Saturday, November 7, 2009

Only If It's a Special Day

Aaron Shust was in concert in Raleigh at a church that holds only about 500 people. I'm not much of a concert goer, but I knew two of my daughters would be thrilled to attend. I didn't realize that I knew so many of his songs! Worshipful was the adjective of the night.

Just before intermission, Aaron (we're familiar like that now) and Chris Sligh (from American Idol) began a “commercial” for Compassion International. They asked all who were interested in “just checking out” a child to raise a hand. I didn't raise my hand. But I sat beside my 22 year old Candace who did raise her hand.

Why was she raising her hand? She is in fundraising mode herself, headed for a six month stint with YWAM. And even though one of my spiritual gifts is giving, compassion has long been near the bottom of my list. Kind of ironic, huh?

The ushers gave Candace a packet with the child's picture, birthdate, country and a summary of the personality of the child. She's sitting right beside me, but I am not going to look at that photo. “Oh, look mom, he's so cute. His name is Samuel.” No, not looking, won't look. I know what will happen if I look. I have to stay strong.

“Oh mom. You have to look at this.”

“You can look at it and tell me about it,” I reply.

“Oh, he's soooo cute!” She puts the packet in my lap.

Oops, I looked.

Melting.... Melting.... Faster than the Wicked Witch of the West!

He was so cute. But not as cute as I am strong. But then there's a tug. I knew I shouldn't have looked.

“OK God,” I thought to myself, “if his birthdate is a special date, if it has significance, then I'll know you want us to sponsor him.” I threw out my fleece.

I looked at his birthdate: September 13, 2000. Not much significance about that date. Candace's birthday is September 3rd and Rachael's is September 26th so it was kind of in the middle, but nothing special...really.

Tug. He is so cute. Tug. Oh, he's from Kenya. Tug. He's only 9 years old, about the same age as Joshua. Tug. He lives with his mom and two siblings. Tug. He eats mainly beans, rice and potatoes. Tug....

I couldn't take it anymore. OK God, his birthday has no significance but I can hear you loud and clear. We'll sponsor him!

It made me remember that Gideon used the fleece because he didn't have the Holy Spirit to guide him. I didn't have to wait overnight to find out if the fleece was wet and the ground was dry or if the fleece was dry and the ground was wet. God had spoken directly to my heart. I knew I had to obey.

Candace and Rachael of course were thrilled when I started filling out the paperwork. They couldn't wait to get home and tell Joshua about this new little guy in our prayers and in our lives.

Feeling renewed in so many ways, from the music to the sponsorship, the concert ended and we began walking out.

Rachael, who had been a few seats away from us and hadn't gotten to see the full packet yet, was perusing the information. All of a sudden, with much enthusiasm in her voice, she said, “Hey look! September 13, is Samuel's birthday!” Yes, the concert was September 13th.

Tears were in my eyes.....a day of significance, a very special day indeed!

John 14.26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Thank you God for the Holy Spirit! (And He's probably telling you to go back to the beginning of this post and click on Compassion International....I dare could be a special day!)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Looks Like We Get to Keep the Change

May as well embrace change. That's seems to be the only constant.

The next change at our house: Candace is leaving in six days (Sept. 24) continuing on a spiritual journey of a lifetime. She'll be attending University of the Nations for a YWAM DTS (Youth With A Mission Discipleship Training School.)

Study will begin in Kona, Hawaii. Not a bad stop on a spiritual journey :-) She'll be there for 12 weeks for intensive Bible and missions instruction, as well as working in some capacity on campus.

Then she'll be headed to Capetown, South Africa for 12 weeks of on-the-job training with a Community Transformations ministry of YWAM, working and serving those in the community.

(In case your math is a little rusty, that's nearly six months away from home. Yes, it means she won't be here for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years or any family celebrations.)

Seasons come and go, things keep changing. But there is a Constant, and I'm so glad, because I will need that as the change keeps coming!

Hebrews 13. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Friday, August 21, 2009


My summer has been spent neck-deep in wedding preparations. So many things to look at. So many errands to run. So many decisions to make. The preparations for the Wedding Day were all-consuming!

I awoke most mornings between 5.30 am and 6.00 am without an alarm clock, eyes wide open, mind racing, feet jumping out of bed ready to get started with my day.

Invitations to send out….

