Browsing Tag


Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Little Souls and Heaven Talk

Today, I had the three G kids for a while so their Mama could work on her lesson for PTP. It was a Murphy’s law kind of day in all small ways. I mean I couldn’t even believe all the random little calamities. SO in the middle of that, we sat in the car in the rain in a parking lot with a near-dead phone waiting for a rescue from Papa. This little conversation occurred, that put Mr. Murphy out of business!

Colleyanna: Can we listen to music?

Me: I’d like everyone to just be quiet for a little bit, so I can look for my credit card and Papa’s wallet.

Ezra: Yeah, Colleyanna. We just need to be quiet. Mammy is having a hard time. But, this IS a good day, I mean a few little things have gone wrong.

Me (in my head) Yes, a few little things… Wet toddler panties in the wrong place… blackened, in the wrong way, pork chops that we were taking to the shut-ins… dropped muffins that we were taking to the shut-ins… a little hand in the candy jar at the candy store…the discovery that I had no charge card in my wallet and no (zero) cash AFTER the kids had measured out their little bags of candy at the candy store and AFTER the proprietor had weighed it and totaled it up…the discovery that my husband who was nearby had also forgotten his wallet at home because he had baptized someone the night before and gotten his clothes all wet and laid his wallet somewhere to dry…then being rescued by Paul Owen who sometimes has that emergency money on him, and loaned it to my husband…then the drink machine at the restaurant took three minutes between each screen change. [They finally just gave me a big bottle after I had tried to get the kids a drink for about fifteen minutes.]… Then we came out of the restaurant and it was pouring rain and Colleyanna said, “Remember we were going to play in the splash pad.” I said “We ARE playing in the splash pad! It’s just coming from the sky instead of the ground, and we didn’t change into our water shoes!”)

Me (aloud): Yes it is a great day! Papa is coming to help us and everything will be great.

Ezra: But what if Papa has a wreck on the way over here?

Me: Well, he will be fine, but even if he does, that will be okay, too. Because we are going to all be okay all the way to heaven because we just pray when we have a problem and call on God’s people and God takes care of us, always. And he does that all the way to heaven.

Colleyanna: In heaven what will we do if we want something?

Ezra: You won’t even want the same things in heaven.

Me: God will make sure you have everything you want. You will be completely happy.

Colleyanna: So everything will just cost about a dollar or something?

Me: There will not be any money in heaven because we will not need to buy anything. God will make sure we have everything we need.

Colleyanna: Oh…And there’s not going to be anything bad? I mean I know there’s not going to be any crying.

Me: Right. There will be nothing sad, nothing that hurts, you will never wish any thing was different than it is, when we get there.

Colleyanna: But if he wipes away all tears, then could there be tears that you cry because you are happy?

Ezra: yeah, I think there could be happy tears.

Me: I guess so.

Ezra: Can the devil ever get into heaven?

Me: No. He will be forever in a very bad place with all the people who are liars and who don’t want to follow Jesus. It will be very bad for those people. That’s why it is hard to see why any people don’t want to follow Jesus for this short time on earth. It’s just really a test to see if we decide we want to follow Him and go to heaven. Why would people not choose that?

Ezra: But the devil will always be happy, right?

Me: You know, I don’t think anyone is truly happy if he decides to live away from God. Maybe people act like they are very happy and glad, but, really, I don’t think the devil will be happy at all in eternity. It will be a very bad way to exist and he will know that he has been forever defeated. He has lost.

Then Papa drove up with a borrowed 100 dollar bill and after he left …

Colleyanna: Wow! A hundred dollars! That is a LOT of money!

Me: (in my head): A half-a-dollar would be a lot of money right now, in comparison, when I’m sitting here in the rain without one red cent and without my credit card. 

Colleyanna: Can I see that one hundred dollar bill?

Me: Sure,  just hang on to it. It’s all we have today.

Ezra: Oh Mammy, maybe you shouldn’t give her that.

Me: It’s okay.

