Author Archives: thehearteyes

A Master Craftsman’s Design

Broken, crushed and put through an intense fire that has melted to a liquid – that’s how this beauty was created. I’ve been awaiting the arrival of this Phoenician (or Hebron) glass. I found it while in Jericho, that biblical city where the walls were supernaturally taken down by people marching, blowing trumpets and shouting. (And being silent for 7 days!)

The stunning colors come from using old bottles of crushed glass and other local raw sands fired in a hot furnace until fully liquified. A craftsman puts a long thin pipe into the boiling glass, pulls it out of the furnace and blows through the pipe to form the shape. The shaping process continues with a metal instrument until it is fully formed.

It’s beauty on the shelf caught my attention. But when the shopkeeper held it up to a light, I was sold. It’s tough and not easily broken. There are sets, but each piece is unique and individually designed. It’s usable and can be put in a microwave or dishwasher. (Not that I’m going to do that!)

The brokenness and crushing that life brings our way can be transformed into value and beauty by One who is a Master Craftsman. He forms something lovely with the breath of His Spirit blowing into us when the fire of life seems overwhelming. The One who pays attention to detail and to quality will shape us until we are fully formed to shine beautifully.

I’m reminded that the light of God’s presence within us reveals His ultimate design and brings Him glory. What once was crushed and broken can be made into something of beauty and value when we surrender our lives and trust His ways.

As in Jericho’s history of enemy walls falling, our breakthrough will come from that place where giving God praise seems like a battle cry.

Surrounded by Enemies

My perspective as a 1st-time traveler to Israel:

“We’re surrounded by enemies.” That’s what she said to me. My seat-mate leaving Israel was a delightful Jewish woman who grew up in Britain and has lived in Haifa, Israel since she married her husband who was from Haifa.

It is always interesting to hear the perspective of ‘real’ people. Ordinary, life-loving human beings, unfiltered by any agenda. She quieted her voice and glanced around the plane before she would speak. Always careful, alert. Her husband was called to reserve duty in the war with Lebanon. Her sons have served their country in wars. Fighting had come closer than she thought it would in her neighborhood. Friends have moved out of the country because of bombs that hit nearby years ago.

She was traveling to see her sister in Scotland and remarked about the long early morning trip to the airport in Tel Aviv. Naively, I asked if there wasn’t a closer airport somewhere, and that’s what brought her comment.

I’m not writing a political thing and I’m certainly no expert on travel. This is my first trip ‘overseas’ and the first time I’ve had my passport where it could be stamped. That’s another thing. Only it wasn’t stamped in Israel. Again, it was explained to me that you are given a small paper insert because if you have the stamp of Israel, some other countries won’t let you enter. They are doing you a favor by not stamping it.

There’s a lot of stories to tell about our trip. As a writer, it’s how I process the information and education of the days spent there. As a newbie traveler, I learned some interesting tidbits. A universal word I would rarely use in my suburban U.S. life is toilet. That’s from the trivia section!

Also, know where you are, so you know where you’re safe. I never felt unsafe, but I was always alert and careful. If you stay on the roadway to the Dead Sea, you are in Israel. If you get off the road on the left or right, you are in a different country – neither one friendly. That’s not so trivial. I learned that when we went to the city of Bethlehem, we were sort of not in Israel anymore, so our Israeli guide did not accompany us there. If you’re confused, join the club. And that’s what my seat-mate said, “It’s all so confusing.”

The western wall where you can pray is open to anyone. Any nationality. Any language. Any religion. Any friend or foe of Israel. Security is a definite, but anyone can come there to pray. And they do. The wall of prayer is a very small part of the old city wall of Jerusalem. It is significant to many for a variety of reasons. It is where many believe God’s presence is the closest to earth.

A Jewish guide took us through the underground tunnels where the old city walls have been excavated. There is continual excavation and it seems as though pieces of the puzzle of ancient times are continually being put back together.

I could tell about the sounds and smells of the four quarters of the old city shopping area. I wasn’t always sure where the different quarters ended and others began. I cannot give an adequate verbal description of the putrid smells that had me gasping for air or the shoulder to shoulder mass of people in some areas. The visuals were hard for me to take in; a fully skinned goat (raw meat) hanging in a glass window next to a high tech products shop next to a shoe shop, next to an art store, next to a fresh vegetable stand, with a motor-bike passing by and a man balancing a long, flat box with goods on top of his head as he jostled through the crowded rough tile street.

