Sharp Paynes

Never a dull moment…

Archive for the tag “brothers and sisters”

Five Minute Friday: Connect

Every Friday we spend five minutes spilling words and we forego editing  and fretting, and just write.  It’s fun, it’s free, and you should click the link above and try it!  Or at least, read what some others write for fun on Fridays.


People are so varied.

All made in One image yet all of us so very, very different.  Even in one family, there are no two personalities alike.  Yes, one has mom’s eyes and one talks spasticly  with their hands like…someone else in the family.  We have similarities, for sure, but all of us process the world differently.

An older saint with years of discipling others once said:

If I’m working with someone and they start to act just like me, I’ve failed.  

Failed because we aren’t out to create “little-me’s”.  Failed, because we are each uniquely made in His image and when Christ is truly formed in us, He is the similarity, the connection, between us all.

I like to think that I have an eclectic set of friends and family, all of us hodge-podged together and working out this sanctification, becoming more like Christ.

It’s ok if we’re different.

What matters is Christ.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
 {Eph 3:20-21 NKJV}

Five Minute Friday: Here

Every Friday we spend five minutes spilling words and we forego editing  and fretting, and just write.  It’s fun, it’s free, and you should click the link above and try it!  Or at least, read what some others write for fun on Fridays.

Now, set your timer, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

2. Link back to Lisa-Jo’s and invite others to join in.

3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..


This tiny spot that you will only see on certain maps, the place with 3 churches and 2 markets, one restaurant and less than 1000 people, it’s our Mayberry.

We tried to leave here.  We looked over the mountain for a place closer to town, somewhere that didn’t require you to pack a lunch and have dinner planned before you went grocery shopping.  We were newlyweds and thought we’d start fresh somewhere else.  Somewhere better.

Turns out there’s no better place to be than right where God has you.

Three churches in this tiny town and in one we were married, in another we dedicated three of our children, and in the third we stretched for more grace, and we do leave here.  From this place here in smalltown, so many of us leave every year to go into so many nations.

And the nations have come here, too.  To our little country church along a windy stretch of highway, they come and share His works at Friday potlucks and Sunday service.  Brothers and sisters from countries who would never let them leave, with gospel good news they could never help but share, they stand in an old general store and worship with us.  All us country folk and this predominantly Caucasian community with a sprinkling of color and culture.

Right.  Here.

From here we launch missionaries.  And here, this weekend, we are missionaries in smalltown who make 150 peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches and biscuits to feed an army,  who camp in tents and stay up late to explain gospel truths to the children of this community.

This weekend the mission field is here in a cow-pasture cleaned up for water games and Living Water.  Won’t you pray, pray, pray that these kids will drink deep and never thirst again?

Five Minute Friday: Enough

 It’s Friday and Lisa-Jo has given this writing prompt:


Every Friday we spend five minutes spilling words and we forego editing  and fretting, and just write.  It’s fun, it’s free, and you should click the link above and try it!  Or at least, read what some others write for fun on Fridays.


It’s crowded and that makes me a little uncomfortable.

People and words and lack of air all combine to choke me a little, but it’s Sunday and I love these people.

She stands to update us all on her life, because she’s a part of us and it’s been so long since she’s been ‘in the valley’.  Her voice is so clear and the words hit me between the eyes.

“When I was a teenager I didn’t want to go with my family to Mexico.  My heart wasn’t in being a missionary.  But I finally submitted to God and decided to be satisfied with wherever He had me.”

Because He is enough.

I worry about doing enough and being enough and did I teach them enough.  Did we pray together enough and do they know Him well enough and will they ‘turn-out’?

We all have to turn out  to find our enough.

Worry turns me in but her words remind me.  He is enough for wherever and whatever and nothing shakes a heart submitted to being satisfied.


The Staged Life

I don’t always give my best.

Sometimes ‘my best’ is too much work and I settle for doing ‘just enough’ or even ‘maybe later’.  I’ll go to bed with that sink-full of dishes and toppling pile of laundry, with no idea what’s for breakfast and with a lovely, crumb-crusted floor.

Once or twice, I’ve even fallen into bed fully clothed and with un-brushed teeth.  Sorry, honey.

I just thought a little confession would be good.

Someone called and told how guilty she felt for going back to bed that morning.  She thought about all the things  I had probably already accomplished that day, and what a loser she was for snuggling back in.
Funny thing is, I often have the same thoughts about her.
So many times in my day I think she could have done this faster or better.  She probably always knows where things are, and how embarrassed I ‘d be if she opened this cupboard or looked in this shower.
And it’s not just one person, it’s every other woman out there.
I am forever comparing myself.  But I always seem to compare my worst  with their best.  
If only I could take the best of everyone and combine them into one, like some Suzy Homemaker on steroids.

