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Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Nevah…Ebbah! …The Lads Convention

  1. I feel down in front of 1000 or so people in the front of an auditorium.
  2. Hannah’s coffee lid popped off in her hand and coffee went all over an elevator full of people and all over Eliza Jane just as they were rushing to Eliza’s Bible reading.
  3. I lost my phone. In its recovery (“Recovery” is a wonderful word!), Hannah was just in time for a big security episode with non-lads Opryland guests in which EMT and screaming and cursing were all involved at 12:30 pm in the Cascades lobby. (For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness 1 Thess. 5:5….So thankful we were in the day group!)
  4. Eliza made the announcement to an elevator full of people: “I tooted. Cue (excuse) my body.” Oh dear…
  5. I fell–again–in front of 1000 people in the front of an auditorium.
  6. The Easter bunny had a big problem with tardiness this year, and children were a bit disappointed. But he worked it all out. We are not sure he is a faithful Easter bunny because he finished up his work while we were worshipping. However, to give him the benefit of the doubt, it did take us a LOOONG time to get back to the room after worship and all the eggs from the bunny were hidden when we got back.
  7. Someone got a marriage proposal onstage this year at Lads (a first!) Congratulations!
  8. Eliza announced to all the people entering an elevator: “You all be cah-ful! Dere’s tee-tee on dah flow-ah.”  (There was not. Someone’s cooler had leaked in the group just before us.)
  9. All five of my grand-children (and some very dear “other” grand-children) were in one convention and all had important events to attend. And that was the hardest part–to miss some of those events, so that I could attend others. But what a blessing!
  10. I contracted laryngitis (almost to the point of complete silence) rendering me useless to any part of the big family for crowd control.
  11. I went to the right room at the wrong time for a competition (It was mistyped on our congregation’s schedule). I  had a nice break…realized that no-one was showing up and then made a very mad, mad dash to a different room that was 19837 miles away, with 3 small children.
  12. I cried during Bartimaus and “Thank God for Kids.” Jesus Loves the Little Children.

But in the aftermath of the good storm, I rest in knowing that some 20,000 people, children and adults, have arrived back home with a greater, fuller, deeper conviction–a purpose to never be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. As Eliza Jane said, at the end of her speech…”I will not be ashamed …nevah, ebba!”

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

“I don’t want it to die!”

My daughter, Hannah, posted the following last week. Several of you said you could already anticipate the upcoming blog post. So scroll down for the points well-taken from this little lament.

The most precious thing just happened. I was in my room and I heard Eliza calling me. I went to her in the kitchen and she was holding a petal that had fallen from my flowers in the vase. She said, “Mama, I need you to put this back on the flowers.”

I said, “Well, I can’t. It fell off.”

She responded, “But it needs to be in the water.”

I explained, thinking this wasn’t a big deal, “Well when petals fall off, they die….We have to just throw this one away.”

I went back to my breakfast-cooking and, in a minute, I  heard sniffling. I looked over at her and big tears were streaming down her baby face. I immediately went to her and asked what was wrong. She was still holding the petal, and wailed softly, “I DON’T WANT IT TO DIE!”


  1. Young children give us multiple daily opportunities to put the Word in them. We have to be opportunity-alert (Deuteronomy 6:4-6).
  1. Young children think their mothers can do anything, even restore petals to the bloom. Therefore, the responsibility to show them Christ is a huge one (2 Timothy 1:5).
  1. Physical life requires water. Spiritual life requires living water. We have no hope without the water (John 4:1-15).
  1. What is significant to our children is just as important to them as what’s significant to us adults is important to us. Unselfish parenting makes unselfish adult children (Luke 18:16).
  1. Sometimes we can be dismissive of someone’s grief. We fail to realize the hurt is continuing in hearts right beside us (Romans 12:15).
  1. Sometimes we cook, or clean or scroll on a device through the most teachable moments of our kids’ lives (Proverbs 127:3-5).
  1. Death is a natural phenomenon. But God meant for us to see the urgency demanded by the brevity of life. He used grass and petals and vapor to illustrate this. Evangelism’s opportunities are in the lessons of this petal. We should be constantly thinking, speaking, working for souls around us: “I don’t want it to die.” We should be getting them to the water of life (James 1:11; 4:14).
  1. Sometimes, a child needs a few minutes of explanation, when the quick version seems very sufficient to us parents. That’s why quantity time is so very important. We don’t know when those moments may occur, but they are time-sensitive (Deut. 4:9).

