Holding On, Letting Go, and Doing the Work of Loving Your Empty Nest

Empty Nest: Discover God's Best for Your Next

The number of plates on my dining room table had been a constant so dependable that I could set the table on auto-pilot. Often the number would swell to account for guests or shrink when one of us was visiting elsewhere. However, the ebb and flow always had a fixed point of return–until it didn’t.… Continue reading Holding On, Letting Go, and Doing the Work of Loving Your Empty Nest

Ash Wednesday in the Parenting Pressure Cooker

Reclaiming Ash Wednesday for Christ

Strict practitioners would not have approved of my methods, but on one long ago mid-winter Wednesday, I smeared ashes on the foreheads of my two preschoolers and myself. An offering of the hardwood that had heated our home the day before, these ashes were not “ceremonially correct” in any way. At the time, I did… Continue reading Ash Wednesday in the Parenting Pressure Cooker

A Powerful Love Story Based on Strong Promises

A powerful love story based on strong promises

Sunday Scripture About thirty years ago, a handsome young man in a tux stood before me and recited loving words of commitment that began like this: “Michele, joining my life with yours in the covenant of marriage . . .” And so our love story began with strong promises about loving and listening, faithfulness and… Continue reading A Powerful Love Story Based on Strong Promises

The Secret of Slow for Mums in a Hurry

“We are here to abet creation And to witness it..., So that Creation need not play to an empty house.”

“Do you always read to your kids like that?” she queried. My friend was referring to my rendition of a Dr. Seuss classic delivered at tongue-twister speed from a rocking chair in the church nursery. “Just Dr. Seuss,” I replied. “It’s funnier if you read it fast.” She grinned and raised an eyebrow. “You do… Continue reading The Secret of Slow for Mums in a Hurry

Receive the Gift of Your Life as an Adventure from God

Pursuing a God-sized dream is about following the One who makes the sun rise every day and never tires of it.

“Again!” he demanded with a giggle, his eyes sparkling with joy and anticipation. And so we did it. We read the book again . . . and again. My grandson doesn’t look for thrills in the new and different. He finds his greatest joy in more and more of what he knows and loves. The truth is,… Continue reading Receive the Gift of Your Life as an Adventure from God

Gratitude: Look at the Loss and then Give Thanks

When we gather for our imperfect celebrations, our only hope for joy is to look at our loss and then to give thanks.

Thirty years ago, I married into a family that celebrated Thanksgiving Day with All-American fervor, featuring a day-long gathering and a loaded table. As the new bride, I was eager to prove that I had what it took to be the holiday hostess. Having done my research, I had planned all the best sides, multiple-choice… Continue reading Gratitude: Look at the Loss and then Give Thanks

What Will You Do with Yourself? (And Other Questions of the Emptying Nest)

Today, the questions from all the seasons of my mothering life meet and dance in a circle around this emptying nest.

Site plans and scholarship applications litter my dining room table these days, and the talk around dinner is all about the future. Life as I know it is about to undergo a drastic change here on this country hill. Having homeschooled a brood of four sons for the past twenty-one years, I’ve seen our story… Continue reading What Will You Do with Yourself? (And Other Questions of the Emptying Nest)

To the Woman Who Feels Crowded by Christmas

Christ’s willingness to hunker down, wizen up, and enter the darkness opens the door to his light and his life being formed in you and me.

We are covered to the elbows in red and green paint, but the festive wrapping paper stretched out to dry on the table before us more than justifies the mess. The toddler points to his distinctively tiny handprints and smiles his satisfaction, as his older brothers start wondering aloud about cocoa with candy cane stirrers.… Continue reading To the Woman Who Feels Crowded by Christmas

The Humility of the Given Self

“The best way to find out whether or not you really have a servant’s heart is to see what your reaction is when somebody treats you like one.”

I pushed the damp mop across the kitchen floor, knowing full well that I would be finding sticky spots on cupboard doors and drawer handles for days to come. The transformation of a bushel and a half of apples into smooth, pink applesauce is the work of a couple hours on my own. However, with… Continue reading The Humility of the Given Self

Concerning the Times and the Seasons: Autumn 2019

What verbs have defined your days of autumn in 2019? There's always something happening in this busy life under the sun, even if it's only talking or thinking--a couple of seriously under-rated verbs, in my opinion. Here at the end of November, I'm looking forward to celebrating around gratitude and pumpkin pie while taking one… Continue reading Concerning the Times and the Seasons: Autumn 2019