Great (Unrealistic) Expectations

I never really, deep down inside, believed that my mother was dying.

I know that is probably the most ridiculous sentence you’ve ever read, but it’s true.

Well, mostly true.

Deep in my subconscious I think there was a part of me that understood what was happening.

That small piece inside that kept whispering reality.

But the rest of me.

The rest of me didn’t really believe it was happening.

Couldn’t believe it was happening.

See, there was no life before my mom.

Again, a ridiculous sentence I know.

But it’s true.

There are no memories without my mom in them.

There were no moments that she didn’t touch, in some way.

Even if just playing a background character in whatever storyline that was currently playing out

My mom was always there.

So she couldn’t be dying.


She would always be there.

She had to be there.

And even though I could have conversations, multiple conversations, admitting and lamenting and worrying about the end coming so incredibly quickly

I didn’t mean it.

Somewhere inside me I held on to a belief that this too would pass.

That there would be some miracle recovery.

Or something.

I had great expectations.

And thinking back I would possibly call it something close to a defense mechanism.

I simply couldn’t process everything at once.

I blocked out what I knew was coming and instead burred my head deep into the sand of denial.

And while I do wholeheartedly believe that part of this denial was indeed a safeguard my body provided to keep me from going into complete and total shock

I also think I, and a lot of the world, suffer from another condition.

Those great expectations.

We all say that life is short, or that things change too fast, or something similar.

But we don’t really believe it.

The “here today, gone tomorrow” mindset is great when we want a reason to skydive or travel the world.

But we don’t really believe it.

I know this because life still manages to take us by surprise when we’re not looking.

An unexpected change or loss leaves us shocked and reeling.

How could this happen to me?

We spout off things like live for the moment or tell someone you love them!


We don’t really expect life to change.

Deep down we have a firm belief what we have will always be.

Whether it’s health or family or maybe a job.

It will always be there.

Maybe it’s just a universal safeguard.

Keeping us from going insane in the broken world we live in.

Or maybe.

Maybe we have great, but unrealistic, expectations.

Maybe we need to face the reality that life in this world is nothing but change.

Ranging from the loss of a job to the loss of a loved one.

What we have will never stay the same.

Maybe it will for for a minute.

But then two minutes down the road suddenly your kids are grown and gone or your job is downsizing and you’re out of luck or your mother is swept with harsh finality from your life.

Maybe that safeguard of not truly believing that life changes

Maybe it’s not really doing us any good.

Maybe instead we should be focusing on just how frequently



Life changes.

Maybe instead of brushing it aside with the inner thought that it will never happen to me

We should be ready for it.

I don’t mean in a paranoid way.

Looking for disaster around every corner and waiting with baited breath for the next bad thing to knock us off our feet.


I mean that maybe by admitting that all we hold dear is slowly slipping through our fingers

We can find something that actually, truly, one hundred percent does not change.


Just maybe

We can have those great expectations after all.

We just need to have them in the right place.

Expecting, even subconsciously, that this life will never throw big changes at us

That does nothing but break you down when, eventually, you find yourself in the midst of suffering.

But “expecting” in something, or Someone, who has never and will never change?

Maybe that’s the secret.

Maybe that’s our great expectation.

Maybe by placing our faith and hope and trust in the One who has always been and always will be

We can have great expectations.

He will not change.

His love, His salvation, His grace, His mercy

That doesn’t change.

Won’t change.

CAN’T change.

When the life we hold so dear slowly unravels around us

He is constant.

When that one thing we always prayed and hoped and knew would just never happen


He is there.

He is constant.

And whatever road, no matter how painful or changed filled, we are given to walk down

The end of that road?

That doesn’t change either.

When we have our hope in the One who never changes

We can, with great certainty, trust that whatever we endure here on earth will never change our Heavenly home.

We can have great expectations.

If we expect in Him

And all His promises.


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Memories of Mom and Meme

Although time is a cruel mistress, continuing to grow and change everything around it, there is one thing I am thankful for that never changes.

One thing that stands still even as everything around it marches steadily forward.


Those memories of moments past that are cemented in time, forever.

Never changing, even as everything else does.

Whether it’s photos or video recordings or even just moments in time frozen in my head forever.

Those memories can’t be changed or altered and I know they will never be forgotten.

