Friday, April 20, 2018

If I Could Turn Back Time

When they arrive at the gates of death, God welcomes those who love Him.Psalm 116:15 The Message

The first time I talked with Major P, was almost ten years ago. I was having a hard time deciphering the metered speech of a “flat affect,” one of the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The exchange between us has become one of my favorite stories to retell.

That evening I had donned a Tina Turner wig, some outrageous 70’s disco outfit and was doing my best to make the group of wounded warriors and their spouses relax, have fun, and be comfortable with a new set of strangers looking to “help.” I shared an embarrassing family anecdote about my sons seeing me driving down the highway.

“There I was on I-35 with Cher cranked up on my portable CD player. I was happy, I was rocking out, and I was head banging and fist shaking to the hit ‘If I Could Turn Back Time.’ Just as I was really expressing myself, a pick-up truck pulls alongside me. I was not about to let some kids spoil the mood. I refused to look at them (laughing probably). I just kept singing, ‘If I could turn back timeeeeeeeeeee, If I could find a wayeeeeeeeee, I’d take back those things…’ My head was in full-bop mode, and my eyes were squinting  just barely enough to stay the course on the road. The pick-up truck stayed right with me. ‘Alright, I’ll look at them and let them have their laugh and poke fun at me, but IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME!’ I turned my head towards the truck driving parallel to my car only to discover it was MY SONS! My youngest (laughing hysterically) was pointing at his cell phone, indicating he was going to call me. I picked up the phone and he could hardly speak for the laughter. “Mom, we knew you were weird, but you’re even weird when you’re alone!”

Afterwards, Major P came up to me and spoke in a halting pattern. “Mam,       I need        to     ask   you something.” “Sure,” I replied.  “Mam,           was that       a     true    story?” “Yes, it was. You met my son earlier, you can ask him.” “Mam,                I don’t have            any short term            memory. I          don’t   remember him. But                 I just wanted you to know,    that’s the              funniest story            I’ve ever heard.”

The next day, the Chaplain who had been working the Warrior Transition Battalion and knew Major P and his family quite well, told me it was the first time he had ever seen him smile.

Year after year I looked forward to spending time with them during the retreats and hearing how they were getting on in school and at home. The oldest girl always loved coming in to my Imagination Station and would spend hours dressing up in a variety of hats, wigs, feather boas and makeup! As her younger brother and sister got to an age when they could be away from their mother, she would traipse them in and outfit them with the outrageousness of a big sister’s imagination. It was great fun and they were always one of my favorite families.

It’s now been ten years that I’ve worked in the military community, with wounded warriors, distraught spouses and broken-hearted children.  I’m often asked if I miss going overseas to the foreign mission field. Of course, there is a more urgent sense of impact and an immediate gratification of a “job” completed, with an arrival time and a defined departure. But I have no doubt I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and that my years overseas prepared me for such a “time” as this.

The last time I talked with Maj P was this past October. I was busy running errands in preparation for my seventeenth Wounded Warrior Getaway. When I saw his number come up on my phone I pulled the car over and braced myself. I wanted to be fully engaged in the conversation. His speech affect had gotten better with therapy and treatment, but he still hesitated from time to time. I couldn’t tell if it was the subject matter or his TBI. He asked if I knew of an organization that could help get his daughter from the retreat back up to Missouri when it was over. He stuttered, “Our family has been having some problems. I want to see them all be together at the retreat. I think it would be good for us to be happy again.” He ended the conversation by thanking me for my time and shared how much the Warrior Getaways had meant to the family over the years.

I talked with his son driving them down the next day and related I had talked to his father. I assured him something could be worked out and to come on and participate in the retreat. I commended him for taking on the responsibility (considering I have known him since he was just nine years old). What he said broke my heart. “Charlynn, don’t worry about it. It’s not your problem. I’ll figure something out. I’ve been doing it since I was 8.”

A few months after the Warrior Getaway, the oldest daughter of Major P was awarded the Military Child of the Year. She had submitted a heartfelt essay to the organization Operation Homefront sharing the impact of her father’s injury, and how she and the family had persevered and endured. The average entrant has moved four times (or more), experienced at least one parent deployed for over 29 months, volunteered with service groups at least 370 hours during the year, maintained above average grades, often with honors, excelled in sports, theatre, or music, and held leadership positions in school and community groups. It’s an extraordinary accomplishment and national recognition to achieve!

Her father will not be present when she receives the award.  

Last Sunday as I was getting ready to leave for church, my phone rang. When I saw the number, I braced myself; Church-folk don’t call each other on Sunday mornings. 

It was the Director of the Warrior Getaways bearing the bad news. Major P had ended his life.

She asked if I would pass the information on.

I know each one of the people I called thought the same thing when they saw MY number pop up on a calm Sunday morning. I know each one of them was glad to be surrounded by their faith communities where they could begin to grieve, and to pray. We are all still grieving, we are all still praying.

The government reports there are 20 veteran suicides EACH DAY. That statistic is staggering. The statistic that is not reported are the tens of thousands of children, spouses and loved ones left behind wondering if there was something else, something more, some words, some treatment or some help, that could have made a difference.

If I could turn back time….

“He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good – tears gone, crying gone, pain gone – all the first order of things gone.” Revelation 21:4-5 The Message

Thank you for your support of Sunshine After Rain Ministries. Your faithfulness has equipped the ministry through twenty-two years of service overseas and here at home to our nation’s military. We must continue to offer hope to those who have lost hope and the Light to those lost in darkness. The battle is far from over. 

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Cloud by Day

"The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand..." Psalm 121:5

It's over 100 degrees here in Texas, and the nightly news reports of heat waves across the country. Some would say it's global warming, but I remember 1980 when there were 42  consecutive days over the century mark. Those times are seared in my memory, and probably my body - 

I was 6 months pregnant with my first child. 

This is also the time of year when I found myself (still find myself) in "dire" need of funds and prayers. I have my prayerful pleas noted in the margins of the Psalms (where my Daily Reading schedules me). Today is no different,

still, but ...

"Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting. He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed, shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him." Psalm 126:5-6

The Psalms of the Ascents were prayed as pilgrims made their way to Jerusalem to celebrate the prescribed Feasts of the Lord. They united the people with their past and brought to remembrance the faithfulness of their God. They prayed about repentance (120), providence (121), worship (122), service (123) and help (124). There were songs of security (125), joy (126), work (127), happiness (128), perseverance (129) and hope (130). All aspects of living,  spiritual life and struggles were addressed; from humility (131), obedience (132), community (133), to blessing (134). God's people remembered, and they prayed.

It's good to remember.  It's good to unite with you in prayer!

For the past 90 days, I have been working in partnership with Homeless Veterans Services of Dallas and the Veterans Resource Center to bring to light efforts in Washington D.C. to privatize veterans' medical treatment*. I've  spoken with Generals and Congressional representatives, Union officials and the leadership of Veterans Service Organizations across the country. In most meetings I have been the only civilian AND the only female. 

"Had it not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us. Then they would have swallowed us alive..." Psalm 124:2-3

Most days I have felt like the little kid who showed up with the bread and the cheese (1 Samuel 17:17-20), astonished by what happens behind the political curtains. I have kept the faith, and fought the good fight.

