All posts by Patty LaRoche

But By The Grace of God, Go I by Patty LaRoche

They’re not cases. They’re people. I wish everyone would remember that.”

Misty shared that with me shortly after I arrived to work alongside her in the kitchen of a homeless shelter here in Florida. She has been employed there for five years after interning while earning her pastry chef degree. I saw a lot of Jesus in her.

Tonight’s 200+ “guests” all were treated with dignity by this amazing young woman. Anyone wanting seconds was given seconds. Thirds? As long as the food lasted. One elderly man wanted milk instead of iced tea, so Misty ran to the cooler to find a carton. She said that the “personal touch” means the world to these people which is why she calls most of them by name.

One woman caught my attention when I showed up mid-afternoon. A box of donated tennis shoes had been placed on the veranda, and this elderly lady had taken a few pair. She spent the next two hours at a picnic table, redoing the laces, setting them aside and then starting over. Then she walked to the trash can, leaned over it and brushed her teeth. According to Misty, she is a regular.

Alongside me in the kitchen were three men who live at the shelter. Bob is a grandpa, LaShawn is trying to break a cocaine habit, and Kenta appeared to have a chip on his shoulder. Misty said his negativity is “part of his journey” and that she, too, had been bitter before she turned her life around.

Between prep duties, I heard her story. As a youngster, she lived for five years in a car with her mother. Because of that, she knows first-hand these homeless people are not just “cases.” Born with a cleft palate that was fixed shortly after her birth, Misty’s permanent teeth were so jagged that the Shriners offered to pay for her mouth to be fixed. The process had started but then her drug-addicted mother “dropped the ball,” so it never was done. By the time her dad intervened and got custody, Misty was twelve.

In high school she joined ROTC and found a place where she excelled. Once she graduated, she tried to join the Army and then the Navy, but both needed proof she could function with her repaired cleft palate and crooked teeth. I told her that made no sense. You don’t shoot a gun or fly a helicopter with your mouth. Misty laughed but said that in the year it took her to prove her “disability” was not a psychological disadvantage, both military operations were cutting back and taking only the cream of the crop. She did not fall into that category.

LaShawn has been at the shelter only one month. We talked about his three sons and how he works two jobs to pay child support but has not seen them in a “long time.” After LaShawn’s “baby mama” turned to drugs, he followed, never realizing how hard it would be to quit. I said I had no idea what that battle must be like, that I admired him for fighting the fight and He had much to win, especially in his role of daddy. He agreed.

Several hours later, as LaShawn washed dishes and I swept, I told him I thought the corn from supper was growing out of the floor because it kept appearing in spots I already had swept. His hearty laugh made me realize we have the same sense of humor. At the end of our shift we hugged, and when I showed up to work there a few days later, his “Hi, Miss Patty” was yelled at me from across the courtyard. I had made a friend.

By the grace of God goeth I,” I said to Misty while removing my apron and protective cap. I hope I never forget her response. “I know. I keep reminding myself that I am one paycheck, one poor decision, one illness, one turn at bad luck away from ending up just like them.”

Aren’t we all?

Corrie Ten Boom:Attitudes Are Contagious by Patty LaRoche

We all have met Christians whose circumstances determine their moods and ultimately, their faith. Happy or cranky, both attitudes are contagious, and both are indicators of a person’s relationship with God. If ever someone refused to let her situation control her faith, it was Corrie ten Boom, author of The Hiding Place.

Imprisoned in a concentration camp during Hitler’s reign, Corrie sought to find blessings in her horrific conditions. “Happiness isn’t something that depends on our surroundings,” she later wrote. “It’s something we make inside ourselves.” Along with her sister, Betsie, she was forced to sleep on straw-covered platforms in a filthy barracks where the plumbing had backed up. The stench was unbearable, and then fleas infested the area.

Corrie asked Betsie: “How can we live in this place?”

Betsie prayed aloud that God would show them how. This is what Corrie wrote about their conversation that followed:

“ ‘Corrie, …in the Bible this morning. Where was it? Read that part again!’

