Category Archives: Empty Nest

Monday Check-in <3

Are you working today?

I know some places are closed and some are doing business as usual so whatever your current situation, I hope you had a great weekend. 

We stayed mostly around home and yet were able to get out thanks to the quirky nature of the forecasted winter storm. It completely missed us but hit hard just a bit north of here. 

We watched some movies and sports, read, ventured out for a couple of meals and church and I got a few projects completed involving stashes of paperwork. 

There has been a whicker cube basket sitting in our office since shortly after we moved in two years ago. 

I have been somewhat afraid to dig through it unsure of what it contained, but was delightfully surprised there were no late bills or tax information that would have been helpful back in 2017. 

While Russ watched football, I purged and organized and whittled it down to a manageable and fileable stack and contributed a considerable amount to the recycling bin. 

For fun I will share two of my best finds.

One was a to do list for preparing for our move. 

You all know I love checking things off a list so you can just imagine how satisfying to sit in front of the fire and mark through things like…set up cable, get more boxes from store, pack storage shelves in basement. 

Sigh…I was giving myself all kinds of high fives. 

Done, done and done….what a great feeling.

Another thing I found was a note I had jotted…probably with the thought of sharing here on this little slice of the internet…and maybe I did but have mercy…so funny…it doesn’t hurt to share it again. 

People, please…write the stuff of your life down somewhere so you can find it on wintry days and laugh all over again. 

Here’s mine …

Graham would have been four years old and one day he asked me how old I was. I told him I was 57. 

No way! 

He asked me again if I was sure I was that old. 

Yes, Graham. I am 57 years old I told him, thinking it was so sweet he would think I couldn’t be so old.

I thought you were 53. 

Oh my gosh. 

I’m still laughing. 

Maybe in his thinking I stopped aging the day he was born, which is fine with me. 

53 and holding, people…that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 

Have a blessed day whatever you do and I will see you tomorrow…not a moment older…even with the passing of time <3

Easy as (a pizza) pie <3

Hello and happy Friday to you!

Here in the Midwest we have been having major scares regarding upcoming storm systems. 

Cue the mad dash to all grocery stores and people stocking up like it will be months before we can get out again. 

With predictions of icy rain falling on the path from our house to the Fab Four’s between midnight on Wednesday and my scheduled Thursday 6 AM departure time, I packed an overnight bag and headed north arriving in time to crash at their house and be ready for action bright and early yesterday morning. 

We had a good day, but it was a long one and some unforeseen events robbed us of nap time for the two littlest ones, so to say Lola was tired by 5 PM is putting it mildly. 

There is a reason we bear our children at young ages and bless God for the energy He must have provided Sarah and Abraham to raise Isaac in their latter years. Talk about miraculous works.

Graham had been picked up for basketball practice and I was serving up plates of pizza and prayed for God to grant us nourishment. They eagerly picked up their slices as the amen fell from my lips.

But as I lifted my own head, I kind of craved being prayed for myself. 

So I just said Lola needs some prayer and immediately both boys dropped their pizza back on their plates and assumed the prayer warrior position. 

While I was really needing prayer to just stay awake long enough to get them fed and bathed before their mom got home with Graham, Emmett launched into a prayer for my safety driving home later. 

He covered the potential for regular snow and the dreaded ‘black snow’… how a five year old could already have picked up a fear of sliding on black ice on the highway is a credit to his genetic link to his grandmother who can work herself into an anxiety attack scanning the road for deer and ice patches…year round. 

In a few sentences he hit on all the potential dangers I might encounter, thanked God for answering and said his amen as he resumed devouring his pizza. Joel peeked over out of the corner of his eye to make sure all was clear and joined in the feast. 

I was humbled beyond words as I felt certain God had leaned forward from His throne and covenanted with Emmett to keep Lola safe. 

Sometimes we make prayer such a big deal. 

Emmett could have quizzed on me on what I thought I needed prayer for, but God had already planted in his little spirit what I really needed prayer for. 

The roads were perfectly dry and free of deer the entire way home. 

My headlights carved out a smooth path as I listened to a sermon and let God’s word sink deep into me. 

Today you may meet a traveler on the journey who just might ask you to pray for something going on in his or her life. 

Don’t promise to pray later.

Don’t ask them how you can pray. 

Just pray. 

