Archives for September 2014

How Blessed Am I? #MyFaithHeroine

This piece is part of Michelle DeRusha’s blog link-up about #MyFaithHeroine, in connection with the recent launch of her excellent new book, #50Women. 


A Double Delight rose, my spiritual heroine’s favorite.

Life was hard and uncertain when she was growing up. One of four siblings, barely a year apart, with parents who both worked, a father who drank hard and gambled hard, always losing. Then there were “the aunts,” she told me. The three older cousins who never married and who loved all those kids to bits, providing protection on occasion, but most of all, bringing fun and merriment into their days.

Though their mother had grown up in the church, after she married their dad, neither of them ever darkened a church door again. But they agreed that their kids could go.

So every Sunday, they dropped all four kids at the curb and left them to fend for themselves in downtown Los Angeles at that old brownstone building. For my heroine and her sister, it stuck. For their two brothers, it took a lot longer. The sisters loved to go to that place, where they met friends their own age and were sheltered and loved by lots of adults, as well.

One of those older women saw potential in the bigger of the girls, and when she was in junior high school, almost into high school, she arranged for a scholarship to a nearby training seminar. A Christian leadership seminar. And my heroine bloomed, learning to love the Bible, church music and a wide circle of friends, many of whom remained close to one another throughout their lives.

Eventually, she married one of the church musicians, a talented pianist with a bent for mathematics, and they began to build a home and a family. A girl was born, then two years later, a boy and about ten years after that, another boy.

All during those early years, the family continued to attend the downtown church where the parents had met, and they contributed faithfully, both musically and financially. Eventually, they moved too far out into the suburbs and switched to a larger church closer to home. Within a few years, that old church was razed and a used car lot took its place.

Their new church provided wonderful activities and teaching for her children and some powerful teaching during the adult Sunday morning hour for her and her husband. Professors from a nearby seminary came and built small congregations within the larger one. Once again, this woman bloomed and grew, stretching toward the light, exercising her good mind, asking probing questions, reading widely.

She always worried that she didn’t have a degree from college, but then, she never really needed it. Her own reading regimen (everything C.S. Lewis ever wrote, plus a lot of Paul Tillich, George Ladd, Eldon Trueblood, Peter and Catherine Marshall), her willingness to ask hard questions and her fearlessness about seeking answers provided a priceless education, as well as forming her more and more into the likeness of Jesus.

She taught eleventh grade Sunday school (girls only, in those days) for about a dozen years, providing wisdom, grace and breakfast out for every one of them sometime during the year. Each week, she worked hard on those lessons, getting up before the rest of the family to rough out ideas and read scripture. And to pray. She prayed for each student in her classes, regularly, faithfully.

By God’s grace and her own commitment to growing, both spiritually and psychologically, she overcame the difficulties of her upbringing, remaining close to her entire extended family until they each died. She is the only one left now, and that is hard — for her and for those who love her.

She dealt with a lot of insecurities and fears her whole life, but always, there was a joyful sense of humor, a warm and welcoming hospitality, and an immense reservoir of creativity. She decorated her home, her children and herself on a tight budget, and encouraged each of her children to get a good education and build a good marriage. And she loved her husband fiercely, even when he was old and frail and sometimes demanding.

This woman modeled for me what it means to follow hard after Jesus, to commit yourself to learning, asking questions, reading widely, and serving others. She wasn’t perfect — and she knew it! — but she was good. Even in her old age, she hangs onto her faith with all of her diminishing energies.

I visited her over the weekend, in the dementia unit where she now lives. She was sick, with a very sore throat and a nasty cough, all of which makes the dementia worse and exhausts her. I helped her change her clothes and sit in her recliner chair for an afternoon nap and then went across the room to bring her large, whiteboard calendar up-to-date after several months of neglect.

As I worked in the semi-darkness of her small entry way, I could hear her muttering in her chair. I thought perhaps she had drifted off to sleep and was dreaming. But then I began to pick out a few words, and my heart soared and broke, all at the same moment.

