When God calls a loved one home

From the middle of November until the middle of February, Fred spent all but 3 weeks in the hospital. When he was home the last week of December and the beginning of January, I knew that when I took him back to the hospital it would be a while before he came home. We expected him to get the liver transplant and then work through recovery. Little did we know that God would take him HOME on February 19th. Five weeks later, my heart still feels like it can’t be true. We were blessed with (and worked hard at) a good marriage. Fred was my best friend, and we were truly a team in life. My heart hurts with the loss, but when I think about Fred being completely whole, no more pain, no more doctors visits, no more sleepless nights, no more medication, I can be thankful and know that this is how I love him best right now–by letting him go. He loved his Lord and I know that he is so happy to be with Jesus–so happy that he would not want to come back.

God has given us amazing friends and family who have walked with us the last few weeks. Many gave financially so that the kids could come for the funeral. All but Julianna were here and I really don’t know what I would have done without them.

Even though our hearts are heavy, we have joy, peace, and hope, all gifts from our Father in heaven. I have learned that I do choose my focus each day (often many times throughout the day). There are questions that will never be answered. I either trust my God or I don’t trust Him–there is no middle path. So, I choose to trust God completely, choose to focus on the good gifts from my good God and take one day at at time.

Posted in Germany | Leave a comment

Family Time

When the 3rd stimulus money was deposited into our account, we decided to tuck it away with the prayer we could visit our children and grandchildren. It had been 2 years since we had seen most of them.

God gave us such a great visit! Time just hanging out, praying, singing, talking, playing. Nathan made targets for hatchet throwing and bought supplies to do that. I would have never thought it would be something I would enjoy, but it was tons of fun! Erik taught us how to play Pickle Ball which was also tons of fun.

The 2nd weekend, we had our crew all together. The evening of sharing and praying together is by far the best memory in my heart. God is at work in our family and we are blessed beyond measure.

Since we were close to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Adam took us to see where my great-great-great-grandfather fought in the Civil War. How cool to stand in the spot where he stood. And, how thankful I am that God spared his life.

The week with Adam and Heidi was spent moving. Only God could have timed that! We were blessed to have been available to help and also thankful we could see their new place.

Posted in Germany | Leave a comment


Lord, how are they increased that trouble me. Many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, “There is no help for him in God. But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill.

These verses in Psalm 3 were comfort to my heart on a day when I seemed all alone and there was no help in sight. I love the phrase, “But thou, O Lord. . . ” Even when troubles, heartaches and other problems seemed to multiply, my Lord is with me and can do the impossible!

Thanking God today for His great compassion, His love, His many gifts to me as His child!

Posted in Germany | Leave a comment


When I found out that our first grandchild was on the way, my emotions went between being overly excited and being upset–after all, no one asked me if I was ready to be a grandmother! Here I was about to have a new role in life, but it was a role I had no say-so in. However, all of my grumpiness faded as we awaited the birth of our first grandchild, and totally disappeared the first time I held her in my arms. Since then, 5 more grandchildren have been added to the family and I cannot explain the deep love I have for these little people. Having grandchildren is a privilege not everyone has in life, and I am grateful to God for giving me this joy.

Posted in Germany | Leave a comment


“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” Genesis 8:22

This verse in Genesis is a comfort to me when winter seems long and cold. Recently our temperatures went from -15° Celsius to 19° C within a week. It does my heart so good to get out in the sunshine for walks and bike rides. Spring is probably not here to stay, but for now, I am enjoying the few flowers that are blooming, drying the laundry outside, and knowing that God promises the seasons will never cease!

Posted in Germany | Leave a comment


Our home in northern Germany is between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, which means we usually have mild winters. Not complaining here! I am cold blooded, don’t like driving in snow, and know someone has to shovel the sidewalks and driveway when it snows. So far, February has brought extreme low temperatures and more snow than we have had in several years. It might not be my first choice, but I am enjoying the beauty!

Today I am thanking God for a sunshine that warms the house, beautiful blue skies, music to warm my soul, and God’s love that teaches me how to love.

Posted in Germany | Leave a comment


Recently this verse popped out at me while I was reading my devotional book.

Pin on prayer notebooks

The thought that the darkness in this world cannot overcome the Light, was so encouraging to me. Several days later, I was reading a novel when this verse popped out at me again! Not only is there darkness in the world, but often in us. There are times when everything seems dark and black. But, darkness cannot overcome the Light!

Thank you, Jesus, that you are the Light of the World!!

Posted in Germany | Leave a comment

Another Year of Grace

It has been almost a year since I last posted. Our website has had issues for the past few years and working through them was not top priority. But, I made it my last big goal of this year to fix things up and get back to posting.

Almost a year ago, I wrote that the year had been hard but full of God’s grace being poured out on us. Little did I know that we would face another such a year. Different. Oh yes. Much different, but also hard, yet full of grace. Grace upon grace!

Christmas without my dad last year meant making new traditions and new memories. I am learning (slowly but surely) to live in the present–not holding on to the past or longing for the future. January was a crazy month when we decided to try the 30 Whole Foods eating. While it was good disciple, I don’t know that I would do it again! In February, Julianna’s good friend, Lena, got married. We enjoyed having Julianna and Uriah here for 2 weeks. It was especially fun to enjoy one of the younger grandchildren who would otherwise get lost in the hustle and bustle of the older kids.

