Discovering and playing and building in this little corner of the world to document my writing life. I'm glad you're here. {If you want to receive updates via email, sign up below.}

Sign up to receive updates via email.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

It's Just a Meatloaf

On Sundays, I move our meals for the upcoming week from the freezer to the refrigerator. This way they can thaw safely. In the middle of the week Andy's parents surprised us with smoked pork chops left over from a big shindig they hosted. Smoked pork chops are one of the kids' favorite meals. Of course we gobbled them up for dinner.

We now had one meal too many thawing in the fridge. Normally this isn't a big deal, but we were planning to leave for a long weekend visit to Tennessee. We wouldn't be around to use the extra meal and by the time we returned it would have gone to waste.

I could just bake it, then return the slices to the freezer for meatloaf sandwiches some other time. It would be done. Efficient. Not wasteful. We wouldn't lose a meal -- and let me tell you, those meals are precious.

It's just a meatloaf, but I wondered if God had another plan for it. As I've been trying to deepen my understanding of the authority of Christ, I'm convicted that God not only cares about the details in life, but He is in charge of them too.

I could take care of the issue. The meatloaf would be safely returned to my freezer so I could use it another time.

It's just a meatloaf, but what if there's a bigger picture than my dinner table? So I gave it to God. "Here's an extra meatloaf. I'm sure you can use it."

I know it's just a meatloaf, but as time marched through the day, I was expectant. I was sure that at any moment my path was going to cross with someone in need of a meatloaf.

I also knew I didn't need to search or corral or hunt down a meatloaf needing person. God was in charge of that. I simply needed to be ready for the opportunity to give away a meatloaf.

Near the end of the school day I was talking with a new teacher at my school. "What are you doing after school today?"

"I need to go home and take a meal to the church for a family."

The teacher is also a friend of mine. We live in the same town and she drives past my house on her way home. I poked a little more. "Do you have it made already or do you still need to make something?"

She smiled, "I know I'm making baked beans and blueberry muffins."

"Do you need a meatloaf?"

She laughed. "Do you have one to give away?"

I grinned. It's just a meatloaf, but it made a big difference in that moment.

And it makes me wonder, if God can use just a meatloaf, what could he do with a life totally surrendered to His authority?

Saturday, August 30, 2014


I'm glad you are here to celebrate! Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter.

Happy holiday weekend!
 I love questions. I ask a lot of questions, and have learned over the years this can be unsettling to people. But once you know me, you know I'm not trying to intimidate, I just think in questions.

This week I'm celebrating some of the questions rolling around my brain.

  1. Beyond notebook decorating day, how do writers take ownership of their notebooks? Once we open the covers, how do the pages fill up with meaning and purpose for a whole entire classroom of unique and independent writers?
  2. How can I help teachers believe in their students?
  3. How does organizing cross country pasta dinners and running kids and cleaning and laundry and running kids some more add up to my big dream of being a writer about faith and adoption and parenting?
  4. What does it mean to be under the authority of Christ?
  5. Should I put just one color of mums in my planters or a variety of colors?
  6. How do I love more when I'm exhausted and annoyed?
  7. What does it look like when "love does" in my corner of the world?
  8. What kind of system will allow me to document my conversations and remind me to follow up with people?
  9. What kind of commitment do I want to make to social media?
  10. How can Story connect home and school lives? How can I be the fuel for starting these connections.
I'm looking forward to celebrating with you today. Happy Saturday!

Saturday, August 23, 2014


I'm glad you are here to celebrate! Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter.


Even though last night was too warm for football, I still pulled on my jeans. I didn't have to think about what to wear, grabbing my black tank top off of the hanger and slipping on my shiny red shoes. All six of us were dressed in black and red for the first home football game of the season -- Go Squires!

Twenty years ago I walked through the gates and into the lights of a high school football field. I was a Wildcat then, with painted senior jeans and blue paw print on my cheek. I bled blue and red.

I was meeting a Squire for the very first time. He was dressed all in black. Black shirt. Black jeans. Black trench coat. It was Black Out Night for Manchester. I was annoyed. My friend Mary was dating a Squire and wanted me to meet his friend.

I didn't want to go.

It turns out Mary was up to shenanigans. She thought it would be fun to set up a blind date. The Squire in the trench coat didn't want to be there either.

I'd almost forgotten that there was a time when wearing red and black made me cringe. Andy and Steph led us up into the home stands. Hannah walked beside me, towering over me, and the boys shuffled behind, their eyes locked on the "ginormous football players."

We settled into the stands, hugs around for Aunt Abbie and Grandma and Grandpa. Andy points to the field and leans over to explain the play to Jay. In sync, they jump to their feet, cheering as Manchester snags an interception.

It has been too many years since Andy and I have been to a home football game together. It was one of the sacrifices of adopting older children. Friday nights became family night confined to the walls of our home. Bedtime was before kickoff.

Tonight is Black Out Night. Our niece is in the end zone student section all in black, with black paint on her arms and legs. Our nephews are on the field. Hannah is with the band. Stephanie is running around with her friends. Sam makes concession stand runs for any fan in our section. Jay stays next  to Andy and Grandpa, and their conversation sticks to football.

In the fourth quarter, Aunt Abbie says, "I love being around old, married people."