“Oh, Lord,” she said. “Please help Diana to be well, to be strong. She is such a beautiful daughter and I love her so much.”

Before I left I kissed her on the forehead and she smiled up at me and said, “The Lord’s been good. We’ll just keep praying and believing.”

“Yes, Mom,” I said. “That is exactly what we’ll do.”


This blog post is part of Michelle DeRusha’s #MyFaithHeroine contest, in connection with the release of the book 50 Women Every Christian Should Know. Find out how to participate here. 

Book Review & Giveaway! “Tables in the Wilderness”


Preston Yancey is a favorite of mine. He has an artist’s soul and a deep and wide knowledge of theology and literature. His first book is officially launching TODAY, and I recommend it to you.

As you read, you must come to peace with the truth that Preston is ridiculously young. Yes, he is. He might deny this, but I know it to be true. In many ways, he is an old soul and that adds gravitas to his words, burnishing them with lived experience and grace.  

This memoir slice is the story of a relatively short season of life — the college years. The years of growing up and growing out, of finding lifelong friends, discovering what you love and what you don’t, and maybe, if you’re truly blessed, finding your life partner.

Over the pages of this lovely book, he does all of these things — he grows up, he grows out, he makes (and loses) friends, he discovers what and whom he loves. And in the process, he learns a lot about God — something that he was certain he already knew.

That’s the way with us humans, isn’t it? We think we know so much. And then . . . we don’t. Preston tells us about his faith journey, about the professors who inspired him, about the parents who loved and honored him, about a few girls he dated and the one he married. And he does it in the inimitable Yancey way. . . by talking in beautiful, lyrical circles.

So my primary word of advice is this: carve out a half day and read this book in one sitting. I did not do this and I wish I had — because Preston circles back to where he began more than once, as the quote above boldly tells us. Take it from me that tracking names and relationships can get a little more difficult when you’ve let time elapse between reading spells. 

And the second word of advice is like unto the first: as you read this lovely story, try to remember as much of your own growing up years as possible. If you read “Tables” in one sitting, this remembering will be easier to do. 

Most of us who’ve lived a bit longer than Preston will recognize ourselves as we read. We’ll remember what it feels like to love and lose, to visit strange congregations, to wonder if God has forgotten us, and to discover our faith all over again. 

I think that kind of remembering is one of the primary joys of reading memoir. It’s a good thing to find companions on the way, even ones we’ve never met. And Preston Yancey is a very fine companion, indeed.

I happen to have one extra copy of this book and if you’d like to put your name in the hopper for a chance to win it, just leave me a comment. I’ll draw names one week from today — Tuesday, October 7, 2014 and I’ll post the winner here that evening. Please be sure to leave me your email address!


Stepping into the Shoes — SheLoves

It’s the last Saturday of the month – so it must be my turn to offer a contribution over at SheLoves Magazine! You can start that piece right here and then follow the links over to finish it off . . .


I’m not quite sure how I got pegged as a leader, but somehow, it happened. Not in my school or social settings, however; it happened at church, after my family moved and we began attending a church with a large youth ministry.

And I went to everything.

I loved church. I felt safe there, secure, even confident. Church attendance was always a part of our family story. Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, Wednesday evenings, social events, weddings, memorial services. Yeah, we went to it all. I was an eager middle school learner with a sweet, college-aged Bible leader on those Sunday evenings. And that woman was among the first to identify leadership and teaching gifts in me.

Those gifts got put on the sideline after college, at least for a few years. We served overseas together and had our 3 kids pretty quickly. And when they were 7, 5 and 3, we shifted to a more local congregation, and it was in that place that my gifts were recognized, affirmed, identified and labeled as gifts belonging to a pastor.

A pastor? Me?

I had never seen a woman lead in worship, unless it was a visiting single missionary or the local leading layperson in youth ministry. Never.