And it’s a small pinprick of light against the dark background to know that as time continues its forward movements that I can call up those memories to help me remember.

I love that the photos and videos that I now hold so dear are only a moment away.

I have never appreciated so much that simple ability to pull out a phone camera and capture a moment forever as I do now.

Because, at least for me, those memories are important.

They are a large piece of what keeps me moving forward.

Although I know that sounds a little silly, looking backward to move forward,

It’s the truth.

When missing my mom gets overwhelming hearing her laugh on an old video helps sooth the ache even just a little.

For just a moment.

To keep me moving forward.

When I cannot fall asleep at night I replay in my head highlights and special moments from over the years.

And although that usually reduces me to a puddle of all different emotions,

I am grateful for the memories.

I am grateful too, that if and when the Mini’s memories start to fade I can help her remember.

Whether it’s stories or pictures, those memories keep a small part of that important person with us.

And that’s it, right? When someone is important and special to us, we move through loss by remembering.

We remember how they laughed.

We remember what they valued.

We remember how they spent their time

Who and what they loved

How they lived.

We remember them.

We talk about them and look at pictures of them and try and hold them in our hearts just a little bit tighter.

We do everything in our power to make sure though they are gone, they are not forgotten.

So too, I work to continue to remember not only my mom, but my Meme.

My sweet Meme left us what feels like forever ago now.

Losing my Meme was the first time in my life where that ache over loss didn’t fade with time.

And as her birthday slips quietly by I remember not just for myself and the great grandchildren she never got to meet, but for everyone who knew her.

For everyone who was given the opportunity to be served a meal by her.

To be loved on by her.

To have known her.

And as I work to comprehend a world where two very important women to me are no longer in it,

I am grateful for the memories I have.

I am grateful that I can show my kids pictures and tell them stories so that while they may never have met her,

They can know who my Meme was.

I am grateful that although my Meme and my dear mother are gone

They will never be forgotten.

Happy Birthday Meme.


Time Marches On

It’s been a busy few weeks over here.

We’ve battled through another round of sickness (albeit much less intense this time).

We have a Smurflet who’s literally exploring new heights (and messes) daily.


There’s the Mini who’s hitting yet another growth spurt, and looking more like a teenager than a three almost four year old.


A second dog to continue to adjust to our family.


Signs of spring.


And a massive basement renovation to ice the proverbial cake.


More on that last one later.

Suffice it to say, we are busy these days.

And it’s a good busy.

It’s fun and exciting to watch the kids grow and change and learn.

Well mostly.


It’s fantastic to finally feel warm sunshine when we step outside.

And although a little stressful in progress, our new basement will be wonderful and quite useful once complete.


There is a lingering sadness that hovers above all the joy and excitement.

Even though I love nothing more than watching my children blossom into their own little personalities, I am sad.

Even though spring finally arriving in New England is what we’ve been waiting for all winter, I am sad.

And even though I am beyond excited to have a finished basement space for our little family, and any guests who require its services,

I am sad.

Maybe sad isn’t the right word.

Maybe it’s better described as “heavy.”

These things feel heavy.

I’m not sure what word is appropriate here.

But the fact of the matter is, I feel it.

I feel time marching on, faster and faster.

I see my growing and changing children and the reality that my sweet mom will never get to see how they’ve grown and who they’re becoming hits like a freight train.

The warm sunshine of Spring solidifies the reality that the seasons are changing. And life is moving on.

Moving on without my mom.

As I begin to look at flooring and paint and all the little details for our new basement I am hit again when I go to text my mom for her opinion only to remember

She is not there to answer me.

And although the knowledge that she is Heaven side and pain free and the happiest she has ever been or ever could possibly be while also in the presence of Jesus is comforting and good

It doesn’t erase the ache in my soul as I watch the calendar get ready to turn yet another page.

It doesn’t take that cloud away as I watch the kids play knowing one day their Nini will be more of a distant memory.

And it doesn’t make it any less hard as I watch and feel the seasons turn. As I see the physical signs of time




I am thankful for the fact that my mom is in her perfect, Heavenly home.

I am thankful knowing that my mom is worshiping the Lord she so faithfully followed, all the way to the end.

I am thankful beyond words that I will see her again someday.

But I am sad for me.

I am sad for those she left behind.

And I am gripped by the reality of how quickly time moves on.