I could give the story of the mountainous area in the northern part that’s desired by surrounding nations and the military bunkers that remain on the sides of the hills. We were close enough to the Syrian border to throw a stone into it. Probably not a good idea.

I could tell about floating in the Dead Sea as being ‘trippy’ as phrased by one of our group. Or the deep emotion of touching and seeing the empty tomb where Jesus was buried and the documentation to prove it. Or praying in the olive grove, overlooking the long wall of the city. Of watching my brother baptizing in the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized. Or the time spent on the beautifully calm Sea of Galilee and staying in a Kibbutz there. Or the very high-tech new Friends of Zion Museum. Or of my first experience bargaining in shekels for a skirt.

Maybe I will write more about those later. But as I process what I’ve seen and tasted, (falafel or shawarma anyone?), what I’ve touched and felt, it’s really about the people.

The people of Israel who do not succumb to hate when surrounded by enemies.

The people who come to pray because they desire to be close to God.

The people who gave their lives to rescue others from the horrors of the holocaust.

The people who have found the Dead Sea scrolls.

The people who continue to preserve the history of this nation and uncover it inch by inch at excavation sites.

It’s people like our Israeli guide, who has embraced Jesus as Messiah, who introduced us to artists and craftsmen and gave us insight into history and geography and the tie to Bible truths. And thought we should learn to sing the Hebrew Shabbat song.

It’s the people that we shared this journey with from different parts of the world. Now friends. We became ‘family’ as I believe God intended when there were Emergency Room visits and we prayed for each other. Having four pastors who’d never met before, but shared devotionals or prayer on the tour bus each morning.

It’s people that God loves. It’s people that He cares about and continues to reveal Himself to. People. Created by a God of love and justice. A God who is relational. A God who parted the Sea in this land and still does miracles in whatever land we live in. A God who invites us to trust Him, even when we’re surrounded by enemies.

If I could encourage you to go to Israel and experience for yourself, I would consider this blog successful. We wouldn’t have considered it without hearing others’ stories- my brother’s being the most influential. Yes, it makes the Bible come to life as you remember seeing the ‘reservoir’ at Bethesda where Jesus healed the man and why He didn’t help him into the pool instead. The story behind the story because you see and understand the etymology and history and spiritual aspects altogether. Yes, it’s proof that the Bible is true and accurate, supported by excavations and documentation. Yes, the sights and sounds and smells are unforgettable.

But when we want to follow the Jesus of Israel, the God who took on human form to become our Savior, it’s helpful to know the land and the people of this land to understand more fully who we are and what His purpose is for our lives. We can then pray to know what our individual part is in making sure no one has to say, ‘we are surrounded by enemies”.

God Moments & Hiccups

I’ve been reading miracle stories to my grandchildren and telling them of some of the miracles I’ve seen when praying for others. After family dinner recently, my 8-year-old granddaughter had the hiccups. As most of us know, they can get downright annoying! She came to me and asked if I would pray for her hiccups to go away. I loved that this was her answer to the hiccups problem. We prayed and nothing happened. So, we prayed again and they were gone. Her faith increased as did mine!

Last night, it happened again. Annoying hiccups. (Hmm, could it be my cooking?) Again, she asked if I’d pray for them to go away. This time, I involved her little brother and his prayer was so sincere and sweet. But they didn’t go away and he was off to the Treasure Chest for his reading reward and didn’t have time to mess with a second prayer. He’s a fast decision-maker when choosing his prize, and she is one who takes her time and looks at everything in the Treasure Chest. Twice! And the hiccups were still there. I put my hands on her chest and asked if we could pray again. Simple prayer. Amazing God. Hiccups gone.

On rough days, these God-moments remind me of how much He cares about what we care about. It reminds me of what’s important to Him – child-like faith, persistence, and trust. If it matters to us, He will let us know our small things (or the big ones) have His attention.

