Part 1 of this series was written in September about my youngest son to honor him on his 27th birthday.  As the year 2016 ends, I celebrate by honoring my husband, David, who was born on New Years Eve.  I mention him often in my writing because we share so much of life together.  Describing what I love and admire about Dave in about 500 words is possibly impossible, but here goes.

Of course, Dave is not just my husband.  He was a son and brother for over 20 years before I met him, and he picked up his great work ethic, value of faith, and love of family from his farming parents and six older siblings.  I have great admiration for the way he helped and cared for his aging mother as she lived as a widow and experienced Alzheimer’s Disease.  His example certainly demonstrated to our school-aged sons what honoring a parent can look like.  It takes self-sacrificing commitment to be a good son, a good husband, and a good father simultaneously.

When Dave and I met, he was living at home and finishing an accounting degree, while I was already working and living on my own.  He was brought up in Catholic traditions, while I am from a protestant background.  Once we married and decided to have children, this 25 year old man began facing and making decisions about how to provide for and lead his own family.  I so appreciate the way he has considered my opinions and feelings in each step of our married life.

Dave and I shared the blessing of having had our mothers at home during childhood, so when we had our first child, we decided that I would stay home.  Dave took part in raising our sons by being available for doctors’ appointments and school activities, taking us to church, and leading the boys’ Cub Scout groups.  He put aside his love of farming for a career in newspaper publishing and passed along his strong work ethic by helping Eric and Kyle with paper routes.  He has rarely missed a day of work and has earned much respect from employers and co-workers, but has also been faithful to be home at dinner time and to spend weekends with us rather than at work or on a golf course.

Father’s Day 2008 at Eric’s graduation from Otterbein College

My husband has shown his love for me by supporting me in my volunteer work and interests.  When Eric and I were involved in the church praise band, Dave learned to run the sound board.  When I have come up with a creative idea, he has helped me track down the supplies and make it happen.  When Kyle wants to talk, his dad listens and encourages him.

I am so proud of what my husband has accomplished and so blessed by his strong Christian values that permeate every area of his life.  Dave has become a role model and mentor, not only for our sons, but for other husbands and dads and for people with whom he works.  He is at the top of my list of Good Men.  Happy Birthday, David!

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THE Daily Deal




It is time to write my Christmas 2016 blog post!  I took this photo at our mall yesterday, so the countdown is at 4 days.  If you are taking a few minutes out of this busy week to read this post, I want to respect your time and show my appreciation by getting right to the point.

According to the Christmas angels, joy and peace were given by God when Jesus was born.  So where is the peace?  If we put aside the material things on our wish lists and honestly answer the question, “What do you want for Christmas?” many of us would say world peace.  Some really honest people might answer “peace of mind” or peace with a person or situation.

 According to The Free Dictionary, peace is

1. The absence of war or other hostilities.
          2. An agreement or a treaty to end hostilities.
                                                         3. Freedom from quarrels and disagreement; harmonious relations.
                                                       4. Public security and order: was arrested for disturbing the peace.
           5. Inner contentment; serenity: peace of mind.

While I’ve been making notes and thinking about the focus of my first Christmas blog post, I have also been reading “The Purpose of Christmas” by Rick Warren.  He describes Christmas as A Time for Celebration, A time for Salvation, and A Time for Reconciliation.

Warren asks, “Is peace on earth really possible, or is it an unattainable fantasy?”  He then describes two causes for conflict, the opposite of peace.  The first is our natural self-centeredness. When I want everything my way and you want it your way, we clash unless we can compromise.  The second cause, says Warren, is “expecting others to meet needs in our lives that only God can meet.  We make demands of others instead of looking to God.”

He also states that we may not have realized that if we are trying to live our way instead of God’s way, we are in conflict with God.  This causes tension in the mind and fatigue in the body. Here’s where Christmas comes in!  God sent his son, Jesus, not to condemn the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:17).  That is good news.

Warren says it this way, and I am living proof that “Jesus can replace the frustration in your heart with peace, replace your guilt and shame with forgiveness, replace your worry and anxiety with confidence, replace your depression with real hope, and fill your emptiness with meaning and purpose” IF we invite him in.   Christmas is a wonderful time to accept peace with God through faith in Jesus.

Unlike the Daily Deals that we’ve been receiving in our e-mails, this offer will not end at midnight on Christmas Eve or at 12:01 on December 26.  Jesus paid the full price for peace with God. He was born as a baby, but grew to a man who lived a godly life, taught about his Kingdom, and gave himself as a sacrifice so we could trade our sinfulness for His righteousness and live eternally in God’s presence.  That’s an offer we shouldn’t refuse.

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.  2 Corinthians 6:2





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Stocking Stuffers?

Perhaps this roundup of products, gadgets, and past-times will include the perfect last minute Christmas gift for someone you know.  Perhaps not.  These are a few of my new favorite things, things that I wonder how I got along without for so long.  I’ll begin with my idea of the most giftable and include some links where you can order.


I know this is a great gift because several years ago I bought one for each of my family members.  They still mention how often they use their CRACK POT.  This little bowl has a nice handle, a rubber ring on the bottom to prevent sliding, and that indented edge where you crack your eggs.  It’s deep enough to beat lots of eggs in, and perfect for mixing up a cornbread mix or batch of pancakes.  It even goes in the dishwasher.