As though someone really does have it all  together, all the time.

You know that those pictures are staged, right?
We take pictures because we want to remember that one time, we did make a beautiful meal for our family and everyone liked it.  Or we want to remember that we do sometimes have fun together and everyone laughs.
Someone said jokingly, “It’s not about having fun.  It’s about the pictures!”.

But having it all together in real life is more illusive, more of a special occasion.

There are those days where everything clicks along, every meal is planned, the house is clean and I even see the bottom of the laundry baskets.  School happens peacefully and the kids play a game together.  My husband walks in to the smell of his favorite dinner, sits down to eat it with his favorite people, and we all have a lovely discussion that is relevant and fruitful.

The trouble is that I expect  the days to always be that way.  And what do expectations get me?

More often, those events don’t all line up on the same day.  Monday I might have all our meals planned.  Tuesday school might go peacefully and the kids might play a game.  Wednesday may be a marathon laundry day, and Thursday we might have a really good discussion at dinner with no bathroom noises, no 5th grade humor, and no fighting over who-sits-where.

But rarely does it all happen in one day.  That would either be exhausting, or a waste of time, or The Cleavers.  Surely there are better things to do than live in a photo shoot.  Is a picture really worth a thousand words?
We live in the real world with real mess-ups and do-overs every morning, and I’m so thankful for that.
My heart’s desire is to honor God and my husband, and that needs to be the driving force behind all I do or don’t do in a day.  They both know my weaknesses and love me anyway.
… walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; – {Col 1:10 NKJV}

Are you stuck comparing yourself with others?  How do you guage your accomplishments – what makes you feel like you’ve done enough for the day?
Counting all the gifts this week, some of them numbered here:
298. The full moon
299. The fog clearing away in the morning
300. Motivation!
301.  Bailey, thanking me for making her do hard things
302. Bible discussions
303. good friends at the river
304. 3 things that were broken or lost, that are now found or fixed

Not Today

I was going to write something funny today.

It’s been almost two weeks, and I worried that maybe when the time came back around, the time to write, that I wouldn’t have anything to say.

As if life just stops being a story?

What I wanted to write was something to humor you, make you laugh and think and put the smile on.


But yesterday there was this awful twist in the story and there just aren’t funny words worth writing, while a sister grieves and questions loom and why, why, why do loved ones die young?  Yesterday the world stopped spinning, and I so wish I could say something to put the smile on you, to change the story.

I don’t know how much you are supposed to carry, dear sister.  I don’t understand all the waves and relentless rain and how when one saga seems over, another rushes in to take its place.  I only know that you are loved.

You are lavished with His grace, grown in deep soil, and never-ever-ever left alone.  Beautiful and precious in His sight.

That has to be enough.  You know me and my feeble words.  But my heart prays for you and the clock stares midnight with you on my mind.  You and your precious family

I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps.  He has put a new song in my mouth–Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the LORD. – {Psa 40:3 NKJV}

Not too Comfortable

The text came in the evening, telling us that our brothers and sisters were running.  On the other side of the world, they serve Christ among the hostile and unreached and among mobs that form in the thousands.  Mobs that use violence to make their point.

We stopped as a family to pray, our hearts heavy for the little boys they would have to whisk away, the newly acquired home they would have to leave, the disciples hurting and confused.

It bothers me that today I have to make a decision about carpet.

Today it’s unlikely that anyone will get hostile over my faith.  I probably won’t be forced to grab my kids up and run from an angry mob.

I will probably just sit in my comfortable home and pray.

There is hope that persecution will grow the church, but would I ever tell them I prayed with thanksgiving for their persecution?  That I sat with my morning cup of coffee in my cozy and unthreatened home and thanked God for the scattering?

I remember this:

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us  – Act 17:26-27 NKJV

I am here and they are there, and we all have to seek, to grope and find Him.

So as I record our family’s thanks for the week, I add this – thankfulness that the God Who sees it all and listens close, He knows every need in every place.  Mine and theirs, ours.

We are half a world apart but God came down to unite us all, and if nothing else, I can pray.

And I can use this space to ask you to pray, also.  Pray for your brothers and sisters, for these precious people pouring their lives out across the globe.

And pray, too, for the ones in comfortable homes.


 So we don’t stop giving thanks for small things while we pray for big things.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. – {Jam 1:17 NKJV}

233. good dreams

234. God’s word (this one written in a child’s hand, and this mama treasuring it in her heart!)

235. Ethan – I am thankful that the Roberts’ bought our house

236. Quiet mornings

237. friends that really want to help

238. a wife that is funny and smart and…

239. mercy and grace

240. foggy morning walks with everyone

241. violin

242. mommy’s doodles : )

Get a Job

Ethan put a sticker on Bailey the other day that said, “Good Job!”.   He slapped it on her hand and proclaimed, “Here you go, Bailey.  Get a job!”

