2013 Stats That Matter Most {to me}

Happy New Year, Friends!

As I write this, the Christmas tree is still fully decorated, and glowing brightly in the next room. I’m not quite ready to pack it all away just yet. The snow is falling quickly outside, making me feel cozy and content on my brown couch. These quiet moments make me feel as though I can slow down time, just a bit, before plunging ahead into a new year. I love the time between New Year’s and the start of school…a few days to savor the quiet and shift into forward motion.

It’s also the time of year when WordPress sends me a lovely, animated email to summarize my blogging statistics from the past year. It’s quite helpful, as it tells me which subjects that appeal to you, my dear readers, and how you find your way to my cozy little cyber-space. Finally, it allows me to celebrate the posts that resonated most, and consider topics for the coming year. Lots of bloggers like to share these kinds of stats as they transition to the year ahead.

I’m going to share statistics with you…but not those. Below are the 2013 statistics that matter most…to me

23 Years of Marriage to my very best friend, (and the most handsome, wise and kind gentleman I know!)

19 Years with Annie, our college sophomore whose wisdom and intuition inspire me. She is going to be a great teacher.


17 years with Bill, our high school junior, who  has displayed sound judgment and strong leadership (and has entertained us greatly, on stage and off…)

(photo cred: Lydea Swit)

(photo cred: Lydea Swit)

4 Days in New York City during the summer…making great memories, seeing two shows, touring museums, and eating HUGE portions of chocolate cake.

5 States visited to teach church leaders about how to reach families affected by disabilities. (Furthest: NEBRASKA!!) As always, l learned more than I taught, and I met the most wonderful, funny, talented people…and laughed until my sides hurt.

1 publishing contract…which means 1 step closer to accomplishing a lifelong goal of writing a book. (Special thanks to my mom, who always believed I could do it, and to Mrs. Manley, my fourth grade teacher who gave me extra time for creative writing.)


3 generations in my living room during Thanksgiving break.

1 Completely Awesome Day when THIS happened…

12 years with Mitzie. Seriously. The best dog in the universe.

1 Great God…from whom all blessings flow.


Wishing you JOY, my friends, and a new year FILLED with statistics worth remembering.



I saw love at the art museum

I went to the Cleveland Museum of Art last Saturday expecting to see the British Drawings exhibit.

But instead, I saw love.

{and, as it happens, I saw Batman as well.}

Tom and I decided to take advantage of a free day and venture to University Circle. It’s one of our favorite places in Cleveland, and a perfect destination on a crisp, sunny, spring afternoon. After a leisurely brunch, we traveled through the historic neighborhoods on Shaker and North Park, past Case Western Reserve and Severance Hall, landing a lucky parking spot right next to the art museum.

The hush of such a museum always fascinates me…there’s something about being in the presence of such beautiful and timeless works that evokes whispers. As we wandered through the galleries, we lingered by a contemporary sculpture, wondering what statement the artist could possibly be making…and giggling at our obvious lack of sophistication. I turned away to view another piece when Tom tugged at my elbow.

“Look,” he whispered. “There’s Batman.”

I glanced behind my shoulder, expecting to see another sculpture or or a painting of the famous character…instead, I saw a four year-old boy dressed up…from head to toe…as Batman: Shirt. Boots. Pants. Gloves. Headpiece. Mask. (and, of course…the cape.)


He walked quietly next to his mom, a young, slim woman who was fashionably dressed.

I smiled at them, imagining the conversation that might have occurred prior to their art-museum-field trip:

Mom: “We’re going to the art museum!”

Son: “But I don’t want to go to the art musuem!”

Mom: “Well, this is what we have planned for today.”

Son: “I’m NOT going.”
Mom: “You can wear your Batman suit…”

So, there they were, enjoying an afternoon date. “You have Batman with you today,” I remarked as they walked by.

The young woman smiled warmly, the unmistakable tone of sheer pride in her voice: “I sure do.”

Batman regarded me solemnly before scampering into the next room.

And off they went…Mother and Superhero.

Truly a work of art.

Click here to read about seeing love at the movies.

Photo cred: littleheartsbooks.com

Someone I Know


Someone I know had an abortion.

She is a loyal friend, a devoted wife, and a mom to some fabulous kids.  I admire her candor and communication skills, and uncanny ability to lead with love.

Someone I know has depression.

She’s honest and insightful…the kind of friend who will help you understand yourself. She’s extremely accomplished…recognized by her peers as an expert. She’s a seeker of justice and an avid reader.

Someone I know is gay.

He’s the sort of friend who would travel miles out of his way if you needed help. He’s creative and wickedly funny. He remembers details about his friends and follows up on their worries. And he loves Jesus.

Someone I know has alcoholism.

She anticipates her friends’ needs and celebrates their accomplishments. She is generous and industrious, with an easy laugh and a flexible, animated disposition.

Someone I know is obese.

He is gifted in his work, and is a leader at church. He’s respected by colleagues and beloved by friends. He’s a dad who adores his children and grandchildren, and a remarkable entrepreneur.

Someone I know has anxiety.

She loves to write, give dinner parties and spend time with her family. She tries hard to help others, and thinks that the very  best place on earth is HOME.
{you know her, too. She is ME.}

And every time someone tells me to “trust God” and “be anxious for nothing,” it makes me feel sad.
Less than.
Not good enough.

But then I remember...I AM good enough. I am a child of the King.

Just like all of the folks I described today…
Folks I love, and who love me, not because I’m worthy, but just because I’m me.

So, please remember, as you enter into the conversations of the day, listening to the  rhetoric, speaking your mind…please remember to speak the truth in love.

Because YOU know someone, too.