Category Archives: Life

Whatever’s left after I give to God and my family.

This is Us….Really

This_is_usThe television show This is Us played after the Super Bowl last night.  A night we’ve all been waiting for.  Not the Super Bowl, but the show. Spoiler alert: Jack died. We knew he would, but we just didn’t know exactly how.  (Isn’t that true to life…we will all die, we just don’t know when or how.) I don’t usually stay up past eleven, but for this show, I had to.  I actually wanted to get it over with.  These teenagers were about to lose their father and I wanted to get it over with. As you may have seen, a young, vibrant, healthy father died of a widow maker heart attack. Sometimes these things happen.  I know, because it happened to me.

I was 16 when my father died of a heart attack and the show This is Us portrayed the gamut of emotions that those teens faced pretty true to life. I’ve wondered about my last words spoken, I’ve mourned my father not knowing my husband, and I’ve talked to a tree to tell my father my troubles. Yep, I’ve done it all and though those characters were fictional last night, the pain they emoted is real for many. I cried along with them….but not as much as I expected I would. I’ve relived the moments that I shared with them and I’m sure I’ll relive more as next week’s episode promises funeral scenes, but I didn’t actually relate as well with them as I expected. You see, their grief is new & raw, mine has been with me for 38 years. Time really does heal, but it never erases. I found myself watching the show and then comforting myself that the “Jack” character wasn’t really gone, he’ll be reappearing in flashbacks for months. In real life, that is not the case, or is it? Actually, the thing I remember most about the night my dad died was not wanting to close my eyes because when I did, I was afraid that I wouldn’t remember what he looked like. What if he vanished from my mind and my memory? How can I preserve the images?  Well, Kate (the daughter on the show), even if you lose that videotape of him, he will remain. My dad was only a part of my life for 16 years but he, too, reappears in flashback scenes. A saying he used, a smirk, even someone jumping to the front of the line at the grocery store will make me think of him. I didn’t forget, I won’t forget, so that fear is gone. Thank God.

This is Us.  This is many of us. This is some of us, yet to come. I don’t know exactly how Kate, Kevin, and Randall are going to cope with it, but I now know how I did. I can do all things through him who gives me strength. –Philippians 4:13 

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.        –2 Corinthians 12:9



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Daily Bears Our Burdens

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Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,

who daily bears our burdens.

— Psalm 68:19

I know that praise means to express warm approval or admiration of, I know bears means to carry or support and we all know what burdens are and indeed we have them daily so it’s good news to hear that the Lord is daily bearing them. But, what does it look like for Him when He hangs out with me?

In this week alone, my burdens have looked like a washer full of bubble gum, a trip to the ER, making dinner, preparing notes for a meeting, disciplining children, laundry, a sick cat, sixth-grade homework, chauffeuring to scouts, administrative paperwork, and making plans for a bathroom remodel. The Lord bore all of that!

When I wanted to take a look at my daily burdens, I consulted my to-do list.  As I looked at the items I crossed off, I immediately felt blessed that with the Lord’s help, I accomplished many of them. I also felt blessed when I looked at each item and tried to determine if it truly was a “burden” and realized that most of them weren’t. My list included:

  • Prepare Sunday School Opening Lesson
  • Email Pastor Joe
  • Write Katelyn
  • Write Martha
  • Send books to Diane
  • Make Ice Cream cake
  • Virginia Christmas plans

It also included some pesky paperwork items, but when I looked at the items individually and tried to decide if, in fact, my to-do list represented my daily burdens, I realized that wasn’t the case. Most of what I do each day isn’t a burden, it’s an honor, it’s an opportunity, it’s a blessing. I recognize that I unintentionally turn some of my blessings into burdens by listing them as “tasks” to do when in reality they are incredible gifts and opportunities.  Writing to a friend in the service, sharing an enjoyed book, making a cake for a celebration and studying God’s word for a lesson are all incredible opportunities for me! The burden is not the task, it’s in the heart of the one who does it, my perspective of it. Is it a chore or a gift?

I think I need to be more aware of this new insight and celebrate those blessings and cling to the truth that God is available to help me daily bear my burdens. Thank God, HE is here to help me clean the kitchen


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It’s Fall!

IMG_6197I just got this wave of excitement.  I’m all of a sudden really excited about something.  And, the fun part is that I don’t even know what it is.  The sun is shining and the colorful leaves are falling from the trees onto the green grass. My husband headed out to the church to help pare apples for the apple butter making tomorrow. I have some camouflage clothes hanging on the line for his outing into the woods tomorrow. I have a cinnamon candle burning. I’m thinking of baking some cookies…maybe pumpkin shaped or pumpkin flavored for the Children’s Pumpkinfest in a couple of weeks. I look at the calendar and see that my son and my mom’s birthday are approaching.  There is so much activity, so much fun. I’m excited because…’s fall!

Yesterday, I was sharing something with a friend and I said, “things have been good all fall.”  She reminded me that fall has only been in for less than a week.  I usually designate the first day of school as the first day of fall. But, in reality, fall began last week and today feels like fall and fall feels like fun!  Enjoy your day!


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A Dictionary, My Date Book, The Bible & The Yellow Pages

IMG_1661A dictionary, my date book, the Bible, the Yellow Pages,…..Things that no one uses? Things that are obsolete? Things that we don’t need? Things that have been replaced by smart phones?

