversation that invited all of us to think more deeply and share.  We asked questions that mattered.  We asked things like, “If you were in my shoes, how would you handle the situation.” “Where do you see God in this?”  “What would you like for dessert?”

And how did we do all of this in the middle of the week?  Well….we had a LADYBUG DAY!  We played hookie from all those things that we were suppose to be doing and we did something else.  Something life giving! We took all the should of’s and could of’s in our day and just put them away so their friend guilt would go away too.  Gardeners and farmers love the ladybug because it helps control pests.  It controlled the pests in our life today very well.

As the sun sets on this day, I know it will be a day that I will remember.  God was all around us this day because we took time to notice.  When was your last LADYBUG MOMENT, CONVERSATION or DAY?  It’s time to step off the path and experience an adventure.  Your backyard is a great place to start!

Instead, desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:33-34


Meredith Bell

Simple Math

We are working on basic math in our Tent.  With one of us in first grade, we all get to practice simple math facts.  1+1=2  2+2=4  3+3=6  We are all reminded that you have to start simple and learn the basics. Simple math facts are just as important as advanced math.

I heard a quote this week by Kevin Leman.  Leman said, “No one person is more important than the family.”  If I understand Leman, he is saying that every person in the family is important to the family.  AND there is not one person that is more important than the others.  Leman’s simple math looks like this…1+1=1  2+2=1  3+3=1

So often, we forget this simple truth about family math.  So often, we focus on one person’s needs in the family and pour all of our energy into that person.  When we spend all of our energy on one person, there is not much energy left for the rest of the family.  The whole family loses.

There is a great, humbling reminder of this in the Bible.  Remember when Jesus said, “So those who are last will be first.  And those who are first will be last”?  Jesus was speaking through a parable about a landowner who paid his workers.  No matter what time the workers began working, at the end of the day they received the same amount of pay…one denarion.  Jesus’ math is simple too.  All people are equal and precious in the eyes of Christ.  1+1=1  2+2=1  3+3=1  No matter when we accept God’s grace and begin our Christian life, we receive the same result…eternal life.  Everyone is going to the same eternal life, together.

Take some time this weekend take a tent survey to check your family’s simple math.  Is everyone important?  Does everyone feel special and a part of the family?  Is one person using up too much of the family energy supply?  Pray about what to do about the survey results.  Remember…Jesus is a part of your family too!  Working on the basic areas of family life help prepare us for the more advanced dynamics of family life.

From our Tent to yours…happy weekend!

Meredith Bell

It Takes A Village

This past spring I visited a church in Mississippi.  In the service, God wanted me to hear one thing…it takes a village.  This simple message came from the youth pastor.  He gave the announcement about the youth’s trip to the bowling alley that afternoon.  But instead of simply reminding the youth, he was actually challenging the congregation…the village.  He was challenging them to become a friend to the young people in the church.  The church goal was to partner five adults with each young person in their church.  He reminded the village of the goal and encouraged them to get started (or keep going) by going bowling that afternoon.  Sounds fun!3940801067_f5bd04e54b_b

This made me start thinking about my youthful years.  Did I have five people outside my family who I would call a friend?  Did I have five people who mentored me and believed in me?  Did you?

These people in my life are called the unsung heroes of my life.  Their names are not on any diploma, they will probably not be listed in my obituary and they probably don’t even know the impact they made on my life…but they were my heroes in many ways.  They had a conversation with me that changed my life.  They saw something in me that I did not see and  nourished it until I did see it.  They were patient.  They would answer my phone call anytime during the day or night.  I was always welcome in the homes.  Some of them were teachers, coaches, friends, fellow church members, and pastors.  They were my village.  They were my unsung heroes.


This too made me start thinking and open my eyes.  (This is probably why God wanted me to hear one thing that day.)  Who needs me?…it’s time to go bowling.  Who needs you?  There are so many people around us young and old that need a village to love them and encourage them.  And it may just be time for you and me to take them bowling (or to something else that sounds fun like eating ice cream).

Paula Gooder wrote a book called Everyday God: The Spirit of the Ordinary.  I keep my copy on my back porch to read in the morning.  It is warped from being wet and yellowed from being scorched by the sun, but it still shares treasures with me each morning.  The other day I read these words:

Part of the point of God’s calling to each one of us is that we are called to be God’s unsung heroes and we will know we are succeeding, not when people begin to notice us but when they begin to notice God.

I would love to chat more, but I think I need to write some thank you notes and find some more people to add to my village…especially if bowling and ice cream are involved!

Meredith Bell


Our Tent

Happy tent for family time together

It happened this week.  In the midst of an ice storm and no school for our children, we found the time to officially put our tent up in our home.  For weeks, I have been sewing pieces together (and tearing pieces apart) and sewing more pieces together.  I have wondered many times if this is even a good idea or a waste of time.  I have walked by the tent project on my dining room table looking at the project as I went by just wondering if it was worth finishing. Even after I finished it, I waited weeks to (well…my husband actually did the following items) buy the poles, drill the holes, attach the rope and slip the tent over the top to see the finished project.  For a few minutes (well actually 60 minutes because my husband had to drive through the ice storm back to Home Depot to return the first poles he bought in exchange for the right ones…has anyone ever made just one trip to Home Depot?) my whole family gathered together to see the final product.  My whole family was anticipating this event…almost like a new baby was joining our family.

And then it went up.  Together we put it up.  Our tent.  Our God space in our home.  A place where we can spend time with God together or separate.  There were giggles, ohhh’s and awww’s.  And the we entered together and enjoyed our first family meeting inside our tent.  I would like to say is was just like I imagined it would be…fun, peaceful, perfect.  But what I quickly saw that we bring ourselves into the tent just as we are.  Some of us were quickly impatient, all of us were a little nervous and none of us really knew what to do at first.

Soon we found our groove.  We experienced our first “cross conversation”, gave our first offering, shared our joy and concerns.  Most of all we connected.  We connected with each other and with God in a new way.

The best part was the next morning.  Before school, my daughter came to eat breakfast.  I asked where she had been right before and she shared that she had been in the tent writing what she was thankful for that morning.  At that moment, I knew each stitch, trip to the fabric store, trip to Home Depot, each minute spend working on the tent was worth it…very worth it.  I can’t wait to hear about your first tent experience.

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