Category Archives: Empty Nest

The art of remembering well <3

This is our last Friday to visit in the month of July and here in the Midwest we are having a rare and delightful summer day.

I sat out on our back patio with coffee and books this morning, enjoying a cooler breeze, no humidity and birds lightly chirping off in the trees. It was all I could do to pull myself back into the house and begin the process of getting ready for the day. 

Our summer has been full of several get-togethers with our entire family (unheard of in recent years!), many ball games and outings shared with those four small people who are growing up waaaay too fast.

We have some more fun things planned in the next few weeks and my phone is overloaded with even more photos that I need to clear out to make room for the adventures that remain. 

Photos are the current way we remember people and events. 

As we pull them up to show someone we run into or scroll through them as we have some down time or share them with our family who were unable to attend some gathering, we tell stories about where we have been and what we have done.

This morning I read about a different kind of remembering. 

In Joshua 4, as the people of Israel passed through the Jordan River into the land of promise following 40 years of desert trekking, Joshua commissions one man from each tribe to pick up a stone from the river bed. 

The priests had stepped into a flowing river moments before and the waters had stopped, thus baring a dry path for the people to cross through. 

Only two men in the mix would have been alive to see the first miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, two men who had once entered this land and proclaimed it to be good and yet had to wait such a long time for this moment. 

After everyone had passed safely through, Joshua watches one man from each of the twelve tribes hoist a large rock onto his shoulder and carry it across.

The men were to take them into their tent that night.

The next day Joshua had them put them into a stack alongside the river Jordan and then he told them they were a memorial of what had happened here. 

He told them that their children would ask about these stones piled up and they would be a reminder of what God had done.

We understand the value of repeating stories until the hearer owns the memory as much as we who lived through something. 

I remember family stories that were recounted so many times, i actually feel like they are my stories even though I wasn’t alive for some of them. 

I could tell you about the one and only time my mom and aunt could remember their dad losing his temper and I own that story even though my grandpa passed years before I was born.

Or the time my own dad cut through a pumpkin and scratched a coffee table of my mom’s even though I never even saw the injured coffee table because it was long gone before I joined the family. 

Stories, pictures, reminders of God’s faithfulness to us are important and they need to be shared.

What rocks of remembrance have you gathered from the places God has made clear for you to pass through? 

Please share your stories of deliverance. 

The world is in great need to know there is a God who saves <3

Sorry. Not sorry.

Yesterday as I was driving north and my mind was rambling around as it is prone to do; for some reason I landed on a current phrase in social media that makes me chuckle first but ponder later.

You may have seen a post where someone shows a decadent dessert or a stack of Amazon Prime boxes delivered to their front door and the tag line is “Sorry. Not sorry.”

Depending on the photo, this can be a light laugh for the day and a welcome addition to other not-light posts. 

The idea is basically reflecting our human tendency to acknowledge we should be sorry for something, but in reality we are not and if we were given the chance we would do it again in a heartbeat.

It’s funny when it is something that really brings no harm to anyone including ourselves, but the underlying truth of it is not so funny. 

Yesterday I was with the band of brothers and Miss Caroline and we had some typical issues that plague childhood in that they sometimes were not quick to listen or obey. 

We had several Come to Jesus meetings with Lola that culminated in a big Come to Jesus seminar when dad got home. 

Everyone was sorry…and all was forgiven….but both Zach and I repeated what every parent has repeated since the first parent ever dealt with a child and will continue to repeat until Christ’s return…just saying you are sorry but not changing your behavior is not really being sorry. 

As I did when I was the parent and now do again as the grandparent, I usually walk away from these times of teaching, rebuking, correcting and instructing with a little playback of what I said only it comes to me as God’s voice agreeing over my own tendency to be sorry and yet not change. 

For example, I am always genuinely and deeply sorry that I make my punctual and gracious husband walk in late to things…but not sorry enough to have changed much in the 38 years we have been married.

