After the Waiting, Comes the Good News!

My darkest time was April 19, 2011. The pain stung raw and deep.

BrooklynThree weeks earlier, I was on hospital bedrest, pregnant with triplets. At 29 weeks, I went into labor and our triplets were born, weighing 2.5 pounds each. As I looked at their tiny bodies covered in tubes, I felt both overjoyed and shocked.

Three weeks later, on April 19th, the doctor told us our middle daughter, Brooklyn, had contracted a life-threatening infection that was quickly killing her intestine.

She laid there in her isolette with a swelled belly, helpless. I couldn’t touch her or hold her. Every day, I would put my hands on the isolette and sing, “I Love you, Lord,” over and over. I didn’t know what else to do.

The doctors told us to stay at the Ronald McDonald House to be closer since they didn’t know how much longer she had. I remember standing in that room, doing what I could to breathe and take the next step.

The phone rang as we stood in that barren room. The doctor said Brooklyn’s intestine had perforated. The infection was spreading and she needed surgery immediately to try to save her.

My piercing screams carried through the hallway as my husband held me up. The weakest moment of my life.

After Brooklyn had surgery to remove the infected segment of intestine, we waited.

I think about Jesus’ followers witnessing his sufferings on the cross; waiting in that empty place for the resurrection moment. I think about the emotions that must have ripped through their hearts.

We continued waiting. Waiting to see if my daughter would make it.

Each time we spoke with the nurses, I hoped for any word of improvement, but there were none.

The surgeon told us our daughter was getting sicker. If they didn’t take her into surgery again and try anything, she wouldn’t make it.

Brooklyn was fast asleep in her incubator as the nurses rolled her down the hall. They stopped before the double doors to give us a moment with her. My husband and I looked into the incubator at our three-pound, baby girl, and Brooklyn’s courageous eyes opened for a few seconds and met ours. It was a beautiful moment branded in my heart.

I told her, “Jesus is going to heal you, Brooklyn. You are strong and you can do this. We love you.”

They wheeled her through the double doors into surgery.

During those grueling hours in the waiting room, we poured our hearts out to the Lord for our baby girl.

I wonder about the tears, pain, and prayers that rose from the souls of Jesus’ disciples and family as they waited for Jesus to rise.

fullsizeoutput_912cAfter a few weeks, Brooklyn started showing improvement and the nurses told us, “Brooklyn is a miracle baby.”

Brooklyn fully recovered and is now a thriving nine-year-old. A few weeks later, my son, got the same intestinal infection. But, after surgery, he recovered quickly. I am so grateful to the Lord for healing Bates and Brooklyn.

The pain we went through has not left my heart. I think of those of you with a different outcome, and I hurt for you. I think of those experiencing difficulty as I write this sentence. I don’t know what pains your heart so deeply it physically hurts when your mind wanders there. But I know Jesus meets you when you call out to him, in whatever way you are capable of doing.

Those agonizing days between Jesus’ death and resurrection were full of darkness, pain and longing, but light and hope would soon prevail. Jesus would not be defeated; He would be lifted high.

If you are in that hard, middle place waiting for your resurrection moment, it is at hand.

The Lord’s redeeming promise is waiting for you, if you reach out to him.

The Lord raised Jesus out of the darkest places this world has ever seen, and he will do the same for you.

I have never felt more pain and weakness as I did during that time.
When I didn’t have strength to walk, words to speak, thoughts to think, Jesus carried me.
When I was with my daughter, speechless, the Lord sang a song of praise through me.

I reached through the darkness and gripped Jesus’ hand, and he brought us through it.

Jesus’ followers and family mourned for a time, but they rejoiced on that third day, celebrating his resurrection.

In whatever place you’re in, reach for Jesus.

He can redeem you and set you free.

For the greatest miracle of all has happened – He has risen!

“Put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is FULL Redemption.” Psalm 130:7

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Jesus (Matthew 7:7-8)

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[Previously published by ForEveryMom.]



Good Friday & Easter Activity! ❤️

Hi, there! I’m sending this email early this week to share a wonderful Easter Activity you can do Friday. It’s from Courtney DeFeo’s book, “In this House We Will Giggle”:

1. Tie two sticks together to make a cross.
2. On Good Friday, you and your kiddos write down some of your sins- ways you have not loved God or others. Tape them on the cross (we taped them backwards to keep it between each of us & God).
3. Easter morning before your kids are awake, throw the papers away so they only see the cross.
4. This is a great visual to explain to our kids that when we believe in Jesus, we are forgiven of ALL our sins and can be with him forever. Jesus took our sins upon himself when he died on the cross. But the good news is that he rose three days later, giving us life now and forever with him! ❤️
Thank you, Lord! Happy Easter to each of you.



