Editorial Note: As your read this, please understand I am making statements that I’ve found to be true in my experience. I do not propose to prove these statements, but instead to stimulate thought.

Life is full of questions… Perhaps at no other time in life are we more filled with questions than when difficulties find us.

I recently wrote about the New Chapters of life that we all inevitably encounter, sometimes through our choices and sometimes through what life seems to throw at us. Often, there are multiple things that seem to come at us during some particular season of life.

These times of life usually seem to provide us with challenges for which we simply weren’t prepared.

It is during these seasons that most people begin asking questions.

  • Why is this happening to me?
  • Why is <he/she/they> doing this?
  • Does anyone actually care?
  • Why would a loving God allow this to happen?

The questions themselves vary as widely as the circumstances that create these “storms” of life.

Most of these questions have no great or obvious answer. But over time, the questions themselves tend to evolve. From the question “why would a loving God allow this to happen”, in the absence of any real answers, the question becomes “is God really loving?” or even “is there even a God at all?”

By the time you’re asking these questions, most people have a default answer of “no, God isn’t really loving” or “no, there must not really be a God at all”.


How do you console a friend or loved one who is at this point in life? When someone is at this point of asking very fundamental life questions, how do you go about that conversation?

Most of us tend to just give what we believe is “the right answer”. Or at least it’s “the answer” we’re happy with.

  • Tomorrow will be a better day.
  • Don’t worry about what <he/she/they> think or say.
  • Yes, I care about you.
  • Bad things happen to all of us.
  • Of course there’s a God, and He is loving.
  • or, Of course there’s no God. (depending on our particular pursuasion)

The problem is that when someone is genuinely asking these basic questions about life, they are looking for genuine, thoughtful answers.

Disingenuous Answers…

I can remember when my kids were 3 to 5 years old, and they entered the “why” phase. I understood this was the process by which they were learning, and so this was the opportunity they were giving me to teach them. So, I tried to give them genuine, age-appropriate answers. Of course, the questions continued. And at some point in time, I would get tired of thinking so hard to give them real answers, and I’d try to just satisfy their question without giving a real answer.

Guess what? Somehow they knew I wasn’t really telling them a genuine answer. This would frustrate them, until I decided to once again engage their question for real.

Disingenuous answers are one thing when your kids are drilling you with “Why” questions for hours. But, when someone is struggling with life and they are at a crossroads, disingenuous answers tell them more than you realize:

  • I actually don’t care enough to engage your question.
  • There is no real answer I can think of, so maybe you’re right; maybe there really is no God.

I realize I’m making this sound like a very quick process, but in reality, there will be a long timeline of questioning and being repeatedly frustrated by either disingenuous answers or no answer at all.

This tends to form a pattern over time, and eventually, people become cynical and give up on these questions, concluding the most pessimistic answer is the answer.

Taking People Seriously

Many years ago, I had a friend who was a volunteer answering phones for a suicide hotline. And, he related to me some training exercises that were used to demonstrate to the volunteers how to help someone who is at that point.

He said, they had a beam there, and it was such that they could lift it up in the air. And, they would blindfold a volunteer, and then walk them up on the beam, and then tell them it was being lifted up to 6 feet in the air. In reality, it was 6 inches off the ground, but the blindfolded volunteer had no idea.

And so the blindfolded volunteer was scared they were going to fall, and the other people (who could see what was happening) were told to offer them comfort as if the beam really was 6 feet off the ground.

Saying, “it’s only 6 inches off the ground” doesn’t really help someone who fully believes it’s 6 feet.

This is a basic principle of communication, one that most of us find incredibly difficult. We need to engage the actual questions people are asking, taking seriously their concerns or fears even if we have in our minds come to the conclusion these concerns or fears are unfounded or unimportant.

In my experience, most people simply don’t want to engage questions they don’t struggle with themselves. Most people simply dismiss these questions because they’ve already concluded the answer is obvious or, worse, unimportant.

Taking Questions Seriously

So far, I’ve been looking at people asking questions because of some difficult life event (through their choices or not), but actually this problem does not begin with a difficult life event.

It is during adolescence and through teen years that most young people begin questioning things they’ve been taught. This can be because their parents routinely used phrases like “because I told you so”, or it can be because they are being confronted by other young people with questions they have never seriously considered.

