Sometimes Finger-less Gloves Make All the Difference

Small changes. The Lord seems to be highlighting that small changes are important. Often times I think the world embraces the belief that big changes are the only way to go. Here are some ways that the Lord has been encouraging me that small changes are good.

Finger-less Gloves – I am often cold. I have a space heater that sits underneath my desk, a stash of hot tea in my desk drawer, and a jacket that hangs on my wall. Oh, and I have a blanket in my cabinet as well. These are all there to help keep me warm while I’m at work. About a year ago, I had the “ah-ha” moment of adding finger-less gloves to my arsenal. I know that if I’m cold, my productivity at work goes down. My brain seems to get stuck on the mouse-wheel around the word “cold.” It amazes me that when I put those finger-less gloves on none of my above-mentioned items are necessary. These two little pieces of fabric, which don’t even completely cover my hands, make all the difference.

Potted Plants – I was always the kid who loved roots. Not the plant kind mind you, but rather the roots that anchor a person. I had no plans of moving away from my hometown. I was around 24 when I was having a conversation with the Lord about what the future held. I remember telling Him that I was willing to do whatever job He wanted me to do, I just wanted a billboard sign of what to do. I was also complaining about feeling so unsettled and rootless. Why was He allowing this when He created me with a deep need for roots. That’s when He kindly painted a picture of potted plants. Plants in pots grow roots exactly the same as plants in the ground (as far as my limited gardening knowledge goes). The Lord wasn’t ready to root me in the ground yet, but He still wanted me to grow roots. I could focus on growing roots while still being movable. That small realization and surrender make all the difference in how I live my life.

Failure – I was at church today and the the pastor made a passing comment about Peter that stuck out to me. So much so that I even wrote it down in my bulletin and have read it a couple times today. Here’s what he said, “God used his [Peter’s] failings to restore him.” If God can use Peter’s failings for His glory, then maybe He can use my failures as well. This hope makes all the difference in how I handle and view my failures.

Be the First – My brother talked about this a few weeks ago at work. Be the first to say hello to someone. Be the first to invite the new person to sit with you. Be the first to apologize. In whatever way that you can be first, do so. Being the first might make all the difference for someone else.

May I be willing to embrace the small changes the Lord is bringing to light and may I use those to anchor myself to the truths of God. He is a safe place to run to and His plans are perfect.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.

Hebrews 6:19

As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.


A Year of Tears

A lot has happened over the last year. I told my mom the other day that I believe I’ve cried more tears in the last year than I have in my entire 37 years combined.

  • April 2022 – I was informed that my job was being eliminated at the end of the semester.
  • May – I moved out of my house on campus because I was no longer eligible to live there. I moved 45 minutes away from my church and community.
  • August – my dog Piper’s health declined and she unexpectedly passed away.
  • December – My dad was placed in hospice.
  • January – My dad passed away.
  • March – My mom’s dog Zoe (featured recently in a blog) passed away unexpectedly while laying on the couch next to my mom.
  • April 2023 – My dog Siggie started having difficulty moving and unexpectedly passed away.

Tears are not the pain. They are the healing.

Annette Goodheart

Lots of tears…and yet healing. The tears are simultaneously emotionally charged, hard, and releasing. The Lord created tears for a purpose. I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand them, but I am so thankful that He knows every tear that has fallen.

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?

Psalm 56:8

Elisabeth Elliot, who I LOVE, wrote a great book that I’m reading called Secure in the Everlasting Arms. This quote has been a balm on my heart this last week.

Our Heavenly Father knows to place us where we may learn lessons impossible anywhere else. He has neither misplaced nor displaced us. He assigns and designs according to His inscrutable wisdom – always for our blessing and conformity to the image of Christ.

Secure in the Everlasting Arms – Elisabeth Elliot

The Lord knows my tears. He’s using my tears. He’s pulling me into the safety and security of His arms. None of these griefs were unexpected or a surprise to Him. May we always remember that we are, “neither misplaced nor displaced.”

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? – Mary Oliver

I read this quote yesterday and it’s struck a chord with me. I’ve heard similar quotes before, but this came on the heels of listening to a lecture on YouTube. This lecture, combined with a book I just finished and a documentary I watched a few months ago, have been rolling around my head and heart. All three were on different subjects. All three were trying to define an observed problem involving believers. All three left me feeling sad.

These are the things that I noticed about all three.