Time doesn’t seem to care about what’s happened.

It only moves forward.

And while I know I will one day be thankful for this too,

Right now it is hard.

I am sad.

Time marches on.


Is It More Than I Can Handle?

Before reading the “official” post below, I need to admit something. This post? I actually wrote it the better part of two months ago.

And while I will be the first to admit that things like timeliness, punctuality, etc. are certainly not a skill set of mine, I haven’t posted it yet not because I forgot, or ran out of time.


For some reason I just couldn’t bring myself to post it.

I’m not sure if I was scared of people’s reactions, if I was at a low point myself, or what it was.

But whatever the reason it has sat, waiting, for a while now.

This past week however after seeing a few various social media postings, from both sides of the proverbial coin, I’m taking it as a sign from the the Lord telling me it’s time to share.

And now that I have given you what is probably an unnecessary preface (makes me feel better, I guess?), I’d like to share with you some of my (somewhat) recent thoughts.

“God will never give you more than you can handle.”

I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase before.

You may have even used it yourself once or twice.

It’s a definite contender for “most popular phrase” used in times of grief, or pain, or trials.

I personally have run across this phrase fairly often in light of recent events.

I know (at least I hope) it comes from a well meaning heart.

Someone looking to help ease the pain.

To give the situation just a glimmer of hope.

And even outside of hearing it said to me

This phrase is everywhere.

Splashed in fancy cursive writing on a scenic beach background.

Repeated again and again in motivational speeches and even sermons to encourage never giving up! It will never get so bad you cannot overcome.

But the more I hear this phrase the more it bothers me.

Really bothers me.

Bear with me a moment, and let me explain.

See, this phrase “God won’t give you more than you can handle” is deceptive.

If you really break it down, it would seem that this is implying that God will never exhaust our own personal strength.

God will never give us more than our strength can handle.

And this kind of thinking, it’s a bit dangerous.

See, this implies that you and I

We are strong.

We are pull ourselves up by our bootstraps when life gives you lemons hear me roar


And this thinking is definitely dangerous.

Thinking that we are strong enough to handle whatever life throws at us

All by ourselves.

Simply because we trust that it’ll never become “that bad.”

Oh, how highly God must think of us to give us such difficult trials!

Because remember, He will never give you more than you can handle.

But the reality of the situation is

We aren’t strong.

Not really.

See if you think about it

We can’t even ensure our own next breath.

There is no guarantee that we will even have a next breath.

And if we cannot do something seemingly so simple as make sure we take the next breath

And the next

And the next

How are we supposed to be sure we have the strength to endure suffering?

How can we know we will be able to stand up to the pain?

Now I know what you’re probably thinking right now.

If the phrase saying God will not give more than can be handled is not accurate.

Then it must mean the opposite is true.

That God will, in fact, allow us to be given situations harder than we can bear.

He will allow suffering, and pain, and hurt, that breaks us.

That brings us to our knees both figuratively and literally.


That is not such a nice thought.

But see.

Remember when I said that phrase illuminates the idea that we are strong enough on our own?

This is why we are brought to situations harder than we can handle.

Than we can fathom even possibly surviving.

That break us and take any hope we had left and dissolve it completely.

Because we. are. not. strong.

We cannot stop suffering and pain and trials and we certainly cannot make ourselves better because of it.

I mean, we can’t even always simply change our attitude about a situation.

Let alone fix it

Or make it better.

Or come out the other side “better” and “stronger.”

Not on our own.

We are given more than we can handle because we need this reminder.

We are not strong.

And often it is only when we are completely and totally broken that we remember that we are not supporting ourselves.

But rather, that God is our support.

That when we trust in Him and give ourselves totally and completely over to Him

Confessing our sin and committing to following Him

He will give us what we need to survive this life.

He will give us the strength when we have none.

He will make us “stronger” and “better” on the other side.

He will bring us safely, in a manner of speaking, to our eternal life.

How do I know this?


We cannot stop or overcome or even often handle the ultimate trial.

Ultimate pain.

We cannot overcome death.


God can.

And He did.

Oh, how He did.

Though I need to confess.

I really struggle with this.

I don’t want life to be overwhelming.

Or hard.

Or more than I can or want to handle.

I don’t want to continue life without my mom.

I don’t want to ever endure sickness or pain or anxiety or loss.

