Help Me Jesus…

Tristin and Teresa

In the car, so close to home – yet so far away. It’s that moment that many I’ve talked to have experienced – that moment when your stomach, slightly upset, feeling the bowels working overtime…you know, that feeling that you never want?

Here I was nowhere close to a restroom. Experiencing that butt clenching, cold sweat, nausea induced moment in which control ceases to exist.

Groaning in great discomfort while fearfully driving, “Oh Jesus, help me Jesus…” all the while my daughter laughed hysterically; more so at the look on my face as I cried out to Jesus for help.  Begging her to stop laughing as she was making me laugh so hard while I painfully laughed while her giggle caused the muscles to give way…turning left into the neighborhood, my daughter’s laughter increased only causing what I feared the most to come to pass – what was about to happen if I didn’t jump out of my car when suddenly I lost all control, now drenched in one of my favorite pair of jeans – it was over!

I screamed, “Help! I pooped!” My daughter screamed, “No you didn’t! Mom! Noooooo!” When suddenly you could hear her slowly sniff as the scent seemingly tangibly hit her and that was when she suddenly screamed, “NOOOOOO! Ahhhhhhhhhh! Mom! Mom! Mom! You pooped…NOOOOOO!”

I’ll never forget that day.  However more than anything…I’m going to remember that this hilariously, unfortunate, true life scenario reminds me of the moments in life when we relinquish control of what is right and suddenly we find ourselves sitting in the middle of a bunch of “crap”!  In life, crap happens – but it doesn’t mean we have to allow our “happenings” to reflect the crap; instead we can allow the washing of God’s Word to clean us up!


Delicious food – you know the meal that you hope lasts for an eternity – yet it disappears so quickly as you shovel it in as though being timed in a food eating contest and unless someone filmed your eating habit – you wouldn’t think twice about it – ha!

So here we were enjoying delicious food and time together with my daughter as well as Chris and Hadasha.


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Cody, Chris. Joy of New Beginnings. 2016. Instagram, Texas @chriscodyyy



Time escaped us when we realized the restaurant was closing for the evening. Upon leaving, we walked out together sharing a hilarious story. Meanwhile, in the parking lot, hovered by the star lit sky –  walking each other to our vehicles – when the inevitable moment happened…I can’t even tell you that the story being shared was even that funny – yet it was their reaction to the story that caused this inner tickling to set off the laughter that was unstoppable – laughing with everything in and out of me got me laughing even harder when that horrific feeling of knowing it was coming forth with full force, I screamed, “Stop talking! Nooooo! Helllllp!” As they screamed, “Nooooooo! Don’t peeeeee…” that is when the levy broke, the stream sounded and my bladder was unstoppable as I stood there in my adorable outfit on the slanted blacktop when the geyser gushed forth all the while watching the look on their faces as they watched in horror as my pee was traveling at warped speeds toward them.  What  made it far worse was to see them running from the stream as hopeless laughter caused my bladder to be  completely emptied.  Suddenly, everyone’s screaming turned to stunned silence as they had only heard the stories – but this time they experienced the horror first hand.

As I laugh thinking back on that evening – I LOVE THE humor of God as I just read, “Anyone who believes in Me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, “Rivers of living water will flow from his heart…” (John 7:38) – Can you hear me giggling?

May you experience JOY that overflows and travels at warped speeds toward you that overwhelms you – allowing it to overflow on others causing strength to annihilate your every part even if your laughter is stronger than your bladder…


Boost and Bust…LOL!

Tristin and Teresa

Why is it while I am laughing with everything in me that the “panic button” decides to be released within my bladder at the most inappropriate times? Ugh…LOL!  It’s that very moment when I least expect it…my daughter begins to giggle AT me and the tickling mechanism within both our bellies bubbles over with wreckless laughter…Oh goodness, just thinking about it causes the giggles to arise.

So here’s the scenario:

For a while I had been wanting a pair of those bouncy shoes – do you know what I’m talking about?  They’re called “Kangoo Jumps”…have you heard of them?  Well out of shopping impulse I went onto a popular online shopping site to see if I could order them with my gift card and ordered two pairs – ordering a pair for me and a pair for my daughter.  A few days later, upon receiving these fun exercise shoes – we opened the box and pulled out those brand new “Kangoo Jumps”, placed them on our feet, barely able to stand, we finally found our balance as we began jumping all around the house as laughter and giggles along with the squeaking sound of the “jumps” filled the air!  Suddenly as we carelessly approached the corner of the dining room running and jumping into the kitchen we saw that one of our cats was completely freaked out – his tail full, back curved, revealing sheer terror as we were helplessly giggling, falling over and holding ourselves as we were peeing ourselves with full on laughter!

As we attempted to regain our breath while soaked with the evidence of  laughter – we knew that as much as we loved those “jumps” we had to return them! For us, we knew that those fun “jumps” were just a “pee accident” waiting to happen every time we put them on our feet! Ha!

In all of this, I am reminded of those moments when we and even others need a joy boost…although my daughter and I didn’t end up keeping the “jumps”- what kept us was the freedom to laugh with no concerns of who was watching – even if it was a “scaredy- cat” who probably left a few dribbles of pee ha!  It was all a reminder to laugh like there’s no one looking – for remember – laughter is a weapon that changes the atmosphere in an instant and scares depression, anger and grudges away.

