Category Archives: Empty Nest

How deep the Father’s love <3

Last weekend, both of the older grandsons had soccer tournaments in the area. Since their daddy was working and it was pouring off and on both days, we helped with whoever was not kicking a ball around puddles at any given moment. 

The result was that they were at our house most of the weekend and would often articulate as we gathered around the table to eat that they wished their dad could be there. 

On Sunday we were finishing up our last meal together and Zach happened to call. The boys were excused by then, so as Rachel visited with him clearing up any questions and details about the day, Caroline sat next to her mom saying (as most children do when a parent is on the phone), “I want to tell my daddy something!” .. on a loop. 

Zach was still at work, so Rachel asked if he had a minute to hear what Caroline wanted to tell him. He must have said yes, because she flipped to speaker and he greeted her. 

Having waited patiently she burst out with her urgent message, “Daddy, I picked some dandelions.”

There was just the briefest pause as this dad, who is at work and probably kind of busy with that, took in this piece of information and then he responded with how that was so nice and he bet they were pretty and he wished he could see them. She told him she planned to bring them home and he said he was looking forward to that and they said good-bye. 

Rachel and I just laughed.

We thought she had some urgent message for him or a question. We didn’t expect her to want to tell her dad about the half dozen wilted dandelions with barely a stem left on any of them after she harvested them from the yard. They were currently floating in a small custard cup and far past their beauty and prime. 

But they mattered to her.

And because they mattered to her, they mattered to her dad.

Your Father is like that, you know. 

He delights in you telling Him the littlest joys, the greatest sorrows, the most perplexing questions, the deepest cries, the silliest laughs. 

Talk to Him. 

He is not too busy to hear what is on your mind and heart. 

Blessings my friends. 

You are loved. 

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Some Wednesday Randomness because it’s been a while

First off, I miss this peony bush terribly. It didn’t make it through one of the rough winters a few years ago and the bare spot makes me sad so we may need to fix that this year and try planting a new one.

Meanwhile we are waiting for the brief, but glorious Iris blooms to come along…sigh…spring.

Do you say “PEE-o’knee” or “pee-OH-knee” or … the totally enigmatic pronunciation that we encountered here in Central Illinois …”PIE-knee?”


That took way longer to type out than I anticipated…we may have to forsake a random or two in the interest of time.

Second, I met Emily Thomas at my first Declare Conference several years ago. She is hilarious and sweet and slightly sarcastic, but in a good and playful way.

She has a podcast “Mom Struggling Well” that has added some other hostesses recently.

They discuss a variety of topics related to the life of moms and homes and such these days and I highly recommend it.

Here is the website link to get you headed in the right direction: or you can find her on Instagram under … of all things “momstrugglingwell”

Recently she had a post on Instagram that hit home with me as a tool we all could use.

She was referencing something she and her husband use when a topic is still hot and maybe too close to the surface to discuss rationally.

I think we all can relate – sometimes our feelings are too raw and we start in with dialogue that isn’t filtered.

Whether with a spouse, child, co-worker, dear friend…whatever…and the ensuing conversation ends up causing even more damage.

So she and her husband use a phrase…”ope…too fresh”

I have actually been applying this to my own thoughts as I sometimes try to sort through something that has happened.

In certain situations, stewing over an offense or upset or trigger comment can cause me to go into a tailspin of negative thinking.

A quick reminder that the initial injury may be too recent to be thought through in a calm and reasonable way is beneficial.

Giving myself time to let it settle a little by simply reminding myself…ope, too fresh…makes me smile and gives me needed space to process later with some rest and healthy distance.
pc/Rachel Maxwell

Last of all, yesterday a dear friend posted a picture of her robin’s eggs on front porch. Two blue and one mottled brown and white.

It reminded me of this post I wrote last year and when I read it, it hit home with me again so I am linking that post here:

We have been dealing with a lot of heavy things. Some people more than others, but when one in the Body is hurting, we all hurt.

I am praying for your souls to find rest in God today.

Peace out and I will see you tomorrow <3

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The sun is up and so are we…best. day. ever.

Wow. I can’t thank you enough for all the kind words and congratulations. 

Friday was a beautiful day that ended a wonderful week where so many people told Russ all the things we who know him best have tried to tell him for so many years. 

It was the daily commitment to show up and do his best and encourage others to do the same that mark what will stand out as a great career path. An encouragement to all of us that the way we spend the hours each day we are given will either leave others, whose lives bumped into ours or traveled along for all or part of the journey, better or worse. 

I told him on Saturday that we can’t minimize the impact that Friday had on us. Although he is one who declines the spotlight and likes to shine it on others, he had no choice as so many poured out kind words over him. 

Like our wedding day and the births or our own and our grands, this was a day that changes our trajectory in a major way. 

It is a new path we have never taken and it’s a once in a lifetime event for which we have no experience and yet, we will find our way. 

Last week I attended a little knitting group that meets at our church. 

I took some projects that have been sitting idle in a cabinet and my recent attempt at making a hat renewed my love for this craft. 

With a skein of thin yarn and a set of ultra thin #3 needles, the ladies helped me remember how to cast on (something I relearn every project) and our knitting guru leader talked me through the questions I had about the size of the cable I would need to knit another baby hat. 

The smallest pair I have is still not small enough for what is ideal, but she encouraged me to muscle through knitting that first tight and stretched out row of stitches. 

Sitting under the leadership of a younger woman, two days out from the momentous day of watching my husband shut down a 39 year plus three months career, she said…

the first row will not look right and be tight and gnarly to try and knit and you will think it cannot possibly work out, but once you get that circle completed, it all turns out fine and it will be beautiful. 

She was right.

The cast on stitches were stretched tight in unhealthy ways and there was a funky looking loop that stuck out all the way around, but when I made the connection on the next row, it all just fell into place.

God speaks through others, you know. 

You can hear His voice come through people who are just talking about normal things and He speaks a word that reminds you…

I am with you, I will show you the way.

It will be different, but I am the same God who has walked you two through every phase of life together and life before each other and I am a good, good Father. I will show you both how to do this next season well.

We have a whole string of’s. ahead…and you are most welcome to join in as we journey onward. I am so thankful for you, fellow travelers and sojourners. 

Here on the journey we will continue to do a little bit of life around our house, a lot of life around God’s word mixed in with the silly and the serious.

I will see you back here tomorrow <3

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