Category Archives: Empty Nest

Monday Things <3

Hello to you and Happy Monday!

We had a seemingly harsh set back to all the Spring Hopes and Dreams I had going as we came out of church yesterday morning to a full blown snow storm. 

Our yard is completely covered in white, but you know it had a good side.

Russ seems to have caught the bug that plagued me and I needed a quiet day so we didn’t feel a bit guilty about just being restful and still all day yesterday and it felt good to do that Sabbath Rest idea the right way. 

We read and rested and renewed.

I am ready to face the week with more energy than I have felt for about ten days, which is going to be helpful because I am behind on EVERYTHING.

So here are some randoms to get us jumpstarted and on our way.



This says it all. 

We really do mimic and imitate the people we admire. 

We pick up their catch phrases and mannerisms.

We start to style our hair and closets after their lead.

What matters to them starts to matter to us. 

And I want to choose Jesus. 

If I admire someone and lean toward them as a role model, I want it to be because I see Jesus IN THEM. 

Wednesday is the beginning of Lent.

It’s a 40 day period that invites us to step away from the normal cycle of every day living and take intentional steps toward “taking Christ’s heart and mission and making it my own.”

It won’t happen if we don’t plan for it. 

What are YOU going to do leading up to Easter 2019 to step into a closer relationship with Jesus?


Here are two things I play to use devotionally:

This was gifted to me by my dear sister, Sonja Reimer…who also christened me with the name “Journey Onward” many years ago. 

This book is a collection of mediations on the Cross written by some of the strong Christian voices that have spanned our church history. 

I will most likely be sharing from the book, but would love to have you join me on the Journey as you read your own copy.

You can order here ——>

The other 40 day plan I have landed on is being offered through Lifeway.

It is free to sign up and you will receive daily emails. 

You can sign up here —->

It sounds like they will be suggesting some opportunity to incorporate a fast each week as well as devotional prayer prompt five days and then a Sabbath rest, which …. see #1 for my feelings towards that concept <3
photo by Rachel Maxwell


If you don’t have a church home, First Christian Church here in Decatur is doing a 7 week series during Lent on the Names of Jesus.

Our sermons are live streamed on Saturday evening and Sunday mornings…

here —–>

and you can watch later in the week or anytime to catch up…

here —–>


I have been praying about trying to do something here on the Journey that would be a community Lent series, but since I never got a clear go ahead on the way that should go…I am just letting you know…it looks like business as usual with an open door for God to lay a series here and there as he would lead me…some sharing from my devotions and my own Lent meditations…and a little bit o’random as the Spirit moves us through the Journey <3


You showing up means more to me than you could know and I love your bits of encouragement to me when you share. 

I am blessed to have this spot on the internet to share my heart and my life and God’s goodness to me with you when  you stop by. 



here is a funny to send you off into Monday with…

Rachel brought the band of brothers and little miss thing to our house Saturday while daddy was working. 

The kids were watching the birds around the feeder and Emmett exclaimed…

“Lola!!!! You and Papi are making the world a better place!!!!” 

I was in the middle of washing dishes so was caught a bit off guard as to how my mundane tasks were contributing to such a grand effort, when he gave me two big thumbs up and smiled enormously and said….

“You are feeding the birds!!!!!”

Wow… I had no idea the impact a few morsels of sunflower seed could have globally but I certainly felt noble all of a sudden. 

Be blessed…feed some birds…make the world a better place <3

When holding on means we have to let go <3

Oh my…it seems my deer story resonated with you all and for that I am high fiving Jesus, because I struggled with actually publishing it. 

I had, you guessed it, anxiety that you all would think I was insane for finding humor in that story…but you get me and for that, I am so grateful <3

I have one more little story of God showing me the futility of worry and then I promise…Thursday and Friday will be devoted to how God offers us hope and freedom from the vortex of angst. 

I know I have written a post about this at some point in the past, but its worth sharing again because it fits so well with our theme. 

Our mall, like so many others, has a central stage type area. It is a venue for school organizations and dance studios to put on exhibitions.

Picture a carpeted mini-amphitheater that descends down toward a pool of water separating the audience from the performers. 

When our children were little, it was a favorite place for them as they would toddle down the stairs and throw coins in the water. 

After they were grown, I didn’t have much reason to stop there but one day I needed to check some phone messages and so I sat for a while on the top step. 

A young mom came along and I watched as she followed her child down and handed pennies to be tossed in. 

I smiled nostalgically and wistfully pined for those days when life was easier.

Back then, I could kiss skinned knees and whip up a favorite meal, say bedtime prayers and tuck them in safe and sound and life was good. 

Now they were off facing unknown-to-me battles and adventures.

Their hearts got hurt in ways I couldn’t ease away with my love and in that season, I was overwhelmed with the process of transitioning into the role of adult-children-parenting. 