Have a laughter filled day as you become aware of the boosting effects of JOY!


Tristin and Teresa

Uncontrollable laughter as the six of us were hootin’ and hollerin’ right smack in the middle of Chili’s.  Our server Vickie was fun and witty as our random outbursts of celebration over our friend’s birthdays didn’t phase her a bit.

It was about two years ago when this memorable moment took place. My friend had plans to go to Chili’s, and I thought it was the one closest to our house, but being that she needed to be somewhere afterwards she realized it would be better to go to a different location other than the one we normally frequented.

Meanwhile as we came together, it was no surprise that our time with one another caused the laughter to “spill over” as we attempted to collaborate with our singing efforts to the “Happy birthday” song.  Now in our obvious song choice, we were going to do so in our well mastered accents…ha! So it went like this, I was going to sing in a Korean accent, while Jacob sung in his well mastered Russian accent, Patty preparing to sing in an Irish accent, as Kelsey would do so in a British one while Paula prepared to sing with a Spanish accent and my daughter “Paris” randomly choosing to sing in what she would imitate as how a “Hillbilly” would sing.  As soon as we were about to ‘perform”, my daughter had just bitten into a southwest egg roll as she turned to me and smiled and right there in front of me stared a black bean as it had attached to her front tooth as we were about to sing.

Already tickled, there it was…the moment I lost it – and now it was to the point of no return as none other than the floodgates of my bladder burst forth and my dignity was swept away…it was over…not only was I soaked, but Jacob, Patty’s 17 year old son  was sitting next to me and somehow heard the subtle stream as his eyes became as big as saucers. Just thinking of that moment now causes me to laugh out loud as he looked at me with fear of what just may have happened was confirmed as he slowly looked down on the ground underneath the table to find a large puddle and in disbelief he exclaimed, “No! You peed!”  And at this point I couldn’t breathe as I still had the image of Trissy’s smile combined with his disbelief as well as the whole table of people in utter shock as they also began to slowly look underneath the table to find the evidence that “Laughing Mom” was in their presence.

At this point it was so many embarrassing thoughts rushing through my mind.  As timing would have it, Vickie our server approached the table finding none other than the mess I made and yet was so sweet as I had to break it to her what had just taken place, when she genuinely and so kindly offered to clean it up.  Meanwhile in sheer panic, I said, “NO! I’m so sorry, I don’t want you touching my mess, all I ask is if you could please bring me a towel and spray so I can spray the booth down and clean up the floor…”  After her incredible assistance we knew we couldn’t just leave a good tip – but we needed to leave a memorable one.

In that moment as the check was paid, we all contributed to the tip to ensure our server had well over than what she expected along with making it an opportunity as an outreach to give her one of our REACH Church cards along with finding a pen to leave with her! We thought for sure we’d never see her again when that next Sunday to our surprise there she was along with her precious family; with her husband and two children.

Of course we thought that was the end of the story until about nine months later our church did several videos of different people’s testimonies.  The testimonies were on how God had touched their lives through our church family. While watching I saw a young man whom I recognized, realizing it was none other than Vickie’s husband – as I heard his story, tears streamed down my face as we had no idea that the birthday celebration at that particular Chili’s was going to usher in with joy and celebration this young woman’s husband into the Kingdom of God. To hear his brief yet “telling” testimony was God revealing His goodness on this young man and his family. Watching the video, we were dumbfounded to realize Vickie’s husband had been an atheist, while still searching for truth, he walked into REACH Church and wanted more as he heard TRUTH being taught and proclaimed through our Pastor.

To look back on the grace of God – even through a messy, embarrassing moment – God would cause it to reveal His glory on a spirit of a young man that needed to be reconciled back to The Father.

The moral of this story?  We get to be “mess”engers of God’s joy – causing relief in more ways than we could ever imagine!!

Your Name Looks Familiar…

Tristin and Teresa

Bills to be paid, errands to run, “To Do” lists to be checked off; meanwhile I was beyond ready to get back home to unwind as I finally approached the last errand on my checklist.

With all the hustle and bustle that drizzly day, I entered the drive of my local electric company, intentionally thinking of the two options I had to pay my bill: I could either go inside or go through the drive thru.  The thought of convenience “won” and so as I turned to go through the drive thru, I miscalculated while turning into the port which was separated by a raised median as I unknowingly managed to drive up on when suddenly my truck bounced off the ground more than once to where both myself and my daughter were jolted up from our seats almost hitting our heads against the ceiling.  As I came back to reality, after almost peeing my pants, I noticed the lady in the car beside me who must have done the same as she had this incredibly concerned yet scared expression as she must have heard the bumping sound and perhaps thought I was going to crash.  From there it only got better…as I looked up, I saw a few ladies through the glass window watching from inside as they covered their mouths and seemingly gasped as it caused me to burst into nervous laughter as I waved at them. While rolling down the window I could hear the intercom switching on as the sweet lady who ended up helping me was giggling while saying something to the effect of,  “Did you think you were driving a monster truck?”  I was a bit embarrassed yet still laughing and said, “You know, I did that on purpose, right?” Ha!

