more best years yet to come


Hello Sunshine,

Tuesday again.  I decided to put Papa in charge of the smoke bomb and mentos explosion that are a part of chemistry today. :)  He will be home in a bit to do that with the boys. It’s a cooler fall day today, less sunshine, but my spirits were lifted by listening to the new Chris Tomlin Christmas album.  Love, love that song that he sang at the concert called “He Shall Reign.”  I’m not usually one to listen to Christmas music this early, but I actually think it could be a good way to prepare my heart for the season before the season takes over. :)  B and I turned it up loud on the way home from Mom’s Day out.

B had a good morning at Westwood, and it always feels good to have some extra time to focus on school work with the boys – especially J.  We are going to slow down with his history a bit, try to investigate, enjoy, and own it a little bit more instead of just checking the boxes.  Simon’s current poet for his readings is Robert Frost.  At lunch today we read about the two roads that diverged in the woods and giggled about Kid President’s rendition.  We’ve also discovered a new “mama favorite” by Frost about a little bird that goes south for the winter.  A bird. A distaste for winter.  Clever lines and rhymes.  Just perfect.  B likes it too.  Or maybe she just senses how happy it makes her mama to read it. :)

Hebrews continues to be a blessing.  Yesterday there was a little something in a few verses that stood out to me and felt like a sweet encouragement and reminder from my Abba.  My takeaway wasn’t necessarily the main theme of the passage or even of the verses, yet the Living Word makes His messages clear and personal to us as we meet with Him and soak in His truth each day.

Hebrews 9:12 says, “…he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever

9:28 says, He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.”

He has secured my redemption forever.  He is coming.  There is joy, celebration, complete fulfillment of salvation in my future.  He is the good thing ahead.  Lately I’ve been discouraged by thoughts that the best years are behind me.  Maybe it has something to do with turning 40.  Yes, lots of looking back these days and marveling about how good He’s been, but how can it be true that the best years are behind me if forever redemption and full salvation are in front of me?

I see His sweet faithfulness in the past, but He is also pouring out blessing today.  He will again tomorrow.  And into forever.  I can be sure of this – a forever redemption and a loving Savior who is coming again. There are more best years yet to come. :)

So how does He want me to live out this encouragement?  What would this look like in my life if I truly believed it?  Less (no) complaining.  No (half) jokes about getting old.  But instead holy expectation and anticipation.  He has something good for me, for my family, for my marriage today – and tomorrow.  No looking ahead with worry, sadness, or fear.  Maybe I need to practice saying outloud.  “God is going to be so good to us in the coming years” or “I am so excited about growing in intimacy with Jesus in the years ahead” or “Every day I’m walking toward Jesus – the best is yet to come!” :)

Well, I think I better end for now.  You are probably giggling at me by now anyway, “Oh, Mama, of course the best is yet to come.” :)

Hugs to you and I love you,


p.s.  Both the smoke bomb and the mentos explosion were “awesome” :)

living from the heart Jesus gives us


Hi Sunshine,

B and I had a sweet little visit to the Elkhorn library this afternoon.  She mostly just played on the children’s computer while I looked for books.  But it’s peaceful there – not very many people and I can easily watch her at the computer while I hunt for some books to take home.  I found two about bedtime that I read to her tonight.  One was especially popular so we read it twice. :)

It’s been a quiet evening here at home (minus the little noises from B who is still not asleep – silly girl). I probably should be doing something super productive like lesson plans or rearranging kitchen cupboards, but I’m not feeling very energetic.  My back is giving me a bit of trouble today.  Might need some ice.

I went on a run all by myself this morning.  Aren’t you proud?  My back was feeling stiff so I thought a run might loosen it up. (Hmmm? Didn’t work).  Grabbed some headphones and started listening to a book that I read a couple of years ago.  It’s called Your God is too Safe by Mark Buchanan.  He’s a Canadian pastor/writer that I first heard about through Ann.  Tried out John’s method of listening at double speed – I liked it. :)  I am excited to get into this book again.  Buchanan is a strong writer – poetic, storyteller, and gets right to the core of how things are, how we think.  I’ll try to share a bit more with you as I listen more.

Oh dear…it’s getting late.  My writing starts getting very S L O O O W when I get sleepy so I better end soon…

The verses I pondered today were from Hebrews 8.  The writer is quoting an Old Testament passage in which God declares that He is going to establish a new covenant with His people. “I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (Hebrews 8:10b)

Thankful that my relationship with God does not depend on my faithfully obeying His laws and walking in His ways.  I’ve got no power, ability, or gumption to obey my way to righteousness.  I need a better way (Hebrews 8:6 – But the ministry Jesus has received is superior to theirs as the  covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises”). 

