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The official publication of the women of faith association

MAy/june 2009

Like Mother Like Daughter A conversation with Sandi Patty & Anna Trent

a time for tea

parenting your parent Proactive Planning Makes a Difference

leaving a legacy

A Letter From Mary I had the BEST mom. Sadly, I didn’t know it at the time. I really wanted her to be Alice Scott. Alice Scott was amazing. When we needed to go out of town for a debate tournament or football game, she was always available. She always drove a big brand new car (like an Oldsmobile!), piled us in, and took us to restaurants AND drive-throughs for Cokes with cherry syrup. I think she had a lot of money. She had a daughter who was my friend. Before that, I wanted my mom to be Willa McLain. Willa McLain was amazing. She took us to nearby Joplin. Joplin had movies and restaurants that served fried chicken and chocolate cake. She wore makeup every day and pretty suits that had to be dry-cleaned and drove a huge car (like a Buick!) and they got a new one every year. I think they had a lot of money. Before that, I wanted my Mom to be Kathryn Montgomery. Kathryn Montgomery was amazing. Her family (I think they had a lot of money) mostly ate at restaurants and although she had two children—both girls—they NEVER had to do dishes. Before that, I wanted Dorothy Cobb to be my mother. Dorothy Cobb was amazing. She lived across the street from me the first five years of my life. Dorothy Cobb curled her only daughter’s hair every day. Darlene (her daughter) looked like a doll. My mother had eight children; I was the youngest. We had little or no money. My dad worked long hours, and my mother had little help with child rearing either physically or emotionally. I really never saw her stop. But my mother had so much heart: She always baked cakes to take to friends when someone died or was ill. She never minded if we had company (or if all of us had company at the same time). I think I was in high school before I ever saw her drive a car. We never ate out, went to movies or on trips. We went to church and school. (She was very involved in both.) She wore a dress every day, which she made, and which she washed and ironed herself. And nothing shook her; she was very calm, pleasant and well-loved by all. She was the BEST Mom. But I had to grow up to understand that. I don’t always know what (or who) I need or what (or who) I’ll appreciate as I get older and wiser. That’s why I know my best bet is to trust God. Whatever your circumstances today, and whatever you’d love to change them to be, remember a day might come when you’ll be glad you didn’t have what you asked for. In His Love for You,

Mary Graham, President Women of Faith, Inc.

Mission Statement: We are a membership organization of women from all denominations, nationalities, age groups and backgrounds. We strive to enrich women’s lives by encouraging them with God’s love and His message of hope: equipping them with resources for their lives; creating community with other members; and giving them the opportunity to give of themselves to those who are in need.

Executive Editor Mary Graham

Managing Editor Susan Ellingburg Circulation Marilyn Lee

Layout & Design Amy Holt

Association Administrator Jackie Bolden In This Issue: Allison Allen Susan Ellingburg Mary Graham Michele Howe Laura MacCorkle Marilyn Meberg Debra Null Anita Renfroe Katrina Schaffner Jan Silvious Lisa Whittle


Use this code to save 20% when you shop online (or by phone) at Code valid until the next issue of Connection is received. Copyright 2009, Women of Faith, Inc. Connection is published bimonthly by Thomas Nelson Live Events, 820 W. Spring Creek Parkway, Suite 400, Plano, TX, 75023. This publication may not be reproduced by any means without written permission of the publisher. Publication of advertising does not necessarily constitute endorsement. Ideas expressed in articles are the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Women of Faith or Thomas Nelson, Inc. The editorial staff accepts no liability for any errors of commission or omission. Women of Faith events are a production of Thomas Nelson Live Events. Unless otherwise noted, books quoted in this issue are published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Send your letters, comments, and questions by email to Please include your first and last name, address and daytime phone number. Letters chosen for publication may be edited for length and style.

16 20 Parenting Your Parent

From Our Cover

Leaving a Legacy .............................................................. 7 Jan Silvious

Dear Mom . . . Yes, I’m Wearing Your Shoes


In the Wings ............................................................................... 5 Allison Allen

Parenting Your Parent..................................................... 16

Ask Marilyn ............................................................................... 9

Like Mother, Like Daughter ........................................ 18

Deeper Connection: Personal Strength ............................ 10

Michele Howe

A Conversation with Sandi Patty & Anna Trent

A Time for Tea................................................................... 23

Marilyn Meberg

Women of Faith Bible Study

Debra Null

Come to the Table: The Joy of the Daughter ................. 14


Authenticity: Yes, Mom . . . I’m Wearing Your Shoes.... 20

Anita Renfroe

Shine the Light: Beth Wolfe ............................................... 17

Benita Long

Mothers of the Bible ......................................................... 6 The Flavor of Love ......................................................... 12 Susan Ellingburg

Lisa Whittle

Katrina Schaffner

Divine Interruption ......................................................... 13


The Inheritance ................................................................ 24

Wrap It Up ................................................................................ 29

Mary Graham

Tamera Alexander

She’s the Mother, I’m the Daughter: ..................... 26 Laura MacCorkle

On Our Nightstand ................................................................... 4 Women of Faith Online ........................................................ 30 Member Benefit Bulletin ..................................................... 30

table of contents

23 12 Time for Tea

The Flavor of Love

On Our Nightstand What’s Age Got to Do with It?

By Robin McGraw When her mother died unexpectedly, Robin realized that in order to be the best wife, mother and woman possible, she had to take care of herself as if her life depended on it. In this book she urges you to do the same. Robin says, “If you can’t do it for you, then do it for your family. I realized that it doesn’t make you a better wife or parent if you’re sacrificing everything—including your health, soul and spirit—for your family. It’s never too early to start taking care of yourself, but it’s also never, ever too late.”

100 Ways to Know God Loves Me, 100 Songs to Love Him Back

By Stephen Elkins This easy-to-read text and colorful art will have children eager to find out how much God loves them and to sing their loving praise back to God. Familiar Bible verses tell of God’s promises and encourage little ones to thank Him for His great love. A great resource to help kids memorize 100 Bible verses. Includes 2 CDs with 100 songs.

Lonestar Sanctuary

By Colleen Coble Allie Siders holds on to hope that her five-year-old daughter, Betsy, will speak again. For now, all Allie can think about is their safety. She heads to Bluebird Ranch, deep in the Texas Hill Country, and the only person who can help them. Ranch owner Elijah DeAngelo eagerly welcomes the duo, but ranch foreman Rick Bailey hasn’t decided to let his guard down . . . yet. Promises made long ago soon force Rick and Allie to work together to escape danger. Will they discover love along the way?

Celebrating an Extraordinary Life

By Ruth Bell Graham This three-CD audio tells of the “pilgrim journey” of the wife of Billy Graham. Narrated by Walter Cronkite, the story is conveyed through interviews with those who know Ruth best, and accented by her own poetry. Ruth’s sisters describe their dramatic days as children of missionaries in China. Hear romantic tales of Ruth’s courtship with the young man who would become the greatest evangelist in the world. CDs include contributions from Barbara Bush, Patricia Cornwell, Franklin Graham, “Lady Bird” Johnson, Jan Karon, and many others.


By Ted Dekker After a car accident puts Shauna McAllister in a coma and wipes out six months of her memory, she returns to her childhood home to recover, but her arrival is fraught with confusion. Leaning on Wayne Spade, a forgotten but hopeful boyfriend who stays by her side, Shauna tries to sort out what happened that night by jarring her memory to life. Shauna is sure of only one thing: if she remembers, she dies. 4 ~ CONNECTION MAGAZINE

Behind the Scenes:

In the Wings

Moms and Daughters

by Allison Allen Everyone has a mom. If you are reading these words, someone carried you in their womb. And, if you are of the female persuasion, you are also a daughter. Your mother’s daughter, to be exact. Those words—mother, daughter—may be a source of unending comfort and joy, or of nagging disjointedness. They may even conjure an odd mixture of both, depending on the day you are asked. Your reaction to those two powerful words is particularly your own—but because you have a mother and you are a daughter, I suspect you probably have one. In the last issue, I proposed a new series: “In the Wings” is an invitation to peek behind the scenes, to seek the story behind the story at Women of Faith events. In the spirit of fair play, I thought I should be first to jump in the water, especially since this Connection’s theme is “mothers and daughters”—a theme that figured heavily in my first year with Women of Faith. When I first started with Women of Faith in 2007, my mother, Patricia Ann Metcalf, had been gone for about eighteen months. She was gone too young (64), too quickly (pancreatic cancer), and left a chasm I wasn’t sure how to fill. Everything about life seemed foreign, as if I had been air-dropped into unknown territory with no map and no compass. Honestly, I was a bit frozen in my grief. However, God knows how to move us, especially when we cannot move ourselves. To that end, through a series of God-opportunities, I found myself performing with Women of Faith while Nicole Johnson was becoming a first-time mother herself. I quickly found myself surrounded by motherly love at a time when