And then in the middle of my rose colored glasses reminiscing, God spoke to me in that candid and slightly firm way He has and flashed a real life visual of me as a young mom in that same setting.

After racing down those carpeted steps behind my charges, I stood grasping the back of a jacket or the shoulder straps of a pair of overalls with a white knuckle grip and giving shrill instructions to be careful and get back and don’t lean so far over when you throw that penny for crying out loud!

 That body of water between us and the stage was swirling like the white water rapids coming off a mountain in Colorado and at any moment I knew our precious child was going to be sucked in. 

I could hear my mom’s voice in the back of my head reminding me a child can drown in a teaspoon of water and I would breathe a sigh of relief when our coins were gone and we could start the climb back out of this nightmare death trap. 

You think I exaggerate, but you think wrong. 

As the mother of adult children, I recognized the truth that the penny-throwing had never really been a fun thing for me because I feared our kids would fall in. 

I got up and walked down to the bottom of the stairs and looked at the water to see it in its reality and said to my more grown up self…good grief…it is like 4 inches deep. 

The worst thing that could have happened is they got wet. 

I went back and sat down and tried to grasp how I could have had such a distorted perspective that was clearly uncalled for and God whispered how perhaps I needed to apply this to my new role. 

Grasping the back of their grown up selves was destroying me. 

It was sucking the life out of my soul, interfering with the relationship changes God was wanting to bring about and it would not keep them safe and dry not matter how much I shouted warnings and grappled to maintain control.

I needed to let go of the worry and the anxiety of the what-if’s.

They might fall in…but they also might find out that they don’t have to.

They might learn their lessons the hard way and they might have the time of their lives at the edge of what looked so scary to me.

They might just find out that God sets wondrous and wide open boundaries if we learn to trust Him. 

But it needed to be their story…their falls…their standing firms… their sorrows…their joys.

Let go of your grip on them Laura, I heard Him say…I’ve got them…I always have… I always will <3

A heart of gratitude <3

Good morning!

I have been using this week on the blog to write about ways I want to love better by following Christ better  <3

I am one of those people who loves Valentine’s Day just because it’s fun to watch little kids bring home boxes from school full of little paper cards and sweet treats. 

It’s a day where you can simply show some love to friends and family in whatever small way you like and all the pink and red brighten up where the cold of winter has started to wear us down a little. 

I had some ideas to wrap up the week, but here I sit and all I have is just a funny story from last weekend…so all deep thoughts of love aside…enjoy a slice of our life <3

Last Saturday Graham received a $5 off certificate to Meatheads for passing the ball well at his basketball game. 

We had planned to take everyone out anyway to grab a bite so to Meatheads we went. 

$60 later and with our tummy’s full of meat and fries…our laps full of crumbs…our faces full of ketchup and our hearts full of love, we piled in cars to head back to the house where daddy would be just getting home from work and we could wave our bye byes and head home. 

Graham opted to ride with us and as we pulled out of the parking lot, I did what I always did when our own kiddos were little and I made it a point to say “Thank you Papi for the delicious dinner.”

Graham quickly caught the tide and chimed in with his own thank you.

This kid though.

He knows how to be funny and my my…I do love funny.

After a sincere thank you, and with perfect comic timing and an accurate impersonation of me..

 he added…

“And we should all be saying, ‘Thank you, Graham, for earning a free dinner so we could all go out and eat.’”

We laughed with him, but as I mulled that over in my head I did have to think how like me. 

God does all these incredibly kind and amazing things in my life and I do one little tiny good thing and think how the world owes me for my graciousness…I am cracking up here, but seriously….

Don’t we do that?

Ride along on God’s abundant grace and mercy and hold up a $5 off coupon as we feast at His overflowing table of love? 

Oh from the mouths of babes.

Let’s all stop a minute today and just thank God for all that He has done for us. 

Let me help you…this is from the Valley of Vision; a book of prayers credited only to “the Puritans”…

“I thank thee for personal mercies, a measure of health, preservation of body, comforts of house and home, sufficiency of food and clothing, continuance of mental powers, my family, their mutual help and support, the delights of domestic harmony and peace, the seats now filled that might have been vacant, my country, church, Bible, faith.”

As I read that list, I think how rarely I stop and thank God for many of those things.

Let’s put our coupons down and express our gratitude to God. 

I hope you have a blessed weekend. 

You are loved <3

Of Missions and being called <3

I am sharing another note I dictated into my Blackberry back in 2012.

I am stretching you because the words you are reading below are from a season in my life when we only had one baby grandson…Russ’s sweet parents were still alive but declining in health and Sarah was working as an aid one on one with a little boy in Kindergarten who had numerous challenges to interrupt his ability to learn.