I am truly sorry at the end of a day of eating good healthy food and then foraging the pantry just before bed and snacking on anything salty and crunchy….followed by something sweet…and then returning to the salty, crunchy to get rid of the sweet and then…repeat…repeat. And I feel sorry because I ate food I didn’t need. But not sorry enough to not do again the next time I find myself on a scavenger hunt for snacks.

When I let my frustration over a situation build up and I spew all of my sarcasm and anger and venting onto a poor unsuspecting human, I am sorry. Very sorry. But not enough to learn that this never brings healing to me, doesn’t enhance my capacity to forgive the perpetrator and leaves some poor soul covered in my yuk. 

You get the idea. 

Sorry can be regret  you got caught…or a way of buying yourself back into the good graces of someone you can keep hurting…or a cheap way to feel better about yourself.

But true sorrow over our sin should bring us to repentance and a heart change – a crying out to God to help us to overcome the evil within our own DNA that constantly lurks under the surface trying to take back what God has done in us through salvation. 

“Sorry. Not sorry.” may be a funny post on Instagram but in real life it is an ungodly attitude that needs to be confessed, repented of…prayed over and then a walking forth in a new state of…

Forgiven. Done and done. 

We are all works in progress…let’s keep progressing as we Journey Onward <3

The hardest part about seasons is when they change….<3

 I am writing to you from Atlanta, Georgia this morning…how odd is that?

Back when I was a young girl with all kinds of possibilities swirling around in my head for what I wanted to be when I grew up, I thought being a buyer for a store sounded like an amazing job. Being paid to shop?

Yes, please. 

I also thought being a stewardess sounded ideal because, again…paid to travel?

No brainer.

Or a teacher because my stuffed animals made great students as I stood before my little chalkboard in the basement and handed out assignments.

But my heart’s deepest desire was to be a wife and a mom and to maintain a home and God gave me that, while allowing me to work part time jobs here and there that have given me much fuel to entertain you.

He also allowed me ample shopping for groceries and kiddo’s clothes and such.

 And I have been blessed with so many travel opportunities without having to push a drink cart down a narrow aisle.

Although I still wistfully envy watching them gracefully point out the exit doors, emergency lighting down the center of the plane and demonstrate how to put on your oxygen mask.

All that being said; here I am, a few days away from turning 61, experiencing what it is like for someone to be a buyer for a store.

I have been given the opportunity, this late in the game, to accompany my dear friend and “boss” (she laughs when I call her that) on her annual buying trip to the Americas Mart. 

And let me tell you…

I thank the good Lord He didn’t answer my whim to do this full time for some department store many years ago.

He knows me and… while this has been a wonderful experience and so interesting and fun and yet definitely hard work… I think how much I would have missed as I watch full time buyers making selections for their stores and I think of the pressure this kind of career has brought on them.

God wired them for it, bless them…but this lady right here is thankful for her smaller town and time to ponder and study and the way God let me teach.

Not in front of a chalkboard in a school house though.

God allowed me to fulfill that dream on Sunday mornings in front of a variety of adults at my church for so many years.

And now that season has come to an end, my friends.

Last Sunday I let those who attended know that I will be stepping down from teaching our class as of the end of summer.

Years ago the pastors asked me to come up with a name for the group that showed up to let me facilitate their learning and since we were meeting in a room where the equipment for a renovations project was stored, I said we were the “Under Construction” class. 

I liked it because, while it did describe our classroom full of ladders and paint cans, it also fit my philosophy about this Journey…we are all works in progress…God is continually refining us and making improvements to fit us to look more like His Son. 

This little blog grew out of a weekly letter of encouragement I sent by email to a few people. It grew in number over the years as it would get forwarded and people asked to be added to the list.

Those will continue as will this blog, because I am not finished encouraging those who God might send my way <3

If you attend our class (or ever attended over the years)  and were not there on Sunday, please know how deeply loved you are and how thankful I am for each one of you.

You were more than just someone who sat in a chair for an hour and listened to me ramble…you are an extension of the Body of Christ and an answer to prayer that God could use someone like me and I am so thankful that you are part of my story and allowed me to be part of yours. 

You are my family and my friends, my brothers and sisters. 

