Category Archives: Relationships

Friday Funday <3

We are getting things pulled together for a short end of summer vacation, and I have been working on posts for another “grown up VBS series” for the blog that will run next week…so with all that going on, I thought I would just share a light story to maybe make you chuckle and get you on your way to whatever your weekend looks like. 

Two weeks ago, we got to have the older two boys here for an overnight.

I went up to get them and since we were heading this way around lunch time, we got Happy Meals at the drive through. The boys were settled in the back seat with their drinks in the car tray and as they munched on chicken nuggets and french fries, conversation just flowed. 

At one point I asked if either of them knew anything about a stack of post-it-notes I had found completely taken apart on one of the beds in a guest room following the whole family’s visit the previous Sunday. 

Graham’s response indicated he had no idea what I was even talking about; but Emmett, without missing a beat or a chew, replied….”You mean the little squares of blue, pink, and green paper that were all stuck together in a stack and were taken apart on the bed in my room? It wasn’t me.” 

uh huh. right.

Couple things there…”my room” is the room he has claimed as his when they come to our house and he spends a lot of time in there “just thinking.” 

And second…he seemed to have a lot of detailed information logged in his memory about the event. 

I asked if he was sure he didn’t do it but no…it must have been Joel. Who was conveniently absent that day to bear testimony of his guilt or innocence. 

So I just said, well…God knows who did it, but I would appreciate it if it didn’t happen again. 

As soon as we got to our house, Emmett disappeared to visit “his room” and in a few minutes came to get me. 

I had pulled the stack off the bed and just dumped them on the desk top in there to deal with later. He had gone looking for them and had reassembled them into a neat stack for me. 

I have no idea if he did it, or Joel did it and while I certainly hope he was telling the truth…I have laughed my head off so many times. 

I will probably never use a post-it-note again without this story popping up and making me laugh.

A popular phrase right now is “doing life together” and for me that is the tapestry of stories gleaned from moments shared with friends and family. 

I pray today you have some post-it-note laughs tied to some of your ordinaries and when you get those flashes that make you giggle, just take time to thank God for your people. 

I am thankful for each of you and for the connection we can make here each week.

Be blessed this weekend as you rest and refresh. 

And please, please…join me next week for Grown Up VBS 2018…the theme is … Battles <3


Day 3: Souvenirs from the Journey… Cuba 2018

Good morning! 

I am so glad you came back <3

Today I am hoping to use my words to share about the dinner we got to eat in the home of royalty in Cuba.

Two of the nights, our people from First Christian were divided into smaller groups of four or five and assigned a home for dinner and fellowship.

Our hostess the first night couldn’t have been more than eighteen or nineteen.

And yes…she was of the royal line of King David…assuredly a daughter of the King. 

Dressed in a t-shirt and gathered skirt, her sandaled feet led us down the narrow streets and sidewalks for the long trek to her home.

She was constantly checking on us to make sure we were aware of puddles or muck since it had just rained. 

At one of the zillion look-a-like doors in this city, she motioned us in to the home she shares with her grandparents and parents. 

After introductions and the inevitable cheek kissing from her abuela, Melissa led us through a labyrinth of halls and courtyards until finally we entered a kitchen about the size of one found in a small apartment.

Tables had been squeezed into the small space and yet as her own youth group began showing up, it became evident we would need more place settings. 

Her fiancee and one of the young men from the church went in search of another table and soon we were all pressing against the walls as they attempted to absorb more furniture into this already packed area. 

Imagine one of those large corner banquet tables in a restaurant except you are eating in an elevator and you might get the picture.

As more plates were gathered, our hostess stood at the head of the table and asked a question I am quite certain I have never been asked at any dinner party.


She wanted to know if we wanted to share our testimonies before we ate or after.


Considering the language barrier with only three bi-lingual attendees to help us with this task, let alone I am not even sure I have shared my testimony with some of my closest friends, I looked around the table to see if anyone else was in shock…only to see the eager faces of five teenaged Cubans nodding their heads in excitement to share testimonies. 

And so we began. 

One by one…alternating Americans and Cubans…and we shared our testimonies. 

The deepest and most sacred story for each of us…shared openly around this table. 

After dinner, it was suggested we sing one of our praise songs. 

Note to self…learn some praise songs by heart, Laura.

You would have thought I had learned my lesson several years ago in Kenya when we were asked to sing one of our favorite songs and the only one we could come with was “Jesus Loves Me’ …. and not the cool new version, by the way.

Our lack of musical ability proved no deterrent to our princess tho, as she and her fiancee had prepared a couple of songs for us. 

And so we sat, humbled beyond words, in the stifling small kitchen that had turned into a holy sanctuary as he strummed a Fender and she worshipped the Lord on our behalf.

The next day she found me at the church and wanted me to know she had left gifts for us at one of the houses. 

A handmade bracelet of white thread…carefully wrapped with a loving personal note.…all those in our group…received one. 

She who gave so much…gave one more gift of love….thanking US for coming to her home <3

This is one of those times I feel my words have failed me.

Like my ineptness to offer a song that night, I find it difficult to capture the simple gift of hospitality we received on our trip. 

I love to have friends in our home, but I fuss over the menu…the place settings…everything matching…fretting over the mismatched chairs around the table. 

I hang my head as I type and I ask God to give me the kind of heart that was given so freely and lovingly to us that night.

Day 2: Souvenirs from the Journey….Cuba 2018

A common question on our return has been about what we did in Cuba. What our “ministry” focus was. 

I typically answer this with more of a deer in the headlight look than normal. 

The question catches me off guard. It probably has to do with my own expectations about mission trips. In my mind, missions and missionaries are going out into unchurched areas and spreading the Gospel…the Good News. 

And that would be an unmerited narrow view of missions. 

