Not As Planned

Would you believe it’s taken me over a week to fully enter this New Year?!

It’s taken me that long to recover from December – which did not go as planned.


I had a crazy allergic reaction that started Thanksgiving weekend, and by the time I lost my voice 2 weeks in, we started to suspect that I might be allergic to our Christmas tree.

So mid-December. my wonderful husband and son banished me to the basement for a few hours while they un-decorated the tree, took it outside, cleaned all the ornaments and lights, manhandled the artificial tree from the attic, put it up, threw the ornaments and lights on it, and vacuumed everything.

My heroes.


If you have ever lost your voice you know how exhausting it is.

I spent a lot of time in the recliner.

I did almost all of my Christmas shopping from that chair.

(God bless Amazon and the UPS drivers.)

I watched every single new Hallmark Christmas Movie. And some old ones.

I listened to hours of Christmas music.

And I discovered that my kids and husband are rock stars.

They dipped, baked, mashed, rolled, wrapped, and vacuumed my entire to-do list.

Everything. Even the things I had given up on.

They each took a part of our big Christmas Eve meal and made it happen. It literally showed up in front of me on the table they had beautifully decorated.

It was a humbling and beautiful gift to realize that after years of making Christmas for them, they could now make Christmas for me.

Yep. December was quite a month.

My voice is finally back, and my energy is returning.

And even though December did not go as I planned, I can see God’s hand in it all.


Faithful and kind.

My prayer journal is full of so many answered prayers.


And I am thankful.

I can say like Samuel –

 “Thus far has the Lord helped us.” (1 Samuel 7: 12)

Thus far.

I’ve been letting that truth soak deep inside the last few days.

But I think I’m ready now.

Let’s see what God has in store for 2018!






I guess it’s no wonder I’m slowly moving into 2018.




The 18 Inch Hoe

on your kneesAs I was writing my last blog post about my neighbor Rose and her famous sugar cookies, I got to remembering what a character she was and how much she taught me.

Thin and wiry, she was one of the hardest working people I have ever met.  She moved quickly, slightly slumped over as if by making part of her body get there first, she would get more done.

And frugal! Even though her husband left her with enough money to live comfortably, she still sold eggs and her famous sugar cookies in town every week.

She would, of course, never throw anything away if it could still be used, so she would frequently bring objects for my husband to fix.

An avid gardener, one morning several years ago she broke her favorite hoe while weeding. She tore into our yard in her ancient car (she drove like she did everything else – fast!) and showed Jan a well-used hoe, the paint long gone,  with about 18 inches left of a broken handle. It was obvious that she had used the tool for years.

She showed Jan where the handle was cracking a second time at the point where it attached to the metal and asked him if he could fix it.

Although it looked hopeless, Jan said he would try and she could come back later to pick it up.

But when the handle literally fell apart in his hands, he knew there was no fixing it. The only solution was to put on a new handle. Thankfully we had one on hand because Rose didn’t like to wait.

He had the new handle on and the hoe sharpened when Rose returned, expected that she would be pleased.
18 inch hoe

She was not.

Actually, she was quite upset! She kept saying over and over, “But I don’t want a long handle! That handle broke years ago and it’s what I’m used to!”

So Jan – seeing that she would not be reconciled to what we considered an improvement – cut off that beautiful new wooden handle, although it pained him to do so.

When it was sanded smooth – Rose took her 18 inch hoe and drove away smiling.

We just shook our heads.

At the time it seemed like craziness – cutting off a brand new handle because she used to using a broken one.

I thought to myself how foolish to bend over to weed with an 18 inch hoe when you could stand up and use a full length one.

But now I know differently.

You see, Rose wasn’t bending over to use an 18 inch hoe.

She had learned through the years that the best way to get at the problem weeds in her garden was to get right down there with them.

On her knees.

She learned this the hard way, when the handle of her hoe broke years ago.

Isn’t wasn’t until some time later that I saw the life lesson found in that 18 inch hoe.

And like Rose , it took some brokenness before I discovered that the best way of getting at those problem areas in my life is –

On my knees.

How long is your hoe?

“Mommy Fix-it”

Sewing_toolsThe Busytown books by Richard Scarry have always been a favorite around here! One of our most beloved characters is Mr. Fix-it.

That inventive, good-natured little fox can fix anything – or at least tried too!

Sometimes as a mom I feel like I’m a “Mommy Fix-it” – trying to fix everything for everybody.

I fix the “boo boo” with a kiss and a band-aid.

I fix the hurt feelings with a hug and a few words of wisdom.

I mend the holes in the jeans, sew on the buttons, proofread the English paper, and clean up the spilled milk.

But lately my heart has been heavy over the things in this world I cannot fix.

The friend who struggles with infertility.

The family who is out of work, out of a home, and out of hope.

The little girls who just lost their precious  grandma, their rock,  to cancer, leaving them in a foster home hurting and scared.

The dear Christian sister who obeyed the Lord, doing the really big thing, and is now overwhelmed with the continual cost of that obedience.

The children all over the world who are going to bed hungry tonight.

I want to fix it. I want to make it better. I want to provide a storybook ending where everybody lives happily ever after.

But I can’t. There are some things I just can’t fix, nor am I supposed too.

Only God can heal the broken-hearted, give strength to the weary, and put the lonely into families. He has everything under control.

And my job is to pray –  to pour out my heart to Him. But as I’m praying, my heart should be tender, always ready to be a part of the answer – whatever that may be.