Category Archives: Empty Nest

Remembering revisited <3

Hey all…I have a haircut before work this morning so…sharing one from the archives <3

Have a blessed Memorial Day weekend. Eat graduation cake…get some weeds pulled…grill something…hug your family…put out some flags.

Thank God for the freedoms you have and for those who fought to keep them for you. We are not a perfect country, but we have much to be thankful for. God has blessed this nation abundantly with resources and people.

So here is today’s repost of one of my favorites:

originally posted May 30, 2016 <3

Remembering <3

Because my dad bled red, white and blue…

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patriotism runs deep, and it doesn’t take much to make this military kid shed tears.

Every ball game where teams line the edge of the field or court

every cap that comes off every head in the stadium or arena

every hand over every heart

and I am a puddle of tears.

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So tonight as we watched the tribute to those who serve, have served or died serving our country that was held in the nation’s capitol, I had to keep tissues supplied.

A portion of the event featured the songs for each branch of the military as the camera panned the crowd.

Individuals who served stood when their song was played.

I remembered a concert for Veterans Day in 2001 held in Eisenhower High School’s auditorium with a similar tribute.

A very tender Veteran’s Day that year to be sure.

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And at that concert..

our daughter was part of the choir and her Grandpa Lochner proudly stood as they sang the song for the United States Air Force…

tears streaming down his face…

my face…

her face…

What can I say?

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It’s genetic.

There are many voices and talents far more eloquent than mine who have given lovely and poignant tributes to those who served.

I am so thankful to each one who beautifully expresses our gratitude…

for each one who advocates for the care and healing of veterans and their families and for those who have lost loved ones who gave their lives for our country.

Not just on one day do they deserve our respect and support and prayers, but every day <3

 

 

Like a child <3

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Good morning to you!

I hope this finds you well and enjoying the transition from spring to summer and all the hustle and bustle of getting the yard in shape, attending graduations and end of year events and a slate of ball games that will run through mid-July. 

Last Saturday we headed up north to watch Graham play baseball. After a quick wardrobe change for him in their van, we were off to his last soccer game on the fields across from the ball diamonds.

Two sets of grandparents, one set of parents, three siblings and an army of umbrellas, blankets and bag chairs completed the entourage. 

The first game was played with a light drizzle and a solid wind that gave us a workout resembling the flying nanny scene in Mary Poppins.

Thankfully the clouds rolled away by the time we got to the soccer fields and as we watched Graham and his team play their game, Emmett and Joel ran the empty fields around us with a variety of bored siblings. 

At one point, Papi was monitoring the two younger boys when we heard Emmett crying.

Since he was so very upset he was unintelligible, we looked to Russ to find out what had happened. He tactfully passed on that there was a girl about Graham’s age playing with them but she was giving all of her attention to Joel. 

Emmett headed to the pool of adults and when his other grandma bent down, he climbed in her arms and poured out the whole sad tale.

We were all sorry to see him crying, but also had to stifle smiles as this little blonde ray of sunshine has soaked up more than his fair share of attention since he burst onto the scene almost 5 years ago. 

He is so comfortable in the limelight that you would think his approval tank would be full. 

But it isn’t. 

He had been rejected from the attentions of an older girl and as Joel laughingly basked in her 100% favor, it had been too much for him.

He is too young to be tough and savvy when rejected. 

He is too naive to worry about what we might think of him for his tears.

He trusted the love of the circle of adults and knew any one of us would pick him up and hold him and let him cry. 

God is like that, you know.

When we are hurt or rejected or feel slighted and overlooked, we can go to Him. 

We don’t have to do anything but reach up and tell Him what He already knows. 

He won’t chastise us for openly sharing the overwhelming emotions that would cause us to sin if we acted on them.

He will hold us and He will do like Emmett’s grandma did…He will just love us and acknowledge our hurt and gently wipe the tears until we get it together again and head back out to the field one more time.

If your heart is broken, you will find GOD right there; if you are kicked in the gut, he will help you catch your breath. Disciples so often get into trouble; still, GOD is there every time. Psalm 34: 18-19 The Message     <3

Switching gears <3

On Sunday Russ took me for a long bike ride at one of our local parks.

