Finding Grace #99

I love giving God a shout out for what He has done. We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot.

I find grace overflowing with God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

This week was full but good! Once again, I felt God directing my steps each day. I helped friends, met important writing deadlines, and was productive at work. I’m grateful!

Recently, I noticed my furnace wasn’t quite working like it should. I set up an appointment for this week to have it checked out. Turns out, the furnace was fine and just needed a little servicing. I will make sure to keep the maintenance up from now on… Oddly enough, the batteries in my thermostat needed to be changed, though they have lasted about 7 years as-is! Thankfully, the batteries were an inexpensive fix! 

On Wednesday, Lydia scored a book called, The Book With No Pictures, which she loved. She remembered it from last year and started reading it to herself in the bookstore. I couldn’t resist buying it for her. She kept laughing for about an hour!

After several years of going back-and-forth, I finally decided to get a remote starter for my car. I had a coupon, so that helped. 😉 A friend and I went to coffee during that time, and we also enjoyed some tasty treats. I was thankful for the good conversation and a ride!

The weather was fairly mild this week in the upper twenties and thirties. Spring is still a long way off (at least in Fargo), but I can see it will be here before we know it!

Lydia cheered at today’s basketball games (for Upward Sports). She is really enjoying it! The basketball players must’ve been in Kindergarten or first grade. They were so little but surprisingly coordinated. We are looking forward to a great season!


These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Finding Grace #92

I love giving God a shout out for what He has done. We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot.

I find grace overflowing with God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

This was a good and interesting week as I saw God working all around me! On Monday, Lydia’s school let out two hours early due to blizzard conditions. A blizzard means poor visibility, not necessarily a ton of snow. I ran two errands just as the storm was starting and was glad to get home safe. When I picked her up from the bus, Lydia said, “Mom, I am only a little sad…because I love school so much!” We spent the rest of the day doing fun little projects!

Early in the week, I met with some ladies in a writing group. We meet once a month, and I shared about my blog. It was fun to see how much I have grown through the writing process. Later in the week, I had another important writing meeting. I left feeling encouraged about a big project. There is still a lot to do, but I am on the right track!

This week, I shared a video with a friend after we talked at church. The video was about something called a Journible. This is a simple little journaling book in which one can copy the Bible by hand. There are many benefits, including understanding and remembering God’s word at a new level. I have a few friends who decided to do this with me. If you would like to join us (or need more information), leave a comment here or check out Grace and Lemonade on Facebook. I will post more information there. I’m excited to encounter God’s word in a more personal way!

Lydia and I decorated our Christmas tree last night. We listened to Christmas music, and I tried my best not to be sentimental. It is still a little bittersweet to put up old ornaments that Dave loved so much. But, seeing Lydia’s face light up was well worth the emotions I was facing. This season, I am choosing to walk in Victory!


These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Little Red Library on 8th

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” –Harry S. Truman

Recently I decided to put a ‘little free library’ (LFL) in my front yard. An LFL is essentially a free neighborhood book exchange. Typically, it consists of a wooden, water-resistant box on a post in a yard or common area. But, I have seen other creative LFLs like a repurposed newspaper vending machine or a telephone booth. The ideas are endless!

A few weeks ago—right before my birthday—my neighbor across the street pointed out an LFL a couple blocks away. I was hooked on the idea and immediately started considering options for my yard. The more the merrier!

The ‘caretaker’ of a little free library is called a steward. I asked for input from the steward of the library near me. He was kind to answer my questions and provide some insight into the decisions I was making. Lydia and I also went on a scavenger hunt around Fargo to see others and get ideas for what we wanted to do.

I have already been to that other little library about four times out of curiosity! However, I wondered if an LFL closer to my area might get a different level of traffic. We each live near the same school and parks, but I am closer to about seven apartments and see a lot of foot traffic from kids, dogs, and bikes.

Either way, I don’t think you can have too many book exchanges in one area! 🙂

While many people decide to build their own little library, I decided to purchase everything. For me, it came down to cost versus time and ease. Without the right tools and experience, it was worth a little money and peace of mind to make sure everything was done well. Plus, I wanted to beat the cooler weather!!

I used birthday money from my parents and in-laws to cover some of the cost. Books were a huge part of growing up for me. I have always loved to read and learn through books. In fact, each year, my mom volunteered to listen to kids read at school.

Mom was an extra pair of ears for the teachers. Indeed, many of my peers still attribute their reading skills to her sitting with and listening to them. Similarly, my mother-in-law has worked with children for many years, too. So it seems fitting to honor them in this way.