When a child is very young, if they want to know “why” this or that, you can give them a reason, and without fully working through that answer, they often accept that as a valid answer simply because they trust you. Assuming you are answering out of loving concern for them, there isn’t really anything wrong with this.

But later, as they grow up, they will be confronted with difficult questions, and at some point, they will ask with the sense of “I wonder if Mom or Dad was just wrong”.

During this time, if Mom or Dad (or some other adult they trust) is unwilling to engage the question at a deeper level, and have a genuine discussion, the young person will begin to conclude that Mom or Dad might be wrong, and because they were wrong this time, then that must mean other answers they gave in the past must also be doubted. And off they set on this path to work through these questions on their own, with influences other than Mom or Dad.

All of this is very normal, of course. But it’s helpful for us to see this trend is very real so we can recognize that there may have been a point in time when we could have taken their questions seriously, but having chosen not to engage them in those difficult conversations, we see our kids asking question assuming the things they’ve been taught are simply wrong.

Critical Thinking

Ultimately, this process is called critical thinking. Asking questions about fundamental assumptions. This isn’t a bad thing, but without being engaged in a true discussion or even debate, it is likely many of the conclusions will lack necessary and even critical information or perspective.

To state it another way, if a person is considering two wrong perspectives and never happens to consider another more correct perspective, then they are unlikely to draw valid (true) conclusions. So, if we are unwilling or unable to engage these questions thoughtfully, we are essentially depriving them of the perspective we have learned through our own life experience.

Firm Foundation

For some, the process of thinking critically through foundational questions can lead to a secure belief that what they had previously learned was in fact correct, or at least close to correct.

This is actually an important part of developing one’s beliefs. If one is allowed to question things and is engaged in a thoughtful, genuine discussion, then this process will usually lead to confirming beliefs.

Shifting Sands (or Liquefaction)

This idea of revisiting foundational understanding of things is not reserved for young people, though that is a time in life when the foundation is often either solidified or it becomes destabilized.

Since most people don’t like to engage questions they don’t struggle with themselves, it is not at all uncommon that these questions, or unsatisfactory answers, will lead to other more fundamental questions. This cascading effect can result in a complete tumbling of all basic beliefs about life, like a house of cards.


There are a set of beliefs that usually find themselves as foundational to the rest of life. Usually, these beliefs are matters of faith, often called “religious beliefs”.

It is these beliefs, on which the “issues of life” hinge, that are usually responsible for that liquefaction effect.

As these beliefs are questioned, without satisfactory answers or genuine engagement, a level of distrust grows, and the more difficult it becomes to have a constructive conversation or debate.

The term “deconstructionism” has been applied to this fundamental turning away from ones faith. However, “deconstruction” is an active voice verb, and to me, it seems to place “blame” on the one who is questioning, even to the point of passing judgment, for merely asking questions and not finding answers.

Actually, if judgment is to be passed, in my opinion, it should be passed on those who failed to engage the difficult questions which then resulted in this fundamental shift, this liquefaction that results in near wholesale rejection of formerly firmly held beliefs.

Where do we go from here?

The picture I paint may look rather bleak. Once someone has turned from beliefs at this foundational level, it becomes very difficult to even open the door for discussion once again.

So, what to do? Do we “write off” these “deconstructionists” as irretrievable?

Absolutely not!

This question really calls for yet another post later, but in short, we need to approach such people differently.

  • We need learn to allow our beliefs to be questioned at a level that may be uncomfortable.
  • We need to learn to begin with, “I can see where you’re coming from.”
  • We need to learn to probe our deepest understanding.
  • We need to realize that we can be wrong.
  • We need to start there.

Of course, as a Bible believing Christian, I believe truth is found in the Bible. However, I must maintain an understanding that while I do believe the Bible is the source of God’s truth, that doesn’t mean everyone will agree. And, I must also distinguish between truth in the Bible and my understanding of that truth.

And, I come back to the realization that I can be wrong. And so, while I believe scripture is inerrant, my understanding of truth found in scripture can be wrong.

When I am truly at that point, I will find myself working through difficult questions of my own, and that is when I can begin to engage someone else who is asking their difficult questions.

Let me ask you one question:

  • If what I believe is actually true, then will it harm me to probe deep questions only to find that I’ve confirmed my beliefs?