It features a nicely paved trail that extends through wooded areas from our local environmental center out on the edge of town and winds behind some residential areas peeking through the forests and little streams.

Getting exercise and enjoying beautiful scenery as I followed this guy…

through new territory was good exercise for my heart, mind and soul.

At one point I spotted this mommy…

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We made eye contact and although her two fawns were just a short distance from her, she  must have decided the only thing I was going to shoot was a picture because she just went right back to her afternoon snack.

It was a gentle gift from God to this mom on Mother’s Day and I received it.

I also received a little message from Him as we made our way on terrain that was much more up and down than the flat farmlands Russ and I usually travel on around our neighborhood.

Now if you live in a mountainous area, you might find our definition of “hills” as quite humorous but…

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to put it in biking language…I can ride ten miles around our area in 3rd gear, level 5 and never have to shift.

However, on Sunday as we went up and down a variety of hills surrounding the river that runs through that part of town…I was shifting a’plenty.

With four levers to choose from, two on each handle bar and the intensities transposed…so that high is the low one my left and the high one on my right…and being slightly dyslexic and forgetful…I had to remind myself of what the guy who sold me the bike told me.

He said…don’t worry about remembering.

Just switch gears…if you chose the wrong one you will know right away and you can just click the other lever twice and you will correct your mistake.

This was a great relief to me as I tend to become OCD and have strong tendencies to never, ever, ever make a mistake…dangerous combo…trust me.

It takes a lot of the panic out of learning something new if I can remember this universal lesson…I may choose the wrong gear but if I do, I can just correct my error and keep going.

Changes in life are inevitable and we are constantly climbing new hills and coasting down into unfamiliar valleys.

As May unfolds there are graduations from various levels of schooling, there are weddings being celebrated and babies being born.

There are funerals and vacations and interruptions to the flow of what we thought would be.

These events go on year round and season by season and all of these additions and losses to our family and to our life mean change.

And some of us don’t want to make a mistake as we navigate the hills and valleys so we can stress out trying to make sure we know exactly how to roll in to and out of all the changes smoothly.

But we won’t know..and we are just going to have to pick a gear knowing if we did it wrong…it’s a simple correction to a different one until we find the one that will get us and those we love safely through the journey <3

 

 

Day 5…Brave Moms, Brave Kids week <3

Are we really at the end of the week?

We are!

And I feel like I just didn’t do this book justice!

But I hope I have created in you an interest to purchase a couple of copies…one to keep and one to give.  Check it out here.

We will be getting a follow up post from Rachel yet…

but I tell ya…

girl has her hands full…

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photo courtesy of Rachel

All. The. Time.

But I know her and I saw her copy of Brave Moms on the stack of work next to her own computer…so she’s cooking up a good post for us and when I get it…so will you.

So today we are closing out the series from my end.

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and then we can have a good rest….<3

I have loved hearing from  you all. I appreciate the comments/likes/shares/following the page and the email subscriptions. It helps make this little place of encouragement to be seen by more people and I pray God would use my “two fish and five loaves” and multiple them to lead any who stop by here on a given day to draw closer to Jesus <3

I am closing today with one of my favorite quotes from Lee.

In a section entitled Teach Them to Know and Obey Their God, she talks about the importance of daily sowing into our children the knowledge of God and why He is worthy of our obedience to His ways.

She points to the accounts in Scripture of a young man who was trained up to be BRAVE…by a brave mom and dad probably…way back when Babylon invaded Jerusalem and took him away captive…never to return.

Daniel was in his teens when he was selected to be transported to a faraway land so that he could be indoctrinated and brainwashed into the pagan culture and court of the King of Babylon.

They took his name, his life as he had known it and most likely his manhood…but they couldn’t take his heart or his spirit.

Those had been given once and for all to Yahweh and in Daniel we see story after story of what brave looks like.

It had to start with the training he received in his home is how Lee surmises it.

What he had received up to the point of capture kept him forever free in the land of the enemy.

