After a beautiful wedding ceremony under our two big cedar elms, graced by such a lovely breeze you’d never have guessed it was actually August, our family enjoyed one of the loveliest afternoons we’ve had in recent memory. All in all, everything went beautifully, and as the honeymooners drove off, their little gal stayed behind with her Aunt Min (what all the Garman cousins have called me) and Uncle Kevin.

Collin is darling, and like most kids that come out here, she thinks being on the ranch is the coolest thing since Spongebob. Being outside holds a great deal of appeal, and there are frogs to hunt down and bugs to consider, not to mention horses and rides on the utility cart. But there are a few things inside the house that really capture the attention of all the tiny folk, too.

I have a roomful of old toys.

I don’t mean they are old and rundown. I mean they are OLD and COOL. These toys are things that don’t require batteries, for the most part, just imagination. Without fail, kids walk in that room, start playing with the old tin ’40’s-’50’s dollhouse, or the original Fisher Price Little People Castle, and they walk back out telling me how much they love coming to my house.

That, right there, makes my grateful heart sing.

But over all the toys in that room, over swimming, and frog-hunting and horses, even, Collin loves the Tinker Toys. She LOVES them. That child comes alive at the sight of those wooden sticks and connecter wheels, and an original instruction book with pictures of all the great things you can make with the different parts. She reads off the instructions, and I obey, and suddenly we are engineers of swings and tractors and cranes.

I tucked her in last night, and through her last yawn before turning over to sleep, she said,

Tomorrow we can play with the sticks, Aunt Min. We can build great things.

Yes, I thought. If we all will just grab our Instruction Book, pick up our sticks, and find someone with a connector wheel…if we all will set aside the battery-operated and set about working together, we can build great things.

1017625_10152135344789741_968014588_nYes, Collin. We can indeed.


It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there’s no one to help, tough!” Ecclesiastes 4:9 MSG

So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 MSG