Now, in case anyone thinks I am postulating that Han is a dismissive, scrolling, uninvolved parent, that cannot be further from truth. She’s one of the most involved parents I know. It’s just that God is good to give all of us little reminders of the important in the midst of the chaotic urgent. I needed this little reminder.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Exciting New Additions to the HOPE Set for Kids!

The HOPE series just got better and just in time for holiday gift-giving! Moms and grandmas are telling me that the HOPE series for Family Bible time (and for Bible classes for kids) is accomplishing what it was meant to do. Kids are learning facts about Bible characters faster than parents thought possible and they are acquiring application skills that will help them to grow into faithful Christians. That’s THE goal for all Christian parents. The full name of this tangible and foundational gift for kids is “That We May Have Hope.” In that name is the purpose of the set. This HOPE series is born of Family Bible time at the Colley house. It’s already been tried at their house and it’s put an awful lot of Scripture in Maggie and Ellis.

Now, the application part of these character studies just got even better. Rebekah Colley has developed the “Virtues and Vices Pack,” a card set that teaches virtues and vices that are associated with each of the 52 characters in the yearlong study. They are beautiful, but most importantly they are conversation starters that launch your family Bible time into teachable minutes of the day, helping your kids to make early decisions about spirituality, faith, ethics and character. Using the Bible characters of the HOPE series, these colorful and durable card sets can be used for additional memorization, spiritual discussions, or even to launch a unit study on topics like honesty, humility, selfishness or greed. Here’s a couple  of sample cards:

In addition, Rebekah has also made the ever-popular classic matching game from the characters your kids are studying. Your object may be to simply take turns trying to find the matching pairs of cards. But I’d suggest having your child answer a question about the character he’s matched prior to putting the matched cards in his pile. You might even want your children to name four facts about the character before taking the matched set from the playing surface. Here’s the matching game:


Do you know a family who needs the Family Bible Time jump-start that the HOPE series can give? My grandchildren have circled lots of items in the Amazon catalog already this year, but there is nothing they can receive this year from Amazon that could bless their lives even a fraction as much as this soul-shaping tool. My grandchildren (the ones who don’t already have it) are getting the HOPE set for Christmas this year. They thrive on competition and I can think of a whole bunch of ways they can “win” using these tools for Family game time.

So now there are five—Five HOPE tools: There’s (1) a family study guide, (2) a set of “flash” cards that elicit memorization of four facts about each character, (3) a timeline that places the characters in their historical perspectives, (4) a set of virtues and vices cards, and (5) a matching game using the characters from the HOPE series.

Each item is priced separately here:, but for the holidays, we’re bundling the set for a limited-time price of $60.00. This is not the only way, of course, to put the Word in little hearts. But, it’s one grandmother-approved way! Be watching for the annual Colley House Holiday Contest, too, and you can win the entire set for the little people you love!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Tragic and Trending Atheism

It seems to be a tragic and trending phenomena in the church. Hundreds of millennials and those just younger, are turning to atheism. These are not always children of careless or inattentive parents. Further, they are often those who have graduated from Christian universities—even those who have shown great potential and talent as they worked in the kingdom. But something went terribly wrong. And parents in their fifties and sixties are deeply hurting. 

Sometimes, it’s an incremental journey. Parents and elders and friends can sometimes detect that the ship is sailing toward unbelief when a person begins to take issue with what he calls “traditional viewpoints” in classes or private studies. These “traditional  beliefs” are often those that are grounded deeply in Scripture and have irrefutable divine authority behind them. Often the dissenter will then begin absenting himself from worship services, first on occasion and then more often. He will distance himself from the close friends (people of faith) with whom he once spent lots of time. All too often, it is during this time that the world’s immorality pulls hard and begins to slowly destroy the moral and ethical compass of these precious souls. Faithful people of God need to  be sacrificial in spending time with these skeptics and confronting the growing unbelief with reasoned Biblical teaching, done in love. 