Jesus knew what awaited Him.

But He still rode into Jerusalem.

Jesus rode on, with crowds before and behind Him, shouting, “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord.”

Jesus knew what awaited, yet he persevered.

Because of His love for us – His eyes set on things above.

Jesus knew the pain he would endure, yet, he rode on.

Even through the darkness, He rode on.

Jesus saw hope.

He knew the joy set before Him – the gift of Eternal Life that would come to all who call on Him through giving His life and rising that third day, so he rode on.

as we are in this place of waiting,
help us remember how Jesus waited.
How in darkness, uncertainty, and anguish,
Jesus turned his heart to you.
He set his eyes on you.
He set his mind on you.
And, He kept going. Lord, help us do that also.
Thank you, Jesus, for persevering, and that we can have life now and forever with You because of it.

In Jesus’ Name, amen.

What a story to share with our children – when Jesus was in anguish, he prayed. And, he kept going because he “knew the joy set before Him.”


🌟 Week One – 5 Screen-Free Activities🌟

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Fun, simple ideas to bring fun to learning beyond the screen! (Add your ideas in comments)

Activity #1: Oobleck: Mix 1 cup water and 1 cup cornstarch (it seems stiff, but when your hands touch it, IMG_8620it loosens up. It’s a lot of fun. You can add an additional teaspoon of water at a time if you want to loosen it up more. We make it together and then start centers. You can add little plastic items to it also to make it more fun.

Activity #2: Treasure Hunt. Talk about directions North, South, East, & West. With painters’ tape, make a cross/compass on the ground and write the directions, N, S, E, W in the appropriate place so they remember.

Tell them they will follow directions to find a treasure. Ask if they believe that there really will be a treasure at the end. Share with them that that is Faith: believing even when you don’t see it. Give your child the treasure to hide (I gave mine a lollipop).

Have them start where you made the painters tape compass. Then, tell them to write down a list of directions to get to the treasure. For example: 5 steps North, 10 steps East, South 3 steps, etc. to get to the treasure. Have them try it out to see if they did it correctly. Then they give the directions to someone else in the family to follow. My kids had so much fun doing this.

Activity #3: Writing Prompt: If you could make your dream house, what would it look like? Slides instead of stairs, upside down house, etc.? Then, have them either draw the house or create it with play dough or boxes, paper towel tubes, egg cartons and other items.

Activity #4: Foam Dough. Mix 1 cup shaving cream & 1 cup cornstarch. You can add a little washable paint for color or food coloring. This is more crumbly than regular play dough, but still fun to play with. You can always use regular play dough if your kids would enjoy that more. I got this activity from the great book, 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids. 

Activity #5: Painting Ice. Fill a few different-sized plastic containers with water and IMG_2896
Freeze them overnight. The next day, pour them into different pans. Your kids can paint
on the ice with plastic utensils, paintbrushes, or their hands if they don’t put their hands in their mouths. The design of painting the ice looks so cool, especially mixing and matching different colors. The texture is awesome for the kids to feel. (Previously published on Focus on the Family.) 

You can also put little plastic items in the containers with the water, and then freeze them. The next day, put the blocks of ice in the sun and the kids can paint and then chip away at them to free the items from the ice.

I usually have one child do the creative center, while one does school assignments on the computer, and one works on Sunshine Math with me. I don’t always do a creative activity each day in the school week, but I try to. After 20 to 25 minutes, we switch.




0-3When my dad was younger, he had a rebellious side. Raced cars in the alleys, sat in detention every Saturday at his military school, and well, got into trouble.

He had a line of step-dads, seven of them, and his mom died at 49.

His mom was the “life of the party”. One of his step-dads was the Assistant Director of the Lassie series, but my dad wasn’t star struck by him. He was star-struck by her –because she was his mother.

My dad has an uncanny way of looking at life in contentment and making the most of it.

He could have wallowed. He had every reason to, but he chose to move past it.

You would think he’d follow in his mom’s footsteps and marry time and time again.

But, he chose the beautiful way of commitment – true love. My dad and mom have been married 47 years.

Despite the roller coaster of his childhood, he has been a remarkable husband and dad.

Not perfect, but just the dad I need and just the husband my mom needs. My mother has also been the stronghold he needs.

If your past is marked with pain, you do not have to stay there.

You have a choice to be the person God calls you to be. To choose differently. To pave a different path.

You don’t have to follow the footsteps of the ones who went ahead of you.

You can follow the steps of the One who created you.
The One who formed you.
The One who believes in you.

Look to him and follow the footsteps marked out for you by the One who is perfect.
By the one who loves you.
By the One who calls you by name.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
Before you were born I set you apart.” Jeremiah 1:5

Enjoy Getting Creative!