A better way.  A new covenant.  He puts His laws in my mind and writes them on my heart.  Christ in me.

Feeling disappointed in myself for falling down or falling short is an old covenant way of thinking.    Trying to do enough, be enough.

New Covenant thinking means we can be straight up with God and confess our sin –  I can’t be enough.  I won’t be enough.  I messed up again – and then we can claim His promise to take ownership of our minds and hearts.

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12)

Asking Him to teach me (and you!) to live more and more from the heart Jesus gives us.

Love and hugs to you, my girl.


today’s gifts


My Sunshine Girl,

This note is going to be short and sweet.  Another full day here.  Papa left at 4:30 this morning for Lincoln and just arrived home at 9:45.

Giving thanks tonight for…

~ clean floors on the main level.  I think Thursday is my favorite chore day.  I know, I’m weird.

~ a long play for B in mama’s big bath tub, and I even let her get her hair wet.

~ leftovers for lunch

~ finding the boys reading in their room

~ how happy it makes my heart feel when I hear the special sound on my phone that means a message has arrived from you

~ protection over J during a meal out with grandpa – peanuts everywhere

~ teaching B to “play” Spot it, Racko, Bounce-off, and Shut the box. :)

~ J reading B her bedtime stories

~ another night of rest ahead

Thank you Jesus for these gifts.  Thank you for the incredible gift of knowing you, walking with  you.  Give my girl rest and refreshment tonight.  Fill her mind with truth and her heart with praise as she leans on you again tomorrow

Love you,


great confidence



Fun to get in a few messages with you this evening.  Seems like maybe you lost your wi-fi connection so I’ll send a few words this way for you to read later.

You know I like Wednesdays. :)  The boys off at choir for the afternoon and B napping.  A couple solid hours to putter and think and putter some more.  I arranged frames and books on the shelves around the fireplace.  It does make it feel more like home.  I put away some of the randomness in the laundry room and made some progress in the boys’ room too.  The things I didn’t do:  correct math papers or tidy the school room table (and I promised myself I wouldn’t let it look like this at the new house – oops)

Thanking Jesus for the sweet time He gave you this morning on prayer mountain and trusting Him to keep speaking to your heart.  Wishing tonight that I could hear more from you about that time.  As I’ve thought today about your hike and prayer time, I’ve been personally challenged to consider again what it means to live “on mission” here at home.  Wouldn’t it be wise and healthy for us to schedule some “hikes” of our own?   A dedicated time to get away and pray, to marvel at who He is and ask for more of Him, ask Him to accomplish His Kingdom purposes right around us here.  Yep.  We need to find a prayer mountain. :)

It’s getting late and my eyes are getting heavy.  This morning’s time in the Word seems like a very long time ago, but I’ll try to share a few thoughts.

Hebrews 6:18b in the New Living says, “Therefore [in the light of the fact that He has given us His sure promises], we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.”

Great confidence.  Those are the words that I meditated on today.

My Abba says that I can have great confidence.  Because of Jesus, I am a woman of great confidence. 

In my journal this morning I listed some of the promises that allow me to carry this title.

He has promised salvation, to fill me with His Spirit, to give wisdom, to guide me always, to be with me, to satisfy my needs, to make me hear His voice, to complete the work He started, to accomplish His purposes and fulfill His plans.  

Once there was indeed a reason to fear and a need for refuge.  But now.  Now that we’ve fled to our Father.  Now that Jesus has opened that way for us.  Now we are daughters of great confidence.

This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.  It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. (Hebrews 6:19)

Love and hugs to you,


a better way



Lots of science today.  L and J worked on about five different experiments.  I tried to be a little more hands off – making them read the directions over and over to get the supplies and steps just right.  It was fun (and messy) to watch them figure it out for themselves.  We had one flop but hopefully our crystals will grow and our smoke bomb will ignite.  I’ll be sure to update you next Tuesday. :)

B seemed to have a fun morning at Westwood.  She was full of stories for J at lunch time.  We are not sure which of the stories were true.  There was one about biting Mr. Carl that we certainly hope wasn’t true.  When I stopped her to question her about it, she looked at me without missing a beat and said, “It’s just a joke, mama.” :)

It made my heart happy to hear that you got out your photo book when you went out visiting in the village today. I remember how it felt hard to find common ground and something to talk about on those house visits.  I think that if I was going again, I might prepare a little more – maybe think of a list of questions I could ask that would invite them to tell me about themselves, their story, what makes them happy, what makes them sad.