I lied. Let me ask one more question:

  • If, after probing deep questions, I conclude that my understanding was wrong, and I then have opportunity to refine my understanding, then am I not on more firm ground than I was before?

Fears or Doubts?

The real question isn’t what to do about people who ask questions.

The real question is, why is it that we are not willing to ask these of ourselves?

I submit that it is either because of unspoken fear of being wrong or unspoken doubt.

As for me, I would rather ask questions and engage in genuine discussion in order to come to firm conclusions than to live without a true foundation only to find that an earthquake results in total liquefaction followed by total collapse.

Because the Bible says so…

As I’ve stated, I am a Bible believing Christian. And, I believe God’s Word is without error, meaning (in layman’s terms) that what God says in His Word, the 66 books of the Bible, is absolutely true and reliable.

The critical thing is that you can’t merely reply “because the Bible says so” if you’ve acknowledged that it’s possible your understanding of what the Bible actually says might be wrong.

And so, where questions of faith are concerned, what I am actually pursuing is a correct understanding of God’s Word.

For me, having already decided that I believe God’s Word to be the authority for the questions that matter, this becomes my pursuit.

I will dive further into this pursuit in a future post.

Final Thoughts…

Consider those who question your beliefs noble.

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Acts 17:11 (ESV)

Be ready to give an answer.

“… but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect …”

1 Peter 3:15 (ESV)

New Chapters…

On October 10, 2021, the page turned, mid-sentence, and a new chapter was started.

And as some chapter transitions, this one has been as abrupt as Dawn and I have ever experienced… And we’ve experienced a few.

We are not unfamiliar with abrupt new chapters. Most of you who know us know that both Dawn and I were widowed 22 and 19 years ago (respectively). Being widowed was undoubtedly the most abrupt new chapter that neither of us was anticipating…

In fact, most chapters of life seem to be surprises rather than direct choices.

In 2009, we found out I was laid off after nearly 23 years of loyal service. This layoff lasted 16 months. It was a different kind of test than when we were widowed. When our spouses died, we knew what we needed to do, as difficult as it was. We needed to pick up the pieces and continue living life. But with unemployment, particularly with children to take care of, just getting up the next day and going through a routine was not enough. We had to face serious questions about whether we would (eventually) lose the house we were building, and consider what drastic measures we might need to take in order to care for our family.

Then, only a few years ago, Dawn found out that her Mom has a particular type of dementia (Frontotemporal Dementia) that is not “forgetting”, but it primarily shows itself over time as a profound inability to communicate. Both her expressive language (speaking and writing) and her receptive language (auditory and reading) have both been deteriorating over time. This has been accompanied by mood changes and sadness because her Mom has become increasingly “locked” inside of herself. Knowing what she’s thinking, but completely unable to put ideas into words and completely unable to understand words spoken to her. And, Dawn’s sister has become their Mom’s primary care-giver, and is dealing with the bulk of this new chapter pretty much on her own.

And, then in February of this year, my Mom died, after struggling with deteriorating lung issues for several years. And only 4 days later, on Feb 6th, my brother, Dan, died after having COVID, but he died when his kidneys ultimately failed after two extended hospital stays. Once again, a chapter has turned, though it is arguably very different.

Yes, we could go into the details of each of these turns of the chapter, but that’s not really my purpose today. My purpose is to recognize that new chapters in life are part of life. Some new chapters are decisions we make, such as getting married or having children. Or even consequences of decisions we make. Or consequences of decisions others make that impact us. But we don’t see those as turns of a chapter in the same way as we see when the end of a chapter is written totally outside of our control.

There are many things in life that turn the chapter, outside of our control. Sometimes we can live for years, even decades, without an imposed turn of the chapter. And sometimes, the chapters seem to turn every year or faster.

You have those page turns in your life as well, where the next page abruptly begins a new chapter. Or more precisely, where the turn of the page closes an old chapter, abruptly.

This brings me to October 10, 2021. Dawn and I had been sick here at home, and working our way to health, but that Sunday, Dawn suffered a left-brain stroke in the language processing center that has left her somewhat physically challenged (though functioning pretty well), but it is aphasia, her inability to speak or write the words she wants to say, that has forced a sudden and rather harsh turn of the chapter.

