All posts in Family Life

Waiting for Baby

“I’m nervous about the first week,” Sarah confided. Expecting her first baby, she googled everything. I didn’t know I should’ve been nervous since google hadn’t been invented.

I’m glad.

But here we sit in the Starbucks courtyard of UNC Hospital with the prospective grandparents and google or not, we’re nervous. Nervous about the first week and month and year and lifetime of our grandson.

And happy, too.

I’m nervous about being a grandma. I mean, I wasn’t the best mother. Often I yelled. Sometimes I slacked off. Many times I failed my daughter. Yet, here I am.and my little girl going to be a mother.

Who knew almost 28 years ago as Tom and I circled Crest Lake Park in Clearwater, waiting for my water to break that this day would come.

She came into our lives and we were never the same. In the quiet of the night as I nursed her, I marveled at her tiny lips and  small hands that grasped my finger. At three years old, she pursed her lips and defied me, feet spread apart, arms crossed. I remember stating, “Will you just grow up!”

And she did.

Only after she built a playhouse with her dad, and dressed up her little brother in a nightgown and put a fake crown on his head. After she excelled in school and put me to shame. After she stood up to me again one night, calling me to repentance over sin in my life.

And then she transferred to a different school to finish her major and our relationship changed. Softened.


Then she married a fine man from an excellent family.

Now she’s going to be a mother.

So David’s parents and Tom and I sit at a hospital Starbucks both nervous and excited.

None of us knows what it’s like to be a grandparent.

I know it’s important.

And worthy.

I think it’s gonna be fun. And heart-wrenching, and amazing.

When I tell someone I’m gonna be a grandma. They drop whatever they’re doing and look my square in the face.

“You’ll never be the same.”

I believe them.

And I don’t even need to google that.

A Girls Trip to Paris

So finally, I had a chance to write about my mystery trip to Paris. I hope you enjoy!–two-daughters-take-on-the-city-of-love/20257061/

New Growth

Miriam and I straddled white plastic planting beds, poking holes and popping seeds in as fast as our tired arms could muster. Clay-like, rocky soil lay just beneath the thin surface. After we finished one packet of seeds, we tromped to the old farmhouse and checked our diagram.

“What did we just plant?”

“Not sure. Was it the yellow crook, or the marigolds?”

“Let’s check the wall,” Miriam suggested.

“The Wall” is our backwards, upside-down diagram of the field. Instead of above and below, it is beside. Instead of back to front, it’s front to back. Needless to say, the wall was my invention–more confusing than helpful. Still, it was something.

I picked up a cucumber packet. “How should we grow these?” We went to YouTube.

We tromped back out to the field.

I practiced side-ways lunges as I plunked cucumber seeds into the holes.

“Really, Miriam, I can’t imagine anything would grow in this soil. In fact, it would be a miracle!”

God still does miracles. Our seeds sprouted. In spite of our ineptness and in spite of five million gallons of rain in five days.

Yesterday, Tom sauntered our to the field to check the irrigation lines in-between rain showers.

“Pauline, come quick! It’s growing! We’re farmers!”

We high-fived each other as we took in the sight. Tiny, green shoots sprouted out of clay-like, rocky soil.

It kind of reminded me of the time Tom and I sat in an auditorium of over 5000 as young people marched across a simple stage.

“Sarah Ray Hylton,” they called. “You are awarded a master’s degree in nutrition.”

Once, she and Micah were little seeds in our Hylton house. Our family soil was filled with rocks, and we had no experience. Yet God granted the growth–in spite of us.

Isn’t that just like Him? Taking our inadequacies and producing growth for His glory.

I’m glad.

And just like we had to keep Sarah and Micah alive, we need to keep those little seeds alive.



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A Big Family

Seated at round tables in a school cafeteria, Tom and I viewed our new church family. A father, mother and four children claimed the table by the wall. Several older couples shared tables. A few singles here and there were spattered throughout. Among them I noticed several young men. Maybe 70 people in all.

Music streamed from Pastor David Brady’s iPhone and bellowed out through speakers. Some hymns I knew while others were new to me. All exalted the same God.

But it’s not like the church my kids grew up in. The church that prayed for my husband for fourteen years until one day my pastor and friend Steve Kreloff announced that Tom Hylton was born-again.

Everybody clapped.

I couldn’t stop smiling. Neither could Tom. Neither could his children.

In Florida, we sit on cushioned pews. A congregation of 500 are spread between two services. A praise team and often a choir lead in worship. People I’ve known for several years and a few I’ve just met sing, pray, read Scripture and listen as Steve serves up a good portion of God’s Word verse by verse.

In Mt Airy, North Carolina (AKA Mayberry)David teaches about “One Anothering.” How as a church family, we are to love, encourage, admonish, and care for each other. A loaf of bread rests before him at the round cafeteria table. Familiar words from God’s Word are spoken confidently, giving glory and praise to our Savior.

The bread is broken and served by leaders. A young red-haired man holds the silver plate filled with tiny pieces of bread. He looks me in the eyes–a stranger to his world–smiles and says, “This bread is a symbol of His body broken for you.”

And we share something. A love for Jesus. Fellowship.

I take the bread and as I do images and words are justaposed  in my brain. I hear those words in Spanish, Vietnamese, French, Moroccan, and Creole as believers of different nations celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord.

A big family.

I’m leaving my family of 30 years and 500 people to be with my other family of 70. They just happen to have a southern accent.

But make no mistake, we are one family.

The body of Christ.

And all God’s people said,



Memories of My Daddy

You ever have one of those days–a memory of a loved one slaps you upside the head? Today, during my quiet time I remembered my father, Major Ramon L. Wert.

The reason? I read a song from the Salvation Army songbook written by Charlotte G. Homer, #339:

“In loving kindness Jesus came,
My soul in mercy to reclaim.
And from the depths of sin and shame
Through grace he lifted me.

“From sinking sand he lifted me;
With tender hand he lifted me;
From shades of night to plains of light,
O praise his name, he lifted me!”

I remember my daddy. He’d sing the song with such feeling that he threw his head back in his wheelchair. He couldn’t remember all the words so he sang, “From sinking sand he lifted me,” over and over again.

Some memories are hard but good.

I hope you have good memories this Easter.

If you don’t, if you are follower of Christ, you have the hope Easter represents .

New life in Christ–not the Easter bunny.

Here are the rest of the words of the song:

“He called me long before I heard,
Before my sinful heart was stirred;
But when I took him at his word,
Forgiven, he lifted me. (Hallelujah!)

“His brow was pierced by many a thorn,
His hands by cruel nails were torn.
When from my guilt and grief, forlorn,
In love he lifted me.

“Now on a higher plane I dwell,
And with my soul I know ’tis well;
Yet how or why I cannot tell,
He should have lifted me.

“From sinking sand he lifted me;
With tender hand he lifted me;
From shades of night to plains of light,
O praise his name, he lifted me!”

Celebrate your new life in Christ, this Easter.

Blessings, friend.