Truth be told, though, it’s probably late for apologetics teaching when the skepticism develops after college. I’ve come to see more and more that it is extremely critical that the probing questions of children find answers from parents who are not afraid to go digging, themselves, for the evidences that solidify faith. This has to be done, of course, one question at the time, as kids grow up. My son, who just turned 40, noted recently that, while teaching a class of teens, who were believers, he asked them questions about how they know the Bible is the Word of God. While their answers were Biblical, they were cyclical. They know that the Word is from God because it says it is from God. “All scripture is given by inspiration…and is profitable…” (2 Timothy 3:16). When a child asks how we know the Bible is different from all of the other books on our shelves at home, we have to be willing to do whatever it takes to be sure those answers are presented to them in understandable form. This involves researching the accuracy of Scripture—its foreknowledge and predictive prophecy, learning about the Dead Sea Scrolls and the evidence for things like the flood of Noah’s day and the resurrection of our Lord. It’s the stuff of great home education term papers or science projects. It takes time to prepare kids for the barrage of neo-”science” that the university peers and professors will present. The skeptics will speak in terms that will make your kids’ faith appear very backward. Students must  understand the apologetics behind faith and be able to articulate the arguments for the authenticity of Scripture in order to survive the criticisms of faith in the classrooms of non-believing academia or in the high tech workplaces after graduation.

The pulpits and classrooms of congregations should be full of the Bible, but also, they should be full of apologetics resources. Bible Land Passages, Apologetics Press and Christian Courier are excellent sources of curriculum for the foundational evidences kids need as they grow.

It’s unfortunate, but true, that every single argument postulated by atheists to discredit creationism, or the authenticity of Scripture must be answered individually. There is no “one size fits all” answer for the many arguments made to discredit belief in God and the Bible. Every perceived Biblical contradiction, every historic or archaeological discovery that seemingly contradicts the Biblical account must be countered with study and reason. That takes a massive amount of time. But it’s also true that one plausible rectification—one possible explanation—for any contradiction is enough to nullify any argument’s power. It just takes one possible and reasonable way that the Bible could be accurate on any point to sustain its claims of inspiration (until the next argument is presented. Then the diligent parent does it all over again, researching and answering.)

Moms and grandmothers, I am praying that more of us in the body will have the grit and determination it takes to be sacrificial in fortifying the faith of our children. The house, the job, the health, the entertainment, the education, the popularity, the money…nothing else matters if sustained without faith. All is vanity without faith. 


Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

I hope you can come…

Every now and then, a digger or someone who is reading the blog asks me about the church of Christ: “What do you believe about ______?”  Perhaps most often, the question is “ Why do you not have a band or a piano in your praise?” Maybe you are local to Huntsville and you’d be interested to know more about the church of Christ. If you are only ever going to visit an assembly one time at West Huntsville, this would be a great time!

What you need to know is that there is no sense in which this church family is a denomination; no creed but the Bible, no hierarchy, no synod, or responsibility to follow any dictate from any board or diocese.

If you’re local to the Huntsville area, and you can come just once in your lifetime to hear this beautiful a cappella singing and have your questions answered, this next Sunday would be the time to investigate. The lesson that day will be a simple, Biblical overview and you will leave with an understanding of what this group is about. No money will be asked of you. You will be invited, but not pressured, to stay for lunch (but it’s always delicious and free and just a good time of talking, kids playing and an atmosphere you want those kids to love). There’s nothing about the day that will be awkward or make you “feel” like an obvious “visitor.” You won’t be asked to stand or speak or donate—at all.

There’s a really fun and free time together the day before, too. You can see details below. I’m speaking seven times from Thursday night till Saturday noon at another event in Tennessee, but I’m going to travel back as fast as I can to be at this cook-out/hayride/fun time on Saturday. My grandchildren think it’s an annual highlight. My nine-year-old grandson already asked “Will we get to have a hayride?”  Colleyanna is more about the face-painting. I REALLY hope all of my grandchildren will grow up in church families that think kids’ souls are worth the time and effort it takes to give them spiritual family and put the Word of God in them.  

