Category Archives: Empty Nest

When you can laugh and cry at the same time <3


One day last fall, Russ and I headed up north for Grandparent Day at Emmett’s school.

In a phone conversation the night before, for some reason, Papi asked what color Emmett would like us to wear.

With much thought and great deliberation, he selected orange.

Needless to say, Papi immediately set his University of Illinois pullover in the car so it would be ready to go when I picked him up from the office at 8:45 sharp.

I thought I would be able to pull off orange as well, but realized as I hurriedly dressed that morning that my orange sweaters and such are really more in the rust family…but well…I look better in rust than true orange so that would have to do.

I picked Russ up and away we went.

But not without a comment from my better half that he hoped for my sake Emmett considered THAT color to be orange because it sure looked more like red to him.

We razzed each other about that for a bit in a good natured way….and then I thought of my mom.

I told Russ…if I was my mom, I would be in orange from head to toe and most likely would have found earrings with miniature oranges in my vast array of funky jewelry to complete the outfit.

We laughed til we cried.

You would have had to have known her to appreciate that there was no holiday garb too gaudy or goofy for Nell Lochner to don.

She had a bright green crocheted vest that was her uniform for St Pat’s Day and then was combined with red blouse and skirt for Christmas…along with her Santa socks of course.

She wore a pair of glitter glue earrings that Sarah made for her just about every time she came to see us.

Nostalgia hits at odd times and brings a mix of tears and laughter as we remember loved ones.

The holidays seem to be ripe with opportunities for tender thoughts.

In the midst of things that tug at our hearts…things that stir both good and hard memories….

and even those things that remain separated, lost and unresolved…

in the midst of all those things…

we choose to be thankful.

Thankful to God who provides what we need, who is faithful to finish what He has started.

To God who sustains us and carries us; who loves us and understands the depths of feelings and emotions that tumble around inside of us.

May God bless each one of you…

whatever your various holidays are looking like throughout this year.

I pray you know the Presence of the Lord as your first and most honored guest at every occasion <3



It would seem we need no instruction in how to cheat…

I have continued to puzzle over one of the Proverbs passages from last week…the one in Proverbs 19.

An interesting couplet of thoughts that at first seemed unrelated in the NKJV.

What is desired in a man is kindness…and a poor man is better than a liar. V 22

Kindness and how it relates to sacrificing truth to gain wealth.

So I have been “watching” for this parable in real life.

Because the point of the Proverbs is for us to SEE with our spiritual eyes and understand the TRUTH of these statements, so they TRANSFORM us.

And yesterday I got my AHA! moment.

I was helping Rachel yesterday with corralling the band of brothers as she continues to heal and care for Sweet Caroline while Zach returned to work.

They had given the boys a Monopoly Junior game and so I got invited to join the fun.

At six, Graham has gained the skills to play this kind of game. Emmett…not so much.

I give Graham credit for his patience with his brother who tends to roll the dice in a way that scatters all the pieces on the board.

Every. Single. Time.

And it didn’t seem to bother him one little bit that Emmy counts four squares by choosing any four he would like instead of four in a row.

But I also noticed that Graham was able to manipulate the game in such a way that he could engineer extra turns for himself and find ways to decrease our stacks of paper money while increasing his.

I spent a lot of the game pointing and counting squares for Emmett while keeping my eye on Graham and reminding him about the honesty factor.

Not gonna lie…it hurt.

It was love at first sight for me with this little goober.

And I thought for the first two years that we finally had seen the birth of a perfectly faultless human.

I know.

Forgive me Lord.

But love is blind until the eyes are open.

As it turns out our little people are 100% human, just like every one of us.

Graham, Emmett…Joel and even, sigh, Sweet Caroline…will not have to be taught how to cheat to win.

Their mommy and daddy, supported and loved and backed up by an army of family warriors, teachers, church leaders and mentors will prayerfully instruct them…

in every arena from board games to boardrooms…

It is better to have been fair and just and lose the game than to win through dishonest means.

Correction is hard and it hurts…but when we realize that we ALL have the same weakness…we can administer the needed correction with love and grace and confidence because we KNOW it is God’s way…

and His ways are always best.

I understood God’s heart behind this Proverb more clearly yesterday.

I understood how unbecoming the desire to have the most of whatever is available is and how beautifully precious being motivated by kindness is.

The premium is on the heart…not the profit.

I understand that LOVE means we help each other to move away from our natural tendencies and bent AND move toward God’s transforming and restoring love.