The battle is not over, but this  warrior is weary.

Finances are critically depleted. After twenty years in full-time ministry, asking for support has not gotten any easier. But I'm asking. It takes an ARMY to accomplish the work the King has placed before us. We've been fighting on behalf of our nation's heroic men and women through our military initiative Battle-Buddy Info. We've had over 150,000 hits to our resource directory website, and tomorrow, I will be meeting with the most powerful individual in Veterans' Administration.



Visit the website and pledge your support for the battle! All amounts matter and make a difference.

Smiling still in His service
Serving those who served,


*For more on the efforts of the Commission on Care to privatize veterans' healthcare visit or request information from

Friday, November 20, 2015

Parade #139

"But many who are first will be last, and the last shall be first." Matthew 19:30

Just seven days have passed since the nation celebrated those who have fought to defend our freedom and the values we, as Americans, cherish. I was excited to participate with the Homeless Veterans Services of Dallas (HVSD) and march with a large contingency of veterans who are homeless on our city streets. 

For the past two months, the ministry's Military Initiative (Battle-Buddy Info) has been coordinating  Community Partners and resources for the "Stand Down" week honoring veterans at the Veterans Resource Center. Although I had heard the term "stand down" bantered about among my veteran friends, I thought since I was actually involved in orchestrating some of the events, I'd better be clear on what it means in the military culture. 

The "Stand Down" order, I was told, means stop everything you are doing and do what the Commanding Officer tells you to attend to immediately and without question. 

"A soldier on duty doesn't get caught up in making deals at the marketplace. He concentrates on carrying out orders." 2 Timothy 2:4 The Message

"Stand Down" events are typically held by Veterans' organizations around Veterans Day to stop normally scheduled programs to allow for tribute and special services to be provided. This year the HVSD expanded the time of honor to be nine days! This included marching in one of the nation's largest Veterans Day parades in hopes of raising awareness on the issue of homelessness among our nation's warriors. 

We arrived and were directed to our spot: #139. At the time we didn't know what that meant. The parking lot where all the high school marching bands, floats and various VFW groups were assembling was vast and filling up slowly. 

We saw local and national groups we're associated with, and shared our excitement about being in the parade. One friend, an active duty Naval Officer asked who we were marching with, wondering why we weren't with their organization on the other side of the parking lot. My associate shared we were there with HVSD. "Homeless veterans?" He said quizzically. "Where are veterans homeless?" We then pointed out the two huge armored transport vehicles filled with the veterans we had been serving during"But many who are first will be last, and the last shall be first." Matthew 19:30

Just seven days have passed since the nation celebrated those who have fought to defend our freedom and the values we, as Americans, cherish. I was excited to participate with the Homeless Veterans Services of Dallas (HVSD) and march with a large contingency of veterans who are homeless on our city streets. 

For the past two months, the ministry's Military Initiative (Battle-Buddy Info) has been coordinating  Community Partners and resources for the "Stand Down" week honoring veterans at the Veterans Resource Center. Although I had heard the term "stand down" bantered about among my veteran friends, I thought since I was actually involved in orchestrating some of the events, I'd better be clear on what it means in the military culture. 

The "Stand Down" order, I was told, means stop everything you are doing and do what the Commanding Officer tells you to attend to immediately and without question. 

"A soldier on duty doesn't get caught up in making deals at the marketplace. He concentrates on carrying out orders." 2 Timothy 2:4 The Message

"Stand Down" events are typically held by Veterans' organizations around Veterans Day to stop normally scheduled programs to allow for tribute and special services to be provided. This year the HVSD expanded the time of honor to be nine days! This included marching in one of the nation's largest Veterans Day parades in hopes of raising awareness on the issue of homelessness among our nation's warriors. 

We arrived and were directed to our spot: #139. At the time we didn't know what that meant. The parking lot where all the high school marching bands, floats and various VFW groups were assembling was vast and filling up slowly. 

We saw local and national groups we're associated with, and shared our excitement about being in the parade. One friend, an active duty Naval Officer asked who we were marching with, wondering why we weren't with their organization on the other side of the parking lot. My associate shared we were there with HVSD. "Homeless veterans?" He said quizzically. "Where are veterans homeless?" We then pointed out the two huge armored transport vehicles filled with the veterans we had been serving during the week, as well as the twenty or so marching and carrying the banner stating the name of the organization: Homeless Veterans Services of Dallas. 

He was shocked. He made thoughtful comments on how he was not aware of the needs in our own community, as well as committing to take action to help.   
Rain had been predicted all week, but the weather was with us and the sun was shining brightly down on the streets of Dallas. The start of the parade was at 11:11. We had been there since 8:30 am.  Our convoy consisting of 20 marchers, 1 Pickup Truck (courtesy of Semper Fi Heating and Air) and 2 armored transport vehicles carrying more than 30 additional homeless or under-served veterans left the staging area at 1:00

Parade #139 was two spots away from dead last. 

By the time we were slowly moving through the streets, many of the bystanders had already left. The temporary grandstands in front of City Hall (where the parade concluded) were almost empty. Not many people had their awareness raised about the issue we were there for, but we weren't all that surprised. 

I'm guilty of turning my head away from "those people" who stand on the street corners holding makeshift signs to make me aware of their plight. "Homeless, please help." Even though I have committed my life to serving, when it comes to individuals approaching me in the safety and comfort of my car (cool in the summer, warm in the winter), I look away. I'm not sure if it's discomfort, fear or shame. But I'm working on it. 

As a ministry, one way we are working on "it," is officing at the Veterans Resource Center and partnering with HVSD to locate resources and non-profits in the community that offer assistance to veterans in crisis. It has been challenging but one of the most rewarding things we've ever done!

The next challenge comes December 19th, when we will once again coordinate Veteran Services for the Operation Care International Christmas event. Last year we served over 700 veterans (amidst a crowd of 15,000)! 

After last week, hearing the stories and challenges faced by those who have served our country I can't say, "we desperately need your help." I met far too many desperate VETERAN men AND women, hungry and homeless. 

But I will not hesitate to say WE NEED YOUR HELP to help them!

"Not that I seek the gift, but I seek what may be credited to your account." Philippians 4:17

Make a financial contribution to the ministry, it ALL counts*!
To donate online visit our website:

By mail:
Sunshine After Rain Ministries
2610 Lakehill Lane
Unit 5A
Carrollton TX 75006

Pray for the ministry and those working to "serve those who served." To quote Oswald Chambers, "Prayer IS the work."

If you are in the Dallas Fort Worth area, sign up to be one of our Volunteer Army team members on the Operation Care International website. 
Select "Adopt a Vet" under the Volunteer Sign Up tab. 

Take action! STAND DOWN 

We might have been one of the last (and the least) in the Veterans Day Parade, but He promises us a "Front and Center" position of honor when He returns.