I glanced down the long dim aisle to make sure no guard was in sight, then drew the Bible from its pouch. ‘It was First Thessalonians,’ I said…

“‘Oh yes: …Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances…’

“‘That’s it, Corrie! That’s His answer. Give thanks in all circumstances! That’s what we can do.’”

At that point, the two sisters began to make a mental gratitude list: they had been assigned together; they were able to sneak their Bible past the inspectors; and because the room was crammed, when they spoke of Jesus, many heard of him.

Corrie’s writing continued. “Thus began the closest, most joyous weeks of all the time in Ravensbruck…In the sanctuary of God’s fleas, Betsie and I ministered the Word of God to all in the room. We sat by deathbeds that became doorways of heaven. We watched women who had lost everything grow rich in hope…We prayed beyond the concrete walls for the healing of Germany, of Europe, of the world.”

Betsie died in that prison, but Corrie went on to write dozens of books about her experience. Many of her quotes depict her incredible faith in tough times. Here are a few of my personal favorites:

“Jesus did not promise to change the circumstances around us. He promised great peace and pure joy to those who would learn to believe that God actually controls all things.”

“In order to realize the worth of the anchor we need to feel the stress of the storm.”

“The school of life offers some difficult courses, but it is in the difficult class that one learns the most.”

“If God sends us on stony paths, he provides strong shoes.”

“You can never learn that Christ is all you need until Christ is all you have.”

Few of us have encountered trials comparable to those Corrie and Betsie suffered. Their decision to find blessings in filth and fleas modeled Romans 5:3-5 (ESV):…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

The lesson is life-changing. When we accept the tough times and move beyond our own selfish desires, motives, and pleasures, when instead we seek to love God and bless others, we produce our own happiness. And like I said, happiness, like crankiness, is contagious.

The choice is ours: If we are to be a carrier, which do we choose to spread?

Pride By Patty LaRoche

James 1:19-20My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

When I am involved in a disagreement (argument?), the common denominator in every one of them is always…well, me. Or you, if you are the one involved. Actually, the root of all my problems is me. Or you, if you are the one involved. Think about it. All of us live on a continuum somewhere between gratitude and entitlement with most of our teeter-totters heavily favoring the entitlement side. Maybe not the government-handout entitlement, but just that part of our self-esteem that somehow thinks WE matter most. People should treat us special. Good things are due to us. After all, we work hard. Most people don’t hate us. We’ve never murdered anyone. Surely we deserve some perks for our efforts. Um-hmm. Keep talking.

Pride at its finest.

I imagine it’s thoughts like this that prompted atheist-turned-Christian C.S. Lewis to call pride the “root of all sin.” He’s right. Who of us doesn’t stubbornly want our way? I try not to, but usually, I’m right, so it’s hard to back down. And yes, I am kidding (sort of). Whoever wrote the adage “You can be right, or you can be married” understood the difficulty in two disagreeing people working toward compromise. Pride makes us want to be right. Like I said, we are entitled.

Lord, help us!

Fortunately, He does, and He used Paul to write to the Romans to explain how we adjust on our temperamental teeter-totter. The first eight chapters give us clear instruction that we are saved by faith. The next three chapters are about God’s mercy that we don’t deserve.

Then we hit Chapter 12: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Notice the first word of verse one: “Therefore.” In other words, “Because of what you have just read about God’s mercy and provision in the first eleven chapters, it’s time to do something. For starters, change your stinkin’ way of thinkin’. Stop putting yourself first.

I know that’s possible, but sometimes it is really, really hard.

While I am writing this article, my phone is on hold with Frontier Airlines. For thirty-five minutes I have been listening to classical music while I stew because, after a month of phone calls (always being told they have “higher than normal hold times,”), they disconnect me. My emails have been answered with an “automatic reply,” promising a response within seven days. Not happening.

The problem? The airline canceled Dave’s flight to attend our granddaughter’s June 8th wedding, offering instead to put him on another flight that would get him there seven hours AFTER the wedding started, AND since they have no reciprocal agreements with any other airlines, that was “the best” they could do. Are you feeling my frustration?

And yes, I know that how I handle this phone call (if I don’t die first while listening to Bach) will indicate my level of pride. Will I chew out some poor, underpaid customer service agent or “renew my mind” and be a witness for Christ?