I so desperately needed it. One smart porch pal validated the pain of losing a mother one long bus ride home, “Your mother is the only person who has known you all your life.” Another pal offered an open home one night when I was in Dallas, where we stayed up until 2 a.m. laughing, admiring art, and peering into the annals of a life well-lived. Still another passed notes up and down the aisle to offer encouragement and hope when the knowledge that our earthly shells do not last forever rested heavy on my heart. I still remember, with some poignancy, the weekend of St. Louis in 2007, which happened to be the anniversary of my mother’s death. On that particular day, I remember thinking, “Mom would’ve been so thrilled to see what God has done here. I wish she could see this.” As we ventured out on Saturday morning, a beloved speaker prayed a prayer that seemed to buoy me, giving me the strength to minister. And yet another walked off the platform after singing, cupped my face in her hands, and whispered, “Your mother would be so proud of you.” Little did that encourager know her music, her voice had carried my own mother through some of the darkest valleys of her life. To cap it all off, as I got into my car to head home, many of you approached, offering “Atta girl!” encouragement and hugs. None of you could have known that, on that weekend, you were deeply used by God to lift the spirits of a gal simply missing her mom. The point is simply this: the ministry doesn’t stop when the lights dim. The ministry doesn’t stop when the lights are up. The ministry doesn’t stop in parking garages in St. Louis. In truth, the ministry never stops. To some degree, aren’t we all carried by the love of the many “mothers, daughters, and sisters” God has so graciously set “in the wings” of our lives.

Allison Allen is now in her third year as a Women of Faith dramatist; this season she’s performing two

original pieces. From her auspicious debut as a bovine in kindergarten to “Grease” on Broadway, Allison has been honored to have spent a life in the performing arts. She is thrilled to be the wife of Jonathan and the mother of Levi. Copyright 2009. Allison Allen/Love is Served. All rights reserved.


May/June 2009


Tales from the Porch

Mothers of the Bible The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises! —Proverbs 31:30–31 (MSG) If you have spent your adult life trying to live up to the mothering standard set in the thirty-first chapter of Proverbs (and I know some women do), you might as well just go ahead and take up permanent residence in the I-Can’t-Quite-Measure-Up Lane. We are left with the impression that this sort of mother is the Approved Standard Version—family centered, good business woman, great cook, generous, prepared, discreet, praiseworthy, wise, and beautiful. This is precisely why I am so glad the Bible gives us pictures of other kinds of mothers as well—like Eve, who made the monumental, mind-blowing, affectseverybody-forever mistake or Rebekah, who schemed and connived to push her “favorite” son ahead of his brother. She reminds us that it is a dangerous thing to use maternal power for manipulation. These moms reveal to us that mother-love is fierce and stubborn to a fault—even wrong-headed sometimes. We do right things for wrong reasons and wrong things because we think everyone needs our help. When you look at


the moms in the Bible, say a silent prayer of thanks that these women are included alongside the Oracle of Lemuel in Proverbs 31 to bring snapshots of reality and spiritual caution cones to our journey. If laughter is good medicine then Anita Renfroe is just what the doctor ordered! When she takes the stage, few subjects are off limits —and she has a refreshingly honest, flat-out-funny take on them all. Described as “be careful or Diet Coke will come out your nose” funny, Anita takes “normal” and turns it upside down. (Normal is so overrated). Comedian, musician, speaker, and author Anita found freedom in being who she really is—original, bodacious in her faith, and unashamedly REAL. Anita and her husband, John, have three “semi-grown” children. They live in Georgia. Excerpted from A Grand New Day © 2008 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used with permission. All Rights Reserved.

Tales from the Porch

Leaving a Legacy A good life gets passed on to the grandchildren. —Proverbs 13:22 (MSG) Are you leaving a legacy that will give your children and grandchildren—all those who look up to you—wings to fly? Have your children (no matter what their age) seen evidence that you love, honor, respect, talk to, and rely on the Lord for all you are? I plan to leave five Bibles with my markings, thoughts, prayers, and notes. I want each of my five grandchildren to know that their grandmother knew the Lord and took notes on what He said! I want them to think about the things they do and who they are because they remember that their grandmother prayed for them and believed in God’s plans for them. Excerpted from A Grand New Day © 2008 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used with permission. All Rights Reserved.

I also want them to know they are and were always loved very much. My seven-year-old granddaughter Rachel has had her eye on a starfish paper weight on my desk since she was about three. She has held it in her little girl hands with wonder and asked if she could have it when she got married. I assured her that she could, and now I keep it in a special place where she can admire it until then. It is valueless in terms of money, but it’s a treasure in her brown eyes. It says her grandmother loves her. It’s all about leaving a legacy. Jan Silvious is an author, counselor, and popular speaker known for her biblically sound, psychologically positive answers to women’s challenges. Described as the female “Dr. Phil,” Jan’s no-nonsense yet humorous style captivates and motivates her audience. A frequent guest speaker at Women of Faith and other events in the US and beyond, Jan served for five years as the co-host (with Kay Arthur) for the call-in radio program Precept Live. Jan and Charlie, her husband of more than forty years, live in Chattanooga, Tennessee not far from their three grown sons, two daughters-in-law, and five wonderful grandchildren.


May/June 2009


Women of Faith® Presents

A Weekend Event Just for You:

Featuring the 2009 Women of Faith Team: Lisa Harper, Allison Allen, Sheila Walsh, Mandisa, Patsy Clairmont, Luci Swindoll, Nicole C. Mullen, Marilyn Meberg, Lisa Whelchel.*Not all guests appear in each city.

2 Days to Relax, Recharge, and Renew

Special Guests

Find fresh strength and hope for the days ahead. You’ll laugh, cry, and connect with other women through music, comedy, drama and real-life inspirational stories. You’ll come back knowing Steven Curtis Chapman

Anita Renfroe

Sandi Patti, Marilyn Meberg and Steve Arterburn

2009 DATES Des Moines, IA . . . . . . . . . . . May 1-2

Atlanta, GA . . . . . . . . . August 28-29

Billings, MT . . . . . . . . . . . . May 15-16

Anaheim, CA . . . . . September 11-12

Spokane, WA . . . . . . . . . . May 29-30

Philadelphia, PA . . . September 18-19

Rochester, NY . . . . . . . . . . . June 5-6

Denver, CO . . . . . . . September 25-26

Hartford, CT . . . . . . . . . . June 12-13

Phoenix, AZ . . . . . . . . . .October 2-3

St . Louis, MO . . . . . . . . . . June 26-27

Portland, OR . . . . . . . .October 9-10

San Jose, CA . . . . . . . . . . . .July 10-11

St . Paul, MN . . . . . . . .October 16-17

Cleveland, OH . . . . . . . . . .July 17-18

Oklahoma City, OK . .October 30-31

Seattle, WA . . . . . . . . . . . .July 24-25

Greensboro, NC . . . . November 6-7

Washington, DC . . . . . July 31- Aug 1

Houston,TX . . . . . . November 13-14

Indianapolis, IN . . . . . . . . August 7-8

Ft . Lauderdale, FL . November 20-21

Tampa, FL . . . . . . . . . . . August 14-15

Sacramento, CA . . . . December 4-5

Dallas,TX . . . . . . . . . . . August 21-22

that every day can be A Grand New Day!

Bring a Group! There’s plenty of inspiration to go around. Women of Faith events are terrific outreach opportunities. Group discounts available. A Grand New Day is a production of Thomas Nelson Live Events. No refunds/exchanges. Date, time, location and talent subject to change.




with code GND

(Valid for up to 9 people) | 888-49-FAITH 09GND_AD_ConnMag_May.indd 1

4/13/09 10:18:39 AM

9 AM

Ask Marilyn I’m 25, single and have a great job. I share an apartment with two other career girls. I love my mother but I need more space than she wants to give me. She wants to know where I go, what I do and why I do it. Talking does not seem to help. She keeps saying, “I am just being a mom.” Answer: As Anita Renfroe says, “If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother.” Anyone in the mental health profession knows that “mother” is a profoundly significant person in any human being’s life. She was there first. She rode the waves of nausea for those first months of pregnancy and has ridden the waves of baby’s challenging developmental behavior ever since. So we can understand why the relationship is significant, but why do so many have a troubled relationship with mom? Does the fact she was “there” first give her the right to continue to be first? The answer is no. I hardly need tell you your mother’s definition of being a mom is inaccurate. Being a mom does not mean insisting you report “where you go, what you do and why.” Being a mom means she gives you wings and you don’t need to always leave a flight plan. I say this gently: your mother needs to expand her life beyond yours. It isn’t your job to make that happen. That challenge is your mother’s. But what you do need to do is gently lay down a boundary and then insist that boundary is respected. If you wish, try this wording: “Mom, I love you with all my heart. I want always to be in your life but I cannot be your only life. I need to be able to come and go as I choose each day without having to give an account or a justification. Please know I am not trying to hurt you in any way. I am simply asking you to understand “I’m just being a grown-up.”

