Every Summer Has A Story…

This summer has been such a whirlwind.

As I was sitting for a short break on a street in Chicago back in June, a saying on a shop window was suddenly staring right back at me. Thinking it was so fitting, I snapped a picture of it. Knowing that summer has always been my favorite season of the year, and hoping quite a few adventures were ahead of me, it soon became my “cover photo” on my facebook page.

Every Summer Has A Story

Every Summer Has A Story


It certainly has been true again! But this particular one has had so much going on, that I’ve been zipping from here to there and not even taking the time to write those stories.

Many times I’ve sat down to journal with a calendar next to me, so that I could catch up on what has happened during all this busyness. What was I even doing? The calendar often didn’t have that much on it, but the days always filled up with life.

One year ago today, I would have never dreamed I would be sitting in this town, in this house, in this living room, writing this story. My own dog is a visitor tonight, and is sleeping near my feet.

So much has changed in just one year. It’s amazing how God has woven all the intricate details together, to have me in this place at this time. My life has taken so many turns and here I am. My God has been faithful, as always.

Since I was a small child, I knew God was with me. I could feel Him in the breeze as I took those walks to the gullies. I saw Him in nature’s ever-changing, never out of order seasons. I heard Him in the birds. Felt Him through the soft hair of my much-loved cats. Knew His power through the thunderstorms that would shake that farmhouse during the night. Glimpses of Him were everywhere, in everything. Through the good and the bad.

He was there.

Many adventures have unfolded again this year. Some difficult, some mundane, some full of laughter and memories. Moving from the country to the city. Surviving the worst winter in 35 years. Moving twice during the worst winter in 35 years. Finding this home. Going on a cruise to celebrate 30 years of marriage. The second son’s graduation from college. Enjoyable times with friends. A trip out west to research ancestry and meet relatives. So many more to list…  Each of these small sentences could be broken up into thousands of little pieces to tell intricate details. They’re each stories that can be told.

He is here.

My God who has been faithful in the past, will be faithful in the future. It is His character.


He will be here. He has promised.

What is something that is keeping you very busy this summer?

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A Summer’s Day which burned

Another mundane morning of driver’s training. Three kids. An instructor who said, “go 40 on 40.” His way of attempting to be funny. Long story. Along with many other sayings he used. You would only understand if you grew up in our two-bit town.

So glad to be out of that car. I was leaning against the bars, in front of my high school, waiting for one of my parents to take me home. My shirt and shorts stuck to me and I shifted uncomfortably. My hands had taken on that smell of the iron bars, and they began turning red. I brushed the flecks of silver off onto my shorts.

Just another summer day.  June 23.

Fifteen years old and very self-conscious, I was sure hoping someone would come soon. Often the last one snatched up from every school event. Some kids were laughing nearby.

Audrey and I had gone down the country road the night before. She was riding bike alongside me, as I jogged. We talked and laughed, mocked a few people going by. Normal teenage sister things.

Not far down the road, we decided to come back and listen to some of Audrey’s albums on the record player. She had all these “78” records of new bands. We danced and ate snacks. The daylight lingered and twilight shone into the living room long.

She had gone off to college and left me home that year. In our tumultuous household. So many letters written back and forth. How I longed for that summer of catching up with her. The M.S.U little sister weekend was in the distant past. Now she was here with me- to play tennis, talk about boys, take me out to the movies. Four weeks of idolizing her.

She was my big sister. Only mine.

Plans for the summer. Telling secrets about silly boyfriends I had crushes on. Being eighteen already, made her an expert in my eyes. Many slumber parties in her room. Talking and giggling until my dad’s deep voice would echo up the stairs, with a warning to quiet down. Then we’d giggle some more with our mouths covered, biting our fingers to stifle the noise. What was so funny?

I thought the sun rose and set on her.


Fleeting thoughts of the night before ran through my mind again.  I wondered what Audrey and I could do that day, when she got out of work. Maybe we would go to the beach.

Instead of one of my parents driving up, I saw my Aunt and Uncle. They were elderly and never came into my school yard. My Aunt walked straight to me, moving faster than I had ever seen her move. She uttered words that burned deep and changed my life in drastic ways.

Have you had times which are etched so deeply into your mind? Why do you think that happens?




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A flashback to the seven year old…

“In the farmhouse tree swing, I was gently pushing myself forward and backward in a mindless way with my toe, which could barely touch the ground. There was a creaking noise above me, just as my heart was ripping apart in my chest. The rope emitted a faint straw-like smell that wafted through the air. Tiny particles of dust shone through the sunlight as they drifted slowly to the ground. The air was unusually warm for a mid-March day in Michigan. My mouth tasted like a dried up piece of bread.  I was trying to make any sense of the morning’s events. A panicky feeling went through my bones.


The sun shone brightly, with barely a cloud in the sky, which seemed like such a mockery of my mood. I wondered why other people in the world would be going by on the road at a high rate of speed, totally oblivious to what had just happened. I was appalled at the birds singing so cheerfully.”