It is hard.

It breaks me.

But, in the midst, God is kind.

He is merciful and patient and loving.

And doesn’t give up on me when my attitude stinks.

And He continues to remind me and show me that in this life

I WILL have trouble.

This is not my home.

But I need only to cling to Him and allow Him to hold me and lead me.

I don’t need to muster up anything when life gets hard. I need only to ask and trust and He will give me the strength I need to make it though.

Every time.

Until I finally make it home.


Happy (sick) Birthday Smurflet

My little Smurflet,

Somehow in the midst of some terrible, awful sickness, you turned one.


I am so sorry that we marked your special with a round of illness that took DOWN 3/4 family members.

What a bummer of a way to “celebrate” turning one whole year, huh?

But you, my little Smurflet, have taken it all in stride. Your spirits never drooped even a little (well ok, maybe just a little…), and despite high fevers and hacking coughs and faucet noses you still managed to stay up to (most of) your many tricks, and thus keeping us on our toes.

Whether it’s sneaking into the bathroom to climb into the tub and turn the faucets on, or climbing up onto the radiator so you can look out the window better.

(Disclaimer, I know he isn’t actually standing ON the radiator in this picture. When that trick was preformed I was a little busy trying to keep him from leaping off to stop and try for a picture…)

And every single time I reprimand you, you flash me that little mischievous smile I’ve grown to love so much.


Even battling a round of croup I so love watching your little engineer brain at work. You’ve solved “problems” I would have never thought possible (and have certainly wished maybe you hadn’t solved), and thusly gotten yourself into more mischief than I ever imagined at a young age.


Boys, huh?

Can’t say I wasn’t warned.

Even still you are sweet and funny and huggable, you follow your sister around with great admiration, you give me all the snuggles I could want, and you top it all off buy also most definitely carrying that “boy” gene that I know is going to keep me both busy and on my knees for a very long time.


And I am sorry that your birthday party had to be rearranged due to the plague.



But late parties aside, I know I speak for your daddy and sister that we are so thankful and happy that you’ve been apart of our little family for the past year (plus a few days…).

And I pray that you would continue to grow into a smart, independent, spunky little boy who boasts a heart for God and a love for Him above all else.

I love you, my Smurflet.

Happy Birthday!

Happy New Year – Is God Still Good Part 2

The irony isn’t lost on me that I had a very similar post (found here if you’re curious) to begin 2018.

Since 2019 had a similar, although slightly more personal, ending to 2018, my recent musings have been somewhat the same as last year.

Is God still good?

These last few weeks have been indescribably difficult.

Although I have experienced some loss and hardship in my relatively short lifetime, there has been nothing that comes even somewhat close to losing my mom.

My best friend. My confident. My cheerleader. My voice of wisdom, and of reason. My parenting expert. One of the constants that has always, always been there.


Her leaving us has left a gaping hole that I know will never be filled, and I cannot begin to imagine how painful the road ahead towards “healing” will be.

Whatever “healing” means.

We went from seemingly ok to suddenly not, and although five and some odd years would seem like enough time to prepare for the inevitable

It’s just not.

And it all came and went so fast I think we are all still trying to catch our breath.

But now that things have begun to settle it leaves me wondering.

Is God still good?

Is He still good in the midst of what I would consider the most difficult and harrowing road I have yet to walk down?

Is He still good when the dark night is so dark I cannot remember what light looks like?

Is He still good.

And I confess part of my struggle with this question is the onslaught of things I see regularly on social media.

For instance

An unexpected and somewhat miraculous healing.

God is good. They have been healed.

Or unexpected home or work issues suddenly resolved with minimal damage and upset.

God is good. Look how He delivered us.

And even little things like a cancelled class when homework hasn’t been finished or a delay at work when extra sleep is desired.

Good is good. Look how He provided.

And all these things seem to point to one thing.

God is good when good things are happening.

God is good when my desires, my “needs,” are met with “yes.”

When my difficulties are resolved without a ripple affect through the rest of life.


What about me.

What about when my prayers for healing and my begging for this to not end how we all know it’s going to are met with “no.”

Is God still good.

If God is good in the good times

In the “correctly” answered prayers

Does that mean He is not still sovereign over the bad?

The obvious and immediate answer is of course He is still good.