*Sunshine After Rain Ministry is a 501c3 organization. All donations are considered tax deductible by the Internal Revenue Service 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Why I Thank God for Facebook

"Then they too will answer, Lord, when did we see you..." Matthew 25:44-45

I'm disturbed, and I don't think its the result of being iced and snowed in for almost an entire week.
I was browsing through Facebook posts, looking at all the "snow" week photos, laughing at ridiculous animal videos, and pausing for prayer when I noted a friend's request for sickness or issues. I thank God a lot for Facebook - and it isn't because of all the animal dancing, or even because I can "keep track" of my global friends, or cyber-stalk celebrities whose lives fascinate me.

I thank God for Facebook because it frequently challenges me to consider the way I think about "Friends" and the way I think about all those "others." We are living in an age of technology where a riot in Mumbai, can be seen by a kid in Mayberry in REAL TIME! With the prevalence of cell phone videos and photos, we have unlimited images, from countless angles of whatever the crowd finds captivating.

It can be a singer (Madonna) falling from a stage, or a massive 15 car wreck on the frozen freeway shot from another vehicle navigating through the pile-up. It's a good thing and it's a bad thing, both in so many ways. It gives a lot of people a "voice" that never had one. Geeks and gurus have a platform, that if well manipulated and distributed, can make an idiot turning flips off a child's swing, finance their education through You Tube ads.
"America's Funniest Home Videos" established a cultural norm where it's okay to laugh at grandma setting her hair on fire at the family BBQ, and what the heck - that prize money makes the embarrassment of Uncle Billy's butt crack worth a trip to the stage for our fifteen minutes of fame.
All those 1 minute 45 second snippets of humor come in handy to alleviate the boredom of bad weather days and lonely late nights.

Because of the trillions of images we see, and 140 character messages (Twitter) we read, we become desensitized to the BIG stuff that is REALLY going on in the world. The images of Christians in cages being paraded through streets in a distant land is just that - a distant land, a distant problem, a distant people. And anyway, the next post had that recipe for pound cake I've been meaning to try.
My In-laws were Polish immigrants. My father-in-Law's family had been part of the aristocracy of Europe before the World War II. Their vast estates were confiscated and used as Nazi headquarters as the battalions of German forces marched across borders. His father was considered a threat to the state and imprisoned in Auschwitz. He survived the death camp where over 1 MILLION people were murdered.

My mother-in-law's father and mother were both in concentration camps as well. Her family had a rich legacy of influencing centuries of Polish politics and economy. Their names are recorded in the nation's history books. We often talked about their experiences as teenagers growing up in such extraordinarily turbulent times. I was curious to know how could the European "nations" ignore what was happening to their Jewish neighbors and friends. During one of those conversations, I got an unexpected answer. "Of course we heard "rumors" about these "Nazi's," we assumed they were just common thugs. After all, the Germans were some of the most intellectually sophisticated people in the world. They had hundreds of years of cultural contributions in art, music, and science. Really, it couldn't be that big of an issue. The "rest" of the Germans were okay."

When I asked, "But what about the Jews? What about when they started targeting specific groups?" Again, what I heard from people who LIVED through that time, from people who considered themselves people of faith, smart people, good people, surprised me. "Charlynn, you have to understand, the Jews at that time were the "other" people. Yes, they were our neighbors and our bankers, and kind of our friends. But they had "other" ways. They had communities we didn't belong to, and weren't invited to be a part of. They had odd traditions, even foods we loved (pork) they wouldn't eat. They were strange, and they weren't like us.

And after all, what could a little band of thugs do. Most Germans were nice. If something really bad were happening in their country - all these thousands of "good" people wouldn't let a bunch of miscreants get away with too much!"

Listen, before you start responding with rebuttals or replies, I'm not coming down on the German nationals that were (or were not) part of the Nazi party and Hitler's rise to power. I'm not "picking" a side on the behalf of radicals or religious. I'm looking at Facebook, and the forum. I'm looking at me.
Years ago I watched an Academy Award nominated film, "The Wonderful Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl." When I searched for it on YouTube I discovered the last film she made in 2002 at the age of ONE HUNDRED! ( ) "Leni Riefenstahl - The Immoderation of Me." You probably have never heard of the film or the woman. But, her claim to fame isn't in that she is the oldest director in the world, or the oldest diver in the world. Her claim to fame was as Hitler's official Media consultant. In the documentary, the young Jewish filmmakers ask if she felt any remorse for crafting iconic images ("Triumph of the Will" the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg) that would make a band a thugs and their leader a cult of hate inciting a nation to genocide. She didn't. In fact, after relentless questioning in the end she said, "I'm an artist, the propaganda films were art and nothing more. How they changed culture, or history, is not my responsibility." I wonder how the "Arab Spring" and its use of Facebook made Mark Zuckerburg, feel? And now, the social media proficiency of ISIS is effectively spreading their ideology for a Caliphate across the world.

How did a band of thugs change the world in 1933? In part, with the help of the manipulation of the media.

How is a "Junior Varsity" terrorist group recruiting college graduates to BEHEAD and FILM the horror? The same way.

"What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun." Ecclesiastes 1:9

I thank God for Facebook.

It makes me stop "dead in the tracks" of my comfortable Sanctuary after viewing an ISIS video. My Bible is open and Jesus is answering the question of the "religious,"

"Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not give You whatever You needed?' Then He will answer them, 'I tell you the truth, just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for Me." Matthew 25:44-45

What can we do as Americans? What can we do as Christians?

I thank God for Facebook because at the very least, it does more than entertain me and occupy my time with "Likes, Comments" and "Friends." It reminds me that complacency and disregard is dangerous.

It makes me reflective on a winter day about history, about wars, and about "others."

It inspires me to pray.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Four Chair Turn

"With all this going for us, my dear friends, stand your ground. And don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for Him is a waste of time or effort." 1 Corinthians 15:58 The Message

It's no secret I'm a fan of The Voice. It's the "nicer" version of all the other competitive vocal contests that fill the nightly television line up. I could tell you some of the reasons I LOVE the show, but knowing who reads these miscellaneous missives of mine, I'm pretty sure you already watch every Monday and Tuesday evening on NBC!

What I will share is my favorite element of the broadcast - the "Four Chair Turn." It's like a home run when the bases are loaded, or the 50 yard touchdown pass in the last 3 seconds of the game, (I'm allowing other references for the men that may not understand).

The singer (young or old) tells their story before taking to the stage. Typically, tales of triumph and tragedy, longing for belonging, and knowing they have a "gift" to share with others. Nerves get the better of a few, but they all know this is the chance of a lifetime - to appear before four of the top artists in the world and give it all they've got.

They walk out in high heels, tennis shoes, or cowboy boots, the band begins and taking a deep breath -they SING. Belting out the song choice that identifies them as an artist, and then

Four chairs...

...turn around in amazement to witness the flower of someone's unrecognized talent come into full bloom. It's amazing, wonderful, awe-inspiring, and tear-producing. The young (or old) artist is finally validated and recognized on a televised platform. Now the power to choose (the right vocal coach) is in their hands, with all the judges vying to be the "one" that shapes this diamond in the rough.
For the past 16 months, I've been sequestered on USA soil, working to build a better way for military personnel and caregivers to find and access resources. It involved Warrior Forums in San Antonio, meetings with IT people, hundreds and hundreds of hours of data entry and tedious research, it was not fun, or fancy, or anything like reporting from some exotic foreign mission field the events of the day. But I knew without question it was the task I was charged to do by the Master. I put in the time, effort, and mental sweat (typing doesn't burn many calories).

