Advent 2017: Wrong Oft So Strong

For the Advent Week of Hope…

advent 2017 hopeful sunset

I sat and listened to their stories. The ones where relationships were broken and families hurt and bodies just struggled to heal.

It just seems hard and unfair.

I opened up the news and it was overwhelming. People being crushed by words and war, whole stories not being told and those in influential positions unwilling to listen.

When the world is hurting, we begin to hurt.

Every generation has faced its own dark night. War, politics, nature, economy…they are often broken systems run by broken people and when both the people and systems are struggling, hope is not what we feel.

And then I sit, with my toddlers, exploring crayons and paper and trying to keep the two together and not all over the table and wall.

I see it, in the midst of a hurting world there is always hope. There is joy in small things undiscovered, experiences not yet had, personalities not yet known.

And these words float through the air and HOPE seems accessible all over again…

Oh, let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.


This Is My Father’s World

  1. This is my Father’s world,
    And to my list’ning ears
    All nature sings, and round me rings
    The music of the spheres.
    This is my Father’s world:
    I rest me in the thought
    Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas—
    His hand the wonders wrought.
  2. This is my Father’s world:
    The birds their carols raise,
    The morning light, the lily white,
    Declare their Maker’s praise.
    This is my Father’s world:
    He shines in all that’s fair;
    In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,
    He speaks to me everywhere.
  3. This is my Father’s world:
    Oh, let me ne’er forget
    That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
    God is the ruler yet.
    This is my Father’s world,
    The battle is not done:
    Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
    And earth and Heav’n be one.



WDIDT: Couch Surfing #Write31Days

#Write31Days. 1 Topic, 31 Days, Lots of Thoughts.  This year I am reflecting on one small moment a day and why it mattered (or didn’t!). What did I do today?


After a lovely morning at church and a relaxing lunch the little kids were off to bed and just my 7 year old and I were up.

A lot of time I use Sunday afternoons for “catch up”. Laundry, a project around the house or prepping for the work week ahead.

Today, I looked around and what really needed tending to was my daughter.

Lately, she and I have been talking about communication. Specifically, how we tell those that love us that we need a little bit more love. I wanted to remind her before she asked.

So, we got on our comfy clothes, cuddled upon the couch and turned on “Treehouse Masters”.

Besides being amazing to watch, it was fun to watch different families build different treehouses for different reasons.

That’s what I feel like her and I have been doing lately. I’ve been seeing her more for who she is, what kind of person she wants to be and why she wants be that.

She is a different girl with a different dream for different reasons. I want to love that girl.

As I sat there with my daughter I was really glad that this is how we were spending our day. Dreaming, cuddling and couch surfing.

How did you connect with someone today?

WDIDT: Re-group #Write31Days

#Write31Days. 1 Topic, 31 Days, Lots of Thoughts.  This year I am reflecting on one small moment a day and why it mattered (or didn’t!). What did I do today?


I like lists. Lists are how I think through things. Everything from our family schedule to brainstorming for work to creating notes for a lesson. Lists are where it all begins.

Last week when I was making my list it looked something like this between last Friday and this Friday:

That is A LOT to do!

In between there we also had the usual meals, laundry, school and actual work outside of work meetings.

Today: I re-grouped.

It is hard to leave a commitment behind. No one is holding my feet over the fire to write this month, there is no reward for completing all 31 Days, I do not think less of myself if I don’t do it perfectly.

Yet, here I am. This is what re-grouping looks like.

Re-grouping looks like choosing the MOST important things and doing those FIRST!  

We had SO MUCH FUN with my cousin and her family, I wish we would have had more time. This was the FIRST time I have been on any of the kids field trips (usually my husband likes to go) and I LOVED being with my sweet girl. I have NEVER preached at my church before and it was worth the time and energy to prepare and do it well. It is such a GIFT to be able to support our school and have fun together as a FAMILY.

As you plan your weekend and next week, what is the MOST important thing? Are you making time to do that FIRST?

Can I encourage you to make a list and then, re-group? It may just change the way you love someone.

WDIDT: Car Care #Write31Days

#Write31Days. 1 Topic, 31 Days, Lots of Thoughts.  This year I am reflecting on one small moment a day and why it mattered (or didn’t!). What did I do today?


Get excited. Today, I took my car for an oil change and tire alignment!  I know right, SO EXCITING!

But really, there are so many every day, life things that we just do because they have to be done. Today was one of those days.

When I was thinking about the whole experience I was struck by how much even the small every day things can have an impact:

    • I walked home from dropping off the car and walked back to pick it up. Look! Exercise!
    • I listed to a podcast on my walk to pick it up, part of some sermon prep I’m working on. Look! Productivity!
    • I enjoyed talking to the mechanic who was thrilled at my excited response to the final cost of work. Look! Supporting local business! Encouraging a business owner! Community!
    • Our van is in good shape. Look! Safety for the whole family!

I guess what I am trying to say is that the every day things may have just as much purpose as the once in awhile things. Stop, look, see the impact in the small things.

What did you do today that seemed everyday but made an impact?


In January I’ve decided to share some thoughts on time…check back and enjoy.


I said to my husband today “I understand why our physical bodies begin to atrophy when we stop moving. When you stop it is just easier to stay put then it is to get up and go.”

Over the last month I’ve had to slow waaaaayyyy down. As we expect our 5th baby my body just isn’t as young or cooperative as it was when we had our 1st baby almost 9 years ago. (Yeah, I commuted on a city train and worked until I was 41 weeks 4 days with that first baby…)

The first couple weeks were so irritating. I wanted to go, go, go even though my body (and my Dr.) said that wasn’t a good idea.

