Waiting for Answers

I have seen God do some pretty amazing things this week–both in my life and in the lives of others. He is faithful! We so often assume that He’s not paying any attention to us because He isn’t doing exactly what we want Him to do at the exact moment we want Him to do it. The better I know Him, though, the more I realize that He sees a MUCH BIGGER picture than I do–the whole picture, in fact–and He knows what I need way better than I do.

I’ve been praying for a few things for YEARS–big things to my heart. The reminders I’ve gotten of His love and faithfulness this week have been encouraging as well as faith-building. He hears me. He will answer in His way and in His time.

Lord, please give me Your peace and patience in the waiting. And let me choose Your JOY even in heartache.

An Empty Room

My mom and stepdad are moving, and my little family and I recently went up to help.  We did all of the usual moving tasks–sorting, packing, hauling, loading, unloading.  It was all totally routine.  I was on an organizational mission, and we were quickly getting things checked off my list.

Until everyone left me alone.

My mom and stepdad are making this change for good reasons.  They are choosing to downsize–to simplify their lives.  After caring for 20 acres and a big house and huge barn for more than 25 years, they are relocating to less than an acre and a much smaller ranch-style house.  They have decided to move on their own terms instead of possibly being forced into moving some day due to circumstances beyond their control.  There is wisdom and freedom in their decision, and I am proud to see them move out of their comfort zone to realize their goals.  So many people live their lives, paralyzed by the fear of the unknown.  Change, especially in certain seasons of life, can be a scary thing.

Knowing all of this, and being one of their biggest cheerleaders along the way, I was completely caught off-guard by the waves of emotion that came over me last weekend.  As everyone left on various moving errands, I volunteered to stay behind to sort and pack in my old bedroom.  I came across so many memories of times in that house–all of which were good memories.  I remembered friends from high school spending the night,  prayerful preparation for mission trips, coming home on spring break from college to discover that my mom had hidden Easter eggs for me to find, doing my hair for my wedding, putting my sleeping firstborn in the pack ‘n’ play for her first overnight at Grammy’s, reading Popcorn and Basil Brush Gets a Medal to my little ones, just like my mom read to me.  Memory after happy memory overwhelmed me and I wept as I sorted through old photos and Christmas decorations, handmade cards from my kids and dusty softball trophies.  So many good times are associated with that house.

I am thankful for the season we have had in that house.  It has served our family well, and I will always remember it with fondness  However, the real focus of my affection will forever belong to the people who have loved within its walls.  We are in no way perfect.  We have our disagreements, our hurts, our insecurities and a maybe a few skeletons tucked away.  We have made mistakes like everyone else, and we have been sometimes slow to swallow our pride and to make amends.  But, we have loved each other.  Unfailingly.  Imperfectly.  Unconditionally.

The house is not what makes a home.  It is the people who live there.  I am so thankful for my mom and stepdad who have opened the doors of that house to me and to the people I love for decades.  They have made that house a place of rest, of laughter, of celebration and of peace for so many.  I pray that the young family that moves in experiences even more joy and love and security within its walls than we have.


As I carried out the last box, I took a look around my old room.  There was nothing left for me in it.  Everything I truly loved was moving on.  That room was just a symbol of something much more lasting than a house.  It was a symbol of the love I had experienced within its walls.



Dry as Dust

Our gardens are so dry.  In ten days’ time, they went from being washed out in places by torrential downpours to being dry, dry, dry as dust.  I’ve never seen conditions go from one extreme to the other so quickly.

Since we don’t have an ideal situation for drip irrigation, we are using what we affectionately call our Amish watering system–which pretty much equals the kids and me out watering the gardens by hand.  I am thankful for our Amish friend who could help me see the humor in this process by naming it something more interesting than “watering drudgery”.  He is the same friend who boasts to “English” folks that he and his wife have “six-and-one-half dozen children”.  After people pick their jaws up off the floor, he smiles and clarifies that he means six children plus half a dozen children–making twelve in all.  Certainly still a large family, but not quite so mind-boggling to the average joe.


