2015 Favorite Posts

Hello! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends!

This year, I’ve challenged myself to do new things and keep moving forward. It’s been an amazing journey while seeking God’s sweet and refreshing grace. His love never fails.

To wrap up 2015, here is an index to some of my favorite posts.

Enjoy these posts, and I will see you next week…in 2016! 🙂


1)From Ordinary to Extraordinary

(My first published blog post helped set the stage for our life now.)

2)What I Learned from a Cup of Milk

(A parenting insight during a meltdown from a few years ago.)

3)Grace and Ice Cream

(I wanted to take Lydia for ice cream, but she was throwing a fit.)

4)Father Knows Best

(A little story about God’s perfect timing as we continue moving forward.)

5)A Road Trip, Relaxation and Pie

(I love pie and beautiful views!)

6)Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

(One of the biggest lessons I learned in our cancer journey; this is where it all started.)

7)Favorite Nancy!

(Who doesn’t have a favorite Nancy?!)

8)Tomatoes and Better Days Ahead

(A poor, neglected tomato plant brought me tremendous hope during a dark time.)

9)Put on Your Pants!

(On procrastination and just doing what we are supposed to do!)

10)God’s Grace and Glory in Wyoming

(Another road trip with beautiful scenery and great friends…)

11)On Rivendell and Rest

(For LOTR fans, a great parallel on finding rest in God.)

12)Race Toward Grace!

(Going into the new year, let’s race toward grace!)

13)Got Stress? Get Grace!

(For all the times when we are still trying to run the entire solar system…)

14)The Significance of Our Stories

(This one has a video link at the bottom. God still works in the midst of our difficult stories.)

15)A Preschool Pick-Me-Up

(My most popular post thus far. My little one set me straight!)

16)Tidings of Comfort and Joy

(God brings us comfort during our trials and joy in our pain. Praise God!)


Well, that’s it for now. Thanks for reading!

“The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you” (2 Corinthians 13:14).




Rejoice! God Is with Us!

I previously mentioned this holiday season took me by surprise with the amount of grief I have experienced. I didn’t expect to sail through the holidays, of course. But it’s been more intense and has lasted longer than I expected.

Really, it has been a few months—from Halloween, Lydia’s birthday, Thanksgiving, Dave’s birthday last week, Christmas, to our wedding anniversary coming up in early January. However, God has been faithfully reminding me of His love.

With each year that goes by, Lydia is older, understands more, and asks more questions— especially about Dave and God. In fact, she is talking about Dave nearly every day now.

I’ve heard it is generally wise to explain things to a child at his or her level of understanding. Two years ago, for our first holiday season without Dave, Lydia adored babies. They were her point of reference for everything in her little world. Lydia was very interested in Baby Jesus which helped guide our Christmas conversation.

As she asks me more specific questions about Dave, I point her to Jesus. If Lydia knows who Jesus is and that He is GOOD, she’ll understand that Dave/Daddy is safe with Jesus.

It helps me to reflect on that too.


In explaining the Christmas story to Lydia, I’ve been able to see it through a fresh lens. It is so simple. The word “gospel” means good news… and I can’t think of ANY better news than this! “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17).

While Christmas is still difficult for us without Dave, we celebrate Jesus! Isaiah 9:6 says, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Praise the King of Kings!!

O come, O come Emmanuel!
(third verse)

“O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer,
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.”

Jesus makes all the difference.

Knowing Jesus means that someday I will see Dave and other loved ones again. Because of Jesus, Lydia will get to meet her Daddy again. He gives us Victory over the grave…and grief.

Over these last few years, God challenged and conquered all my fears. I don’t have to be afraid because He is with me. In Christ I live and move and have my being (Acts 17:28). With Him, I don’t have to do Life alone. I can have His love, joy, and peace today!

Whatever you are dealing with, take heart. With Jesus, there is HOPE. He brings good news to the poor, comforts the brokenhearted, and sets the captives free. He gives us favor with God (see Isaiah 61:1-3). He offers new life and purpose. Jesus changes everything.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!


Thank You, God, for loving us so much. Thanks for Your grace and favor. Help us walk in the freedom You have given us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Little Drummer Girl

At home, Lydia likes to bang on her own makeshift drum—an old Garrett’s popcorn tin from when she was little. The popcorn is long gone, but it has provided hours of headaches entertainment in our house over the years. Ahh, my little drummer girl!