And then came Covid! Who would have thought? Who would have dreamed that our lives would be turned upside down for months on end. The shortage of toilet paper and groceries in general, almost no contact with other people, weeks of not having church services, cancelled plans–especially the furlough that we had carefully and prayerfully planned for over a year.

BUT, as I reflect on all the things we missed out on, I also realize how much God poured into our empty hands as we held them out for Him to fill. We had beautiful weather in northern Germany for much of the spring, summer, and fall, which meant lots of bike rides and walks in the woods. I finally got to work on my “I wish I had time for . . . .” list, things like de-junking (again), practicing lettering for hand made cards, working on piecing together quilt squares I had cut out years ago, making a quilted table runner for Christmas, more time to practice piano, organizing my recipes, reading, and doing puzzles. Meeting with friends was often a walk in the woods or a bike ride instead of at a café with a cup of coffee. Ministry to our church family has been challenging–thinking up creative ways to reach out and encourage each one.

No doubt the biggest blessing was a 2 week vacation with our sons, Travis and Erik. For years I have wanted to take a trip to the mountains again, but other things took priority. Since our trips to the US were cancelled, we decided to travel here in Europe (also before things closed down again). We saw lots of World War I and II sights in France, spent a day in Paris, visited friends and relatives, and spent almost a week surrounded by mountains in southern Germany!

This year has not gone as planned, there have been lots of tears, much uncertainty and frustration, but also so much grace! So, a week before Thanksgiving, I pause again to thank God for His good gifts, for carrying us through this year of uncertainty, and pouring out so many blessings on us!

Posted in Germany | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day in Germany is just another work day,  just another day for almost everybody. When we moved here in 1994, it was important to me that we celebrate Thanksgiving and the 4th of July, so that our kids would experience that part of the USA each year.  When the kids were little, we would have our Thanksgiving celebration after school around 1 pm and then had the afternoon to enjoy.  The last few years, we have to wait until everyone is home from work which means eating around 6:30 pm.  But, I still want to celebrate on the 4th Thursday of November.  Turkey is in the oven, pies and sweet potato casserole are made,  in a bit I will peel the mountain of potatoes and finish up the stuffing.  For now, I sit and reflect.

This year has been a hard year, hard but full of grace and God’s love poured out over our family.  Last Christmas we spent a week with our children and grandchildren.  God gave us safety for the thousands of miles traveled, provided financially for the trip, blessed us with a beautiful house to stay in, and we made memories, memories, memories.

When Fred, Travis and Erik flew home, Kassandra and I flew out to Minnesota.  What a blessing to have time with two of my brothers and their families.  I arrived home in time to spend the last week of my dad’s life helping mom care for him.  My youngest brother and family planned a last minute trip to see dad, but missed him by two days.  Instead they were here for the funeral.  I honestly do not know how we would have walked through that week without them.

Travis and Erik both finished their apprenticeships and were hired to keep working where they did the apprenticeship.  We found a cute apartment for my mom that is just 3 blocks from our house.  My nephew, Joe, and his girlfriend, Saragh, helped paint, put furniture together and much more.  Travis and Erik have gone out of their way to help Oma.   We sold mom’s house and the inheritance certificate came the day before my trip, which was a huge answer to prayer.

The beginning of the year our furnace started dying.  Not a good thing for someone as cold blooded as I am.  When the new furnace was installed, we found out we had water damage in Kassandra’s room.  Long story short, after a lot of mess, tons of appointments with the insurance and the people who would fix things back up, we finally had things back to normal 6 months after we started the project.  But God’s grace carried us through that.

For Kassandra’s wedding, she and I had made a list of all the things that were needed:  her brothers to have vacation, flights, a place for all of us to stay, good weather for an outdoor wedding, a job for her, an apartment for her and Arron and much more.  God answered every single request!

Uriah and Callen both joined our family this year, there are stories of miracles for both of them.  God is good.  I could fly over after Callen was born to help Heidi and enjoy time with our girls and their families.

A year ago I would have panicked if I had known everything we would face this year.  But, looking back, I see grace instead of hard.  Grace upon grace as it says in the Gospel of John. My heart is full. Thank you, God for the hard, but especially for your grace.                   

Posted in Germany | Leave a comment

We’re going to the Chapel, and we’re going to get married. . .

This summer the wedding bells rang for our family again!  Kassandra married Aaron Stoner on August 10th.  I flew to the USA on July 24th, spent my birthday weekend with Adam, Heidi, and Emory and then went up to Pennsylvania to make Kassandra’s wedding dress.  Fred, Travis, Erik, and Lars arrived on August 5th.  We so enjoyed the time with family!     

Since Erik was the “Maid of Honor” for Kassandra and Travis was a “bridesmaid,” they decided to crash the bridal shower and had matching t-shirts made for themselves and their sisters.  We were so blessed to have my mom and Heidi also there for the bridal shower !              

An outdoor wedding always carries a risk of bad weather, but God blessed with a beautiful day!  The wedding was gorgeous.  Both Kassandra and Aaron wanted their families involved in the wedding ceremony, which made it super special for all of us.

Each time we plan a trip or an event, I notice how quickly it sneaks up on us and then how memories are all we have left.   But, there is so much for which we can be thankful each and every day.  Back in 2012, I started a thankful journal with the goal of writing down 1,000 things for which I was thankful.  The end of August I reached 10,000 on my list.  Although it is a huge number, I know that God has done so much more for me that only the things on my list.  I hope and pray to be more aware of His goodness every passing day.

Posted in Germany | Leave a comment