That idea, which was in many ways the natural progression of what began when I was twelve years old, never entered my mind.  So my decision to go to seminary in my mid-forties was based on what I experienced as a call to seminary, a desire to become a better Bible teacher, a more experienced worship planner. Even while there, I honestly never thought about leading a congregation in a pastoral role.

But two of my male professors called me out on that. “We see the gifts, Diana. Why not pray and consider whether or not God might be preparing you for exactly that?”

And so a long discernment process began during the second of my four years in school. And one late afternoon in year three, while taking a long walk around my neighborhood and earnestly seeking God’s wisdom and will, 

Please click here to join me over at SheLoves . . .

Just Write: I Never Stop Being a Mama

It’s the strongest, loudest piece of me, this mama thing. I was surprised by motherhood when it suddenly showed up. There we were, thousands of miles away from home, totally green about all but the basics of married life. 

And then she was born, and the entire world shifted on its axis. And then her sister and then her brother, and then, oh my! three littles in less than four years. And tired? Unbelievably so.


But here they were and there I was, a mom. Not a particularly great mom, truth be told. Impatient, overbearing, insecure, torn by wondering if I should be doing something ‘more’ with my life than wiping bottoms and breaking up bickering.

But I chose to be there, at home, doing exactly that. And I have never regretted it, not even when my eldest questioned that choice when she was about twelve, wondering why I didn’t have a real job like all her friends’ moms.

The most wondrous thing is this: that as they began to grow up, they each showed signs of independence and quick intelligence and wonderful humor and insight. And I became their student, in so many rich and wonderful ways.


My children have taught me so much. About humility, first and foremost. About laughter and anger, about love and disdain, about temperament and truth. Each one of them, wildly different from one another, beginning with that first flutter-in-the-womb. And yet so closely woven together. So close.

Yes, indeed, they were mean to one another, on occasion. I’ve learned more about their childhood meannesses since they’ve grown up! But underneath all of that there has always been a fierce loyalty and love, a deep desire for the best in one another, a willingness to come alongside in the tough times and to joyfully celebrate the great times.

I now have a grandson the same age I was when my first child was born: 23. LORD, have mercy! How is this possible? I truly don’t know how time can sprint by in a blink. I can call up elementary school orchestra concerts (on, my ears!), youth group scavenger hunts, early dating experiences, and long courtships for each of them.

And then suddenly — here we are! Three thriving families, eight grandchildren, every one making real contributions to their community, their church, their friends. 


So I am still learning from them. Every day. And I am still mama at heart, at base, at center. One of them is facing into back surgery; a little grandgirl has a chronic disease; one has been widowed and remarried; two grandkids are searching for ultimate answers, the prayers of us all undergirding their journey. 

No matter what else I have done or will do, no matter how many people I interact with, love, preach to, partner with or direct — these ones, these children, children-in-love/law, grandchildren, along with my husband — these are the community of first commitment and most essential ministry. 

How did I get so lucky?

I haven’t done this in ages, but I so love it when I do. Joining with Heather at EO for her Just Write this week. JUST WRITE whatever comes, then join the community and see where everyone else landed. It’s fun, I promise.

The Negative Power of Scarcity Thinking

Sometimes, I wonder just how many of the world’s ills are attributable to the ‘not enough’ syndrome?

You know the thinking — it shows up in all its various permutations:

“I don’t have enough”
“I can’t get enough”
You’re not enough”
I’m not enough.”

All tolled, I reckon the answer is . . . a fair amount. 

We’ve been looking at the parables of Jesus in Matthew 18 and 20 the past few weeks, the ones about forgiveness and generosity, about the many ways we tend to keep score in this life and how truly pointless it is. 

Think back to our story about beginnings and you can see it even there. Adam and Eve figured they didn’t have enough and that they themselves were not quite enough, either. They listened to the sinuous voice of the Tempter and allowed it to rule over their better selves, the selves that knew and were known, the selves that saw all that God had made and knew it to be GOOD, the selves that assumed abundance.

That same thread can be seen weaving its sharp-edged, ugly way through so many of the stories of the Old Testament and so many of the word pictures that Jesus drew as he told his stories along the dusty roads of ancient Palestine.