Seriously, today I looked up a word in the dictionary. I still do this often, maybe once or twice a week. I still find the dictionary amazing, full of so many words with the meanings right beside them! Oftentimes when I read a word in a book, I guess at its meaning and move onto the rest of the sentence, but a dictionary….aaaaah….there is no mystery, the meaning is right there. Amazing.

The Bible. Also another book I use often. I read it daily and there are many words I do not know in it and frequently I go to the dictionary for help. The dictionary aids me some and can define words, but the true mystery of the meaning may not become evident to me immediately. Actually, for the true meaning, I have to consult the author and not the dictionary.

I mentioned my date book, and the yellow pages too.  Books that my millennial children see of no value whatsoever.  They have apps for all of that! They also could or may have apps for the dictionary and Bible too, so all of these books can be removed from your bookshelf and put onto your phone and placed in the palm of your hand.  Could using them be made any easier? And yet, it seems that the ease and accessibility have not made most people read the Bible more.

I think it comes down to making reading your Bible an intentional daily act. Whether you grab a cup of tea and your leather bound bible off the shelf or if you have your phone sound a daily alarm to alert you to follow your daily reading plan (yes it will even do that for you,) you must be intentional.

You may have heard the story about if we treated our Bibles like our cell phones how much better the world would be…I will share it below…but I bet if you held your Bible in your hand all day, you’d eventually open it and read.

The dictionary, my Bible, my date book and the Yellow Pages – Things I value and refer to often, (except for the Yellow Pages….who needs it?)

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Attitude is Everything


I’m sitting in my car in the empty cinema parking lot enjoying the morning.  Crazy right?  The radio announcers were talking about the oppressive heat today and I know it’s early and I may complain later but right now…it is well with my soul.  I have the windows down, the breeze is blowing, I’m in the shade of one of the five trees in this parking lot next to a concrete island filled with mulch.  A paradise? No. A parking lot? Yes. I wonder why it is that we can sometimes find contentment and joy in a parking lot when other times we can’t find it in a celebration or typical happy place? We can spend a ton of money to travel to a destination to not feel as I do right now. I’ve done it. At one time, I made my family matching T-shirts that said AIE – Attitude is Everything and I believe that’s true, but I also think expectations may be even more important than attitude.  There’s a joke I’ve seen that says “Happiness is found lowering your expectations…lower….lower than that….even lower…ok, right there is good.”  Laugh, but recognize the truth. We may all be happier if we lower our expectations.  When I dropped my daughter off at music lessons for two hours and decided to pull into this parking lot, did I expect it to be this haven? This place of peace with birdsong filling the air? I did not and yet that’s what I got. A beautiful morning and a beautiful place to sit and read. Attitude IS everything and I feel blessed.decorative-line-clipart-clipart-panda-free-clipart-images-ezxo3g-clipart

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.
–Psalm 29:11

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Stuffing Balls – A Recipe

recipe-575434_960_720We are about to enter our final summer holiday weekend at our River House.  School is back in session and the days of boating and swimming are soon going to be in our past, but we have one weekend left to enjoy.  We also have one more weekend this summer to return home at weekend’s end with a car full of buns.  The “too many buns saga” continues.  Everyone brings buns and yet, no one chooses to eat them.  I’ve shared my recipe for French Toast Casserole before and now I’d like to share my Aunt Martha’s Stuffing Ball recipe.  Another great use for leftover bread and buns!


1/4 C Butter

1/4 C Chopped Onions

1 C Chopped Celery

Saute butter, onion and celery until soft.  Beat one egg. Add 1/2 can of Cream of Chicken soup, 1/2 C Water, Salt and Pepper and add to above mixture.  Pour mixture over 8-10 C of bread cubes (or ripped up pieces of buns!) Form Balls.  (Makes about 20 balls.)  Put in 9×13 Casserole dish.  Mix 1/2 Can Cream of Chicken soup and 1/4 C melted butter.  Pour over stuffing balls.  Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.

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The Sound of Sweet Music


I retreated upstairs after dinner to do some reading.  It was so nice to have time to just relax.  The sound of beautiful music drifted from the living room as Kaylee played her instrument.  Not the violin that she has been practicing for a few years and not even the piano which she also takes lessons for.  Today I am listening to the sweet sound of the first day with her new clarinet.

Yes, today we rented a clarinet for her to learn to play.  She brought it home, assembled it and began to play.  She was immediately able to make music with it. (Sing a long with me to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb.)  “E, D, C, D, Squeak, squeak, squeak, D, D, Screech, E, Squawk, Squeal,” you get the idea. After that imagine Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, Hot Cross Buns and some other early band favorites in a similar fashion.

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Though the technique is a bit lacking, I wasn’t being sarcastic when I said that I was relaxing listening to the sound of beautiful music.  What is beautiful about this music?  It is made by her.  What is also beautiful about this music? It is original.  It is not recorded and it is not being played on an electronic device.  This sound is music to my ears because it is not the sound of silence I hear when she is plugged into her iPod.  Her face is buried in a music book and not glued to a screen.  There is no music sweeter than that and I am grateful.

You may remember, though, that I did say that I retreated upstairs, the door is shut and maybe tomorrow I’ll even recommend she practice outside….just to get some fresh air, of course.


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