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Eliza Jane Giselbach

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Eliza and her Euphemism

Eliza Jane is three. She was walking in the hallway at PTP, a large conference for Christians. Her mom introduced her to this new friend, who is in her late forties. They exchanged nice pleasantries and then this lady said “Oh my gosh!”— exclaiming about some great speaker or good food, or something.

Eliza Jane looked at her with big mortified eyes and said “Mrs. Jenny, we do not say ‘oh my gosh’”!

I think Mrs Jenny was mortified, too. She has since worked harder than anyone I’ve ever seen to stop saying that phrase. Now you have to know Mrs. Jenny. She was in the military in her pre-Christianity days. She’s worked hard to put down lots of baggage that the devil likes for us to carry. There are some pretty exhausting addictions that Jenny has conquered. But Mrs. Jenny was so kind to Eliza, assuring her that she would work hard to eliminate “Oh my gosh” from her vocabulary. Eliza even offered her some phrases that we can say instead of the offending one. 

Fast forward to last week, when Mrs. Jenny visited our services at West Huntsville. Eliza Jane went to her and got the report that she had, indeed, kicked the “oh my gosh” habit. Eliza gave her a high five and a thumbs up and said “I’m so pwoud of you.” Then, in a clearly empathetic tone, she added “I used to say ‘oh my gosh’ when I was a baby, too.”

Eliza, the speech police in the halls of PTP, did decide to try the phrase once more in the living room of their home. I heard her say it pretty emphatically, so I walked in there and said “Eliza! Did you say ‘oh my gosh’ What are you thinking?” 

“Well, I was just saying it to the cat. I thought it might not be wrong to say it to a cat.” 


1. Little people can do big things.

2.   Everyone needs to be a little more like Mrs. Jenny.

3.   Children have a sweet and innocent perspective about sin.

4.   We should express encouragement when Christians grow. 

5.   We should admit our own faults, being real and humble with people. 

6.   It is wrong to say it to the cat. 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

That Last Child Will Not Be Upstaged!

photo credit: Leah Wright

Ezra’s mom keeps telling him. “You better be careful what you do and say, because you have two little sisters who are watching you and they want to be just like you.”  Books have been written about birth order and its effect on personality and character as children develop. I think that some of the birth order differences are due to the fact that parents mature (sometimes, a lot) between their first and last children and they are at varying stages of maturity with each child. So, we’re different parents with child number one than we might eventually be with child number three or four. There is a very real sense in which two children raised by the same parents, were really not raised by the same parents.

But some of the differences in first, middle and last children are caused by the realities of birth order, itself. The very nature of being the first implies that the oldest child will be the first to experience almost everything. He or she will be the leader into virtually all natural growing experiences.  While that’s an obvious reality, its ramifications are sometimes more nuanced than at other times.

Like last weekend at the very large Lads to Leaders convention in Nashville. Hundreds of people were assembled in a large ballroom. Awards had been given for the past hour-plus. Suddenly, Ezra’s name was called very loudly as a high scorer in Bible bowl. He made his way quickly to the stage. Now, if you have ever been to Lads to Leaders, you know that getting to that stage is a pretty big deal to the kids. We’ve stressed all year that getting to the stage means you committed and carried through. It means, in this case, that Ezra did his best to learn the books of Ezra and Nehemiah and he took a test–really just competing with himself–and he knew a bunch of the right answers from the Word.  All of the children who knew a certain percentage of the answers from the Book were up there, as well.

And then there was Eliza. She’s the last of three and all of those last child adjectives–persistent, charming, fun-loving, free-spirited, outgoing, risk taker–went into action mode. The result was a physical feat of kicking,  in a fashion worthy of an Olympic balance beam, her right leg up onto the stage, and proceeding to try and hoist herself up there to join the accolade-receivers.

She was directly in the lens of her horrified mom’s camera. Photography was suddenly unimportant and getting that baby off the stage was happening fast. I’m pretty sure the photo that Leah Wright caught of Eliza’s attempted moment of glory will be included in her senior slide-show in 2038.

A grandmother’s take-aways (things I hope to put in them whenever I get the chance):

  1. I’m going to keep telling that oldest child, in both of my kids’ families, that someone younger is very determined “to be a lot like you.” The responsibility is large and rewarding. “You are a leader.”
  2. I’m going to keep telling all of them that there will be people who try to take shortcuts to glory. But, in the end, giving God that glory takes dedication and hard work on the part of His servants. If we try to “climb up on the stage”, at the last minute without having done His will, there’s no glory for God. There’s no reward in heaven for us, either.
  3. I’m going to keep telling that youngest child, that he/she can do anything he/she sets his/her mind to do. But the mind-setting implies a fierce determination to follow through. It’s a daily grind to accomplish what we set out to do. It’s a daily privilege to set small daily goals that are stepping stones to true success.


I’m going to tell Eliza, one day soon, that ladies don’t hoist their legs up onto objects that are as tall as they are, with two thousand people behind them.

…and here’s the fun reel when she really did get her moment to walk across with the other pre-k to 2nd graders (Not sure “free-spirited” even starts to describe):



Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

The Blessing Trail: Before and After

Before the Blessing Trail: 

Monday…not a very good day. 

