Tag Archives: heaven

A New Year 2018

Grateful for This Day, This Year


Over the past few weeks I’ve had so many conversations with women about Christmas and empty nest.

For some of us,IMG_0918 the house filled with family and friends, and we could feel the buzz of energy. Granted, we also navigated personalities and preferences. But the dance energized us.

Some of us found ourselves celebrating a quiet Christmas. Life has changed this year, especially family dynamics, so the house seemed to echo this year.

This year, for the first time ever, we did not see our son at Christmas. Part of me kept hoping I would look outside and see his car pulling into the driveway. I missed him. And his girlfriend. We did, of course, love having our daughter here with us for two weeks. :)

All this holiday angst and empty nest angst converge for me in the taking down of Christmas decorations. I avoid it as long as I can, including posting about it on Facebook. Putting everything away seems so, well, final. That’s it for this year. A wrap. And then the color seems to drain out of the house, almost like a person about to faint. Everything looks and feels stark. Ugh!

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This past Sunday I decided I needed to just jump in and take decorations down. And thanks to the discussion on Facebook, I knew I wanted to make it a meaningful moment of some sort. Early that morning, while drinking my coffee, I mentioned my idea to John—a vague concept, nothing concrete.

My organized husband quickly proposed a plan: “How about if we go to the late service at church and take everything down before we leave. That way when we finish, we can worship.”

Yes, oh yes!

So we jumped in. I turned on Fernando Ortega music—mostly hymns—and gathered up Christmas decorations and memories. As I did, I intentionally thanked God for this Christmas, for this version of family, for this year passed, and for this year ahead.

And then we headed for church where our pastor preached on the hope of heaven, based on 1 Peter 1:3-9. He reminded us, “Nothing here, as good as it is, can be compared to what is yet to come [in heaven].”

Final Twitter 1 Peter

As 2018 begins, I pray for eyes to see the hope of heaven as well as eyes to see the joy of this day, this season of life.

Join me? Let’s cheer each other on this year as we navigate life whatever the size of our nest.











The Gift of Encouragement

In my sunny blue office, I have a little vignette sitting on my filing cabinet—a pitcher and two tea cups. I see it every day before I sit to write. And I remember the giver of this gift—Helen deVette.

She loved that word vignette. She loved talking about words and books. And she loved talking about her Heavenly Father.

I knew her first in college as my professor. But long after college I found myself drawn to her green house a few blocks away for an afternoon of word-talk and large doses of encouragement.

The day she gave me the tea set, I felt overwhelmed and tried to refuse it. “Oh, no. This is yours.” She insisted, “This is for you.” With her eyes on an imminent trip to heaven, she knew that the things she had in this world would not travel with her to eternity.

And so I have tea set out on my filing cabinet. It waits for me every day. It speaks to me silently, just as my friend would have spoken audibly: “Keep writing. I believe in you”

How has a gift from a friend brought you encouragement?