The Gift I Never Got


Mother’s Day rolls around each year a month after my birthday. And for the past twelve years I’ve watched my husband and children scramble around to present me with the perfect gift that says, “We appreciate all you do.”

They’ve come up with some great ones over the years. With a creative and thoughtful husband, I’ve been lavished with jewelry and flowers but also one-of-a-kind presents. There was the year he dressed them up and took pictures of them holding the signs to say, “I love U” and the year he gave them each a canvas to paint along with the letters to spell out M-O-M.


As Mother’s Day approached this year, I thought about the many mothers I’ve had over the years that have poured into my life. The one who learned everything she could about diabetes and bought all the foods I liked so I could spend the night at her house with her daughter. The one who taught me in Sunday School and helped me learn the books of the Bible. The mother who put up with my smart mouth as a teenager in church Acteens and loved me anyway.

The mother who bought me a teddy bear the first Halloween I was diagnosed with diabetes just to make not trick-or-treating a little better. The mother who listened while I shared my broken heart over my latest break-up. And that doesn’t even include my own mother who poured into my life daily.

So this Mother’s Day, I decided I really wanted to invest in another mother. I wanted my gifts from my family to go to a mother who really needed a break.

So, this past Sunday my sweet family presented me with my most memorable gifts to date. They gave me mosquito bed nets for a family of four, $350 worth of medical supplies and a custom wheelchair – well actually they gave them to another mother in my name. I get teary every time I think about it. I want my life to make a difference. And this gift is helping to do that.


Through World Vision, you can choose a large variety of things to donate to needy families. I browsed through their online catalogue and these things caught my eye. The bed nets will allow a family to lie down and sleep in peace, knowing they are protected. What mom doesn’t need a good night’s sleep?

The medicine, which only cost $35, is actually $350 worth of life saving drugs – antibiotics, pain killers, surgical supplies, anti-parasitic drugs, deworming medications and more. My own children have been sick a lot lately, so I can’t imagine not having the medicines to give them.

Then there is my favorite: the wheelchair. Many kids in third-world countries cannot walk due to polio, landmines and poor medical care. If they can’t walk, they can’t go to school. If they can’t go to school, they won’t be able to get an education that could possibly help them rise out of the poverty in which they live. So, through my family’s donation, a child will have a custom built wheelchair shipped to their home.

Can you imagine your child needing a wheelchair and not being able to provide it? I was telling my mom about the wheelchair gift and she got a little teary. My Papaw, her father, had a wooden leg. He lost his leg to cancer at age sixteen. His family couldn’t afford the prosthetic. They paid for a small part of it, but couldn’t purchase their son a leg. But God sent someone along who made a donation for the rest of the leg so my Papaw could walk again.

I’m almost too teary to even talk about what this gift means to me. So, I’ve decided from here on out, for Mother’s Day, I want my family to give to another mother in honor of me. Do you remember what you got last year for Mother’s Day? I honestly can’t remember. But this, friends, is a Kingdom gift that I’ll never forget – and I bet the recipients won’t either.

It’s funny to think my best present ever was a gift I never got.

Want to honor someone today? Consider buying a gift for someone else in his or her name.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40 NIV


*Photo credits: Flowers –, Wall photo – personal, Wheelchair – World Vision


Set the Captives Free


You know how much I love getting to teach and minister at the prison. I’m always asking the men to tell me their stories. I just love to hear about how God redeemed their lives.

Many times they will give me copies of the papers they’ve written for classes that tell their stories. I always ask for permission to use them in my writing. I want to share what God has done but also want to be respectful of their privacy. They always want me to share. Because in my sharing, it means their lives are being used. Their pain and bad choices aren’t just the tools that put them behind bars but are part of a greater story that God can use to change other lives. That’s powerful.

Today at the Presidential Prayer Team, I tell the story of Maurice. He would love it if you would go read it – and so would I. Click HERE to read his story of redemption.

*Remember the PPT devotion links are only direct for today, May 12. After today, you’ll have to click this date from the drop down menu on the site. 


Where’s Waldo?


When I was a teen, Where’s Waldo books were super popular. I spent hours searching for his red and white striped shirt in the pages of his books. I wonder if you are thinking the same thing about me.

Where’s Carol?

I returned from the Dominican Republic after an incredible trip and disappeared from my website. Let me explain. When we returned, our air conditioner broke, our van died and then our dog (yes, our precious dog Comet) died.

The kids had spring break. I turned 40! We had Easter. Then throw in some chicken pox, two bladder infections and a stomach virus for the kids. Yep. That’s where I’ve been. Just trying to keep my head above the water.

I’m still planning on telling you all about my trip. But it’ll have to wait for another day. School is deliciously close to being out, but that means lots of responsibilities for a mom of three.


In the meantime, enjoy a good Grace story at Just 18 Summers. You won’t believe why I had to threaten to punish my two older kids. Come find out. Click HERE to read my family funny there today. It’s called Kiss Day.

And if you aren’t my Facebook friend, come find me on Facebook. If we don’t know each other already, just let me know you are a reader. I post on there quite often. Also, I can get to know you, too. 🙂