First thoughts on our vacation…


I’ve been waiting a few days to process all I experienced on our family vacation out West. I decided to write a few blogs and share the pics that go with my thoughts.

I had flown over parts of the West, and once visited my sister’s family in Grand Junction, CO, a more desert type of landscape. However, I had never experienced in person the majority of the landscapes we were in while on our trip.

One land feature in particular has stuck in my mine, with an old hymn that came back to me while driving from Salt Lake City to Nampa, ID. clearly they are defined out there. 

I’ll share a few pictures below that might give you an idea, albeit a poor representation of what it’s like in person. The song that came to mind is Higher Ground, and though it specifically speaks of Heaven’s Tableland, all in all, I think it was the theme of my soul for our trek across the mountains and valleys of these great Northwestern states, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and Wyoming.

Higher Ground
I’m pressing on the upward way
New heights I’m gaining every day
Still praying as I’m onward bound
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground
Lord, lift me up and let me stand
By faith, on Heaven’s tableland
A higher plane than I have found
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground
My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay
Though some may dwell where those abound
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground
Lord, lift me up and let me stand
By faith, on Heaven’s tableland
A higher plane than I have found
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground
I want to live above the world
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled
For faith has caught the joyful sound
The song of saints on higher ground
Lord, lift me up and let me stand
By faith, on Heaven’s tableland
A higher plane than I have found
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground
I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright
But still I’ll pray, ’till heaven I’ve found
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground

Long silences…


“It’s never too late to give up our prejudices .” Thoreau

I haven’t written for almost two months. My heart has been so very troubled. I try not to share unless I’m clear on what to say, feeling prompted by the Spirit, and though I’ve had a couple of those moments in these last two months, still I haven’t written. The emotions have been too deep and too draining.

I was raised to love others as I would want to be loved.  I try to live by this, even with those who have not reciprocated the same.  It saddens and disturbs me to see others treated poorly, no matter the circumstances, to see selfishness, greed, and evil perpetrated upon others for no legitimate reason, whatsoever (not that any terrible action upon others is ever justified).  

My longing is to intentionally care for all others, to love others with the love of God flowing out from me to whomever you are, wherever you’ve been, whatever you may or may not have done, to see each person with the eyes of our Abba Father (see Amy Grant’s old song, Father’s Eyes…).  If given the opportunity, I will be your friend, I will listen, I will share, I will help in whatever way I can.  I long for the same to be done for me, to be given the grace from others, the gift of being truly known for who I am, not judged and stereotyped by outward appearances.

This is that for which we were all originally created….designed out of the love of The Trinity who wanted to extend the love they had within their Oneness, because it was too big to be contained…thus, Creation happened, the artistic expression and beauty of the depths and riches of the love between the Father, Son, and Spirit, culminated with us, created in Their image, made to be in relationship with them and with each other, designed to love God, others, and ourselves.

Oh dear Father, why can’t we all allow You to transform us to be the people you meant for us to be from the start….?  This is the cry of my heart when I am silent in these troubled times…


Fifty shades of green…


A little over a week ago, we journeyed down to WV to place my mom’s ashes on the graves of her two husband’s graves. Her first husband passed away when mom was only 25, with three small children. My dad passed away when I was 19, and mom lived all those years as a widow but not really totally alone, since she had her children and step-children, grandchildren, greats and a great-great.

As we drove, the many shades of green along the road and on the hills gave me great joy. Green is my favorite color, most shades of it. The beauty of all the greens spoke deeply to my soul.

How good it is to know my mom rests in the care of the One who created all of this beauty. Joy is possible because I know this to be Truth, that I too will find my life settled forever with God , as well, after my life here ends. Peace is possible and grief is not forever because i know most of those I have lost in this life will be a part of my eternity with our Creator.

As I honor those who have passed away, I’m thrilled to think of the new life found for all who have died in Christ, the new life I see represented in the many gorgeous shades of green. Yes, I cry sometimes from missing my mom, dad, sister, brothers, aunts, uncles, nephews, friends…but the tears are always mingled with joy and a deep settled peace.