My books that teach kids (and adults) about how much God loves us, are available on Amazon. Or you can go to my Books page here:   Angels on Assignment books

Copyright 2019 Nadine Helmuth Patton

All Rights Reserved

The Father of an Autistic

I watched the father of an autistic son recently. The loving care given by this father was visible in many ways, but none brought any emotional response from the son. Knowing this father and son for many years, I recognize the fatherly love and care is genuine. The father has protected and provided in every way possible for his son’s well-being. At 33, the son is now a man and the father has thought about his future and planned for it as well.

There was a moment at this son’s birthday celebration where the father asked for a hug. His specific autism is non-verbal and severe. His ability for functioning is much like a baby. After several coaxings, the son drew near, which was all he could understand, and the father embraced his son. The son walked away with no emotion, no evidence of comprehending, only silence.

Something stirred in me that night. We as human beings have a heavenly father who genuinely loves us and invites us to respond. He wants to communicate with us even when we turn away. He wants us to know He values us, has provided for us and will never stop caring for our needs. The God who created us invites us to draw near, to know Him, to respond to His kindness.

Although the physically autistic son does not have the capacity to respond, he did know he could draw near in that moment, and his father’s arms would reach out. He does know he will be safe when in his father’s care. He knows his father will let him have some nuts, one of his favorite foods! This father has taken the time to understand his son as profoundly as possible, but his heart breaks when he talks of just wanting to know what might be in his son thoughts, whether he knows what life means, how much he understands. One of the father’s griefs is being unable to do things together relationally as other fathers and sons do. He continually loves and values who his son is, knowing there will never be anything given in return.

I found this to be a powerful image of the heart of God for those He has created in His image. Even the best earthly father cannot compare to a heavenly One in the measure of desire for His children to know Him. To reach out to us when we don’t comprehend His love when there’s a rejection-like attitude or we can’t fully grasp His ways. Communication and relationship were only through symbols and abstract methods until He sent One to become like us; His Son who took human form to reveal the heart of His Father and show us how to relate. That passionate love continually pursues us, wanting us to understand, wanting us to draw near for the embrace that awaits, the relationship He desires.

Unlike the autistic son, we do have the ability to communicate with our Father because One stepped into our world and bridged the language of His ways. There are infinite ways that His love is revealed if we choose to see. And the choice becomes ours whether to accept or reject the loving relationship He offers.

When we are ‘born of God’ we begin to grasp the ways that are beyond the natural realm. We are brought out of ‘darkness’ and into His marvelous light. It is a spiritual re-birth that makes everything new, enlightens our understanding and begins a journey for us to know the ways of our Father that go beyond human comprehension.

Copyright 2019 Nadine Helmuth Patton

All Rights Reserved

My books that teach kids (and adults) about how much God loves us, are available on Amazon. Or you can go to my Books page here:   Angels on Assignment books


Learning about Peace from a 6-year-old

This week I was playing an educational game with my grands. The 6-year-old wasn’t getting his way and I could see the emotional storm brewing. He’s usually a sunny kid. Although it wasn’t a competitive game, his perception was that he was being undermined and the thunder rolled in! After the wind and rain and a full-on emotional storm hit, I gave him the option to calm down away from the game. It didn’t help much, so I tried to bring some peace to the winds and waves with more choices. The one that included a snack did the trick. Grandparents can pick their battles, too!

I’ve written books for kids about choices and how much they matter. We talked about who he really is, strong and courageous. And that it’s his choice in how he responds to these feelings.

I had to give myself the same ‘choices’ talk yesterday. After a grueling 90-minute commute, I needed to make one stop for an item I’d forgotten to get for my husband. A woman brazenly cut in front of me in the check-out line and her attitude riled me. What was that about? I got the impression she felt a lot of superiority as she stepped past me and set her goods down. Perhaps a childhood insecurity was creeping up on my part, but the rudeness of her behavior was obvious. So, I stepped across to the only other checkout, but it had an upside-down closed sign, so I asked. The young man growled that he would go ahead and take me, making sure I understood my few items were an inconvenience to him personally. I tried to be sympathetic, asking if he’d had a long day, beginning to feel like I needed my own pity party. He literally roared NO and that he shouldn’t even be there anymore.