Eight bridesmaids dresses to make….

Flowergirl dress....

Tiniest details to attend to…..

Flowers to pick out…..

Menu to plan….

Bride is ready and waiting...

A brain that wouldn’t slow down…..until….

Until I realized that because of my new routine I was glossing over my time with God!

Whoa, Nellie!

False start!

Try again!

I started getting up, still just as early, but went outside for a walk to get a chance to talk with Jesus before I started my day. I came back in, went to my Bible, my message from God and He was faithful to tell me something I needed to hear that day. (The Psalms are great therapy!)

All the hard work for the Wedding Day was worth it! Sarah and Tony were very happy. The day was filled with much joy. Can’t you tell by their faces?

But the process made me think about my preparations for THE Wedding Day, you know, when Jesus comes back for us, His bride. Are the preparations I’m making for that eternal union all-consuming just as they were for the earthly wedding we had just had?

Am I inviting others to join me for that great celebration? Am I encouraging those who are attending the Great Wedding to be “better dressed” for the occasion? Am I checking the details of my heart? Is my mind stayed on Him?

Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
"Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear."
(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)
(Revelation 19.6-8)

I pray your preparations are all-consuming!

To see all wedding photos, go here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Backwards Feet in a Bathroom Stall

So I was in a huge hurry with many errands to run. Stood in the long line to return things at WalMart, then parked my cart by the benches outside the public restrooms and zipped in, heading as I always do to the last stall.

Aaah, two glasses of sweet-and-low tea for lunch didn't bother me anymore. The bathroom was empty as I entered, but as I was occupying the last stall, someone came in to the stall next to me.

Weird. Just weird. Big old scrungy blue Converses, dirty and ragged, must have been size 13 and a half! Dirty raggedy jeans bottoms too. But the weirdest part is that the feet were backwards, you know, facing the porcelain bowl. As in standing up to pee....

First thought: Oh my goodness, what kind of weirdo (I actually thought "pervert") is in the stall next to me? I got a little nervous.

Then I got a lot if it were slow motion, it dawned on me that the shoes in the stall next to me were not filled by a weirdo. MY shoes were the ones filled with a weirdo. Yes, I was in the men's bathroom, and I was not alone! (No, I don't have any photos to post.)

How do I exit gracefully? Well, I don't. I come racing out of the stall with my hands serving as blinders on my downward-looking eyes, announcing loudly as there was now more than one other person joining me, "Sorry everybody, I came into the wrong bathroom!"

Loud laughter ensued, but I kept walking briskly. No I did not stop to wash my hands. I exited and immediately made a left turn to go to the women's restroom where I thoroughly washed my hands which were jittering like a drop of water in a skillet.

It's funny the things God uses to speak to me. I suspect He would speak to me in all things if I would listen more.

But this time, He highlighted my critical spirit. Fascinating how I immediately thought the other person was in the wrong, because it certainly couldn't be me. Thinking that I was wrong would be the farthest thing from my mind. Just like my everyday life.

Luke 6.42 How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

Two things I'm thankful for: 1) I used the liner on the toilet seat. 2) God will speak to me even when (especially when?) I'm in the wrong place.


Monday, May 11, 2009

The Gold(en Corral) Standard

"You know what I really like about eating at Golden Corral?" Mike offered as he and I along with Joshua and Rachael indulged in the all-you-can-eat buffet when we were traveling last week. "I love that I'm one of the skinny ones!"

Of course we all burst out laughing, because under any other circumstances none of us sitting at that table would be called "one of the skinny ones." But using the Gold(en Corral) Standard made us feel so much better about ourselves :-) as we went for that second plate of food.

That's exactly the kind of thinking I had during my first few years of being a Christian. I had always been the compliant first-born and labeled a good child because, compared to many (many, many) other children, I was gold. If others were my standard, then I stacked up pretty well.

The problem is, well, actually the great thing is, that others are not my standard. I don't have a Gold Standard to measure up to, but I have a God Standard, and boy do I fall short! When my sin is revealed being held up to the God Standard, God gives me the desire, along with the strength, to deal with it.

Romans 3.22,23 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Dear God, how I'm thankful for Your Standard in Your Word and in Christ's example. I'm thankful for all the growth that it has brought in my life. Please reveal anything in my life that does not please you.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Jonathan Basham

Remembering is good, but looking forward, especially to Heaven, is way cooler.