Celebrating being a mom…


During this time of sheltering at home, two of my adult children have been home with us. Our daughter still lives with us, and she has been furloughed from her job during this time, since she’s a cosmetologist. My oldest son is a teacher and came to stay with us once his school closed for the pandemic. He has been working online this entire time, as have I. Our middle son and his wife have been working from their home in IN.

With travel restrictions and gathering limits loosened a bit, my daughter-in-law and son cane to stay with us this week, as did my daughter’s boyfriend. We all had work responsibilities to attend to each day…Zoom calls, phone conversations, loads of emails answered, documents created and printed. My daughter was even “working” as her salon team collaborated and planned for their soon-to-be reopening.

As I worked from my home office, in one corner of the house, I listened to the sounds of all of them doing their jobs, being productive adults working to make the world better in their own ways. What an incredible blessing to this mother’s heart! What an affirmation that something we did as parents went right !!

No, it hasn’t been a perfect time together. Yes, this Mother’s Day also bears remembrances of my own mom with bittersweet emotions, being my first Mother’s Day without her. However, over it all, I feel so very grateful for the honor of being a mother, for children who know love and who spread love, for my mom who taught me much about mothering, and for aunts, nieces , sisters and friends who have helped me be the mom I am and have partnered with me in raising my children to be who they are today. Ultimately, I thank God for the provisions and strength He gives me every day to be who He has made me/is making me to be.

Fighting the darkness…

Easter and Holy Week have always been important in my journey of faith, as far back as I can remember.  This season has always been about more than bunnies and candy and eggs to me, except maybe when I was very young.  I still enjoy the egg coloring and some candy, and let’s face it, bunnies and baby chicks will forever be cute.  Yet, the Light and Life and Truth of Jesus’ birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection remain my focus during Lent and Holy Week, culminating with Easter morning’s resurrection celebrations.

This year, of course, is somewhat different because of the Corona Virus and our current worldwide experience of this pandemic.  Some have exclaimed in the last couple weeks that “Easter is canceled”.  These types of statements have been disheartening for me, and I believe these words have helped to fuel the darkness encroaching on our lives in so many ways.

Truth is – Easter will never “be canceled” because it’s a fact of history, not a generic holiday to celebrate.  

My heartbeat in the last couple weeks has been sustained by a motivation to bring more light to dispel the darkness. I desire to remind people of all the Hope we have in this life, as well as in the life to come.  So, this week, I’ve followed a couple impulses of my heart that I believe the Holy Spirit placed there as a means to fight the darkness trying to creep into my own thoughts and feelings, while at the same time, trying to reach out to others as I can, to help remind them of the Light Jesus continually brings to our world because of his resurrection, and then, his ascension about 40 days later.

He sits in Heaven by his Father, our Abba (Dad), and He sent His Spirit here to live in us and to be all over this world bringing the Light and Life and Hope of God and His Kingdom to us, in us, and through us to everyone else.  

I’m hoping your Easter is blessed and that you are fully aware of God’s presence.  More than ever, I’m going to continue honoring Easter tomorrow by lighting the light of hope in my neighborhood and then celebrating the Life, the Truth, the Way that is Jesus.  More than ever before, I see how our worship, our celebration, our love for God and others brings light and life and hope into our world to fight the darkness.  Will you join me in this battle?

Philippians 2:5-11
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form,
he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death– even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Living in troubled times


Unsettled….this is the word I would use to describe my general feelings the last couple of weeks as our country has been addressing and acting upon the threats caused by this global crisis called the Coronavirus.

Sing and rejoice you children of the Day and of the Light. For the Lord is at work in this thick night of darkness that may be felt. Truth does flourish as the rose, the lilies do grow among the thorns, the plants atop of the hills, and upon them the lambs do skip and play.

Never heed the tempests nor the storms, floods or rains, for the Seed, Christ, is over all and does reign.  EXCERPTS FROM The Letters of George Fox


All dear Friends everywhere, who have no helper but the Lord, who is your strength and your life, let your cries and prayers be to him, who with his eternal power has kept your heads above all waves and storms. Let none go out of their habitations in the stormy time of the night, those whose habitation is the Lord, the Seed, Christ Jesus.

In this Seed you will see the bright and morning Star appear which will expel the night of darkness, by which morning Star you will come to the everlasting Day which was before night was.

