To Read on the Journey

Thursday, January 15, 2015


I'm having trouble settling on one title for this post- Quiche Me, Labor of Love and Proof That There's a God are all good contenders.


All three of us were exhausted when we gathered in the kitchen to prepare the Meal Train dishes I'd signed up for early last week.   

Michael had been going since 4:45 a.m., had worked 8 hrs at his full-time job, followed by another 1.5 hrs taking senior photos. When he arrived at home I greeted him at the door with a kiss, followed by a, "remember you said you could make the French Toast dish Tuesday night???"   

Josie and I had been running around all day too. We left our driveway at 7:37 a.m. and pulled back in at 4:11 p.m.  During that 8 + hours I'd dropped Noah and Emilie off late for an early meeting at school, taxi'd Josie down the hill to two classes, made stops at Target, Panera, Costco, Sprouts, Save Mart, Marshalls, Old Navy, World Market, and Trader Joe's. Josie and I also visited a sweet friend who'd just had surgery, then barely made it back up the hill in time to retrieve our highschoolers after school.   Needless to say, when we arrived at home we were wiped! 

Where was I? Oh yeah, the Meal Train.  So we emptied shopping bags, made a quick dinner (Lindsey's Yumm Bowls. Only we were missing some of the ingredients, so we ended up eating what we called "Umm bowls"), then got to work on our promised meal. 

When I sign up to take a meal to a family, I often bring a filling breakfast instead of a dinner.  I recall having received so many dinners that we could hardly eat them all.  And breakfast IS "the most important delicious meal of the day!" 

Michael got to work on a delicious French Toast dish, while Josie prepared a homemade pie crust for the hearty ham and veggie quiche fillings I was dicing. 

At one point while we were each slicing, mixing, and dicing I began to whistle. Josie commented that Emilie's whistle sounds like mine. Who knew a whistle could be inherited? ;)  We all had a good giggle, and I thought about how sweet it was that though we were all so exhausted, this labor of love, had become an enjoyable time together. 

I wish I'd taken a photo of the quiches (we made two) before they went in the oven.In the history of quiche there were never two that were more beautiful. In fact, Michael, Josie, and I had named ours "Quiche Me," because we couldn't wait to get our lips on it! 

Josie and I had some things to do, so we left Michael to preheat the oven, and keep on eye an the Quiche Me's while they baked. 

And then...
2.5 hours later a shriek, "the quiche!!"  
Followed by the three of us jumping to our feet, and running for the oven, while already knowing the outcome...
the Quiche Me's were charred.  

Michael had forgotten to set the timer. 

This is when the real labor of love began... also folks, this is where the title "Proof That There's a God," comes into play. 

So there we were standing over the burnt meal we were suppose to deliver the next day, feeling all kinds of disappointed, when miracle #1 happened- I didn't yell.  I typically fly off the handle and lay into my husband. Yep! I'll yell a million times and in a dozen ways, "HOW COULD YOU NOT SET THE TIMER!?!" 

Instead, I heard AND listened to God's Spirit talking me down; imploring me to choose self-control.   

Then miracle #2 occurred- You see usually while I'm yelling, I'll kick it up a thousand notches and attack my husband's character with "you never..." and "you always..." and "I always have to..." blah blah blah. 

But the Holy Spirit nudged me to "give it grace, Denise.... Denise, give. it. grace." And with His help, I responded to that too! ("give it grace" is something the LORD has been for years nudging me to recite and receive myself).

And then as if miracles #1 and #2 weren't enough, a third miracle took place- I didn't freakout about the loss of food, funds, and time invested. 

We've struggled so financially in the past that wasted food is hard for me. But I heard the Spirit reminding me to lean into Peace; to not let the loss of a few bucks take my God given Peace (security and sanity) from me. 
My first impulse is yelling, attacking, freaking out! If you don't believe me then go right ahead and ask my husband and children. They have seen my many dark sides- poor things (they've seen a few bright sides too- phew!). They KNOW it takes a miracle of GOD ALMIGHTY to change this mama.   

And this, this is proof that there is a God people- evidence that He exists, and lives in people, and shapes and makes them into what they could never ever ever be on their own!   
In John 14:15-17, Jesus says this- 

If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to HELP YOU and BE WITH YOU forever- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

A few verses later John 14: 26-27 says this- 
..the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you."

I know this, I'd make a charred mess out of things without Jesus' Spirit coaching me to labor through my typical nasty responses and instead press into self-control, grace, and peace. 
In the end we had a good laugh over the scorched Quiche Me. Michael delivered the French Toast dish, and some last minute egg muffins to go with it. He got to cuddle a new little guy, and I'm sure the kitchen fiasco was forgotten then.

Ironically, while typing this I received another Meal Train invite (for a single mother who was recently hit by a drunk driver. Please pray for that family. If you're local and would like to help this family email me at I'm thinking I'll keep it safe, and order Pizza this time around ;) 
 Live in Peace,




Monday, January 12, 2015

Our Christmas 2014

This blog is a scrapbook that highlights the happenings around here. Like flipping through the pages of a photo album, from time to time one of us will be seated here in front of the computer scanning Victory Rd.'s posts.
It's for those moments that I am thankful for the hours I've poured over posts, because I know that this little space in blogville is ultimately a gift I am giving my family.