  • They all set out to define a problem.
  • They all painted a problem with a wide brush.
  • They came up with no actual solutions to the stated problems.
  • They all ended with a lack of hope.

As I was pondering what I was feeling, I came across the above Mary Oliver quote. What do I want to do with this, “one wild and precious life?”

1 – I want to listen well. I believe that listening and agreeing are two different things. I’m called to listen. If I don’t listen, how will I ever be able to respond in the Spirit? “If one gives an answer before he hears it is his folly and shame.” Proverbs 18:13.

2 – I want the Holy Spirit to highlight problems that I can help solve. Sometime in my humanity I make mountains out of molehills, so I want to always check my heart and mind before digging in. “As we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18.

3 – I want to stand up for what is right. God is a God of justice. I don’t want to stand by and keep silent. I want to reflect this facet of His character. “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause,” Isaiah 1:17.

4 – I want to be careful to not condemn all because of the words or actions of a few. I want to make sure that my vision and perspective are not too narrow. “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” Psalm 86:11.

5 – I want to solve problems. By nature I am a problem solver and that’s often the role I play at work; identifying problems or potential problems and finding solutions. If I can’t find a solution, there’s usually someone who can help. “And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” Psalm 50:15.

6 – I always want to speak the truth in love. Just as Corinthians says, if you don’t have love you are just a clanging symbol. When I feel prompted to speak, I want my words to be soaked in the love of God. “Rather speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,” Ephesians 4:15.

7 – I never want to live without hope nor do I want to leave others without hope. God is a God of hope! Nothing is hopeless if God is in the mix! “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13.

I want the presence of the Holy Spirit to be tangible in my life. That is the only way that I know to walk these things out. “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of Wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” Isaiah 11:2. So that’s my answer to my original question above. But what about you?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver – Poem 133: The Summer Day

1985 Bell

My mom decorated the Christmas tree this past Christmas. I put the tree up, strung the lights, and Mom handled the ornaments. Each ornament represents a time in Mom’s history. It was fun to watch her reminisce about the different ornaments and the memory associated. One ornament, that I don’t actually remember was a little bell from 1985 (the year I was born).

We quickly observed that Zoe, my mom’s miniature dachshund, loves that 1985 bell. She discovered it this year as she walked under the Christmas tree’s branches. It was on one of the lowest branches of the tree. It was just low enough for her to scratch her back with or bang her tail against.

I’d giggle every time Zoe rang that little bell. She’d look so happy each time she heard that little chime. Even though it was Mom’s bell, I’m pretty sure that Zoe took claim of it every time that she rang it. She even got to the point where she would ring the bell when she needed to go out. She’d proudly walk under the bell and then look with expectation for someone to let her out.

Zoe and her little bell brought so much joy during the holidays and in the weeks after my dad’s passing. The pleasure I experienced seeing Zoe’s joy reminded me of the joy that God must feel for His children.

Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre! For the Lord takes pleasure in his people;

Psalm 149:3-4a (ESV)

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV)

My friends who have little ones have always said that they understand the heart of the Father so much more after having children. I have spiritual children and plenty of nieces and nephews, but I haven’t ever understood this perspective before. Thank you Lord for showing me Your heart through a little dachshund and a 1985 bell.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing [and joy giving] in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 19:14 (ESV)

Space to Remember

My dad passed away the beginning of January. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease about 10 years ago, and more recently with Lewy Body Dementia. I wrote a blog about my dad a few years ago when I was processing through how this disease was affecting my dad. That list (My Dad) still stands as sweet memories of my daddy and I don’t think I could rewrite that list without dissolving into a puddle of tears.

It’s an odd sensation now. What is life like without Dad? What is this new normal that I’m learning? There’s joy for my dad and sadness for me. I’ve lost grandparents, but I’m realizing that losing a parent is a different type of grief. Everything feels like it has changed.

O Triune God,
You are the Eternal Constant.
Though all else in my life changes, you remain the same.
Your mercies never waver. Your affections do not fluctuate.
Your ancient promises endure, forever fixed and unbroken.
Be my rock and my sure foundation
in this time of flux and transition.

A Liturgy for Returning to Daily Life After a Loss – Every moment Holy Volume II: Death, Grief and Hope

Amidst the storm of this season, God is unchanging. He is my rock and sure foundation. He is the one who sees me through. While my thoughts and emotions can be ever changing, I’m working on learning this new normal. It’s an odd sensation to realize that my world has tilted and yet it’s a regular day for everyone else.