It felt like perfect timing in that everything I ordered was delivered exactly five minutes after my aunt and uncle arrived last week. It was a blessing my uncle could help me with this project on a moment’s notice! I’m so grateful!

“The more you read, the more you know.
The more you know, the smarter you grow.
The smarter you grow, the stronger your voice,
when speaking your mind or making your choice.”

The overall goals of the little free library movement are to strengthen communities and inspire readers. Going to the regular public library is good too! But some people just won’t get there (due to a variety of factors). Plus, then you have to return those books. 😉

With the LFLs, you don’t have to return the books. Of course, it is good manners to return or at least replace the book…but not mandatory. Yay for stress free reading!

I’m excited to see what books pop up in the little library.

Reading is not only fun, but it can be empowering, too. Reading opens up the world of imagination and creative thinking. Books can lead to great conversations and exchange of ideas. Books can teach and offer different perspectives.

To me, good reading skills are key to lifelong learning. I read somewhere that if parents can foster the love of learning in their children, they are more likely to be successful throughout life. Apparently, the love of learning is a better predictor of success than having access to the best schools or athletic opportunities. Interesting!

Either way, reading and sharing books is a great idea! For more information, check out There is even a world map of all ‘registered’ little free libraries online.

You can also follow along on my new Facebook page, find me at Little Red Library on 8th. I will highlight books in the library each week. I welcome book donations, too!


Heavenly Father, thanks for Your love and grace! Thanks for providing a fun way to share books and reading with others! Please protect this little red library and bless all who participate. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: Do you enjoy reading? What types of books or genres do you prefer?

Tasks: Follow Little Red Library on 8th on Facebook. Join in the fun! Take a book, return a book, share a book!

Finding Grace #76

I love giving God a shout out for what He has done. We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot.

I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

This week, I saw the Lord directing my path in many areas! As we come into a new season (of weather and life), I see new opportunities on the horizon. It’s always exciting to see what the Lord has for me…but I already know I need to rely on Him for strength in this transition time. The biggest change for us is that Lydia’s going to school!

My friend came over for Taco Tuesday this week. She also helped me make final decisions on the little free library. I decided to buy everything new instead of building my own. That’s easier and quicker all around! I mentioned the idea to a few neighbors, so hopefully we can all enjoy it together. I can’t wait until it arrives and is all set up!

On Wednesday, I met a coworker for lunch. We discussed some upcoming ideas and options for me at work. I’m glad for the new opportunities I have as a result of the job merger this spring. It will be fun to see all that happens!

This week I’ve done several special activities with Lydia. In a couple weeks everything will be different… I can hardly believe it! So, we’ve been relishing our time together.  I am amazed at who she is becoming. It seems she’s grown so much even this month!

Today, Lydia and I went on a little scavenger hunt to find other ‘little libraries’ in Fargo. We saw several different styles of decorated libraries, including a newspaper vending machine-turned-robot book dispenser. We only made it to about eight of the locations, so we’ll save the rest for another day (or two). Lydia loved finding new books!

These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Finding Grace #75

I love giving God a shout out for what He has done. We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot.

I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

Where did I find God’s love and favor—His abundant grace—this week?

This week was full of God’s grace. We enjoyed my mother-in-law’s visit before she left on Tuesday. Then, Lydia and I ran errands and relaxed before the rest of the week picked up.

On Wednesday and Thursday, I attended an all-day work training. It was really good, and I felt like it was meant for me. Now, I am a ‘lifestyle coach’ for the National Diabetes Prevention Program. Instead of teaching the year long program, I facilitate it. This is much more collaborative and research shows great success long-term. In some ways, I felt like I was designed to run this program. As much as I enjoy teaching, I think I enjoy facilitating (listening, asking questions, coaching) even more. I’m excited to be a part if this exciting program! Even better, I earned 10 hours of continuing education–and my company reimbursed me the training fee. Praise God! Of note, a dear friend graciously volunteered both days to watch Lydia. I am so grateful for her help and God’s provision!

Last night, Friday, Lydia and I joined our neighbors to watch the grand finale of the Pyrotechnics Guild International. The PGI creates new fireworks each year, so it was quite the show. We sat in a nearby parking lot with snacks…so we didn’t have to deal with as much traffic! It was a fun and beautiful night!