And then...

I walked out on the figurative "stage" at the George W Bush Presidential Center!

I had my own "Four Chair Turn," of validation.

One of the initiatives of the Center is a military focused program to see returning soldiers get access to resources to assist in their transition to civilian life. Hello! That is exactly what WE have done. That "we" includes all the soldiers, caregivers and wounded warriors who have helped in countless ways. It includes friends who've personally volunteered time and talent to assist whenever they could (like serving over 700+ homeless veterans at the Operation Care Christmas event). It includes faithful supporters who have sent me to the foreign fields over the years and who kept sending support trusting God knows what He is doing. It includes those who pray for the work of the ministry and keep us keeping on! WE WILL MAKE a DIFFERENCE!

"So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith." Galatians 6:9-10 The Message

I met with the "movers and shakers" working to impact the community of returning military and their families. Everyone of those introductions was orchestrated by the One who sets my schedule and brings the Harvest! We are at the top of the first hill on the roller coaster. I've told all my "battle buddies" I'm not sure whether I should close my eyes and start screaming, or throw up my hands and have a blast! Either way - we need YOU!

Continue to cover us in prayer!! Pray for the connections we made to bear a great harvest! The enemy is gaining territory in the military community assaulting them with feelings of hopelessness and helplessness - claiming over TWENTY TWO soldiers lives EVERY DAY to suicide. WE WILL reduce that number by helping these families find the help they need.

Consider becoming a monthly supporter of our mission. Trace Adkins isn't going to sing you a song, and we don't have logo blankets to send out, but WE need you in the "armed forces" that will change the world.

Underwrite an endeavor. It currently costs $360 (a year) to operate the server for the website. Pay for the production of our "Info" cards ($300 for 10,000). We've already passed out over 15,000 cards from South Korea to Afghanistan! Our Data Expansion Initiative needs funding. We've added our first paid staff member at $1200 a month who will be traveling to Veteran Offices and VA Hospitals, speaking at various events to get the word out that WE ARE the RESOURCE for RESOURCES!

Make a contribution EVERY amount adds up to make a life-changing, hope-offering impact.
Contact us for ways YOU can be involved. We spend one day a week at the Dallas Veteran Resource Center, offering assistance to the Vets who come for services. We're running out of time - the enemy and ISIS aren't slowing down or retreating. It's time to "take the hill" of despair and plant the flag of faith firmly in the hearts minds and souls of those who have paid so much for our freedom!

"God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them." Hebrews 6:10

Onward Christian Soldiers!

To set up monthly recurring donations or to make a one time gift by credit card visit our website*:

or by post:
Sunshine After Rain
10024 Regal Park Lane
Suite 217
Dallas TX 75230

Spread the word in YOUR military community! Request some "INFO" cards to take to your local VSO, VFW, and VA centers. Tell your military friends about us.

Become a Registered User on the website:

Connect with us on Social Media:

*Sunshine After Rain is a 501 c3, donations are considered tax deductible by the Internal Revenue Service. Battle-Buddy.Info is the "military initiative" of the ministry

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

153 Fish

"...153 big fish! Even with all those fish, the net didn't rip." John 21:11 The Message

A few days ago while reading my morning devotion, I saw the passage in John 21 with a fresh perspective. The Disciple (John) actually noted the number of BIG fish caught after the weary fisherman listened to a man calling out from the shore, "let the nets down on the right side of the boat."


The last few hours of the year are ticking down and I could provide you with 153 details to "give" to the ministry of Sunshine After Rain. But with schedules, business, and last minute whatevers, you probably wouldn't make it to number (?)! I'll provide the only reason I'm still in this "going forth to make disciples" business after 18 years: Jesus.

Eloquence and evidence, reports and resumes, presentations and pleas all aside, He truly is the only reason for the Season and life itself.

"I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate- I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it- and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. BUT the Message came through anyway." 1 Corinthians 2:3-4 The Message

I've recently shared this is the longest I've been stateside in 27 YEARS! The geography of ministry is not as relevant as obedience to the call to ministry. On December 23, I completed 365 consecutive days of composing 5* reasons a day for one Marine to stay alive. Last December while hospitalized for issues related to PTSD he asked me to give him 5 reasons a day to be on this earth. I committed - and just before the 365th day rolled around I thought, "so THAT's why (or one very good reason) I haven't left the country. Throughout the past year the list of recipients has grown to over 50+ (not counting the ones they pass it on to). Here is the last day of 2014's:

5 for Seeing
1. His LIGHT shines in my darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it (John 1:4-5)
2. His LIGHT shines in the valleys of my life (Isaiah 9:2)
3. I will SEE Him in the flesh (Job 19:27)
4. I will see His face and CARRY HIS NAME (Revelation 22:4)
5. He is showing me GREAT and WONDERFUL things (Jeremiah 33:3)

I don't know what your personal or private circumstances are on this last day of the year. I don't know if you need five reasons to find your joy, or five reasons not to give up. You may be with much, or with little. You may be in good health, or down with an illness, passing or permanent. You may be with friends or alone. You may be full of energy or downright exhausted. I don't know, but I do care. I'd like to pray with you, and share with you. Somehow you made it on to this "list" and I count you as my community.

After the resurrection, when the Disciples had already encountered the Master, they were probably overwhelmed trying to figure out what to do "next." Leave it to the impulsive Peter to make a leap:
"Simon Peter announced, "I'm going fishing. The rest of them replied, "We're going with you." John 21:3 The Message

All the things that have happened in our world this past year may be too much to take in presently.

All the circumstances that have grieved you, caused anxiety or pain may be too numerous to recount.

I'm going to keep doing the "next" thing He calls me to do, and I pray you'll come along, through prayer, financial support, personal connections, or some other creative way of "fishing" in the Sea of His grace.

One of my favorite passages in The Word is found at the close of the Old Testament:

"Then those whose lives honored God got together and talked it over. God saw what they were doing and listened in. A book was opened in God's presence and minutes were taken of the meeting, with the names of the God-fearers written down, all the names of those who honored God's name." Malachi 3:16 The Message

He's listening AND He's keeping an eternal record!

Let's talk,

Let's set out to Sea to see what we can SEE!
Waiting for the BIG Haul (153 at least)

To make a donation by credit card or to set up recurring monthly donations for 2015 visit our website:
Or by post:
Sunshine After Rain Ministries
2610 Lakehill Lane Unit 5A
Carrollton, TX 75006

Gifts postmarked on December 31 count as deductions in that calendar year

*If you would like to receive the Daily "5's" send me an email or text (214-679-5948) and how you would prefer to get them (email or text)
To see the past year's posts visit

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

This Outsider

"They kept their distance but raised their voices calling out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" Luke 17:13 The Message

We've all seen the signs, "Homeless, help please, God bless." And if you're like me, I turn my head, check to see if my car doors are locked and then pray.