Group hug and I will chat with you next week..

because for now…

I have miles to go…


before I return to this room tonight to sleep <3

Summer and the living is busy <3

Hey you all…I didn’t forget you.

I didn’t fall off the face of the earth.

It’s just been non-stop since the last firecracker burst over our heads and we applauded and packed up our lawn chairs…so here is a mini-recap and then I need to swallow some coffee and put my suitcase in the car because we are on to the next deal.

So Friday after we work we brought this one for a solo overnight.

I was worried he would miss his siblings but rest assured…he was fine-aroonie being an only child.

When we got to the house, he disappeared and I found him unpacking his essentials in “his room.”

I told him we were not eating that candy and gum and he told me he knew…he just wanted to look at it.


On Saturday we took him home, filled with all kinds of unhealthy food and all that candy and gum in a ziplock bag, because I do have some standards with them.

More ball games…and then off to meet this one and her fella for our annual “twin birthday”…

If you are going to share a birthday with someone…she’s the one to do it with.

So fun.

On Sunday…

Church…quick change and then….

We hung out with the crew during various ball practices and ate between games at a fancy restaurant…

Where watching them put paper cars together and wear these hats…

never. gets. old.

Then it was back to the ball park for another game…

We have sung “Take me out to the ballgame” so many times, even Caroline knows it….

Yesterday I went to a little town south of here with friends for a day of shopping and by shopping I mean…

So there you have it.

A whirlwind of sugar, fast food and little sleep.

Sounds like the prefect summer storm.

Hope you are doing well as we ride this summer roller coaster out.

Blessings and I will check in with you from the road <3

If you struggle with analysis paralysis… <3

I am in the holiday mood, how about you?

I love the Fourth of July for so many reasons and the fact that we had a son born on it may just be #1 on the list. 

We have big plans to paint our fence and then grill out because nothing says celebration quite like painting a fence, right?

So as long as I am asking questions this morning to an unknown group of people who will not even be answering me back…do you have trouble making decisions?

I do. 

My indecisiveness can be paralyzing. 

Choosing a restaurant, an entree, a paint color for the fence…these are not life and death decisions and yet I can stew over them for far longer than the results merit. 

Often I google a menu ahead so that I am prepared when we arrive at the table to just order the thing and be done with it. 

I defer to others when it is a group selection by saying I don’t care, because I really don’t.

Please remove the stress for me and just make the decision and let me know where and when. 

But some decisions in life are ones I must make for myself and they do change the trajectory I am on and have a ripple effect on the lives to those interconnected with me on the journey. 

Knowing which direction to go involves a process of prayer and pondering and more prayer and more pondering and in this I have found a little life hack, I guess you would call it, and so if you are like me…here is my helpful tip gleaned as I get a wee bit wiser in my latter years.

When I am trying to decide what to do in a situation that calls for action on my part…after I have overthought every possible aspect of every single option…I allow myself to pretend like I made a decision. 

I choose one option and then I let myself be in that choice for a bit…kind of like acting like I have made this be my choice for the situation.

If you are one who struggles with severe indecisiveness, this is something you will want to ease into the first few times.

But just for a little while, act like you are committing to one of the scenarios open to you. 

Try it on for size and see how it would feel if you made that choice. 

I am not speaking of moral things here…I am talking about things like taking or leaving a job or making a major purchase or renovation or expanding on something you are already doing…taking the next step in a ministry…that kind of decision.

I find that this exercise helps me move out of fear and into a place where I can more realistically view the consequences of a particular decision. As I try it on for size, I often find a hard no or a feeling of peace that this is the way to go even as the challenges are still clearly seen as possibilities.

For those of you who are shaking  your head wondering why I even need to practice this, thank the good Lord for wiring you to be a person who can make decisions quickly and efficiently. And please, for the love of all things good, use your talents and gifting in this area to make life better for people like me. 

If you are nodding your head in understanding, God bless you. 

I feel you.

Maybe we could meet for coffee sometime…but you would have to pick the location…and time…and maybe order for me…

Bless you! 

Have a great Fourth!!!!