Of course He is still Sovereign.

But spouting off acknowledgements verses truly and deeply believing I have found to be two different things.

Vastly different things.

He is in control, there is a plan.

These are things said that are meant to be helpful.

But sometimes they’re more hurtful.

If He is in control, why did He take away?

What kind of plan involves taking someone seemingly too young?

Someone so important.

Someone so loved.

Where is that good?

If I’m to be completely honest, I have asked these questions over and over these past weeks.

Why this plan? Why this path?

Why my mom.

Why my best friend.


I don’t have an answer.

I don’t know why.

I suppose I may never know why.

And while that seems to add to the sting

I simply cannot believe that even in the midst of darkness. Of trials. Of pain.

That God is not in control.

That He does not somehow still have His hand covering the pain in its entirety.

That I am still in His hand, despite the circumstances.

That He grieves with me.

That just because it is not “good,” or that my prayers have been answered “wrong,” He is not still good. And faithful. And true.

And with me.

This however absolutely does not make any of it easier.

In fact, in some moments, it can almost make things harder.

But then

I am brought back.

I remember that this is a sin filled world.

This is a world marred by the fall of mankind so many, many years ago.

This is a world filled with pain.

And trials.

And hurt.

And sickness and death and hardships and long roads into seemingly never ending darkness.

This is not meant to be our home.

This is not promised to be easy.

This is not our grand finale.

We have a greater home.

A home NOT marked with sin. Or sickness. Or pain. Or death.

A home that IS perfect. Free of any hurt. Of all suffering.

A home where my dear mother now resides.

Cancer free.

A home where we will forever be with one another, never again to be separated by death.

But first

We must make it through this world. First we must endure this pain.

Whatever our pain looks like. Whatever hurts and suffering we must shoulder.

Because as the Paul David Tripp book I have been reading so eloquently states, “and if you are not suffering now, you will someday. Somehow, someway, suffering enters everyone’s door.”

But as the weight of suffering and hurt and pain and grief bears down it is not without hope.

And while this hope does not fully take the pain of loss away

It is the pinprick of light amidst the dark road.

It is the life preserver thrown to the drowning man.

It is the calm in the midst of horrible chaos.

It is the only thing to hold on to. To cling to. To keep me moving forward







Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

But Why?

“But why mommy?”

Two beautiful but tear soaked brown eyes stare up at me.

“Why did Nini have to go to heaven?”

“Oh honey.”

I wrap her tearful body into a hug, unable to answer the question that I too am struggling with.

“Honey I don’t know why Nini had to go to Heaven. I only know that God decided it was time for her to.”

Sobs shake her little body.

“But I don’t want her to! It’s not fun if Nini’s in Heaven.”

Looking at her tear streaked face is like looking into a mirror of all the emotions swirling around inside of me.

“I know baby. It’s not fun. I don’t want her to be in Heaven either.”

I pause. Searching for words. Any words.

“But we can still talk about her”

I offer.

Small consolation to the little girl before me.

She looks so tiny as she sits on her bed.

“Does Nini still love me, even in Heaven?”

Her voice is almost a whisper.

“Of course she does! Oh honey Nini will always love you.”

“I still love her too.”

There is silence.

Little hands reach out to the pictures on her teddy bear.

“What is Nini doing, in Heaven?”

I am searching for words again. Words appropriate for a three year old.

Words to take her pain away.

“Well… What do you think she’s doing?”

“I don’t know.”

Tears fill her eyes again.

I look at the teddy bear wearing three meaningful pictures.

“Maybe… Maybe she’s sitting by the beach?”

She sits up a little straighter.

“Is she?”

“Yes, maybe. The prettiest beach of all.”

“Do you think… do you think she’s finding seashells?”

Her voice still just above a whisper.

“Oh I bet the prettiest seashells of all!”

She stares at the picture.

The one of her and Nini sitting on the beach.

What Nini loved best of all.

“For me?”

“Of course for you. And all the best colors. Pink and purple and blue…”

She sits straighter still.

“I’d like that.”

She gives me one more hug, somewhat comforted,

if only for the moment.

Her eyes are dryer now.

She holds the bear a little tighter.

“I love you, Mommy.”

“I love you too, sweetie.”



An Everlasting Christmas

While I confess I am still taking my much needed social media sabbatical, as promised I wanted to share the talk I gave a few weeks back for a ladies Christmas event at my church.