Speaking of that, you will also see “KIDSING” on Sunday morning just before we begin our worship. I often hear people say “I’ve never seen children who know that much about the Bible!” It’s pretty phenomenal how they soak it up in this fun little ten-minute time with my husband. You’ll want to get there on time, so you can see KIDSING. Classes for the kids (and adults) will follow the morning worship. They will love those, too, if you can stay.

Okay, enough! I just wanted you to know. Maybe I’ll get to see you there. If you come on Saturday, be sure I get to meet you. I’ll be the one with big bags under my eyes. But those eyes will be so happy to see you!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Blessing and Cursing at the Fair

My daughter and I decided to surprise her three kids and take them to the fair one afternoon last week. What were we even thinking? We knew that my daughter, Hannah, had an appointment at 7 that evening, but I’d be fine with them for the short time between 7 and our departure to come back home. The kids were over the moon when they found out. They had never been to a real fair before. 

I HAVE been to a real fair before, so what was I thinking? 

When we arrived at the parking area, a very friendly woman said with a southern drawl “Welcome to the fair! Tonight there is no charge for parking or admission, so have fun and follow my parkers over there…God bless!”

Then one of her “parkers” showed me to a parking spot, motioning me forward till I was pretty positive I had hit the car in front of me. He said “Have a great time at the fair. God bless!”

I told the kids how sweet it was that they all said “God bless!” …”You just don’t hear people use God’s name in a good way too much anymore. I love being in small towns in the South!” 

So off we went. We went into the exhibit place where the kids were enthralled beyond amazement. Pumpkins so big that they would not even fit on the steps on Halloween night. A potato the size of a pumpkin. Cotton vines that went on for seemingly miles. Plus all the outfits and handmade items put together by all the 4Hers in the area. There were sheep and cows and goats and chickens and a place to “Harvest” where kids could dig and pick and exchange their findings for an ice cream cone in the dairy area. But, when it was time to “harvest”, the children could not enter that part of the exhibit because the local “weather girl” was “live from the fair.” It was old Americana to the max. 

It was also 15-dollar-armband-night  for the rides. The kids had seen that ferris wheel, that “dropper” (as they called it) that takes people up to the top of a very high spire and then “drops” them, the bumper cars and the carousel. They could not wait. Three-year-old Eliza was dancing everywhere, of course.

We had lots of time while standing in line to get our armband, since it WAS 15 dollar unlimited riding. Once you got the armband, you could ride all you wanted till closing. It was a long line. We talked about the blessing of being able to come. We talked about the importance of staying right with Hannah or me all the time. Ezra could not stop running down his list of “brave rides” that he was now “big enough for.” Eliza could not stop dancing and talking about the “caaaah candy” and Colleyanna could not stop jumping up and down. This was, they concurred “the best night ever.” Eliza danced until it was time to get the armband. Then she had a little melt-down. She has a strange phobia about armbands. I think she got one once at the ER.

We finally got in there. I took Eliza to ride the teeny kiddie rides while the big kids did bumper cars with Hannah. Eliza thought it was Disney World (or she would have if she even knew what that was!) It was perfectly magical. Three rides later, we were sitting on a grassy spot eating corn dogs and buffalo chicken sticks that cost about as much as eating steak at Outback. But it was way more fun than eating steak at Outback, so that was okay. We had survived that amazing ferris wheel with all three kids and they could not stop talking about being on top of the world! Eliza ate a whole corn dog and then danced while we finished up.

It was time for Hannah to go and the big kids were all about that “dropper” thing, so off I trudged with the three of them to the other side of the fair to wait in that long “dropper” line. I kept asking them “Are you positive you want to ride this? Because I DON’T want to ride this! Are you sure?” They both had been busily showing me that they were tall enough on the color-coded chart to ride this and that they could not wait! Eliza Jane danced and danced in expectation of watching them! 

It’s amazing the difference one minute makes. They quickly went from “I cannot wait! to “I will never do that again as long as I live!”  From “This is going to be so fun!” to “That was the scariest thing I have ever done!” When they got to the very bottom, they were both shouting “Help! Help!” to the workers because they were locked in the seats and they thought they were going to have to go up again. “Mammy, I could hear my heart beating up at the top! Mammy feel my heart. Can you feel it jumping out, still?!” We were not going to have to worry about that long line ever again. Eliza danced and said  “That is a “cary ride!”