You will be pleased to know that during this incessantly long delay, I am praying for some Godly intervention. I’m pretty confident I know what my choice will be.

False Advertisers by Patty LaRoche

I am a sucker for false advertising. When I die and you come to my estate sale (which will be held even if Dave survives me because he will be thrilled to get rid of my collections), you will see for yourself. Let’s start with recipe books. I have never seen a cookbook I did not like. Even if ingredients can be purchased only in Bangladesh, if the photos appear tasty, I buy the book. The problem? No dish I ever have made even remotely resembles the cookbook picture of how master chefs–and photo-shopping–make it appear.

Television gadgets target me. Zucchini shredders. Mosquito electrocuters. Bunion erasers. Microwave bacon dividers. Roto-rooter snakes. Canvas deck covers. Flashlights that illuminate all of New York City. Any pizza with stringy cheese. It’s all about the way the goodies are presented. Rarely do they measure up.

And how about books? Against my wishes, Dave bought me a Kindle so I (he) would not have to lug 200 pounds worth of books when we travel. I resisted, but once I gave it a chance, I was hooked. Then I signed up for BookBub. Every day three or four books are offered at super cheap prices. Unfortunately, few match their reviews or covers. Even Christian books disappoint. History books are way too…well, historical (and assume I already know a lot more about the past than I do). Occasionally I buy a humorous book. So far, they have all ended up in my “deleted” file. Surely I’m not the only one who wants funny without profanity and sex!

Then there are games. You know, the ones with covers that show loving families leaning in at the kitchen table, everyone laughing, making a lifetime memory. We can be that family, I used to tell myself, and we could be if even one of my kids could have been trusted as a banker or realtor or deck dealer. Or if one, unnamed son wouldn’t have tossed the game pieces to the ceiling or delighted in screaming “50 card pick-up” if there was the slightest chance he might not win. Or if I would have accepted “IT IS A WORD. IT IS A WORD. I DON’T CARE IF IT’S NOT IN THE DICTIONARY. TGKSU IS A WORD. IT IS. IT IS. IT IS.”

This past week, I drove seven hours to (among other things) check out a potential 2018 family Christmas gathering spot—a houseboat with photos that boasted a gourmet kitchen, a top-deck jacuzzi, its own small beach and enough room to sleep 12. I had all but clicked on the “Reserve Now Before It’s Gone” button before deciding to see it in person. Risking my life to walk on its pier, I actually strode past it, wondering how such a “condemned” boat hadn’t fallen apart and sunk, before realizing that was the one offered for rent.

False advertising at its best! And then my Scripture reading today shows that Jesus himself abhorred fakeness, only in this case, the finger wasn’t pointing at cookbooks or the television or books or games; it was pointed in my direction.

Matthew 23: 27“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Notice that Jesus calls these naysayers “Hypocrites,” the word for Greek actors who placed a mask over their face to pretend to be someone they weren’t.

And because Scripture says we are all sinners, I assume you join me in the list of the guilty ones. We attend church, smiling at all of our brothers and sisters in Christ, after having just barked at someone in our family. We sing worship songs after sharing gossip about one of God’s children. We fail to share the gospel but have no problem wearing a decorative cross around our necks.

We look the part on the outside but need a major overhaul on the inside.

False advertisers should take notice.

I guess, in reality, that includes me.

FS Community Foundation Seeks Grant Applications

The Fort Scott Area Community Foundation is thrilled to announce that the number of grants available for the upcoming 2018/2019 cycle totals $32,000, exceeding last year’s total by $2,000 and $11,000 more than the previous year. Thanks to the generosity of all who contributed to the FSACF general fund, the interest accrued will allow the grant committee more opportunities to benefit the 501c3 applicants who meet the qualifications.

Monies granted to the 18 beneficiaries from last year’s cycle were used for a variety of causes, including helping to purchase medals for Special Olympics’ Bourbon County participants, providing benefits to cancer patients, assisting the Beacon to meet family needs, funding classes for CASA volunteers and purchasing lights for the local pickleball courts.