Right in the middle of some of those stories is where we find ourselves in the lectionary readings as we move toward the end of Ordinary Time this month. 

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about settling conflicts in the community, about how important it is to face into the hard things faithfully, openly, honestly. We followed that up last week with Peter’s question about forgiveness. “How many times, Lord?”

And the answer zinged back at him: “More times than you can count, my friend. An infinite number.” And to underscore that truth, Jesus told that story of forgiveness and generosity, the one that is paired with an equally powerful picture of what can happen if we are not forgiving and generous. 

Look at our altar pieces for that week and see if you can tell which story I mean. Yeah, that’s the one — the dramatically contrasting story of the steward who is forgiven much and then turns around and refuses to forgive a debt less than 1/10th the size of the one from which he had just been freed.

I love that our artists chose to use the image of breaking down a wall to picture this disparity. A giant mallet, contrasted with a tiny hammer.

A massive pile of bricks juxtaposed with one tiny half-brick.

We get it so backwards, don’t we? The man in the story had received the gracious gift of a lifetime – he owed an incalculable debt. Huge. And yet he couldn’t spread the goodness, he was unable to ‘forgive’ the small amount owed to him, choosing instead to cast his debtor into prison, breaking up his family, destroying his life.

This story always makes me wonder where my own stinginess lies, where my fears about not having enough, about balancing the scales, about making sure everyone is paid up — where that ugliness hides itself in me. Because it’s there, I know it is.

Hanging onto hurt feelings over a casual remark when so many have forgiven my thoughtlessness over the years. Worrying that someone else will do it better or collect more friends or receive more invitations to fun events. Yeah, I’ve been in those judgmental, keep-the-upper-hand shoes.

Yesterday, the Jesus-story once again cut right through to the place I live, the one I hide inside my spirit. That score-keeping, compare-and-contrast, watch-out-that-you-don’t-get-cheated place that I must regularly pray my way out of.

The story of the generous master, the crew-boss who goes out at regular intervals to hire workers for the field and then pays them all exactly the same wage. Exactly the same. Whether they started at nine in the morning or five in the afternoon, everybody got exactly the same pay.

Now, what, pray tell, is fair about that? Yes, that is exactly what I would have been saying. Grumble, grumble. “Say what? I’ve been sweating away all day long and that clown who came during the cool of the evening and didn’t even work up a sheen — they’re getting the same pay I got??”

Envy is like that, isn’t it? Constantly keeping a mental tally of how much everybody else is getting and comparing it to what I have. Wanting to keep all things even. JUSTICE! 

Well, maybe not.

Because the landowner in this story is completely just, if you read it carefully and if you think about it at all. He promises the early workers a fair day’s wage. And he pays them exactly what was agreed upon. But by that time, they’ve seen that he’s given the late-comers that same wage and have convinced themselves they’ll get more.

No dice. They got exactly what was agreed upon before they began the job. And also? A small, kindly lecture from the landowner.

And you gotta love this lecture:

‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Now think about that for a minute. “Are you envious because I am generous?” Oh, ouch.

Oh, Lord, help me to celebrate your generosity at every turn, to recognize its beauty, to see your grace in every lovely gift bestowed by your hand. . . even when it doesn’t exactly match what I think I should have gotten!

Help me to cease this struggle for enough, for what is ‘fair,’ for what I think is rightfully mine. Remind me that every good and perfect gift comes from your hand and that whatever I have and whoever I am — is enough. Because you are so much more.

To stop asking the incessant “Why?” and “Why not?” questions and to start paying attention to what is right in front of me.

To see the beautiful in the everyday, to look for the grace in every difficulty, to remember the loveliness of the small.

To whisper, “Thank you” thousands of times more often than I cry out, “Fix this!”

To look for the color, the glorious color of generosity wherever I find my feet planted, and to stop living as though there is a scarcity of everything or anything.
And help me to reflect your heart, to make space for cheerleading instead of comparison, for gratitude instead of grumbling.

