With Appreciation (A Police Tribute)

On Monday morning, I drove with Lydia past an arena no more than three minutes from our house. We go this route nearly every day, but this time, something was unusual at the stop light. Hundreds of police vehicles lined up to honor the first North Dakota police officer killed on duty in 134 years.

Two weeks ago, an officer was wounded during a standoff with a domestic violence suspect. He was 33 years old and had previously served as a combat medic in two deployments. The suspect also died that night.

As our traffic light turned green, we talked about what was happening. “Do you see all those police cars, Lydia? They’re honoring a police officer killed on the job recently.” Being little, she couldn’t understand the impact on our normally quiet community.

But, I teared up with thankfulness and sadness at the sight. It was amazing to see such solidarity in honoring a hero’s life. Thousands of police officers came from several states and Canada. Though, I also grieved because of the tragedy and loss.


I am so glad for the care shown to the officer’s widow and family. And, I am equally grateful for the acknowledgement of two widows and families suffering.

I pray for strength and peace for both families as they process how the community rallied around them. I pray the public love and support will bring great comfort and healing to these new widows in the coming days.

These tragedies are unifying for several reasons, including the shared loss we feel.

I identify with the officer because of his age. While I did not know him, we could have been classmates. Also, he was married with children; I can relate. I don’t live in the same area as the standoff, but many of my friends do. These days, it just hits home.

Police, firemen, paramedics, EMTs, those in the military, etc. make huge personal sacrifices on a regular basis. Many of these brave men and women start off as volunteers!

Our personal safety is something we often take for granted. But ‘first responders’ are in danger whenever they go to work. They also typically see us at our worst; as such, I’m sure they don’t get thanked enough.

I do not have a police officer in my extended family, but I have close friends who do. I have not personally experienced domestic violence, nor will I pretend to know how that feels. Yet, there are many emotional parallels in times of grief.

While my journey into widowhood has been different, it does help to know you’re not alone. I’m thankful people are pulling together for mutual support and encouragement.


As we returned home later Monday afternoon, our normal exit off the highway was blocked. Instead, the police were in a 21-mile procession through Fargo and Moorhead, Minnesota. Once again, I pointed them out to Lydia. It felt like history in the making.

We took the next exit and backtracked home. We reached our intersection again and the police vehicles were still passing through. So, we parked at a grocery store to watch across the street. Lots of other people had the same idea.

Several times over the years I’ve been teary-eyed in my car—usually the result of a song on the radio. It doesn’t happen as often these days…but Monday, I was in good company!

These people put their lives at risk for ours. They seek to protect us and I appreciate all they do for us. It is wonderful to see everyone pay respect to someone who deserves it. Thank you for your service, Officer Moszer. Rest in peace.

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

God, thank You for the brave men and women who are called to protect us. Please bless them as they serve. And please provide special comfort and peace to these families and this community. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Questions: Who are the heroes in your life? Have you thanked them lately?

A Lovely, Unexpected Retreat

This past weekend was Valentine’s Day. Normally, at this point, I wouldn’t give it another thought. Historically, Dave and I didn’t do much because the recent holiday season also included his birthday and our wedding anniversary. We might’ve watched a movie or made tacos, but nothing over-the-top.

But, God surprised me this weekend with what felt like a Valentine’s retreat! He rearranged my schedule and I enjoyed a much slower pace as a result. As a busy single mom, it felt like a getaway—even though we stayed home—and was just what I needed.

lake and chairs

Jesus said, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28-30, MSG).

On Friday, friends came over to visit. When we spoke the day before, I mentioned an important meeting I had planned. Thus, our time together would be limited. But, we decided to squeeze in a play date anyway.

Well, for reasons outside my control the meeting was rescheduled and our friends were able to stay longer. We enjoyed catching up and our girls played so well together. After that, Lydia and I ran some errands. While we were out, our neighbors invited for us over for an impromptu dinner/play date.

That also was refreshing—and we stayed there about two-and-half hours past Lydia’s bedtime. After we walked home, Lydia helped me finish some laundry. She cheerfully exclaimed, “It’s my job to help you fold the laundry!” And, I don’t even think she was trying to get out of going to bed!


Thus, on Friday, we spent about seven hours with two dear families. I think we all were encouraged that day. I went to bed in awe that God would arrange such a lovely day on my behalf. I rarely allow the opportunity to just sit and relax. (I’m working on that!) It was completely unexpected, and I didn’t realize how much I needed that down time. I was also thankful for the community God provided during a (potentially) bittersweet weekend.

Because of Friday’s change of plans, I incidentally had more free time on Saturday too. I took Lydia out for lunch after she passed her very first series of ice skating lessons. After sticking it out for six weeks, I was so proud! Lydia was proud too and sighed with relief, “I’m so glad I passed that class!”

That afternoon, we watched a movie, read books, completed puzzles, and even took a short nap. Then, I called a few friends and family like I normally do. I enjoyed each moment!

On Sunday, we stayed home and rested. It has been months since I lounged all day and did nothing in particular—not even chores. It was peaceful with few interruptions! I did prepare meals for the upcoming week, but even then, I enjoyed the creative outlet. And, it didn’t feel like work!


Lately, I have been busier than my normal for this time of year. I have several good ongoing commitments and projects—but they require lots of energy. Ironically, by resting during our little unexpected staycation/retreat, I feel renewed in my focus. It was delightful to realize God had a wonderful weekend all planned out! I felt so special to Him!

If you are overwhelmed with life or even frustrated with a project, consider pausing and reevaluating your schedule. Is there something you can postpone or remove?