By Marilyn Meberg

It hurts my feelings that my mother is always taking off on a “girls’ weekend” or “girls’ night out.” Before my father died she was always available to baby-sit. I think she’s being a little insensitive to my needs. Answer: Well, Sweetheart, I think there’s a strong possibility you may be a bit insensitive to her needs. This time in your mother’s life may be the first opportunity she has had to do “her own thing.” She probably was your father’s major caretaker before he died. That was undoubtedly a stressful period for her. I suggest you call her and simply ask how she is doing; don’t ask her to baby-sit. Give her some space and a well-deserved break from responsibility. I also suggest you think about what it is you want from your mother. Do you want her to simply be there for you? Is there a chance you are using her more than you are appreciating her? Mothers give life, nurture that life and then (hopefully) free that life for meaningful adulthood. Your mother has done her job. Take this time in her life to show her you love her not for what she does but for who she is. In 2009 Marilyn will be answering some of life’s toughest questions (and some of yours!) at our Special Friday Feature. Don’t miss it!


May/June 2009


Deeper Connection

Personal Strength Imagine what it must have been like for Mary, Jesus’s mother. She was a young girl; most scholars suggest she was only thirteen. Her parents had arranged a good marriage for her to a nice Jewish man. She was set for a good life. She could raise children, make friends, and have a normal, happy life. But then the angel came. She was scared at first, but who wouldn’t be? And then he told her the message that would change her life forever: “You are with child.” Can you imagine the thoughts that probably raced through her head? I must be crazy. This is a dream. It’s not happening, not to me. . . . He’ll divorce me. He might kill me. My parents will disown me. How will I survive? And with a child to raise too? But “do not fear,” is what he told her; it was “good news of great joy.” Even though Mary couldn’t comprehend the impact this would have on her life at that moment and forever, she was able to set aside her wishes and plans and trust in the Lord. This young girl had real strength, authentic faith in the God who had chosen her. She dug down deep into her soul and found the courage to believe God’s word for her life. 1. What does Luke 1:46–55 tell us about Mary’s response to her calling?

2. What experiences in your life have you had to rely on personal strength to face unexpected turns on the road of life?

4. What does Proverbs 20:7 say is the reward for a life of integrity?

We’ve all witnessed women with incredible personal strength. It might be determination in the eyes of a cancer patient or unending patience in the heart of a mother to triplets. It might be the hard work ethic of an executive who is on the brink of winning or losing her biggest client or the gentle voice of a counselor who’s guided many through the dark valleys of their lives. But where does their strength come from? 5. What does Psalm 121:2 say about the source of our strength?

Saint Francis de Sales once wrote, “There is nothing so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength.” When you examine your life, where do your strengths lie? Where are you gentle? How do those areas overlap or intersect? When you see them start to merge together and become unified, that’s where your personal strength lies. Perhaps you’re a strict mother, gently and clearly stating your expectations and staying firm in the follow-through. Or maybe you have a very compassionate bedside manner, with a quiet strength that helps carry the burdens of the weak. Ultimately when it comes to personal strength, the greatest challenge is consistency. Any of us can be kind one moment or firm another, but for us to let our character be marked by our integrity is the work of a lifetime. 6. How does Psalm 78:72 suggest we maintain integrity over a lifetime?

3. Do you ever feel weak in your faith? Unable to stand strong against the temptations of this world? How does Psalm 41:12 reassure us in our weakness?

Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity. I have also trusted in the Lord; I shall not slip. Psalm 26:1 10 ~ CONNECTION MAGAZINE

7. Do you live with the fear that you’ll be discovered—that your secret sins will be exposed and the world will know your failures? What does Proverbs 10:9 say in response to that fear?

8. Job was a man of faith, yet disaster entered his life in tragic proportions. Satan was trying him to see if he would abandon his faith, if he would “curse God and die” as his wife recommended. But Job, though not perfect, did maintain his trust in God. He was angry, hurt, and frustrated with his situation, but he ultimately called on God to give him understanding. And throughout his story the word “integrity” is repeated again and again. Look up the following verses and note what they each have to say about personal strength.

Job 2:3

Job 27:5

Job 4:6

Job 31:6

9. What did Job ultimately realize about his own integrity or strength in light of God’s strength? See Job 42:3–6. How is this true for all of us?

Ultimately when it comes to personal strength, the greatest challenge is consistency. Any of us can be kind one moment or firm another, but for us to let our character be marked by our integrity is the work of a lifetime.

Excerpted from Embracing Your Strengths: Who Am I in God’s Eyes (And What Am I Supposed to Do About It?) © 2009 by Thomas Nelson. Used with permission. All Rights Reserved. Embracing Your Strengths is part of the 2009 Women of Faith Bible Study Series. WOMEN OF FAITH

May/June 2009

~ 11

I am a third-generation taco maker. I learned the art from my mother, who learned from her mother before her. Our tacos―not quite crispy but not really soft―are legendary in my family circle and the recipe is not to be trifled with. (At a recent extended-family gathering I confessed to adding sour cream to my choice of taco condiments and thought for a moment my name might be crossed out of the family Bible.)

T he Flavor of Love

by Susan Ellingburg

Why does a Tex-Mex dish have such a hold on a family that originally hailed from Scotland? Well, they ARE delicious. But I think part of their charm is their place in our family history. It’s our signature dish; the one we make for special occasions like Christmas Eve, birthdays, and days ending in “y.” For us, tacos—our version, not the fast-food or restaurant kind—are the ultimate comfort food. As a little girl, I climbed onto a chair by the stove, wooden spoon in hand, to break up clumps of ground beef as it browned. As soon as I was old enough to be trusted with a knife, my job was to chop lettuce, onions, and canned tomatoes. (This was before Ro*Tel® started selling their tomatoes in cubed form, a move that changed my taco-making life.) Meanwhile, Mother carefully spooned the browned meat into corn tortillas heating on a lightly oiled griddle, and in a complicated maneuver involving tongs in one hand and a spatula in the other, folded and flipped each one before tucking it into a dishtowel-covered pan. One happy family, coming right up. After I left home, my parents and younger brother moved to Florida, where they were bemused by grocery stores offering 17 varieties of grits . . . but no tortillas. Until they relocated several years later, every visit was preceded by this reminder: “Don’t forget the tortillas.” Every time I left Dallas there were 100+ tortillas squeezed into my carry-on bag. After all, a family gathering without our tacos was unthinkable. My father and younger brother both died five years ago; my mother last year. As the only surviving member of my immediate family, I no longer have to wait for anyone else to finish with the cheese sauce or pass the onions. The delicate dance of “You can have the last one.” “No, you take it. Really.” “No, that’s OK …” is over. Except . . . every now and then I pull out Grandmama’s griddle (the one big enough to cover half the stove) and fry up a batch for friends. We gather ‘round the table, push up our sleeves, and make new ‘taco memories’. Even when I’m cooking tacos for one, there’s something special about it. Somehow, after the browning and chopping and assembling and garnishing, that first bite tastes of more than just Tex-Mex goodness. It has the flavor of shared laughter, treasured memories, and soul-satisfying comfort. It tastes like love. When not editing Connection, Faith to Faith, or any of the other Women of Faith publications and pieces, Susan Ellingburg spends her time singing with various groups, taking road trips, and cleaning her kitchen. She recently added cake decorating classes to the mix and has found a pastry bag to be an excellent method for applying sour cream to tacos. Read Susan’s blog at


Susan’s Family Tacos

Brown ground beef (allow 1/4 to 1/3 pound per person) in skillet. Liberally season with salt, pepper, garlic salt, cumin, and chili powder. Drain and set aside.On a griddle or large skillet (nonstick preferred) heat just enough oil to barely cover bottom of pan. Place corn tortilla on griddle; add heaping tablespoonful of meat on one side. Carefully fold tortilla over meat and cook until slightly crisp but not crunchy, 30 seconds to 1 minute depending on heat of oil. Turn taco over and cook on other side another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Place in pan lined with paper towels (square or rectangular cake pans work well) and cover with clean dish towel to keep warm. Repeat until all meat has been used. If cooking for a large group, make several smaller pans and store in 200-degree oven to keep warm until needed. Serve with picante sauce, grated cheese or queso (Ro*Tel-Velveeta cheese dip works well), diced onions, shredded lettuce, and (don’t tell my aunt) sour cream. We’re probably not related, so go ahead and add guacamole and diced black olives if you like. It’s easiest to place all condiments on the table and allow each person to ‘doctor up’ their tacos as desired.