Colleyanna: Look this bill says “God”.

Me: Right. All of our money says “In God we trust.” That’s becasue our founding fathers wanted people to remember to trust in God instead of money. Wouldn’t it be great if all people did trust in God instead of money?

Ezra: Colleyanna, give that back now before you tear it.

I kind of agree with Ezra. I mean, a few little things have gone wrong, but it was a pretty good day. =)…And thanks, Mr. Paul.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Forever the Sentimentalist

Forever the sentimentalist, I wanted to honor the memory of my cousin and I wanted to see (and hug) the other cousins who would be mourning the passing of my sweet Sandy Smith Prado. To attend this funeral, I’d need to be back in that church building where I worshipped with my aged father scores, maybe even hundreds, of times during his latter years. It’s always a little bittersweet to be there. So many memories come flooding back. It’s where he fell and broke his wrist in the parking lot, while on my watch. It’s where he got confused, while ill,  and  came into the auditorium on that Friday, wearing his coat and tie and carrying his Bible. He thought it was Sunday. One of those dear cousins found him lying up near the communion table later that day, barely conscious. (He recovered and lived happily for several more years.) The graves of both my parents and both sets of grandparents are just across the street from this building.

But there are so many more sweet memories than difficult ones. This is the place where my grandparents and my parents worshipped and it was on the third pew, on the left, where I was trained to behave and sit still during worship. Several days went down in infamous history. There was one Sunday when I stood up on that pew at age three and sang the commercial jingle “Winston tastes good like a (clap-clap) cigarette should.” (Needless to say, there was never a repeat performance of that.) There was another Sunday morning when I forgot to take off my little shorty-pajamas and put my little-girl panties-on under my dress. My mom discovered that omission when we were en-route to worship and so she said “How embarrassing that will be when people see you have on your pajamas!…You will have to sit very still today so no one will know.”  She said I had never sat so still for an hour in my whole little life! I can still smell the wooden tables the men of the church had built and placed in those beige-tiled classrooms and I can still feel the slats in the seats of those now-vintage ladder back classroom chairs. I can see those 20th Century Christian workbooks and attendance charts. Those were good days. 

When my sisters and I met up at Sandy’s funeral, I brought the old stroller from our childhood days to return it to my sister Sami. We’ve been passing around the old metal and wooden stroller for years now. Whoever has the youngest baby in the family has the stroller, so that all the babies get a chance to have a picture made in that old piece of nostalgia. Eliza Jane was passing it on along for baby Ashton. 

And so I was there, with both my sisters, in the yard of the Jacksonville church and I realized: This is the stroller that my parents were pushing us around in when we were worshipping with them at this place. And right over there is one of the big oak trees that were planted on this church lot within a few weeks of my birth. They were just saplings planted by my father, just after the property was secured for the church.  The trees are huge now, but children still play around and under them while their parents visit after worship, just as we did during the 1960’s as our parents talked and laughed and sometimes had “dinner on the ground.” (Our mothers had bigger hair and smaller bank accounts than most mothers today! Our mothers had stockings with garter belts and  and our dads had pocket watches and tie-tacks. We kids rolled around in that old Rambler as we drove to church—no car seats or even seat belts. Sometimes my daddy even held one of us in his lap while he drove.) Those were good days. (i really love also that there are JSU buildings in the background of the pictures. These are buildings that my grandfather and my uncles helped to build. There are also buildings back there in which my parents got their training to be school teachers in the mid-twentieth century.) Did I say that I can get a little sappy about the past?

And, as we remembered, we grabbed a phone and made a few pictures. (Now, there’s a sentence we would have never said back in 1965!) I’m glad for the quick pictures of the stroller in the churchyard under the old tree. I will treasure them for whatever time I have left on this earth. Eliza Jane did not want to pass the stroller along to baby Ashton Nicholas. She cried.  She wanted her turn to last a little longer. Truth be told, so did I. If only the babies’ turns to be babies could last a little longer. If only the end of the stroller days were a little more gentle on a mammy’s emotions.

