I’ll Be Stressed for Christmas


I have to be honest – sometimes Christmas stresses me out.

Between baking cookies, wrapping gifts, attending parties for school complete with themed snack, attending a party for Sunday school complete with a covered dish, finding the perfect gifts for every family member and dropping off treats for the neighbors sometimes a girl can feel overwhelmed. Are you with me?

Eight years ago, I had a spiritual awakening – a revival of sorts. On a quest to seek God, I found Him waiting for me with a calling on my life. As Christmas neared that year, my excitement grew. I just knew the celebration of my Savior’s birth would be so much sweeter and the Christmas carols would be even more beautiful. I sat back and waited for the good feelings to pour over me – but you know what happened?

I’m at the Internet Cafe today. Join me HERE to read the rest of my devotion.

Are you ready for Christmas? Merry Christmas from my family to yours!



Perfect Present


I love to Christmas shop! I get great joy in finding just the perfect gift for the people on my list.

Join me at The Presidential Prayer Team today where I’m posting about gifts. Click HERE to read my devotion, and those of you who know me personally – see if you can find the hat tip to two special people in my life. 😉



When Every Day is Christmas

ngmRcX4I don’t know his real name, but everyone calls him “Blue.”

I’m kicking myself now thinking of our conversation, wondering why I didn’t ask more questions. It was a Christmas party at the prison for the men in the ministry degree program with the New Orleans seminary. (Read more about the program HERE and HERE and HERE.)  I entered the prison alone carrying a large tray of desserts.

Dr. Dan, their professor, invited me. He was letting them watch a movie and had promised them fried chicken from KFC. I was to bring the dessert. Days before, I agonized over just what to make – store bought wasn’t good enough. These men don’t get home cooked food. Ever. And so I wanted to do something nice.

I ended up with a Praline Pecan cake, some homemade fudge and chocolate drizzled pretzels. In my arms I carried a large tray with goodies, a Tupperware full of pretzels and two copies of the Couch Rebels book I wanted to present to the men and Dr. Dan.

After getting through the main administrative building, I had a long walk through the campus to get to the gym that housed the seminary classes. As I approached the first fence, Dr. Dan walked up as he headed out to get chicken and called to an inmate nearby.

“Hey Blue! Would you help Mrs. Hatcher carry these things to the gym?”

“Yessir! I’d be glad to do it.” And Blue moved quickly to grab my precariously balanced tray and shot me a smile. His brown eyes were kind, and his head was bald and white.

I jumped in to conversation. It’s what I do when I’m there – try to create relationships with this men whose lives I often cannot fathom. I thought he was in the seminary program; his face was familiar. So I carried on like we already had been introduced and knew one another – only we hadn’t.

“Hey!” I flashed a big smile. “Are you ready for Christmas?”

“Yes Ma’am. You know when I was a little boy, I looked forward to Christmas every year. I would look under the tree for those shiny packages with big bows and couldn’t wait to open them. I grew up doing the same thing. Living my life for me.”

He paused to answer a guard who called to him asking for a piece of the fudge on the tray he carried. After telling the guard he’d have to go through me, we walked on and he continued sharing.

“Yeah, I did a lot of living for me. But you see how that ended up.” He motioned to the surrounding fences, prison dorms and barbed wire.

“Then I started getting to know my Creator. I started living for Him. And now, Mrs. Hatcher, everyday is Christmas in my heart. Everyday.” He grinned and nodded.

I stared at the man beside me and could hardly comprehend it all. This man who wakes up each morning at 5 am for “chow” and puts on one of his two state-issued uniforms still believes that everyday is like Christmas.

Oh, that we would all have a heart like that.

An armed guard moved aside for us to enter the gym. Blue walked the tray all the way to the classroom and placed it on the table. He turned to walk out, and I realized he wasn’t a prisoner student at all. He carried cake and fudge he would never get to taste and placed it on a table with homemade biscuits and potato salad he could only dream about . And. Walked. Out.

But he turned before leaving and called to me, “God bless you, Mrs. Hatcher. And Merry Christmas.”

Merry Christmas, Blue – today and every day.

*photo credit


Why Are We Christians


Her question brought me to a halt.

Just the two of us were shoe shopping at the mall – no older brother or younger sister to vie for attention.

“Mom, why are we Christians?”

The look on my face must have spoken first, because she quickly answered the question buzzing in my head – huh?

Join me today at the Internet Cafe. Click HERE to read the rest of my devotion there.


The You Zoo – Great Resource for Parents


Tuesday, I talked about how parenting is like Play-doh. It’s one of the hardest, yet most rewarding jobs we will ever do.

Today, I want to share a resource with you I think you will love. It’s a book called The You Zoo. If you are familiar with the personality profiles, this is similar. It is a children’s personality assessment for kids Pre-K through sixth grade.

There are a lot of personality profiles out there, but this book is based on the work done by Florence Littauer. It was written by two ladies – Jami Kirkbride and Kathryn Robbins, both certified personality trainers and both mothers of five. They have a bunch of other credentials, too, but what you really need to know is the book is GREAT, and they have thought of everything.

photo copy

They created four monkeys, each with personality traits that represent one of the four personalities created by Littauer: Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy and Phlegmatic. You read a paragraph (or Monkey Tale) about the monkeys to your child and have them pick the monkey with which they identify. There are 12 “Monkey Tales” in all, each with an accompanying picture.

I did it with all three of my kids ages 4, 9 (4th grade) and 12 (7th grade). Grace just turned four in September and was a little young. She didn’t quite have the attention needed. But Faith, at 9, was ALL about it. She even wanted to discuss her answers. Colin, who was past the 6th grade cut off, was still interested in doing it and did not want to be left out. Both of the older kids were engaged in discussing which personality was theirs. I was surprised at how they seemed almost proud of the traits of that character – “Yep! I’m just like that!”

Once you complete the assessment, add your scores using the scoring sheet. (There are extra copies of it in the back. These ladies thought of everything!)

There is also a parent observation assessment to make sure what you think about your child and what they think about themselves match. Descriptions of each of the personalities list their strengths, struggles and needs. I love this part. When you understand how your child works, sometimes life is easier. It changes the way you explain things to them, what you use for encouragement and rewards and how you handle discipline.

For example, the Proper Melancholy (my Faith) needs separation from noise and clutter. That’s a little difficult with the 4 and 12 year old around. So, I know it’s important for her to retreat to her room sometimes.

There is also a mini adult personality profile. Once you know you own personality, you can flip to the back of the book and find out the best way for a Playful Sanguine to parent a Powerful Choleric. There are tips and tricks for every possible combination!

Since we know parenting can be messy, squishy and risky, this is a great tool to help you along the way! You can pick up a copy on Amazon if you click HERE. I don’t benefit from your purchase, but I promise you will thank me.