By Mary Graham

Divine Interruption When are interruptions divine?

In March, Marilyn Meberg, Luci Swindoll, Lisa Welchel and I went to Africa on a trip to see the work of World Vision. Our partnership with them to protect and provide for children all over the world is one of the highlights of our organization. Women in North America have sponsored hundreds of thousands of children in the past ten years through World Vision. We were making a quick connection in the Nariobi, Kenya, airport, when we hit a major roadblock which might have been a disaster but instead became a huge blessing in disguise. Having been to Africa several times, I’ve learned (the hard way) that when one’s plane lands in Nairobi, it’s better to not leave the airport without expert escorts. That night we were only going to be in the airport a couple of hours before our connecting flight on Kenya Air. We arrived about 10 p.m. and realized we’d missed our connection. Uh-Oh. Marilyn and I ran down to retrieve our luggage. (We nabbed an agent to help us on the way.) Once the luggage was in tow, I left Marilyn to babysit the agent and the bags and ran to tell Luci and Lisa to sit tight until they heard from me. Then I started trying to figure out what to do. We’d missed the last flight out and had no plan in place. I decided to climb five flights of stairs to the British Airways Executive Club. Since we’d flown in on BA, maybe they’d have an idea of what we should do. A young man (twenty-ish) named Sospeter was at the counter. He said if I’d give him a few minutes, he’d help me. Whew! So I ran first to Marilyn, then Luci and Lisa with my report. Next I got in the very long line at Kenya Air to secure our tickets for the next day. While I was working on that, Sospeter came to say he was ready to help. I, however, was tied up with the Kenya Air agent. So I asked if he could sit with Marilyn and wait for me. By now it was almost midnight and only a few people were left in the entire airport. None of us were scared, but I have a feeling we should have been. We had nowhere to go, no idea of what to do, no Kenyan currency, no visas, and no place to spend the night. A perfect storm.

Then the amazing happened. Marilyn (of course!) struck up a conversation with Sospeter. He asked her why we were traveling; she said to do some work with World Vision, an international humanitarian relief organization. He said, “World Vision? You saved my life.”

Huh? As his story unfolded, we learned both his parents had died of AIDS. He and his two siblings were left alone with nothing. World Vision found them and they became sponsored children. They went to school, had a place to stay where they could be together, received an education, and ultimately found meaningful employment. An amazing, articulate, kindhearted young man was being helpful to us because someone had been helpful to him. Our paths crossed in God’s divine timing and in a way that we might see with our own eyes and hear with our own ears the miracle of the World Vision strategy. Finally, I got our tickets arranged. Sospeter and some of his friends took us to a very nice hotel where we spent the night. The next morning they came back to take us to the airport. Because he works at the airport, Sospeter had credentials that enabled him to walk us through security, customs and immigration, and all the way to our gate. We tried to slip cash into his hand to express our gratitude. He refused. We insisted. He refused. With tears in his eyes, he said, “You have saved my whole life. I was able to survive, get an education, stay with my family, and get a job that I could never have had. I have a life because of how God used you. I will take no pay from you. It is my desire to say thank you to you in this way. I was in need and God used you to give me the world.” Lisa prayed for him as we stood in a circle in the middle of the Nairobi airport; we all cried tears of great joy. If God had given us our desire, we would have missed it all. But our plans failed so His could be achieved.  Mary Graham, Women of Faith’s President, is now safely back from Africa and busy traveling the U.S. going to A Grand New Day events (as are Luci, Marilyn, and Lisa).


May/June 2009

~ 13

ComeTable to the

The Joy of the Daughter

Photograph by Sammy Anderson 14 ~ CONNECTION MAGAZINE

By Benita Long

Photograph by Sammy Anderson


ear Daughters All!

Daughters: that’s what we’ll always be, even those of us who never have one. And what a wonderful word it is! Did you know that “daughter” comes to us from the Anglo-Saxon language, most probably tracing its origin back to the ancient Sanskrit word for milk? Poor guys . . . excepting God’s Only Son, the stem word for “son” translates (at best) simply “begat”! What irony it is that we hear people say “Thank you, son” or “Son, would you mind doing this or that” to someone to whom they are in no way related— yet to use “daughter” as a term of affection is often considered archaic. The point here is that the bond between a daughter and her mother or among daughters, especially in Christ, is not a matter of chronology but of continual nourishment, or if you will, an attitude of the heart. Mother/Daughter relationships are all-inclusive. A beautiful example of this is the way in which Judaism is passed through the bloodline of the mother. Rabbinic laws declared that any child born to a Jewish mother, regardless of the circumstances, was a full-fledged member of the faith. It’s not at all an attempt at exclusivity—the practice was established in the third century AD as an act of kindness towards abused Jewish women. To this day in many Jewish traditions—to balance the attention given baby boys—a zeved habat (“Gift of the Daughter”) or a simchat habat, (“Joy of the Daughter”) is celebrated. Following the ceremony a lavish array of refreshments, including a variety of sweets is offered to the guests. Until we meet again, daughters in Christ, let’s celebrate the joy!

The crown of the home is godliness

The beauty of the home is order The glory of the home is hospitality The blessing of the home is contentment Henry Van Dyke, 1852–1933

lime cheesecake with orange glaze (Makes 6 to 8 servings)

Crust 1 cup shortbread cookie crumbs 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling 24 ounces cream cheese, softened 1 cup sugar 3 eggs 1 tablespoon grated lime zest ¼ cup fresh lime juice

Topping 8 ounces fresh strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries ½ cup fresh orange juice 2 teaspoons cornstarch 2 teaspoons sugar

For the crust, combine the cookie crumbs and butter and press into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Refrigerate. For the filling, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in the sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the lime zest and juice until smooth. Pour the mixture into the springform pan and bake 55 to 65 minutes or until set. Turn off the oven and let the cheesecake remain in the oven for 30 minutes with the door slightly open. Remove from the oven and let stand about 10 minutes. Remove the side of the pan and cool on a wire rack. Refrigerate. For the topping, arrange the berries in a circle on the top of the cooled cheesecake, beginning in the center and working out to the edge of the cheesecake. Bring the orange juice, cornstarch, and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool a few minutes. Brush the glaze over the top of the cheesecake and chill until time to serve. Recipe and poem from Come to the Table copyright ©2008 by Benita Long. Published in Nashville by Thomas Nelson. Used with permission. All rights reserved. WOMEN OF FAITH

May/June 2009

~ 15

Parenting Your Parent

Proactive Planning Makes a Difference

by Michele Howe Several years ago, forty-nine-year-old Renee answered the call to move in and care for her ailing and then increasingly frail eightyyear-old mother. That arrangement lasted about nine months. No sooner had Renee agreed to sell her home and join households to care for her mother than her mom changed her mind. Renee’s mother decided she didn’t want anyone living with her even though she needed the assistance. After much unproductive discussion, Renee acquiesced to her mom’s request and moved out of her mother’s home, eventually purchasing another house for herself.


Life went on pretty smoothly during the following months with Renee transporting her mom to appointments, doing her shopping for her, and making certain her mother’s home was well maintained, but Renee could see her mom couldn’t live safely alone for much longer. Then Renee unexpectedly lost her job. Suddenly, her mother decided the perfect solution was for Renee to move back in with her again. “Things would be different this time,” her mom promised. “I’ve changed.” Renee wasn’t so sure; then again, with the housing and job markets so shaky, this might be their best option. Weighing the pros and cons carefully, Renee decided to take pen to paper and begin listing the areas that were problematic for her mom. While making such a list was semi-depressing, Renee knew it was necessary in order for her to effectively care-give and in order to sustain their sometimes fragile relationship. Renee realized the first time around she had simply made certain assumptions which had ended disastrously. “Not this time,” she determined, “both Mom and I will know going into this situation exactly what we want and expect of each other.”

The three aspects of care giving

Emotional Consideration:

 Realize the parent you once knew and loved might

be gone forever; be willing to grieve the loss of that relationship even while a parent is still alive.  Be prepared to take control of important decision-making regarding all aspects of care even when met with some resistance by the person in need.  Make peace with the fact that not all extended family members will step up to assist in the way you might want or expect.

Spiritual Considerations:  Before you enter into a care-giving situation, enlist the support of friends and family who will commit to pray for you and those under your care.


 Learn how to share your faith and life perspectives without receiving the appropriate responses back from the person you are caring for.

 Be ready to journey along with your patient as they face their mortality and be prepared to listen and respond to their concerns.

Physical Considerations:

 Take good personal care of yourself as the primary caregiver by eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising daily.

 Make use of professional care-giving agencies that can offer practical assistance with hygiene, dressing, and meal support.