In the good, strong name of Jesus, whose generosity amazes and astounds me, day after day.


A Grand New Book: 50 Women Every Christian Should Know


A funny thing happened to my dear friend, Michelle DeRusha, on the way to getting her fabulous memoir published earlier this year. She wrote another book!

And friends, it’s a doozy! I will admit that I am partial to her memoir — it’s the best one I’ve read in ages, filled with real life wonder, humor and redemption. But. . . this one right here? It’s a tremendous resource for all kinds of reasons, a book that should be on the shelf of every church library and in the hands of every young Christian. (And older ones, too.)

What started out as an assignment, blossomed into a powerful and moving testimony to the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the hearts and lives of women. Women across the centuries and around the world. Every chapter is a stand alone, in some ways. Well-researched, well-written and inspirational stories of gifted, called, obedient and very human women, all of whom have been conduits for the grace of God in various and wondrous ways.

From Hildegard of Bingen in the 12th century, through Susanna Wesley in the 18th through more familiar saints in the 20th and 21st centuries, each chapter is a rewarding read. Some of these names you are familiar with, some you are not. All of them are worth reading about and learning from.

I am pleased and proud to be the owner of a pre-launch copy and am honored to be able to review it for you here. If you’d like to enter a drawing for a free copy, please hop on over to Michelle’s place today and leave a comment. And while you’re there, you can read a whole passel of other reviews and comments at the link-up she is hosting today.

You can purchase this book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your local independent bookstore. Please do it. In fact, order several, and give copies to young women you know, women who might need encouragement and inspiration. This book will provide plenty of both. I promise.

Doing the Work


Life is such an interesting, beautiful, terrible mix, textured and rich, sometimes overwhelming and difficult, but laced with grace and beauty, often in surprising ways.

I wrote a back-to-school blessing for my husband last week, and he is back at it full-tilt, bringing treasures to share, stories to tell, strong arms to push swings and build forts.

This morning, he brought this beautiful nest, discovered in a plant hanging outside our window. It held two lovely small eggs within, abandoned by their parents. For some reason, this loveliness was a powerful reminder to me that sometimes life doesn’t happen the way we plan or hope or imagine. Sometimes the eggs never hatch, no matter how beautiful they look.


It’s been a week of gray days mixed with sunshine, extreme fatigue tossed together with energy spurts. I drove my car for the first time in three long months last week — and the adrenaline high from that joyous event carried me through two overly busy days that led to a crash-and-burn I’m still recovering from.


The next day brought a sobering morning when my mood matched this sky. But the following day, there was a delightfully delicious morning celebrating this blond child, the one who now has her Poppy for a teacher two mornings each week.


The pre-school hosts a Grandparents’ Tea the first week of school, so I hung out with Lilly for about 90 minutes, watching her agile body climb every piece of equipment in the play yard,


enjoying her creation of an abstract water color delight, listening to “I’m a Little Teapot,” with miss Lil being the tallest student in the center of the back row of the ‘choir.’ We finished the morning by stringing colorful beads on yarn and then giving each other our creations. (We’re wearing them in that first picture.)


The entire week felt a bit like this bowl of brightly colored beads — a mixture of bright and dark, shiny and plain, loud colors and quiet ones.


The mixed-up-ness continued into Sunday, where the text for the day was one of my least favorites anywhere in the New Testament, Matthew 18’s admonition to deal well with conflict in the body. This is a text that has been sadly abused and misused, but it’s also a text that we need to ponder.

It’s a tough thing, this conflict business. Often easier to avoid or ignore it than to face right into it and try and bring resolution, even reconciliation. There are those days when we feel like a broken pot or a string of barbed wire, and conflicts inevitably arise when one sharp edge meets another. It is never ‘fun.’


Everything in me resists this topic — which generally means, pay attention, kiddo! — so I did.

I paid attention to the entire morning — the music, complete with a kids’ rhythm band, the prayer, even the announcements!