Now to turn this lesson inward to make sure that greedy little six year old that still rears her head from time to time in Lola gets called out and continues to receive and apply the teachings from God’s heart.


Tho she be small…she be mighty <3


we have a girl child.

And, in the words of a dear friend…she’s a dandy <3

She has been welcomed royally by the band of brothers…

as well she should be…

for she bears the markings of a princess….

Caroline Marie arrived Tuesday with little fanfare and at a most civil hour of the day.

She is healthy

and beautiful

and adored.

We are blessed.

Thank you for your prayers and your love and your support.

All children are miracles, but this one truly came in answer to a little boy’s believing prayer.

And in his own joyful words…

as he scurried to get his “big brother” t-shirt on and head to the hospital to meet her…

“I have been waiting for this day all my life!!!!! This is the best day ever!!!!”

I couldn’t agree more, Graham….I couldn’t agree more  <3

Wisdom and folly Part 2 plus the weekend <3

Happy Monday…

I left you with a long one on Friday to chew on….so Part 2 on wisdom and folly will be short and then some fun highlights of the weekend…just to keep you tuned in…

and sorry….

no baby yet…we are still waiting…waiting…waiting…

So for the wisdom and folly part..

As I am reading these Proverbs and meditating on them, I am seeing that my unwise choices are really un-godly choices and thus, sin.

However, I also have within my nature the tendency to want to have clear cut guidelines for life choices. It makes it easier for me if things are black and white and I can shift into autopilot.

Just set my moral cruise control at the acceptable speed limit and ride this thing out.

But life isn’t like that.

Let’s use the application of staying focused on tasks as a “wise decision” for a quick example.

I want to be a good steward of time so I set about to doing a list of tasks that are all good and profitable for what God has called me to do.

But an interruptions comes along.

I have to stop and ask…is this a “distraction” or a “divine appointment”?

I need godly counsel throughout each day. I prayerfully set my course, but then when adjustments come…I must stop and ask for wisdom for the next thing. He alone knows what lies ahead and why I would need to press on or make a change in plans.

And now…here was the way we did Father’s Day Weekend 2017…

hit up a Farmer’s Market…

had some carbs…

and more carbs…

and just a wee bit more…

celebrated dad-ness with friends…

dined fine…

hung out with this one and helped her with some house stuff…

got some essentials for her new home…

ate more…because…that’s how we roll…

All in all…

best weekend ever…

Blessings on you as we start the week off <3



Measuring “better” in stages…

I went for my one year post-op appointment yesterday and pretty much gushed my thank you’s up and down the halls of the building.

One year after having my bunion removed or corrected or obliterated or whatever the medical term is, I walk pain free and have just the shadow of a scar remaining.

I think back to a year ago and the six weeks of progressing through casts and walking in a shoe…of the inconveniences of that time.

And then the shock of trying to squeeze that swollen foot into shoes.

While none of it ever hurt as much as the actual bunion had, it was a long process.

But a process marked by degrees of healing…percentages.

Each three month check, I could stop and evaluate that I was gradually experiencing more and more “normal” and less and less discomfort.

I think back to events like trying to manage the awkwardness of that shoe across the park to watch the fireworks or the way my slip on shoes pinched when we tried to enjoy our vacation with the kiddo’s on the beach and the negative parts of that are starting to fade as the benefits of health and healing return.

Healing is gradual.

It takes time.

It is slow.

But if we can just lean into the process…glean from it what those seasons offer…allow our busy selves to be side-lined as we struggle with our inner frustration, we learn some great lessons about yielding…about how temporal we really are…and how precious our God is to save us for not only now but for eternity.

We can begin to understand that there is so much more than this life and how we “feel”.

I told you about a month ago about my finally breaking down and going to the doctor for those plugged-up-since-February-ears.

I have been following the regime he prescribed and as Russ asks me how I am doing week by week, I have begun to measure it in percentages.

40% improved…50%….slowly I am up to about 70%…better than I was.

While 100% wholeness and healing is the ultimate goal, whether it is physical, or emotional or spiritual; we have to celebrate the markers of the gradual restoration as we make progress.

We can raise our hands in praise, even before we are completed, and thank our God for baby steps <3

In your current struggles, I pray today for the LORD to give you a picture of your progress…a clear glimpse of where He is brought you thus far.

Thus far He has brought us and He will see us safely to completion.

We can all celebrate that together!