Monthly Archives: February 2023


Yesterday we had our final exam for our Family Systems class. In the program so far, the in-person exams are the hardest things we’ve had to do, in my opinion. There have only been two of them like this. For this one we were given a family case study including the problems being experienced by a seven member family. Then we had two and a half hours to answer ten questions, write out a care plan, and draw a genogram.

I have a short essay to write for tomorrow for my other class and then we are on spring break for a while. This semester long class is called Understanding the Stone-Campbell Movement: My Heritage. The Stone-Campbell Movement is also known as the Restoration Movement. It’s about the history of the group of churches that are presently known as Churches of Christ, Disciples of Christ, or Christian Churches of Christ.

I’ve literally never heard of any of these people or any of this history. I sometimes wish I had all day long to do nothing but read about obscure histories like this. This evening we are getting together with my in-laws to celebrate the two boys latest birthdays. The boys chose IHOP. The big kids have a track meeting, so they’re supposed to go to that and then meet us at the restaurant. Baseball practice starts today for the spring.

All these moving parts do stress me out at times. It’s not like a lose my cool type of stress. Those days are pretty much over and are over. It’s more like a blank and bewildered staring into space where I get an email from my daughter asking about going this place or that, and typing back “Yes, that’d be fine” like it’s the most normal thing in the world for my kids to all of a sudden be everywhere else except here in my presence.

This afternoon for lunch Dad and the boys and I ate at the CGC. There was an LWML group here for their quarterly district meeting. The cook invited us over which was nice. It was warm enough we could eat outside on the picnic table just outside the building. We had chicken soup, salad, fruit, rolls, and a blueberry dessert. The ladies were in and out, stopping to chat as they walked by. The cook gave us soup to take home.


It’s been one of those consistently cloudy winters. It happens every couple of years that instead of blue sky and single digits, you get more grey skies and temps in the 40’s and 30’s. Where most of my siblings had snow last week, we had rain. It rained again last night and a significant portion of the morning. For a brief time before school the rain did stop and the sun and sky could be seen.

This morning I went to Lowe’s to buy two more dehumidifiers. One for the upstairs, and one for the schoolroom, since that one is still trying to work in the boys’ room. The schoolroom was smelling the way it does when it rains, which happens if you leave the dehumidifier off for any extended period of time. My sister was on her way to mop up some of the flooding at her church.

Obviously this does getting me thinking about mold. We probably should’ve gotten a few extra dehumidifiers years ago. There are three spots in the basement that I know of that flood, but they only do so when there have been larger than usual amounts of rain within a short period of time. I picked the boys up from school (Dad was helping Uncle Glenn) and they helped me unload them.


For the past little over a year I’ve been serving as one of the members of our church’s spiritual nurture board. The summer before I had basically reached the point where I could no longer stand to be so disconnected from our church. I could not explain why church felt like such a painful place for me to be. Instead of feeling fed and connected, I felt isolated and lonely. There was like this never-ending hole in my heart that longed for something I’d surely known once before, but long ago.

Over the summer our DCE stepped down from her position in order to be home full-time with her son. Without a DCE it has fallen on our board to oversee/continue various things that the DCE once took care of. One of these things is the Sunday School program. I have written in the past about an exodus-like loss of people from our church not too long after we began attending there. We’d had a thriving Sunday School with five children’s classes plus a high school class. Each class had three teachers each that rotated every month.

I did not volunteer to be a Sunday School teacher. As a homeschool mom of five who was home with my kids throughout the week, I wanted a chance to be with other adults. Coming from a busy church prior to the one we’d just moved to, it felt incredible to be free from the responsibility of my husband being the head pastor. For a while we went to church together. I remember asking him one evening while standing in the garden. Could we go to the Saturday night service as a family, in the town north of us? So the kids could go to church with their dad, so I could feel what it was like to have him next to me again. I hadn’t realized that being married to a pastor meant going to church without him for the rest of your life.