“I wonder what the little drummer boy’s name was.” –Lydia’s Christmas carol commentary

In the song, The Little Drummer Boy, the (fictitious) little boy has nothing in comparison to other gifts brought. Yet, he gave what he could…a simple song. In some ways, we are all like the poor little drummer boy.

God is the Giver of all good things (James 1:17). He has given us the best gift in His Son, Jesus. Nothing we can bring will ever match His glorious sacrifice. All that we are or ever will be already belongs to Him, because it came from Him. So we can only give a portion back to God out of what He already gave.

The value of what we bring comes in the form of gratefulness—humbly accepting all He has done for us. As any loving parent, aunt, or uncle understands, it brings God great joy when we praise, honor, and adore His precious Son, Jesus.

What can we offer Him in return? In Luke 10:27, Jesus said that we should love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. This might include your time, effort, or money (1 Chronicles 21:22-25). God loves a cheerful giver, and out of His own abundance He ensures we always have plenty (see 2 Corinthians 9:7-8).

You may not feel like you have much to contribute, but like the little drummer boy (whatever his name), we each have a gift to bring… And when you lay all of it before the King, He takes it and makes something good.


The great news is that because of Jesus, we don’t have to stay “stuck” in our circumstances or grief (or any emotion). We can rejoice that God continues to work all things out for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28). Praise God!

In our brokenness, we become a vessel He uses to bless others.

Because we are all so unique, this will look differently for each of us. For me, this recently has meant bringing my grief to the Lord and then being available to talk with others in their pain. Helping others has been healing in and of itself!

For someone else, it may be caroling at a nursing home, visiting a prisoner, or feeding the hungry. Maybe babysitting, writing an encouraging note, or giving a hug is more your style. Be generous. It all counts! They’re all gifts to the One who receives it. (see Matthew 25:35-40).

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).

Each of our gifts, talents and struggles will be different. But, we ALL honor the King when we bring our very best to Him.

Father God, Thank You for Jesus and all the wonderful things you have given us. We can’t out give You, God. You are so generous to provide good things for us. Help us bring our very best to you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions to consider: What are your gifts? How might they honor God and help someone else?

Oh, Come! Let Us Adore Him!

Last Friday night, Lydia and I attended the Phillips, Craig & Dean (with Shaun Groves) concert at our church. As I mentioned in last week’s post about grief, I had debated whether to go or not. This was partially because of Lydia staying up late…and partially because of my grief. In the end, I decided to take her along for a fun experience. I hoped it might get me in the Christmas mood, because I wasn’t “feeling it”…

Well, the night was amazing. These “singing pastors” have been performing for 25 years. So, they sang some older songs and their most recent ones. Of course, they also sang Christmas carols, like ‘O Come All Ye Faithful.’ I was glad I didn’t miss it!

Lydia had fun—I’d say her first concert was a success! I laughed when she asked, “Why isn’t Craig singing?” (I think it was Phillips…) 🙂 I replied, “Because they each have their own part, and it’s not his turn!” My cup “overflowed” with joy, and thankfully, I grabbed some Kleenex before the concert!

I don’t make it to many concerts these days, but I felt like God personally invited me to this one. That evening I heard one word consistently: ADORE. The Lord reminded me of a key principle—worship is all about Him. Lord, don’t let me forget.

PCD_Dec 2015

And to think: I went to the concert to help myself get in the mood for Christmas—you know, to celebrate Jesus’ birth… (Wow! I admit writing that makes my rationale much more horrifying!) Now, grief is necessary and appropriate at times. Even so, I need to keep my eyes on Jesus—not myself or my situation.

Worship is not to help me feel better (though that may occur). It’s not about getting something, falling apart, or keeping it all together. It’s not about the lights, music or singing. It is about giving praise and adoration to the King of Kings…because He is worthy. It’s about being in the presence of Almighty God, my Savior, my Healer, my Comforter , my Redeemer, my Deliverer…the One who makes ALL things right and new.

“Not to us, Lord, not to us but to Your name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness” (Psalm 115:1). When we worship God, we give Him glory and magnify His Name. Jesus is the Name above all names (Philippians 2:10). When I recalled how magnificent He is, everything else faded away, unimportant.

