When friends sing happy birthday to your dog

Sometimes silly things are worth celebrating.   

That’s why we threw our dog a full-fledged birthday party, complete with a paw print cake and human friends singing to a dog. Jack turned 15 this month.

If I’m looking through pragmatic eyes, Jack doesn’t do much—honestly, anything—to contribute to our family. During most of the day he finds a quiet place out of the traffic of three kids to sleep. His eyes are shrouded with cloudiness, and often when he walks past as I’m folding laundry or giving my 5-year-old the “just swallow the meat rather than chewing it for 15 minutes” lecture … I wonder just how blind he is.


We don’t love him because of what he contributes.

We love him because of who he is. Continue reading


“You know, my friend with the puffy hair?”

IMG_9384One Saturday night as I knelt in front of my daughter Eleanor and helped her pull Hello Kitty pajamas over her head, she wondered, “Do you think my friend Eleanor will be at church tomorrow?” Now, in our little dot on the map of the world, we don’t meet many Eleanors. My mind began scrambling for what she could be talking about, convinced this was a situation where her 3-year-oldness misinterprets something by a few degrees—like when mayonnaise was “mermaise” and her sister’s friend Penelope was “Centipede.”  I was still working through a response when she patted her head and said, “You know, my friend with the puffy hair?” And suddenly I remembered. Continue reading

Why Israel changed my 2018

For ten days my biggest decision was which pen to use in my journal and whether I was going to have dessert with my dinner buffet.

In February 2018 I clutched my backpack and boarded a plane for Israel. I went expecting to learn a lot and to read my Bible with new understanding.

I wasn’t expecting to return home more relaxed than when I left. But I did.


Our pastor’s wife laughed when I talked about returning home so rejuvenated. “Were we on the same trip?” she asked.  Side by side we had visited 4-5 sites per day, walked for miles, and took in so much information that my notebook pages were flying. Here’s what it was.

No one needed a thing from me. Continue reading

Middle school. ‘NUF SAID

He looked up with big 2-year-old eyes wanting to have an adventure…but scared how it might end. So I ducked my head down and scrunched my knees up so we could ride the giant tube slide together. From that day on, he jumped into every tube slide and popped up at the end with a laugh.

Now my kid is 11 and becoming a middle schooler. MID.DLE.SCHOOL. Wasn’t he just yesterday memorizing the characters from the Cars movie? And telling me this situation was “just like my favorite word … o-c-q-u-a-r-d.” Continue reading

Peace when life is so un-peaceful

the-creative-exchange-336778-unsplashPastor Jim made a call to the bullpen for Wednesday night, so Pastors Justin and Anthony stepped up to the stage. They did a fantastic job presenting how God is Jehovah Shalom, the Lord our Peace. It was a message my heart needed to hear in a time when the world around me so often feels the opposite of peaceful. Here’s the Jehovah Shalom devotional. I pray that going through it is an opportunity to discuss the places your family can trust in His peace, the only peace that passes all understanding.

Names of God devotional for families, Part 3 Jehovah Nissi

rob-bye-103197-unsplashPastor Jim opened my eyes with fresh context to a story I’ve heard many times. How can a slave nation of Israelites (who hasn’t fought a battle in 400 years) overcome an attack from a seasoned army? They lift their eyes to God, Jehovah Nissi.

I have days when it feels as if my problems loom on the horizon as overwhelming as an army. And in those moments, I need to remember who God is. He is Jehovah Nissi.  Continue reading

Way better than the squeaky flap of a vending machine


Last week was part 1 of a family devotional series on the names of God. In case you’re like me—who sometimes doesn’t click the link and just scans—this study isn’t about memorizing the names of God. It’s about understanding the nature of God. SO open the link to start a discussion with your family about who God is as Jehovah-Jireh, our provider with the  kids page. AND listen to Pastor Jim’s sermon!


Peace in Unexpected Places

I love the delicate crinkle I hear when I turn a page in my Bible. With each turn I feel like I’m pulling back a little of the curtain and seeing more of who God is, and I’m humbled and inspired and enthralled and so many more “-ed” words that I don’t have space for. 

In the pages of my Bible, I’ve discovered that God is our comforter. God is our hope. God is our redeemer.

These knock-your-socks-off statements about God are absolutely true, but I’ve also realized there are some not-so-shoutable-from-the-rooftop phrases that follow them. Continue reading