If you read back through the blogs she wrote in these past years, you’ll see she loved to write, to share her thoughts. She loved to work with children especially those with special needs. To speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. These things are Dawn’s passions.

Yet today, it is Dawn who cannot speak for herself. Yes, she continues to work to recover ability to speak, and I am confident that given enough time, Dawn will be able to speak much more fluently again. But we are definitely living out a new chapter.

I’m writing today not to solicit sympathy, but because I’ve learned some things through these turns of the chapter.

  1. God has provided for us in unexpected and indescribable ways through each turn of the chapter. Though these changes have not been without immense challenge.
  2. These changes, with the challenges they bring, have not left us unchanged. They have challenged who we are, what we expect in life, and who we trust.

I write this blog today because these are some of the major turns of the page that have shaped Dawn and I. And, because I plan to write more in the future to address some particularly challenging questions that I (we) have seen others struggle with. Questions that could have been challenging to us; however, most of these did not turn out to be the questions we asked or at least the ones we struggled with.

Many wise people have observed, it is not the difficulties you face in life that determine who you are. Rather it is your response to those difficulties. Actually, those difficulties directly force a response, and so they are much more active than passive in the shaping of character.

Dawn and I are living out a new chapter, together. It’s not an easy road, but it’s the road we’re on. And while she is unable to speak for herself, I must speak on her behalf…

I’m In A Pickle

This year my husband and I decided to try a having a garden. We have had a garden in the past, but it didn’t end well. The reason for that, we live on twelve acres in what used to be a farm field. No trees. We have no wind breaks when the wind comes from the west. Wind can be pretty fierce here in rural Ohio. Whenever I know a storm is brewing, I go around our property and batten down the hatches, so to speak. If I don’t do this, a bunch of our stuff is down in the llama field. Anyway, wind has ruined gardens of the past, flattening new plants. This year we tried the garden in a different place, and it has done much better. One of the garden all-stars is the cucumber! I have never seen so many cucumbers! We decided we were going to pickle our cucumbers (we still have plenty to munch with some ranch dressing, or enough to chop up for salads, believe me) and this afternoon will be the day. I have a suspicion that I am going to be smelling like brine, and pickle spices.

We also have so much, oh so much, yellow squash and zucchini. I have tried so many squash and zucchini recipes! Those of you that are in the know, can I just chop these up, put in freezer bags, stack them in the freezer, and call it a day?

Fall in Love with Fall

I realize it is only mid-August. I know we are still in the heat of summer. On really humid days, when I am melting into a puddle of sweat, it can still seem like the seventh circle of Hell.

I remind myself that in only a little over a month it will be FALL. Fall is my favorite season of the year. I love candles and cozy. Sweaters and pumpkin spice. Leaves and a chill in the air. The home decor YouTube bloggers are already starting their “Fall Hauls” after shopping at Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and Target. I expect the Fall home tours to be beginning shortly. Pinterest is exploding with Autumn bucket lists, and how to make your home cozy. Y’all, I live for this stuff.

The other day I bought two new Fall colored blankets, orange and yellow. They will look so warm and cozy on our brown leather furniture. I also bought an Autumn leaf wreath. I am not sure where I will put the wreath, but I am confident I will figure out the perfect spot.

“For cryin’ out loud”, you are probably thinking. This woman is crazy. She is obviously suffering from heat stroke. She thinks it is October. Someone, quick! Throw her in the pool. Give her an iced tea to sip. Snap out of it!

I admit, I have Fall fever. I am counting down the days until September when I can decorate for Autumn and people won’t think I have a problem.

Eyes Wide Open

I am going to talk about a subject today that will bother some, maybe even make some angry. That is okay. I am going to talk about it anyway. For the last decade I have been talking about human trafficking and sex trafficking. I have had people ask me why I am so passionate about this topic. Believe me when I say, I didn’t choose this fight. It chose me. This particular topic is vile, ugly, and cruel. Children as young as newborns are beaten and sodomized for the sick pleasure of the most evil among us….and make no mistake they ARE among us.

The mother was known as the town “whore”. She was a full fledged alcoholic. I don’t know when it became okay in this woman’s mind to give her 11 year old daughter to her numerous “boyfriends” and in return have them pay her in alcohol. Her young daughter’s innocence was equal to a bottle of Jim Beam. The person in this world that was supposed to love her and protect her more than anyone, sold her for liquor.

