Don’t Let Go

Last night, I had the best time reminiscing with my parents. I was going to say my ‘aging’ parents but aren’t we all aging? My parents are 88 and 85 and really don’t look it. On the phone my mother can sometimes sound older but that could just be the hearing aid acting up. They drove from Canada to see my youngest act in a church performance last night and I decided it was the perfect time to get a box of old photos out. I was having trouble recalling the names of friends and relatives (some I had never met) and seized the moment. Having them sit right next to me and recalling friends in old black and white pictures was a great memory for me. I even asked my daughter to grab her phone to snap a picture of the enjoyable moment. Mom and dad would say things like ‘Oh, they died last year’ or ‘I don’t remember that picture being taken’. There was a backstory and a side story and sometimes two stories when my mom insisted dad didn’t have it right. ‘No,no,no Ken, that wasn’t her’. At one point I looked at my dad’s expression laughing with my mom.    A lifetime flashing by before him, I knew he liked that I had this mix of old photos to pass along to my children.  I also thought about how sad it would be if we didn’t remember these faces. I never knew my mother’s parents. They died before I was born. Recalling good times brings joy to the soul for sure. Some friends had tragic deaths and they died young. Some friends moved far away from Scotland like my parents did and began lives in the US and Canada. Some ended up at my church growing up and I remember them. Some were related to people I didn’t even know about. That sort of discovery blows my mind at how small this world can seem at times. Relationships, community, laughter. All the ingredients for a life pouring into people and how we can be influences on one another. My parents brought me up to love the Lord God, believe in Jesus and put Him as the highest importance in my life. A legacy passed down from both of their parents and even further back than that. A treasure I wish I could go back to thank my great grandparents for but for now I will keep these pictures and put names to the faces. If I don’t know, no one will be around to remember. 

I have been currently reading The Story,  which is a story version of the Bible. Having read through the Bible once before it’s not something that I regularly do. The language and lineage of names that are difficult to pronounce has me lost quicker than my coffee can stay warm and I find myself drifting off to my phone and Instagram. Forgive me. My faith doesn’t lie on knowing the names of those thrown into the fiery furnace or being able to name all twelve of Jacob’s sons but if I don’t visit them often in the Bible they will be forgotten and that is just sad. From a childhood of Sunday school stories, reading ‘The Story’ Bible is triggering the main event and allowing me to process the information that maybe wasn’t kid friendly to share. The Bible is called the living word, which I believe it to continue to teach and train me for life. In a similar way, I can learn and understand life from old photos of my relatives. God was very present in those days and tragedy hit. Sometimes, smiles were absent from some for very good reason. We don’t have to know all the details or gossip from every situation to know that God is still very present. He wants to teach us to love and pass along the very real purpose of raising kids and families to live for Him. With each generation comes problems, sadness and heartache. Just by knowing one another we can make a difference for the next generation. I just don’t want to allow my generation to miss out on knowing and remembering how God was and is. You know He is the same yesterday, today and forever. 

My parents have changed … a lot.  My father has the biggest mustache, that my mother doesn’t care for. They both have shrunk a few inches. (I wonder when that will happen to me) but recalling old times brought a smile and a laugh to both my parent’s souls that I will cherish forever. I want to read the Bible (or story version) with eyes like that.  A loving God, retelling of generations He always loved, but some followed Him and some did not. Foretelling of His beloved Son, Jesus, and having Him die for you and me.  I’m asking and praying for God to continue to reveal how that changes my life now in 2019 and passed down to generations to come. My word for this year was faithfulness and God has created moments to open my eyes to His faithfulness.  As Christmas approaches, may you catch glimpses of love, laughter and joy and don’t let go. 

Christmas Thoughts

Christmas isn’t just a day, am I right? It’s a season. The other day a young guy at the meat counter asked me if it felt like Christmas to me because he had not heard many Christmas songs on the radio this year. I thought maybe he was referring to the Spring like weather we are experiencing here in Michigan. Rainy and cloudy. No snow this Christmas. Does it feel like Christmas because you are up to your ears in wrapping paper or you find yourself yelling, ‘Don’t get it’, when the UPS man is delivering packages daily? Lots of friends have been posting their spot that makes them happy. Their Christmas tree in the quiet of the night when everyone is in bed. The quiet is a good place to be to reflect, ponder, wish. Is this Christmas? 

I have enjoyed my 25 day Countdown this year. Not to be confused with my 12 day countdown of funny quips my 9 year old daughter has said this year.  Zoe says funny things almost every day. I write them down and have been sharing them for the past three Christmases. No, that’s not my favorite countdown. Ever since I was newly married I have surrounded myself with devotions to dig into over the month of December. Honestly, I’m not very successful.  Yes, its the craziest month of the year if you have little kids who have an elementary school event to attend twice a week or a teenager that needs a ride to a party or band practice or you have a party to bring a gift to. Did you sign up for room mom again and have to organize your kid’s Christmas party? IMG_3545.jpegYou get the picture. I remember a book called Redeeming the Season which helps you do little meaningful tasks to remind yourself of why December 25 is so special. Have you had those moments? Hopefully when you sit in peace around your tree you aren’t too stressed to think of the crazy day you just had but instead you choose to be thankful for what you have. Hopefully when you sit in peace you are filled with love and feel useful. Hopefully you have that one moment of peace. 

