a new year… a new word(s)

In 2016… I chose {nourish}… it was a gentle call, a whisper… and I didn’t give myself fully. I wish I would have- because everything I could have learned, I still have yet to gain.

In 2017… I chose {freedom}… it was a rally cry… a calling. An ephemeral glimmer always floating on the outskirts in every decision.  It was a wind in the air, in my sails, in my hair, against my face, whispering in my ear.

2018… and… I chose {invest}… although it is seconded always and continually by {tend}… and I think the two will dwell hand in hand… a tend(ing) invest(ment) in many! areas of my life.

How this word is informing me this year:

{Invest} in (this is in no particular order)…

  • the Scriptures
  • my marriage
  • my children
  • my relationships
  • my health
  • my mind
  • my body
  • my soul
  • my spirit
  • my church and community group
  • my family


my physical self, my homeschool, the physical needs of this life(these lives), the house, the people

I have, in general, been quiet on the blog. I have been quiet about a “word.” I have been quiet in my life. I keep pondering my purpose and intent. I miss certain bloggers who have “gone away,” silenced their voice, or “hidden” from view. I don’t want that to be me.

One thing I know: I want to be real. Forever and always.

2018: the journey is {to invest}… what’s yours?





Next Day

I sit on the floor with a wee, still small- but growing O! so fast, four year old tucked on my lap, her hair against my cheek. Picture book in hand. She helps turn the pages. By my side, the six year old twins squish in… listening. The comfort of this moment reaches deep into my soul.

And I am glad. Glad. Glad. And my heart and mind race down years. Seventeen years. Years of reading to small children tucked next to me… and us all being soothed in mind and heart. Together. Making connections and weaving a story. Gold threads in our own tapestry. I look ahead and I hope for small grandchildren gathered round me, who I can impact for eternity. I only hope, because I have loved. And I am busy about this present day… with many too faces growing too quickly before my clouded eyes. There is much work to be {continually} done.

I look at the present faces all around me. Each one’s precious life a gift from God.. and my heart set to minister. To “see” each one… however, imperfectly- so very inadequate…but by faith.

I think of all… all! the imperfect and sloppy days living this life. I think of the relentless press and pursuit forward with all that I am. I think of how I lay down my life for Jesus’ sake. I think of how that is misunderstood in so many ways; again, again. And how poor I am at communicating the full impact of the vision of my heart; the obedience of my life; the unending questioning, analyzing, suffering of the path that is ever before me.


Prior Night,

I sat in a small group of Christians who I do not know very well, and who do not know me. They know about me. They know what they think of me. Perhaps some unwittingly admire me or think I am “something” that I am most assuredly not… because of *very outward*  circumstances of my life.

They ask interested questions. And I try to answer. All the ways I have answered over all the years. And all the corrections offered and the judgments given. How do you convey an entire life given to God, however imperfectly,- no.- so very imperfectly- in a fifteen minute- or even a 60 minute sound bite, when the journey has traversed so much hardship, difficulty, suffering, angst, frustration, confusion, and pain. I can’t.

How do you let people in who look at you with bright, rosy eyes expecting a picture you cannot provide? And how do you guard your heart from the shudder of hurt felt when the warmth turns chill- which it always does. Because.

The story above has also been played out down years. Years and years. Perhaps not seventeen- but close to it. Yes. Close.

I feel sometimes sick at the replay of these conversations. In the end, I determine to continue on. In obedience, by striving ever more to watch my words and guard my heart.

I think of all the words I choke back. The ones I blurt out. The ones I wish two days later, I would have shared. I think of last year’s word: Freedom. I let it wash over me. Freedom.

Free in Christ. Free to live. Free to choose. Free to do. Free. I am free. Free to not ever think again about anything said to me, and every misunderstanding, and bright eye- dimmed.

Free to run toward ALL the fullness of Christ for me that no man can ever lessen.


In these new middle years of my life, I find so much different.

I don’t regret one moment of laying down my life for my family through faith in Christ and giving my whole self to this ministry and calling. My imperfections and weakness; my failures leave their mark. But that is not the fault of the call or the choice(s).

