How Do We Measure A Year? {Stats with Significance, 2012}

Yesterday, I received a lovely email from WordPress, which provided blogging statistics for the past year.  The message included maps and charts to help me celebrate a year of writing. I love these messages, because they help me to understand what is important to those of you who click your way to this blog. I love writing for you, and I am so thankful for every comment, “like” and click. I have also made some wonderful friends through this site, which makes me grateful that the internet is making our world a bit smaller and cozier by connecting us through social media.

So, these stats are helpful to me as a writer. However, those aren’t the numbers I want to share with you today…because the number of “hits” I get  is not what has made this year (or any year!) special and memorable. Below are the statistics that warm my heart and defined the year…

22 = years I’ve been married to Tom


2 = children in our family

3 = summer jobs held by those two children…which resulted in numerous life lessons about managing money, working with others, and setting goals

18 = years with Annie, who graduated from high school and voted in the presidential election)


16 = years with Bill, who performed in 5 shows, marched with the band and learned to drive this year


6 = trips to conferences and churches to teach about including kids with disabilities (which meant meeting–and learning from —so many of you!)

7 = relaxing days in Florida with Tom in February


306.7 = miles from our home to Calvin College, where Annie is attending

5 = my favorite posts on the blog this year:


Joy or Just Wait (that was your favorite, too)
To the Class of 2012: Don’t Forget Your Markers
I Saw Love at the Movie Theatre
Why The Jet Blue Incident Makes Me Blue (and determined)
My Children Aren’t Perfect (and I’m dancing with JOY)

1 = One GREAT GOD who loves me (and loves you, too.)

Happy New Year…and don’t forget to take data on what really matters.



PS One more statistic:

11 = the age of our most loyal and wonderful dog, Mitzie Alice Wetherbee, who wishes you a wonderful new year, from the bottom of her heart.






Great Gifts: He Was Here

We’re all in a hurry these days.

Gifts to wrap.

Cookies to bake.

School performances…neighborhood parties…relatives to visit…

We rush through meals and errands and conversations.

maryjosephtravelMary and Joseph were in a hurry, too. They had a deadline to meet and responsibilities to fulfill.

And a baby to welcome.

And as every parent knows, a baby changes everything.

Our priorities. Our schedules. Our whole lives.

Newborns really cause us to slow down and attend to the simple things like nourishment and comfort. We stop and gaze at them, memorizing every detail because we know this phase is fleeting.

Sometimes we, as the Church, tend to rush through Christmas, too…We want to fast-forward to Easter, as if Christmas is just a sweet anecdote in the great story of rescue and redemption.

We need to linger in the stable a little bit longer and soak up the Emmanuel-goodness…


Emmanuel. God with us.

He was here.

And although He, too, had a lot to accomplish, he wasn’t in a rush.

So let’s slow down. Let’s spend some spend some time in the stable with the baby and memorize every detail of this fleeting season. Let’s rest in the nourishment and comfort and the amazing truth that He was here.

The Greatest Gift.


Good tidings of GREAT JOY~

I saw love at the movie theater

I went to the movies a couple of weeks ago to see “Lincoln…”

But instead, I saw Love.

My husband was treating me to a movie and burger date for my birthday. For me, going to the movies is a huge treat.I love the atmosphere…the anticipation when purchasing tickets, the hushed feel of a darkened theatre…the fun of the previews and the uninterrupted enjoyment of a story on film.

When we arrived, Tom went to get the tickets and I ducked into the ladies room. We were running a bit late, and so I hurried in, pleased that it wasn’t crowded. In fact, only one other person was there…an older lady wearing a red winter cap on her grey curls. She smiled at me as I ducked into the stall. When I emerged, she was still there, pacing back and forth, humming to herself. As I made my way toward the sink, she turned and followed me.

And then she spoke.

“I can’t find my way out of here,” she said quietly.

“Well,” I replied, “I know the way out. We’ll go together as soon as I wash my hands.”

She smiled  and waited for me. We walked out together, and she murmured, ” You seem like a kind person. Don’t ever let this happen to your brain.”

“Is someone here with you?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said. “My…” her voice trailed off when she saw him, her delight shining in her smile. “There he is!” She pointed to a gentleman wearing a plaid flannel shirt.

Her husband’s worried look was replaced with relief when he saw her.

couplehands“Yes. Here I am,” he said, “Let’s go.” He nodded and smiled in my direction and gently took her hand.

I found Tom and we made our way into the theater and found a seat. Settling next to us were my ladies room friend and her husband.

Soon, the lights dimmed and “Lincoln” began. We were transported to the Civil War, mesmerized by the scenic design, costumes and acting.

About halfway through the movie, the lady shifted in her seat, becoming disoriented and agitated. Her husband immediately stood, and put his arm around her, whispering comfort to her as they walked out of the theater.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful…It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things…(from 1 Corinthians 13, NRSV)

…and I saw it in action. Clad in a flannel shirt, holding a wrinkled, familiar hand, whispering comfort.

I saw love at the movie theater.