Anyway, we have a significant advantage over most of my Amish friends; we don’t have to hitch up the mule to pull all of the water down to where our largest gardens are.  We get to load up our old truck instead.  We fill about 15 buckets and put the water out via watering cans.  When that truckload is gone, we drive up to the house and fill the buckets again.  It takes about 6 truckloads of water to really soak our two big gardens.  We tend to shoot for three truckloads a day and then take a break for a day.  Throughout the process, we pray for rain.  I think we need to be more specific in our prayers, though, because the rain keeps missing us.  My brother’s garden, however, is staying well-watered.  (He’s always been everyone’s favorite.)

Today is our day off, and part of me is happy about that.  We get to go visit some family in their new home and water ourselves in their swimming pool.  The other part of me is aware that the temperatures are supposed to get pretty high, which will make the water we put out yesterday even less effective.  I may wind up putting some out tonight when the sun begins to set–just to soften the heat of the afternoon.  I am so thankful for good health and strong bodies that make these tasks possible.  I am also thankful for a deep and generous well that has never run dry–even during the driest of summers.

So, if you think of us tonight just before sunset, please join us in giving thanks for these good gifts.  And, while you’re at it, we sure would appreciate your prayers for a soaking, nourishing rain this week.


Psalm 18

I read one of the neatest passages this morning. It encouraged me, and I hope it encourages you as well:

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.”

Feeling overwhelmed? Trapped? Closed in by life? Drowning in your own lousy choices?

God delights in you.

He DELIGHTS in you!

All you need to do is ask Him for help. The answer may not come exactly as you expect it, so be alert! Be patient! He WILL rescue you.

Asparagus Beetles

I love asparagus.  It is truly one of my favorite foods.  When we planted 75 roots a few years ago, I thought all of my future asparagus desires would be fully realized.  I was wrong.  We planted 50 more roots this spring.

Last year, I noticed these teeny tiny little black specks on our asparagus, and it occurred to me that they were the eggs of some kind of insect.  Yep.  No problem.  We just washed them off before we ate the stalks.  No big deal.

It didn’t occur to me to scrape the eggs off of the skinny stalks that we allowed to go to seed.

Our asparagus season began with serious damage done by those blasted asparagus beetles!  It is amazing to me that three relatively small insects can completely destroy a healthy stalk in less than 24 hours…and still have time to lay a few dozen eggs.  Ugh!  The good news is, that unlike cabbage worms and tomato worms, asparagus beetles are not at all camouflage.  They are easy to see and easy to kill.

Twice a day, I walk up and down my rows of asparagus, knocking dozens of beetles off of the stalk and into a cup of soapy water or smashing them between my fingers before scraping the eggs off each stalk.  Sounds fun, doesn’t it?  This is the reality of pesticide-free gardening, folks, and this is why you pay more for it.  Growers need compensated for the carnage.  Gardening can be a nasty business.

Between the beetles and a late freeze before which I neglected to harvest the stalks that were up, we’re a little light on asparagus around here.  It’s a sorrowful state, truly.

The way I see it, I have a choice here.  I can be mad about it or I can learn my lesson and move on.  I mean, I am the one who allowed the eggs to reach maturity instead of getting rid of them when I first noticed their presence.  And, I am the one who was too busy to take the time to cut the asparagus in case of freezing temperatures.  I can’t always control the bad things that happen around here, but I certainly can control the way I respond.

This makes me think of sin.  The devil plants negative thoughts in my mind.  Do I let them stay and grow into something destructive?  Life throws a variety of obstacles in my path.  Do I deal with the momentary inconvenience of handling them immediately or do I give them the opportunity to bring permanent, lasting damage?

I have a choice.  It is almost always easier to do the work up front than to shove it to the back burner to deal with later.  Just like asparagus beetle eggs appear relatively harmless in the beginning, so does the first sign of sin.  And, the Bible tells us that when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death.

Years ago, I heard a preacher say, “Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost far more than you’re willing to pay”.  Based on my life experiences, I can emphatically agree with that.  It will never get any easier to deal with the ugly in our lives than it is right now.


Roscoe Peeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Coltrane.


If that opening line does not make sense to you, you are much younger than me.  Or, you possibly opted for better things to do with your time than watching episodes of “Dukes of Hazard”.

