What’s in a word?


Good morning! I am running around like a crazy person trying to get some dusting done, laundry caught up and me ready to head out the door ON TIME for work…because…new year equals new leaf attempts. 

I am mulling over this whole “one word” thing and I know you all are just sitting on the edge of your seats waiting to hear more about my word last year…okay maybe not…but here we go with a quick observation and then I am outta here!

I mentioned last year and again yesterday about this word “simplify.”

It kind of sounds like simplicity, which is so out of reach for me I can’t even imagine that one. 

I will most likely overthink everything til Jesus takes me Home or I totally lose all mental faculties. 

I am wired to ponder and add layers to thoughts and activities, and I am somewhat drawn to shiny things.

Also, since I have the heart of a story teller by nature, I would be short on material if I lived without the unending complications I encounter just navigating a day. 

Case in point, I just googled the word “simplicity” to enhance our conversation and I was immediately taken to the website for the Simplicity pattern company. This transported me back to Junior High Home Ec class…and it is with great effort and discipline that I am logging out of that rabbit trail and looking for the definition!!!

So…simplicity: the quality of being easy to understand and do

Yes – this is not me. 

I don’t understand things easily. 

I am often an enigma to those who love me most.

I do not go about any task the easy way. 

I make a lot of work for those same people who love me most. 

So while “simplicity” may be a stretch, I CAN CHOOSE to simplify along the way. 

To simplify is a process, and I am all about processes. 

The very name of this blog is “Journey Onward” because it’s about the fact that we are all making our way along a path.

Step by step.

And while I am prone to want lots of rest breaks and detours to scenic spots…and while I grouse about other times when I must deviate from the quickest route due to construction and delays…it is all part of the way I am taking through this life and the people who are walking alongside me in different seasons. 

And sometimes I tend to focus on the wrong things at crucial times. 

That is where I grew a little through employing my One Word last year.

I can look back and see where I let go of some of my perfectionism issues…where I challenged myself to look at the big picture instead of micro-micro-managing the teeny tiny details of how I did things.

I got brave and left the house with a hat on some days when the errand needed to be run. 

I learned to think less about what every one else might be thinking. 

Oh, this is huge. 

I forced myself to make quick decisions on totally unimportant things like what to order off a menu and what was really essential to throw in an overnight bag. 

If you don’t struggle with over thinking, none of this sounds like much…but to me…it was kind of a big deal to realize I survived just fine and lived to order and pack again. 

So there you go…my synopsis of last year’s word. 

And just in time to post and head out to work.


Have a good day and I will see you tomorrow!

Taking a look at the “one word” thing…


So the thing the last few years that has kind of been added to the mix of goal-setting and resolutions appears to involve having a focus word.

You may have noticed that I have a tendency to use more words than necessary as part of my modus operandi. 

As Russ likes to point out, why use ten words when you can use a hundred…yes, that would be me. 

And if a picture paints a thousand words, then by all means…use both. 

Settling on one word seemed impossible until last year when I took the quiz and discovered the word “simplify” and it was like an epiphany moment.

And it probably wasn’t until well after the actual  Epiphany date on the liturgical calendar that I arrived at my word for the year, because besides being extremely verbal I am also rather slow to make decisions.

I wasn’t sure I would stick with the word very long since I tend to get bored and forgetful. 

But it would keep cropping up in unusual ways and I found myself pinpointing areas of my life I overcomplicate. 

I may touch on this more at some point…we shall see…

but since I did sharpen my ability to eliminate stress at certain points by not dwelling on EVERY SINGLE TINY DETAIL all. the. time….

I am skipping that for today and introducing you to a fun new perspective introduced to me by my friend Shelly D. Templin. 

Here is the link to her post about how she turned the one word idea in a new direction for 2019. 


I am giving it a whirl…tune in tomorrow…but for now enjoy her clever way with words <3

It’s always the re-entry that gets me <3


Well, it has been a while and I have so many thoughts bouncing around that I am restrained to develop a Five Randoms so that I can get a post up and move on with the laundry, backed up paperwork and final migration of Christmas to their respective green tubs in the basement. 

So let us begin with the first five thoughts that spill off this blonde brain…

#1  I love Christmas and family filling up the rooms of our house.

I love the presence and yes, as we know…I love the presents…the giving and the getting and watching what others gave to siblings and parents…the food and the games…but it drains me. 

I need copious amounts of rest and quiet and nothingness to balance all of the above. 

And God provided for this in the most unusual of ways. 

A thiry-six hour bout with an odd virus that really brought no discomfort beyond some minor tummy issues and a mild headache. 

I was couch bound in a silent house while Russ and John enjoyed great seats at an Illini game courtesy of John and then dinner with some dear friends. 

And I rested. 

It was a game changer. 

So respect your need for rest – whatever that looks life for you.

Rest and refreshing comes in different ways depending on how we are wired but to rest is a command from God. 

Obey it.

#2   What happened to all the nice jolly people that were bustling about getting ready for Christmas? 

Too much sugar and overspending, I would presume. 

If you are finding yourself kind of irritable and crabby, please scroll back to #1.

And then rest.


We need you at your best out there…it’s kind of rough in January.


#3    We saw a couple of movies over Christmas and based on the previews, we have run out of ideas. 

The entertainment industry is recycling old plots and live animating all the cartoon movies. 

I have pondered from time to time that since there is a limited number of notes, there must be some sort of finite number of combinations and if the earth lasts long enough, we will surely have used them all up and all the songs that can ever be made will have been made.