See you then, little guy.

Revelation 21.4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Replaced the Batteries

Yep Dena, they died.

You know how you sometimes only have so much money and can only buy so many batteries, then you must choose which items get the batteries? Which ones can you not do without?

I guess in life it’s called priorities or balance, but whatever it is, that’s what I’ve had to do these past couple of months. I’ve had to decide where to put my time and energy because I only had so much to disperse.

I think the older you get, the more life is like a spiral, like the money-grabbing game you put a penny into at the mall. At first it’s a long leisurely circle, you’re just drifting along. Then the closer it gets to the end, the more frantic the penny becomes, racing full speed to the dropoff. That’s where I’ve been.

All the racing has not been bad, and even the things that started out not so good had excellent outcomes. Like my mom’s pancreatic cancer. She came to stay with us in late January for a couple of months after pancreatic surgery at UNC.

The prognosis is excellent as the doctor proclaimed hers a “very well-behaved cancer, slow growing and not spreading.” And the great part was that my mom got to spend eight weeks at our house…getting to know my younger kids better. They really enjoyed having her here and she even taught Rachael how to make Buttermilk Biscuits, a gift that skipped my generation.

Yep, that was definitely the right place to use my limited battery power.

We’ve had birthday celebrations in February and March. We had an engagement in March, which means Sarah and Tony will be married on August 15th of this year.

(Wish I could show you THE dress! That must wait as Tony knows about this blog and he might peek. I just warned him that his knees are going to buckle when he sees Sarah in the dress, and like any love-sick puppy, he said they already do.)

So, batteries have to be put into the Wedding Planner and Mother-of-the-Bride modes.

Ecclesiastes 3.1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

For now, I have a few extra batteries to make this blog work again but I may have to borrow them for something else. Thanks to those who haven’t given up hope.

(And if you’re wondering who Dena is, check out this tickly post….)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Brownie Knife

I was pleasantly surprised yesterday morning when I got my daily P31 Ministries email devotional. It was the one I had submitted! Check out Brownie Knife.

(Fresh out of the oven! Where's the "scratch and sniff" technology when you need it?)

I thought this might be an appropriate time to share Basham Brownies with you. I'm not much into box brownies, although they will do in a pinch if you add nuts to them. But, then there are some who are not much into homemade brownies. Don't you love having options?

Basham Brownies
(as adapted from
Brooke's Best Bombshell Brownies

1 cup butter, melted
3 cups sugar
(I like a mixture of white and brown or to add a little molasses to the white)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
(or almond or rum or coffee flavoring, you choose :-)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
dash salt
1 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
(we love dark chocolate chips, but semi-sweet works well too)
(or 1 cup chocolate and 1 cup peanut butter chips....mmmm)
chopped nuts, if you like

Set oven to 350 degrees. I use a Wilton 9X13 metal pan, lightly greased. This yields about 30 thick brownies. You may also use a larger cookie sheet to yield more, but thinner brownies for a crowd. 

Combine melted butter, sugars and flavoring. Beat in the 4 eggs until thoroughly mixed.

Stir in flour, cocoa and dash of salt until blended. Add chips, then smooth into prepared pan. Bake 30-35 minutes for the 9X13 pan and about 15-20 minutes for the cookie sheet.

Don't forget this part, maybe one of the most important steps

Now go ahead and try the brownie knife!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Give Me Words to Speak

What do you say about 25 years? When I turned 25 years old, I remember thinking that my life had no purpose because it’s been a quarter of a century already and what had I accomplished?

Well, I had graduated high school (the first in my family to do so,) graduated college, had a pretty good job, owned a home, and had gotten married. But even then I was searching for significance, not success as defined by the world. Twenty-five years at that time seemed like forever.

Now, 25 years seems like a blip, or a more accurate term would be bliss. Wedded bliss, that is. Michael Kevin Basham and I have been married for 25 years today! Now, there’s significance for you!

God opened up the heavens and rained down grace unimaginable when He gave us to each other. There’s no way that 25 years has passed. I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun.

A friend told me recently that I have a perfect marriage, at least the most perfect one that she knows. And I have to agree with her. I think our marriage is as close to perfect as one can get.

Not that I’m a perfect woman (though Mike says I’m really close) married to a perfect man (I think he’s really close) but that we both are close to the Perfect One and we allow Him to work in us and through us for the benefit of each other.

