While my husband and I were catching up with our friend Dirk at church last weekend, our 15-year-old son Gus was speaking to a gentleman who was seated one row behind us in the sanctuary. The gentleman had initiated a conversation with Gus, asking him questions about...read more
Just before climbing on that floatplane in Kodiak Alaska, I called my husband and daughter and texted my boys. I reached my husband but couldn’t get ahold of other kids at that exact moment. I then asked someone to take a photo of those of us about to board that...read more
I was driving my sophomore in high school son to early bird Wellness 2 this morning and was going about 15 miles per hour in the 25 mile per hour zone of our street. We passed a man walking along the street -- we have no sidewalks in our neighborhood -- and I waved at...read more
I got all teary-eyed after dropping off my twins at college yesterday. Okay, sobbed, uncontrollably. They had to get there two weeks early to start Resident Assistant (R.A.) training before actual classes begin, so it felt especially hard as summer was still underway....read more
I was realizing that we weren’t planning as much in the summers as a family since our five kids are in varied locations and stages of life this summer, and then July hit and I panicked: Summer is half over. It made me stop to recognize that as kids get older and get...read more
The last time I saw my older brother Thomas was when he was in his casket. That was 1983. I was 18 and he was 20. He had a blue and red button down plaid shirt on that was tucked into his jeans; his face was embalmed and he looked so serene, so peaceful, so innocent....read more
One of my twin sons Mick is working as a busser at a steakhouse restaurant in Waikiki this summer; he's staying with my daughter’s family who lives in Hawaii. On his first day of what was going to be an 8-hour work day, he packed a PBJ dinner. When he came home I...read more
I was in the wedding of my dear college friend Meri 25 years ago, and when Meri and her husband Ray started their family, Meri’s mom Mona would stay at Meri’s house to help her.Mona would cook the meals, wash and dry and fold laundry, hold Meri’s new baby, just be...read more
My twins and youngest son and I attended my friend Kristi’s daughter’s last lacrosse game of her college career at George Fox University, where my twins are freshmen. I love looking for opportunities to see my boys on campus and it was fun to be able to combine it...read more
This past Monday, was my first day back in a month at West Linn High School where I regularly serve as a substitute teacher; for some subs, that may not be a huge deal, but I exclusively sub at West Linn; typically, I am at the school three to four days a week,...read more
I grew up in a German household where working hard without complaining was a huge value we learned. When I complained about having to do a task, my mom used to say to me, “Kopf Hoch,” which is basically German for “Keep your head up.” What that meant to...read more
My neighbor Wendy’s first grade daughter had a friend over for a playdate in their home, which is a three bedroom, two bath adorable ranch, and the friend said to Wendy’s daughter, “Where is the rest of your house?” A similar thing happened to my son, who had a very...read more
My daughter and her husband had just returned to Germany after visiting us for Christmas, and I know I needed to getting my house back in order. You know, the routine of cleaning and laundry and organizing and putting things away and planning meals and getting my home...read more
As I was leaving my parents house yesterday, I hugged my dad and said to him, “Love you, Daddy.” I have called him “Daddy” all of my life. It never became just "dad," but was always "Daddy" which seemed to be the German way. Then my dad says to me: “Love you, too....read more
The last thing I remember was passing the Starbucks then the McDonalds with its bright neon lights lighting up the fast-food chain’s parking lot on the corner of Walling Street. We had also walked by the Bugatti’s Italian Restaurant, and later when I reflected back, I...read more
But, later she texted me and said: “Thank you so much for our coffee chat today! You are a bright light in my life, and I feel so blessed to have the gift of your wonderful friendship. Also, I hope you know I wasn’t saying your house was messy! I was trying to say that it inspires me to prioritize what is important…travel, family time, experiences, a home that is warm, inviting, cozy, etc.”read more
My first child and my only daughter was going to be in Germany for her 21st birthday as she was studying there, and so as I am not one to want to miss a party, I decided to fly to Europe to see celebrate with her. My 13-year-old at the time twins had never been on an...read more
All of my kids have run track in high school so far. It is what our family does in the spring. My oldest child, my only daughter, set the stage for our family being a track family. Indeed, Rachel was a varsity athlete from her freshman year on;...read more
I was at an Adidas outlet store, where I ended up finding the same pair of Adidas shoes that I had recently ordered online, only they were 15 dollars cheaper at the outlet than I had paid online. The online ones had not arrived yet, so I decided to purchase the shoes...read more
As a mom, you pray for your daughter in so many areas of her life. You pray for her heart that she loves the Lord all of her days and that she knows she is loved by God and her family and friends, and you pray she makes excellent friends and finds a place in...read more
My neighbor Midori’s late husband Belton HJ Hamilton was the first African American to graduate from Stanford and the first African American assistant Attorney General in Oregon. I love visiting Midori. She’s the mother of two grown children whom she is so proud of....read more
Right in the middle of the packing process, one of my twin sons said that his friend was stopping by for a quick visit and it was the only time Mick could see his friend the entire Christmas break and it was starting to get later and Mick’s friend was still not at our house.
Someone suggested that we take off and let Mick just stay home so he could see his friend.
But I insisted and said, “We wait for one another.”
And we did. It’s what we do.
Sometimes in our quest to be productive and to see a lot and do a lot and be on time, we can put to-do lists in front of what is actually important, and that is our relationships with people. It’s what people remember, how you treated them, if you made them feel valued. Yes, they are watching. Those little things matter. We wait for one another.read more
When a friend of singer-songwriter Rich Mullins asks if he will listen to a tape of a certain preacher while they are riding in Rich’s jeep, Rich is hesitant. His experience with traditional preachers has been less than favorable. His friend insists, saying to give it...read more
When I was growing up and would complain about having to do a chore or if I had a negative attitude about a school assignment, my mom used to say to me, “Kopf hoch,” which is German for “hold your head up high.” Basically the subtle message that I gleaned from my...read more
My daughter left today. You’d think I’d get used to it. I don’t. When my daughter visits from across the ocean, we stop the busy-to-do-lifestyle life.
We go to indie coffee shops and on long walks in the neighborhood and make sure we meet with friends and family.
When my mom was 11 years old, she and her parents were forced to leave their homes in Sudetenland after Germany lost the war in 1945. They had to leave with nothing but the clothes on their backs and what they could carry in a few small bags. They buried a few...read more
Warm, mouth-watering, home-baked sugar cookies are piled high on a white-rimmed plate. Green tea in French, hand-painted teacups are on the dining room table; a hand-painted sugar bowl is nearby to sweeten the sipping. A lace antique tablecloth wraps the room in...read more
In my 23 years of having back-to-school season with kids, I’ve learned to keep these five things in mind.read more