So, everyone feel this bright morning Star in your hearts, there to expel the darkness. [Letter 280] (Abridged and revised for the modern reader by Howard R. Macy.)

Letting myself feel…


Sometimes, grief just shows up. I’ve experienced this off and on for years since my dad passed away in 1987, a brother in 1989, a sister in 2013, and another brother in 2015, as well as close aunts and uncles , both sets of my grandparents and my dear step-father-in-law. Naturally, grief has been closer to the surface these last couple months since my mom passed away.

This week was my sister Anne’s birthday, though she passed away in 2013. I went to see one of my other sisters that day and we watched some old family videos while drinking hot tea.

The videos brought back a flood of of memories, and not just of Anne. My dad, his brother and sister, were in the videos , my two brothers, two nephews and grandmother, as well. All have left us here in this world. My heart has been heavy since.

My MaMa, mom’s mom, has been gone since 1985. I barely knew her since I was so young still at 18. What would it have been like to have known her once I was an adult?

I miss my dad and brother who’ve been gone long enough that I’ve forgotten what their presence was like. Thoughts of my dear sister, who lived through stage 4 cancer and fought to survive for 24 more years, follow me daily as she intentionally participated in my life for all the years she lived since I came into her world. Her presence is palpable at times.

I watched some more family videos last night with my nuclear family. Allowing myself to feel the depths of grief while also laughing with my husband and kids as we watched these was good for my soul , helping me wrap up this difficult emotional week. To quote one of my favorite movies, Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias, “laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”

A legacy of love…


Since my kids were little, I always made sure to get each of them something special for Valentines Day, and we tried to love them extra and be sure to express it fully, specifying what was special about each of them, and so on. From my perspective, the point behind honoring St. Valentine’s martyrdom was always meant to be about showing love intentionally and purposefully to all others in one’s life, to love unconditionally with the love of God. Yes, a day was picked to specifically celebrate St. Valentine, and yes, our culture has romanticized it (partly due to some of the legends about St. Valentine).

Regardless, for me, it’s a day for me to tell my immediate family that I love them and why I love them, and it’s a day to be more aware of God’s love and my desire to show that in my life in all that I do.  Do I always accomplish that, no….I don’t always show others the love of God in the way He would desire me to do.  I’m human and I fail miserably in the realm of being loving, at times.

My hope is that the overall viewpoint of my life, when people look back to survey it after I’m gone, will be that I was loving, kind, compassionate, accepting and welcoming, to friend, family, stranger….to all.  This was the legacy of my mom, I believe, that she passed on to me, through some of her words, but mainly through her actions, her day-to-day consistent, intentional way of living and loving.

As you may know, mom passed away December 27. I have been very quiet on social media since that time, including my writing in this space. I’m still feeling that I would prefer silence for a while, as I grieve, as I transition and move forward.

However, on this Valentines weekend, I wanted to share a bit about my mom and her legacy of love. 💖 She sacrificed for others as a habit, probably to her own detriment at times, though she wasn’t perfect. Yet, even in her imperfect, human ability to love, she showed love by asking forgiveness and apologizing, even before the other person realized she had wronged them in any way.

I could go on for hours about her, and perhaps I should write a book to honor her… Yet, for now, may it be sufficient to say that her love, and way of loving, shaped me and will continue to guide me as I live out my life on this Earth. I’m so very thankful for the love of my mom, and I’m at peace with her passing as she can finally rest and be held in her Father’s arms.


An open Christmas letter….


We didn’t really do cards (or pictures or a letter) to mail this year. Life has been …. unexpected … this past year, and we have had to wisely choose to let go of some chores, some traditions, some ideas, and some ways we spend our resources of time, energy, and money in order to focus on absolute priorities. None of this means we love less , nor does it mean we have no time to think of others, hold you in our hearts, and pray God’s blessings, provisions, healing, peace, love and joy for so so many whom we hold dear.

If you follow me or any of the family at all, you know we’ve grown in numbers this last year, with Noah marrying Legend, and Michael visiting Jenna every couple of weeks. Taylor drives down for many weekends throughout the year, as well. Tom’s mom often joins us and sometimes we are blessed with visits from our dearest friends and family.

We are making new traditions and growing closer as a family with adult children. Each of us is working hard for every dollar we earn , and when we have downtime we try to squeeze as much life out of it as possible.