The nine year old boy was sexually abused by his grandfather, who was also his father. You see, this boys mother was sexually abused by her own father and had given birth to this boy. They grew up in a cycle of sexual abuse to the point of it being “normal”. Even when child services got involved, and court hearings were held, it didn’t stop. Mother was told not to let her child around this man. But, this woman was broken…so broken. When her own father raped her over and over again and nothing happened, she gave up. Now, she and her child suffer the pain of living with generational abuse.

The little girl was about five years old when her older male neighbor molested her. She was confused. What was happening? Don’t tell. This is our secret. The girl grew up, living with the memory of her trauma, wondering why SHE was chosen by this man? Wondering if she was the only one?

The boy became a man. He made bad choices and poor decisions. He found himself going down a road that he probably never meant to go down. Wickedness in the heart and a seared conscience would allow him to do things he never imagined. He hooked up with a woman that had a pre-school age daughter. They hatched a plan to sell “time” with the little girl. How evil must one be, to plan to give a young child to grown men to be raped? A pre-schooler. Thankfully, an undercover FBI agent stopped this plan, and the two deviants went to prison. In this case, the girl was saved, but this kind of thing happens all too frequently. Family members pimping out their own children for money or drugs.

Every. Single. Day. I see stories in the news about local, national, and international sex-trafficking of children. Businessmen, school superintendents, police officers, meteorologists, school teachers, pastors/priests, politicians, entertainers, and athletes. Wherever there are children, these people are there. Not everyone is an abuser of children, I know that….but, and this is a big but…..there are more of these deviant people out there than you could ever imagine. You are no longer allowed to say, “This doesn’t effect me”, “I choose to keep my head buried in the sand”, or “It is too awful to think about”. The children of the world are at risk, now more than ever. Don’t turn a blind eye to this pandemic of sex-trafficking and abuse.

#eyeswideopen #thesepeopleareeverywhere #saveourchildren

Operation Underground Railroad,

Vets for Child Rescue–Craig Sawyer,

Women at Risk International,

International Justice Mission,

Simply Earth Essential Oils-give 13% of their monthly profits to organizations that fight human trafficking,

Other organizations international/national,,

I’m Back!

Y’all, I have thought about my blog on and off throughout this year. In the past, I was blogging all the time and loved it. I still love writing and blogging, but I’ll be honest, this past year has gone by so quickly and has been so busy that I was always just too tired to put my thoughts together to blog (and have it make sense). The last time I posted was nearly a year ago. Oh, my! I said all this to say, I am back. Hopefully, all my long time followers will find it a pleasant surprise that I have returned to blogging and plan on posting regularly once again. Maybe, I will get some new followers also.

I am currently sitting in the kitchen. I have home decorating shows from YouTube playing on the TV. Yes, it is a guilty pleasure. I love watching decor shows. My husband indulges my love of decorating. Although, he probably could not care less if we have fall colored sofa pillows or a burnt orange throw blanket. I know you are probably wondering why it is mid-August and I am already thinking of Fall. It is a thing, people. The home decorators are already doing their “Fall Hauls” from Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and Kirklands. I may or may not have just purchased a rust colored blanket for the couch. Don’t judge.

School, in my county, is not starting until September 10th. This is the first year we were going to start back the day after Labor Day (planned even before the whole COVID thing), but a couple of more days were tacked on to make sure the schools are completely sanitized and all the staff is ready for our new COVID world. I am an intervention specialist (a.k.a special education teacher) with some high school students. All I can say is that the start of this school year will feel odd, unlike anything I have ever experienced in my thirty years of teaching. I am planning on still having fun with my students regardless of masks, sanitizing, and social distancing.

Can I tell y’all something? It is not that I liked being “locked down” for several weeks this past Spring, but there was something nice about not having to be anywhere. Life had become a race to be places and get things done, and being forced to slow down and stay home was not horrible. Mind you, I didn’t want to stay that way forever because after a while I wanted to see people and share some moments. I don’t want social distancing to become social isolation…for any of us. We need each other now, more than ever. What did you think about being forced to stay at home?