This talk seemed especially relevant in light of our Christmas this year – just another reminder that God is not random I suppose.

So without any further ramblings, please find my talk, titled “An Everlasting Christmas” below:

Good Morning.

For those of you here this morning who know me this probably won’t come as a surprise, and for those who don’t know me, well, maybe you won’t be surprised either.



I. Love. Christmas.


I love everything about Christmas.


I love Christmas decorations, I love Christmas trees, I love the food, I love giving (ok, and getting) gifts, I love the time spent with family.


I love it all.


I love it so much that I actually have almost enough Christmas earrings to go from Thanksgiving to Christmas without having to wear the same pair twice.


And I confess, Christmas music begins around July in my house.


For those of you here who do know me you probably are already aware that I inherited my love of Christmas from my mom.


Growing up, Christmas was a pretty major event in my house. I mean, most people “decorate” for Christmas, but my mom DECORATES for Christmas.


It’s hard to NOT get excited about Christmas surrounded by all that.


Allow me to give you some perspective – you know when you walk into Kohls or JC Penny and you see that cute little Christmas section? Yeah, my mom’s whole HOUSE makes that look pretty UNimpressive.


It’s IMpressive to say the least.


And now that I have my own house, I still love to usher in the Christmas season with music, lights, the works. Although my house isn’t quite up to par with my Mom’s (yet!), I do have a lot of special decorations that always make me happy when I pull them out.


For example, I have a Christmas dish set that I inherited from my dear grandmother. Now, this isn’t your average 8/10-piece dish set. I could probably invite most of Franklin County over and I would have enough plates, bowls, cups, etc.


It’s the real deal.


And I just love pulling it out every year to enjoy all those memories, and to see how beautiful it makes my table look.


It really spruces things up.


See what I did there? Spruce? Christmas tree?


Never mind.


But, no matter how much I love those plates, or my mom’s décor, all of Christmas eventually has to come down.


Without fail every year, sometime in January…ok, maybe February, my dishes go away, the lights come down, my mom’s house goes back to normal.


It’s sad, isn’t it?


If you’re anything like me, you may wish every year that you could just leave the decorations up.


That you could celebrate Christmas all year long.


Well, I am here to tell you this morning that it is actually possible to celebrate Christmas forever.


No, I’m not going to advocate for leaving lights up all year long – although that’s not such a bad idea.


I’m here to tell you about Heaven.


Now, you may be thinking it’s a bit of a stretch to akin Heaven to an all year long, you may even say everlasting, Christmas celebration, but hear me out.


While the lights and the dish settings, and in my mom’s case the Santa figurine collections, are a large part of the “Christmas experience,” I think what we all REALLY love is the Christmas time “feeling.”


The feeling of peace and love and joy and just happiness that we all feel around Christmas time.


The feelings, or emotions, that make the season so special.


The feelings that we always talk about wanting to have last all year long.


These feelings, these emotions, these words, are a large part of how we describe Heaven.


Revelation 21:4 says: He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.


This verse is talking about Heaven.


So, if in Heaven there is NO more death, no more mourning, no more crying, and no more pain, then by definition there MUST be life, and peace, and joy, and happiness.


Thus, Heaven is kind of like an eternal, everlasting Christmas time “feeling.”


All of eternity, spent in the presence of God, the creator of Heaven and earth, with continual peace, love, joy…


Doesn’t that sound awesome?


I am all for an everlasting Christmas feeling!




On the road to this everlasting Christmas feeling there is a bit of a speed bump.


Well, it’s more of a roadblock actually.


This roadblock is called sin.


Now I could spend all morning defining the ins and outs of sin, but I think my daughter’s children’s Bible does it the best:


Sin is badness.


We are told in the Bible, in Romans 3:23, that we ALL have sinned, meaning we all have badness.


Are you with me so far?




Now here’s where this sin becomes that roadblock.


Because we all have sin, as we’ve just read, God, who is perfect (or sinLESS), cannot be in our presence.


And also due to sin, we have no desire to even BE in God’s presence.


Bit of a monkey wrench when you consider that the wonderful Heaven we previously described is where God is.


So, if He can’t be around us, because of sin, and we don’t want to be around Him, how do we get that everlasting Christmas?