Do certain sounds, smells, tastes or sights make you remember things? Do they trigger something for you?

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My dear sons–A Father’s day story

My dear sons, you are young men now.

Working your way through the “puzzles of life”

A few days after Father’s day, your dad will be turning that age. The age of his own dad’s passing-at 51 years young. That big “C” word. The one none of us ever wants to hear.

It seems to be a very significant year. The empty nest. A smaller home. The move into the city…well more like a large town. But it’s all different for us this year. For him.

My young men, please always know that your dad and I are very proud of you. We love you more than you can ever imagine. You will only experience that deep kind of love when you have your own children. The only one who loves you more fiercely than us, is your Heavenly Father.

It’s such a different kind of love than a marriage. It’s a “part of me” love. So rich that it’s ingrained like part of your skin.


 The day you each were born…

My strong silent man just gazed at his boys with a tear in the corner of his eye. He held you tight. 

Miracles. Dreams. Many years of throwing baseballs, kicking soccer balls, swimming and boating, working, playing and laughing. He tossed you up high in the sky. There were dark and angry days-sad days. Not all perfect, that’s for sure.

Gifts and cards are not on his radar. Calls and visits are treasures.


Knowing in his heart that he did his best. He was a quiet dad, but tried to express more than his predecessors did. Believe me, that was a big obstacle to work around. Prayers that you have a deep rock solid faith in God as he does. But he’s too humble to say much about that.

He lives it.

The kind of faith that weathers storms in life– They will come. The kind of faith that clings to the Father of Life when it rains hard and cold.


Giving a hand to a friend. Putting yourself aside. Giving generously and anonymously. Using your gifts to the glory of God. Keep promises. Listen. Stay awhile with someone. That you will be husbands and fathers who love the Lord.

Integrity in your life, marriage and work. Whatever you do, do it unto the Lord.

Friendly wrestling between father and two sons…

We will be here for you. We will always love you. Listen to you. We will love you when we see you taking left turns in life.

His “quiver” was two boys. He is watching to see how far, strong and straight those arrows will fly. (Ref. to Ps. 127:5)

Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. (Ref. to Micah 6:8)

At the end of your life, what else really matters?

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Reflections over the last months…Part 2

October wasn’t finished strangling memy son J was also having heart issues and we checked that out. Diagnosed as Pre-Ventricular Contractions, which many people have, even without having our family heart defect. J and I were both diagnosed years ago, with the LongQT syndrome. So having racing heart and arrhythmia of any kind is very unnerving. But there were really no answers.

Summer of 2013 picture from my phone 152


That was finally enough to push us to get my other son, A, genetically tested too. If he was positive for the gene, he should also come with us to Mayo Clinic. Dr. Ackerman is a world wide specialist in LongQT and is published in many books and articles concerning it.

During the Spiritual growth conference, my left upper chest had actual physical pain which I couldn’t explain as my own. It seemed to be in the spiritual realm. Concern for my niece and my J.  As I mentioned to the prayer team, I felt that there were going to be big changes. God was doing mysterious work, and gave me prophecy which I wasn’t sure was good or bad news.

On Monday, two days after the conference was done, a series of events began which seemed to circle on and on for many months. Somebody had pulled a top and it began to spin for months. Suddenly, we had an offer on our home-and a good one. It was Nov. 19. The deal was made, and we were expected to be out of our house by the day after Christmas.

If Cliff didn’t have the dream anymore, then I could no longer enjoy the place either. Too much house, land, and pool. The downsizing decision had been made.

We had looked on-line endlessly with no luck, but this offer could not be passed up and was accepted and sealed. I told Cliff that if he was following God, I could follow him. Then the tension of what to buy, the question of a condo, what to do about my dog, or would we rent? It appeared that almost everything we owned would need to be stored. Being out in the country, cold weather, in a hurry, and many items I wanted to keep.

I was determined not to let this move destroy our last Christmas in this home. Even before Thanksgiving, the house was decorated and the tree up. I asked the boys to make sure they could come one last time.

Day in and day out. Sitting in the middle of three bags or boxes-pack, throw away, and give away. It felt like a bunch of decisions were just thrown into our faces, as if a cold fan was switched on high. Bank meetings, inspections, and looking at houses.



The weather outside had taken a sudden turn in November along with our life. As white began to cover the earth, I tried to pray and calm myself. Keeping perspective on how blessed we really were. Prayed as I packed, for sick and needy friends. It was just a house. It was not easy for this sentimental gal to do.

When the pressure cooker began to scream, we recommitted to each other. Turning away from each other was sometimes our bad habit during times of stress. The hard work and daily decision to stick together through this as we had throughout the last 29 years.

I was determined to stay organized, and the “teacher in me”, color-coded and labeled every box on all four sides. It was time consuming, but I knew it would pay off in the end. No time to peruse, or get sentimental about anything. Renting a storage unit, that we knew would be needed for a time, no matter where we ended up going. We filled up one…then needed two.