 Understand your personal limits before you reach them by scheduling away time regularly to recharge yourself mentally and physically.

Michele Howe is the happily bleary-eyed book reviewer for Publishers Weekly, and Aspiring Retail and the author of nine books for women. Michele’s newest, Still Going It Alone: Mothering with Faith and Finesse When the Children Have Grown, is published by Hendrickson Publishers. After three shoulder surgeries (and a fourth in the works), Michele saw the need for a women’s inspirational health-related book, so she co-authored one with orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Christopher A. Foetisch: Doing Body (and Soul) Good: Women Handling Life’s Weightier Matters with Strength (also by Hendrickson).

Care-giving from a Physician’s Perspective Dr. Christopher A. Foetisch, orthopedic surgeon, Toledo, OH, offers the following observations from a clinician’s standpoint.  Providing care for a sick individual almost always requires more time and resources than most people realize.  Realize that the level of care can quickly change from minor to constant 24/7-hour care.  Caregivers need to ask themselves if they are “mentally tough enough” to help with bathing, bathroom, medications, and possibly dressing changes or tubes and IV lines.  Before an individual becomes overwhelmed, decide ahead of time when the need for another arrangement will be required, such as transfer to a nursing home or hospice facility.  Plan for unexpected expenses to arise from a variety of sources.  When caregivers begin feeling frustrated, anxious, or depressed, note these as warning signs that the situation must be promptly addressed and responsibilities reduced. N  o one individual should assume the caregiver role without some form of backup, even for a short period of time.

Shine the Light Contest Winner By Katrina Schaffner

When I think of someone who truly shines the light of Jesus and is a wonderful example to others, I think of my mother, Lynn Chambliss. A local librarian for 26 years, she has been referred to as the “welcome wagon of Battle Mountain.” In just a short conversation, she will have invited a total stranger to church with her and made them feel welcome in their new community. Mom has done a number of jobs in the church over the past 30 years, from Sunday school teacher, to treasurer, to organist. There was never a day when I was growing up that mom wavered in her faith. Things have not always been easy for her. When my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease 17 years ago, Mom became a caregiver in ways she never dreamed. She faced each day with great strength and faith. She has shown everyone around her that leaning on God and His strength is the only thing that can get you through such trying times.

Along with taking care of my dad, Mom also became a caregiver of my 82-year-old grandparents. She has had a stress load that is almost too much for one person to bear. Our local physician recently described my sweet mother as an angel with skin on. I believe that statement speaks volumes about the way others see her. Things recently changed for Mom. My grandmother went into long-term care in March, Dad went in May. Mom still cares for my grandpa. She spends countless hours each day at the hospital with Dad and Grandma. Many times she sits at the piano and plays for the residents. The hymns comfort them, and they love listening to her music. For more than 30 of their 43 years of marriage, Mom and Dad made up the music team at our church. In my quiet time, I can still hear Dad’s voice and Mom’s notes making beautiful music. After Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I found a wall hanging that truly exemplifies who my mom is. It says, “A true friend knows the song in your heart, and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.” That is the beautiful person that my mom is. My dad tells her all the time, “You just amaze me!” She amazes me, too! I hope I have given you just a glimpse of the great person and example that my mom is. I thank God that Mom lets her light shine for everyone to see. She makes me so proud, and I love her! WOMEN OF FAITH

May/June 2009

~ 17

A Conversation with

Sandi Patty Anna Trent

WOF: You’re both on stage at our Friday Feature this year. What’s that like for you?

SANDI: I have to tell you it doesn’t matter how long somebody has been in a profession—and I’ve been in my profession a long time—whenever your children are involved you are no longer a professional, you are a mother. Watching Anna up there I’m thinking, “Where did that little girl go who used to recite Cinderella by heart…who used to walk on stage with those big ol’ dresses with the little jingle bell under the hem?” For me it was just such a sweet thing to look at this woman and go, “She’s not just my daughter, she’s my friend.” ANNA: Before this year, I’ve been a behind-the-scenes person, and it’s been so fun to be involved. It’s scary to do something that makes you step out of your element. Being on the stage…I kind of feel like the little girl who’s playing with her big sisters for the first time. But the greatest thing about it was when I stepped up there, I knew my mom was there so if anything went wrong, she had my back. That’s the greatest thing. To feel the support of people you’re working with on stage; that’s great. To have your mom there—it really doesn’t get much better than that.

WOF: Sandi, is it difficult to separate the mother/daughter relationship from the professional one? Or do you even try? SANDI: Anna and I have actually talked about that because the most important relationship for us is the mother/daughter. Anna is just a wonderful business person and assistant. She’s always kind of filled that role in the family so it just seemed natural for her to start working with Mike Atkins, who’s my manager, and handle me as one of her artists. But we talked early on and said, “Let’s just make a commitment to each other that if this ever interferes and takes precedent or starts to complicate the mother/daughter relationship, then we won’t work together anymore. Then we’re done.” Because that’s what’s most important.

WOF: Anna, here’s the question you probably get all the time: What’s it like to be Sandi Patty’s daughter? ANNA: I’ve gotten that question forever; probably since before I could even talk. My mom is my mom. Sandi Patty, the artist, happens to be her job. It’s difficult to answer that question because I’ve never had another mom, and I don’t want another mom. What is it like to have Sandi Patty as my mom? It’s awesome!

WOF: We often see moms and daughters at Women of Faith event.

Is there something the two of you particularly enjoy doing together? Sandi: Our whole family loves Women of Faith; I can’t stress that enough. Anna: It’s a family obsession.

SANDI: A  ll the men in my family have a crush on Luci. Anna’s husband has a crush on Marilyn. We do love Women of Faith. The other thing Anna and I are crazy nuts about is NFL football. 18 ~ CONNECTION MAGAZINE

ANNA: That’s the truth. SANDI: When our Indiana Colts were in the playoffs, we would have to wear the same thing that we wore the last time they won. When it gets really tight, she and I both do the same thing: we close our eyes, look down, and don’t watch the play. I am such an NFL-crazy fan that I stopped singing for my favorite team because every time I’ve sung the National Anthem they’d lose.

WOF: Have you offered your services to their biggest rivals? SANDI: That’s a good idea! New England Patriots, I’d LOVE to sing for you. ANNA: Here’s the thing about our obsession with football; it’s not just that we follow along to appease our husbands. We’re bigger fans than our husbands. We love screaming at the television and yelling at the referees and coaching from the sidelines—all of that.

WOF: Sandi, you and Don (plus some of the younger family members) recently moved to Oklahoma from your long-time home in Indiana. How has that been? SANDI: You know, it’s been an interesting journey. We’ve been very blessed to have stayed in the same town ever since Anna was born. So to uproot after all those years (because this amazing opportunity came along for Don and I can really work from anywhere) has been more of an adjustment than I anticipated for the kids who left home to get married or go to college. I didn’t realize the kids counted on us being there as much as they apparently did. But the Oklahoma side of it—Don loves his job and I was born in Oklahoma so I have family and friends here. Mollie and Sam are taking one step at a time.

WOF: Anna, how would you like to answer that? ANNA: One thing about our family is we’ve gone through a lot of varied experiences that are difficult for a lot of people to relate to. Not only are we a blended family, we were blended in the spotlight. It bonded us in very unique ways. There are no stepbrothers or stepsisters, just brothers and sisters. It’s natural to take steps away from the home, but because we’re such a large group and we’ve been so fortunate to be in proximity it takes time to adjust. But I’ll tell you one thing; we’ve been through far more challenging things than a move across the country. Our bonds don’t stop because of the state line; they’re endless.

WOF: Other than your deep and abiding love for the NFL, what personality traits or habits do the two of you share?

SANDI: Oh, right. And we pray together.

WOF: Sandi, what should we ask Anna? SANDI: I would like to know what she considers her greatest gift. ANNA: My first greatest gift is being a wife. I love being a wife to my husband; that’s the greatest gift of my life. I love helping people. As the oldest in a family of lots and lots and lots of personalities I have a typical first-born kind of a thing, but it comes out of a genuine love to help people. That’s my desire and God has allowed me to apply that to different things, whether it’s helping out behind the scenes at Women of Faith or even my upcoming work with Revolve in late 2009.

WOF: Anna, what should we ask Sandi? ANNA: You’ve been a parent for almost 25 years; what do you hope your kids will teach their kids. SANDI: That’s a great question. You hope as a parent you do things just a little better than your parents. I joke—I’ve told Marilyn Meberg this before—and say, “My goal for my kids is that they’ll have less counseling than I did.” What I hope for my children when they have children is that they’ll do a better job of inviting their children to really communicate and offer them a listening ear without so much of their own personal wounds in the way.