During the summer I also complete assessments for local homeschooling families. I am currently in the process of reorganizing my schoolroom/office area. This is no small task. I have accumulated a lot in all my years of teaching/consulting/assessing. When I say “a lot” I mean a dump truck full of stuff give or take. Maybe in another 10 years, I will gift my teaching stuff to families that will use it to continue growing life long learners. I am thankful for all the years I have been blessed to teach. It has been and continues to be, a great gig.

I am excited to be back! See you soon.

Most People Are Barely Hanging On

Photo by on

I’ll be honest with you, there are moments when my heart is so heavy. There are many times when I find myself fighting back tears. I mean, yes, I have my own issues and problems that I am dealing with, as we all do, but I am really talking more about feeling compassion and empathy for others. I don’t know if it is an age thing or because I am choosing to slow down and listen to other people more.

I want to try, really try, to have eyes like Jesus. To see people the way He sees them. The hurting, the tired, the forgotten, the needy, the scared, the overwhelmed, the anxious, the pained and the lost.

Struggles are real. People hurt. This broken world tips sharply on its axis, making us all dizzy from the pain… Dare I say that anyone who says they don’t suffer is lying to you? Or to him or herself?

As a child I used to wish I could have the super power of reading peoples minds. I thought it would be cool to know what they were thinking…a great party trick. The decades have slipped past and although I have never been able to read minds, I have gotten better at reading hearts. (Thank you, Jesus.)

*A student who anxiously tells me, “I hope my grandfather makes it to mine and my brother’s graduation. I told him he has too, but I just don’t know. If he doesn’t, I will be so sad.”

*Aging parents with hard diagnoses, having to live with something they never asked for. Grown children realizing that time stops for no one, including their parents, and that particular knowledge is difficult.

*The young adult who finds himself in a place of his own making…realizing it is not where he really wants to be. Each day the work to change is hard and he is tired.

*The young woman who constantly wonders if she is good enough?

*The new parents who are outwardly excited, but inwardly terrified at the realization of being mom and dad, and doing it “right”.

*The man whose job is on the line, and he feels he is too old to start over.

*The woman who is divorced, raising her kids and working hard to provide.

*The children who make the poor choices.

*The babies that are caught in the middle.

*The friend who cries in the shower at night because life is overwhelming, but smiles during the day.

*Prayers during surgeries.

*Crying over the death of loved ones.

My prayer is to have the eyes and the heart of Jesus for others. To meet people where they are at. To hold a hand…to hold a heart. To sometimes whisper words of comfort, or have a shoulder to cry on. To talk to them, or just be quiet and listen. Help where I can, and stand back when necessary. I don’t always know the right thing to do but, I am trying….. Thank you, Jesus.

When the Lord <Jesus> saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, “Do not weep.” Luke 7:13

Seeing the people, He <Jesus> felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36

When He <Jesus> went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. Matthew 14:14

…and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews were saying, “See how He loved him! John 11:34-38 <after His friend, Lazarus, had died>

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One <Jesus> who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15

Walking Through Unfamiliar Territory

It has been months since I have made a blog post, three and a half months to be exact. I miss not blogging, but for those of us that live our lives know, that sometimes the day to day can bog us down. I wanted to write but, I was tired. I wanted to share but, I was busy. I thought about typing but, duties called. Now finally, I have a few minutes on a sunny September afternoon to post on what I am thinking at this moment in time.

Life is hard.

This statement probably doesn’t come as a surprise to many. You know. You feel it too. I’m currently fifty-one years old. Most days in my own head I feel younger, like I don’t belong in a body that has already lived through five decades. The truth is, I thought when I was in my fifties life would be easier. Young enough to still enjoy life, wise enough to appreciate it. But, it isn’t easier.

Kids grow up. They make their own decisions. It doesn’t matter whether I agree or disagree with choices being made. Sometimes the thought of that is freeing and at other times it hurts. Anyone that has grown, twenty-something children probably understands what I am saying. I have to accept that when I look at my children, I am looking into the faces of adults. Adults who are making their own way, in their own time, and I pray for wisdom for us all.

Family members who are facing difficult situations. Decisions that are stressful, diagnoses that debilitate, and an understanding that change is happening. Change. I hate that word right now. When the doctor gives the news it seems so unfair. So wrong. I try not to dwell on things, but the thoughts are always in the back of my mind tearing away at memories.