The FSACF 2018 Grant Applications will be released on Wednesday, August 1, at which time they will appear on the FSACF website or may be picked up in person at the Chamber of Commerce, 231 E. Wall. Nonprofits such as churches, governmental entities, or organizations with a 501c3 status are encouraged to apply.

Applications are due by Tuesday, August 28. Acceptance and declination letters will be mailed on Tuesday, October 16. Grants will be awarded at the Foundation’s Chamber Coffee held in the Landmark Bank lobby at Third and Main at 8 A.M. on Thursday, November 1.

Communion On The Moon by Patty LaRoche

July 20 commemorates the day in 1969 that astronaut Buzz Aldrin served communion on the moon. This year, Webster Presbyterian in Texas—where Aldrin served as an elder –will celebrate the historic event on Sunday, July 22, by presenting the chalice that Aldrin brought back to Earth with him. After all, it was that church’s minister who consecrated a communion wafer and a small vial of communion wine in preparation for Aldrin’s trip to the moon. The sacred lunar ceremony was kept secret by the U.S. government until years later when Aldrin shared his story.

Aldrin’s proposal originally had been rejected when he told NASA flight operations coordinator Deke Slayton of his idea to celebrate communion during the live broadcast from the moon. According to Aldrin’s memoir “Magnificent Desolation,” Slayton told him, “No, that’s not a good idea, Buzz. Go ahead and have communion but keep your comments more general.”

That was because just a few months previous, in what was the most watched television broadcast in the world, the Apollo 8 astronauts had read the first ten verses of Genesis while orbiting the moon. “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light’: and there was light…” 

Atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair sued, and even though the Supreme Court dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction, the legal battles she won taking prayer and Bible reading out of school created enough of a stir that NASA wanted to avoid any further problems. Aldrin would resort to Plan B.

Once he and Neil Armstrong exited the Lunar Module, Armstrong summed up the enormity of the occasion when he stepped onto the moon’s surface and spoke the often-quoted phrase, This is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Aldrin then radioed this message to NASA: “This is the LM (Lunar Module) pilot. I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.”
To comply with Mission Control, Aldrin then ended radio communication, and there, on the silent surface of the moon, 250,000 miles from home, he read a verse from the Gospel of John, and he took communion. According to journalist Matthew Cresswell in
The Guardian, this is Aldrin’s account of what happened:
“In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me.  In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. 
It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, were communion elements. “Then I read the scripture:  ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit … Apart from me, you can do nothing.’”

They were Jesus’ words and coming from Someone who had created the moon, He should know.

Inadequate Prayer by Patty LaRoche

People who work on taxes are geniuses. So are travelers who understand foreign exchange rates. You’ve met their kind. They read business books as bathroom literature instead of Chicken Soup for the Soul books as I do. As secretary for our condominium board in Mazatlan, I, the lone woman out of seven representatives, have given up trying to engage in conversations about currencies. I stick to my expertise: typing pretty fast and asking the men to dumb down whatever they are saying so I can make the minutes relatively understandable.

Three years ago when I was first elected, I tried to keep up when the former CEO’s discussed these money matters. My bi-line became “I don’t get it.” I don’t get it in the United States, and I sure didn’t get it in Mexico where the taxes and laws and pesos fluctuate like bouncy balls at a Chucky Cheese restaurant.

One year later, I liberated myself. I didn’t have to “get it.” Six men did. They had owned banks and wineries and medical companies and were entrepreneurs in up-start endeavors. Finances are their “thing.”

Mine is communication.

Including sharing Jesus. Not in an obnoxious, judgmental way (like I did as a baby Christian—I grimace when I think of how unbearable I was), but by using humor. For example, more than once I have reminded one board partner that he is moving up my prayer ladder when he uses profanity. He now corrects himself. And we all laugh.

But as we all know, there are times when humor is not the answer. Prayer is, and God has proven over and over that it is the most powerful communication tool He has given me.

Take Frank, for instance. Canadians Frank and Gale were delightful owners at our complex. Frank was a former hockey player and sometimes a tennis partner of mine. He suffered a massive stroke and was taken to a Mazatlan hospital. When I went to visit him, he was belligerent. Gale had stepped out of his room for a few minutes, and he demanded she return. There was no comforting him. This was not the happy-go-lucky Frank I knew.