Today, I have been celebrating my birthday! Normally, I have something planned out, but this year, I just decided to meander have a low key day. We visited friends and just hung out. I’m thankful we because I was able to enjoy the slower pace and savor each card, gift, call, text, email, or social media shoutout. I was also available for deliveries of flowers and chocolate-covered strawberries during the day. 🙂 To extend the celebration, tomorrow, I will go to lunch with a friend after church!

Recently, I came across the idea of the little free library. I’ve seen them before, but just noticed one in my neighborhood this week. I love the idea, and have a lot of my own books to share. So, I think I will buy one (or get some help building one). I just have to figure out the details on what the options are. Reading and literacy is a valuable skill to pass along!

These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

The Greatest Gift

After Lydia’s birthday in November, we sent out around ten thank you notes. Her job was to decorate each card with stickers. So when she started grumbling, I told her, “Well, if you aren’t grateful, I’ll just tell everyone NOT to send you gifts next year. Then, you won’t have to worry about saying thanks.” That seemed to do the trick!

Then, on Monday night, we read the Nativity story at bedtime. We’ve been reading the Jesus Storybook Bible. I love how each story ends by pointing back to the Lord!

I usually ask Lydia questions to see if she can recall the main points.

Lydia has been interested in the night sky for several months. So the other night, we discussed the special star God placed in the sky at Jesus’ birth. She asked about the gifts Jesus received from the wise men. We chatted about frankincense, gold, and myrrh.

I also asked, “Did you know Jesus is the greatest gift we could ever receive?!”

Naturally, with Lydia’s birthday not too far from Christmas, this intrigued her. “So then, why do we give each other gifts?” She wondered out loud.

“Well, we show God’s love through our gifts.” I replied, in awe that she even asked. “It’s one way to celebrate what Jesus has done for us.”

When it comes to Christmas, I’ve been upfront with Lydia about Santa Claus. I have nothing against Santa, but I prefer to focus on Jesus and teach Lydia about Him.

And yes, Lydia knows not to tell her friends about Santa! Though, it is a little funny when an adult asks her, “So, what’s Santa bringing you for Christmas?”

In those moments, Lydia looks confused and concerned…like she’s thinking… “Wait, they don’t know about him?! …Well, I’m not going to tell them. Hmm…but what should I say?”

Up until last year, Santa wasn’t an issue for us. But then Lydia’s imagination kicked into high gear, and she started asking what was real and what was pretend. It became difficult to explain the nuances of make-believe cartoons versus shows with real actors.

Lydia questioned, “Is the person in that movie real?” I didn’t think much about it at first. “Well, yes. The person really exists, but he’s an actor who is pretending.”

Before long, Bible characters were examined, too. “Mom, was Jonah real?” … “Hey, my Daddy’s name was David! … So was King David real too?”

I answered Lydia’s questions, but was unsure if she understood.

When the holidays came, Lydia quickly applied the same ‘logic’ to Santa. “Why does the Santa on tv look different from this one in the book…and the one at the mall?”

I felt the need to address Lydia’s confusion in a truthful, yet sensitive way.

I decided to tell her the truth about Santa using a familiar example. “You know how Daniel Tiger (a PBS cartoon) is not REALLY real? He’s make-believe. Well, Santa is not REALLY real either. It’s fine that everyone talks about him, but he is just pretend.”

(Yes, St. Nicholas was real, but Santa has become quite different in our culture.)

Lydia took it fairly well. For about ten seconds, she looked a little surprised. “Oh.” And, then she asked about Rudolph, the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny. “Yep, their pretend too.” Twenty seconds later, with a quick, “Oh, okay,” she was onto the next thing, unfazed!

For me, this all is pertinent because there are bigger concepts at stake. Dave died when Lydia was not quite 18 months old; therefore, she doesn’t really remember him. So, over the years, I’ve done my best to answer questions about Dave and Heaven. Still, she occasionally she gets fuzzy on the details.

But whenever her thoughts drift toward Dave, I don’t want Lydia to ever doubt that Dave—and his love for her—was real! He loved her so very much!

Similarly, I never want Lydia to be confused about Jesus, because He is our only true hope in this chaotic world. Jesus and His love for us are most certainly real!

Last night, as I wrote this post, I asked Lydia, “Does it make you sad that Santa isn’t real?” To my surprise, she shrugged and answered, “No.”

Curious, I asked, “Really? Why not?” Lydia didn’t hesitate in her answer. “I’m not sad, because I still get gifts!” I laughed at how simple it is for her. Lydia isn’t going to sweat Santa; she knows she is loved. And to her, the gifts are evidence of that love.