Well, the only way to rectify this situation is by “fixing” our badness.


Ezekiel 36:26 says:  And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.


This verse is a promise.


See, God knew that sin was going to cause separation between us and Him. But He also had a way that it could be fixed.


He promises in this verse to give us a new heart and a new spirit.


This is our solution.


If our sin, or our current heart state, results in distance between us and God, then we need a new one.


We need a heart that desires to be with God, and we need a way for God to be able to be with us.


So, how do we get this new heart?


How do we get our everlasting Christmas?


Well, God promises to give us this new heart, but we have some responsibility here as well.


We have to ask for it.


And I don’t mean an offhanded “hey God I’m really into this whole Heaven thing so a new heart would be great right about now.”


No, I mean that we need to humbly and repentantly acknowledge that due to our sin we do not desire to be with God. And we need to humbly ask that He take our current sin filled heart and give us one that longs for Him.


A heart that desires nothing more than an eternal relationship with Him, resulting in someday getting to spend everlasting and everlasting celebrating that “Christmas feeling,” in Heaven, with God, forever.


And here is some good news:


If we ask, He will do it.


He will give us a heart that desires Him, He will forgive and forget all our past and future sins, and He will continue to grow us closer and closer to Himself.


Now, He gives us this new heart through His son, Jesus.


The very same Jesus whom we celebrate being born at Christmastime.


See this sin, this “badness,” that we all have comes with a consequence.


Without a new heart we would be forever separated from God.


No everlasting Christmas.


And unfortunately for us, being weighted with sin, we can never, on our own, make up enough “goodness” to bridge that separation.


So, God sent Jesus, His perfect, also sinless, son to be that absolutely good enough “goodness” for us.


God sent Jesus to bear our sin for us, allowing Him to give us that new heart. Which in turn, allows us to close the gap between us and God.


God sent Jesus down from that wonderful place called Heaven, away from all that perfect peace and love, into our imperfect world.


God sent Jesus to stand in our place, taking the punishment for our sin.


See, that consequence of sin we talked about? The separation between us and God?


Another way to say that would be “death.”


The Bible tells us that the punishment for our sin is death, according to Romans 6:23.



And without a fulfillment of that punishment, there is no way for us to receive a new heart.


But if WE fulfill that punishment, we have no opportunity for a new heart.


So Jesus, a perfect sacrifice in our place, came down from Heaven to face death on a cross.


And in doing so, gave us freedom from death. Freedom from the separation between us and God. Freedom from the grip of sin.


A way to be open and able to receive a new heart.


A way to desire to be in God’s presence for all eternity.


A way for God to allow us into His perfect presence.


A way to receive an everlasting Christmas.


Now if you’re sitting here right now thinking that you simply cannot wait that long to celebrate Christmas forever, I have some more good news for you.


We get a taste of this everlasting Christmas now.


No, it’s not nearly as amazing as what it will be in Heaven, but those who cling to God and receive that new heart get to experience some of that peace and love and happiness in the here and now.


We get the peace of knowing that God is in control and holding us in His hands no matter what.


We get to experience love like we’ve never experienced on a human level.


And we can be happy.


And this happy feeling isn’t one that will go away in a few months.


This is true and complete happiness. All encompassing, never failing, I have a relationship with the creator of the world, happiness.


That will only grow brighter and brighter until it’s finally manifested one day in our everlasting Heavenly Christmas.


A “Christmas” that we will never have to put away.


And let me tell you, as the de-decoration specialist, my husband is especially thankful for that part!


But in all seriousness, this is an amazing gift we are being offered.


Being able to close the sin-caused separation between us and God due to a new sinLESS heart, through the great sacrifice of Jesus.


Being welcomed into the presence of God with open arms.


Being forgiven from, and relieved of, the burden of our sin.


Being offered an everlasting Christmas.


No this everlasting Christmas doesn’t come with Christmas plates or twinkle lights.


It doesn’t come with neatly wrapped gifts under a fresh smelling tree.


And it doesn’t come with a different pair of Christmas earrings for every day of the year.


But what it does come with is so. much. better.


Peace in the hands of God. Forgiveness of our sins. Everlasting, eternal life.


An everlasting Christmas.

A Weak (but heartfelt) Thank You

I don’t know if you’re allowed a “social media break” when you have a blog.