Daniel … in Hebrew…God is my judge…never let the culture influence him but instead HE influenced even pagan Kings to declare the praises of our mighty God. In each account we see the Kings of both Babylon and Persia respecting him, seeking wisdom from him, acknowledging the Sovereignty of his God…and in King Darius we see such a deep relationship forged that his royal head never closed its eyes but waited fitfully though the watches of the night while Daniel slept peacefully amongst the lions he had been thrown to.

Day by day…faith lived out and taught by loving parents brought the name of Yahweh into the very throne room of the enemy.

Day by day…step by step….prayer by prayer…act by act…

“This is the way we walk, child…”

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I will close with Lee’s beautiful words regarding the motive behind our efforts to raise up warriors who will strengthen others in their own faith and equip them to stand before kings with confidence held steadfastly in the King of kings…that they will have committed wholeheartedly their hearts to the LORD before the enemy ever has a chance at them.

“I pray that, when it comes to our children, the Enemy might look at them and conclude, “We began too late. These kids already know their God.” May our teachings echo down their hearts chambers decades from now, reminding them of the truths we sow into them today.”  Lee Nienhuis/Brave Moms, brave kids. pg. 139

Amen, amen, amen

That’s a brave prayer, my friend.

God help us to be brave <3

Day 4 …. Brave Moms, brave kids reflections and giveaway <3

 

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When your son is on vacation and sends the family this pic…

Welcome back <3

I have been enjoying looking back through the pages of Brave Moms, Brave Kids by Lee Nienhuis with you all this week.

It’s been fun to see your comments and a boost to jot down your names…over and over…because one entry for every like, comment, share…you know. Just saying…<3

And if you get this through email…remember the new email subscriptions will look different and hopefully today you will only get one!

But let’s move on to the topic of today.

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Near the end of the book, Lee talks about speaking blessings over others.

I just read this in a different devotion this week; about prayerfully looking for opportunities to pray a genuine blessing over someone God sends your way.

Not your own thoughts and hopes and dreams for them, but what God whispers through His word for this person. 

We want to impact those we love with an eternal perspective.

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The author uses a great illustration to highlight the temporal nature of our relationships here on earth and yet the eternal impact they have when we allow God to do His works in us and through us as we interact with those in our sphere of influence. 

She talks about a time their family entered a local race event. 

As they started the course, her family pulled ahead of her and so she watched the back of her husband and children advancing as she followed behind. Her son and husband were able to maintain an equal pace just ahead of her, but leading the pack was their nine year old daughter.

Born a runner, this girl ran on with carefree strides, pony tail swinging behind her. 

Lee says she gathered enough breath to call out a cheer of encouragement as her young daughter began the ascent of the last hill while she, herself, was just entering the valley.

 Minutes later, her daughter now out of sight, mom began the climb. 

Chest pounding and digging deep, she held tight to the memory of moments before watching her child pressing on and it spurred her to continue upward and over the top of that hill to join her family. 

Oh, I can tell you…I cried when I read it…I cried just now telling you about it. I have cried through multiple proofreading of this post and I will cry later when I read it again and find a mistake <3

I cried for what she wrote and I cried because it stirred a memory of watching our kids run Cross Country.

I remember well John’s first meet and standing at the finish line waiting for him.

The pack had taken off and the course went around the far side of a park that was unfamiliar to me. The last leg of the race was straight up an incline and so it was impossible to see the runners until they hit the summit. 

I stood there waiting and chatting with the other parents when someone shouted they were coming in. I looked up in time to see a familiar blonde scrap of hair bobbing on top of a smiling face as my own flesh and blood crossed his first finish line. 

Lee uses the race story to remind us that we are only going to be running on this earth a short time.

This is our race. 

This is our time. 

We run alongside a generation who needs us to love, encourage, instruct, guide and set an example for…and we are blessed to be alongside them.

photo courtesy of Zach <3

But in time, they will go on without us. 

They need us. 

We need them. 

We all need Jesus. 

So let us run the race well. 

Let’s do our part with the time we are given and let’s be encouraging and equipping those who will one day continue on without us <3