When I learned that Gale had chartered a plane to take them back to Canada, I felt God nudge me to visit him one last time. There was no response when I asked Frank if I could pray for them, and for a moment, when Frank looked at Gale in panicked silence, the thought that I had over-stepped my bounds crossed my mind. Okay, it didn’t just “cross my mind.” It smacked me upside my head and let me know I had just completely offended two people I cared about. Gale was kind enough to repeat my question, and hesitantly, Frank said yes. We held hands, and I prayed. That was a year ago.

Through their best friends Rich and Carol and my email correspondence with Gale, I learned that things were bad. Frank had been in and out of the hospital and was down to 80 pounds. Recently Carol called me to share that—out of the clear blue—Frank asked Gale if she remembered me praying for them. In Gale’s words, “In our entire marriage (40+ years), we had never prayed. Frank said he wanted to pray. So, we did. And then he asked if a priest could come to baptize him, confirm him, and give him the Last Rights.” Gale made the call.

God took a simple prayer from someone completely inadequate and made an eternal difference. Within a few weeks, Frank passed away.

Risky? Only if I want to think of it that way. In reality, I risk nothing when I offer to pray. Instead, I offer others the greatest gift I can give and then let God do all the work.

(So much easier than explaining foreign currency.)

Kathy Crosby by Patty LaRoche

Kathy Crosby, wife of Ed, the (then) second baseman for the Cleveland Indians, wanted to lose weight. Her husband encouraged her and daily asking for an update. At first, she was proud of the scale’s readings and couldn’t wait to share the good news with Ed. But after a while, she realized he was “too” on board, “too” bossy about ways to expedite her weight loss.

One day, when Ed was out of town on a road trip, Kathy decided to cheat. Kentucky Fried Chicken was just around the corner. Surely a piece—or three—of white meat, a scoop—or two—of mashed potatoes, and a biscuit—or two–couldn’t hurt. Plus, her husband would never know. When he would return late that night and ask, she would say she had done well. After all, “well” is relative, right?

What Kathy did not know was that the local KFC had prepared a huge celebration for the one-millionth customer who crossed its threshold. You can guess who that was. As soon as Kathy placed her order, a trio of bagpipe players, the Cleveland press, dignitaries from the home office and all the KFC employees surrounded a stunned Kathy. Presenting her with a bouquet of balloons and enough chicken coupons to last a lifetime, my friend stood by, looking like she had just swallowed a barnyard of eggs.

When Ed came home that night, Kathy picked him up at the airport. It took no time for him to ask how her diet was progressing. She talked about how disciplined she had been and how she had done so well. Relative, right? Ed was proud and told her so.

The next morning, while reading the Cleveland Press newspaper, Ed noticed a photo of someone who strongly resembled his wife. So strongly did she resemble his wife that he read the article. Enter Kathy. Ed pointed to the picture and asked if that would happen to be the same person—who just happened to be named Kathy Crosby– who had “done so well.”

Who has ever been serenaded with BAGPIPES?” Kathy moaned at the ballgame that evening. “We’re in Ohio, not Scotland, for goodness sakes.” My friend had been caught, greasy-handed. We wives were hysterical by the time she finished wailing.

Let’s be honest. Who of us hasn’t been guilty of fudging a little to avoid disappointing or displeasing someone we care about? (Pause here. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, this article is not for you.) For the rest of us, you get it, right?

Probably one of the most notorious “cover your track” guys is Israel’s King Saul when confronted by the prophet Samuel, his mentor. God had commissioned Saul to kill the evil Amalekites, men, women, children, and animals. Saul, however, spared the king of the Amalekites and the best of their animals. To him, partial obedience was good enough. Enter Samuel whom Saul greeted with these words: “Blessed are you of the Lord. I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” At this point, Saul is not doing so well.

It’s confrontation time. Samuel speaks. “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” Busted! The title of “King” is stripped from Saul. And although Saul’s giveaway was the noise of sheep and not bagpipes, he, like Kathy, did not escape the voice of displeasure. In his case, there were two main differences: (1) The displeasure came from God and not his spouse, and (2) No one found humor in Saul’s story.

