Monday, August 26, 2013


I just got home from moving a carload of stuff to Dordt. Sam's car left, equally loaded, a couple hours before me. With my load, we made 4 trips up 4 flights each, in 105 degree (heat index) heat. I was rewarded with a glass of cold water, and then took flight as friend after friend started coming in the guys' apartment (he lives with 5 buddies) to catch up. This was their time. They didn't need a mom hanging around. Though I would have engineered the unpacking and organizing of the place handily if they had wanted me to! Ha!!

Fourth and final trip moving our son to school. Fourth and final array of bittersweet feelings pouring over me as he drives away from home, and as I later drive away from the dorm. We have felt so great about the choice of school Sam made. We have felt so grateful for the quality of education he has had, the professors he has gotten close to, and the friends he has made at this fine Christian college.

I have no idea where 3 years have gone, but I have no doubt that this last year will fly by as well. He has a full credit load and 3 jobs. And in typical Sam-style, he will juggle and excel at all of it.

I have several friends who are, this fall, newly emptynesters. When the quiet in the house starts to pull on their heartstrings, they know who to call. I am a 3-year veteran.

Life moves forward, and I am expecting a great ride. Bring on Fall 2013!!

Note the duct tape on both sides of his book bag. That is the price of private college.
No new anything for 4 years......

One last "Love you, Mom"

One last going-back-to-school picture for the scrapbook....

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. ~ John Dewey

Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.  ~ David Frost

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
You are the guy who'll decide where to go.
~ Dr. Suess

Friday, August 23, 2013


I never used to understand why my mom got (still gets) teary-eyed when any of her kids say goodbye after a visit.

Oh, yes. My son will confirm it. I have turned into my mom. I do okay when Sam comes home from college for an overnight (read: laundry and haircut) or a rare whole weekend, but when the family is together for longer periods of time I get wonderfully used to Sam's personality, voice, and energy filling our home, and those darn tear ducts act up when he pulls out of the driveway.

I was probably born in the wrong century. A hundred years ago, kids rarely moved further than the next farm over.

My son is being and doing everything he is supposed to....grow into responsible adulthood, finish college, get a job upon graduation, and step into his dreams and goals for his future. Not for one second do I want him NOT to be doing all those things. Not for one second.

Tell that to my heart.

There is something inherently unnatural to be separated from someone you love more than your own heartbeat. Mothers hold spaces in their souls that are never filled when those children are not within hugging distance. My heart is fullest when my family is together.

What makes it easier to live with this separation is knowing that Sam likes to come back to the "haven" that is home. He doesn't visit out of any emotional responsibility to us. He comes because home is always home, and because we have created what I hope will always be a soft place to fall. We make the most out of each visit, loving the return to all of the quirky, sweet, and unique traditions that make us us, before he grabs his duffle bag and points the car east to return to college/adult life.

Separation is hard. But knowing it is always temporary makes is easier. When Sam came up to the cabin last week for 3 days, it was our longest chunk of time together in 3 months, and it was just some of the best days of the summer. I drank it in.

When he left, I went out on a plastic float on the lake and thought about separation, and I thought about how excruciating eternal separation from God would be. The Bible tells us that hell is an eternity in the lake of fire. Eternal torture and pain. Never can you pray to Him or feel His love, or hear His voice or experience His grace, mercy, or forgiveness. His blessings are unavailable to you. The certainty of a glorious eternity in heaven is gone.

There is only one thing that insures eternal separation from the One we are to love above all others.


We are all sinners (Rom 3:23). And we all deserve hell as a result.

But Jesus paid the price for our sins by becoming the sacrifice God demanded for the sins of mankind. Jesus created the way for all of us to avoid eternal separation from God. What He did, however, is meaningless unless we acknowledge His death and resurrection as the only way to eternal life with our Savior. John 14:6 tells us that no person can come to the Father except through Jesus Christ. He is the ONLY way.

We need to believe the gospel is true, believe He died for each of us personally, and believe that His triumph over the grave makes Him our Savior.

Would I ever in a million years risk eternal separation from my child for any reason? 


Even more would I never risk eternal damnation and being cut off from the source of my being and greatest Love of my life.

For those of you who have not thought about the price of your sin and how to insure that you will never have to live with the pain of being severed from the Lord, maybe today is the day you consider how easy God has made it for us to "go home" with Him someday and find your Divine soft place to fall.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


We had some excitement at our cabin last week. Sam's best friend James chose to propose to his girlfriend on our dock! We were able to disguise the day's intent under the ruse of celebrating James' birthday.