Clearly, each child and each family is different. Therefore, everyone should handle these topics in their own way. But as Lydia reminded me, when talking about Santa and gifts: “Mom, Jesus loves me MORE than that!” Yes, Jesus truly is the greatest gift ever.


Father God, thank You for the gift of Jesus! In Him, we have everything we need. Help us be generous with others and spread Your love in all we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Questions: How do you handle Santa in your home? What are your favorite Christmas traditions?

Tasks: Consider ways to highlight Jesus this season. Check out Because of Bethlehem by Max Lucado. For kids, check out Star from Afar!

A Shield Around Me

Welcome to November! I can hardly believe we are two months from 2017!

This week I have been feeling a little under-the-weather. I’m not sure if it is allergies, or not getting enough sleep, or planting 50 flower bulbs on Sunday for next spring. The tulips and irises should be beautiful if they come up, but the digging and planting left me sore!

It probably doesn’t help that I’ve been staying up late watching the Cubs in the World Series. Wow, it’s been a historic run on several levels! But, it certainly has been a little stressful at times! 🙂 Go Cubbies!


Halloween was fun, but I have mixed feelings about this holiday, and am usually glad when it’s over. I don’t like the scary nature of it, and hate seeing ugly creatures everywhere. But I do enjoy when the kids dress up. And, it’s always fun to see neighbors and greet people!

Candy or not, we should do that more often!

Indeed, I was extra proud of Lydia on Monday night. She dressed up as a fairy this year, and we trick-or-treated with neighbors on our block. Lydia was eager to pass out candy at home, as well. In fact, she was so generous that she worried we’d run out. My little problem solver, she added her own stash of candy… and nearly gave it all away! I had her keep some of her favorites (pictured above), but was glad to see her giving heart!

This week, we’ve had a few more back-to-back early mornings and late nights. All good things, but it does add up. Thankfully, each morning is a new start!

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life” (Psalm 143:8).

I’m also aware of the fact that the holidays are fast approaching. Last year this season was pretty rough for me (emotionally). I think there were a unique set of reasons it was difficult, and I am hoping this year is better. Thanks for your prayers!


I love what Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” I think of this verse often. When I am tired or stressed, or not feeling well physically, my thoughts and emotions can quickly become off-kilter.

So, with all the above, I have been drawing closer to the Lord. When I need a little boost, the best thing I can do is come to Him. His grace is sweet and His love has no bounds!

Lately, I have been taking mini-breaks from whatever I am doing, just to sit and be with Jesus. In these moments, when I am prone to doubt or discouragement, I need extra doses of His love. I might just sit and soak up His word. Or, I might pray, write, cry, or sing.

But one thing is clear: I need to reconnect with the Lord! Jesus comforts and encourages me. He restores and protects my wayward heart. He leads me and gives me peace.


I have found The Secret Power of Speaking God’s Word, by Joyce Meyer, to be helpful. This little book has scriptures organized by about fifty topics. There are many categories, like anxiety, worry, stress, or determination, etc.

A book like that makes scripture verses easy to find and meditate upon.

“Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!”

–Psalm 27:14

The sooner I come to Jesus, the faster I am able to refocus and regroup. He is the only thing that does not change in this unpredictable world.

He is my Anchor, my Shield and my Strong Defender! Praise the Lord!


Lord Jesus, thanks for all You do for me. Please help me rest in Your love and grace. Remind me to come You for refreshment, and seek You first. In Your Name, Amen

Question:  What is your go-to response to stress?

Task: At the very first sign of distress, stop and seek Jesus!

Waiting and the World Series

It’s been really fun watching the Chicago Cubs make it to the World Series. I can feel the excitement in the air! (Though last night’s game was a little disappointing.)

The Cubs franchise certainly knows a lot about hard work… and waiting. But while the roster has changed over the years, the discipline and desire have only grown stronger. It is thrilling to think that their ‘breakthrough’ could be at hand!


This week, I saw an interesting connection with my personal life. Lately, the Lord has me revisiting the waiting process too! It seems God is both challenging me and encouraging me, because I keep finding ‘well-timed’ books, articles, or podcasts about waiting on Him.

For example:

Wait and See by Wendy Pope

Waiting on God by Wayne Stiles

If God can help the Chicago Cubs make it to the World Series, I know sooner or later, MY breakthrough will come too, if I don’t give up!

I’ll admit though—it would be much ‘easier’ to just jump ahead in several areas of my life right now. Instead of toiling each day, why not just skip to the reward?

Because waiting serves a purpose.


