Category Archives: Empty Nest

Sometimes it doesn’t add up <3

Hey ho and happy Monday to you! 

I am chuckling because I just noticed I have my posts for this month saved on a document I have entitled “Novermber 2018” and for some reason it makes me hyperventilate less to have a made up month added to the year so I am keeping it. 

Maybe we could just add an extra time between October and November to catch our breath and finish off the leftover miniature candy bars, rake the leaves and get the yard furniture off the patio and slow down the transition into winding down the year. 

Why not?

It would seem pretty much anything is up for grabs these days and it seems we increasingly encounter things that cause us to pause and wonder what in the world is going on. 

Last week Rachel sent a text with a math assignment for Graham where two problems were marked incorrect. 

He had added two numbers together correctly but both equations had a red X marked through them. 

Granted the directions asked him to first separate the numbers out so that he would first come up with a combination that equaled 10 and then add the remaining numbers. 

To which Rachel and I both ask…why?

Because if the point is for the child to be able to add and come up with the correct answer, why jump through unnecessary hoops to get there?

I have heard parents and teachers vent about common core math over the years but now the problem (no pun intended, honest) has landed squarely in our laps. 

I remember when John was in grade school and would do his math assignments without showing the work. His wise teacher told me her solution was to ask him to do a couple in front of her. 

Like his Great Grandpa Lochner, whom he never even got to meet, John had the uncanny ability to do complicated math in his head. Once he proved himself, she was fine with how he did it. 

The point was that he could do the math, not spend hours doing extra work. 

Once that skill was mastered we could move on. 

I am sure there is a good reason why this method is being used and required and Graham and his parents and his grandparents are going to respect the requirements and jump through the hoops and for sure attempt to bite our tongues…not counting this blog post, of course…I will bite my tongue after this, I promise. 

I realize there may be a teacher or two who would love to set me straight on the value of Common Core Math, but I am just sharing the heart of a Lola who has to watch her daughter try to explain to her grandson why he can’t just solve the math equation for math class…he has to do it in a way that is confusing and more difficult for him. 

My heart goes out to young parents as the options for learning and the methods are as varied as ways you can add 12 + 6.

So much confusion. So much noise. So much division. So much strife. 

Yet this morning I flipped my little desk calendar to NoVERMber 12th and I read this unchanging, solid word of truth….

Try hard to live right and to have faith, love and peace, together with those who trust in the Lord with pure hearts. 2 Timothy 2:22 NCV

I love what is packed in that truth right there…

Living right and having faith …having love and peace…won’t be easy. 

There are things that are going to make it difficult…but you…who trust in the Lord with a pure, undivided, clean-before-Him heart…you keep trying. 

Put forth the effort every day…no matter how much you want to quit…keep doing the thing….day after day…in fellowship with the Body of Christ <3 

My go-to phrase for days like today <3

When John was attending ORU, the President of the college during his four year tenure was a man named Mark Rutland. 

He led the weekly Chapel services most of the weeks and I found him funny and engaging and relevant to walking out faith in this upside down world. 

One of the phrases he would use was short but spoke volumes and has come in handy for me over the years. 

Whether expressing his own frustration with his personal road to sanctification or trying to figure out how to surrender when he didn’t understand or was misunderstood, he would say….”Thou knowest”

Drawing from the language of his King James roots, and a throw back to the archaic wordings that we may, in our text language day roll our eyes at…he would remind us that truth is as old as time and sometimes the simplest expressions shout across the eons.

Today is a “Thou knowest” day for me. 

As analysts and talking heads stand in front of maps of the states with splashes of blue and red and confusing charts with percentages and predictions adding more noise to the polarization of America….

Thou knowest

With a day marked by several appointments and tasks that need completing and unknowns lurking….

Thou knowest

With the options for how we will celebrate the upcoming holidays and with who and where looming on the calendar and daily additions are being inked in…

Thou knowest

With so many to pray for…so many to love well…and so little time…

Thou knowest

As I am running late and trying to gather loose ends and look like I don’t care and really I am trying to cover all the bases with excellence and dot all the i’s…

Thou knowest

So whatever your day holds…in all the ways you try so hard…in all the ways you just didn’t have it in you to even try at all today no matter how much you wanted to do your best…

Thou knowest 

Be blessed…you are loved…He knows your heart….He knows the outcome…He knowest it all


The Gospel according to Graham <3

Yesterday we gathered with an overflowing crowd of love and support to remember and grieve and celebrate the gift that was Zach Berry and the gift of eternal life he received.

We packed the church and then the lobby with way too many bodies and we consoled and were consoled. 

For some it was too close to their own recent losses and for others it was probably odd and strange to see how we, who follow Christ, grieve with Hope. 

The waiting in line got to be too much for some wiggly boys so I took them up to my class room where I teach adults every Sunday morning and in a complete and humbling reversal of roles, I became the student. 