WOF: Any last words? SANDI: I love when families come through the line and there might be a woman who’s my age who’ll say, “This is my mother and this is my daughter.” Women of Faith has become very generational and what a great legacy to pass down from generation to generation. A legacy of God’s grace, a legacy of God’s unconditional love—could there be anything better that we could pass from generation to generation? ANNA: I’ve been with my mother-in-law, my mother, my sisters-in-law, my grandmother, and my sisters all at the same conference. When we sit in that arena we’re all women. I’ve been at Women of Faith and realized something maybe about my mom that I would have never realized before, or my relationship with my grandma, because I think of them more as women instead of just my mom. That’s one of the things I really appreciate about Women of Faith.

ANNA: We have a very . . . SANDI: I’m doing it right now! ANNA: . . . very disgusting habit. We chew the inside of our lip. It’s not even lip so much anymore; it’s kind of our whole inside of our mouth. SANDI: The whole cheek’s involved. ANNA: It’s a nervous, all-consuming emotional habit. SANDI: Somebody told me one time we were sitting together at Women of Faith and they looked over and we were both doing it exactly together. Our right hand goes to the corner of our bottom lip… ANNA: Yep. And we just gently urge it along to come closer to our teeth and we just kind of hang out. SANDI: And usually our legs shake at the same time. We may be quiet on the outside but there’s a lot going on on the inside. ANNA: We’re really coming across as very wonderful, spiritual people. WOMEN OF FAITH

May/June 2009

~ 19


Dear, Mom… Yes, I’m Wearing Your Shoes By Lisa Whittle No mother should ever have to find out her daughter is kissing boys the way my sweet mother found out about me. It was the morning after a car ride home with my brother’s best friend—a sophomore and already driving. He had a cool red Firebird. I was in the 8th grade and he was my first official boyfriend. I was readying myself for school when I heard the doorbell ring and a familiar voice coming from the foyer. “Hi, Mrs. Reimer,” the voice said. “Here’s Lisa’s retainer. She left it in my car last night and I thought she might need it.” As my mother graciously received the saliva-caked, metal apparatus wrapped carelessly in a McDonald’s napkin, I silently wished for the super power to make myself invisible… or at least, morph into the powder blue seagull wallpaper on my bathroom wall (which, by the way, was horrible). Very soon I heard my mother’s footsteps approaching my bathroom door. “Here’s your retainer, honey. Brian brought it back to you from the ride home last night.” I cracked open the door to see my mother grinning awkwardly at me. It was a knowing smile, though not a condescending one. No words were exchanged, or needed. We both knew I was busted. Completely. It was the first of many times my mother would extend grace to me in my teenage years. A little bit a rebel, a whole lot determined, and ever-sohormonal, I would go on to dye my hair colors I shouldn’t, date jerky boys for no good reason, and basically think I knew better about everything in the universe than my very wise, much more experienced mother. I don’t know how she did it, but most of the time she didn’t try to tell me any different. She simply gave that awkward grin, held her tongue, and heaped on an extra serving of grace. As the years went by, grace would become a central theme of our relationship. It was something both of us became quite familiar with and I came to rely on. After failed relationships (and did I mention hair colors?), dinner table flare-ups, and some normal teenage angst, our relationship seemed to be an endless pattern of me messing up, me needing grace, and mom graciously providing it. Though I eagerly embraced my mom’s grace, it took me a few more years to realize my mom needed something back from me, and even more years than that to actually provide it. Being a young woman with my own set of strong opin-


ions, I spent much of my time silently judging my mom’s past actions and life experiences and thinking about what I might have done different or how I would have reacted better had I been in her shoes. The problem is, I never tried them on. At least not until I, myself, became a mother. It was then that I became better acquainted with a term I knew but didn’t exercise regularly. It was the term…understanding. I remember one particular instance where I questioned my mother about the way she handled something in a way I firmly disagreed with. With such polar opposite personalities, the decision she made on the surface didn’t make any sense to me, and in my heart, I judged her for it. It wasn’t until the day she sat down and explained to me why she did what she did that the tunnel I was viewing it from opened up and I was able to see it from her perspective. Up until then, I didn’t. Suddenly, I understood. It was a Freaky Friday moment of sorts that happened for me without us having to actually switch places or take on each other’s identities for a day. (Big relief, since I can’t fit into her jeans … darn it.) So let’s be honest. The mother-daughter relationship can be a most complex one. Whether or not we are ourselves a mom is actually irrelevant, as we are all on some level involved in a mother-daughter relationship of our own. The truth is that even a strained motherdaughter relationship still has its roots in a woman’s heart, no matter how divided or distanced it is. And what I’ve found through the years is that my healthy-but-complicated relationship with my mother is not very much different than the other women I know. Every motherdaughter relationship is, at some point, complicated. It’s probably even difficult. It may even seem, at times, impossible. Why? Because we are women, and women are often complicated, can be difficult, and are sometimes even impossible. Now before you start yelling at your magazine and telling me I am no longer allowed access into the girlfriend club, please know this…I’m a big fan of us women. Huge fan. I could, in fact, be the President of the I LOVE WOMEN fan club. We are a cool bunch of people, and I spend my life and time pouring into women through my ministry of writing and speaking. But I wouldn’t be real with you if I didn’t tell you what you already know. We are a complicated bunch who often need lots of grace in our relationships. Grace … and … oh yeah, that understanding thing, too. Grace … for the mess-ups. Understanding … for the decisions that were made that may or may not have worked well. Grace … for the times our mouth ran away from us when we should have kept it shut. Understanding … for the reasons behind why we lashed out of anger or fear. Grace … for the ways we bombed out with love. Understanding … for all the places we went to find it. Grace … for when we pushed the other away. Understanding … for the fact that we really didn’t mean it and really wished they would come closer. Grace… for the twists and turns in our journey. Understanding … for the route we took to get there, even if the other may have chosen a different path. Grace and understanding. We need both of them, dear girlfriends. And so do the mothers and daughters God has put into our lives. If you have or once had a beautiful, healthy relationship with your mother or daughter, celebrate that and cherish it (or the memories of it) with everything you have. If you don’t, take heart in knowing that it doesn’t

have to define who you are as a person, even though it is one of the most significant relationships in your life. If you are about to shut the door on that relationship by giving up on it completely, try a little grace. And remember that in order to be able to receive understanding from that significant female in your life, you have to first be willing to open up your heart with understanding, embrace real and honest communication, and let love cover your differences. The truth is, life is a journey for all of us, and journeys are not always smooth and safe. Decisions are made, and sometimes they aren’t good ones. More than likely, we’ll love someone who doesn’t deserve it and reject someone who does. Many times, that includes the mother-daughter relationship. We can live without the approval of others. But we can’t live without a certain measure of their grace. Kinda reminds me of that other most significant relationship—the one whereby we receive the most grace. Our gracious God gives us the best example of how to love and accept someone while not endorsing all her choices. I Peter 4:8 speaks right to my heart when it says, simply … “Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything…” (MSG). Because I know how desperately I need His grace in order to be able to give it away, I always gravitate toward Scripture that lets me know it’s possible. Knowing that God, above all others, knows me intimately and knows my mistakes just as well, but gives me love, grace, and understanding, anyway, reminds me that I have the ability to extend those same things to my mother … even without walking in her same shoes. Oh, about the shoe thing. Ironically, it is something I used to love to do when I was a little girl—wear my mom’s shoes. It’s coming full circle for me, as my daughter now loves to wear mine. She raids my closet and discards the rejects until she finds just the right pair. She usually picks the red ones, since they have the highest heel. Those are the ones I don’t really care for. I think our differences are already beginning to show. Moms … daughter … girlfriends ... let’s remember that we don’t have to wear the same life experiences to offer love to each other. We don’t have to be the same personality, have the same tastes, manage life the same way, or be motivated by the same kinds of relationships. We don’t have to know all the “whys” behind the “whats” on our journey to stretch out our arms in acceptance to the other. We just have to have some understanding … a little bit of kindness … and a whole lot of grace. You know, the kind of grace that gets you past the fact that your daughter is now kissing boys. Remind me of this when mine gets a little older and walks out my front door in those red pumps.

Living proof that grace works, Lisa Whittle and her mother, Kathie Reimer, moved past the perils of their different personalities and Lisa’s youthful shortcomings and went on to co-author a book together, The 7 Hardest Things God Asks a Woman to Do. Lisa still kisses boys, but now they are her husband, Scotty, and two sons, Graham and Micah. Her daughter, Shae, still wears her red pumps. And until one of them hits puberty (which is rapidly approaching), life in Charlotte, North Carolina, is beautiful.