My dad pushing Hannah at Noccalula Falls. Caleb, who now preaches for the North Jackson church in the foreground, with antics. =) My mother in the background.

My dad used to call the stroller, the “conveyance.”…”Did you bring the conveyance?” He called his walker this, too, when he became old and needed ambulatory help. He pushed that stroller great distances, I’m sure—conveying his little ones through neighborhoods and zoos and parks. And, just like that, it’s not his children, or his grandchildren, but his great grandchildren who are being conveyed. 

This one has both my sisters! And, once again, Caleb is the ham. =)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Whatever you plan to do with your babies, you’d better get on it. Most importantly, be sure their conveyance to heaven is always a happening thing. Make sure their conveyance easily transfers from the streets of your neighborhood to the streets of gold. And it’s okay if you treasure the memories of the baby years a little more than the people around you. You know the importance of blamelessness.  For you, those baby years are the innocence—the sweet purity before God (not yet lost) that Christ restores (once lost) through Calvary. It’s okay to love the little conveyances that are reminders of those sweet years. 



Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

One Big Family

Friday was a pretty regular kind of day. But as I neared the end of it, I realized that I had depended on my family in the Lord for my regular-kind-of-day maintenance. I thanked God for being part of His family and realized that it’s true….I count on my spiritual family to a much greater degree than I do my physical family. 

Someone from a congregation in Jackson, Tennessee hosted me for my breakfast. Then I headed home and, when about halfway home, I had a flat tire. I called on someone from a congregation in Huntsville, Alabama (who I knew would be passing me on that highway), to see if he could stop and give me a hand. But that person knew someone from a congregation in Tuscumbia, Alabama who was only five minutes away and that local Christian was right there where I was in about ten minutes. Then I came on toward home, but stopped into a church secretary’s office in Decatur, Alabama to retrieve items left at a camp and returned to me from a congregation in Winchester, Tennessee. My friend in that Winchester church had sent them through a brother in the Decatur church.  I came on home and got the cabin ready for some of the sweetest people on the planet from another congregation that’s dear to my heart in Salem, Virginia. In the meantime, I had a little help from someone else who was from a second church in Huntsville, Alabama. 

I had help from folks in six churches that day and, though I was thankful, I didn’t even count it a particularly unusual blessing. I take the family for granted, sometimes, but I shouldn’t. I thank God that I am in a family. 

And the comforting thing is, all of those people with whom I was interacting, were also busily involved with other people in the same family of God. The family where I was eating breakfast showed me a curriculum they were making that will serve thousands of people in hundreds of congregations. The person I called on when I realized my tire was flat was returning home from a camp where he and his wife had influenced young people from scores of congregations all over the United States. The person from the congregation in Tuscumbia was on his way to Oklahoma to visit a college campus and he spoke to me about the congregation with which they would worship on Sunday. I know folks from that Oklahoma church, too. His wife was returning home from a camp on Friday, as well, where she had counseled girls from multiple congregations. When I stopped into the church in Decatur, I also delivered books to an elder who plans to use them in local family ministry. The person who returned my items from camp had just returned from follow-up disaster relief work with a church in Florida, and is on his way to another church in Oklahoma to help launch a boys leadership/ministry camp there. The woman who sent me the lost items is on her way to Oklahoma to work in the kingdom, as well. (It’s an Oklahoma week!) And the reason I was doing all this without my husband, in the first place, was that he was on his way to a Lads to Leaders board meeting in Montgomery, Alabama where he would help make plans for the program that involves hundreds of churches around the world. The family in the cabin came to town to visit more family, both in the flesh and in the Lord, who have just completed a three-year stint in England, where they became deeply involved with the family of God in Britain. 

And the amazing thing about all of this is that all of these hundreds of congregations are biblically autonomous. They are connected as a family—people who reach out and help when needs are identified, but they are not a part of any caucus, hierarchy or earthly organization to which they are accountable. Each congregation is governed by the Word first, and then by local elders who meet the qualifications given in Titus 1 and 1 Timothy 3. These elders are there to make decisions in matters of opinion and to feed the Word of God to the local flock. 