(PC: Olivia Paul)

First, the outcome wouldn’t be as sweet if it was always so easy to obtain what we desire. On the plus side, most of us will never have to wait 108 years for a breakthrough! 😉

Second, waiting proves that the best things are worth the effort. Think of all the practice the Cubs have put in, both as a team and individually!

Third, waiting builds character so we can keep what we have worked for. We grow spiritual fruit, too. Negative attitudes, hidden motives, and bad habits are uncovered, which could otherwise hinder us from moving forward into what God has for us.

Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Waiting on God is not ‘doing nothing.’ It is taking active steps in the right direction, but pacing ourselves according to His timing.

Think of it as training camp!


But waiting itself can feel quite challenging, because we want to move on to bigger, better, and often, more exciting things. Maybe you are stuck in the outfield currently, but don’t overlook what God is doing—He is equipping you for greatness.

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way” (James 1:2-4, MSG).

In our fast-paced society, waiting longer than we think we should have to can feel unjust. Why me?! If we wait long enough, we tend to doubt ourselves and our abilities. But it’s not about us—or the outcome. In the end, what we learn about God and ourselves is most important.

When we are stretched to our limit, we find God’s grace and supply know no bounds. As we refocus on His ability to see us through, we remember Jesus’ faithfulness. His timing is perfect timing and His plans for us are good!

Waiting can leave us feeling weak and worn out. But in Jesus, we already have ultimate Victory. So, we can enjoy life while we rely on His everlasting strength!


Waiting can make us question the validity of our dreams—or even our calling. But, we can trust Jesus to develop us and lead us through each trial. He is trustworthy. And, we can leave the results to Him, because He is able to do abundantly more than all we ask or imagine (see Ephesians 3:20)!

I don’t know what you are struggling with today—or waiting for. Perhaps you need healing, provision, or a promotion. Jesus hears your prayers and cares about every little detail of your life. Ask Him to help you maximize your waiting period so you are fully prepared to step in to all He has planned for you!

It is coming!!


Heavenly Father, thanks for always working on my behalf. Thanks for all you teach me while I am waiting. Help me remember that Your plan for me is good—and the best things take time. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions:  Are you relying on God in your waiting period? What might you learn in the process?

Tasks: Write down all the benefits of waiting in your current phase of life. Review it when you are tempted to rush ahead of God’s timing!

Tater Tots and Training Wheels

Lately, Lydia has been taking beginner swimming lessons. She already feels over-confident, yet doesn’t realize the safety belt keeps her afloat! “See, I know how to swim!” Her sense of independence has carried over to other areas, too.

Perhaps it’s part of growing up…but the last few weeks have been tough on me as a parent! On several occasions, I’ve needed an extra-large dose of God’s grace to stand firm with discipline. More than once, I’ve lost my patience and needed a parenting pep-talk!

1 Corinthians 15_58

There have been genuine—but mislead—moments of helping me with household tasks. Lydia was proud of herself but spilled water everywhere. I’m glad she’s learning…but each time she ‘helps,’ it requires a time-consuming clean-up!

There have been full-blown meltdowns too. We’ve had personality ‘power plays’ and other issues. However normal, I could do without the whining and tears!

So, I have reinforced the importance of listening and first-time obedience. We’ve talked about boundaries and respect, forgiveness and grace. It’s an hourly process at times.

I know ALL parents go through these challenges. Most kids do similar things…indeed it’s a little funny, hearing my mom’s familiar voice coming out of my own mouth:

“I love you too much to let you act that way!”

Still, we’ve had some really good moments too. I’ve given and received extra attention, hugs, and “I love you’s.” When I point out what is going well, Lydia beams.

Yes, I am thankful for my smart, healthy, spunky, and beautiful girl. I’m keenly aware some people would give anything to have children…but for some reason cannot.

Let me not take this child or this season for granted.

Old Droid X2 Phone (end Feb 2014) 631

Father’s Day is coming up. In the past, I’ve had Lydia send notes or pictures to her grandpas and uncles. Now she’s old enough to realize that her Daddy is not here to celebrate. But, we are not alone. We have a great support system, near and far.

Also, God has been with us the entire time. He loves Lydia even more than I do. What’s more, He promises to be a father to Lydia (Psalm 68:5). True to His Word, He’s graciously placed many wonderful men in our lives. Besides grandpas and uncles, we also have great friends and neighbors who influence Lydia for good.

I appreciate the men who have stomped in mud puddles, played ball, and taught Lydia new things. A few brave guys have let her paint their nails! They have read to Lydia, given her piggy back rides, and made pictures with sidewalk chalk.