Why, oh why, did it take us so long to start measuring the internal temperature of our meat?!  Great gift for the one who grills, or broils, or roasts, etc.  I even used this when tempering dark chocolate yesterday.  As one who is pretty averse to under-cooked meat, I’ve eaten my share of dry burgers.  Now we prepare perfectly grilled chicken breasts and pork chops, and  juicy hamburgers that are not pink inside.


According to the box, “Quiddler, the Short Word Game, is a delightful challenge for rookies and wordsmiths alike.”  It’s much more than that to my husband and I.  I found this game that is for Ages 8 to adult and for 1-8 players at the Cleveland Clinic gift shop after Dave’s heart surgery.  We passed time by learning and playing Quiddler and still play several times a week 5 years later.  Begin making words with 3 cards with letters and progress up to a hand of 10 cards.  It’s fun!!! If you get the Deluxe version, an official Quiddler dictionary is included.


Another gift for people who use words, this is the children’s book that I wrote.  It’s full of rhymes and colorful photos of kids of different ages who learn that what we say is important.  The last page reads, “At home, at school, or with my friends, I want to be well-liked.  I win by using words that help.  They’re true, kind, and polite”.  I have paperback copies of this 20 page book for $15.  You can use the Contact tab to let me know if you’re interested.


If the person who does your laundry appreciates using natural methods, but, like me, doesn’t use a clothesline, he or she might love to find these in the stocking!  After using unscented dryer sheets forever, I discovered wool dryer balls and gave them a try.  I just bought this set from an Artfire shop and love the way our clothes come out of the dryer.  The balls bounce around with the load, absorbing moisture and preventing wrinkles.  I can’t believe how nice my clothing feels when it isn’t full of residue from dryer sheets.


Not everyone on your list needs one of these, but I can tell you that this little tool has been the solution to one of my laundry problems.  Our new washer is a large high efficiency top loader.  I am a small, short-armed woman who has strained my shoulder trying to retrieve those 3 socks that are clinging to the bottom edge of  the tub.  These silicone tongs from the kitchen store are perfect.

OK,  here’s where I move from legitimate Christmas gift ideas to a couple of products that have so improved my life that I just need to endorse them.  However, I have gifted these to  my mom, and I wouldn’t mind finding them in my stocking.  I don’t think my husband would either.  We both use Breathe Right strips every night.  We sleep better when we breathe better and there is less snoring.  Enough said.

Don’t put this in a Christmas stocking, but do get some for yourself if you have stubborn toenail fungus.  I had given up wearing open-toed sandals after losing most of the nail on my big toe.  I tried a few products and methods, but didn’t have any success until I found Funga Soap and just washed my feet with it in the shower.  My toe nail grew back nicely and I’m back in sandals.

Merry Christmas.



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Many Dangers, Toils, and Snares

What’s your greatest fear?   A survey circulating on Facebook asks this question.  Touched by the honest answers I’ve read, I decided to consider my own response.  I’m not tormented by aerophobia, acrophobia, or  arachniphobia (fear of flying, heights, spiders). I’m OK in small spaces and in the dark.  I’m far less afraid of public speaking than most people.  I’ll admit to being a little cynophobic, not wanting dogs to lick me, bite me or knock me down.

Despite four decades of driving without a ticket or accident (except for backing into a parked car in 1992 – fear of lying?), my heart pounds at the prospect of driving in a big city.  Maybe I could do it if it was necessary – maybe.  Currently my husband who likes to be behind the wheel enables me to stay in the passenger seat.  It is a little embarrassing to admit that while we were anticipating his heart surgery, my fear of metro area driving was right up there with my concern for him.   Nevertheless, I wouldn’t call Driving Phobia (no Greek word?!) my greatest fear.

Actually, its things that I have no control over that frighten me more.   At age 9, I learned about SIDS and feared my baby brother would die.  As a young mom, I feared that the loud, low-flying plane would crash into our house.  Hearing that a tire had flown off of a semi and caused a tragic accident made travel more ominous.  None of these freak events occurred, but we all know that bad things happen to all people.

I still remember the neighbor boy coming in my house to tell me that my pet cat, Blackie, was hit by a car.  I can still hear the voice of a dear friend on the phone saying that a classmate had been killed in a crash shortly after our graduation.  And I will never forget the knock on my dorm room door the day Mom came to tell me that Dad had passed from cancer.

So, what is my greatest fear?  I’ve dreaded the possibility that one of our sons could be involved in a tragic accident, and I have worried that it could happen while my husband is out of town working, leaving me to get there and deal with it alone.  That is one of the worst situations I can imagine.

But, you know, I don’t worry as much as I used to, and I can testify that Grace has brought me through many dangers, toils, and snares.  Not only that, but when I’m willing to cast my anxiety on God in thankful prayer, fear is replaced by peace – just like He promised (Philippians 4:6-8).  My biggest challenge may be to overcome the fear of losing the things that I’m so thankful for.  I need to remind myself that things of this life, while important, are temporary.  There is a place and time coming that will not include sadness, pain and death.

But, what if I am required to go through many years without the person who knows me intimately and loves me so well?  Actually, my Lord Jesus answered that question on November 17, 2011, after my husband came through emergency surgery.  That night, as I was thanking God, I asked him, “But what if I had lost him?”  The Lord said to me, “If it had gone the other way, he would be with me and I would still be with you.”  Perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18).  My peace of mind comes when I believe what God has said.


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