They were taking a field trip to a Cardinal game and she was going along with the class. We were praying for him to have a great day of fun and to enjoy a ball game with his family.

I might note that that little boy had to repeat Kindergarten with our Sarah staying one more year to come along side him.

She sends pictures of him now and then when she reconnects with him. He’s doing great in school. He’s amazing.

That’s what mission fields look like…enjoy this blast from the past….

Pastor Wayne talked in church this morning about going to our Judea and our Jerusalem and Samaria and to the farthest regions of the world and we sang “Here am I, send me” and my eyes landed on a precious woman in our church. 

A mom and grandma and I know well. And right now, where God is sending her is into a nursing home to see her daughter-in-law who slips farther away every day to the evil of what is Alzheimers.

 To be a mom again for this woman’s children and be the grandma and support her own son.

And I think how when our kids were little, they were my mission field. 

Now I go up and give our grown up daughter little breaks in her week and I spend time with our first grandson and that is my mission field.

Our adult children are my mission field. 

I have had the opportunity to go to Africa and the opportunity to send money and prayers to Thailand and to Africa and to Iraq and different places.

For awhile my mission field was to pick my mom up and take her to see my dad so she could fulfill her for better or worse vows, and then going in her place after she was gone. 

I think how Russ is doing that for his parents long distance in this season. 

Today our prayers are for a little boy in St Louis to go to a ball game and to have a great day and for God to protect him.

I think of the kids our kids have brought into our lives over the years to love and accept and care for. 

And we all just raise our hands and go forward, trusting that God is listening to us and equipping us as we serve Him wherever He has placed us. 

I was driving home from church when I dictated that and I will confess, I was crying through the whole thing.

We live in an age where empowering ourselves is becoming a very popular theme in both the world and the Church.

But in seasons of deepest ministry, as I look back on each of those circumstances I was commenting on – there was brokenness and helplessness and surrender.

Hands raised…Here am I LORD…send me.

I want to share a couple of books I am currently reading and marking up and committing to heart that I would recommend to particularly women who are wondering what their “mission field” might look like.

Missionary Mom: Embracing the Mission Field Right Under your own Roof by Shontell Brewer

Adorned Living out the Beauty of the Gospel Together by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

and Brave Moms Brave Kids: A Battle Plan for Raising Heroes by Lee Nienhuis

Buried Treasure <3

Happy Friday!

I have been pursuing a bent to purge this whole month and I am actually sticking with it.

As I pull out the innards of various cabinets, drawers and boxes we packed for our move…ahem…two years ago…I am unearthing all kinds of treasures. 

A couple of days ago I found my old blackberry phone.

Let me pause here and just share that I LOVED that phone.

I was a whiz at typing and without autocorrect and Siri’s surly personality I managed to communicate effectively and my phone didn’t micromanage my life.

I also loved the record feature because when ideas for writing came it was super easy to just click on that and record my thoughts. 

These are treasures from my heart back when all I sent was this email once a week and I looked for things to write you all to encourage you that God is personal in our lives. 

Today I am sending you the typed transcript of one of my “meditations” from May 13, 2012.

It’s still relevant right down to me being late to class and hoping I can get my copies made. Every. Sunday.

Okay as I am rushing to church and I’m thinking that I may have to ask somebody to make the copies of our lesson for me for our class.

And I am thinking when you need somebody to do something for you, the person that you ask a lot of times isn’t the person who can do the best job. 

Like my thoughts right now aren’t “I want to find somebody who is the best copy maker.”

Because that’s not who I am going to be looking for. 

Who I am going to be looking for is someone who loves me, who will do it because they love me, and who will do it because they believe the notes for our class are important. 

Somebody who I can entrust them to, who I know will get them to me and who will not be upset or mad with me that I am imposing on them.

They are just going to do it. 

They believe in what I believe in. Like Lisa Peck is who I am thinking if I can catch her. 

And if they can run a copy machine or not isn’t even an issue. 

I can either tell them real quick what they need to do or I know they will find someone who can help them get the thing started up. So they can get it done and get the copies to me while I get the class started and the prayer requests covered. 

And I’m thinking that’s how Jesus is.

When He asks us to do things it’s because He trusts us that we love Him, that we are going to do it, that we are committed to the same cause He is. Not because we are the “best” at what it is, but because we can be entrusted with His mission.

Because we are passionate about it, too; partly because He’s passionate about it and partly because we love Him and so we really are passionate about the same things. 

I am adding this footnote to my message from 2012…whatever you are doing today…cleaning up macaroni and cheese from the floor for the ten billionth time…taking a phone message down for a boss or co-worker who took the day off….writing…fixing hair…prepping people for surgery…whatever…do it as unto the LORD

Do it with the knowledge that God has entrusted YOU to be doing what you are doing. 

Do it well, my friend. 

Do it well. 

It all matters <3