At times I am strong and fierce. I know myself and understand my role. At other times I am weak from the tears and the longing for what once was. On some days I am fine, happy, and all is well. I feel in control. Other days not so much. That is the thing. I am not in control. I never was. The thought of having control over my life is just a flimsy facade. On days when I let this realization take hold I am so very grateful that I know the ONE who is in control. The ONE who is not chained to calendars and clocks, who is not phased by the movement of time. He who knows each of us intimately and is never surprised by the doctor’s diagnoses, or children’s decisions. Jesus who never leaves me nor forsakes me, who said there is nothing that can keep us apart.

Thank you, Jesus.

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?… <my words: or doctor’s diagnoses, or growing up children, or autoimmune disease, or mistakes, or misunderstandings or…..anything>

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35, 37-39 ESV

Being Seen

Last week there was a knock at my door. The dogs were going crazy. I glanced out the kitchen window and saw an orange jeep in the driveway. I don’t know anyone with an orange jeep. I figured I’d find out, as I walked to the laundry room door, keeping my barking, maniac dog at bay.

“Are you Dawn?”, a kind face asked. “Yes”, I replied. The woman introduced herself as she handed me a container full of cookies. “You like cookies, I hope?”. “Yes, I do”.

“I left my husband doing yard work at home”, she said with a smile. “I told him I was going to meet Dawn”. I felt humbled. Truth is, it was nice to meet her.

This woman standing on my porch, is the bus driver on my rural road. Even though I no longer have school age children, I would always be outside feeding the horse and chickens in the early morning hours when she went by. She would cheerily honk the bus horn at me and I would wave. I never saw her face. I didn’t know her name. I did know that she made me smile each morning as we both participated in our regular morning routine.

As the school year was drawing to an end, and summer break was awaiting, I decided to send her a card through the school transportation department. I just wanted her to know I appreciated her. I wanted her to know that something as simple as a friendly bus horn honk each morning made me happy. It made me glad to live on a country road.

I am trying to be more mindful of my interactions with people. A smile to someone, a genuine compliment, an act of kindness. We are all in this life together, and sometimes it is just the simple act of “seeing” someone else that can have a profound effect.

It Has Been Far Too Long

Today marks exactly four months since I have posted. That is far too long.

I just celebrated my 51st birthday this past week. I am still not quite sure how I feel about being 51, not that I have much choice about my age. The saying about time not stopping for anyone is true. Although some of my days have seemed long, the years have moved swiftly.

There are things that I am passionate about, and other things that mean very little to me. Over the years I’ve learned to be more mindful of what I say and do in my daily life. I actually attempt to slow down and ask myself, “Is this important? Is is relevant to me? Will it make a positive difference?” And yes, long before I ever heard of Marie Kondo, I’d ask if this action is bringing me joy? With that being said, I am going to share some of those parts of my life that matter.

  1. People matter. Relationships. Talking with my husband. Cards from my mom. Texts from my sister that make me laugh. Watching my kids as young adults, making decisions. Grandchildren that I would do anything for. Coffee with a friend. Smiles from complete strangers. Listening to other’s stories. Responding to people. Hearing them. Really seeing them. This network of people that hold the strings of life together.
  2. Time is valuable. What do I choose to spend my time on? Finally realizing after all these years that it is okay to take time for me, to relax. To be quiet. To read. To just breathe. It is not a waste of time to do nothing in particular. Some days that is the best way to spend valuable minutes.
  3. My relationship with Jesus. Not just a church icon. Not the Sunday School picture version of Jesus. Not church ritual or a holiday necessity. Jesus, the only Son of the living God. The One who knows me by name and sees me in both my good and my bad and loves me. I am reminded of what it means to be a follower of Christ. It is not always easy, in fact most times it is not easy. People laugh. They shake their heads. I want to see them as Christ does, people drowning in their own selves, not even aware of their need for a Savior, but loving them anyway. Years ago I was that person. In a broken world, full of hurting people, I need to be light in the darkness.
  4. Do my passions align with my time is valuable? Relationships are important? Following Jesus? I don’t want to waste myself on things that don’t really matter. I give my time to advocacy for those with disabilities, bringing awareness to human trafficking/sex trafficking especially of minors, education and research on vaccines and medical freedom, and teaching children how to be lifelong learners. I will never be rich from my passions, but these things definitely light up my spirit. What things make you a warrior?

No matter your age, what are some things that make your life better?