Paul went on missionary journeys that sometimes were just to visit churches and encourage them. 

And that is what we did. 

Oh yes, we took all manner of equipment.

Our bubbly director of children’s ministry at First Christian loaded a couple of suitcases full of all that was needed to resource a full-fledged American VBS.

The men took a micro version of Lowe’s in their luggage.

By day we checked off some needed repairs and maintenance around the church and by night we ran a couple of programs for the children. 

But overall we sat alongside our brothers and sisters and worshipped Jesus. 

We got fed full of the Gospel ourselves.

We got loved on and prayed over…renewed…refreshed. 

And we love and prayed and gave back. 

Like Paul and his beloved Thessalonians, we came from a country where it isn’t cool to be a Christ-follower to a place where it is dangerous to be so to visit our family.

We gathered together in the church and in homes and we experienced that beautiful truth that the Church is governed by One God…who died for us. 

Who took our place. 

Who bore our sins. 

Who will come again one day and make all things right. 

“But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. Therefore brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.”   1 Thessalonians 3: 6-8

We got to be a Timothy and we are forever grateful. 

Dear friends, the Church of Jesus Christ is alive and well in Cuba and our joy overflows.

So where are you feeling discouraged today in your faith? 

Stand firm. 

Hold fast.

YOU remaining faithful under hardship and trial is an encouragement to others. 

My prayer today is…

Heavenly Father,

 Your word assures us that we are not going through any furnace of trial without your loving Presence near us.

No matter the circumstances surrounding us, we have Immanuel…God WITH us.

Oh Father, would you make Your Presence known in tangible ways to Your dear children today in the signs and  language they each understand.

Thank you Jesus for being our constant companion and for going before us and making the way for us through Your own suffering in our place.

Padre te adoramos.

Jesus te adoramos

Espíritu Santo te adoramos

Amen <3

For one life lived well <3

Dear friends,

I had notes jotted for what I was going to send you today, but those seem silly and unimportant this morning. 

Last night we got a call from our Zach to let us know that one dear to their family and ours and to so very many people, quite abruptly and unexpectedly, made the transfer from walking with God here on planet earth to joining the ranks of those with front row spots before the Throne of the One he placed his trust in and lived his life for.

As he once stood with arms raised in worship to a praise band on Sunday morning, he now kneels in joy beyond anything we can comprehend because his faith is now become sight. 

But there remains here all those who loved him and weep this morning for the loss of his presence here among us. 

So through the night, we slept little and prayed much for an office full of saints and a family and friends who will have to share the news of his absence today. 

For those who will carry on, with heavy hearts, the work this man gave his life to do. 

To love well and serve mightily, leaves a rather large hole when we pass from the journey here to eternity there. 

If we have received Jesus as Lord and Savior and shared His love in truth and in tangible ways, we will most assuredly leave deep woundings in the hearts of those we loved and were loved by. 

So today, I simply bow my head and pray for the comfort and peace and hope of Christ Himself to minister to our broken hearts. 

I pray we will faithfully walk out what we know to be true. 

I rejoice that this man who served God humbly, tenderly, gently, graciously now knows in truth this promise…

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.  Revelation 21:4

To one who touched so many lives, we hear the echoes from heaven and we agree…

Well done…good and faithful servant. 

You will be missed greatly. 

Prayers lifted today for those who grieve and mourn our loss. 

Blessings on each one of you. 

Never underestimate the power of your one faithful life, lived out for the One who died for you. 

Carry on, good people, carry on … let your light shine today for those who are in darkness need you so very much.

I know this is raw and messy, but it is my heart to you today. 

You are loved and it is my great sorrow that on this note, I am signing off for a week…I will not be in a location to post next week, but let my silence remind you that you are in my thoughts and prayers <3 

Because we said I do…<3

An open letter to my husband …

Dear Russ, 

Happy Anniversary! Thirty-seven years…how is it possible?

I feel younger than that in my heart and yet the mirror attests to the fact that we have weathered close to four decades now of life together. 

I look back at pictures of us and marvel at how young we were.

We didn’t know a whole lot about life, did we?

But we knew one thing…whatever was left of it, we wanted to spend together. 

And we have. 

And we still do.

For this and for you, I am so grateful.

We don’t have any earth-shaking testimony of how we got here. It was just one day at a time.

We can look back and see the faithful hand of God, even when we didn’t know how to be faithful to Him, and it brings me to my knees. 

I think about some people who have looked at the longevity of our marriage and said wistfully that is what they wanted. And it humbles me. 

If I knew how we had made it, if I could attribute it to a formula, I would market it. 

But it’s a mystery of God’s grace that He would give one like you to one like me. 

You are, indeed, the better half and I am so grateful for you.

Of all the decisions I have made, you are my best one <3

From the first phone call when you asked me to your dorm’s Christmas formal, to the phone call this morning from your hotel room … you have always been a gentleman and a gentle man…one of the good guys. 

I laugh and say I have worn you down…you patiently wait for me as the clock clicks closer to making us late and I fuss with pulling one more strand of hair into place. 

You don’t even comment anymore when there is a new smudge mark on the tires after a close encounter of the worst kind between me and some random curb.

I get dropped off at the door whether it’s pouring rain or a perfectly sunny day and you have always put me and our family first before any needs of your own. 

I am blessed. 

I am humbled.

 I am grateful beyond words. 

I weep because I know in truth, we most likely will not see thirty-seven more which means we are over halfway done with this journey. 

It makes every day that much more precious…as we continue the way we started this story…

one day at a time <3

We don’t know what the future holds, but we know who holds it. 

The same One who held us before we even knew to call on Him … to seek His counsel…to give Him credit. 

He has been faithful to us and we are blessed.

I love you, 

me <3