In the end, neither Saul nor Kathy had “done so well”… relatively speaking, that is.

Quinton By Patty LaRoche

The day after my granddaughter Amanda’s wedding in Las Vegas, Dave and Nikki, her parents, worked a charity golf tournament for Quinton Robbins, the twenty-year-old family friend who had been murdered in the Las Vegas concert massacre last year. Since his death, Quinton’s parents have determined to keep his memory alive. His friends have done likewise.

On the side of the large hill in Henderson, Nevada, Basic High School classmates painted a gigantic “Q” beside the “B” that, for years, has served as a source of pride for the students. Should you visit that area, it will not be uncommon to see Quinton’s logo– a Q, antlers, a fishing hook and #3 for his sports jerseys’ number–on the rear window of several vehicles.

Joe and Tracey, Quinton’s parents, started a “Random Act of Kindness” tribute in their son’s name by creating 3” x 2” cards to be shared. (See insert above.) The cards went viral. People at dry cleaners, movie theaters, gas stations and restaurants would “Play It Forward” (“Play,” not “Pay” because of their son’s love of sports) and leave Quinton’s card for individuals behind them. They, in turn, would post on Facebook how they had been blessed.

At one In-N-Out, a restaurant where Amanda worked, twenty-eight cars in a row participated! Can you imagine what fun the attendant had, sharing with each car at the drive-through what number they were? “Sir, you are the 11th in line to keep this going.” “Ma’am, you are the 19th to play forward.” “Folks, you have just put an end to 28 people blessing others. Not cool!” (Okay, that didn’t happen, but I bet it crossed the employee’s mind.)

We all had a big laugh when Dave, our son-in-law, shared his experience about paying for the lone woman in the car behind him at a drive-through. After all, what could one person possibly cost? Thirty-seven dollars, to be exact. Either she was really hungry, or she was carrying out for her entire family. Whatever the reason, Dave said from that point on, he would put a cap on his contribution.

In spite of the Robbins’ desire to bless, the pain of Quinton’s death continues. At Amanda’s wedding, everyone understood when Tracey and Joe left during the groom’s dance with his mother. Still, they press on, creating scholarships in their son’s name. They are a testimony to the truth of Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

When adversity strikes, we long for our tears to evaporate, our disappointments to fade, our suffering to vanish. None of that can happen without God’s provision to meet those needs.

Joe and Tracey refuse to let their son’s death stifle their commitment to be used by God. They respond to their personal grief by knowing the day will come when, thanks to Jesus, they will be reunited with Quinton in Heaven. After all, who paid it forward more than our Savior?

I am inspired to follow the Robbins’ lead and continue their Play It Forward memorial. Perhaps you will be inspired to do the same.

God On Television by Patty LaRoche

God has made a resurgence on television. I first noticed it on one of my favorite singing competitions, American Idol, where this season several contestants shared that their singing roots were in church. Home videos were proof. Many were vocal about their faith and gave God the glory for their abilities. I prayed for them to be the last ones standing.

When Kyla Jade sang the Christian song “How Great Thou Art,” only a few notes into the melody, the live audience erupted in applause. Their standing ovation seemed endless. No one booed or stormed out in protest when God was being celebrated. I had proud goosebumps.

As the contestants were eliminated, five were left. Alone in the green room before their performances, they were free to do whatever they wanted. When they came onto the stage, Ryan Seacrest, the show’s host, questioned how they had spent their time. More spontaneous applause followed their answer: “We were praying.” And so was I, praying that their futures may continue to be testimonies to their love of God.

American Idol was not the only show where faith was expressed. This year’s shortened competition on Dancing With the Stars showed off the talents of athletes. One of them, Jennie Finch, was a softball pitcher (whom I have admired for years). She and her dance partner, Keo Motsepe, had learned the difficult choreography, but a few days before the show’s airing, Finch was convicted the song’s lyrics were not ones she wanted her children to hear. In her words, “I want to glorify God out there, and that just wasn’t a great choice for me to do that.” Motsepe was forced to choose another song and re-choreograph the dance. One of the judges commended Finch for sticking to her convictions. I needed pom poms.