I know I will stand before Christ and the fear of God is real in my soul. But I also know His understanding knows no bounds. He knows EVERY crack, crevice, mote of dust; all the tears, all the pain, all the broken-ness. He is informed by all and above all.


To state that “I have been going through something” this year, is such a shadow of the full impact in my life.

My whole life (since 1999) has been connected in and through each of my children and Todd. I gave my body and I gave my heart. I gave willingly. I gave in faith. I surrendered. The fact that the full surrender has led to pain is not wrong. God is with me in the pain. In every season, Christ.

I do believe that I am most fully developed as I exercise my ministry in and through my family. And, in these days, I see this played out again and again as a new season of employment has been upon me for over a year. And in this employment, it is the strength of my family behind me that provides wings for the excellence before me.

I have learned that

when I surrendered to Christ, I surrendered to difficulty I could not see and I could not predict. I gave myself to going through the things He allows. When I said, like Mary, “Be it done to me according to Your will.” I invited Him, His holy Presence, to overshadow my life. And so He has.

The choices I have made find their source; their root; their seed here:

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  John 15

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.  1 John 3

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life[f] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. Matthew 16

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. John 12

I know that I can trust the Lord through every season and rest in Him as He orders my circumstances. I know that the gifts and the calling of God is irrevocable and He will quicken and bring life to me appropriate to my days.

I know that the pouring out of a whole heart and life was not and is not wrong. Nor will I be left helpless, alone, with no identity, and/or lost, because in all things: Christ and in every new season: the work of my hands, heart, and soul for Him.

What do I say to the young father who asks: Should I keep a portion of my life just for myself? These children grow and are meant to leave.

I say: Lay down the whole of your life for Christ. Lose your life, to find it.

I say: Children require the full focus of a life. They are designed to need it so. The impact of this choice is eternal.

God’s design is good, even when it hurts.

In all things, Christ.

Let it be so.







I weep.

-wounded in one

sudden, unexpected


the fragments of a day, a season, a life

the ragged edges endless;


I am cut down the heart, unguarded

in that moment.

I find the

-liquid black, the make-up smears and

I am utterly




There is a picture in my heart:

There is a

banner waving high while a white stallion rears.

The boy-man astride, with strength in his thigh and

wind through his hair; his blue eyes glint.

He grins.

With a sudden kick of the heel

he whirls

away with confidence.

I whisper

Ride free, my love.

All the imperfect I have given you,

all the broken places, pieces


it has still been


I pray the sanctity of my heart’s effort

anoints the forward path.

I have you in my heart.


I fumble in the wreckage

of a purse completely tossed asunder.

It’s my purse and it’s my life.

And I can’t find the one card I need

in the one moment I need it, which is now.

And I have to suffer the humiliation

of it


The purse, the life, the pain, the asking, the need-

the constant

-holding my ground and humbling-

humbling myself

I do it for the good. For the good of my people.

and the way life always and forever

always and forever

looks so different, IS so different.

A sob with pain no one can share. It is mine alone

and I must bear it.


The music plays

it plays my heart.

he plays my heart

in and out

through all the years.

The piano notes ripple

all around me

filling my


It’s George Winston. It’s December.


I cry.

I cry the broken

-hearted, unexpected.

I rush on like a train

barreling down the track

but suddenly

I am off


so off track,

I am wrecked.

I wander through the store with downcast eyes.

I am just one word away

from that wild, uncontrollable, inexplicable


that embarrasses

us all.

But, it doesn’t matter.

I am alone.




Endless Gifts-January

A “morning tea” with a drizzle of honey and a “spot” of nutpods creamer (cranberry blood orange tea)

the son who pulls me outside in the frost of night to see the moon and its gigantic! ring, telling me it is worth it. And it is.

soaking and stretching the final days of Christmas break…

a neighborhood walk with a small boy; a twilight walk with my man; a long walk with my son and all the beauty we notice together

100 charts

Christmas spent tumbled together without illness. I still marvel. So deeply thankful.

The Republic of Tea and cookie sweets for dear teachers; The Republic of Tea and times around a steaming cup, just what was needed

Micah. So many things in this turbulent, challenging, final year.

almonds and chocolate. forever.