Prayer, Jesus Had an Inner Circle But…, Uplifting Others


My recent article published by Her View(!):

Jesus had an Inner Circle But Talked to All People – We Should Too

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That mom I didn’t know said four words to me.

Four words that lifted my spirits: “Way to go, mom.”

As moms, it can be easy to see where we’re falling short, so it was refreshing when this mom overheard me and said, “Way to go, mom. I love that.”

What I did was so simple. You know how our kids can easily lag behind us when we’re walking somewhere? Well, my daughter and I were leaving soccer practice and as she lagged behind me, I said, “Come on, Gracie. I want to walk WITH you. Not in front of you.”

That’s it. But this mama stopped and took two seconds to encourage me.

Take that two seconds to let another mama know what she’s doing well, even if it’s small. Sometimes we just need a little encouragement. ❤️

“Therefore encourage and build one another up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11


Awesome Activities to do at Home With Your Kids

Since so many of our kids are out of school, I included a number of ideas for learning and fun below. Being a former teacher, I love ideas that bring education to life and ones that are imaginative and fun.

Don’t get overwhelmed by the number. Just pick and choose which ones you want to do. To help organize, you could print out a calendar and write what activities you want to do on which days. Or, you could pick them randomly, or your kids can choose. Have fun!{Receive once-a-week content via email by subscribing in the right sidebar.}


  1. Dioramas We created one of a rainforest, but have fun researching a place that 29186213_614541732218779_5880961398094506630_ninterests your child and create that.
  2. Robot Create a robot from old boxes and have them explain how it makes the world a better place through different gadgets and buttons they add to it.
  3. Ice Hunting Put miniature plastic figures in different shaped containers of water and freeze overnight. Pour them on the grass, letting them melt some in the sun. Then let the kids explore and chip away the ice to find the hidden treasures.
  4. Paint Ice Freeze water in different shaped containers overnight. The next day, pour them in a large tub. Let your child paint them using washable paints with spoons, brushes, or their fingers (as long as they don’t put their fingers in their fullsizeoutput_8e31mouths). (Originally published with Focus on the Family.) Or if you have snow, just put that in a pan and let them paint snow!
  5. Slime Make slime with cornstarch and water. Put amount of cornstarch in first, and then slowly add water until you have consistency you want (2 cups cornstarch, and 1 cup water works well).
  6. Plethora of Fun Make “Crystal Names”, “Rainbow Snake Bubbles*” out of a bottle, “Polka Dot Slime”, “Ice Chalk”, and more! “View the Gallery” of Activities here: 50 Boredom-Busting Activities to do with Kids. (*If you do the snake bubbles, make sure your child does not inhale the bubbles, but blows them out.)
  7. IMG_0288 IMG_031937982871_708651272807824_5981661430573694976_o


  1. Measurement Practice measuring by making Rice Krispy treats or cookies together.
  2. “Fish Bowl” Math Cut a bunch of notecards in half. Write a multiplication fact on
    each card with the corresponding answer on the back. If your child is working on addition or something more difficult, you can write that on each notecard. Attach a paper clip to each card and put them in a laundry basket. Tie twine around a magnet and then two the other end of the twine to a stick. The child fishes for a card and then answers it.
  3. Best Math Word Problems By Grade These are the best “out of the box” thinking word problems that I have seen based on grade level K – 8: Sunshine Math. After clicking on the grade, scroll down on the website to find the math problems to print out. If you scroll further, you will see the answers. You will have to most likely help your child with the problems. What helps me a lot has been doing centers with my kids. Station#1: Word Problems with me Station#2: PlayDough or sand Station#3: Educational website such as Adaptive Mind (they do a free monthly trial) or create your own book, etc. As long as the other two stations are independent, you can focus on helping the third child with word problems. Switch stations after 15 or 20 minutes. If you have 4 kids, just do 4 stations, and so on.
  4. Basketball Math Use a squishy ball or tennis ball. If you have an inside basketball
    goal, you can use that, or you can use several bucket/bowls to throw the balls into. Tape a notecard to each one that says how many points it is worth. Ask your child a math question, if they get it right, they get to shoot to try and make a basket. Create a point goal before you start so they can work toward that.