We will run out of new ones.

It would seem the same holds true for ideas regarding story lines. 

We are there. 

#4     What do you love about winter? 

For me it is that cocooning we do in the evening, reading or watching a game on TV.

Soups and stews in the crock pot. 

Ice blue winter sky spread wide over the frosted stubble of the corn and bean fields. 

Soft blankets and comfy clothing…and no humidity. 

The way crystals form in a featherlike pattern on the corners of our windows some mornings and snow days…because even when you no longer have children in school…snow days are magical. 


#5   I was reading in Lamentations 3 this morning and it struck me how Jeremiah openly acknowledges that God sometimes/often parent’s us with “tough love.”

It made me think of our current study in Sunday School and our discussion yesterday about how we have a tendency to skip over passages that don’t make us feel good about ourselves. 

So contrary to our culture. 

It’s all about feeling good about ourselves, isn’t it?

But as I read through verse by verse, I recognize that me feeling good again is not the point. 

If I am feeling bad about something and I feel like God is not paying attention to me, instead of looking for Him in places where He will affirm me…I need to be quiet and still and just sit before Him. 

Maybe He is silent because I have only been listening to what I want to hear Him say. 

As I sit and allow Him to discipline me, He gently or forcibly brings me to a place of repentance and it is there that I discover who HE IS…and that, my friends, is what it’s all about. 

I do so love the promise that His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23-24), but am I also loving the reminder that I should, at times, sit and be quiet and offer myself to Him to learn where correction is needed in my thoughts and actions? 


I pray we walk in the fullness of His loving correction and redirection for each of us in 2019. 

Blessings dear ones.

It is good to be back <3

Another year is in the books…Christmas recap and moving forward into 2019


We packed away 2018 this week.

Another coffee stained devotional finished…another 365 days of life lived.

So before we move on into what 2019 will be, I’m taking a moment to give a glimpse into our Christmas this year in case you want to take notes and start planning.

I jest.


My photos are characterized by bad lighting…constant movement…and anything but a picture perfect event.

Please note Elmo face down against a mug of cold coffee….or egg nog…or apple cider…or who knows what …Tia’s current novel…two calendars going…rotting bananas…and G is down at the end using all my foil to fashion action figures which Tia then decided to hide all over the house and has requested remain until she returns….


I did have plenty o’help in preparing dinner….


And the non-food “crackers” were once again the best part of the meal…


although we each have our own unique style for sporting a crown…


and one of us just never took her’s off…


We hugged a lot…


took some walks to burn off energy…


hugged some more…


played games…


and music…


and put on puppet shows…


and when we got bored with the toys, we made our own fun…


Zach stepped even further into the role of girl-dad…and untangled a princess’s hair from the infernally frustrating packaging she came imprisoned in.


While Miss Caroline patiently waited…


We made room for each other…


and while the pictures may not be perfect, nor the people in them…we thank God for the gift of family that He has given us and we look forward with great hope and expectation for how He will continue to show up and show us how to love well in 2019…


Closing out 2019 <3


Hello to you and Happy New Year’s Eve!

I have taken some time to rest. And I mean that quite literally as I caught some sort of bug sometime Friday after I went to bed and ended up sleeping and resting and recuperating the next 36 hours. 

Thankfully I was recovered by Sunday morning and able to attend service at our church and then tag along to take John to catch his flight home. 

I also finished The Chronological Bible this morning and I can’t emphasize enough the feeling of joy to have completed the read through this year. 

It took an average of six pages a day and while I read ahead some and got behind others, I ended up with only needing to ready twelve pages the last two days and I loved every single word. 

There is nothing quite like ending the year with the great and powerful words of the Revelation given to John and saved for us to read. 

I understand the need to study passages and not just cram Scripture in, but if you have never taken the challenge to read through the Bible in a year, I would greatly recommend you doing so in 2019. 

Here are some of the ways I have done this if you are looking for a place to start:

<3 Different translations for a straight read through which include the David Jeremiah NKJV Study Bible, The Message, The Chronological Bible twice

<3 Use the Bible Reading plan in Our Daily Bread, which typically takes you through some Old and New Testament passages so you cover the Bible in a year but it ties passages from both of these into a thread

<3 Bible reading plan offered in the index of one of my Bibles (I believe it was NIV)

Yes, there are some dry places but as I have repeated this discipline over the years (I DO NOT do a complete read through every year!!) and add to it knowledge gleaned from taking classes and doing other studies, the passages have grown richer and deeper to me in meaning. 

So as you are making plans and setting goals for 2019, I pray you would consider giving yourself the gift of a year in God’s complete Word. 

I love you that much that I am willing to nag you on New Year’s Eve…(insert a smile)

I hope you have a wonderful time ringing in 2019. 

I hope this year brings you some answers to long-prayed for blessings. 

I hope that you will feel and know the presence of the LORD Himself each and every day. 

Are you one who likes to read the end of a book to make sure it will be worth your investment of time and emotion? 

I am…no surprise to you probably. 

So let me share with you one of my most favorite passages from the final chapter of God’s written word to us, His people…

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be nor more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”   Revelation 21:1-5

He who testifies to the these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Revelation 22:20

And can we all with one accord, join with the Apostle John and say?

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. 

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen  Revelation 22:21

Happy New Year dear friends! 

I look forward to continuing to journey with you until we are united with Him or He returns to take us Home <3