With that in mind, indulge me as I "scrapbook" Christmas of 2014. 


During dinner our Christmas eve,  I asked my three what their favorite family Christmas traditions are. It's no secret that I am "sentimentally ill," and this holiday season I was battling the "I only have two Christmases left with Noah" blues. Seriously people I blinked, and two Christmases!   Michael attempted to comfort me daily by reassuring me that Noah isn't leaving us, and we have more Christmases with him than we think.  But the point is he could -sniff sniff.  And I'm not ready. (Also, this is a heads-up that next Christmas I will be down to one Christmas with Noah, AND only two remaining with Emilie. Please send chocolate (meds for sentimental illness). The good kind. And a lot of it). 

It was because of this I wanted to be certain my family's treasured moments weren't overlooked. 

Noah's said his favorite is me at the end of the hallway with the video camera Christmas morning, ready to capture my three heading to the tree for their stockings (Awww, and I thought this annoyed him. This kid knows how to tug on his sentimentally ill mama's heart strings). I asked if I should still record this when he is 40 and charging down the hall with his own family? He said yes (I'm going to hold him to it. Mark your calendars to visit Victory Rd. in 24 years to see the footage)!

Sentimentally ill mama's are the kind who get matching pj bottoms for her fellas. 

Emilie cherishes reading the Bible together. We read the story of Jesus' birth from the gospel of Matthew on Christmas eve, and from Luke on Christmas morning. We read about His dysfunctional family, and about God becoming human and taking on the humblest, sweetest form- a baby. We read how he was given the name Jesus- which means Savior. We're thankful because we need a Savior. We read how He came to be "God with us."  We're thankful, because we need that too. 

Josie's was simple- "Family.  I just like being with my family" (eh em...this is why you should never leave us, Noah).

Listening to my kids' share their favorite Christmas traditions caused me to consider what tradition was dearest to my heart

It is  unwrapping Jesus.

We have a tradition in our home that began with Noah's 1st birthday, where we speak words of blessing into the birthday boy or girl, expressing who they've been, as well as highlighting best-loved moments shared over the year- we unwrap the gift they are.  And on Christmas day, the celebration of Jesus' birth, we do the same with Him. 

This year after video footage was captured of kids opening their stockings, the gospel from Luke was read, and our little family gathered around the table for a delicious Christmas breakfast of french-toast bake and omelets,we nestled closely together around the flickering lights of the Christmas tree, and the pile of mysterious gifts, and one by one unwrapped all "God with us" has been in 2014.

Michael: He has been Consistency. I read my Bible and see that He does not change. I'm learning that His fatherly direction, discipline, and love are things I can rely on.

Noah & Emilie's answers were the same: Jesus has helped me be myself, to be content with who I am, and the unique ways He wants to make Himself known through me.

Josie: Jesus has given me a voice to praise Him.  He has caused me to use it in a variety of ways; singing, sharing scripture, through serving others, and by being intentional in my relationships.

Me: He has revealed His favor.  I have seen that He is for me and not against me, and that He "withholds no good thing" from me. He has given me peace (soundness of mind) in this area where I have so struggled in the past.

After we unwrapped the gifts Jesus has been to us, we prayed and thanked God for His generosity to each of us. Then we tore through the packages under the tree.

The gift wrapping bar is set very low in our house. Every year I forget gift-tags, and write names on 
the bottom of gifts with a Sharpie (apparently my kids have learned this too). Pinterest can't get credit for this crafty idea. Nope, I came up with it all on my own ;)

Bing Crosby crackling on Noah's new record player was ideal for Christmas morning, but was short lived, and given the boot by an AC/DC album he received from a family friend. 
The past few years my kids have dipped into their own $ to purchase gifts for each other. These are the first gifts they want to tear into. The way these three adore each other- and I can't afford it, but it's mine.

Causing Emilie to ugly-cry was a highlight this Christmas (sentimentally ill people enjoy causing others to  feel mushy too)! Over a year ago she lost her cherished "immeasurable" necklace, and after we were finished opening  gifts I "realized" there was one more.  I don't know whose expressions I love more in these photos- hers, or those of her sibs, who knew the gift she was receiving would bring her much joy! 

 My children gave me a new bible. This page inspires me to live in AND live out all the other pages. 

Our 2014 Christmas gifts are things we'll certainly cherish and enjoy, but each of us knows that none of these gifts can cause our souls to feel their worth like Jesus does.  

"God with us" is the gift we receive everyday.  

And though this mama wishes the years wouldn't pass so swiftly, I do look forward to Christmas 2015 (and even 2039- when Noah is 40), and to the many Christmases we'll share together, unwrapping all "God with us" will illuminate Himself to be to us and through us in the years to come.

 Live in Peace,