I'm not praying for the person holding the sign, I'm praying for the traffic light to turn green so I can get out of there before (God help me) the sign holder approaches my car. I'm a "missionary" but - until recently the majority of my "mission" work was overseas. I was notorious for going "where no man would go." The farthest jungles of Africa, remote Russian villages where orphanages housed hundreds of children, even leper colonies in India, those were the places I was comfortable. Thirty-six hours travel time - no problem! No running water - I can bathe with wet wipes! Sketchy food - granola bars are a suitcase staple. But... the lost, living on the streets, and under the bridges in my town... somebody else will cover that territory.

Until now.

At what I considered the "Eleventh Hour" (twelve days before the largest Christmas Party for the Homeless) I was elected Committee Chairman of Veteran Partners; my responsibility was to bring in organizations for the event to assist homeless veterans who would be in attendance.

"Lord have mercy indeed!"

With the help of dedicated friends of the ministry we were able to serve over 700+ Veterans. We gave out "The Greatest Warrior" pocket New Testaments designed specifically for soldiers struggling. We passed out faith-based "dog tags" with Scriptures and Psalms. We presented "Certificates of Appreciation" (for their military service) and wrote the names of the recipients on each one. There were Gospels of John in English and Spanish handed out to all who walked by that weren't military.

My associate proclaimed the day, "National Hug-a-Vet" Day, so as often as we could, we hugged and we hugged, and we cared and we cried. No chance for the signal light to turn green or a nearby floorboard for me to avert my eyes.

Prior to the day, I suppose I saw "those Street People" as modern day "lepers." The outcast from society, the people no one would get near, and certainly not touch! In Biblical times, leprosy was seen as a "curse." If you had it, you deserved it. And frankly, when I see some cardboard plea for assistance I confess, I judge; "they" must "deserve" to be in the situation they're in.

"Taking a good look at them, He said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." They went, and while they were still on their way, became clean." Luke 17:14 The Message

Thousands and thousands of people walked past us throughout the day. We interacted with the massive crowd. I said "Merry Christmas," more in 8 hours than probably in the last five years combined! Since we were relatively the "First Stop" as the guests made their way into the Convention Center, I had no idea what happened when the throng rounded the curtained corner and disappeared into the 300,000 square feet of services provided.

There are many accounts of Jesus' healing recorded in the Gospels, but when I reread the story of the ten Lepers, I noted Jesus told them to "Go show themselves to the Priests," BEFORE they were cleansed. They had to move out of "hiding" by faith, and believe something would be different by the time they arrived at their destination. In the process of doing what He asked them to do, they were changed.

Somewhere, along the way to the Dallas Convention Center, doing what He asked me to do (at the Eleventh hour), I was changed too. The outward signs of disease vanished from the ten, but in my case, perhaps it was the inward "scabs" (an ugly word, for a process of healing) of indifference, judgment, distancing, and fear, that fell away.

"One of them, when he realized he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting with gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus' feet, so grateful. He couldn't thank Him enough - and he was a Samaritan." Luke 17:16 The Message

As the afternoon hours ticked by, fewer and fewer people made their way through the "Partner Services" area. We asked everyone within earshot, "Are you a Veteran? Are you a Veteran?" When we got one of the last, "Yes ma' m, I am," answers of the day my associate and I jumped up for the embrace. "It's hug a Veteran day," we said with a chuckle as we surrounded the frail frame of a hero. Our Military Liaison, not wanting to miss the action of honor, said, "Hey, I'm going to get in on that! Let's make a Battle-Buddy Sandwich!" And when we did, the Last Soldier wept.

"You, don't know how bad I needed that," he said. We continued the makeshift sandwich of servants until he composed himself.

"Where are the nine? Can none be found to give glory to God except this outsider?" Luke 17:17-18 The Message

It's two days until Christmas. I didn't send out any Christmas cards, I failed to get out my traditional donor "Thank You," gifts, my friends and family will probably think I've forgotten how much they mean to me with my lack of attention to the Season. But somehow, I sense it doesn't matter that much to them REALLY, and I've accepted I can't let my flawed sense of getting Christmas "taken care of" rob me of the joy I feel at my Master's feet.

I'm counting on the promises found in His Word that proclaim:
"Ill bring home the homeless..." Zephaniah 3:19 The Message

This Outsider is Glorifying God,

Sunshine After Rain Ministries is a 501 c3, all donations are considered tax deductible. To set up monthly recurring contributions, or a donation by credit card visit our website:

Thursday, December 18, 2014


"..when did we see you hungry, and feed You? Or thirsty and give You a drink?". Matthew 25:37-38

When will I get an update sent out? 
When will I get Christmas decorations up?
When will I get Christmas presents bought (much less wrapped)?
When will I finally get a chance to ________?

Fill in the blank with your own last minute "To Do" item as we count down the final days before we celebrate Christmas, exhale, and collect the wrapping paper trash probably and bit more thankful that "it's over" than thankful for the Birth of a Savior.

I've been busy and I know you have too! It is just the season for it. And just as I was all excited and ready to do the things I really NEEDED to do (like communicate ministry activities), the Lord open the floodgates, and I am choosing to say "of opportunity," because truthfully it feels like a Tsunami I'm about to drown in.

This past year marks the longest period of time I have been in the United States in 27 YEARS. As I encounter friends the first question I am asked is, "where are you off to next?" My time in the USA has been focused on building a website of resources for our Military men and women, and their Caregivers. For the past six years as I have worked with these true heroes, I have been broken-hearted to hear their stories of frustration and the devastation they faced as the bureaucracy (the VA) failed them.
Our website ( has been fully operational since July and has over 32,000 hits. Our "Info" cards can be found in VA Hospitals, Vet Centers and by the Hand of God even at the military installation in Osan, South Korea!

Ten days ago, I contacted an organization to add as a resource. The President of the company then politely replied, "No, YOU are our resource!" I was confused. She (Susie Jennings) then went on to explain how Operation Care International was hosting "the largest Christmas Party for the Homeless" in the country. She explained how they honor Veterans at the event and need "veteran resources." "Okay," I responded and found out the details, 8,000 homeless people!!! Probably close to 500 of that number veterans.

The Lord has blessed me with an amazing team of volunteers that just happened to be available. Truly, there are more miracles than I can even express right now because, I need to make my way to the Convention Center for a walk through.

Please consider Sunshine After Rain Ministries (and Battle-Buddy.Info our military initiative) in your Year-End giving and definitely in you faithful prayers!

December 20, from 7:00 am - 3:00 pm we will be assisting the homeless, as the come through to receive all we have to offer. There are several big events that assist the under-served this time of year, but the heart of Operation Care International ( as well as our heart - is to see the lost FOUND! To say to the captive (in the bondage of poverty and circumstance) BE FREE! Those the Son sets free are free indeed.

Pray the Good News is proclaimed boldly
Pray the Resources are of assistance
Pray the broken are ministered to well
Pray the Spirit of God moves in a mighty way
Pray we finish strong, having fought the good fight on behalf of our military!

"Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me - you did it to Me.'" Matthew 25:40

Looking straight into the face and heart of my Master
He probably will not be clean-shaven, or have on a warm coat to fight the winter chill


Sunshine After Rain Ministries is a 501c3 all donations are considered tax deductible. To make a donation by credit card online, please visit our website:

Or by post:
Sunshine After Rain Ministries
10024 Regal Park Lane
Suite 217
Dallas TX 75230

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Gold Star

For those of us schooled in the last century (long before computers and cell phones), getting a "gold star" in class was an achievement. It might have been for an improvement in grades or behavior, but the purpose was acknowledging, "You are special."
But since the end of the first World War, gold stars have also been awarded to mothers who lost sons or daughters in battle. The name (American Gold Star Mothers) came from the custom of families of servicemen hanging a banner called a Service Flag in the window of their homes. The Service Flag had a star for each family member in the Armed Forces. Living servicemen were represented by a blue star, and those who had lost their lives were represented by a gold star.*
Since 1936, the last Sunday in September has been designated as "Gold Star Mother's Day." There aren't Hallmark offerings, school closures or any other public recognition for this day. It's the kind of "club" you don't ask to join, and you aren't aware of until unspeakable tragedy happens.
I wouldn't know about it if not for Social Media and my current ministry work in the military arena. As I "tweeted" and posted Gold Star honoring photos, my heart broke for the loss these families face each and every day. But through the power of Twitter, Facebook, and other outlets, many are turning personal tragedy into campaigns for awareness on a variety of issues.
"...this is the only race worth running. I've run hard, right to the finish, believed all the way..." 2 Timothy 4:7 The Message
It's been a difficult, strange but exciting year of ministry. For the last twelve months we've been singularly focused on our work with wounded warriors, their caregivers, veterans and active duty military members. The website ( has received close to 18,000 "hits," assisting the Armed Forces community nationwide find help and resources. Since I began working alongside these true "heroes" (military AND their families) I know it is what my "Commander-in-Chief" assigned.
Hardly a day passes that I don't hear testimony of what a "godsend" being able to find help fast has made to a family/servicemember. These are individuals the ministry never would have an opportunity to interface with before. But, hardly a day passes that I don't hear tragedy; suicide, financial ruin, children being adversely affected by secondary trauma, and caregivers at the end of their rope. It's been hard to stay balanced between the oasis of good news and the battlefield of helplessness.

"But you-keep your eye on what your doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God's servant." 2 Timothy 4:5 The Message
This morning as I meditated on the devotion for the day (see text below) I thought of the women I have grown close to during the process of launching a military initiative of ministry. They've shared their pain, their frustration and their lives in hopes that it would be of benefit to other caregivers and military families. Time and again, they say, "I just hope no one else has to go through what we've been through with "_______" (fill in the blank with the VA, doctors, Organization XYZ, benefit denial, disability rating, PTSD, TBI, ad infinitum). The devotional text speaks of "being crushed to be the broken bread and poured out wine FOR OTHERS..." It's not exactly something you would enlist for... receiving membership into The Gold Star Mothers Club.
Pray for all the Gold Star families (over 6,700 Post 9/11 which does not reflect over 10,000 suicides due to PTSD and war trauma)
Pray for our Armed Forces who face yet another Campaign against terrorist forces
Pray for Caregivers of those returning from conflict who wage battles while establishing a "new normal"
Pray for the ministry of Sunshine After Rain as we continue to DAILY impact the lives of our nations heroes
"So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up or quit. RIGHT NOW, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith." Galatians 6:9-10 The Message
We can't fight the good fight without YOUR continued financial support and prayers. We won't reap a harvest without "seeds" sown in faith
Go online ( to make a donation by credit card or to set up a monthly contributions. Or by post at:
Sunshine After Rain Ministries
10024 Regal Park Lane #217
Dallas TX 75230
"All that's left now is the shouting - God's applause! Depend on it..." 2 Timothy 4:8
Armed and dangerous (smiling as a Texan)

*Gold Star Mothers Club ~Wikipedia
**My Utmost For His Highest
September 30th
"...He gives us a tremendous, riveting pain to fasten our attention on something that we never even dreamed could be His call for us. And for one radiant flashing moment we see His purpose, and we say, "Here am I! Send me."
This call has nothing to do with personal sanctification, but with being made broken bread and poured out wine. Yet God can never make us into wine if we object to the fingers He chooses to crush us. We say, "if God would only us His own fingers, and make me broken bread and poured out wine in a special way, the I wouldn't object!" But when He uses someone we dislike, or some set of circumstances to which we said we would never submit, to crush us, then we object. Yet we must never try to choose the place of our own martyrdom. If we are going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed - you cannot drink grapes. Grapes become wine only after they have been squeezed... Stay right with God and let Him do as He likes, and you will find that He is producing the kind of bread and wine that will benefit His other children.
~Oswald Chambers

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

55 18 22

"Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in Him! Make it clear as you can to all you meet that you're on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive.  He could show up any minute!" Philippians 4:4-5 The Message

The numbers in the subject line aren't the winning combination to tonight's Pick Three lottery, but they do have particular significance (at least to me). The last day of August I will begin my 55th year of life! And what a wild, weird, wonderful life it has been. 5 is the Hebrew number for GRACE, so I'm proclaiming this to be my year filled with a double portion of His Grace.

"We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that He has already thrown open His door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand - out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise. There's more to come..." Romans 5:2 The Message

55 years of living

18 years of ministry!

I suppose at 18, I realize I have pursued my "calling" and I'm all grown up (in ministry).

"For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world..." 1 Corinthians 1:26-27 NKJV

It has been a year since the Lord has taken me to distant shores and I admit it has stretched my faith.  Whenever I encounter friends I haven't seen in awhile, the first question asked is, "Where are you going next?" It seems I became noted for heading off to exotic "Ends of the Earth" locales.  From Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka to Zanzibar, Tanzania I traveled with the enthusiasm inspired by Isaiah 6:8 (Here I am, send me!) But contrary to the notion that I randomly pick a place or time for ministry, I go where AND when, He tells me, and for the last year He's had me stay in the "good ole US of A."


In the past year, I have worked harder, been more disciplined and diligent about the current direction of our ministry's work. I have been out on the "skinny branches" far past what had become my comfort zone of uncomfortable places. I've been focused on 22.

The US government reports AT LEAST 22 veterans EACH and EVERY day commit suicide! Let that number sink in, with all its calculating realities. That equals 1 soldier almost EVERY HOUR, who finds this life hopeless and chooses to end it. One an hour equals EIGHT THOUSAND THIRTY (8,030) per year. As of April 2014, after 13 years of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan there were 6,802 casualties (without the suicides factored in); pretty staggering statistics.

The cover of the July 23, 2012 issue of Time Magazine was a silhouette of a soldier playing taps. The headline read "ONE A DAY." In two very short years the increase is catastrophic to thousands of spouses, parents and children of those who served our country.

How does this happen? Where does the sense of hopeless frustration come from and what can be done to stop the casualties of war once our military return home?

I've  been focused for the last 12 months building a website Resource Directory for military personnel and their caregivers. I've shared the story in past communications how I learned from a caregiver that help and assistance was difficult to find and even harder to access.

Battle Buddy Info ( has now reached thousands of soldiers and families across the United States, with over 10,000 hits on the website. We've put Resource Cards in Vet Centers, VA Hospitals, and churches from coast to coast. We have an army of volunteer retired wounded warriors who are sharing the message (hope CAN be found) and who have found new purpose for life after their military career has come to a close.