But then, it was that giant slide that you come down on a piece of burlap. ‘Liza wanted to do that in the worst kind of way, so I climbed those 23987643 stairs with her and bounced down pretty hard on the top of that slide with her in my arms and we flew down that thing right behind the older two. Just as I was huffing and puffing and walking to the next thing, I realized that my right arm felt very light. Sure enough, my little wallet had somehow disconnected from my armband keyring and it was nowhere to be found. I started retracing and we slowly retraced as we searched all the way back to the giant slide. I prayed I would find that thing. All my credit cards and my eighty dollars and my thumb drive full of ladies lessons was in that thing. I needed that thing. 

When we got back to the slide that man, was waving that little wallet in a big six-foot-wide motion for me to see. Ezra climbed those 23987643 steps for the second time and profusely thanked that kind worker for that wallet which had every cent still securely zipped in there. I thanked God. Eliza danced. 

We rode and rode and then it came time for the amazingly expensive treat I had earlier promised them. Eliza was stuck on “caaaaah candy” and soon it was stuck on her—everywhere. Ezra was bound for the funnel cake, which was promptly knocked from his hand  by our little dancer and landed plate-down on the pavement. Colleyanna was specifically only interested in ice cream and only chocoiate, even more specifically. That was easier said than found. But, you know, I am a grandmother. At last we settled into the grass, one last time, and watched those horses with the trainers on the board, on the back, as they raced around a 2 mile track. “Chance for Change” was the winner and Ezra was thrilled to get to see that horse up close. Eliza danced. 

Then it was one last trip to the restroom, which had all of four stalls, most of which did not have locks on the doors, for 4000 people. Colleyanna was our door-holder. Eliza, the potty -training one was celebrating success in there and she danced. I washed hands (which took all I had—chocolate sticky, funnel cake sticky and  “caaah candy “ glue— and we were off on the long trek up hills and through a maze of cars to our vehicle. 

Ezra wanted to know if we could go in those exhibits and see if the weather girl was finished and get our ice cream. (What in the world?)  It was still relatively early in the evening. We threaded some needle-eyes and finally recognized our car by the stickers on the window. (Sometimes you are thankful for less-than-pristine vehicles.) The kids were thanking me for a great time at the fair and trying to get in the locked car. But it was not doing that automatic unlock thing. There was a reason. Those (now-unattached-to-the-wallet) keys were on top of the paper-towel holder in the restroom. 287490298 miles back through the cars and down the hill. I prayed. Eliza danced. The big kids wanted to know if we could ride something else while we were in there. “ …But not the dropper…But we do still have these magic armbands.”

And there they were. Still right there on top of that paper towel rack. My apple watch was telling me I’d closed my exercise ring for the day. (“There are easier ways to do that,” I was thinking.) Eliza danced. And we all started off on that parking lot pilgrimage again. 

Then it happened.  A cattle truck was attempting to weave through that mass of vehicles to go to the cow barn and pick up his cows for the night. But he was just a hair away from hitting someone’s car. Those workers who had, only a few hours earlier, been “blessing” everybody in the name of the Lord were shouting profanities and screaming and running toward that cattle truck. Colleyanna was oblivious, not hearing anything she even remotely recognized as profanity. Eliza danced. 

But Ezra heard it. He said “That man shouted the worst word you can ever even think of!” In fact it was the four letter word for an eternal place to which I intend NOT to go.” and, to Ezra, there could never be a worse word.”

So, the cattle truck made its much acclaimed exit just as I got them all buckled in the car. As we drove past the “parkers” at the gate, those same men shouted “Thank you for coming! God bless!”

And there it was! The Bible come to life, right in front of our eyes! What an amazing opening for the Bible time we were going to have on our way home!

But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. (from James 3)

God is so good. He gives us all we need to be moms and dads and grandmothers and grandads who can do that Deuteronomy 6 thing. 

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

But if you are going to to teach Eliza diligently, you probably need a phrase in there that says “when she dancest, by the way.”