Star Wars Was the Death of Me (Not Really)


I think the 10:20 pm viewing of Star Wars, following 72 family members Christmas partying at my house, was likely the tipping point; and it pains me a little to admit that I might be too old to hang out with my son and nephews till 1:00 am.


I know there’s a limit as to how far I should deplete my energy; I’m just not very good at observing it. Dan used to say that when he was really really tired, he knew to go rest; but that when I was really really tired, I’d just go and do something else. It makes me smile to remember that; and it also makes me wonder, if I’m possibly a slow learner.


So I ended up at my doctor’s office twice—once before Christmas and once afterwards. One good thing that has developed over the past few years is that I have little to no reluctance to mention God and faith in any conversation with anybody.


So I was pleased that, in addition to discussing my pneumonia, pleurisy and strained rib muscles, we talked a little about God. I took him a copy of “Yawning At Tigers”, one of my 2015 favorites; the book’s subtitle “You Can’t Tame God, SO STOP TRYING” says it all.


His observation that “the God we serve is too big to be contained in any book, even the Bible”, made me think. While God isn’t contained by anyone or anything or any circumstance, he can readily be found by anyone anywhere at any time; and just how cool is that?


Yours, O LORD, is the greatness,


the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty.


Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O LORD,


and this is your kingdom.


We adore you as the one who is over all things.


1 Chronicles 29:11

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Dear Self


Dear Self,


The Christmas season has always brought mixed emotions to me; and I sat outside moon watching and thinking about things for a long time on Christmas night. After Dan was killed, one of the hardest differences for me was the abrupt cut-off of laughter. It felt as if all joy had been sucked out of my life and I was suffocating without it; and its ugly absence glared at me constantly for a long long long time. I couldn’t make the grief disappear and the waiting was hard. Laughter and joy have returned this past year; and I’m much more acutely sensitive to it, and life’s, fragility. No guarantees of anything on this earthly ball outside of God; and I am SO incredibly thankful for living roots in him.


Christmas was truly good; lots of goofy silly games and tons of laughter. This year it was ever so much more genuine for me than the last several; and thereby, infinitely more precious.


I hosted the extended family Christmas party that Dan and I did for years and years. Had 72 people here at my house…renewed old and created lots of new fun memories with my cousins and all our kids and grandkids. Joshua and April were both thrilled that I resumed the tradition. At evening’s end, Kaden, a cousin’s 11 yr old grandson grinned up at me and softly said, “I liked your party. It was lots of fun”. No better praise to be found—perfect party cap for me.


At year’s end, Dan & I’d usually talk about what we hoped to see in the New Year coming. One of my current thoughts–I love writing and am anticipating much joy from it this next year.


Working to live genuinely in each moment,




She is clothed with strength and dignity,


and she laughs without fear of the future.

Proverbs 31:25



The 2015 Christmas Morning

Screaming Flying Monkeys Olympic Event

(no clear champions 🙂 )

Let Me Lead You Jan


Let me lead you Jan.

Go out in joy

and be led forth with peace.

Isaiah 55:12


This week’s verse; and I absolutely love it!


My daughter-in-law Jessie gave me a small mason jar for Christmas—filled to the brim with 52 small slips of folded paper—each one containing a verse of Scripture personalized for me.


Years ago I heard Becky Teribassi speak at a women’s conference and returned home with her book “Let Prayer Change Your Life” plus cassette tapes of her material. One of her suggestions on knowing God better was to personalize your way through the Psalms. I took the challenge and every day would re-write some verses, sometimes an entire chapter, substituting “me, my, mine, I, Jan” wherever appropriate. It created incredibly intimate fellowship moments with God.


I haven’t a clue what the rest of Jessie’s verses for me will be, but fully anticipate they will create as much joy in my spirit as this one; and I’m honored by the love gifts of her time and energy she used to bring it to me.


I love you, Jess.


I Might Have Met an Angel at Kroger’s


She stood barefoot in line behind me at Kroger’s late on Christmas Eve afternoon. The two small containers of infant formula she placed on the conveyor belt and the little plastic card she rubbed between her fingers, spoke volumes; as did her loosely fitting, stained, and worn t-shirt with soft pajama type pants. She’d obviously given birth very recently.


I didn’t stare—but it’s amazing how many details peripheral vision will take in.


I’d never seen the young woman before, but impressions that came to mind were “gentle” and “clean”—from her long pale golden red hair all the way down to her bare feet.


The grocery store isn’t my favorite place to be on Christmas Eve—especially since I had so many things left to do at home; but I was out of cayenne pepper, of all things—a key ingredient in the Southwest Mushroom Casserole I’d be serving at the next morning’s brunch.


I’d already made up my mind to be cheerful while I was there. So another late shopper in the spice aisle and I had joked about the possibility of purchasing the giant container of cayenne and putting a cup of it in everyone’s stocking. I’m actually proud to say that probably no one unpacking one of my Christmas stockings would bat an eye. Mason had already told me, the day before, that if I put another giant dill pickle in his stocking, I was wasting my money.


So, in the spirit of joy, I’d added some extra non-essential items to my basket—marshmallows for hot chocolate and cans of real whipping cream for my great-nephews Uncle Dan trick. Those, and the cayenne pepper, made quite a contrast to the small containers of baby formula.


I knew what I wanted to do, but didn’t want to offend. So I very quietly told the checker to add the formula to my bill. She and the young woman both looked at me and I said, “Oh, I don’t want your formula, I just want to pay for it”. The young woman mouthed the words “thank you”.


When I’d finished paying, she said, “Ma’am, may I give you a hug or carry your groceries to your car for you”?


I quickly explained no because I had a sinus infection, was taking antibiotics, and didn’t want her or her baby to get sick. I told her “God bless” and went on.


When I got outside, I knew I needed, and really really wanted, to do more than that. I grabbed some cash from my purse and turned my cart around. She was standing on the sidewalk looking as though she were waiting for someone to drive up. When I handed her the money, she started crying and said, “now you’re going to make me cry”. Which made two of us.


What an amazing God-privilege to be able to give and help someone else. I told April later that day that I was pretty sure I’d met an angel at Kroger’s on Christmas Eve.


Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers,


for some who have done this


have entertained angels without realizing it!

Hebrews 13:2