A Visit From Mom: It’s All a Competition

This is the first post in a new series here at Strings Attached called “A Visit from Mom.”  I am so blessed to have such a wise woman for my mother and doubly blessed that I get the opportunity to work with her on a daily basis and have her be an integral part of my life.  And guess what? She’s a writer….a really good one…and a great inspiration to me as a writer.  So welcome to a new tradition…I hope you enjoy her words as much as I do. 

On the way to work this morning, I listened to a commercial that involved a grandmother referring to herself as the “good grandmother.” Her grandchildren preferred coming to her house rahter than the other grandmother’s home because she had all the fun video games, i-pod and i-pads, and any other technology that could be sold for Christmas.  The other grandmother only made chocolate chip cookies.

In our world, we compete for jobs and careers, to make the best grades in school, to excel in numerous sports, and to get the biggest market share in our chosen businesses.

After an evening of trying to find some entertainment that didn’t involve competing for someone’s affection, surviving at the expense of other competitors, singing and dancing better than someone else, I finally retired to my room to read. My room is filled with self help books about how to compete in the modern world. I chose a little fiction novel which was a nice way to escape all the competition.

Somehow, we seemed to have missed the opportunity to learn the most important lesson about competition: teamwork.  I don’t mean forming alliances that you break when it’s most convenient for you. I mean genuine, working-together-for-the-common-good teamwork.  I mean reaching out to life up those who need our assistance and making a good impact on all those we meet each day.

In this week before Thanksgiving, I am most thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who doesn’t ask us to compete for his grace and support.  Thank you, Father, for unconditional love even if I’m not considered the “winner” in this world.  I am a winner for knowing You.


Carlene Welch is the General Manager at Home Instead Senior Care of Northwest Arkansas, and avid writer and poet, and my mom.  She serves as a Stephen’s Minister at her church and is one of the wisest women I know.  She writes custom poetry and prose for cards and gifts.  For more information, contact us at stringsattachedministries@gmail.com .

As Beautiful as Splintered Glass


This week at www.sarahmarkley.com, Sarah invited us to write a post about beauty and what it means to us. I have truly enjoyed following the guest posts and their take on beauty.  And, being guilty of blog stalking, I almost didn’t participate.

After all, I don’t think of beauty in a conventional way. That’s not to say I don’t do my share of obsessing over hair, makeup and clothing choices, but I truly believe that beauty is a shining light from, not even from within, but from above.  I have nothing beautiful within me without the reflection of my Lord.

I am a broken vessel. Not a little broken either, but shattered really.  Shattered into a million little pieces (mostly by my own doing), but gently…lovingly, put back together piece by piece by my most gracious Lord and Savior.

It’s hard for me to admit to anyone that I don’t hold it all together, that I am not in control, that I am not always, and have not always been a…ahem…good person. That I need God’s grace and forgiveness not daily, but every second of every day. I don’t like saying that out loud. I am ashamed of my weakness.

Recently, though, I have come face to face with this ugliness inside of me….God labeled it for me: broken. I am broken. And telling others about that brokenness, well, it’s really hard. But then, God showed me a picture of His love and of my beauty in it.

I was visiting with a friend of mine a one hundred year old church known for its stunning stained glass windows.  I was in awe of the beauty of man’s hand in this place, and I remember noticing that one of the windows was cracked.

I commented to my friend, “Oh, man…that’s too bad…that one is broken. I wonder if they are planning to restore it?” The priest behind us said, “No. That window has been cracked for over forty years. We won’t be restoring it.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Just wait a few more moments…you will see.” He said with a small smile and walked out of the sanctuary.

So my friend and I sat, and waited.

As the sun crested at high noon, the room was set on fire with light. Hundreds, no, thousands of tiny rainbows danced on the walls and the floors. Colors everywhere, some I can not even describe, chased and swam over the altar and the cross. All that unexpected beauty from a single crack with the light of the sun shining on it.

I realized in that moment that broken is beautiful…when the Light of the Son shines through the crack. Just as no other window will ever be able to recreate the effect that we saw that day, so no other person can ever tell my story of redemption. Will ever have my weakness to show God’s strength. Will ever be able to reflect God’s light in the way that I can. My brokenness…my shattered soul, carefully pieced back together can shine a million tiny little rainbows on the world…with God’s light. Now that’s beautiful!

Beauty isn’t about having it all together. It’s about being brave enough to show the cracks to the world and let God shine His light through them…then we can all be as beautiful as splintered glass.