My heart is filled with gratitude for God’s love this Christmas Day , with an amazement for the ways He works and moves in my life and the lives of my precious family. His graciousness, merciful provisions and presence are the greatest gifts I’ve ever received. I have reflected on and celebrated all He is to me in this month of Advent, and I long for His love to pour out more freely from me in the year ahead.

I pray you and your family have had a joy filled Christmas. If you haven’t , if you’ve struggled with grief and loss or just been frustrated with consumerism and our culture, I hope for greater peace for you in the days to come.

May God bless and keep you and shine His face upon you, and give you peace.

Being transformed….

Being transformed….

There is a trend I’m sure you’ve noticed the last week or so. People are posting pictures from ten years ago and comparing them to who they are today.  It makes sense given that we are about to enter a new decade. So, I jumped on that bandwagon as well, and I’ll share a few comparison pics at the end of this post.

For me, this past year is much different than ten years ago, yet oddly similar in the fact that life has been hard of late. The last few months have been a struggle for me, and frankly, for our family.  Tom’s job change and my working full time has taken a toll on my spirit.  Many days I fight inner battles to see all the good and positive blessings in my life instead of being dragged down by the ideas and illusions that life isn’t like I want it to be, and this has been an issue for me for many years in the past, but for a couple of recent years, I felt more on top of it than I have the last 8 months.

Here we are in the middle of our lives with unsettled careers and still challenged by our finances. I often see I’m still fighting the same old lifelong battles within myself, wondering when I’ll ever overcome those areas that hold me back. Yet, in reality, much has been defeated of the old me, the false self, and I live more authentically out of my true self than I ever imagined.

When I walk in truth, I see all the blessings and provisions in my life, in the life and individual lives of my little nuclear family.  The truth is that God is at work in me constantly and that I’m more aware of His presence on the daily than I was so many years ago.  I can even now recognize how His presence has been with me since I was very young, that back then I talked with Him all the time and that my current relationship with God has actually been growing since I was born.

In my heart of hearts, I can grasp that my current work is actually something I held as a desire for many years, in the back of my mind and when I would apply for jobs during my times of unemployment.  No, it isn’t what I envisioned for myself when I was in the midst of my Masters program, but it is God given and I believe it is a passsageway to whatever is next that will bring me closer to my purpose, my vocation, my calling.

Other areas of my life that remain a challenge can be summed up with my lifelong battle with discipline and sloth.  Do you know the actual meaning of sloth?  It means more than laziness [see this link – ]. Sloth is about choosing the easy, comfortable way, instead of making the difficult choices to do the hard work that Love (loving God, loving others, loving ourselves) requires.  Yet, “to whom much is given, much is required”, and I have been given so much of Love, and so much more than comfort is required of me.

I’ve asked God to move me through His Spirit to begin making more disciplined choices, to desire more to do the hard work of Love…..and to discern what this means for me, when I should say “yes” and when I should say “no”, knowing when I actually should act versus when I simply feel false guilt about something.  The areas where I lack discipline are obvious and not-so-obvious.  One is eating coupled with physical exertion, which would be the obvious area.  Another area has to do with surrendering my energy and time resources in trust that if I give myself away to help others that God will supply my needs for time, emotional, mental and physical energy.

My hope is that I will become more able to say yes to serving others when opportunities present themselves to do so, and that I will choose to give my “free” time in this way, instead of choosing whatever else is more comfortable to me, more relaxing, and so on.  I also hope to begin again to choose to exercise consistently and eat healthier, whereas the last 8 months have seen me eating comfort foods and avoiding the effort it takes to go to Planet Fitness.

As I write, I realize we are headed into Thanksgiving week, not New Years, and that what I’m writing seems more like a resolution post.  However, I see it more as an opportunity to begin reflections that lead me into the Advent season and on into a new decade that begins with Epiphany, with Light and Truth shed on my heart and life, starting this season of the year with a grateful heart and awareness of God’s provisions, God’s goodness, God’s gifts in my life.  This awareness is the springboard which then can point me more towards giving to others, at Christmas, yes, but even more so in the years ahead, allowing God to change me more, once again, continuing His transformation in my spirit, remaking me from the inside out.

(Romans 12:1-2  So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it.)