Yes, we disagree. But we agree to look to God for the resolution. Yes, we get mad. But we forgive each other quickly with God’s help. Yes, we’re both selfish. But we agree to put the other’s needs ahead of our own.

We love. A love that’s extremely easy most days, but on rare days it’s definitely a hard choice. We laugh. Not at each other, but with each other. (If you want to see some of the things that make us laugh, check out Tim Hawkins.)

We also cry. Together. We work to make sure the hard things unite us as we cling ever closer to Christ, and in turn that brings us ever closer to each other.

This is the scripture that we had printed on the napkins we used at our wedding reception. It encapsulates our marriage to this day:

Ecclesiastes 4.12b A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Mr. & Mrs. Michael Basham

January 21, 1984

I still like to watch him. It makes me smile to watch him when he doesn’t know. It also makes my heart overflow. I can’t believe how incredibly blessed I am.

I love to see his smile. He can smile at me from across the room and I feel so loved. I always feel like he is thrilled to see me. Michael is the epitome of how a man should love his wife as Christ loves the church.

What do you say about 25 years? I’m not really sure, but I’d like at least another 25 years with Michael to come up with something.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I'm Glad Dave's Not God

One chance! Only one chance! That means the rooster didn’t really have a chance at all. When Dave brought the rooster home to their urban farm, Mitzi had concerns about having a rooster in the middle of town.

All the other chickens they had were noiseless hens, laying eggs and clucking ever so softly. And having chickens inside the town limits had been approved by the town council because of this family’s example. But roosters in the mix might jeopardize that.

So Dave assured Mitzi that the first time the rooster crowed in their yard, the animal formerly known as rooster would simply be known then as that day’s dinner!

Well, you guessed it. The rooster crowed! It happened to be a day when my daughter was sleeping over. We called to say we were coming to pick her up, but Mitzi asked if Rachael could please stay a little longer so she could join in the neck-wringing festivities.

OK, I said yes, but all the while I was thinking Rachael would be pretty nasty to take to the movie we were planning to head to after we picked her up. But I still said yes.

Later, after we picked her up, I asked her how the circle of life went. She reported that Dave had decided to wait until the next day because the rooster had just been fed and the process of cleaning said dinner would make too much a mess unless the fowl was emptied of all the foul stuff first.

So Dave gave a reprieve so as not to be inconvenienced with the mess.

I really am glad Dave’s not God. God forgives me over and over, the same crowing I do over and over. Because He loves me. Not because it’s convenient or inconvenient.

I’m not judging Dave. I’m sure I would have had a similar stipulation if I were inclined to have roosters and lived in the town limits. That makes me glad that I’m not God either, no matter how hard I try sometimes!

Psalm 130.3-4a “If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness.”

1 John 1.9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Second chances with God are not hard to come by. But with Dave.....well, Mitzi tells me the rooster was delicious.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Don't Leave Him There

Maybe your household is like mine. My kids love to help put up Christmas decorations, but when it's time to take them down, they have made themselves scarce.

This is why I found myself alone putting away our Nativity set that spans the length of our credenza. Each little piece must be wrapped to avoid breaking, and each large piece has its own styrofoam sarcophagus-type enclosure so it's much like putting together a puzzle.

The kids set it up and did a lovely job. But since they set it up, I really didn't get a chance to reflect on the cast of characters and what that scene must really have been like. I did have solitude in the packing up, though, so I was free to speculate on the thoughts and feelings of those involved.

One thing came to mind that is not speculation. The last human figure I was placing in the box was that of Sweet Baby Jesus Himself and I thought of how He was going to rest in that manger for the next 11 months.

So different from the real Sweet Baby Jesus who came for one purpose.

Peter preached it best:

Acts 2.22-24 Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

And the people responded:

Acts 2.36-38 Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.
When the people heard this, they were cut to the
heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"
Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.

Three thousand people decided that day they would not leave Jesus in the manger. He was now their Christ and Lord.

So pack away your porcelain Nativity figurines and make sure Sweet Baby Jesus is nestled all snug in His manger.

But for real life, don't leave Him there this year. Spend time with Him every day. Get to know Him more. He's all grown up now and I think you'll love having that relationship. I think you'll love who you can become by your association with Him.