66books. Twice. Nathanael and I there on Fridays.

The way writing makes me real. I need real.

His steadfast, chocolate brown gaze. Nathanael.

The hoodies from my Mom cozied round my loves.

The long press of commitment and faithfulness. I submit to its shaping.

all my darlings.

filled cookies and safe treats found at BJs unexpectedly

getting gas in the van on what might have been the coldest day of the  year

Pachelbel’s Canon

~Endless Gifts~

photos of: morning meeting candles, norah, aymee’s drawing, micah’s basketball, nathanael before the Christian Homeschool Dance, pippin, swirly hot cocoa, klondike 2018, jonah’s first klondike: most uncomfortable, coldest klondike yet.









hot cocoa


jonah klondike 18

Happy New Year!!

Tonight, we feast, relax, hang-out, party, enjoy, love, laugh, and play. We celebrate!

Happy New Year!!!



Venison meatballs in a sweet soy sauce over white rice

Shrimp and (hot) cocktail sauce



Re-fried Bean Dip and Chips

Daiya Quesadillas


Chicken tenders, Nuggets

Steak Fries and Tater Tots

Broccoli Salad

Veggies and Special Sauce


For once, there are plenty! of left-overs to enjoy tomorrow. 🙂

Trusting the Lord in and for 2018. May you be blessed!



It’s about time for Catan!! Anyone else? 🙂



Christmas Endless Gifts

The College Application Season behind us for son number 1.

My delightful junior who is the next focus of my mind

Christmas Eve and Jingle Bells; It’s a Wonderful Life; and Shepherd’s Meal:

Potato Soup with Crumbled Bacon and Crusty Bread

Candles and Cookies

The Advent Book and Lift the Flap

their faces and their happiness


a Christmas realization ponderings

this devotional that just ministered to my heart on Christmas Day: Christ- the Greatest Gift.

A table prepared for me with candles and sweetness and savory, too

a smooth Christmas Day drive

fairy lights

Christmas with Ama and Grandad and Christmas week theater movies and littles round the table


the star of Bethlehem shining in the sky as I drive down 378 and reflections on a home-town

a fireside visit at a Panera- and seeing Orange Ginger Mint there!!!

a visit to Colin’s; a view and a cozy fire

a journal and a pen

~Endless Gifts- Christmas Week~











Merry Christmas!

Merry, merry Christmas!

I have learned this week- the week between Christmas and New Year’s is one of my favorites of the whole year. It is a slowing time, a pondering time, a time to reassess, recommit, reorganize, re-prioritize. It a blessed reprieve after the week before Christmas, which is one of my hardest weeks of the year. I am thinking long and hard this week.  I am filling a notebook with every random thought- in order to put it on paper where it can then be managed.

I am pondering my focus for Offerings in 2018. I have Mission of Motherhood posts to share, and I am committed more than ever to completing my study and sharing posts.

I am seeking the Lord because I need Him to release my {writing} voice. A tight strained hush has constrained me.

This space has always been an “ebenezer”… a space where I mark the Presence of God in my life and acknowledge my Journey in and with Him. It is also the space where I redeem the moments in my family- which is His grace gift to me (both the family and the space.)

It is still so, and I need it more than ever.

I have a post on 66books that published Christmas Day. You can find it here: 

With all the changes a fledging son brings, as I move fully into a season where all children are school age, as a face a new physical season where I require more personal tending and care, I want to stay in tune, present, aware, observant, and real “in this space.”

I am tossing around words like: tend, invest, renew as my One Word for 2018. I don’t think I have shared much in this space about such an endeavor. In the past, I have chosen Nourish and Freedom. Reading at the site I linked helps, I just discovered. I am still pondering.

It is still just a few days past the celebration of Christ’s birth…and the days are holy.

I am cupping these precious, newborn days. And, in minutes here and there, reflecting toward the New Year.

Love and Grace.


Christmas Eve 2017


Shepherd’s Meal: Potato Soup and Crusty Bread

Advent with candle glimmer and cookies

First season ever (and maybe last!) of Gingerbread house decoration

Maryland sky beauty- these days of December. Winter Solstice was especially glorious.