As I have fallen into a slower pattern I have found it harder and harder to go and easier and easier to roll back over and just fall back asleep.

But I don’t want to atrophy.

I don’t want my body to freeze up. It is going to need to be strong to deliver this baby.

I don’t want my mind to go numb. It needs to be sharp to be the mama leader my kids need and the wife love my husband needs.

I don’t want my soul to settle into discontent. It is not the calling of the soul to discontentment but to hope.

And so I sit and I think about Charles Dickens…”It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…” (A Tale of Two Cities)

And I sit and ponder Ecclesiastes 3…

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

So I will not atrophy. Instead I will ponder time and seasons. I will reflect on what is, what was and what is to come.

My friend Bridget talked about her “one word” this year. And while I am not sure my one word is time I think my biggest lesson might be…

Thanksgiving: The Guy

This week I’ll be sharing with you a few short stories of things I am thankful for and why…today, The Guy aka My Husband aka Steve.

Yep, that’s him. That’s that guy that gave me the silent treatment when he asked me about kids and I said no thanks. The one who married me anyway. The one who simultaneously went to school full time and also managed to be a great stay at home dad. The one who cooks, helps with laundry and has even managed to talk my 6 year old girly girl into liking football.

There’s something about him. I mean there must be to be 10 years, 4.5 kids and 2 cities into this thing.


Thanksgiving brings it all out. As of this writing we are hosting his family for Thanksgiving…and moving 3 days later.

Why? Well, it’s Thanksgiving!

I didn’t marry a guy who is super handy or a CEO or extremely wealthy.

I married a guy who lives best when he serves well. Who uses his gift and passion for food to love people. Who is not slowed down by whatever else is happening but insists that if there is an event where people want to gather around a table he will let them gather around his table.

In our home family dinner is an event, the kids look forward to it every day he is home.

In our marriage every major milestone, celebration and hard conversation can be marked by a table we sat around, just the two of us.

In our community our best friends are the ones who have sat through simple sandwiches and four course meals around our less than brand new kitchen table because he invited them there.

The thing is, that in the end (while amazingly delicious!) it isn’t about the food. It is about the heart of the guy behind the food.

The guy that sees the simple need for food as more than a meal but a calling. A place to remind people that they are loved. A place to encourage people to relax and laugh a little. A place to engage the little people in our lives over soulful conversation.

This guy will work on our Thanksgiving meal for 2 days, will serve it with excitement and will share it with love.

Today, I am thankful for him.

Thanksgiving: Motherhood

This week I’ll be sharing with you a few short stories of things I am thankful for and why…today, Motherhood.


You know those girls you grew up with. The ones that were just naturally maternal. When you planned your imaginary grown up life they had get married, have kids, be a mom on the top of their list.

Yeah, I was not that girl, ever.

It’s okay, you can laugh. For those of you that don’t know me I have 4 kids and am expecting…it is a *little* funny…

It was shocking that my sweet husband and I ever got married. We were in the car once when we were dating and he asked me about kids and I said bluntly “I don’t know if I ever want kids.” He didn’t say a word, turned up the music and gave me the silent treatment.

He married me anyway.

10 months after our wedding I stood, hot tears streaming down my face, positive pregnancy test in hand. He grinned from ear to ear, and really, he’s never stopped.

I didn’t choose motherhood, motherhood chose me. And, I haven’t always liked it.

In the beginning I wasn’t “good” at being a mom. It was so much emotional energy. I wanted to work and eat out and have a flexible schedule, it wasn’t exactly easy working and nursing and being home at a reasonable hour so everyone could rest.

As if this hard wasn’t enough BOOM, baby #2 was coming and at 7 months pregnant I lost my full time job. With my husband having just accepted a new full time job we decided I would “take some time off” and “stay home with the kids” and “enjoy the baby” for awhile.

I’ve never really gone back to my full time, live to work life, ever. And, I am so thankful I haven’t.

Somewhere after Baby #2 my heart began to change. I was the same me. I still wasn’t “good” at the emotional side of motherhood, I still dreamed about working full time, fine dining and just one weekend without a schedule but something was different.

I was still me but maybe version 2.0.

Version 2.0 of me looked the same, sounded the same, was just as driven and still full of energy. She was just a little more compassionate. A bit more emotionally brave. A lot more tired. And, a lot more of who she was meant to be.

I’m not a great cook (although my husband says I make great reservations!), I’m an okay homemaker (okay, not really, but I have friends that help me pretend to be) and I am still learning about the emotional side of motherhood (I can help my kids with robotics but can I teach them the meaning of unconditional love).

BUT, I have learned about love. And grace. And joy. And calling.

Love is so much more than a feeling and is intricately woven into our words and thoughts and actions and gifts.

Grace is so much more than forgiveness and embraces the impossible and unconditional sides of love.

Joy is more than fun but instead a gut punching side glance from a mischievous 3 year old that reminds you that she knows she’s loved.

Calling is irrevocable. The independent, strong-willed, leader, pursuer, teacher and dreamer in me were always meant to be. Motherhood has shown me that I am who I am and it is GOOD, regardless of what people see me as.

We all arrive at Motherhood differently, this is how I arrived here. The path has not been easy or gentle on my soul but now, my soul is easy and oh so gentle on others as they tread their own motherhood paths.

Today I am thankful for Motherhood.