That stormy moment with my grandson came to mind as I faced my irritation head-on the rest of the way home in my car. These were really small incidents. Why was I affected by them? One of the things I used for the 6-year-old would also help me with immediate emotional well-being. Food! I hadn’t taken the time to eat well. That, and some Quiet time. It’s so easy to get sucked into the emotion of the world around us. There’s plenty of opportunity for irritation, taking on another’s ‘storm’, feeling undermined or offended if it’s not ‘our way’. We also have choices.

We can choose to become a part of the storm and continue it or choose to be a conduit of peace with the ripple effect it brings. It begins internally. We cannot give what we do not have. My well-being doesn’t come from outward sources. Not from circumstances or emotions. Not from others’ validating who I am or any insecurities from my past.

I believe we partner with beyond-human power one way or another. And we’re created with free will. We get to choose what we partner with.

There is only One who is the Prince of Peace. What He says about me is what matters. One can never have true peace without allowing Him to be The Source of Truth in our lives. And unless we believe that Truth, we don’t understand who we truly are. Like my grandson, my response is a choice. (We both chose peace, although it might have taken me longer to get there!)

When we choose to believe the truth of the Bible, we become truly free. I won’t rise above the injustices of this world unless I live with His Truth. Letting go of offenses and not having my way is the ‘dying to self’ that He taught.

Recognizing His truth will bring freedom to live with the conscious awareness of what matters most – my identity comes from One Source, the God in whose image I’m created. That brings peace to any storms I have.

My books that teach kids (and adults) about how much our choices matter, are available on Amazon. Or you can go to my Books page.


Copyright 2019 Nadine Patton

All Rights Reserved

Thankful for 2nd Chances

Beautiful roses, right? That wasn’t so several short months ago. Gardeners advised us to get rid of it and plant another in its place.

This one was an anniversary gift from my husband and had given us many beautiful blooms. But the desert heat had taken its toll and it was embarrassing to have near the front door. Dead, ugly stems and leaves. No roses or buds. Thorns looking more pronounced than ever. We pruned off the worst-looking part and it still looked pitiful.

Gardening teaches me a lot about life. But unlike the Master Gardener of my life, the One who placed humans in that first garden, I was ready to give up on the roses. Life got busy and I just didn’t get it done. October brought a record rainfall. Water that’s like no other for the soil. And then one day a new bud showed up. The leaves around it still looked bad, but new life was coming through. A few weeks later, I took this picture, remembering the advice from the gardeners.  Happy I didn’t give up.

Sometimes life is like this. Ugly. Embarrassing. Dry. The heat of our world takes a toll and we have a hard time blooming. Pruning is painful. Failure overwhelms us. We dread the future. Think we’ve had all the manure (I’m a farm girl) we can take. Wish we could start over.

There’s One who gives us a second chance, never gives up on us. He prunes and waters, knowing we’ll bloom again. He’s not afraid of our pain. He sees beyond the ugly and embarrassing, knowing He’s created us for beauty.

He somehow uses the messes, (even if we’ve made them), to bring new growth. That’s called grace. His love will always bring us to the possibility of redemptive ways. A chance to bloom from His life-giving water. He brings new life from those tough times. With a fragrance that’s better than ever.

The One who created us isn’t giving up on us. Never will. He’s the God of 2nd chances, new beginnings. That’s what I’m thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Surprised and Over the Moon

This is a day I’ve cried some tears. Emotions have been hard to sort through as the past weekend processed through my mind. It started Friday night (at least for me) when my husband encouraged me to look at the moon with him in the backyard. Not that strange of a request really. He told me our son had sent a text about it. And I knew our son was out doing what he does (saving lives) that night. Someone had been texting. A lot. So I oohed and aahed at the moon.

We’d left the door open and I thought I heard a noise in the house. When I looked in and saw our small grandchildren in the kitchen unexpectedly, I happily said, “Oh look some little people are in our house.” As I opened the door and stepped inside, my mind could not comprehend what my eyes told me I was seeing. Even now, I can feel that place in my heart that was trying to grasp the reality that both of my brothers were standing in MY kitchen. The first words I heard were “Happy Birthday”, but my jaw was so far open that a response took a while to come out of my mouth.

How do you comprehend the love that brought one of them to arise waaay too early in his Virginia home, fly through Atlanta and come to Phoenix in still miserably hot September? Or the other one who left his pastorate on a weekend to come from his Kansas home – both of them just to celebrate me as their sister?