Now I sense the time has come for me to begin
the reassembly of my life, to learn what it will mean
to march forward even as I mourn, to resume the many
and varied duties the days require, while shouldering
the shifting load of grief. So give me grace, O God,
to learn new ways to navigate the old routines of school
or work, of chores and church, of exercising, planning meals,
paying bills, meeting friends, or taking recreation.
Shepherd me as I reintegrate such activities into my life,
their familiar patterns now made strange by this
new underlayment of sadness. These next steps will surely
be stumbling and faltering, O Christ.
I doubt I will always have the strength they require.
So remind my hesitant heart that I need not
muster in myself some stoic resolve that was never there.
For you, O Lord, have promised never to leave me
or forsake me. I am yours. And it is by and in
your power that even my present weakness is met and held.
You do not ask me to be strong,
but to trust in your strength.

A Liturgy for Returning to Daily Life After a Loss – Every moment Holy Volume II: Death, Grief and Hope

I’m learning to give myself the space to grieve. Weeping when the tears come and enjoying the simple joys the Lord highlights (the laughter of nieces and nephews, a beautiful sunrise, or a chapter in a book). Especially sweet is the retelling of Dad stories. My heart and mind long to not forget any details about Dad. I’ve loved hearing stories from all the people who have known him! There have been childhood, college, family, work, and friendship stories. Everyone has a sweet memory of Dad. What a blessing to have had him as my dad!

My desire to keep the memory of Dad alive has made me think of others who have lost loved ones. What stories do they cherish? What stories do they want to share? God is a God of stories! Through my season of grief, my prayer is to allow the Lord to create space for sharing stories of loved ones.

You do not ask me to find my way alone, but to follow you.
You do not ask me to be aught but what you have called me
to be: a disciple who for love and gratitude still walks
the path you have marked out for me, even now,
when it is shaped by this holy stewardship of grief.
During this season in which I must adapt to great loss
and change, let me heart be fresh-anchored
in your faithfulness, renewed by your Spirit,
and refreshed by your love.

A Liturgy for Returning to Daily Life After a Loss – Every moment Holy Volume II: Death, Grief and Hope

And in the telling of stories may we remember the faithfulness of the One who knows all the stories! Please feel free to share any memories or stories of your loved ones here. Or reach out in any way to me and we’ll have a conversation over coffee or tea. The people you have loved and have loved you well this side of heaven are important. I’d love to know them through you.

Memory Lane VI

December 14 will be the eight-year anniversary of starting this blog. It doesn’t seem possible that it has been that long! Eight years and 96 blog posts later, I love seeing my history and God’s love and grace memorialized in these blogs. Every year, I write a blog highlighting some of my favorites over the years and add the ones that I love from the current year! Enjoy the journey down memory lane and may your Christmas be filled with His presence and joy!

Soft Sunrises

The time change is this weekend and I’m looking forward to getting an extra hour of sleep! I’m also looking forward to having the sun up at an earlier hour. I’m a morning person, but only when the sun is up!

One thing that has been different for me this season is my morning commute. In the past ten years, a seven minute commute has been my longest commute. I now have a 25-minute commute. I’ve enjoyed the quiet in the mornings and listening to podcasts or chatting with friends on the drive home.

Lately, my morning commutes have been dark as we’ve moved closer to winter. I’ve actually had to turn the lights on as I get ready for work. Every morning on the last five minutes of my drive, I get to see the sunrise. I come down off a steep hill and drive across the Arkansas River. Right about the time I’m on the bridge the sky is turning different shades of light. I’ve been amazed at the softness of these colors.

The sun is not a weak star. I’ve been pondering the thought that the sunrise could burst across the sky in the morning at full strength and yet it gently spreads it’s warming rays across the sky. Why? Why did the Lord create sunrises this way?

My brain has been dwelling on the gentleness of Christ Jesus. He is the Son of God and yet He was gentle in so many of His interactions. He definitely had strength and it was shown at different points in Scripture, but He was also meek (strength under control). Why? Why was this a character quality that was important to Him?

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls

Matthew 11:29

I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ – I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!

2 Corinthians 10:1

Gentle – free from harshness, sternness, or violence; soft, delicate; moderate


I just finished a great book by Jen Wilkins, “In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character.” The author challenges her readers to not only dwell on His character but to look for ways to reflect those qualities. Gentleness was not one of the characteristics in the book, but the principles in the book have challenged me to reflect on why gentleness is so important to Christ and how can I implement it in my own life. How can I emulate this character quality?