The lesson was “The Good Nuse”…apparently in second grade we spell by sound…and thankfully I am fluent in phonetics so I was able to read the message…but I could have figured it out by the pictures…

Because as Graham explained it….

Our hearts are broken.

But Jesus came and died on the cross.

And fixed us.

And even though he thought he wrote that God is the savior of all…

I particularly love that He is the …



All <3 

Because life is messy and sometimes just stinks…but we will forever and always choose to love well <3

Today’s post is raw and messy and poured out of a heart that is both deeply saddened by loss this week and yet rejoices in the testimony of the faithfulness of our God who holds our dear friends tight in His grip.

God has blessed our family to journey through some of the biggest laughs and the hardest cries with this family. For those who are not local, that precious young brother in the black T-shirt on the right went home to be with Jesus this week.

He did not fear death and did not love his own life. The trust he had put in Jesus as a boy carried him through and he cheated death. I boast in the LORD when I say…that while his family and friends grieve, we do not grieve without hope.

There is a peace that passes understanding and I hope and pray every eye that reads these words knows this or will know it soon.

I wrote this yesterday and I am apologizing up front for typos and literary quality.

My heart wrote it…

As a high schooler back in the early 70’s, my youth group leader was a man named Steele Harmon. 

He was every bit as cool as his name. The football coach at the private, picturesque college nestled near the heart of our small town; he was outgoing and crazy for Jesus in a charming way that was pretty much irresistible and impacting on us kids. 

He took us out to Lay Witness Mission events and let us lead worship around his living room, he would haul us out in the woods every fall in the wee hours of the morning to collect leaves, pine cones and sticks and then we would decorate the church and have what was called Youth Sunday. 

His wife Lynn and two daughters were as shy as he was gregarious, but they trooped along with us to every thing. We loved them dearly. 

He challenged us to learn about this Jesus we had given our lives to and he did it with humility and a heart that showed he loved us at a level that ranked right up there with his family and his Savior. 

He modeled what it was to be a minister for Christ in whatever field God called you to. 

And I will never forget the time he shared how you can guarantee never getting hurt in this world. 

Remember we were teenagers and having our feelings hurt was a rite of passage we were quite familiar with. 

Being one who runs about 100 on a scale of 1-10 for emotions, I was very interested in how I could avoid having my heart broken so I leaned forward and determined to listen and apply the knowledge he was about to dispense. 

The secret he said, is to never let yourself really love people.

Just harden your heart and keep it closed off. 

Don’t give anyone enough of a place that losing them or having them betray you or having to watch them suffer hurts you. 


We sat there as we soaked in the tears that brimmed in those eyes we had come to trust and realized what he was saying. 

We had a choice to make then and a choice to make every day. 

To choose to love well knowing that would come always at a cost. 

I have to say, in the 40 plus years since he spoke those words into me, I would never have imagined the pain of that cost or the struggle it has been at times to get up again and pick up what was left of my heart and ask God to piece it back together so I could continue to follow through on the commitment made. 

I didn’t understand how many times I would have to battle against the temptation to just shut her down…to say…no more, thank you…I have loved enough…I’m going to sit this one out. 

But I can still him shaking his head and saying…

You don’t want to get hurt? Just don’t love. 

And I can still feel the cold icy grip of realizing what that kind of life would have robbed me of. 

At many times when I have grieved or watched others grieve, the impact of this man’s words wash over me and I often whisper…to myself or anyone who needs to hear it…

This sorrow is the cost of loving well…the more we loved…the more we hurt…the more He heals. 

May God comfort us all in our sorrows so that we will have the strength to continue to love as He loves. May He give us the courage we need to risk loving well, every time no matter the cost.


To remember this when you weep <3

It’s a grey and rainy morning here on the prairie and all I can share with you is this assurance on my heart today for those who need to hear it. 

When Jesus stood outside the grave of Lazarus, knowing in about two seconds He was going to turn this whole mourning scene into a day of celebration…we are told…He wept. 


Commentaries and people far more educated than me have ideas that make sense, but today I can just say I think it was to let us know.

He knows when our hearts are breaking beyond the point that we can bear it. 

And it matters greatly to Him. 

Even though He knows He has overcome death and sin and the grave and the fall of man and our worst mistakes and our missing the mark and our ignorance….He cares. 

Our grief does not go unnoticed nor unaccompanied by His matchless love. 

He didn’t just dress up in our skin. 

He allowed Himself to feel exactly what we feel and when we hurt, He cries real tears with us. 

May the God of all comfort bring comfort to each of you this day. 

He is faithful. 

He is good. 

He is kind.

And He has robbed the grave and one day we will all rejoice together, but until that day…He walks the journey with us. 

Step by step. 

Tear by tear.

Grace by grace <3