And how about Britain’s royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markel where God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit were mentioned several times! (Yes, I set my alarm for the opening television coverage.) My prayers were that everyone who watched would be touched by the sacredness of the occasion and want to know more about this holy Trinity.

The same day, when the news stations turned to the live footage following the tragic, Santa Fe, Texas, school shooting, five community leaders spoke. All acknowledged that prayer was the answer. Thank you, Jesus.

More recently we were given first-row television seats to Rosanne Barr’s firing from ABC following the disparaging remarks she Tweeted about Valerie Jarrett (a beautiful woman, in my opinion). The public scorn was fast and furious but ultimately brought Barr to her knees where she Tweeted about her Jewish faith, asking God to help use this “bad experience” to move her to a place where she can help the hopeless.

“These [are] the four steps in repentance: admitting you were wrong, making restitution, asking forgiveness from those u have hurt & at last, cracking open your heart in deep sorrow and remorse, where tears flow.” For Barr, even those comments produced no standing ovations. No one reminded the naysayers we all are sinners and fall short of God’s glory. The skeptics were out in droves, questioning where this faith has been during Barr’s long, public career and praising ABC for acting swiftly. And although I must admit her apology elicited no proud goosebumps for me (perhaps a little judgmental?), of all the television personalities whose faith has been exposed, I think Roseanne Barr needs our prayers the most.

Micromanaging Children by Patty LaRoche

Why is it that we try and keep from our kids the very thing that made us successful, our failures.” (anonymous)


You obsess over your child’s homework. And his diet, as if a hotdog for breakfast will doom him to a life of obesity. You interfere in childish skirmishes and insist your little angel is right, even if six witnesses disagree. You expect at least three phone calls a day when Princess enters adulthood. And every time Bubba loses a job or a wife, the Welcome Home banner is draped across the threshold of his childhood home where his clean bedsheets await.

Helicopter parents, hovering to micro-manage, please stop!

Many of this generation are babied, protected and entitled because the only location good enough for them is Easy Street. My plea to you is simple: Let your children struggle. Stop masking your kids’ mistakes by refusing to allow them to suffer consequences for their behavior. In my day (yes, when dinosaurs roamed the earth), parents believed their role was to grow independent children. Taking a few knocks was part of that process. No more.

Drake, my grandson, holds the local high school record for being penalized during his basketball practices this year.

Failure to bring tennis shoes? Run a few sets of stairs.

Being late? More stair laps.

Forgetting tennis shoes AGAIN? Add more laps.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

When it became apparent Drake had mastered the stairs but failed to elicit the desired rehabilitation, he was assigned the towel drill. Placing his hands on a towel on the floor, he ran from one side of the gym to the other in that bent position. In fact, he performed that drill so many times, when baseball season rolled around, he was the best-conditioned player on the team.

His parents laughed with each escapade. It never crossed their minds to complain or to rush to school with that forgotten pair of tennis shoes to cover for their child or to ask for a private meeting with Coach Young. Yea, them.

Recently, Fort Scott celebrated when eight wounded veterans caravanned through town. School children were given an opportunity to be dismissed from class so they could wave flags and cheer for the soldiers. They, like many of the rest of us, came together and showed our appreciation for those who fought to give us the freedoms we all share.

One mother felt differently. She was livid that her young child had to stand in the rain waiting for the caravan to arrive and drove to the site where his classmates were waiting, insisting he get in the car while she berated the adults who were there with the other kids.

Really? REALLY? I wonder if it dawned on her that those soldiers probably spent more than a little time in the rain, protecting our homeland. What message did she give her child about honoring the real heroes of our nation? (Not to mention, for goodness sakes, when we were little, we played in the rain.)

In the book Weird, author Craig Groeschel reminds us that our greatest priority as parents is to gradually transfer our children’s dependence away from us until it rests solely on God. To raise boys and girls who do not idolize their dads and moms; instead, they honor the only One who truly knows what is best for their lives…which probably includes not a few lessons about consequences.

Helicopter parents, please let God be God. Land that runaway plane of interference, turn off your blades of privilege and let your children’s failures be their lessons. Before it’s too late.