Later in the evening, James took Meredith on a canoe ride (she is from Georgia and not YET a northern Minnesota lake-girl), we and his family set the stage as per his down-to-the-detail instructions, complete with his mom camouflaged in our woods taking pictures of the dock activities. While 13 of us waited in the cabin, catching only glimpses of what was happening, we finally saw him down on one knee and after he stood up and hugged Meredith, his two brothers, right on cue, set off fireworks from a boat hidden in the reeds on the lake.

It was a special night to share with a special couple and his whole family who are great family friends of ours.

James has always been my "second son," so I was really happy to finally meet Meredith. She is just so warm and loving, one of the most affectionate young women I have ever met. Not to mention smart and sweet!! I am anxious to get to know her over the coming years.

Newly engaged!

There was a little magic sparking in the lake air caused by these two!

Part of the cast of characters.....Rachel, James' sister who served cheesecake down on the dock table; Liz and Jeremiah, his brother and sister-in-law; Lynnette, his mom/official secret photographer; Dick; and Jonathan, his brother who got the playlist on the computer set just right and hidden in the boat!)

Sam was in a suit because he was the maitre' d!! With Sam's girlfriend Gretchen.

Wishing you much happiness, James and Meredith! James, thank you for letting
us be part of your big secret and your special day!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


As the day of my 3rd anniversary (of the cancer diagnosis) looms this weekend, I can't help but be reflective of what might have been.

He might be getting out of bed with a heavy heart, his memories of that day fresh on his mind. Perhaps he would spend some time on the deck where the members of his family sat and cried 3 years ago, their world altered by a seismic shift called cancer which moved the earth beneath them.

In an instant, light was bounding off the walls of their souls and morphing into dark gray shadows.

They were the three musketeers. How would the two of them go on living without the third? How would he be both father and mother to their son? How would he be able to bury all the dreams she and he had?

He might be walking his woods with tears in his eyes remembering how summers used to feel at this place he and she loved so much. He might be walking over the area where her ashes were scattered.

That was the script Satan had written for him. For them.

My husband. My son.

A funeral around November of 2011 was to be the ending chapter of the trio's story, and their new lives, widowed and motherless, were to begin at that time.

But my husband, my son....

They never read the book. They did not pick up the devil's screenplay.

They chose to have faith in God's promises for healing. They chose to let God, not Satan, write the ending of the story.

Three years later, the fearsome threesome are still a family united. Three years later there is still life and love and laughter woven into this family.

And grace. So much grace.

And unwavering faith.

And gratitude.

And trust.

Trust that God is true to His promises.
Trust that His pen is not finished writing the story.
Trust that "I shall not die, but live, and proclaim what the Lord has done." (Ps 118:17)

Happy, indeed, anniversary to me.

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.

The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by trouble and sorrow,
Then I called on the name of the Lord;
"Oh Lord, save me!"

The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the simple hearted;
when I was in great need, he saved me.
(Psalm 116:1-6)

Thursday, August 1, 2013


I have had a few of you ask about why comments are not coming up on my blog when you publish them. My blog was "hacked" in a sense. I was getting 20-30 anonymous and ridiculous advertising blurbs under my comments with every post. I don't know who does this, but it doesn't surprise me that tech-savvy people can do this. I had to spend time deleting each one. Anyway, I have my comments now on a setting where I need to "approve" them before publishing, not because I am trying to censor anything from blog readers, but because I am hoping that these hackers will remove my name from their list once they see they are getting no print time. I think I am winning. The past 2 posts have shown NO advertising at all. If the trend continues, I will revert back to comments published instantly in the next few weeks.

On a personal note, after 8 weeks of trying my ultimate best to put on pounds, I can report that I have gained almost 2 pounds. This is way too hard. Why can't they invent a milkshake that can add a pound a day? I really would like to gain 6 more. 8 would be better. I don't know what else I can possibly add to my diet to do this without OD'ing on sugar, which I have to minimize. Oh, well, I feel healthy and that is what matters.

We are picking berries every day. An hour  at a time is all my back can handle of blueberry picking, but we have a wonderful crop and we are trying to fill the freezer. Picked strawberries last week and the raspberries are peaking this week, so we are off to that patch tomorrow. It blesses me to death that berries, one of the major anti-cancer foods, are in such abundance here in God's country and that we can take so many home for the next 9 months.

Sam is heading home for the weekend. He has it filled with activity with his best friend, but we hope to claim him for a few hours too. Crappies and (what else?) blueberry pie on the menu.