I’ve had that intentional moment of peace and thankfulness every morning around 6 am. Sometimes earlier. I came across a Christmas advent calendar I brought home from my visit to Hillsong Church while visiting my cousin in Sydney three years ago. I packed it away and didn’t use it until this year. Each morning I scratch off a circle that includes a Bible passage, a thought and an action for the day. The best thing about this is after I scratch off the circle I take a picture of it and text it to my cousin who is 16 hours ahead in the day because she wanted to share in the awe of Christmas too. 

I have loved this moment and only (honestly) have missed one day and had to rush that reading just to get it in. 

Someone complimented me the other day. He observed me hosting a dinner party for Zoe and 7 friends on Friday night to kick off their two week Christmas break. We had crafts, games and food planned and they were all hyped up on sugar. I’ve been through hosting this kind of thing before like, 7 years ago for Blaire and her friends. I have help and he asked me why I do it. He knows I’m also hosting a few family gatherings in the next five days that include sleepover guests. I said I have experience to say no to the less important things. I also have help from Blaire and Scott and I’m better at pacing myself. But now I know the answer. It isn’t because I’m an experienced mom and manage my time well. No, it’s all because I’ve started my day handing it over to Jesus. That should always be my answer because it’s true.

Some of the suggested actions this month have been;

Share an encouraging word with someone 

Meditate on Gods calling on your life 

Listen to someone’s dream today

Tell someone some good news today 

Pray to know Jesus and his grace and truth more 


How can we get through our long ‘to do’ list and complete these tasks? These are the things that count the most! That’s how. Everyday that I make God a priority is a good day.

So what if all your gifts are in bags because wrapping takes too long. Good for you. 

So your baking came from a cookie walk. Awesome!

Ask your kids if they care if you don’t have Christmas crackers this year. They don’t. 

So try not to run around today. Take it easy. Delegate and pray. Be still. It was a majestic  and peaceful night when Jesus was born. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas!

May We Never Lose Our Wonder

Zoe got a new bike the other day.  She didn’t know how to ride her last bike but it was too small and Scott had hope. In her mind she was convinced that she could already ride a bike. I’m more of a skeptic. She has shied away from little hills and doesn’t like to go very fast. I always have to pop her balloon and deflate her excitement and anticipation. Scott is much more diligent to teach her. It was a family affair for the purchase of the bike. My sister was visiting from out of town so I went off with her while Scott immediately took Zoe to the park with her knew Trek.  She was grinning from ear to ear. About 39 mins later Scott shared with the family a video on WhatsApp. She was pedaling on the grass for a few seconds. You can hear Scott’s encouragement. ‘Pedal, pedal, keep pedaling. Don’t stop.’  I watch it over and over and wish I was there. My daughter’s ‘first steps’ if you will. I missed it. What am I missing out on because of busyness. I’m missing doing her homework with her. Reading the Bible. I have a front row seat to Zoe Ayame Clode’s wonder and I’m distracted. I’m selfish and I’m choosing the wrong things.
Summer vacation started a week earlier than public school for her and she is excited. She has a trip to NYC coming up to visit her brother and sister in law and she loves the pool and just wants play dates all the time. I’m in ‘building a house’ mode. I’m checking off lists for our up coming Kenya trip. I’m busy. I hate that word. Busy means you are missing out on the good stuff. The stuff that’s important. Yes I have deadlines for the new build but I’m losing my wonder for what’s important.

Zoe is my shadow. She finishes my sentences, she witnesses how I interact with store clerks, restaurant servers and strangers on the street. She hears my phone conversations and watches what I eat. I’m her internet. I’m her source of knowledge for the most part. I cannot miss out on these years. It goes by too quickly. We had a good reminder of that fact just last night when Scott and I babysat our friend’s three little kids under 3 so they could have a date night.  Wow, what a trip down memory lane. I forgot the energy needed for that age. I forgot about the fact that sitting in a chair and wanting peace and quiet is non existent. These kids found wonder in catching ants and swinging on swings.  They found wonder in playing with rocks and having a new friend over.

A new book has grabbed my attention called Look and Live by Matt Papa . It’s about seeing Gods glory all around us. Nature is one way to be reminded of the beauty God created for us.
The heavens declare the glory of God.
This book reminds me that lately I’m too busy for treasure. I’m too busy for beauty. It goes on to say ‘familiarity breeds apathy’. That stops me in my tracks every time I read it. I had to look up the word apathy to break down the weight of its meaning. It means lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.
Want to read that again?
Zoe doesn’t know the meaning of apathy. Every day she wakes with anticipation for a new adventure. Where did my wonder go? To quote my book again, ‘Look to God, really look. Linger long enough to let your eyes adjust. See if He isn’t as magnificent as what the Bible describes. Examine if He might be that treasure you are seeking.
I’m challenged to live out my summer with wonder.  I was reminded of three year old Zoe getting up close and personal with a caterpillar and our family dog she loved.  I attached the picture that screams WONDER to me.  I will not run my daughter around to the point of exhaustion without some fun inserted on her behalf.  Sometimes we do this by running them to soccer and baseball too but that really is another topic.
As I embark on my up coming trip to Kenya may I never lose my wonder. May I look into the eyes of every human I come across with wonder that God created them with love and for a purpose. This might lead to a segment on Humans of Africa.  Filling me with enthusiasm and passion for each day.  Stay tuned.