Extravagant love that sacrifices is like God’s love. It’s overwhelming.

I’ve been blessed by a lot of love in my life. This was over the moon. The planning and plotting and possibly some perjury that went on was enormous. So I confess. I’ve said it’s hard to surprise me. I think my daughter took it as a challenge. The previous weekend she got me pretty good with a surprise party with family and friends. And my husband surprised me with the announcement that he was taking me to the beach on my actual Big day. Yep, they’d got me! It was amazing to be surprised. I felt so loved. But they weren’t done.

Being the “surpriser” had been pretty fun two years ago for my younger brother’s Big day. And I hadn’t seen my brothers since. I got to see my sister this summer, but not those two. After our parents were both gone, it had to be more intentional for us. My older siblings are 8 years older than I, my younger brother is 8 years younger. It’s quite an age span and I wasn’t emotionally close to them growing up. As adults, we don’t live geographically close and our communication is random. Hence this perception was not on my radar as a possible thought. I’ve never spent time with just the two of them. But those two are crazy fun, and together, well you’re not quite sure when they’re serious or joking.

My granddaughter sobbed when they left. I shed my own tears after seeing them off on different flights. So much laughter. Great new memories. Meeting new members of my family. Having a few moments with nearby cousins. Bonding with my grandchildren. Getting a gorgeous bouquet of my favorite flowers from my sister. This tells me how much they value me. It wrecked my heart to be honored in this way.

I didn’t get to spreadsheet-plan and organize the time together. I had no meals prepared. I had a wedding to go to in the midst of it all. My hospitality instinct preparedness wasn’t activated. I did happen to clean my house that day. Amazingly, the moments worked out and the focus wasn’t on the plan but the people. Somehow this too was a gentle reminder that I can enjoy not having a plan and things work out. The detour on our way to the airport today took us past In and Out Burger unexpectedly and gave my younger brother a treat not found in Kansas.

Detours, unexpecteds and being able to roll with it. Sacrificial love is best enjoyed when we let go. Embrace it. Freedom to be loved is God’s design.

The interruptions of life can make us feel off balance or out of control. I consider myself appropriately organized. That’s not similar to controlling! However, floating in the middle of the unknown is quite pleasant when it’s a sea of love you’re floating in. My brothers are amazing men. One lost his first wife to the devastation of cancer when she was only 37. The other one has helped hundreds of families cope with grief and loss as a hospice chaplain and pastor. They’ve both traveled overseas a lot. They both love to cook stuff I’ve never heard of. They live life with passion and unlimited wit. Time spent together is an incredible gift. I am so grateful and honored for this weekend of celebration.

Surprising someone you love in a way you know they’ll love is an amazing way to celebrate them. Small surprises or big ones. Making time for moments together. This is love at its best.  I will be careful of one thing. I’m not going to be so quick to go look at the moon with my husband – well, unless it’s at the beach!

One Tough Woman

She was one of the most patient women I’ve ever known. Tiny and tough. Courageously she chose to follow the Jesus of the Bible when it meant rejection and her own mother not attending her wedding. Tough with an inner strength of character. My mama. I’m grateful for her character that taught me so much about forgiveness and loving well. Her heart of love was enormous, her body petite. At every stage of my life, she was always genuinely interested in my world. She influenced my children to know her God. She loved my husband dearly.

My friends from college would come to our home because they loved hanging out with Mom… and Dad. The next generation, their grandchildren, brought friends too. Not only were they hospitable and ready to feed you, they found ways to encourage each person as an individual. Loved, valued and respected for who they were no matter the differences. And always sharing the ways of Jesus with each one. She connected and loved in a way that made you want to be your best self.

It seems to me that our world is lacking true mothers and fathers. Mom would have been 93 today. She ‘mothered’ many young women in her community. She ‘mothered’ others long after her own children were grown. Many can give birth, but not all give real life.

I’ve followed in some of her footsteps… with writing and bringing hope to women and sharing hospitality, but I’m not as patient or tough! Her father died when she was a teenager. She had to be tough. She milked cows and baled hay as a young woman. She could calm their ferocious rottweiler with one word so the delivery man would be safe. She partnered with Dad in starting two successful businesses. She cared for her mother-in-law later in life. She learned to do email because she valued connecting to others. She went for a para-plane ride for her 70th birthday. Raised as a little Amish girl, she lived outside her comfort zone in many ways.