Just drop your pizza slice, bow your head and lift up your heart to God for what He might want to do in that precious fellow sojourners life.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow … I am lifting each of you who might be reading this in prayer now <3

One in a trabillionzillion <3

I was trying to think what to send you and I keep pushing away this little story, but it persists in rising to the top and so I am going to share it. 

Do you ever have things happen that are just so sweet and tender that you almost want to hide them away in your heart? I do.

I never want to betray the sacred ground of our family life for a story and yet God seems to give me such moments to share with you – maybe something you can relate to…maybe He has a word of encouragement for you…maybe just to make you smile and think on good things in a world that is becoming increasingly hard and divided. 

So here is my little gift to you today from my heart.

A couple of months ago when I was spending the day with our crew, Graham took a super close zoom in on my face and very sweetly pointed out that I had something on one of my front teeth. 

I asked him if he was seeing a little divot near the bottom edge of the tooth and yes, that was it. 

I told him I have always had that. Some dentist along the way told me my permanent tooth had been delayed coming in and that caused this kind of chipped spot.

 I don’t know if he was correct in that diagnosis, but over the years various other dentists have offered to fill it in if I would like but I told them no. 

Graham seemed fascinated that I would pass on having this little mar fixed. 

I can understand why he would be surprised since I can’t bear having a spot on my clothes or a mascara smear at the corner of my eye and can waste a huge amount of time stressing over a chunk of hair that is stubbornly refusing to join ranks with the rest of my head. 

As he looked at me like I had suddenly grown a third eye in addition to my chipped tooth, I explained to him how I kind of love that little blemish for some reason.

 It is like a familiar friend to me and I always felt like it gave my ordinary features something special and unique. It was how God made my tooth and I actually love my little chip.

I totally forgot about the conversation and for story purposes, you need to as well….

Fast forward to a few weeks ago and another day with the band of brothers and Little Miss Thing. 

We were driving in the van and from the far recesses of the back, Graham asked me if I ever noticed he has a bald spot. 

Well, I did know that he has a tiny place on the side of his head near his temple where hair just never has grown. I noticed it first a few years ago and had asked Rachel if he or another Kindergartner had taken a scissor to it because he seemed self conscious about making sure it was covered. She told me he had always had it and yes, he was embarrassed when people noticed and commented.

So with this memory popping up, I immediately began to downplay any recollection of having noticed this on his precious head. 

Instantly he stopped me in my tracks. 

Oh no Lola!!! I do have a spot…it’s like the chip in your tooth. God made me that way. It makes me special and unique.

Even as I tell you this, I have a big lump in my throat and tears brimming thinking of the joy in his voice as he shared my own words right back to me. 

I took a peek in the rearview mirror at his beaming face as I asked him…Graham! Have you come to love your little bald spot the way I love my tooth? 

Nodding enthusiastically he replied with a happy….. Yes

Oh my word…such a moment. 

There are so many things about myself I wish were not so. 

Not just physical things, but ways I am wired and driven. 

And yes, God is in the business of transforming me more and more into the image of Christ. 

But how fun when He helps me see that some of my flaws and shortcomings (not my sins…just my human “stuff”)  are just the ways He has made me unique and different from everyone else so that we can all come together and add our flavor to the Body of Christ <3 

What’s your little imperfection or quirk that God has shown you makes you unique and uses to encourage all the other works-in-progress who share the journey each day?

Can we learn to love how we were fashioned because we love the One who made us this way? I hope so. 

You are unique and one of a kind beautiful and you are loved <3

#giving is #agoodideayearround

Tuesday greetings!

I have as many thoughts swirling around as the snowflakes outside our windows. 

I wanted to take a movie and send it to the kids because it literally looked like our house was inside a snow globe and I consider that one of the most fun kinds of snow…but alas…my phone didn’t capture the effect so instead I decided to learn how to make a poached egg. 

Don’t ask.

This is the kind of mind we are dealing with here, people. 

And I am in full on scattered thinking mode as I pulled out all the green tubs and started putting up Christmas late yesterday afternoon. 

So far we have a miniature forest of small lighted trees taking up residence in the corner of the dining room and the first nativity and advent wreath stationed on the fireplace. But stay tuned…none of this is sealed in stone until I have pondered the dickens out of how much is too much and figure out where to begin and how to end the process.