He is a new reader who sometimes gets in too much of a hurry.  The work of decoding words and sounding out phonograms is bothersome for a little boy who has places to go and things to do.

Get a job.

Was that encouragement?  The sticker was supposed to be for commending a job well done, for congratulating someone on their accomplishment.  Wouldn’t it look nice at the top of your paper?

Of course he didn’t mean it to be offensive.  He wasn’t telling his sister that she was lazy and unproductive.  I don’t know what he was thinking, really.  Why would “Get a job!” be a nice thing to put on a kid’s sticker?

She covered it with grace and laughed when she shared the story with me.

But you know how sometimes we hear the wrong thing?  Someone intends to ‘help’ us but their words, they just sting?  In some twisted audio-conversion, a compliment can even turn into criticism.

Dinner was delicious tonight mysteriously becomes It’s about time we had a decent meal.

I like your hair  is translated I’ve been waiting for you to do something with yourself.

I really like so-and-so’s mom  is rendered  I wish you were more fun,  like her.

We are having some communication breakdowns in our home today, and I wonder how many of them have been birthed from misunderstandings and bad hearing?  Relationships are most important, but I wonder if the stress of the day has left us with too little time to decode words and search out hearts?

As people called to relationship, brothers and sisters called to live together in harmony, maybe we aren’t giving enough time for  encouragement.

Maybe our meaning gets lost in translation, or past offenses stop up our ears.

You’ve probably heard of the ‘sandwich criticism’, giving your criticism sandwiched between two compliments?  Wouldn’t it be better to just naturally be so encouraging that you didn’t have to plan out soft landings for your criticisms?

How would my kids respond if encouragement was plenty and nagging was rare?

Someone, everyone, needs encouraging words today.  A tired  traveller can go a long way on one or two encouraging words, and aren’t we all trying to get somewhere?

I’m trying to get to a place where my correction is received because my children know that I see good in them, that Christ is not done with any of us and just because you make a mistake, doesn’t make you  a mistake.  It’s so easy to see what’s undone, but I don’t want to be the one undoing with my words.  I want to be a builder.

The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands. – Pro 14:1 NKJV

And I also want to get to the place where I receive criticism without  offense (praying, “Lord, show me the truth in this.”), and where I hear compliments as just that, not as veiled criticism.

{How about you?  Do you struggle to receive correction?  Do you hear compliments as veiled criticism?  How does this affect your walk with the Lord?}


Our family’s thanks continues, #225-232

 So many offers of help with our move that we’ve lost count

Derek coming to help finish the flooring with Dad


Christ is risen!



Sunrise service on the  mountaintop

Chocolate and coffee

Ten and One

You were late.

Two weeks and a day longer we waited, me miserable, everyone asking.  Each day I grew bigger and grew weary of the asking, the shocked expressions when I showed up at church still pregnant.

The buttons on my favorite shirt wouldn’t button.  I’d long-since lost sight of my feet.

I tried to will myself into labor, and I think they kept me there an hour before sending me home, empty hands and full belly.  It wasn’t like I didn’t know what being in labor felt like.  I wanted to tell that to the nurses, tell them that this was the third time in three years that I’d done this.

Maybe you just weren’t content to share your day with sister.  February 16 was a good day for Bailey, but it wasn’t to be your day.  You needed a day, a month, all to yourself.

So finally the time was right.  March 3, 2001, and you were stunning.  Like a beauty arriving ‘fashionably late’ to a grand party, all the world primed and ready for you.

You’ve been doing things your way ever since, and I love the way you do things, Shelby.

I love the way you serve.

You would exhaust yourself in serving others, I’m sure of it.  You seem to thrive on going the extra mile, and you do it without trumpets and announcements.

If I leave for 5 minutes, I know I’ll come back and catch you helping Ethan with a math problem instead of doing your own.  I love you for that.

If someone is tired and their chore is piling up in the kitchen, you quietly sneak in there and get busy.  Like tonight, with the groceries.

And if  there is hard work, dirty work, under-the-house-with-spiders work, you’re right there.  Smiling under the mask, I can see it in your eyes.

I love how you give.

If we give you a gift card for Christmas, you spend it on our birthdays.  Money comes right through your hands and blesses others, even some on the other side of the world.  You hold on to people, not things.  You teach me that.

I have notes and cards and pictures and treasures all over because you want to share.

I love how you share your time.  You know how special it is for little brother to get your attention, don’t you?  Do you know how I love to see you giving up your ‘free time’ to play legos or Chutes and Ladders?  How I love to see you serving guests and taking care of little ones?

You are unique and special, Shelby.  Full of fire.