Recently, our Military Liaison was on a retreat in Alaska hiking down the mountain with his group from Operation Heal Our Heroes*, when another group was encountered hiking up. Everyone recognized it was a good place to stop, make introductions and encouragements.  Being an outgoing and gregarious, he quickly introduced himself to a fellow wounded warrior (who is a representative of Wounded Warrior Project) and said, "You guys really need to start getting the word out on this website. It really is a game-changer as far as getting help to families fast. Here let me give you my card, the site is" The other soldier reached in his wallet and ...

pulled out one of our cards! "Is this the site?"

What are the odds?

Shock and awe at the greatness of our God were exclaimed! "How did you get that? Wow!" On a mountain side in Alaska two wounded warriors meet - to encourage and be encouraged!

I'm encouraged as well.

"...we continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next." Romans 5:3-4 The Message

I have found favor in this extraordinary community of heroes. Heroes that went to war, and the heroes of spouses and children who continue to "fight" a battle seldom mentioned in the media. I press on, for I know my calling. I need your help to continue.

Consider becoming a monthly supporter of Sunshine After Rain Ministries or a one time donation:

$55 - Years of Life
$18 - Years of Ministry
$22 - To assist Heroes find hope and help!

Let's partner together to win the battle (the war is won)!

Fighting to stay a float
Smiling in His service

To make donations by credit card, visit the website

Sunshine After Rain Ministries
10024 Regal Park Lane
Suite 217
Dallas TX 75230

*Greta van Susteren On the Record will be broadcasting a special program Monday - (Labor Day) featuring her time in Alaska with Franklin Graham and a group of Wounded Warriors and their spouses. It airs on Fox News 7:00 EST, 6:00 CST.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sugar's Love

I confess.

I have resorted to bribery.

But before you drop to your knees and call the Prayer Chain, let me explain: I'm trying to win over the heart of a three-year old girl named Sophia.

In February, my oldest son married a wonderful woman and got the gift of an instant family. Of course, I'd been around this little precious bundle of cuteness before then, but I wasn't quite comfortable in launching my all-out campaign for her affection, until I was sure my zealous antics wouldn't frighten her mother away!

Last year when I first got to spend an extended amount of time with Sophia, her mother asked what I wanted to be "called." Grandmother, and Granny just didn't feel like a hand-knit sweater I was ready to wear, so I did the next best thing when you're trying to find a quick answer: I Googled "cool southern grandmother names."

"Sugar" made the top five. Admittedly, my heart melts just a little every time I hear that tiny voice say, "Where's my Sugar?"

The "Sugar Campaign," began the day after the wedding, but I've recently upped my game. When the "Sugar Sack" (a purse filled with goodies, toys, crayons, games and the occasional piece of candy) failed to eek out a hug, I had to resort to a more subtle form of persuasion. Everyday I text a picture of a cute baby animal, delicious food, or even bugs to convey how much I love her. "I love you more than strawberries that are delicious and juicy and ready for whipped cream on top." "Your love makes me feel like a princess in the Kingdom of Hearts." You get the picture (well you didn't get the picture that accompanied the text - but...)

Now, when I see her, she says, "I love you like all those pictures you send me." I'm getting there slowly but surely. One of these days she will be overcome and just run into my arms and give me a great big hug.

Sunday, that thought just overwhelmed me.

The sermon I was listening to was on receiving God's supply for all of life's demands. The Pastor quoted many familiar verses on grace, but then illustrated John 1:15-17 like the waves of the ocean hitting the shoreline. "Grace upon grace, upon grace..." Wow!

He closed the sermon with the parable of the Prodigal Son. I've heard it preached hundreds of times, but the key point he brought out was the "grace" of the Father.

"When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he RAN out, he EMBRACED him, he KISSED him." Luke 15:20 The Message

"The son, had a rehearsed speech about how sorry and unworthy he was - BUT the actions of the father were done BEFORE he uttered a word!

When you SEE the LOVE, you can't say, "let me earn it!" (God if You will just get me out of this mess, if you will just give me what I think I need - I will.....) The son's motive for coming back was imperfect, but when he SAW the overwhelming love of the father, his heart changed. The hero is the father, not the repentant son.

The older brother needed to change his mind about his father, he felt he needed to work hard and "earn," what he had. In fact he felt because he had worked hard, he deserved it!" ~Pastor Joseph Prince

And that's when I started crying.

The energy and enthusiasm I have for my little granddaughter came flooding in. HOW MUCH MORE is the Father delighting in us? He is constantly creating ways to capture our hearts, thrill us, surprise us with His love, in ways we can understand; in the taste of cold watermelon on a summer day, a furry baby kitten, a butterfly's wings. He is communicating, "I love you so very much!"

If we could but SEE!

We would never negotiate, we would never try and earn what He has already given. My little granddaughter doesn't need to do ONE thing for my love. It's there, waiting for her to SEE.

One of these days, she will SEE, and one of these days

So will we!

With open eyes
Smiling in His service

The work of the ministry continues to grow in the military community. Our efforts with the website Directory of Resources ( are making an impact across the nation, with users from coast to coast. We've got Resource information cards in Vet Centers and VA Hospitals in Texas, California, South Carolina, Ohio and Iowa. We could use your financial support and prayers today!

To make a monthly commitment or a one time donation by credit card, visit our website:

By post:
Sunshine After Rain Ministries
10024 Regal Park Lane #217
Dallas TX 75230

Thursday, May 01, 2014


"Woe to you experts in the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge! You didn't go in yourselves, and you have hindered those who were going in." Luke 11:52

I'm back from the Joni and Friends Wounded Warrior Getaway, where the Battle-Buddy Info website was received with great enthusiasm. On Monday, while I was driving all over Dallas unpacking the cargo van loaded with costumes and crafts, our Military Liaison was "reporting for duty" at his job as the Office Manager of the largest Vet Center in the USA. I was exhausted - he was excited!

His enthusiasm and encouragement have kept my "vision" of a Resource Directory for Soldiers and Caregivers alive over the long months of tedious data entry, website issues and declining financial support. When I would discover something that made me feel like I was wasting my time, I'd put a call in to him. His response never wavered. Perhaps it comes from being a soldier wounded in battle. "Don't look at them, what we are doing is what soldiers and their families need. Keep going!"
"The generous hand of my God was with me in this..." Nehemiah 2:8 The Message
The depth of the hurt soldiers and their families are experiencing was once again brought to light at the Getaway (soldiers never retreat). Stories of forced retirement, lack of proper medical treatment for injuries, friends who took their own lives, financial crisis due to the VA being 300 days behind (you read correctly) on benefit payments, are heartbreaking to hear, how much more to be experienced! All the soldiers and caregivers involved with the website were anxious to share the resource with others.

Share they did; in breakout sessions, over meals and when they returned to work on Monday.

Prepare yourself.

An "improvised explosive device" is about to go off.