I’m amused at the difference between how men and women handle kids. My “mom-friends” are amazing, but surely, I can learn a few tricks from the men!

painting toenails

Last weekend, I tried to feed Lydia dinner before going outside. She, however, was eager to play with one of the neighbor girls… “I’m not hungry, Mom.” Soon, I got a text from the little girl’s dad: “Can Lydia have some deer sausage?” He was grilling out for his family that evening. In addition to two helpings of sausage, Lydia enjoyed tater tots and a popsicle! 😀

A few days before, we visited other friends, who live across the street. Their little boy was learning to ride his bike without training wheels. He did really well, with some coaching from his dad! I have no idea how I am going to teach Lydia to do this… But after talking with my neighbors, I’m sure this dad would gladly help Lydia learn how to ride her bike too.

Tater tots and training wheels? Yes, please!

bike with training wheels

Clearly, I’m not an expert on parenting. 🙂 Thus, I need the help of those around me and the insight of those ahead of me. There is no such thing as a perfect parent. But I can be present, persistent, and praying for wisdom.

I’m always looking for good resources. Recently, I’ve been using, Praying the Scriptures for Your Children, by Jodie Berndt and Personality Plus for Parents, by Florence Littauer. Great books! Also, I found this podcast helpful!

Parenting is certainly a challenging job, but God will help us accomplish it. When difficulties come, let’s stand firm and work enthusiastically, knowing that nothing we do for the Lord is useless (1 Corinthians 15:58)!


Heavenly Father, thank You for this precious child You’ve given me. Thanks for providing encouragement and reinforcements on this parenting journey. Please give me Your wisdom and grace every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Questions: What are your favorite parenting resources? For those of you with older/grown kids…Do you have any nuggets of wisdom or funny stories to share?!

Welcome to Progress!

Happy New Year! I love new beginnings and a fresh start. Does it feel any different to you?

For Christmas, we drove twelve hours to my hometown in Illinois. We enjoyed seeing a few good friends and some family. It was refreshing to celebrate Christmas with family for the first time in years. Lydia had a blast during her first Christmas with my immediate family!

On our road trip, there are a few key areas when two highways merge or separate. I’ve driven that route several times, but I use my car’s navigation system to track progress and ensure I don’t miss important interchanges along the way. If I take a detour, the lady’s voice gets a little exasperated… 🙂

I always carry a small road atlas, too. It has been helpful on our trip through Lake City, MN and our trip to Wyoming. I like to see what is coming up next!

Back in Fargo, my GPS has also proved helpful. With population growth comes building and development. Yet sometimes, I hardly recognize certain streets even in my own neighborhood! There are new roads, new houses, apartments, stores, and traffic signals.

As I drive around, sometimes I get confused. I wonder where that road leads…Was this stop sign there before? I am amazed by how fast things change. When did that house go up? Without GPS, I am left guessing. How on Earth am I supposed to get over there? Where is the turn? Welcome to Progress, right?!

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Using my car’s navigation system is similar to seeking God’s wisdom and input for my life:
Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).

For me, each day is a fresh start—a chance to try again by God’s grace. Thankfully, I don’t have to wait another 365 days to begin again. His mercies are new every day!

It is vital to seek God first in all we do. I find my day (and life) goes better when I do. In fact, it has saved me much heartache and time over the years by first running ideas, feelings, and plans by the Lord. Spending time with the Lord in the morning prepares me for bumps along the way. That time is well spent…praying and reading the Bible is like mapping out the journey. I can’t afford to guess at life!

Others might prefer a different time of day. The important thing is to check in regularly with God. When detours come—and they always do—know where to turn for guidance or redirection. God hears every prayer!

Often “progress” doesn’t come easily. It is frustrating when things feel out of control and the way seems unclear. When facing roadblocks or setbacks, turn to Jesus for help. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He knows the plans…and they are good (Jeremiah 29:11).

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I like to start the year with a new devotional, like Jesus Calling, which helped me focus on the Lord during our cancer journey. This year, I am reading an updated version that has an evening portion too.

 Some people like to read the entire Bible in a year. You can find a plan that fits your needs online or on your phone. Try out Bible Gateway and YouVersion.

It honors God when we seek Him before anything else. And, He blesses us in return. “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11).


God, thank You for sharing Your wisdom with us. Your word is a lamp to guide our feet
and a light for our path (Psalm 119:105). As we seek You, show us the path to take. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: What insight do you need from the Lord? Will you commit to spending quality time with God and seeking Him first this year? What resources have you found helpful?