I struggled and was at a loss even in the adult class. In church and then Bible class, the talking that went on mostly happened one way. I couldn’t understand why I never looked forward to church. This morning I felt slightly like I was looking forward to it. After church and Sunday School, a few of us from the board got together at Subway for lunch while the pastor did his catechism class from 12-1 before our meeting. After stepping down from the high school class once I got sick, I started teaching in the K-5th class. I did it because I felt obligated to fill one of the empty teaching spots.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wondered why it so often seems like its the moms who have to do this. Where are all of the old grey-haired women who’ve been teaching Sunday School for the past 50 years? They don’t exist, at least not in our church. I say this even as only two of the six Sunday School teachers currently have children in the program, so it isn’t always just the moms. Today as I sat next to my son during the Sunday School opening, I came to a place of accepting this “season”. I looked around at the extra parents who had joined us to be with their children. This is what we do. Catechizing our children, encouraging them in the faith, doing what we can to ensure the process happens is what Christian parents do.

Later tonight I cried thinking about it. Toward the end of our meeting, for a split second, I felt something different, something I had surely known once before, but long ago. It wasn’t isolation, or discouragement, or loneliness. It wasn’t guilt or frustration over last minute meeting planning or any other scathing vice. It wasn’t overwhelm at the ever-present desire to do the best that I can ever running side-by-side with the constant failure to do so. It wasn’t even the holy fire, the longing to image Christ in doing all things well. I wasn’t feeling, I wasn’t thinking, about anything having to do with me at all. I was there again. I felt whole.


“Don’t worry, mom.
In heaven your house will be spotless.”

The schoolroom smelled like the septic tank had exploded and landed somewhere in the house. I checked the bathroom, and besides the clothes on the floor, nothing was terribly unusual in there. The next day I smelled it again but the bathroom still didn’t have any problems. When I continued into the big boys’ room I realized the smell was coming from there. I went upstairs and let them know, “Boys, your room needs some attention.”

Somewhere in all this somebody figured out that the outside corner of their bedroom carpet was damp. It’s done this before. It was late by now. Dad and the younger boys were still out at a hockey game for the church men’s night. The big kids had gotten home from bowling with camp friends. I also had just gotten home from meeting a friend for supper. We met at 5:30 and talked for over four hours until everyone else had gone home.

I told my son to put the dehumidifier in there. This morning Dad and the big kids left for an indoor track meet over by Decatur. The boys were given a choice. They could go to the meet and have to be there all day or stay home with me and be put to work. They decided to stay home. The four of us worked in the boys’ room moving stuff out of the boys room into the schoolroom. Again I was amazed by all the possessions we possess.

Something’s going to have to be done about the carpet. We soaked up what we could but the smell is too bad for anyone to currently sleep in there. Last night the boys slept out in the schoolroom, and after addressing what we could in the bedroom, we moved to the schoolroom to clean up there. It wasn’t too bad, but if one room was going to be torn up and messy, then I wasn’t going to have the makeshift bedroom also in disarray.

Dad kept me updated on how the track meet was going. We folded a few loads of laundry, started new ones, and cleaned the kitchen. They watched a show while I took a 1/2 hour nap. I’d planned to go out and finish birthday shopping for one of the boys’ birthdays tonight. I could’ve still done it, but Dad said he’d do it on the way home. I texted a list. I had all these homemaking thoughts I was going to share and process just now, but this works.


My Instagram ads have been a steady stream of wrinkle treatments and weight loss solutions. I know they aren’t just reading my mind. I did actually buy some kind of exercise and meal plan package that you had to sift through $300+ dollars of extra add-on’s to purchase. You take a quiz, and based on the answers, they determine what is best for you based on your hormone type. Based on body type and symptoms they labeled me a type A personality, which just isn’t true.

I had to go into the doctor last week. I’d called to renew an anxiety med prescription, something I’ve done mostly without problems for the past two years. They said it’d been too long since I’d had a regular physical. I told them I try to only go the doctor if I’m having a problem, as most regular doctors visits are something we pay out of pocket and can range anywhere from $400-$600 a piece depending on how much time your appointment takes. She said the doctor could work with me.

He did. While I was there I asked him about weight gain. Besides being pregnant, this is the highest it’s ever been. I did Whole30 last month. I’ve been trying to walk more. Nothing. One of his side-specialties is bariatric health care, so he said the only thing he’s going to tell me is “diet & exercise”. But also, from a medical perspective, numbers-wise, everything looks fine. Appearances aside, he’s not getting into all that, it’s possible that what it is now is actually better than it was before.

I need a scan of my uterus, my colon, something. Something to show me what is happening in there. All these times I’ve come to you, when you keep telling me I’m fine. And now you’re going to tell me it’s fine again. I’ve heard stories of this. Women repeatedly diagnosed with anxiety when it was actually something else. But I don’t have energy to fight anymore. I don’t have the stamina to keep searching for answers, to keep going to doctors looking for help with whatever’s been wrong.