Yesterday afternoon we got a call from the NCHS on call worker – a 2 year-old and an 8 month old.  I knew that I/we are not in a place to say yes to a placement right now, but a part of me still wondered if I should say yes.  Is yes obedience?  Or in this case was the no obedience?  It’s draining to me to be in a place of uncertainty regarding my “calling” in these days? Open our home to another child/children?  Focus more intently and contentedly on my current roles as mama, teacher, guidance counselor, ministry partner, and wife?  I’m just not sure.

I keep thinking about that quote that I read to you from A.W. Tozer.

“Most of us go through life praying a little, planning a little, jockeying for position, and always secretly afraid that we will miss the way.  This is a tragic waste of truth and never gives rest to the heart.  There is a better way.  It is to repudiate our own wisdom and take instead the infinite wisdom of God.  Our insistence upon seeing ahead is natural enough, but it is a real hindrance to our spiritual progress.  God has charge Himself with full responsibility of our eternal happiness and stands ready to take over the management of our lives the moment we turn in faith to Him.”

I can really relate to that “tragic waste of truth that never gives rest” and to being “secretly afraid that I will miss the way”  I want to “turn in faith to Him” and pray my questions and wonderings more instead of trying to reason through decisions.  I feel like I need to start asking more open-ended questions about how He wants to manage my life and then wait expectantly for Him to give wisdom.

Hugs to you tonight, my girl.  Thanks for being a safe place to share my day, thoughts, and heart.

Live loved and live beautiful.  You are. :)




My oldest is off on an adventure with Jesus.  My goal is to share a bit of news and encouragement with her each day.  Seemed like a good time to dust off the old blog.  Hello and hugs to any faithful friends who still happen by here.  You are loved – and by Jesus most of all.  

My dear Sunshine,

Bethy has already asked about you several times today.  I told her that you were taking vitamins to the kids in the DR who needed them and telling them stories about Jesus so that they could learn to love and trust Him.  She wanted to know if you were taking them the “squishy” vitamins. :)  She seems to get that you are “in the DR” but is a bit confused why you are not even sleeping here at night. :)

It’s warm here today.  We ran down to the park this morning.  B and I scrubbed the spiderwebs off the front porch (and then the pumpkins, the rocking chairs, and the rock path as well because the bucket of water and rag were just so much fun).  Papa is working from home and Simon is finishing up his TPS class.  Justin was just out riding his bike and just came in to tell me that the strangest thing is happening, “All these cars just started pulling up on our street.  All of the people are sitting in their cars looking at their phones.  Are they all going to a party and they’re lost?”  He forgot about the middle school kids getting out of school for the day. Oh J. :)

Hebrews blessed me again this morning as I meditated more on Jesus’ familiarity with the sin struggle.  It says he was tempted in every way, yet did not sin.  He knows sins’ pull.  He has fought the fight of faith – and He won.  And in my union with Him, He offers me His victory.  Those verses (Hebrews 4:14-16) also speak of coming to Him boldly when we feel weak, when there is a struggle to trust and to resist sin so that He can give us what we need most then – mercy and grace.

I was telling Mark and the boys at breakfast this morning that when I am struggling with a bad attitude or bitterness or irritability or some other “subtle” sin, I often think that what I need most is a kick in the pants.  I feel ashamed of being so “off” and think I need to “get it together” or try a little harder.  But the Word says that what I need and what I can boldly ask for is His mercy.

What is mercy?  J and I have been reading Tales of the Kingdom.  Remember that book?  Hero escapes to Great Park and there is the quirky but wise Caretaker and the kind old woman (who is really a young beautiful woman) named Mercie.  I got to thinking about what Mercie does in Great Park.  She attends to wounds.  She offers care and compassion.  She gives comfort, food, drink, security, and warmth.  She gently and lovingly meets the needs of the broken.

This. This is what Jesus wants to give me when I am struggling against sin.  Not a kick in the pants.  Mercy.

May the God of Mercy draw you close to Himself, Sunshine.  May you know His comfort and care meeting every need as you boldly ask Him to be your all and fill you up.  Our weakness doesn’t disappoint Him.  It opens the way for Him to pour out mercy.

Love you so much,


On the Gift List…


hide and seek before lunch

big sister is here and has the time to read library books for 10 minutes before nap time

out to breakfast with the almost 13 year-old, learning new things from him

a father who walked 30 minutes in the cold to see his daughter

falling asleep in the rocking chair together…every afternoon

read aloud time still attracts a crowd

games and sorbet and most every night is later than it should be but still sweet

he makes the bed almost everyday. just because. just for me.

the way winter and late February reveals my weakness and my need for Him

Friday again

spring will come