Happy New Year and one last glimpse to what I want to take with me into 2021


Happy New Year! 

This past week I have been sharing some positives from 2020. Things like surprising benefits of mask wearing beyond slowing the spread of germs, the way small businesses got creative and our communities took ownership of our local merchants and restaurants, and how we grew into deeper relationships as isolation stripped away surface level living with our people. 

Another thing we seemed to figure out this past year is that professional sporting events, the world of eccentric celebrities and their over the top shenanigans…these are not essential to us. We finally acknowledged that the real heroes of our every day lives don scrubs and have been wearing masks for far longer than any of us ever gave a thought about. Additionally, teachers, parents, care givers, first responders…these were the people who rose up and took care of what really needed to be done while the rest of us tried to figure out how to navigate life in a new normal. I think we finally got a wakeup call to the underpaid and under appreciated people whose daily work is serving others. 

There was all kinds of rhetoric about if church is essential and I finally just tuned out all sides of that discussion, but I can tell you that for me, the Church of Jesus Christ is essential to me. Fellowship with body of believers is essential to my life and I am thankful beyond words for the technology and efforts made by my local church and by the church around this country and the world for those who rose up and have continued to creatively lead us in worship and teaching throughout this pandemic. 

As we enter into 2021, there are many good things gleaned from this trial that I hope have changed and transformed me. In my thinking I don’t see that we are magically over the struggles and “going back to normal” is in my estimation not going to look a whole lot like what we remember normal to be. Just like 911 forever changed the way we traveled, I am sure moving forward from this will be a landscape full of all of us adapting to a life we never pictured as our future. 

I will say one of the greatest positives of 2020 is my prayer life has ramped up, been revitalized and overhauled to a new level of passion. 

I pray for our cities and states to seriously be looking into the reforms in law enforcement rather than settling back into old patterns until the next incident reveals how much effort was put into making sure racism is not an issue in pursuing justice and promoting safe neighborhoods. 

I join my prayers with the voices that are rising up in our black communities urging young people to stop using guns to settle disputes. I pray this movement will grip the hearts of those who have seen no way out but through belonging to a gang and I pray for a transformation of hope and purpose in the efforts of the leaders who are trying to get the attention of our young people. 

I am concerned for the economy of our state and nation. You cannot continue to pump out money you don’t have. It’s a lovely thought, but at some point we all know if you are spending money on credit…the results are disastrous.

So I pray for what the future will look like for our young people and children when it all comes to a head. I pray in earnest for the Church of Jesus Christ to harken back to His teachings regarding the role of government, economics and moral living.

I pray we will not miss the wakeup call for the people of God. I pray we would revisit the things He had to say about how we are supposed to live in a world that will be hostile to His teachings. 

I pray that as we have laughed when we could about the rough year, we would deep in our souls recognize that our eyes have been opened to the injustices of this world to so many. I pray that we would cling, not to our political parties, our wealth, our rights…but to the Cross of Jesus Christ. 

I pray that we would walk away from 2020, in our sweat pants and masks, with a renewed love for Him and for an increased understanding that this world will pass away. I pray that we would daily remember we are a tiny dot on the grand scheme of time and we have only been given today to share the Gospel that saved our sorry souls. l pray that we will pour our time, thought, energy, gifts and resources in 2021 into furthering His Kingdom that is built through us but whose foundation is the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

I pray for you and for me, to live with purposeful and intentional actions, the Good News every day in 2021.

God bless you and yours. You are loved more than you could ever know 


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The 2020 reset on relationships <3


Happy New Year’s Eve! Let the memes be rolled out in force today. 

One of my favorites from 2020 said —> I can’t believe we stayed up and screamed Happy New Year for this mess

I am so thankful for the humor of others that helped ease the tension at times and brought camaraderie. I am equally thankful for the option to snooze people for 30 days who tended toward less humorous reactions to all that was abuzz in 2020. 

So as we continue on with our review of what has been a year with the word “unprecedented” used more than other year in the history of forever, most likely….here are some more positives from my heart.

I am a fair weather girl. When describing life in the Midwest (and don’t get me wrong, this is my home and I love living here) I will tell people we have about two good days. My best temperature range is a little wider than my tolerance for humidity range and therein lies the problem with existing here in the heartland.

I can stand extreme heat and extreme cold as long as the humidity is low. Which happens, as mentioned, roughly two days out of the year. 

But thanks to multiple weeks sheltering in place and months of shut downs with no where to go, even this home-loving, self proclaimed introvert needed to get. out. of. the. house. 

So we walked. Biked. Walked some more. Hiked. And then…repeat. 

In allllllll kinds of weather. 

And so did the rest of our neighborhood. 

We saw people we didn’t even know lived around here. On our treks around the circle, we got in the habit of waving at the others who seemed to be on the same schedule for fresh air as we were. 