Regardless, this handsome bird has earned his name.  He’s a bit of a bumbler.  He’s making an appearance of doing what he was made to do, but the hens are a little too bossy for his mamby-pamby personality.  Roscoe’s mostly bluff.

I mooched him off of a neighbor with the hope of fulfilling the heart’s desire of a couple of broody hens.  Well, once we started leaving the hopefully-fertilized eggs under the nesting hens, they decided they had better things to do–like leave their eggs unattended for hours while they scratched around in the pasture.  Fortunately for them, Roscoe’s not so proficient at fertilizing.  There are only a couple of hens that have warmed to his advances.  The rest have warmed to taking him down a peg or two.

Poor, hen-pecked Roscoe.

The good news is that Roscoe is young and will probably learn his way around the coop.  More good news is that he has yet to fly at any people in an attempt to gouge out their eyes with his beak and spurs.  Plus, he’s pretty to look at.

We’ll keep him around for a while to see if he will step up to the plate and do what he was created to do.  If not, he’ll go really well with some dumplin’s this fall.  As I told him this morning, “Roscoe, we all have a choice.  We either choose to do what we’re created to do or we chicken out and take what appears to be the easy road.  Between you and me, my feathered friend, the easy road ain’t always what it’s cracked up to be.”

Family Night


I am married to a Marriage and Family Therapist.  Believe me, this has its drawbacks.  For one thing, he is almost always right.  This can be…unsettling…if I ever wanted him to bow to my unreasonable demands.  Fortunately, I don’t make unreasonable demands.

The other problem comes in that he knows the futility of arguing, and sometimes I just want to indulge in a good argument!  Selfish, really, that he won’t oblige me in this.

Other than that, though, the Counselor’s knowledge and passion for healthy families mostly comes in handy.  For instance, we are currently living with three teenagers.  In spite of the natural trials borne out of this season of life, these young people are relatively well-adjusted, highly capable and mostly pleasant (probably because they’ve grown up with free counseling).  The perspective of a godly man who has worked with people in resolving personal crises–as well as worked through a few crises of his own–is beneficial.

Fairly early in our parenting, Counselor Dave and I determined that we would guard our time together as a family.  We would control our schedules and not allow our schedules to control us.  Over the years, this has required us to make a number of healthy, family-building decisions, some much easier to make than others.   One of the fun, easy decisions we made, following Dave’s lead, was to institute a Family Night.

Initially, we prompted each child, then ages two, four and seven, to suggest a few outdoor and a few indoor things that they really liked to do here at home.  Their suggestions included things like building with Lincoln Logs, watching a family-friendly movie, playing Blind Man’s Bluff and baking cookies.  Dave and I added our own suggestions, and we put all of the ideas into a jar to be drawn out for Sunday Family Nights.

Now that the kids are older, we rotate through the family, each person getting to choose weather-appropriate activities for their turn.  I usually prepare a fun, informal supper, like nachos, burgers or tacos and we quit whatever projects we’re working on by about 5:30 each Sunday evening.  It is a rare exception that we are on the computer or even take a phone call or return a text once Family Night begins.  If a Family Night falls on Mother’s Day or a birthday, then the honored person gets to choose the activity–or sometimes everyone else chooses an extra-special activity for the honored person.

I confess that not everyone is always thrilled with the chosen activity for the night (including myself).  There have been driveway face-plants from bike rides, split lips from Pickle, complaints about Croquet, unending games of Monopoly, cries of “Not fair!” when Daddy vetoes a movie option in favor of an outdoor activity when the weather is nice.  Our Family Nights have not created a perfect family; however, they have created opportunity for intentional time together to build relationships.  Families are the foundation of every society.  If our society is broken, we are reaping the consequences of our families being broken.

Whatever you choose to do this Mother’s Day weekend, I encourage you to make it a family-building activity.  Invest in the people you love.  Guard your time.  Put away your phone.  Plug in to one another.  You may not have family in the area, and you may not have children, but you still have people around you that can be blessed by what you have to offer.  Maybe you know of a broken family that could use a little building.  Maybe now is the time to reach out.