These stream-of-consciousness posts occasionally get on my nerves. I get tired of the magical thinking and imposing meaning on experiences. One of the girls used to ask me, “But what’s your point?” Well, I don’t know. Most of the time I write because I don’t know what I’m thinking. I think this experience popped out for me because it was the first time in these past two years this core belief has been challenged, when he proposed I’m actually now in better shape.


Dad’s train came in around 10:30 last night. I took a nap around 9:30 before it was time to pick him up. I was in our room working on the latest paper due tomorrow. My brother was here this weekend with his friends and their families. They spent some time on Saturday putting taps in the maple trees. We seem to always come in on the tail end of the season, but the trees should still have at least another week, maybe two, of sap flow.

We all went together. The kids passed the time by watching a movie. On the way to the train station they asked about stopping somewhere to get ice cream. Ice cream places aren’t open that late, but otherwise I’m sure we would have probably stopped to buy some. The way to the station looks different in the dark, and one of the kids had my maps app pulled up to give me directions. He called right as we were pulling into the station.

I unlocked the back car door. He loaded up his bags as the kids shuffled around to make room for their father. He made his way to the passenger seat and sat down. I didn’t look at him. I held onto to the steering wheel while I stared straight ahead. You have to get to know a person again after a week. You have to trust them again that they’re still the same person, that they haven’t changed or forgotten you while they were away. He hadn’t.


The older kids had another dance this evening. I told my son he could invite up to fifteen people over for supper. We did this once last year with about ten and it was a wonderful time. Tonight we had seven plus the rest of the kids. Our meal plans have been working well, though I haven’t followed one this week. I tend to revert back to old habits when my husband is away, especially when it comes to cooking, where I just live day to day.

I went back to the store this morning to get the rest of the food I would need for the meal. One of the other moms sent along rolls, a dessert, and lemonade, which was a big help. I said a prayer before the meal, which to me is one of the small and simple ways I can minister to others. Tonight we thanked the Lord for the gift of love and friendship, as well as for the love of God shown to us in Jesus on the cross. Each one is special.

Both times the night went fast and they were in and out before I knew it. I cried again when they left, momentarily overwhelmed by the changes of life and these passing moments. They were here and then they were gone, and I was beyond blessed to have been able to share in the joy. I drove my daughter to school, as the girls had made their own plans just to go and meet there. When I returned the boys had cleared the table.


“Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.”
~Luke 24:29~

After taking the boys to school this morning I stopped by County Market to pick up some food items. I’d also gotten inspired to make Valentines Day fun for them. The store had a big display of flowers and chocolates and a few lone balloons. I found one with a happy gnome as the picture and picked that one. Near the Valentines gifts I also found some window clings that are like removable stickers you can put on the glass.

I came home, unloaded the bags, then sat down with a bowl from earlier to finish my breakfast. I heard a car pull up to the house and kind of sighed knowing I’d have to answer the door. Two men I didn’t know were on the other side of it. One of them asked if I was busy. I replied, “Uh, sort of?”, not knowing what they wanted. They were scouts from a Christian group board, looking for a place to hold their Walk to Emmaus retreats.

I’ve heard of these before, that they’re amazing and life-changing, but I didn’t know exactly what they were. I thought they needed a place to actually go on walks, to be in nature where people can be alone to commune with God. In that case they had absolutely come to the right place. I called my husband to confirm that he had indeed spoken with another Emmaus woman who was looking into prices. Their story was true.

We walked to the Christian Growth Center and then to the Retreat Center. I’m always a tad bit self-conscious about the buildings. We’re not a fancy place, and it’s been 40 something years since some of these buildings were built. I think they’re in need of updates, not out of absolute necessity, but because people expect nice places to stay in. When you’re used to camp it’s one thing, but when you’re not, it’s different.

I love giving tours. We stopped by the Indoor Chapel on the way down to the dining hall. We walked through the kitchen and I showed them the new building. We walked to the cabins and they checked the amount of outlets to see if they’d be able to accommodate multiple CPAP machines. I told them there was no running water in the cabins, and that the nearest bathroom for them during the night would be in the dining hall.