I was reminded of the ‘smallness’ of my concerns because Jesus is greater. I am covered by the Prince of Peace. Praise God for His mercy and grace! It was an honor to be there in the presence of the King. He knew just what I needed.

PCD_Dec 2015 worship

“Come near to God and He will come near to you…” (James 4:8).

Christ Jesus the King invites us all to come. Come and behold the One “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20). Perhaps God is asking you to make some changes and switch your focus today. Oh COME! Let us adore Him together!

If you’ve never received an invitation like this, don’t miss it. God offers a new life and a new perspective through His Son, Jesus. Will you accept His personal invitation? Oh come! He is eagerly waiting for you.

If you’re uncertain about God, rest assured. He loves you so much! I can be that friend who introduces you to Him! Leave a comment below, or connect with me on Facebook. I’d love to help you know my Friend, Jesus!


God, You are slow to anger and rich in love. You are kind and full of compassion; thanks for Your mercy. You have the power to heal and the grace to forgive. There is no one like You, God! You reign forever and ever! King of Glory, receive our full adoration! All glory be unto Your Name! Thank You, Jesus. Amen.

Tidings of Comfort and Joy

This holiday season, I’m enjoying how ecstatic Lydia is for Christmas! She loved decorating her own little tree. At church, Lydia and her friends are practicing Christmas carols to sing in front of our congregation. Yay for sparkly dresses!

Lydia also listens intently to the Christmas carols on the radio and provides commentary. It has made for many interesting conversations. “Mom, is Jesus is the King?” And then, “But Jesus is not the angry king—that was somebody else.” (She was thinking of King Herod!)

Noting Lydia’s interest in Christmas carols, I decided to take her to a special Christmas concert this week. I can’t wait for her interpretation of the songs! Pretty much every song becomes Lydia’s favorite… 🙂

Though, I debated about going at all because this holiday season has taken me by surprise. I have been sadder than I expected due to a combination of factors. Most often, these things don’t cause sorrow. But sometimes, it just all adds up.

It took me awhile to recognize what I was feeling: a new wave of grief. It’s not sadness 24/7, but for me, it ebbs and flows. A dear friend prayed with me, validated my concerns, and made me laugh. Just getting it all out—acknowledging the struggle—was so helpful. Now, my heart is light again.


Note these famous words of the Christmas carol, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.”
“God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy”

Christ Jesus brings rest, comfort and joy. He sustains us with His mighty strength. Jesus came to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. What a relief!


If you are finding it difficult to ‘be merry’ this Christmas season…

Take some time to reflect. Stop and acknowledge whatever you are feeling. It’s okay. Don’t run from your feelings. Allow yourself to feel the emotions (however awful); you’ll ultimately grow stronger. Each time, your heart heals a little more. Trust in God’s timing and love during this tender process. (see Philippians 4:6-8)

Then, call a friend. Share your struggle with someone you trust. There’s no need to bear it alone. Give voice to your pain; call it what it is. Ask God to bring His hope and healing. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7, NLT).

Also, take good care of yourself. Go to a special event, like a Christmas concert. Buy yourself flowers …or an orange poinsettia! Try this five-day Bible reading plan on grief during the holidays. Maybe take a nap, read a book, squeeze in a walk/run, or get a massage.

Finally, relax your expectations of the season. Celebrate those traditions that bring comfort, and hold off on the others. Keep it simple. Loss affects many people. You might feel better by helping someone else, so find a friend who needs encouragement too.


If you are comforting a grieving friend or family member, here are some tips for you: Remember everyone’s grief is different. Time doesn’t heal all wounds, but it does help. Grief can come at the most random moments—that’s normal. Grief cannot be “fixed” but it’s invaluable to know a good listener. Don’t press them to talk, but let them know you care. Invite them out or bring them a meal. Given the freedom to grieve, the feelings of loss may dissipate sooner.


God doesn’t expect us to have it all together. So receive God’s grace and come to Him, just as you are. You are dearly loved. He has good plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11)!

Remember: Jesus already knows. And yes, He is the King!

Father God, thank You for Jesus! Thanks for Your peace, grace, and joy. Wrap Your loving arms around those who need comfort and healing during this season. Help them perceive  Your presence and Your love. Give them rest as they wait on You to heal their hearts. In Jesus’ Mighty Name, Amen.