May/June 2009

~ 21

When she started driving herself to high school she would ask if we were going to have Tea at home or go out. The location did not matter, just the fact that we had this time together. When she went away to college, I sent her with tea cups, tea and packaged shortbread cookies so we could have “Tea over the Phone.” We did not talk every day at Tea Time, but she did offer her dorm mates Tea, and when they need some TLC, they go to her. I truly believe having Tea Time helped me to mentor my daughter in so many areas. I told her about “that wonderful thing that will happen to you,” abstinence, staying focused in school, and of course, there were those spontaneous questions about God and His Word. She has already told me she hopes to have Tea Time with her children when she has a family. I encourage moms to stop and have a Tea Party with your daughter—it can blossom into a great relationship.

By Debra Null

About ten years ago, I started telling friends about Tea Time and that my door was always open. I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten that last-minute phone call or knock on the door. “You said I could come by anytime.” If anyone is looking for a ministry to neighbors, put on the kettle. If you boil it, they will come.

I started having Tea with my daughter in first grade. At first it was only a few times a month because I drove her to school every day. When she started walking home from middle school, it became a daily ritual. We would sit down every day between 3 and 4 p.m.

Debra Null is a 53-year-old empty nester and proud mom of a college sophomore. She’s a professional provider of childcare and home organization services. Married for 22 years, Debra and her husband teach Christians how to celebrate Passover in their homes. She also hosts a women’s Bible study and is privileged to be a mentor.


May/June 2009

~ 23

Good Reads How could she love that boy so much and still feel such anger against him? Seeing Robert’s natural ability in the way he managed the heavy rig, she felt a familiar touch of envy. There wasn’t a rig he couldn’t handle, or build, for that matter. No matter the size. Saddlery equipment and supplies they’d brought from home weighed down the wagon bed—tools of their father’s trade she hadn’t been able to part with. No matter how destitute their father’s untimely passing had left them. In so many ways…

By Tamera Alexander Copper Creek, Colorado, Rocky Mountains Tuesday, June 5, 1877 McKenna Atchison climbed down from the wagon and surveyed the not-so-quaint-looking community of Copper Creek. The mountain town was rougher than she’d envisioned from her cousin Janie’s descriptions in her letters. More rustic with its clapboard buildings, some slightly leaning and arthritic in appearance, their cracked paned windows staring out like empty bloodshot eyes on unsuspecting passersby. With the sun beating down overhead, McKenna held firm to the belief that she’d made the right decision in coming west—as if her younger brother’s behavior back in Missouri had given her a choice. Staring up at Robert seated on the wagon bench, she read familiar disdain in his smirk. “All I’m asking, Robert, is that you take the wagon and go on to Vince and Janie’s so they’ll know we’ve arrived.” She worked to keep the frustration from her tone, and failed. “It’s only a half mile or so from town.” She gestured to the envelope on the bench seat beside him. “The directions are in her letter. I’ll meet you there shortly.” Robert didn’t move. “I don’t see why I can’t go on with you to the livery.” He gave the letter a cursory glance. “I’ve never even met these people.” “Yes, you have. I’ve told you—” She caught herself, realizing it was no use, considering the stubborn set of his jaw. “You don’t remember them because you were too young. But they’ll remember you.” In appearance, her brother was almost a man, even though he was only fourteen, nine years her junior. “Though they won’t recognize you, that’s for certain. Now please …” She exhaled. “Just do as I’ve asked… I’ll work out the details with the livery owner and join you shortly.” Using more force than necessary, Robert released the brake on the wagon. “You’re probably right, sis. It’s best you go instead of me. We both know you’re the one he’s hired anyway. Whether he knows it yet or not.” He gave the reins a hard whip. The wagon jolted forward and McKenna jumped back, the wheel narrowly missing her boot. Her patience threadbare, she watched him go. 24 ~ CONNECTION MAGAZINE

Wagons cluttered the main thoroughfare but Robert maneuvered his way around them without a hitch. McKenna held her breath as he cut close corners on two freighters—twice. Intentionally, no doubt, judging by the smart tip of his hat to the drivers as he passed. Each driver threw him a dark look and both were large enough to break Robert in two. Not an easy task with her brother’s broad build. Her eyes narrowed, part of her praying Robert wouldn’t do anything to further provoke the men, while the rest of her wondered if a good thrashing might do him some good. Her own hand at disciplining him had never been a strong one, but then again she hadn’t sought the role of mother that God had thrust upon her at such a young age. Please don’t let him do here what he did back home. This move was their chance to start over again, and they wouldn’t get another one. She couldn’t afford for this attempt at a fresh beginning to fail. A surprisingly cool breeze swept down from the mountains and granted reprieve from the heat. The air here—she took a deep breath and her lungs tingled with the cool—tasted like God had breathed it fresh from heaven’s storehouse that very morning. Structures made of hand hewn pine dotted the main road, closely spaced, as though still huddled together from the harsh winter Janie had given account of in a previous missive. And yet, already, McKenna had a liking for this place, preferring it to the bigger city feel of Saint Joseph that she and Robert had left behind. She arched her back and stretched the taut muscles in her shoulders and neck, weary from the two-week journey west and from today’s travel from Denver. Lengthy hours spent alone with Robert in the wagon had been made more so by his sullen sighs. Wordless, he’d guided the rig over steep mountain passes still patchy with snow, each flagging mile bearing some mark of his repeated desire not to be here. Pushing those thoughts aside, she grasped her skirt with one hand and made for the boardwalk, avoiding numerous deposits left from animals that had passed that way earlier. People occupying the planked walkway and those milling inside the entry to the mercantile nodded when their eyes met hers. She returned their smiles when offered. Perhaps she truly could start over in this place. Where no one knew about their past, about what had happened. Seeing a kindly looking man standing nearby, she approached him and inquired about directions to the livery. “Which one, ma’am? We got us three.”

Three? She hoped Janie’s advice about which livery to contact had been sound. She needed the livery that would provide the most business for her and Robert. After the cost of traveling here, their funds were nearly depleted. “I’m referring to the livery owned by a Mr. Casey Trenton.” He pointed. “Trenton’s place is on the other side of town, toward the mining camps.” The man—short of stature but with a wealth of girth about his waist to compensate—pursed his lips and eyed her up and down with improper leisure. “You just get off the stage, miss?” McKenna caught the hint of onions on his breath, and something untoward in his manner. “Thank you for your assistance.” She moved past him down the uneven walkway, ignoring his repeated attempt to pursue the conversation. She headed in the direction he’d indicated, discreetly glancing behind her to make sure he wasn’t following. He was, but only with his eyes. She took the nearest side street. For all their boast and swagger, men were an easily read gender consisting of too few chapters and all too common a subject. It felt good to walk and she was eager to get her business conducted with Mr. Trenton, the livery owner, and find her way out to Vince and Janie’s before sunset. Which might be sooner than she expected with Copper Creek being nestled so close between the mountains. A supply depot to nearby mining towns is what Janie had called Copper Creek, which McKenna hoped boded well for the use of her and Robert’s talents. It would be good to see Janie again after all these years, Vince too. Janie was a cousin by blood, but a sister in heart. The sister McKenna had always wanted. Janie could well have had their second baby by now. She was due any day. The last letter McKenna had received had been dated two months ago, but spring was a busy time on a new ranch, not to mention when one had a five year old running underfoot. How well she remembered Robert at that age. “Good afternoon, ma’am.” A young woman smiled as she passed on the boardwalk, a little boy situated on one hip and a slightly older one holding on to her skirt, trailing behind. “Good day.” McKenna grinned seeing the little boy’s short legs pumping to keep up, his smile saying he was enjoying the challenge. Robert had beamed that very same way as a toddler, clutching her skirt as they headed to the mercantile together. As the memories rose, her smile waned. All that seemed like another lifetime now. She lifted her gaze to where the sun crept steadily toward the snowcapped peaks, lustering the mountains a burnished gold. A deepening certainty settled inside her about Copper Creek, and about her decision to move west. She’d prayed long and hard about it, spending many sleepless nights until finally…she’d felt a nudge inside. Or she’d thought she felt it. Some days, admittedly, she wondered if she’d only been grasping at the last proverbial straw. Either way, they were here.