Fall marks a definite up-tick in events, programs, small group opportunities. The slower summer is good for all of us, but it’s always energizing to see the college students return, to welcome families home from vacation and to enjoy more opportunities to be together outside of Sunday morning.

Every section of the service served to underscore the wonderful/terrible truth that we do this work, this Jesus-following work, together. That’s the way it’s meant to be. When we say ‘yes’ to Jesus, we are invited into community life. And that means there will be wonderful and terrible things ahead. For all of us.

Why? Because we’re human, that’s why. And conflict is inevitable — just take a casual look at the New Testament and it becomes crystal clear that church struggle is nothing new — it’s built into the whole idea. And done well, it can nourish and replenish and bolster the ways we belong to one another.

That text I try to avoid? Well, it turned out to be the perfect one to dive into as this busier season moves into high gear.


I was grateful that it happened to land on Communion Sunday in the lectionary rotation. That table that we share is all about togetherness, isn’t it? Unless we’re housebound and ill, we are meant to partake of the Lord’s Supper with the community, not by ourselves. And passing the bread, the cup? Offering the words? It’s tough to do that if you’re harboring bitterness or anger.


Jesus tells us clearly that if we’re upset with someone else in the community, we need to deal with it. Directly.

We are not invited to tell others how p.o.’d we are, and we are not instructed to get someone else to make things right between us, at least not initially.

We are told to work it out between us. To talk, discuss, apologize as needed, and to forgive. If we can’t manage it privately, then we invite an elder or two to come along and help us. And if that doesn’t work, then the entire leadership team is made aware of the difficulty. And then? Well, this has always been the sticking point for me.


Then. . . we’re to treat them as ‘pagans.’ I have always felt like that was an extreme and unexpected thing for Jesus to say! Until Pastor Don helped me remember that Jesus treated the pagans with a lot of loving attention and grace!

Tax collectors? Women? Adulterers? People on the edges? 

They all were offered grace. GRACE.

Those who continue to hold a grudge of some kind may choose to disassociate with the community. But if they do, they are still loved, still welcomed back whenever they are able to return, and held before God with tenderness and concern.

We welcomed new members on Sunday, as well — another piece of sweet timing. And the elders laid hands on them all, as the entire congregation affirmed our desire to support and encourage each one. A rich morning, reminding me of the mixed-up-ness of life together and calling me to do the work, to welcome others, to seek reconciliation wherever and whenever possible.

Streaming out into the warm sunshine after the service felt good and refreshing. And as the afternoon sun began to set, we came back and enjoyed a magnificent block party to kick off the new year. Bounce houses, taco truck, badminton, face-painting for the kids and a fun photo booth. 

This is life, and we are woven together as we live it together. Sometimes the work of weaving is painstaking. And sometimes it is glorious and exhilarating and fun.  ALL of it is good.


Joining this with Laura Boggess’s Playdates with God, Jen Ferguson’s SoliDeo Sisterhood, and Jen Lee’s Tell Your Story – so grateful for these friends along the way.

Being Saved by Beauty — A Deeper Story

For nearly two years now, it has been my joy and privilege to write once a month for one of the finest and most honest websites in the Christian blogosphere – A Deeper Story. I’ve got a reflection over there this month that came as a result of so much angry talk out here during this hot and sultry summer. Please follow the links here and at the end of this post to read the entire piece:


“One thing have I asked of the LORD, one thing will I seek: to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4, NRSV)

Every day. Honest to God, every single day, it is beauty that brings me back from the brink. Some days, it’s the single strongest strand in the invisible net that keeps me from sinking beneath the waves of agony that overwhelm our world on a regular basis.

This life we live can sometimes bring us to a desolate and frightening place. Human beings can be filled with so much hatred and ignorance; the work of the natural world can impinge upon our safety and our peace of mind; racism and sexism and ageism and every other ism you can name — well, they show up in all kinds of ways, both blatant and subtle. There are days when it all feels claustrophobic, paralyzing, too much.