  1. Pushing for Peace Jar Since arguing might be at its peak with so many things being 75614045_1024892744517007_904558294796861440_n cancelled, this is a great help. Memorize Philippians 2:14 “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” Then, tell your kids, every time they do not argue, but choose peace and kindness, they get a marble. Once the family marble jar is full, you can have a treat, stay up past bedtime, or get some other fun surprise.
  2. Do not Fear Have your child paint or draw a picture of they’re favorite place or thing. Write or paint this verse on top of the page to remember to not be afraid and that the Lord is with us: “Do not fear for I am with you,” Isaiah 41:10
  3. Sharing Read John 6:1-14 about the boy who shared his lunch. Ask, What would have happened if the boy did not agree to share his food? Make a basket out of clay, play-dough, or weaving construction paper together. You can also make the fish and loaves to go inside. If your kids are younger, you can act out the story of the boy sharing his food with the hungry people. Or, you can make a meal to bring to someone and talk about loving others well by sharing.


  1. Read Together Grab a Great Book from the library and read it to your kids. Ask 76640113_1011884549151160_1473347273436954624_othem questions throughout so they can increase their reading comprehension skills.
  2. Create your own Book Have them create their own book. Help them come up with an outline of the story first before writing it to help the writing go more smoothly.
  3. Wacky Wednesday Read Wacky Wednesday to your kids by Dr. Seuss. Then each child (and you) draw one page that has wacky things on it to create your own wacky book. Go through the book together and try to pick out all the wacky things. (For example, the house is upside down, the sun is ice cream with a cone, the house doesn’t have a door, etc.)
  4. Circle Story Sit in a circle and create an oral story. The first person starts the story off with one sentence. The next person adds another sentence to the story. Then, the next person does and so on. Go around several times until your story is complete. Then the next person starts the story off and you continue going around until you have created one very wacky and adventurous story.

Just for fun

  1. Picnic Inside Throw a blanket or sheet on the floor in a different room than the fullsizeoutput_8542kitchen and have a picnic breakfast there.
  2. Backwards Day Change everything up. For “breakfast”, start with ice cream. Then, have dinner: food like pigs in a blanket, oranges, and carrots. Our kids normally read before bed, so before eating, they read in bed.
    – Tell them: “DO NOT make your bed. It’s Backwards Day!” fullsizeoutput_78a9
    – Wear pajamas ALL day.
    – For dinner, have breakfast!
  3. Crazy Muffin Create the craziest muffin you can with random ingredients. Make some normal muffins too so you can enjoy those later. (:

Here’s a base recipe: 1.5 cups flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, ½ cup sugar, 2 Tablespoons margarine melted, 4 medium bananas mashed, 1 egg.

Mash bananas first, mix all ingredients. Spray muffin pan and put batter int the twelve slots. Bake at 350 degrees. After about 15 minutes, check them by putting a toothpick in one. If nothing is on the toothpick when you remove it, they’re ready. If there is batter on it, bake for longer. Every oven is different so keep an eye on them. They usually take about 25 minutes.

 Not so fun

  1. Chores While they aren’t fun, they have to get done. So have your kids help out with daily chores. It usually helps to throw on some fun music while you do them, and to get that done before doing the fun stuff. (:
  2. Chore chart If you would like my chore chart and Tips on Allowance Sheet, let me know by commenting on this post and I’ll be happy to email them to you.


  1. Walking Scavenger hunt Write down or draw animals and items on different IMG_8536notecards for each child to find on the walk.
  2. Around the World Basketball Write the numbers 1 to 10 arching around the basketball goal. Once you make the shot from number one, you move to 2, then 3, etc. But, if you miss the shot, it’s the next person’s turn. You can give them two chances at each number or just one.
  3. Water Balloons Have a classic water balloon fight.
  4. Leaf Drawing Gather a few of your favorite leaves from outside that won’t break easily. Glue them on paper and make a cool picture with them.


  1. Traveling If you have a globe, close your eyes, spin it, and then point to a place on the globe. If you have a map, close your eyes, spin around a few times, then point somewhere on the map. Where you point is where you’ll live. Research the clothes they wear, food they eat (make some of it if you can), and the weather there. Write it on a piece of paper and present it.
  2. Community Read the story of the Good Samaritan. Luke 10:25-37. I LOVE this story in the Rhyme Bible for Kids if you have it. Have your kids come up with ways they have seen others love one another in small ways and big ways. You share some as well.
  3. Surprise Kindness After the activity above, have each person think of a way to love someone in the family well but don’t tell them about it – just do it. You can talk about Matthew 6:3, 4 and how the Lord talks about giving in secret.

I hope these activities bring some connection and joy to your family during this time.

As Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

Seasons will not last forever.

Our children won’t be babies, toddlers, elementary-age, or teenagers forever. They’re growing up fast, and this is a season.

There is indeed a time for everything.

A time for adventure, and a time for simplicity.

A time for travel, and a time to stay put.

Now your adventure just looks different.

It involves precious little children the Lord saw fit for you to raise.

Our adventures don’t have to take place across the globe–they can be right here at home.