When the PURPLE HEART recipient Office Manager handed out business cards with our website printed on it (to a soldier in need of resources for help), he was called into his superior's office. They questioned him with suspicion over what this "website" was exactly and why was he giving it out to veterans. He responded quickly and assertively - it was a Resource Directory designed by Caregivers and Soldiers to help each other. The long and short of it - he was told to "cease and desist." He was then required to sign a document stating he understood.

"...they were very upset, angry that anyone would come to look after the interests of the People..." Nehemiah 2:10 The Message

The next day, he was called back in to take a conference call from the higher ups in Washington and Dallas. As he took the "dressing down" he point blank asked, "You're telling me I cannot offer ANY resources to soldiers who come here looking for help, even if I know an organization that will help them?" They responded with, "that is correct. We are not here to provide resources, we are here for transition back to civilian life. If we give out a resource and the soldier ends up committing suicide that's on us."

My friend replied, "if a soldier comes in here needing help and you don't tell him where to get it - it IS ALREADY on us."

As he related this chain of events to me I grew concerned. What if he loses his job? What if he is put in financial hardship because he was trying to share the Battle-Buddy resource? And then I remembered what he shared during one of our first conversations about his role in service to our country...

...he was a Medic.

You may not have heard this aspect of enemy operations during the current conflict, I certainly hadn't. When a convoy is traveling through enemy territory oftentimes the enemy will instigate a small "attack." This will result in the Medic being sent out to assess and dress the wounded soldier. Snipers will then take aim at the Medic to "take him down." For you see, if a Medic isn't present a convoy will not proceed. If the enemy can take the one stopping the bleeding, saving the dying, they have shut down the advance.

Does this scenario sound familiar?

It did to me! I encouraged our Military Liaison. "You're still a Medic! You're still on the front lines of the battle. You're still rescuing the dying and the enemy is still trying to take you out." He laughed in agreement, "Yeah, you're right."

"The God of Heaven will make sure we succeed. We're His servants and we're going to work, rebuilding. You can keep your nose out of it. You get no say in this..." Nehemiah 2:20 The Message

With the military suicide rate of over 25 A DAY, you can understand how critical it is for them to get resources quickly, efficiently, when they NEED them. As I was reading the Word for encouragement I was led to the story of Nehemiah, whose heart for his "people" living in an "unwalled city" brought him distress and the attention of the King. Friends, our soldiers and their families are living in an unwalled city of despair. WE have got to REBUILD the "wall" of hope everlasting, mercy overflowing, and love without end.

Like Nehemiah, there will be ridicule and opposition to this seemingly insurmountable task. But just like Nehemiah, we will hold a trowel in one hand, and a sword in the other (Nehemiah 4:17). It was not "soldiers" who were defending the building of the wall, it was FAMILIES, stationed, working, and ready to fight when the trumpet was sounded.

Six months ago I had a vision of an "Angie's List/Yelp-styled" website where soldiers and caregivers could not only FIND resources, but could also have a voice to REVIEW them. It has been a labor of love for the heroes of our nation who have inspired, encouraged, and least any one of us forgets, fought, sacrificed and bled for our freedom! Truly, how can they hear the love of God, if they don't see the love of God through His people?

"There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears." Philippians 1:6 The Message

Like Gideon, we are going against a far greater enemy. We are outnumbered (11,000 resources listed on the government website). But like Gideon, God has called us to the battle, and He will bring the victory!

Would you care to guess how many resources are listed on ? (see Judges 7:8)

We need your help TODAY!


Get the word out about the website: Share with military friends, family, and caregivers

"Like" our Facebook Page (Battle Buddy Info)

"Follow" us on Twitter (@BattleBuddyInfo)

Consider a financial contribution to Sunshine After Rain Ministries. Donate online with a credit card and you can now set up recurring monthly support at:

The trumpet is sounding, let's work together and get this wall built!

Fighting with a smile!

Friday, December 27, 2013

It's in the Trunk

"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him." 1 Corinthians 2:9

Christmas has come and gone, and retailers are now offering discounts to make up for lower than expected holiday shopping quotas. I don't know if you got what you wanted, deserved or desired. Here is what I do know: The "Gift" we celebrate during the season is not one that can be "earned" or exchanged, we never deserved it, and the Word tells us it was given when we didn't even desire it ("but God shows His love for us in that while we were STILL sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8) That fact makes me want to sing more carols, and sit in awe knowing Christ came and submitted Himself to being an infant!

Several of my friends recently had babies and they were all dressed up in festive wear for their "Baby's First Christmas" photos. All those sweet pudgy-cheek faces have me contemplating the Christ child even more; His total submission and vulnerability. There is nothing more innocent and exposed than a baby. The portrayal of the horrors of crucifixion were brought to life in the film "The Passion of the Christ." The blood and the pain made me turn away; but the image of the Christ-child draws my heart back to the incomprehensible magnitude of the love of God.

"For this reason I kneel before the Father." Ephesians 3:14

Those little precious bubbling, gurgling faces help me to grasp the patience of Christ to the will of His Father. I have not mastered patience. The Christmas season seems to bring out even more of my flesh (not talking additional calories brought about by feasting) and my frustration. There are lines of shoppers, politically correct sayings (I HATE those), and consumerism rearing its ugly predictable head; "I want MORE, I want it NOW, I deserve it because I've been "good for goodness sake!""

"If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him." Matthew 7:11

Christmas Eve, I walked outside and happened upon my neighbor opening her trunk and bringing in an armful of packages. She laughed when I caught her in the Santa act, and said, "I'm bringing in the REST of the gifts," as she made haste to get back inside undetected by her little boy. For all Christmas is now in 21st Century America (UPS and FedEx beware), somehow seeing the joy on this mother's face reminded me of The Father and truly the "reason for the season."

Are you praying for something that seems to have alluded you? As the year comes to a close have your expectations of the past 12 months clouded your vision for the coming year? Are you in a season of hope or one of despair? Is this a time of drought or one of bounty?

"Therefore we do not despair, but even if our physical body is wearing away, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary, light suffering is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison; for we are not looking at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen. For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

One of my friends had an opportunity to take their children to Disneyworld as an early Christmas gift. She had known for months in advance of their departure and had concocted an elaborate scheme to surprise them with the news. Whenever we would talk, she shared some new feature to her plan. Some difficult circumstances also came during the interim. I reminded her of how she felt KNOWING what she was about to share with her kids. The joy, the delight, the thrill she experienced plotting and planning for the Big Day when ALL would be revealed. I said, "That's how Big Daddy is feeling! What you see, isn't the whole story. You're present circumstances (and truly suffering) is not the End. There is something far greater than Disney world in your future!"

I think she felt better. I hope she grasped my small attempt at a big concept, and I hope you do as well. You might not have received all you asked for or deserved this past Christmas, you might even have received the ugly-scratchy-wool-sweater-that-you-can't-take-back called "diagnosis cancer" that one of my friends unwrapped for the holidays. You might have shaken the box and heard the shattered glass of broken promises and unamswered prayers, again - still...

Take heart! For the spirit of the Christ-child, come to earth in a lowly manger and in a stinky stable proves our God is good! If it wasn't under the tree

It's in the trunk

Watching and waiting for the packages to be unwrapped on The Day,

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Sunshine After Rain Ministries
10024 Regal Park Lane #217
Dallas TX 75230