And speaking of Dickens…tee hee….tell me you didn’t see that coming…

I told you Russ took me to see A Christmas Carol on Saturday and I may have mentioned it is such a favorite of mine. I was literally choking back sobs at some parts of it and it isn’t the parts you might think for one as sentimental as me might get weepy over. 

Oh sure…Tiny Tim is so sweet and the joy of the Cratchit family that supersedes their lack and poverty is touching…but it is Ebenezer himself who makes my throat tighten and tears like a fountain can’t be held back. 

It’s the complicated suggestion of various rejections and wrong choices made at strategic cross roads that constrict my heart into some strong emotions. 

It’s the disappointments and roadblocks to happiness that worked in cooperation with a natural bent toward a need to find security in something that wouldn’t let him down and then the unfolding of the hypocrisy of his idol as he becomes the spectator of his own life. 

It’s the way he can’t help but engage in the fun he has missed out on. 

It’s the way he is offered redemption and he takes it. 

Because I see Christ in everything, I see the Christ of Christmas in this story. 

I see the Spirit of Christmas as the Holy Spirit and I see the keeping of Christmas always as the keeping of Christ and His teachings in how we treat others throughout the year. 

This may or may not be what Dickens had in mind, but it is what I see every year in the story. 

I see how an encounter with the Christ of Christmas helps us see our past….our present…and our future…with truth and healing and hope. 

I see how an encounter with the Christ of Christmas and the Christ of eternity changes our perspective and our hearts…how Christ transforms us and renews us and brings us true Joy. 

Like Matthew the tax collector…Scrooge gives back and then some…he forgives debts and his actions reflect a changed heart. 


our John sent us this picture last night and asked us to share on social media so please indulge this mom as I encourage you to give generously on this #givingtuesday to any and all of the causes that the Lord would prompt you to support. 

John works for an agency in Texas that supports foster care, adoptions and also provides care for the children affected by immigration issues. 

So if you are inclined to donate to his organization….

Link is here….

However, there are many worthwhile places to drop some cash today so prayerfully consider where God might be leading you to give <3 

Friday thoughts <3

Good morning to you and Happy Friday!

Yesterday I spent some much needed time going through several stacks of notes and paper around and on the desk Russ and I share. He got his stacks cleared this week and it inspired me to finish this dreaded task. 

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have the brain I have because ideas come to me at all times except when I am actually sitting in front of the computer, so I jot them down on any available piece of paper and then stash them in the office. 

There are times I can’t even read what I wrote…or piece together why I thought it was a good idea. 

But other phrases are gems to be mined on mornings like this, when I pray and ask God for a good word to share with you and He whispers … how about that one?

So today I bring you the phrase our dear realtor planted on me two years ago when we were scrambling to get our house on the market ASAP because, lo and behold, we had just finalized the purchase of a new one scheduled a few days before Christmas.  

We have owned two homes before so we didn’t need to go travel through that desert again.

I assured God we had learned all that could be taught the first go round, so I began to launch into high gear as we packed up boxes and parted with treasures like all the construction paper projects for elementary grades 1 – 6 times 3…yes…I am that mom. 

The agent we were working with happens to also be a good friend and so she looked at my sentimental self and our house that reflects all people loved by us and she sagely gave me this truth…

They’re not buying the HOME. They are buying the house. They are not buying your bathroom rugs or your stuff on the fridge. All these things are what make your house your home, but they are not looking for your home. They are looking for a house to make into their home. 

I could go so many directions with that this morning, but I am going to share just one thought and then leave that truth to speak to you as God would lead your understanding. 

I wrote down in my notes my own take for the season we were walking through and it was this. 

Sometimes my imperfections are ok for me, but not to show everyone. 

It is not false to withhold displaying all that is in my heart to strangers passing through. 

I am wired to be an open book. 

What I am thinking, feeling, going through is transparent to everyone from my closest confidants to the check out girl at Kroger. 

But not everyone is looking for my heart. Nor looking out for my heart. 

And it is ok to guard our hearts. 

Be safe with who you are today.

You…yes you…

with the refrigerator door full of hand drawn pictures and some old wedding invitations from summer….

you with the tears hovering a bit too close to spilling over and…

you who struggles to fight back inappropriate laughter in awkward situations…

or any other of the wildly unique and quirky ways that God has made YOU….

you are precious and loved and of great value to Him who gave His life for you <3