If you weren’t blessed with such a parent, ask God to bring you one no matter what your age. If you can parent with the father-heart of God, be courageous and do it. Go for the adventure! It would make the world a better place.

Picnic at the farm – Me, Dad, Mom & Grandma

New Season Same Reason

For the past several years I’ve worked as a volunteer with women in crisis. I’ve heard hundreds of stories that are beyond my imagination. The broken lives and gut-wrenching stories have changed my heart in many ways. I’ve learned a lot about compassion and listening. Hearing about a situation from a political or media view versus sitting across from a woman and listening to her personal story usually gives a different perspective.

A new season is opening for me as I’ve said yes to going to a new location. It’s near a downtown intersection where over 60,000 cars pass by daily. Yes, daily. There’s a bus stop and a light rail stop there as well. Behind our building are apartments that house refugees from many nations. I’m told by the fire department workers close by that they’re known to have bed bugs. Our police friends tell us it’s known as the worst area of our city. It helps to know I have friends in the I.C.E. agency around the corner. There was a stabbing in front of the building last week.

When I was asked to consider going there, I went with a friend who knows that area well and we walked the perimeter of the building and prayed. A lot has changed for me in the past few years. Risk-taker wouldn’t have been a description of me as I grew up. Timid and fearful were more like it. I’ll turn 60 later this year and I’m taking on a new adventure as ‘retirement’! I’ve never pictured myself going to the ghetto. It certainly was never on my list of what I wanted to do when I grow up! But I admit, there’s an excitement inside that’s beyond me. I have no idea what awaits me in this place. My ‘yes’ to God is echoed by His ‘yes’ to me. That is enough for me.

Several things began to shape me with courage and boldness. 1. Reading about miracles and hanging out with people who continually experience the miraculous ways of God boggled my mind and created a hunger in my soul. 2. Spending time with God that was quality and not short-changed by a busy schedule. It sometimes felt like I was doing nothing, but I began to see the benefits and He began to change my heart.

My grandpa John had a quote that I have taken as my own – “I don’t know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.”

The solution for any crisis always has at its heart the same answer – Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Because my God is a Life-Giver, I can be a Life-Giver. The reason I believe in Jesus, is the reason I believe He offers the real answer to life’s problems. Not easy answers, but ones that will transform lives. Whether in crisis or not, He sees each of us as valuable and worthy of His love. Human beings want to know this. It’s not just for a certain place or time, it’s for everyone everywhere we go. My part is to be trustworthy and faithful to bring that Good News.

I won’t blog or write as much as I focus on this intense new area. I know I will always write stories to inspire because stories inspire me. If you want to be included as a recipient of the stories of this new chapter, please email me at

The Attorney and Eternity

I had a great experience this week. You wouldn’t think that sitting down with my husband and an attorney and preparing for what happens after we die would be amazing! But it was. We left that office being deeply touched, knowing it was yet another God-moment in our lives. Although we don’t have a lot of earthly stuff, we hadn’t updated our previous will that had been done to provide guardianship for our minor children. Trusting God in every step of our lives, He had again designed a good thing in a place that ordinarily seems hard.   

I believe it’s important to steward well what we have been given. I don’t care what happens after I die because I’ll be with Jesus and nothing is better than that. Except I do care. Leaving a legacy that outlives me is important to me. I was given a heritage of faith by my parents and my grandparents and I’m grateful. I love the moments I have now with my grands. Making memories, sharing my love of stories and gardening and travel. And Jesus. But the next life is all about worshipping the One who is worthy. The One who gave His life so I can have eternal life. It matters how I live my life now. It matters for the generations to come. It matters that my parents and grandparents made huge changes in their lives, at the cost of being ridiculed by family, so I can know the truth of Jesus and the Bible.

Living beyond the moment, being good stewards, and valuing what has eternal worth isn’t part of our culture. But leaving a legacy for generations to come, shows our understanding of faith.

By the way, if you don’t have preparations made for after you die – the physical or the spiritual – you can PM me and I’d love to introduce you to my attorney or my Jesus.