She peered into shop windows as she passed—a women’s clothier and a cobbler’s shop, and a bakery where the door stood propped open. The aroma of freshly baked bread and something else sweet drifted through the portal and caused her pace to slow. Cooking was a talent she possessed in fair amount but baking was not. As a young boy, Robert had let her know with no uncertainty that her leftover biscuits made excellent fodder for his sling shot. And he’d been right. But a woman couldn’t be good at everything. Best to learn early on what your strengths were and make the most of them. She’d been forced to learn hers early enough, her weaknesses too, which were plenty. She reached the end of the boardwalk and stepped down to the street. Some people might say she’d been forced to learn them at too young an age. . . Tamera Alexander is the best-selling author of Rekindled, Revealed, Remembered, and From a Distance. Tamera’s deeply drawn characters and thought-provoking plots have earned her devoted readers and multiple awards. She and her family make their home in Nashville, Tennessee. WOMEN OF FAITH

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She’s the Mother,

She’s the Mother, I’m the Daughter By Laura MacCorkle

Paula Wissler (mother) and Laura MacCorkle (daughter)

I’m the Daughter 26 ~ CONNECTION MAGAZINE

By Laura MacCorkle

“Are you sisters?” If I had a nickel for how many times I have been asked this question over the years, well … let’s just say I’d be well on my way to a new pair of strappy Jimmy Choos. “She’s the mother … I’m the daughter” is my usual response, along with the requisite finger-pointing to indicate who is who—you know, just to make sure everyone understands that there is a difference. My mother is in her sixties, yet could pass for at least ten years younger. And so, I figure if I continue to make smart lifestyle choices, then I will be able to carry on this family tradition of keeping it young looking. And keeping it real (God willing, no Botox or plastic surgery!). In essence, maybe my mom and I are more like sisters now, because we’ve finally reached the stage where we are friends. But how did we get here so quickly? When did the parent and child become equals? And what does this mean now for our relationship? It feels like just yesterday I was wearing diapers. I can still remember throwing a tantrum in a restaurant once (okay, more than once). My mom scooped me up, hauled me outside to the parking lot and whap! In that moment, I learned that there were consequences for disobeying. A few years later, she caught me eating a chocolate bar in the grocery store. I remember kneeling next to the candy rack and chowing down. But when Mom discovered my indiscretion, she marched me directly to the nearest cashier and made me pay for my premature snacking. Through tears and shame, I learned that it was not right to take something without paying for it. In my grade school years, I was beginning to come into my own. I enjoyed socializing, being funny and always wanting to know why. Taken to the extreme, this meant that I had a knack for talking back. On one occasion, I told my mother to “shut up.” Uh oh! In our household, that was akin to selling your soul to the devil and meant getting your mouth washed out with soap. So off to the bathroom we marched. In went the bar of Ivory, and my tongue has never been cleaner since. As I hit puberty, it was time for “the talk.” I remember my mom listening with me to the Focus on the Family “Preparing for Adolescence” audiotape series. While being enlightened

with too much information (TMI!), I remembered thinking, “Ewww! That’s what sex is all about? I’m never doing that!” But I learned that physical intimacy was a gift from God to a man and a woman within the context of marriage. Not too long ago, I went through a hard breakup. Everyone thought that I had finally found “the one” and would shortly be headed to the altar. But it didn’t last, and I was quickly dumped with nary a warning. My mom listened to my cries, comforted me through my loss and prayed for my broken heart’s recovery. Today, as mid-life is staring me in the face, I realize that even as a parent my mother has always been a friend who has loved me “at all times” (Prov. 17:17). And now, I have the opportunity to pour into her life as she has done for me for all of these years. Her life is in transition. Retirement is nearing and different circumstances are stirring up the winds of change that would easily make any of us choke on the dust. But how strangely wonderful that the tables have turned and I am now helping my mom! We’re processing this new chapter in her life together. While I’m not sure how much longer we will still look like sisters, I do know this: She is still the mother. I am still the daughter. And now, we are—and always will be—friends. 3 Ways to Enhance Your Mother-Daughter Relationship: 1. Make time in your schedules for each other. If you don’t make it a priority, the month will have gone by and you won’t have spent any time together. Discuss how often you’d like to meet; be realistic about what will work. If you live far away, take a look at your budget and determine how often you can travel to see one another. 2. Find an activity you both enjoy and do it together. You may be as different as night and day, but there are probably a few common areas of interest. Try new restaurants and explore different cuisines. If you like music, go to periodic concerts together. You could also add regular mother-daughter walks into your fitness schedules. If you live in different cities, you could begin a mini book club and discuss what you’re reading on the phone. 3. S  hare from your hearts and listen. Moms have a lot of life experience and wisdom to share. Daughters can keep their moms “up to date” and offer them emotional support as they age. Stop talking so much and open your ears to what is being said. Be sensitive to what the other needs and how you can minister more effectively to one another. Laura MacCorkle is’s Senior Entertainment Editor. Born in “The Lone Star State” and raised by Yankee parents, she enjoys reading just about any periodical, singing alto in a civic chorus, winning Scrabble games and “having conversations” with her two Tonkinese cats. Visit Laura’s blog at


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Wrap It Up


Thoughts About

Mothers & Daughters

1. “Mother” is a profoundly significant person in any human being’s life. 2. Daughters deserve to be celebrated.

3. Motherly love doesn’t always come from our mothers. 4. Mothers (even the ones in the Bible!) are not perfect. 5. Many of us will end up ‘mothering’ our mothers.

6. Every mother-daughter relationship is, at some point, complicated. 7. We all leave a legacy of some kind.


May/June 2009

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Women of Faith Online Inspiration

Bible studies, devotions, seasonal series, and more—and it’s all completely FREE! We recently rolled our Bi-weekly Bible Studies and Weekly Encouragement into one inspirational option. As a rule you’ll receive a Bible study one week and an encouraging devotional the next. Occasionally we break that routine for special short-term series (for Lent or Advent, for example). Every week brings fresh inspiration direct to your email box. Do you receive Weekly Inspiration? You can sign up today at


These are so much fun! First, there’s the money-saving aspect: every day we slash the price on one great item from our online store. One day, one deal. You snooze, you lose…but another deal comes along the next day so there’s always something new to see. Second, there are the stories that come with each Deal of the Day email. Some funny, some serious, some educational, some goofy—all short, quick reads. We really enjoy them and hope you will, too. Glance at each one, if you like what you see order the product du jour (Quick! Before the deal expires.); if not, one click and it’s deleted. No purchase required. See what you’ve been missing—sign up for Deal of the Day emails at

Member Benefit Bulletin Preferred Seats Our 2009 season is in full swing—have you registered for your seats in the special Association section yet? Remember, Preferred Seating is one of your benefits, BUT it doesn’t last forever. Space is limited, and there’s a deadline to register. (After the deadline we release those seats to non-members.) So don’t wait! Check for your event city’s deadline. Upcoming Association Seating Deadlines San Jose, CA May 15, 2009 Cleveland, OH May 22, 2009 Seattle, WA May 29, 2009 Washington, DC Association Seats SOLD OUT Indianapolis, IN June 12, 2009 Tampa, FL June 19, 2009 Dallas, TX Association Seats SOLD OUT

DID YOU WIN? If you’re one of the following, you did!

Mary Ann Jurek Donna Snyder Stephanie Utter

Member Reception Speaking of benefits, you’ll want to RSVP for the Members-Only Reception in your event city. There’s no need to wait; you can RSVP as soon as you’ve registered for A Grand New Day. In fact, if you register by phone, you can RSVP at the same time! Otherwise, go to the Association page at and RSVP there. (Your email address is your password.) A Grand New Day registration is required, and there is a deadline to RSVP. Upcoming Member Reception Deadlines Spokane, WA May 11, 2009 Rochester, NY May 18, 2009 Hartford, CT May 26, 2009 Jacksonville, FL June 1, 2009 St. Louis, MO June 8, 2009 San Jose, CA June 22, 2009 Cleveland, OH June 29, 2009 Seattle, WA July 6, 2009

Saint James City, FL Spring Grove, PA Geneva, NY

Each will receive Songs of Deliverance, the companion CD to Beth Moore’s inspiring book Get Out Of That Pit. The CD features Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, CeCe Winans , Travis Cottrell and more singing their own stories of deliverance that echo the themes of the book. If you’re not Mary Ann, Donna, or Stephanie, don’t despair. We choose new winners at random for each issue of Connection. Maybe your name will be in our next issue! Chance of winning Free Product Giveaway is dependent upon the number of active Association Members at time of drawing. Winners are chosen at random from the Member database. Winners agree to the use of their names in Women of Faith promotions. Women of Faith employees and their families are not eligible. Prizes are nontransferable; no cash substitution. Subject to all federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Taxes are the sole responsibility of the winners. Void where prohibited by law.


You made my whole being; you formed me in my mother’s body. Psalm 139:13


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10 Reasons to Go To the 2009 Friday Feature 1 Steve Arterburn, Marilyn Meberg, and Sandi Patty 2 With our new 2-day format, it’s INCLUDED in your registration! 3 Music from Sandi Patty and the Women of Faith Worship Team 4 Stories you’ll repeat to your friends later 5 Insights into real-life issues 6 Practical teaching you can put to use 7 Q&A session with Marilyn, Sandi & Steve 8 It’s the only time Sandi Patty is scheduled to be at the event 9 Prepares your heart for the rest of the weekend 10 If you don’t go, you’ll always wonder what you missed! In some cities, you’ll see Marilyn Meberg, Sandi Patty, and Henry Cloud--also an excellent combination!

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