  • When I’m spending time with my young nieces and nephews, I can gently interact with them.
  • When I’m frustrated (especially with a sibling) I can choose to not be harsh.
  • I can embraces the softness of my femininity. I believe the beauty of being a woman is acknowledging and using the God given gifts of strength and softness.
  • I can choose to listen to differing opinions and gently speak truth when prompted by the Spirit.
  • I can sit with those who are hurting.

In this month of reflecting on thankfulness, may I be thankful for the gentleness that God has shown me. May I joyfully and thankfully reflect that gentleness.


Back in 2019 I wrote the blog “Fear Robs Us of Our Very Selves.” I mentioned in the blog that I had the opportunity to speak at the local homeschool (SCCHEA) commencement with one of my brothers (Jon). A few days ago, I came across what we shared with the graduates and their families. I enjoyed reminiscing and thought it would be fitting to share the end result of that original blog. Enjoy reading!

JON: Congratulations Class of 2019! And congratulations parents of the Class of 2019! Today is a celebration for you both.

As former homeschool graduates, my sister Caitlin and I understand what today means to you. We remember that overwhelming emotion of accomplishment. We remember being on the cusp of a new stage of life, high school in the past and now the unknown ahead.

Caitlin and I are sharing the same stage tonight. You’ve heard it said that there are two sides to every story. Well tonight, there’s two sides to a commencement speech. You’ve heard it said there are two sides of the same coin. Tonight, we’re talking about two sides of the same stone.

I have here a simple stone, one that I’ll refer to as my stone of remembrance. On the one side, I’ll be focusing on the past – remembering His faithfulness in the hard times. Caitlin will follow and focus on the future – remembering His promises as you move into adulthood.

So what is a stone of remembrance? Well, we can be a forgetful people. That’s why we take something and transform it into an agent of recall, a memorial of sorts. Souvenirs help you remember vacations to the beach. Trophies help you remember the games you won. Photographs memorialize a moment in time and a Suh-chee-uh (SCCHEA) yearbook commemorates special events and friendships as a homeschooler. As the years pass and memories fade, physical objects can help you remember.

We find this same idea in Scripture, as God calls his people to remember attributes of his character and to not forget his faithfulness. They built memorials and pillars; they named locations, they celebrated annual festivals and hung tassels from their clothing.

Today we commemorate your graduation from high school, from years of study, of sweat, and probably some tears. We celebrate today, this milestone in your life. After today, you will have so many other times of celebration. And when things are going well, it seems easy to feel God’s presence and to trust in His goodness.

But you will also have some dark days, times of difficulty, and moments when God feels so very, very far away. For the writer of Psalm 77, that’s exactly how he felt. The Psalmist felt anguish over God’s perceived inaction.

  • Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable?
  • Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
  • Are his promises at an end for all time?
  • Has God forgotten to be gracious?
  • Has he in anger shut up his compassion?

Several years ago, that’s how I felt. I’d reached a point where I didn’t want to answer the phone because I thought it might be more bad news. It didn’t feel like I could have any “regular” conversations because everything revolved around the next crisis. I was so tired of seeing sin/evil/darkness/Satan affect those I loved and twist this life into such sorrow and hardship.

Within 18 months: 1) my son had a seizure; 2) my youngest daughter was battling dangerously high fevers every few weeks, which prompted doctors to think she had a terminal disease; 3) at a time like this, I’d have turned to one of my closest friends, but he’d decided to openly live a lifestyle displeasing to God and walked away from friendship with me; 4) I watched my grandfather die in hospice; 5) and I struggled when members of my extended family became estranged from us or got caught in a cycle of self-destruction.

So what did our Psalmist do? He moves on from anguish to comforting recollection.

  • Then I said, I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High
  • I will remember the deeds of the Lord
  • Yes, I will remember your wonders of old
  • I will ponder all your work
  • And meditate on your mighty deeds.

When the Psalmist had trouble seeing God during tough times, he remembers. It’s then that it is most important to remember, to ponder, and to meditate on the moments you witnessed the Lord’s kindness, felt his love, and saw him fulfil a promise.

During those tough 18 months, my wife and I learned how to trust God when He seemed far away and to rely on Him beyond our own vision or desires. We were broken and weary, but encouraged to look beyond the present troubles and to draw hope from God’s previous actions of love, mercy, and grace in our life.