My Kinesiologist is a God-send. Dr. J. helped alleviate much of the anxiety and stiff neck, with his adjustments and supplements.

I had five weeks to pack and get every single thing out of our beloved home. The place we dreamed of, planned and had built. Visited every single night of the building process to sweep, paint and help. The yard which Cliff landscaped and installed the sprinkling system. Our boys grew up there from age 7 and 10.  Worked alongside their dad, begging to drive the lawnmower to disc rake the huge yard.


In the middle of all this, my niece had a second surgery which seemed to make her situation improve. Being a communicator, I didn’t feel I was nurturing any of my relationships enough. It seemed that all I did was pack, tape and label.

Thanksgiving Day, we received some words that gave us hope and calm amidst the storm.



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Reflections over the last months…Part 1

BI didn’t like the unknown, or even some of the results…

My husband and I – we’re on the other side of a lot of things. There will be more… That’s the way life is. Every family has dysfunction and disappointments.

While taking a walk the other night I was reflecting. Making a mental list of some of the huge life changes just since September that have happened to me, or those close to me.

A few that stand out- September was the first month in our lives when we were truly “empty nesters.” This time, it would be the real thing. My oldest son bought his own condo. The other son was talking of moving out west after graduation from college. Learning to reconnect on a deeper emotional and spiritual level with each other – alone. That’s work.

That month also brought news of a nephew who had heart surgery. His went fine and he recovered quickly. A visit from a dear friend from Honduras who was a leader with World Vision, which is an organization I’m intricately involved with. That caused a whirlwind reunion weekend with friends who had gone to Honduras together the summer before. Beginning Bible Study Fellowship for another fresh start as I was meeting new friends, and reacquainting with old.

October broke through with glorious color in my country backyard. It also ballooned into a long series of events involving my dear niece, who had heart surgery. Our boat was still in the slip, as the weather was gorgeous and warm.  A few last times on the boat as a sanctuary for the year.


My niece’s surgery had complications which persisted. Long prayer sessions. My husband and I having discussions about the impending move. My sentimental attachment to our home. Cleaning, cleaning, staging and more cleaning….oh…   Lots of showings and no bites.


Taking walks along the railroad tracks behind our home, telling my dog Ebony all about it. Apologizing to her. Dogs are a picture of unconditional love. Would we go to a condo, or a home where she could come along? Praying for my niece to improve and imploring every prayer warrior I knew to do the same. Looking up for clarity that didn’t come.

I went to the Breathe Writer’s Conference, but couldn’t even enjoy it and get my heart into it this year. I was laden with anxiety, fear, inadequacy, distraction, and a heavy heart. I was to the point of panic attacks which plagued me.

November came on with a chill. My niece would need a second heart surgery. As I was attending a conference on Spiritual growth, I prayed with the prayer team and had a very strong sense that something very big was about to happen in my life.

Am I the only one who feels like this sometimes? I believe that the more honest you are with people, the more others feel safe to open up too. A lot of this is way out of my comfort zone.

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Mother’s Day can be complicated…

Everyone knows that Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday. Unless you forgot! Oh my!

There are mixed emotions for many people on this special day coming up. Some are giddy and excited about having a family dinner and it will look like a scene from a Norman Rockwell magazine on Sunday.

It’s not that easy for most. We are complicated people in a complicated world. There is pain. There might be unrest. There are so many scenarios that can come into play.

We are not all able to take our mothers out to dinner or go to her house to have a joyous family gathering.

If you don’t know me, my mom went to heaven when I was 7 years old. I’m certainly not looking for pity here. But I grew up very differently than even my own siblings, who were all quite a bit older than me. They knew my mom. I didn’t really get that privilege of knowing her very much.

I have so many blessings, including a wonderful mother in law, two sons make me a mother myself, and lots of nieces, nephews, and grand nieces and nephews. So I feel like a mother in many ways and have an older generation to look to. A wonderful legacy that my mom left me, of diaries and her faith.

But think about what the “Mother’s Day Hallmark holiday might look like people in these kinds of situations:

A mother who has babies in heaven. A mother who has tried but has a very strained or absent relationship with her child of any age. A daughter who is losing her mom right now, as she is at her bedside vigil. A granddaughter who would love to spend time with her grandmother, but she lives in a state very far away. A SON who knows he should call his mother, but is in a state of unforgiveness and his pride will not let him do so. A daughter who never really knew her mother because she was “discarded” in some way long ago. A daughter who will be grieving on Sunday, because her mom is mentally far away in some other place. An orphan who is crying for the arms of a mother-someone just to hold her.

If you have a grand time with a mom or grandma, or if you are a mom or grandma, APPRECIATE it and savor the moments! But let us not forget the people who may be going through invisible pain on Mother’s Day.

Count your blessings and enjoy ever moment you can with those you love. You don’t know when they might be the last. Those who are in Christ Jesus, and knew their loved ones were, will have hope. Many do not have hope.

Let’s remember them this weekend. I’m sure you can think of many other kinds of things friends may be going through.

Please share a story or an encouragement for someone else today.

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