Everyone laughs.

I remind Ab that she is (and always will be) much older than me.

Abbie rolls her eyes and tells me six months isn't much older than anything.

Andy winks at me.

When his eyes met mine for the first time, I totally fell for them. Head over heals, I loved those eyes. I'm glad all I saw was the color and not our years unfolding together. I would have been scared away.

Twenty years later, a football game is evidence of healing.

The game ends and I cheer the first victory of the season with the home crowd. . We hustle around the field so the kids can get high fives as the team heads to the locker room.

As they are clapping hands with "celebrities," I stand beside Andy under the lights of a high school football field and I remember the magic of life happens in moments just like this.

If you are close to the Fort Wayne, IN area, consider joining Colby Sharp, Franki Sibberson, Bill Bass and me on Saturday, October 18, for a day talking, thinking, and playing with possibilities of digital literacy. Find more information and the link to register below.

Link your celebrations!

Saturday, August 16, 2014


I'm glad you are here to celebrate! Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter.

This week, I found my footing. It wasn't an easy task and there were some moments days this week when I thought maybe I'd never be sure again.

Life is changing.
There is always a need to learn the new steps in this life dance.

School started.
And on the other end of the drive home there is another whole day waiting. Kids ready to play and Hannah needs picked up from practice and there's homework, not just for kids, but for parents -- who had that idea? Dinner is ready for the oven (thanks to Cooking Day and 34 freezer meals). Youth group and football sign up and go to the phone store because it's time to add another line for the almost 13 year old, are all items on our calendar.

It's 9:00 before I have time to breathe alone. 

And I think maybe I should just give up the pipe dream of writing.
I celebrate this hope.

I celebrate Story, because Story is always more than a pipe dream.  Story is bigger than words on the page. It is living and serving and loving and laughing.

My Story is a resolve, deep in the soul, to not let go of my purpose. The week started by stirring up my inadequacies and attacking my comfort. My heart cracked. Sitting at the other end of the week, I realize my dream wasn't being torn away and wadded up, but rather it was growing. It is bigger than my grasp and at the same time it is built by tiny choices.

That's enough to keep me writing.

That's more than enough for a celebration.

 Share your celebrations below. I can't wait to read school stories, because I'm sure they will be fueling us in the weeks to come!

Friday, August 15, 2014

{Tell} Five Minute Friday


Tell your story
Tell it slow.
Tell it over.
Tell it new.
Tell it free.
Tell it raw.
Tell it  true.
Tell your story.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Celebrations: Accidents, Mishaps, Stumbles, & Falls

I'm celebrating accidents and mishaps and stumbles and falls.

Hannah broke her arm at cross country practice. I spent several hours in the ER with her on Friday night. I saw, firsthand, how she is growing a strong spirit. I loved that she asked me to be the parent to take her to the ER. I loved how she made the nurse pause and smile. I loved that she said, "Thanks for taking care of me, Mom. I like that I know you and Dad will always take care of me."

Andy's Aunt Pat gives our family Kings Island tickets each year for Christmas. We stay with her since she lives within an hour of the park. I adore Aunt Pat. She's eclectic. Never married. Retired Dean of Students for Cedarville University. Hysterical. Cancer survivor.

Only there are more tumors. And she just learned she has Parkinson's Disease. She makes no bones about the fact that her body is failing. In fact, she usually makes a joke.

But there is this uncommon spirit about her.

Everything about her body is failing and yet there is unmistakable joy in her soul.

As she becomes weaker, the Spirit becomes bolder. Although I would never wish for what she is bearing, I do hope I can learn to become less so the Spirit can be bigger in me.


Jay is still learning how to allow love to overcome fear. He is still learning that love is more powerful than anything. He is still learning to let us love him.

And I'm holding on to threads of hope that Love is enough to suffocate his fear.

I choose to celebrate because Stephanie walked this road before him. She is learning to trust us. She is learning she doesn't have to fear. She is proof that love restores hurt hearts. She hugs me hard tonight and asks me to pray. She leans against me and I rock back, smiling because this reward is much sweeter than I deserve.

Yes, I celebrate the mishaps in life. I celebrate the times things go wrong. I celebrate the things that make me scream.

After all, this is what life is made of. The accidents and mishaps, stumbles and falls are simply opportunities to see great big Love.

Saturday, August 9, 2014


I'm glad you are here to celebrate! Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter.

My celebrations are unexpected. I hope you had some this week too. Share below!

Saturday, August 2, 2014


I'm glad you are here to celebrate! Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter.

Move: This week I ran with Hannah, walked with two different friends, and ran on my own. It was good to move.

Preserve: The kids and I made 34 meals for our freezer. It was a long day of cooking, but worth the result. With a cross country runner, a football player, a volleyball player, and a soccer player in the house, I think we will still make it through the fall sports season with home cooked meals around the kitchen table.

Write: I'm glad I blogged yesterday. It helped me grow roots to some of the whirling thoughts. It was even better to receive the feedback.

I hope you'll join Christy Rush-Levine and me for the first #TaCwriters chat on Sunday at 8:00 pm. We will be talking about writing workshop routines with Katherine Sokolowski and the end of the chat will be dedicated to celebrations about teaching writers.

Share your celebrations below!