Start building up for yourself a reserve of moments when God has shown you His faithfulness, His kindness, and His love. You’ll surely need them. Take a stone of Remembrance and mark it with today’s date or with an identifying word like SCCHEA, for He has seen you through these years to tonight’s graduation. And the next time a friend betrays you, when there isn’t money in the bank, when your faith is hanging by a thread, you squeeze that rock in your hand and know that although it’s hard to see God in this moment, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. As He has shown His unfailing love in the past, remember and know that He is faithful and trustworthy to see you through again.

CAITLIN: I want to talk about the other side of the stone. When I flip it over, it shows a blank slate, or rather a blank stone. It holds the unknown. It holds promise of the future. 

Before we look towards the future, I want us to look at the beginning of Joshua. In the first few chapters of Joshua, the people of Israel are getting ready to FINALLY enter the promised land. The first thing they have to do is cross the Jordan River. In order to cross, the Lord had to walk before them. LITERALLY. I’m going to read a section from Joshua 3 & 4. About 10 verses that perfectly illustrate Stones of Remembrance.

And Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on before the people.”

Joshua 3:6

And as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap…and those flowing down…were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground.            

Joshua 3:15-17

When all the nation had finished passing over the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, “Take twelve men from the people, from each tribe a man, and command them, saying, ‘Take twelve stones from here out of the midst of the Jordan, from the very place where the priests’ feet stood firmly, and bring them over with you and lay them down in the place where you lodge tonight.’”

Joshua 4:1-3

And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you shall let your children  know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the people of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”

Joshua 4:20-24

Those 12 stones had two purposes. The first purpose, like Jon has already shared, “Thus far the Lord has helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12). The 2nd purpose was a promise of what He was going to do. “The hand of the Lord is mighty” and He walked before them. Their next stop was Jericho. They could step out in trust and faith that their mighty God was going to do what He promised.

I didn’t fully understand Stones of Remembrance until I was about 26. I had been out of college working as a nurse for 3-4 years. I knew I had been called to be a nurse, but wasn’t passionate about it. I loved my patients, but at the end of the day it ended up being a way of paying my bills. 

I had many talks with Jon about passion in the workforce, calling, and vocation. You name it, we probably talked about it. I remember asking the Lord to either make me more passionate about nursing or to set my heart on fire for a ministry at my church or in my community. 

Enter Colorado vacation 2011. I was out visiting another bother and his family. While there, I was contacted by a friend who worked at a study abroad institute through Focus on the Family. They were in need of someone to be a resident supervisor and to start within two weeks. I laughed. It was so out of the blue and not anything that I felt I knew how to do. I hadn’t even been an RA in college! I didn’t have any experience in residence life. My patients were tiny and didn’t talk back and college students are MUCH bigger and DO talk back! But I did feel the Lord walking before me. Remember the Ark of the Covenant in the Jordan River?? I put in an application and had an interview.

Later that week, after being offered the position, I was on the phone with Jon, talking through all the options. I’m a planner so I like feeling prepared. Moving from Arkansas to Colorado to a job I had no idea if I could do, didn’t sound comfortable. But there was something about the opportunity that intrigued and excited me. As I wrestled through a decision, I remember hearing the Lord say, “I have equipped you in ways that you don’t even know.” I remember having immense peace after that. I could use that simple statement to remind me of all that God had done in my life prior. And I could stand on that promise that He was the one preparing and equipping me to step into the future. Even if there was very little planning time…I was told about the job on Sunday, applied on Wednesday, Interviewed Thursday, accepted the job Friday, and was moved and working two weeks later.

I can tell you the rest of my story another time. It’s a longer story then I have time for today. But what I want you to hear is that my Stones of Remembrance won’t be the same as yours. Jon and I don’t even have the same. And that’s part of the beauty of them! The Lord reveals them to us when we need them. They don’t even have to be stones! I have two personal examples up here, actual stones in a vase and a journal. They can be whatever has meaning in your life and will help you remember. The point of Stones of Remembrance isn’t the actual object but rather that it brings you face-to-face with the Lord.

The Lord has given each of you Stones of Remembrance to anchor you in the storms of your life and to help you step into the future. Each serve the purpose of reminding you who God is and what He has done and will do in your life. Your job is to remember.

As Jon and I were preparing to be with you tonight, he pointed out that just like Joshua used 12 stones after crossing the Jordan, there are 12 of you graduating. And each of you will be crossing your own Jordan River tonight. This will have a different meaning for each of you. So we’ve brought you each a stone to start you off. We’ll leave one on each of your memory tables. Congratulations class of 2019! May your lives be filled with many Stones of Remembrance!