Traditional Peppermint Bark made by Nathanael and Asher

Blessed Christmas Eve!

Endless Gifts

Sometimes, my heart feels so full to …bursting. This year it brims. It brims in every way.

-sweet, sweet Thanksgiving

-their thankfulness round the table; tucking in a small sister, music lessons, acro, the anticipation of Christmas, cousins coming to visit, time to rest and renew over the break, being able to help a fellow Scout on his Eagle project; such goodness

-new Christmas traditions in Maryland: electric parade, Christmas lights, the promise of a neighborhood Christmas lights walk and cocoa, Advent beginnings, book wrappings, tree decorating,

-turkey soup

-memories of special late night movie watching with Todd and the three oldest boys, and realizing the fitting-ness of it all. This season.

-the laugh Abi and I shared as the rabbit float rolled by

Crushed peppermint on cupcakes1126171953

The little light show at the college and the girls’ singing and delighted

everyone, back to class and school, and the hope of Christmas break

Spangler candy canes and home-made elderberry syrup; hot tea!

Time together in the quiet

Coconut Whip floating in coffee and hot cocoa, such delight

Advent candles on the table

quiet words for my heart

-Endless gifts in photos-



Thanksgiving 2017

Sweet, sweet is the day and the feast and the merry-making and the soft, landing for weary, weary bones.

Tucked in, cozy…candle flicker, feast foods

a sunset walk and

warm welcome back.

Menu 2017


Veggie Platter

Triscuits and Special Sauce

Ham and pickle roll-ups

Deviled eggs

Main Menu

Roasted Turkey

Steamed corn

Steamed green beans

Italian Salad

Broccoli Salad

Holiday Cranberry Relish

Holiday Rolls

Sweet Potato Bake

Whipped Mashed Potatoes


Apple Crumble Pie

Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Roll

Dairy Free French Silk Pie

Chocolate Chip Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Jewish Apple Cake

Photos from Thanksgiving Day and Prep Day (the day before…)

Notes: Micah made the broccoli salad, bread dough, special sauce and pumpkin pies; Nathanael made the Cranberry Relish and Jewish Apple Cake; Asher and Nathanael made the vegetable platter; Asher and Abi made the pumpkin roll and pumpkin bars, Abi helped with the deviled eggs;  Abi and Joshua rolled the ham and pickle roll-ups; Abi laid out the triscuit platter and pre-cooked the bacon for the broccoli salad; Jonah and I made Chocolate Chip Pie **Jonah was ill with fever on prep day so we did this on Thanksgiving Day; Joshua and I made Apple Crumble Pie and he peeled eggs for the Deviled eggs; Aymee, Melodee, and Norah rolled the dough balls for the rolls; Aymee and Melodee helped make Dairy Free French Silk pie; Norah helped make Sweet Potato Marshmallow Bake; Todd made the Turkey and smashed the potatoes for me; he steamed the veggies and sliced red onion; I put the salad together; seasoned the mashed potatoes, helped  with, filled, and rolled the pumpkin roll; Made the deviled egg filling and sliced/filled the eggs, made apple pie, sweet potato bake, french silk pie, chocolate chip pie, and made a Martha Stewart pumpkin bar with left-over canned pumpkin- that was not a favorite due to the bittersweet chocolate chips I used. 

I put the girls in fancy hair-dos… and even Abi had her hair twisted into two adorable knots for the evening festivities. Todd and I heard musical pieces from children and watched two Christmas dances (by the little girls). The sunset walk was perfect and Norah was a bright, pink, effervescent streak against the darkening sky. There was Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and the Thanksliving Box. There was the best food of the year.  There was ‘going around the table.’ And prayer for the year that was and is to come. And now… Lord of the Rings extended with my biggest people. 

This whole day is an offering of praise. Thank You, Lord. Let us live for You and You, be with us. We lift up our remembrance stones. Thank You for all the deliverance in our lives. 

I think about the stories that captivate our (my family’s) hearts and inform our minds; and I want to live a more faithful, intentional story every day.

Happy Thanksgiving friends!