It’s worth taking a break because REST is a part of Restoration!

Heavenly Father, thank You for restoring my soul with a peaceful Sabbath. Thanks for Your loving grace that covers me. Help me implement more rest and relaxation so I don’t get burned out. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Questions: How long has it been since you last took time to rest and relax? What personal benefits could be found in choosing a slower pace?

Tacos and TLC

What (or Who) comes to your mind when you think about love?

For me, of course I think of Dave because he was my husband, friend, and partner. He always treated me so well. And when I think of Dave…I think of tacos!

Tacos were one of Dave’s favorite meals, so we ate them often. He would do all the chopping—we added a ton of vegetables—and I would prepare the other items. He prepped the lettuce, onions, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, etc. so well I am convinced he was better at it than me. It’s true!

Taco Nachos

What started off as a simple act of service (a favor to save me time one night) became an act of love. I will always remember Dave’s servant heart because it carried over to everything he did!

Sometimes we think ‘love’ has to be flashy…this might include being serenaded with a sappy song, a dozen red roses, or gigantic boxes of chocolate. But for me, love is in the simple things. Dave put TLC into chopping vegetables because it was important to me.

 “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” (Ephesians 6:7, NLT).

Since he died, tacos just aren’t the same! I still enjoy the same foods, but miss Dave’s enthusiasm for chopping vegetables. I have added meal preparation to the list of things I do differently now, which also includes household chores and shopping.

Note: Eating tacos someone else makes is another story!

Black Bean and Corn Salsa Recipe

Instead of regular tacos, I now make a variation on them, like taco salad or fajitas. Or I make “taco nachos” serving the same ingredients over a few tortilla chips. 🙂 I add a little plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for a protein and calcium boost. Most of the time, I skip the cheese because my plate is already full enough!

When cooking, I enjoy mixing and matching colors, textures and flavors! Above you’ll find my recipe for Black Bean and Corn Salsa (click on it to make it bigger). It is basic, but delicious. In fact, Lydia requests it often and will eat it plain, with just a spoon!

We use this Black Bean and Corn Salsa as a base for other dishes too. We add it to salads, pizza, and chili. Let me know how you like it!

spoon, fork, knife

We all have the opportunity to show love every day. It doesn’t have to be flashy or expensive. Often, the most simple acts, done with love, speak the loudest. A little TLC goes a long way…and can impact us for a long time afterward.

Whether or not you have a Valentine this year, remember you are loved! Since many of us take care of everyone else first, go ahead and treat yourself! You deserve some TLC too.

Thank You, God, for Your TLC. Thank You for showing us love each and every day. Give us eyes to see all the wonderful things You do for us. Help us walk in grace as we depend on You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Questions: Do you have any Valentine’s Day traditions? Do you have a favorite “goes with anything” recipe?


Chocolate ‘Kissy’ Things

Recently my daughter, Lydia, and I had conversation that went like this:

“I like those chocolate kissy things,” said Lydia, walking into the office. “But I don’t know what they are called.”

“Do you mean Hershey’s kisses?” I asked, smiling.

“Yes,” said Lydia. “But, you have to kiss them before you eat them.”

chocolate cherry

We weren’t eating chocolate, but clearly she takes after me! Ok, kiss the chocolate before devouring it…Then, on a whim, I asked, “How do you show someone you love them?”

With no prompting, and only a few questions for clarity, Lydia thought about it for a moment and said:

Be kind when you talk to them.

Give them a gift (such as a toy or sticker).

Give them a hug (but be gentle).

You could help them do a puzzle.

Go visit them (on an airplane or in the car).

Lydia’s responses were simple, but somewhat unexpected. It may be a little kid’s perspective, but I think my sweet girl is spot on. In fact, right away, she nailed every one of the five love languages Gary Chapman writes about.

These include words of affirmation, receiving gifts, acts of service, physical touch, and quality time. It’s helpful to know the love language of those around us because someone can totally miss—or misunderstand—the treasure you think you’re offering. Knowing someone’s primary love language may even help resolve conflicts.

(Clearly, that is not meant to manipulate a person or situation!)

box of chocolates

Like the best of chocolates, our gifts are meant to be shared. Every day, we have the opportunity to demonstrate God’s love—to be His kiss to the world. Sometimes, as adults, we make it too complicated. Or, we forget about the ‘love part’ and just ‘devour’ people!

Here are five easy ways to love on others:

  • Use your words to encourage people or bring comfort, like a glass of lemonade.
  • Give a gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Share a book or buy a cup of coffee!
  • Show appropriate affection based on the level of friendship.
  • Help someone complete a project or meet a deadline.
  • Spend time doing an activity with someone. Take turns choosing the activity.

There are many ways to show people you love them. Often, it starts with a willing heart to serve. Show up and meet a need. Give to others out of your abundance or out of your ‘personal stash.’ (This is not limited to chocolate…) It might cost your time, effort, or money; but it all counts if done with a loving attitude.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

Popular at weddings, these verses (above) make a great check point for daily life too.

Am I being patient? Was that kind? Was I bragging?

How is my attitude? Am I giving the benefit of the doubt? (and so on)


According to 1 John 4, God is love (v8) and now we love each other because He loved us first (v19). Jesus Christ is God’s special gift to demonstrate just how much we are loved. And, He gives us many additional blessings too. But, a gift is useless if left unopened…
Let’s share God’s gifts with others!


Father God, thank You for Your unconditional love. Help us understand and receive all You have given us. And, help us share Your love with others too. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: Have you unwrapped God’s gift(s)—His special kiss to you? Do you know your love language(s)?