In June, I started doing a Bible study on the book of Numbers with a friend. It was Bekah’s suggestion; not mine for the record. Who wants to study the book of Numbers? What I’ve realized is that there is more to the book of Numbers then census counts. Two things have stuck with me the past few months.

1 – God has been, is, and always will be faithful. The Israelites are anything but faithful at this point in Scripture. They continually forgot what God had done for them, how He provided for them and what His hope was for them. From start-to-finish, He was always advocating and providing for their good.

2 – A large part of the book has to do with the Israelites forgetting the faithfulness of God, sinning against God, and God’s righteous anger being kindled. Usually, when His righteous anger occurred, death ensued. As I was reading, it felt like half of the Israelites died in this one book. But, when you get to the last census, you realize that there is roughly the same number of Israelites from the first census in Numbers 1 to the last census in Numbers 26. Lauren Chandler put it very succinctly in her book, “A Study of the Book of Numbers: With Us in the Wilderness.”

The Lord had Moses and Eleazar take another census for two reasons: for military purposes and apportioning land. A third reason runs underneath the other two: God’s proof that He kept His promise to His people. While the population differences varied from tribe to tribe, there was only a variance of 1,820 people among the tribes and one thousand among the Levites. Despite constant complaining, murmuring, and rebellion, the Lord had preserved His people and His promise.”

I need to look for the faithfulness of God daily. Just as He provided for the Israelites and showed His faithfulness, He does the same for His children today. I have a dear friend who told me this week that she’s going to look back on her life and write a faithfulness journal so that she can actively work on remembering His faithfulness. May my heart also desire to see the Lord this way.



I lost one of my dogs this week. She was a mini-dachshund as you can probably tell from the pictures. She was 11-years-old and her loss was unexpected. I knew she was getting older, but she still had her usual spunk.

Eleven years ago I was living with my brother Josh. It was the month of June and he was actually on a mission trip to Russia the week that I got Piper. I had not planned to get her, but I’m so thankful that I did.

My little sister was headed to a friend’s house to pick-out a mini-dachshund and I went along for fun. There were four sweet little puppies when we got there. My mom picked-up a beautiful red haired puppy, dropped her in my hands, looked at me, and asked which one was I getting? My head said I was not getting one, but my heart was already gone. I justified getting her since it was my birthday week and I figured I could smooth things over with my brother when he got home. 🙂

Our first week together.

A friend actually helped me name my new puppy. The year prior we’d had a couple classes together and had read many John Piper books and articles. So in memory of our time in those classes, he suggested the name Piper. I looked at her little face and knew it fit her. Her full name was Piper Houdini Hetzel (the Houdini was christened later after I realized she had a knack for getting out of where I left her).

She had a very adventurous spirit. There wasn’t much that frightened her. She was always exploring and loved traveling with me. She never met a stranger as she “knew” everyone was going to be her friend (just ask my sister-in-law)! She ended up spending most days at my parents’ house with her dog siblings because she was so lonely with me at work for nine hours a day.

Her days consisted of protecting the backyard, eating, playing with her siblings, eating, napping, eating, spending time with anyone she considered a friend (which was everyone), and then at night she just wanted to snuggle. If I was sitting, she wanted to be sleeping in proximity so that she could feel me. In the winter, her little body heat was much appreciated. It did make some projects rather difficult to accomplish with her sprawled across my lap. 🙂 She always came running when I arrived home.

Her little presence is so missed! We still have other dogs in the house, but it is noticeably quieter without her. I’m thankful that she didn’t suffer and that I got one final night with her. We found out on Monday that she was dying. The vet said we could have time with her to say our good-byes. She slept most of that evening. My family came by to get a few last snuggles. When my brother came by with his kids, he said that there was a double rainbow outside the house. I ran outside and took the picture below. What a reminder of the Lord’s faithful love in my life!

The double rainbow outside my house.

I don’t know what your beliefs are in regards to animals in heaven, but these are the times I press into the Scriptures that reference animals in heaven. I believe that the Lord, who lovingly creates all, hasn’t forgotten about Piper or me. The rainbow reminded me that God loves us both and is going to take care of both of us.

Our last night together.

Additional blog post on the significance of rainbows in my life – and just when you think its rained enough it starts to pour.