As things settled down, still giggling from the little adventure, I sent in my payment through the tube and a few moments later the intercom came back on as I heard the lady’s voice saying, “Your name looks familiar…Teresa Criswell…hmmmmm…wait! Are you a writer?” Caught off guard even more, I sheepishly responded with a slow, “Yes”.  She continued, “You write for Triumphant Victorious Reminders, right?”  And I said, “Yes, how did you know?”  She said, “I just subscribed to it yesterday.”  We began laughing even harder as I thought, “Talk about meeting someone with a “BANG” – along with a little tinkle for this laughing mom…ha!

Since that moment, God has utilized it as a teaching one. You perhaps would ask,  “How so?”   Well, when I’m about to lose my cool or become impatient over something, I think of that moment…would I be recognized?  And if so, would I be recognized because of kindness and joy or impatience and complaining?

All in all, this laughing mom was reminded why I laugh…I laugh because of my God revealed by Jesus as the Holy Spirit unites us in Him.  I want people to be filled with joy when they know the Name of Whom I belong to and that is the name above all names – The Author of all authors – the Name that is Joyful, Victorious, Strength – I want to hear, “You remind me of Someone Who BANGS up shame, condemnation and sin – do you belong to Jesus?”

Fasting from laughter? LOL!

Tristin and Teresa

“A merry [cheerful, joyful]  heart is good medicine; but a broken [crushed, depressed] spirit saps a person’s strength.” – Proverbs 17:22

There we were in the lobby as we were talking about how many times I’ve peed my pants while laughing. That’s when one of my hilarious friends giggled hysterically, challenging me to “fast” [abstain] from laughing for twenty one days. My daughter and I looked at each other with that ‘panicky’ look for a moment as my sweet girl interrupted the horrifying thought of “no laughter?” when she said, “My mom stop laughing?!?!  O no! She would die!” 

We giggled as I realized it was an unfathomable thought not to laugh.  That moment made me aware of the joy that is readily available at every waking moment even in the midst of stress, sadness, sickness and disappointments..

Hilariously enough, the laughter stirred up within the atmosphere of our home and many places we go; most would perhaps find the ‘clamor’ of our giggles as awkward and most likely not funny at all – but that’s what makes it funny – it’s just funny  – I’m laughing just thinking about how hilarious that is (Heeheehee – I’m chuckling like a man). 

With all that, do you get to experience that head tossing laughter on a consistent basis? 

Do you long for more joy in your life? 

Are the worries of this life forcing you to “abstain” or “fast” from a life of laughter?

There’s always room for more giggles – I’m not talking about laughing at someone elses expense – I’m talking about pure laughter – laughing on purpose – laughing so hard you can’t breathe.  It’s this kind of laughter that can be the activation to what faith looks like as we trust in God in the midst of terrifying trials.

Our family has come to find that laughter is likened to both a medicine and a weapon.  Yes! Laughter has multiple purposes – it can be utilized as a medicine to heal our broken hearts and it can also be utilized as a weapon to change the atmosphere of frustration and even fear revealing strength under pressure!

So here’s the moral…laugh so hard you pee your pants!

Lesson In A Test…


Screaming laughter, violent joy and the uncontainable ability to remain dignified beyond the “vanishing point” of comprehension!

Yes. I did it yet again.

So here we were, it was that moment in which we took the ‘perspective’ challenge. There it was – the ‘classroom’ moment. That home schooling moment in which I could truly make it a teaching one.  It was that challenge for myself to exercise, with my daughter, the ability to not just see this spelling test as a dumb test or a needless “chore”  or even seeing through the hopeless, mundane perspective of “Eeyore”, instead this spelling test was going to be seen and recognized as an opportunity for excitement in learning what my daughter already knew and where improvement was needed.

Well that is when “drama mama” came forth – the “over acting”, “over emphasizing” and the “ever changing” characters came running to the service of my mind and out of my mouth with every spelling word given. Suddenly the voice inflections triggered the joy switch within me as I began to helplessly laugh – all the while my daughter, staring at me with great concern as though you could interpret her apprehensive look as saying, “Help! My mother has lost it!”  The look of concern changed to her laughing hysterically with that contagious giggle, tickling me beyond what I could handle as the levies of my bladder burst forth like a violent, rushing river and with great force the ‘waters’ raged through and over the cliffs into the gushing waterfall!

Silence fell as the atmosphere seemed to be blanketed with the reality of “Did I really pee?” The puddle of evidence was our giggling reminder of having a little too much fun at my own expense.

Indeed the sobering moment of needing to clean up and change did not wipe away the learning lesson.  Although it was necessary to clean up, shower and change – it was when the realization of changing perspective of how we looked at a test, cleaned up our fears of how we perceived them.

Needless to say, the great lesson learned in the classroom was being able to utilize the gift of laughter as a weapon to tear down the fears of shame in being fearful of “getting things wrong” and just allowing it to be a teaching opportunity of what we ‘get’ to improve with God’s great help! Having joy in the journey!