Family Devotions and Fudgsicle Juice: Guest blog for Joe McGinnis

I’m so happy, because today I get to guest-blog at Joe McGinnis’ site. Joe is a pastor at Fellowship Bible Church, an author,and most importantly, a husband to Aime and a dad to their six children. Joe has developed a concept called In-Gauge Parenting that helps parents understand the unique roles they play throughout a child’s “journey to independence. Fabulous, insightful, helpful information…for all of us!

Joe asked me to write about how each family has unique strengths and struggles. I decided to share a particular struggle I’ve had (and how my son helped me through it…)

Here is part of the post:
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I have a confession to make:

I am a family devotions failure.

I had such high hopes of…you know…”training my children up in the way they should go.” In fact, I was quite certain that with my teaching background and my solid Protestant upbringing, I would be able to create family devotions that would rival dinner at the Dobson’s house. I envisioned cozy gatherings by the hearth, my children’s rapt attention shining on their little faces as I read aloud from the Bible. I’d grace them with my wisdom and insight, and lovingly encourage their attempts at memorizing whole chapters of Zechariah.

And then I actually had the children.

Click here to read more… and while you’re there, be sure to click around and read more at Joe’s site. You will be encouraged!
And now, I’m going to eat a fudgsicle.


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:

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.