I’m just so thankful for the family. God could have called on me to obey His commands in isolation. But He gave me a family; a family with tentacles that are long and tangled and secure. He put me in another generation of the same family that protected Paul, encouraged Onesimus and sacrificially provided for saints in Jerusalem. 

Disparaging and unfaithful voices like to publicly throw out criticism of God’s church today, describing her as unloving and judgmental, or pharisaical and outmoded. Those voices beckon us to believe that we cannot have, be and promote the church of the New Testament today. They disparage on the premise that we cannot know enough truth to emulate the church and follow the doctrine preserved by the Holy Spirit in the Word. I cannot disagree more. While, it may be palatable to some to believe I can drift along in a spiritual journey without being conscientious about being a part of the church Jesus was describing in Matthew 16:15, 16, the Word makes an ultimatum of church membership, assigned by God at baptism (Acts 2:37-47) and adherence to the doctrine of the New Testament (Romans 6:17; Acts 2:42). I cannot be saved without being part of the New Testament church…the family of God. And I’m so glad for that family!

Thanks to the people who saw me safely home on Friday and to the people who are helping to see me safely home for good! Just so blessed in the family!

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

The Father on this Pilgrimage

Father’s Day is Sunday. My children’s father has always exhibited the characteristics of a godly father. But I’m just going to tell you that it’s the 63-year-old father, even more than the 36-year-old one  that really shows the stuff he’s made of. “Sandwich generation” was never a more fitting description for anyone than it has been the last two years for Glenn Colley. Caring for his father till his death last fall and continuing to care for his mother as she suffers from deep and progressive dementia, of course, was/is enough—enough in every physical, spiritual, and emotional way. He cleared out a large house with 60-plus years worth of sentimental possessions, had yard sales, protected their nest egg from scammers, and moved them—three times, virtually alone.

But, on the other side of the sandwich, during those same months, this father, with the help of many of God’s people in two cities, has moved a family of four—four times! These moves have been, by far, the hardest ones, because mixed in with the physical exhaustion, has been extreme emotional pain, intense spiritual seeking and dependence, and providing the only soft space on earth for this mom and grandmother. And while he has done all of these heart-breaking (and back-breaking) things, he’s preached the Word of God upwards of 200 times, helped organize and made a trip to the Bible Lands, sat down and talked with scores of people who have sought his counsel, and helped provide accountability for several people who are breaking habits, dependencies and addictions. I know this is HOW he has done it, but he has also spent many, many hours in earnest prayer though these years. I should add that he has done all of this in the face of some pretty potent criticism from a very few people—but people for whom he deeply cares. I’ve watched him examine and re-examine his motives and actions, always striving to bring his life into conformity with Christ in every way. He would be the first to tell you that he is always in need of the mercy and grace extended in his behalf at Calvary. 

Yesterday, we went together to see someone who seems to be in the process of walking away from the Lord. I watched him balance, as on a tight wire, the tasks of taking every personal insult with grace and credibility, while not giving any space for the insults being hurled at the Word of God. Humility and confidence are not easily mixed, but I have watched the mixture of personal humility and unflinching confidence in the Will of God become a conduit for the Word to work in many lives through this man. 

Now, you are thinking, and I am knowing—I am biased. I have been the one walking beside him for 43 years! I love him and so I am bound to praise and honor him. That’s true. I am him and he is me: one flesh. As his wife, I have probably been more frustrated, angrier, more critical at times, and even more hurt by this good man than anybody on the planet…because he is a man. But every flaw, every aggravation, every mistake and every sin serves to make me love Jesus more—for his leaving heaven, living as a man, and dying on the cross, so that after waking up beside a good, but not perfect, human for this lifetime, I will one day wake up in a place where the heavenly Father has completely perfected this father of my children. And I will see him with perfected eyes. Though we will not be married, I will love him perfectly!