But I needed one.

It’s been a busy and difficult and strenuous time since last I’ve been here.

There have been some big changes around here too.

If you hadn’t heard or seen, my sweet mom has joined her Savior for this Christmas.

And honestly I just haven’t had the words or strength to be here as we’ve journeyed down this path.

But I’ve had a few requests recently for both a talk I gave at my church, and what I said at my mom’s service.

While I am still needing to reformat my talk into a “postable” format, I wanted to share what I said at the service last weekend.

I also wanted to take a moment to profusely thank everyone who came out to honor my mom, who has been praying for us as we walk down this road, for the kind words and love shown to us, and for the patience and understanding given as we navigate our new normal. I know I haven’t replied to most messages or emails or texts, but please know that we have received and read them all.

Thank you does seem a bit simple, but it’s all I’ve got right now.

So thank you.

And please keep those prayers coming.

And now, for those unable to attend last weekend, here is the best I could do when trying to sum up my mom, and the impact she’s had on everything she ever touched:

Well. I am glad to see so many people here today wearing black. My mom would have been very proud. Because as she always said, black never goes out of style.

As I’ve been thinking recently, what I might say before you all about my mom, I’ve struggled.

How do you sum up the life of someone you’ve known forever?

Someone who’s been there every step of your way?

How do I accurately tell you just who my mom was?

I could tell you about how she ran Spartan races without blinking an eye.

I could talk about the fact that she homeschooled three kids and somehow managed to keep (at least most of) her sanity.

I could say what a loving and wonderful Nini she was to my kids.

I could mention that she and my dad were high school sweethearts.

Or I could focus on the fact that whatever life threw at her, no matter if she liked the call on the field or not, she always clung to her faith, and knew without a doubt where her hope was.

And I should probably also mention that she would have shaken her head at that football reference.

But just saying these things out loud doesn’t seem to do my mom justice.

They don’t tell you enough how special, and wonderful, and absolutely perfect for me, my mom was.

So I think I’ll just say this.

My mom was amazing. She was strong, she was beautiful, and she was truly my best friend.

And I’m really going to miss her.




Men are from Mars, Husbands are from Heaven

Recently our little family has been dealing with a decent amount of…well I’ll just sum it up as “stress.”

It’s not so much large, super crazy difficult stressful things, but more along the lines of a whole bunch of different issues that start to add up.

Sometimes I think it’s more overwhelming for me to have all those “little stresses” verses one “big stress” because it starts to tread the line of failure.

Meaning, I should be able to handle everything because big picture these things aren’t “that big.”

But little by little they add up, and then almost always completely overwhelm me.

Adding raising two small kiddos and just generally trying to maintain the household it’s sometimes a recipe for a breakdown.

And the other day that’s exactly what happened.

I just reached my breaking point.

The stress, the kids, the unclean house, I was just kind of done.

Ok, pretty done.

Totally done.

I had a headache I couldn’t shake, dinner wasn’t making itself, and it just seemed like we were facing battles (however small) where we couldn’t gain the upper hand.

To say I was a hot mess when the Hubby walked in the door was a bit of an understatement.

Now, it should be said that my hubby is a great husband and father, and rarely does he come home and “shut down” simply because he’s off the proverbial clock.

But that particular evening, I was more than thankful for him and his husband/father capabilities.

He swooped in and completely took over.

While I took our little Smurflet and got him down for nap number three, the Hubby took over handling the Mini, the dinner, the dishes…

A practical, real life example of husbandly love.

By the time I got the Smurflet down all that was left was for me to sit, and be still for a few moments.

A little reset, if you will.

No, nothing was solved in that evening.

(Much to the dismay of my “Mr. Fix-it” husband 😉 )

But there was still a weight lifted, and for a moment some much needed relief.

And I was reminded how thankful I am to not be doing life alone.

In this case, it was an assist from my wonderful husband.

But whether it’s a spouse or even a friend, it makes things generally a whole lot more bearable to have someone there to refocus you, realign you, and come beside you.

Someone to remind you that no matter how overwhelming or unwinable the situation might seem, you aren’t alone.

Someone to show you real, practical, Biblical love.

Someone to just love you where you’re at.

Because sometimes all you need to turn things around is a hero in an apron:


Life, Laughter, and who am I kidding. It's all craziness!