Children with freed up schedules apparently got tired of electronics and were out skating, biking, drawing with chalk and waving to us like refugees on the shore of a deserted beach when they see the rescue ship on the horizon. 

We waved back in like fashion as if to say, “Look! Small humans!!! There is life here!”

Like most people, we knew complete isolation would be more life-threatening than the Covid, so we decided on our small circle that we were willing to risk exposure in all directions and as best we could, we social distanced while fellowshipping. It was a lifeline. 

At one point I posted this from my heart, “It turns out I am not as much an introvert as I thought.” 

We needed people. 

We zoomed and we texted. We Marco-polo’d, instant messaged and What’sApp’d.

We learned how to use technology so that we could live stream our church services. 

We thanked God for artists like Michael W. Smith and Natalie Grant/Bernie Herms who just got on YouTube or Instagram and sang to us for free in their sweat pants and ball caps. 

We stood on sidewalks and talked towards the porch, sat in yard chairs in a wide circle or opened the door to a friend who was masked and handing us a small plate of goodies with a long reach….and we wept for the deep love of our people…in us and for us. 

This has been a hard year. 

We have lost much. 

Personally, our grandchildren have lived isolated from friends and school and sports. Russ has had to adjust to working from home as he navigates doing what he has always done in a workspace he shares with a woman who has spent most of the years of his career going about the maintenance of the home and the musings that spin out this kind of stuff at her own pace and noise level. She has had to adjust, too. 

Our friends have suffered losses. Some have been quarantined due to exposure and some due to a positive test. We have purchased more sympathy cards this year than I believe we ever have. I have used social media in record amounts as a way of connecting with people I cannot see. 

We have talked to relatives and friends via telecommunication that never would have happened if we were not in this pandemic. I have made phone calls to people who are not on text or facebook. Unheard of since I had defaulted to the easier typed/no need to carry on a conversation kind of awkwardness over the years.

So another thing I will take away from 2020 is a deep appreciation for a major pause in my busy, full life so that I could fill it with building relationships to a level that leaves me humbled. I am amazed how easy it was to live on the surface with people who are so dear to me. 

May we never get back to “normal” in that area. 

God bless you all…you have been a special part of this 2020 experience because we connect here. Your little notes of encouragement and your comments mean so much to me. You are precious to me and the reason I do this. 

Tomorrow I will wrap up this little review of the year…yes, I know, it is New Year’s Day…but I hope you will join me. PJ’s and all…<3

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Another positive take away from 2020 ….or carry out, if you will <3


Thanks for the love on yesterday’s post…removing my mask momentarily to give you a big smile. 

Today I am thinking about the positive of a new respect for small business and shopping local. 

As I was driving yesterday I dictated thoughts into my phone and as I typed them out, I am once again so inspired by the way our local community grew in this area. When our governor closed everything down, there was a deep sigh in our inner circle. I work for a small business owner. My neighbors own a restaurant. 

It was scary and it hit close to home, literally.

But we watched with a deep respect as local businesses got creative and active.

Immediately they were using social media to offer take out. Stores were posting pictures of products available when the government allowed curbside pickup. And when that stopped, they used the time and stimulus money to make improvements.

This inspired hope in us as our small businesses set a light to the future that spoke the promise that we would once again be dining and shopping in our favorite places. 

Once they could be open, the shops and restaurants worked diligently to accommodate the health of the community for the most part. I am ignoring the ones who didn’t. I want to focus on the ones who did.

They purchased patio furniture and tents, they developed family pack meals for pick up. They got curbside cones set up for take out. Shops invested in cleaning supplies and signage to keep their shoppers safe. Social media from our local businesses was used in positive ways as they featured menus, specials and even their staff whose sweet faces we miss seeing in person. They kept us connected as a community.

Someone local developed a Support Small Business group on Facebook where we learned of all kinds of services available in our community and shared resources amongst many people.

Cheerleaders for locally owned businesses posted frequently and created a new respect for those who live and contribute to our surroundings and we wanted to be a part of providing income for them instead of the big distribution centers that have threatened to wipe out our little places here in town. 


Working in a shop, my heart was warmed so often as men and women would come in to check us out first for a sought-after item, or just to look for something to buy because they wanted to show their support.

They were willing to skip bargain hunting on the internet, realizing that the costs of a small business are higher than places that can buy in mass quantities. Our family and friends did most of our gifting to each other from the locally owned businesses.

We started to own our communities again and care for the well-being of those who provide goods and services to us and also live right next door. 

People who don’t normally eat out would make an intentional effort to order curbside and leave a big tip. It was a sacrifice in a way for some, spending some extra money to help a business out, but in the long run our hearts are bigger for it. (Also our waist lines…but that’s a Covid negative so we will steer clear of that topic….)

I don’t know when I have talked as much with friends about local businesses or been as thankful for the town we live in. And since I have become a pro at take out, I hope to carry out this one in 2021. 

I know. Puns. Sorry…couldn’t help myself. See ya tomorrow <3

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