  1. I woke up with a pretty wicked head cold.
  2. Someone had cut my granddaughter’s, Eliza’s hair, in a perfectly awful zig-zag pattern. It was her first haircut.
  3. My son was going to be speaking on the FHU lectures and I was not going to be there. 
  4. My big tinsel Christmas tree was still up in the living room. It was February 6th. 
  5. My husband set the back lot on fire and the fire department had to come and put it out. 
  6. I renewed my resolve to eat heathy, then immediately had a very stressful series of events.                                                                          Then, I got a bit of sad news to top that off and I ate a half bag of kettle cooked potato chips. 
  7. Someone said something very unkind about me. 
  8. My dear friend lost his job.
  9. This was supposed to be our vacation, but once again, we are not going anywhere. 
  10. My husband, instead of vacationing, was cleaning out the basement and going through boxes of things left behind by loved ones who’ve gone home. It was a sad kind of job and he was not himself.

After the Blessing Trail:

Monday…a very good day. 

  1. I woke up with just a head cold. I know people who woke up with lung cancer, sepsis, and covid. I need to send some cards and a gift card or two! I have enough health (and money) to do that!
  2. Hair grows back out! Thank the good Lord it was just hair.
  3. My son is going to be speaking at the FHU lectures! He is good and soul-conscious, whether I am there or not!
  4. My big tinsel Christmas tree had lots of presents under it during the holiday. So blessed. And now it could turn into a red and silver Valentine tree!
  5. We have a great volunteer fire department and they practically had a men’s day in the back yard (firemen, neighbors and friends) when the fire was out. Great opportunity for evangelism. 
  6. Everybody should be happy when there are kettle-cooked potato chips in the pantry. I’ve been to countries where such a temptation was completely unavailable. So rich. (But now that they are gone, I should wait a while before re-purchasing “for the kids “…maybe until they really are coming.)
  7. The “something unkind” was also untrue. Now, that’s a blessing. 
  8. Before I could turn around, my friend who lost his job had secured better employment, from home, with no time without a paycheck.
  9. We have this warm, dry place to be together even if we are not going anywhere. Some people actually take a vacation right here with us or in our cabin. Plus, Glenn is getting the basement cleaned out this week.  That is a huge undertaking that simply would not happen if we did not use Glenn’s week off to accomplish. We may even get off the “Hoarder’s Anonymous” mailing list this week!
  10. There are several deceased loved ones waiting for us in glory. Our basement is full of memorabilia, lots of which they saved with us, specifically, in mind. That’s because they loved us and thought ahead about us. Theres’a lot to which we look forward, in death! We will see the people and not the stuff. We will come to the full blessed realization that nothing matters except souls!

And if you want to see the “after,” here’s a good interpretation. I hope your weekend is this happy!





Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang… and Flying

Eliza Jane Giselbach, born a week-and-a-half ago is the best thing that’s happened to this Mammy during the pandemic, for sure. She’s also the catalyst for lots of lost sleep, more than a few episodes of over-excitement in her siblings, and searches for pandemic-safe outlets for kids who are making way too much racket for a mom (and mammy) who are over their heads in unpacking from a move, laundry, cooking and just adjusting to life with a newborn, once again. 

While watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with them, Ezra asked if we could ever really get a car that could fly. After hearing various speculations around the room about the unlikelihood of that happening during our lifetimes, Ezra said this: “…But we are going to fly—just by ourselves—when Jesus comes to get us. We will fly and we will not even need a car or a plane or anything.”

I Corinthians 15 explains to us the very serious nature of his little five-year-old statement. Everything we are and do and every hope that anchors us is founded in the fact that the resurrection from the dead happened in that garden outside Jerusalem 2000 years ago, facilitating His own flight back to the Father; and that the resurrection and ascension will happen again for you and me. That all-encompassing thesis for the lives of all Christians, in fact, is the driving force for all the things we’ve done in the craziness of welcoming Eliza Jane into that household. Papa and I held those wee hands several times during the day of her birth and prayed for her safety and her life in the Lord. We held them again after her safe delivery and thanked Him for their new little sister. We prayed that she would grow up to be a strong and faithful force for good in the Kingdom. Every night before they climb into their beds in that little nursery, we say our books of the Bible, spend time in a Bible account with them and listen to them talk to God. They pray about Baxter, the cat, with the same ardor that they pray for Eliza, at this point, But our whole purpose in these times around the Word is their emergence in, at last and for all time, knowing the difference between things that are temporal and things that are eternal—people who will be raised and things that will not. Every mealtime prayer, every Bible time, every worship assembly, every invitation to neighbors to visit our services, every card of encouragement, every prayer for a lost one, every blog-post, every speaking appointment, every spanking, every ethical discussion and decision, every meal prepared or instance of hospitality offered—every one— is woven into the fiber of life that comes from being certain that He walked away from the tomb. 

But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead (I Cor. 15:13-20).

IN FACT.  Those two words about the resurrection are the crux of most of what I will do today. I’m so thankful for the resurrection and for the purpose, hope and certainty it brings to every day of my life. What appears to be chaotic in the moments of a Christian’s life is not really chaotic at all. Even the stressful and sleepless times are purposeful. Even the inevitable moments when we fall to temptation are of value when we right the wrongs and learn from the failures. It’s profound to ponder that something empty in Jerusalem 2000 years ago is making my life full and purposeful still today. Something that shook the earth, then, has given me something unshakeable. Praise God today for the resurrection!

And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it (Matthew 28:2).

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe… (Heb. 12:28).

And praise Him that, leaving our own tombs, we will fly…without a car or a plane or anything!