I think that’s why I’ve chosen not to watch the news very much. We don’t take newspapers anymore, either. Maybe I’m like the proverbial ostrich, sticking my head in the sand, falsely believing I’m safe, while the ugliness continues to swirl around my very exposed hind parts.

All I know is, I have limits.

I do not like admitting that truth, I’ll tell you that. Most of my life, I’ve worked very hard to push through perceived limits, pushing to excel at whatever I’m doing. Why? Because I really, really don’t like limits that are imposed upon me by others, which is at the heart of all those isms I mentioned above, isn’t it? Racism, sexism, ageism — one group of people imposing limits on another group of people. And those kinds of limits, I do push back against, gently but firmly.

But I have other limits, ones that I’m discovering in my spirit, in my soul, and they seem to become more and more pronounced as the years add up. There are limits to how much ugliness I can take in, how much vitriol I can absorb. So I generally do not read comment threads that move from discussion to disagreement to name-calling. And I do not follow Twitter fests that quickly degenerate into small bites of not-knowing-much. There are exceptions to this, I know. But for this old broad, the speed and agility with which so many choose to speak is simply beyond me.

In the blogging world, and even on Facebook, I find that I am grateful for friends who can speak back to the ugly, and I try to lend my support with a gentle comment or two, or a Facebook share. But I am discovering that I don’t have what it takes to enter the fray and slice through the verbiage with a carefully aimed retort. For most of the last four years, I’ve been okay with that, grateful to be an encourager and a supporter, a cheerleader on the sidelines, gladly giving way to quicker minds and more articulate voices.

Today, however, at this end of these four years, I wonder: is it enough? Am I doing enough? Do I need to speak up more, maybe even shout more? This has been a matter of prayer and much inner seeking and searching into the depths of my heart and the limits of my courage. . .

Please click here to follow me over to A Deeper Story. . .


A Back-to-School Blessing

I have so enjoyed reading a variety of back-to-school blessings offered from moms to kids as September unfolds. But in our house, we are long past back-to-school. Or are we? Apparently, not quite. My husband has volunteered at our youngest granddaughter’s preschool since she started there, two years ago. This is her last year and Dick will be working with our favorite teacher, an exquisitely gifted woman named Miss Annie, for two mornings each and very week from now until June. So this blessing is for him.DSC01623

Again, the excitement building.  . . 

Almost forgotten, but not quite.

It’s been a lotta years since the last of our own flew this nest,

but here we are, feeling that back-to-school fervor.

And how sweet it is!


So I offer these few words,

from my heart to yours,

as you step into the first week of pre-school

for the third and last time.


May you, my sweet husband, be blessed by this September

and the year that it portends.

May you be blessed by each smiling face,

by every resident of Room 3 who calls you ‘Poppy,’

(because you are Poppy to one of them),

by every colleague who invites you and your gifts

to come and play,

come and learn,

come and grow.


What a gift you are!

To me, yes. The best of my life.

To our children, yes. They saw you live what you believe

each day for all those years

we were in the same space together.

And most definitely by our grandchildren,

every one of whom rises up to called you ‘blessed.’


Never forget that you are one of the good guys,

one of the truly remarkable humans who

instinctively knows how to please a pre-schooler,

to encourage and accompany and invite

and truly, deeply love and understand.

You get this gig,

like few people I’ve known in my life,

you get it.


So, as you begin a new year,

so eager to jump in and watch these kids blossom,

may you be blessed with

kindness unmeasured,

grace overflowing,

wisdom beyond your years,

energy to survive, even thrive,

and an open, honest heart.


More than these — because these blessings —

(let’s be honest here)

you already enjoy and exhibit —

I also pray for you these:

moments of wonder,

words of love,

sticky arms around your neck,

monkey bar shenanigans,

building block triumphs,

craft projects you can actually do (!!),

and sign upon sign that what you do,

what you say,

and who you are,

make a difference in Room 3.

Because they make a difference right here,

in our room, and in my heart.


I love you,

and I thank God for you.

Now, go get ’em!