They didn’t need land but I showed it to them anyway, at least pointed in the general direction. Toward the river, toward the creek, across the dam there are even more acres to walk on. One asked about the deer, the fishing, and the mushrooms. We have all of that here. They don’t get much free time on these retreats, and the people who come to them are often older. There would be 60-80 people to house including kitchen staff.

There were several other camps that were also being looked at. In March everybody presents their findings to the board. One man had been a missionary in Africa with his wife. I asked if he liked it and said that he loved it. I’ve never been on an overseas mission trip, I said, but have always wanted to go on one. He said I should do it, that it would change my life, and I should bring my kids along with me. It’d be expensive but worth it.

I came home and they left. If we never see them again, even still I’d been blessed. I put away the rest of the food and sprinkled the table with Valentine’s day candy. During supper one of the boys brought out a gift from Dad that he’d left behind. I was completely surprised. It was a journal, on which were written the words Faith, Hope, and Love, along with a set of colored gel pens and a card, which to me, it was perfect.


It’s been a full and busy weekend of visits and travels. My sister came down with her four girls, along with my cousin’s daughter who was visiting from Florida. My sister had called me several weeks ago wondering if it’d be okay if they came down. She was trying to think of things for them all to do and thought coming down to camp would be a good experience. Of course I agreed.

Jupiter and Venus were bright in the sky as they moved in. You can usually always tell if there’s a planet overhead, but I can currently only tell you what planet it is after I first look it up on my SkyView app. I have a Classical Astronomy textbook and Field Guide Study Journal that would teach me how to do it, but I haven’t gotten to them yet. I hope to, but don’t know if I ever will.

Saturday morning we dropped Dad off at the train station. He’s currently on his way to the western edge of Montana. Every year in February he goes away for these camp trips. While I yearly have to wrestle through him going away on trips without me, I do want him to have a good time. The pictures I have seen make the northern part of the country look like it’s own remote snow planet.

This morning I left church early to join my parents for a car ride. We traveled up to Lexington for the visitation of a church family friend. God always provided families for ours during various parts of our lives and this was one of those families. I also saw the parents of one of my high school best friends and talked to them for a little while. It’s amazing to me how love travels through time.

My parents dropped me back off at the then empty church parking lot. We’d driven two cars this morning so the kids could drive over to meet Grandma and Papa after church. The big kids had a basketball game to go to this afternoon, and super bowl parties this evening in town. I visited with my in-laws, then came home with the boys. We enjoyed our meal of popcorn for supper.


One time I was visiting with a woman who was expressing the overwhelming nature of being a parent. She confessed her envy. I had done things right, she said, by having kids young. She and her husband had met later in life, having spent many years single before finding each other and getting married. They’d had and enjoyed their years of freedom, but now they were exhausted and old.

There was one positive, she stated. She and her husband had always had a wonderfully happy marriage. They’d both been in serious relationships before marrying, and had made all of their worst relationship mistakes on other people. At that point it was my turn to marvel, wondering what in the world it would be like to be married to a person you hadn’t wrecked and destroyed.

When we were eighteen years old, my husband and I got back together after the second time of breaking up. We were getting ready to start another summer, our third, of working together. Both of us had gotten to camp early, and we spent several days together before the rest of the staff got there. We spent one of the evenings on the lookout tower, just hanging out and talking.

I remember walking back toward camp that evening and thinking, “This is the man I’m going to marry.” It wasn’t like some love-induced fantasy. It was very matter-of-fact, and I was resolved and accepting of this reality that had just become clear in my mind. There was no official time of getting back together. We were just together from that point on, and it was mutually understood.

I have sometimes looked back on that moment with anger. Stupid me and my fairy tale, magical thinking. What an idiot to base such a huge, momentous life direction on something as intangible as a stupid thought in your head. But stupid or not that’s what I did. And every time there was pain, or doubt, or despair and misunderstanding, I went back to that thought.

“But we have a love story.” Another one of those magical thoughts I kicked and despised. And if I hear one more thing about dying to my flesh and my sinful desires… Except somewhere that’s still true, and just because I have wrongly applied it in the past, doesn’t mean I still don’t need to rightly apply it now. And it isn’t wrong to want love.

“You can only be the dream wife to the man you’re not married to.” Another thought, crystal clear. Once you are married, you are the real wife. You’re no longer a dream, and no longer naïve, or at least you shouldn’t be for too long. And I have wanted to be the dream, and I have wanted to stay naïve, when God would have for me love and wisdom.

O Lord, I believe.