in all ways...always

Every week I have the privilege of interacting with children and their families. It's amazing how much I can gather about a child's homelife just by observing their behavior and interaction with others.

Now, I'm not a parent, and definitely don't claim to be an expert or professional when it comes to raising children, but there's something very key that I've noticed when it comes to maintaining open, honest, and close relationships in families. It's something that seems so simple, yet is often misinterpreted or understood - it's unconditional love.

Perhaps I'm biased to unconditional love because I feel as though I grew up in a home where it was in abundance. To me it seemed like there was nothing I could do that would make my parents love me any less. And so, when I hit the age of becoming an adult, where many teens would keep secrets, conversation was open and honest with my parents. Now, there were times when my parents may have been disappointed, but it didn't change the fact that I was loved and accepted.

Unconditional love needs to be shown in the simplest of ways for trust to be built. For example, children need to know that they are loved regardless of their grades in school, their behavior, their looks - until they know that they are loved, the chances of them trusting an adult are very slim. If a child feels like they can't trust an adult with something as simple as a bad grade on a test, how will they ever trust an adult with a secret such as being abused, drinking or smoking, sex, pornography, relationships?

As adults we need to be certain that we are showing unconditional love to the children in our world. Unfortunately there are children who come from homes where unconditional love isn't found. It breaks my heart to think that there are children who have deep, dark secrets and no one to share them with. That's where I step in. Although I generally only spend a few hours a week with the children in my world, they know that I'm a safe place, that they are accepted and loved regardless of the week they've had. They are loved simply because of who they are, not what they do.

I see showing unconditional love in all ways, always, as being a crucial part in raising confident, secure, successful children.

Imagine how different our schools, churches, communities and cities could be if all children knew that they were loved unconditionally? Imagine how things would change if children knew that despite their current situation or circumstance that they're accepted?

My job is to let children know that there is at least one adult in their life who loves them and believes in their potential.


not alone

I'm people-orientated. To me, people are far more important then a task, and I love being surrounded by bodies. Put me in a busy shopping center, at a conference, sporting event, festival, anywhere you find loads of people and I'm more then happy!

The office I work in is has been quite quiet since last Wednesday, and will continue to be quiet until September 1st. Summer tends to be a bit slower in the office as it is, but for the remainder of August while staff members are on holidays its exceptionally slow and BORING. Basically its totally brutal for a people lover.

Today while sitting in my lonely, quite office, while thinking about how much I dislike being alone, someone stopped by. It was glorious, even though brief. But before my visitor left she said something that completely changed my outlook on the next week and a half.

"You are not alone. You may think you're alone, but you're not. You have the Father, Son and Holy Spirit with you."

How true, and how quick am I to forget.


little identity crisis

I was named after the fabulous, completely inspiring Katherine. But when I was born my dad wanted my name to be spelled with "C" so he could call me CJ. "CJ" caught on and some family members and a select few close friends have used those two letters to identify me over the years.
In January of 2005 I was introduced a "CJ" for the first time, and the name stuck. For two years of my life I was know exclusively as "CJ" and it was very rare that "Catherine" was ever used.
December of 2006 was the last time that I would introduce myself as "CJ," until The Edge...
One Friday morning a month I get to be "CJ," unless you tune into The Miracle Channel on Saturday mornings.

I used to joke about my "little identity crisis" as I went from being "Catherine" to "CJ" and then back again.
The truth is, my identity isn't found in my name.

I know who I am, because I know whose I am.


calm before the storm?

My husband and I lead busy lives.

At the moment my life is not busy. Up until this point my summer has been pretty outrageous, and not your typical restful season full of holidays. The next two weeks before the beginning of September seem abnormally bare on my calendar, which leads me to one thought...

is this the calm before the storm?

Looking back over the past few years, it's a very rare thing to have "downtime" (whatever that is). Perhaps these next two weeks are clear on my calendar to give me time to get rested and rejuvenated for what the autumn will bring.

I've been challenged on numerous accounts to "be prepared in season and out of season" (2 Tim. 2:4). What better time to be prepared then when life isn't busy?

So, for the next two weeks I will be prepared, and I will be preparing for what is to come...
I've come to realize that any calm in my life is most certainly followed by a storm.

Thankfully I like storms.


Belsher Reunion Moment #2

God, we thank you for this incredible time to gather once again as a family.
We thank you for giving us a strong family, not only in numbers, but in relationships.
We thank you for value that has been placed on family starting with great grandma and grandpa that has been passed on from generation to generation.
In an age where is seems the value of family has been lost, we ask that our family would be an example to those in our communities of what you desire family to be.
God, I thank you that you do not make mistakes, that no one is apart of this family by accident, rather by your design.
Continue to bless this family.
Give the parents, grandparents and great grandparents wisdom as they guide and raise remarkable men and women.
May the rich heritage and love that defines this family continue on through the future generations.
Thank you for Your love that is seen in and through those here as well as those who couldn’t be with us.
In Your mighty name, Amen.


Matty Got Ran Over By The Belsher's

(sung to the tune of 'Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer')

Matty got ran over by the Belsher's
He didn't see them coming for afar
All he wanted was to marry CJ
At four hundred and counting, here we are

First he had to meet all of the aunties
All the kisses all the hugs and all the yuck
Then he had to go and meet the uncles
If it weren't for Uncle Ken he'd be a shmuck

If he said he'd seen it all he would have been wrong
For the cousins took him down the hill that night
And after all the beer and all the drinking
He was happy just to say he was alive

He was up on time and went to have some breakfast
Just to have his name pronounced wrong from the start
But when he looked at who was trying to say it
It was for him that he felt sorry from the heart

The next day at lunch he was told to come up
And asked why he wanted to be a Belsher
He didn't know but it could always be worse
He could have had to be a Lingerfelt

Well thank you for letting me be here today
To sing this song for my new family
Some may say the Belsher's are all crazy
But as for little Matty he believes.

By Matt Furukawa