"For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living." Psalm 116:8&9

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I love to set the table. I like pretty table linens. I like colorful dishes. I hate paper plates and plastic ware. I think plastic cups are gross. If we get take out or fast food, I unwrap everything and put it on real plates to eat it - even if it's a burger and fires. I'm weird. I'm okay with that.

I have found that there are some benefits to my weird hang-ups. When William started eating solid foods in a highchair, I decided that the highchair tray was boring and needed some visual "help." So I created placemats for William's highchair. The placemats taught him colors, animals and how to spell his name. I created a placemat with pictures of him and his daddy for when my husband was out of town. What I discovered was that the placemats were actually very helpful in teaching William basic concepts and in giving us things to talk about during dinner.  

After Barry died, I realized William needed to talk about Barry, but often didn't know what to say or how to verbalize his feelings. I noticed that if he saw pictures of Barry, he would instantly smile and go into long stories about what was happening in the pictures. So, I created "daddy" placemats for the kids. Each placemat is covered with pictures of Barry and William or Layla. And each placemat has Scripture on it for us to read at each meal to remind us of God's goodness and comfort us when we miss daddy. It's a very simple thing that has been helpful in our grieving process.

If you would like to make your own placemats, here are some tips:
*Construction paper works well for most placemats, but if you are making special placemats that you would like to keep for years, use poster board.  Poster board also works better if you will be gluing photos onto it.
*I take all of my placemats to Mardels for laminating.  It costs 25 cents per foot.  For our "daddy" placemats, I went to Staples to have them laminated instead.  At Staples, they use the thick lamination film so it is much sturdier (aka, more costly at $2 a foot!).
*Always make your placemats 2 sided!  
*I always write a verse from the Bible on each side of my placemats.  It gives me something to read to them at each meal to help us think on Jesus.  
*You can make placemats for highchairs!  Just trace the tray onto a piece of poster board and cut out.  Make sure to make it a few centimeters smaller than the actual tray so that it will fit inside the tray nicely.  

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Promises of God

Six years ago in August, the Lord began a very significant work in my life. It was a work that no one could see. A work that I did not know was occurring. A work that seemed so simple. But it would be a work that would be absolutely foundational for my soul six years later.

God began taking me through a study of His promises. And He did it in an interesting way. I didn't hear a sermon series, read a book or attend a women's bible study. I began teaching a year long curriculum to a group of elementary-aged kids. Yes, you read that correctly - God used a children's bible study to deeply impact my walk with Him and my faith.  

Every weekend, for a year, I would teach a group of kids about the promises that God makes in the Bible. We learned about God's promise of salvation, of provision, of protection, of eternal life. We learned about the promise God made in Genesis 3 to send a rescuer, a savior and His faithfulness to fulfill His promise by sending Jesus. And we learned about some of God's more difficult promises of discipline and to be with us when suffering comes (because it will...).  

I am a firm believer that if you are teaching children well, you will yourself be learning as you teach. Those who say they are not growing or learning while they teach children the Bible are doing something very wrong. But I did not expect teaching these kids about the promises of God to be so foundational for my own walk with Him. I knew these stories. I knew these promises. I knew these verses. But in spending an entire year focused on them and teaching them to others, they became very deeply ingrained in my heart.  

God was doing a very special, very generous work in all of this. What I did not know six years ago was that God teaching me these promises because they would be the rock that I stood on when my world came crashing down. They would be the light in the darkest moment of my life. 

When tragedy strikes, the mind and heart do not recall complex, vague ideas. The heart does not find comfort in something it does not truly believe. We recall and find comfort in the simple truths that are so ingrained in our souls that no amount of panic or grief can cover them. As I sat in my husband's hospital room, not knowing if he would live through the night, the words that ran through my head were: "The Lord our God is with you, He is mighty to save."  Zephaniah 3:17. And as I began the long journey of healing and learning to live life without him after his death, the words that run through my head are: "It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect." 2 Samuel 22:33 and "You turned my wailing into dancing, you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy." Psalm 30:11. All of these were verses that God pressed upon my heart as I studied and taught His promises.  

Next weekend, I will once again be teaching the promises of God to a group of elementary-aged kids. The curriculum will be slightly different, but the truths will be the same. Thank you God for revealing these beautiful promises to my heart six years ago. Thank you for using them to strengthen, comfort and carry me through the last year. Thank you that I will get to once again sit in them for another year, with another group of kids. May they become a foundation of truth and hope for these kids that leads them to salvation and helps them stand during the hard times.  

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Greatest Week of the Year

Today officially begins the greatest week of the year in the Keldie house. The week we look forward to all year long. The week that makes every other week seem lame and uneventful. The week that reminds us of God's goodness, generosity, power and awesomeness.  

Do you know why this week is so special? No, we won't celebrate any birthdays this week. It's obviously not Christmas (it will be 100+ degrees all week). We're not going on vacation.  


Seven wonderful days on the Discovery Channel devoted to educating us about sharks.

So, you know where we will be this week - sitting in front of the television, being amazed, scared and grossed out by my husband's favorite animal. He may be gone, but this tradition will never die...

And for your viewing pleasure - pictures of Barry and William watching Shark Week last year. I know what you're thinking: that kid needs a haircut. What were we thinking?!? 

Happy Shark Week!