Praise God for the Christian father in your life. If you do not have one, praise Him for the privilege of being a child of the ultimate Father who can redeem every hurtful thing in your life. Glenn Colley is the father who has sheltered and moved us around on this pilgrimage toward heaven. But that Father has moved us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His dear Son.. He shelters, loves, listens and answers our heavenward pleadings. He has a forever home waiting for Glenn and Cindy Colley. He is the Father of mercies. 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort…(2 Corinthians 1:3).

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Little Truths from Anne with an “e”…

Thanks to three friends who could have invited any number of friends who would have loved this trip, but invited me, I am sitting in a seaside cottage watching huge whitecaps roll in and thinking about Anne of Green Gables. I’m on Prince Edward Island, off course. Try not to be jealous and think with me, for a few minutes about Anne, with an “e”. She’a the 1908 creation of Lucy Maud Montgomery and she is one of my all-time favorite literary characters. SO, in honor, of a girl’s trip that’s been on my bucket list for many years, Here are a few favorite quotes from Anne. She made lots of Biblical applications in this fictional work. Here are a few of my favorites. 

“I’ve made up my mind to enjoy this drive. It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will. Of course, you must make it up firmly.” Anne  

Contentment in Christ consists of the making up of the mind. It’s a firm commitment to the One Who gives us hope and assurance. It’s knowing that, no matter what comes my way, both good and bad events will work together for my good, as His child (Romans 8:28). It is learning, as Paul did that contentment is not in the state of outward circumstances. Contentment is in the soul—the mind—given over to Christ, though Whom I can do all things.

I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil. 4:12-13

“Oh, they meant to be —I know they meant to be just as good and kind as possible. And when people mean to be good to you, you don’t mind very much when they’re not quite—always.” Anne

Sometimes, when we feel slighted or even abused by people, it’s very helpful to stand back and use our imaginations. What could have been happening in his/her life that provoked such inattention or even unkindness? Is the way she treated me representative of who she is, or is this just an anomaly? Was her intent really malicious or was this just a bad day? It’s called long-suffering and forbearance, It’s called, by the Holy Spirit, “thinking no evil.” 

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil…1 Corinthians 13:4,5

“You have given me a hope. I shall always feel that you are a benefactor.” Anne

Hope is among the greatest of gifts, for the extinguishing of it is the death of dreams. Hope is anticipation with expectation. Christ is our greatest benefactor,  for while men may offer hope for a higher salary, a position of worldly influence, or even an extended lifetime, Jesus is the solitary source of hope eternal. My hope in Jesus is infinitely more precious than any motivating anticipation offered by this world.  We rejoice in that hope.

Rejoicing in hope (Romans 12:12)

“But he wasn’t talking to me….He was talking to God and he didn’t seem to be very much interested in it either. I think he thought God was too far off to make it worthwhile.” Anne

Sometimes, if we are not careful, we can fall into the rut of saying our prayers, rather than praying; of bowing our heads and not our hearts,  God has given us full access to the greatest source of power, light, and warmth that can be known in this lifetime. But he wants us, still, to ask. And He always hears. He walks right beside each of us. God is my one friend that is always closest, most accessible, most helpful and most forgiving. I think I should make sure, in this lifetime, that he is the friend with whom I communicate most often and with whom I have the deepest relationship.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 These. 5:16-18. 

“It’s lovely to be going home and know it’s home.” Anne 

As Christians, we are headed home. It’s a blessed assurance to understand that this world is not my home. When I grasp the reality of the brevity of the fleeting pleasures of this world and the unfathomable beauty of the land to which I am going, I can begin to contemplate the ultimate dimension of loveliness. 

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (Revelation 21:4)


I love this trip. But I really love the bigger pilgrimage I’m taking—the one that encompasses everything lovely, everything challenging, everything temporal and all things lasting. That trip is really what every other little journey is about!

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!