I love how you tell stories.  Just like your daddy, with hands flailing and eyes bright and everybody take cover and move your drinks, Shelby’s talking!  Remember the parking lot story?  How when you were about four I couldn’t hold your hand in the parking lot because you were trying to tell me something, and you had to shake loose?

You make me smile.

Even though I had to wait, even though my hair went curly and my mind…just went, even though we all cried on the floor together when there were 3  little ones all diapered and dependent.  I love every minute with you.  Everything is excitement and energy with you.

You were so worth the wait.

Now the time goes too fast and you are eleven already?  There are still trees to climb, mud-pies to make, forts to build and fish to catch.  Let’s do more fun and less rushing, ok Shelly-bean?








Our Shelby Dawn.  Daddy wanted Emily, I wanted Emma.  So we chose Shelby and it’s you.  And in the middle, between you and the Payne –

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. ~ Psalm 4:18

The Dirt

People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die. ~ Plato

Some of the best dirt takes years to develop.  Yards of compost, manure, lawn clippings.  All the yuck combined and rolled and seasoned into fertile ground.  Adam had this humus available right away in the garden.  The Landscaper left him in charge of something already living and thriving.  Like a heavenly roll-a-lawn.

But for us, after the fall, after the yuck has come in…we sometimes wait years for produce.  Sometimes all we can see is the leftovers thrown at us and the rotting, stinking mess of it all.  Sometimes we look for nourishment in others and find only disappointment.  Others might look for it in us, too.  The food they need, are we filled so we can be empty?

The pastor reminds us on Sunday that we can give words that have power.

And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority. – Luke 4:32 NKJV

The living, active, powerful, piercing Word is ours for the wielding.  Do we leave others with the dust-and-vapor words?  Do we comfort with scraps of our compost pile?  We have Words of life at our fingertips – words that can astonish.  What people need is not our wisdom or stunted-view, but nourishment.  Daily bread, living water.

We are also reminded that the most powerful time is time spent in prayer.  Jesus rose early to get connected.  Do we need anything less?  Do those in our lives need anything less (or more) than our prayers?

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.  If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death.  – 1Jo 5:14-16 NKJV

So I commit to spend more time praying and listening.  And as I pray for my friends and family, I also ask that my words would be nourishing.  That time spent with me would feed them and not stunt their growth.  I repent of my idle words, the ones that don’t break down in the soil of good fellowship to feed souls.  Plastic words, they’re no good.

I have good-dirt people in my life.  I’m so thankful for them, for God’s mercy to me through them, and for the common compost of all our combined years, feeding us all.

Still counting to 1000…

155.  My brother and how he blessed us

156.  Sisters who pray for me

157. Pictures of Ethan on his first solo bike ride

158. $25 gift

159. Mommy making cheesy noodles, finally

160. a little sister who thinks big sister doing her hair is cool

161. Brookie’s bday!

162. Bravo’s for lunch

163. cinnamon rolls

164. four-wheeler rides

165. siblings playing board games together

166. Jacob, creating his own board game

167. sleeping til 7:30

168. sunny day with possibility of photography

169. getting my Nascar game

170. a house protected from the storm

171. little girls on four-wheeler

172. homemade playdough in bright colors

173. chocolate mousse cheesecake (finally)

174. sheetrock, after almost 6 years of bare framing

175. early morning Bible discussions

176. easy Mondays

177. impromptu visits


For He Himself is our peace….  And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.  For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.  ~  Ephesians 2:14;17-18

He came and preached peace.  Not world peace and everybody-just-accept-everybody-else and please be quiet.   But peace with God, which comes only through Him giving us access through the Spirit, to the Father.  Peace knowing that it’s alright between me and God.

It’s one of the buzzwords in my home, but so often I focus on everyone just being quiet and living in harmony and not rocking anybody else’s boat (can you hear the soft music?!).  Can’t we all just get along?  How do you house so many personalities under one roof and maintain peace?   I preach peace, but it’s probably not the same kind as Jesus preached.

He Himself is our peace.  Just to have Him.  And He is not something to be grasped or held…striving and always missing His presence.  Lighting candles and turning on the music doesn’t cut it.  To live is Christ, and He Himself is our peace.  Not just an absence of chaos, but a recognition of my separation from Him, my daily going astray and finding my way back through His grace.  Reconciled through Him, through peace.

And the peace that Jesus preached should be the peace that I preach, in my home and everywhere: be reconciled to God.  Every squabble a chance to inject the peace of reconciliation.  We are one in Him, just as the Gentiles were brought in to the fold by the blood and mercy of Christ.  There should be no enmity among the family of God.  We are redeemed and reconciled to God; we ought to be reconciled to one another.  That ought to be more important than ‘keeping the peace’.

Peace.  Not the absence of chaos, but the closing in on the gap that separates us from one another and from Him.

How do you ‘keep peace’?

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