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Month: August 2016

If I could just remember the sandwich …

If I could just remember the sandwich …


The first week of school is behind us and mercy if it wasn’t a long week. By Thursday I was flat out exhausted … and I wasn’t even the one going to school!

On Thursday I got this text from Brittany:




Four days into the new school year and I had already forgotten to add a sandwich?!?  I didn’t even make it a week before the wheels fell off the lunch making train!

A few years ago I got a text from Brittany that said I had only given her bread.  I didn’t really understand and when I asked her about it she said “MOM, my sandwich is only bread, no meat.”

Good heavens, how does that even happen?!

I know lots of people who have their kids make their own lunches. I think that is great! Those kids are learning responsibility and they have no one to blame but themselves when they show up at school with a lunch that doesn’t include a sandwich … I mean what is not to love?!  I don’t think there is a right or wrong on making lunches.

But I must admit, I enjoy making my kids lunches.  I mean I don’t LOVE it as in … “I can’t wait to make sandwiches and throw chips and an apple in a bag”, but there is something special to me about getting to hand my kids their lunches as they race out the door for their day.  Maybe it was all the episodes I watched of The Brady Bunch where Carol Brady and Alice passed out lunches each day.  I bet everyone in my house would get a sandwich if I had an Alice to help me!!

But here is the reason I make lunches for my kids.  It’s simple really … it’s a “get to”.  And before you roll your eyes, let me explain.  They are going to spend the rest of their lives figuring out their lunch.  I’m happy for the 13 or so years that I can do it for them.

One thing I try to do (it doesn’t always happen) is to pray for each child’s day as I make their lunch … what they will face that day, tests they may have … even who they will sit with in the lunchroom.

I’ve often wondered if the mom who packed 5 loaves and 2 fish for her son prayed over it that morning as she made it. Her son shared that lunch and Jesus used it to feed over 5,000 people!  Crazy!

A minister at our church made lunches for his boys and every day he put a note that included a bible verse in his son’s lunches. I’ve heard his sons talk about how special that was for them.

Last week my sweet friend Mary Jane (who no longer has kids living at home) sent me a message that said this:

 “I made my kid’s lunches every day and cried over each of their last lunches their Senior year.  They each got a note in that last lunch that said “it has been a joy and privilege to make your lunch for the past 13 years”. 

I almost cried reading it knowing I would be making one of those “last lunches” this year for my own child.

So, no, I don’t mind making them at all.  As Mary Jane said, it truly is a “joy and a privilege”.

And hopefully I’ll remember to add the sandwich!


The best back to school EVER.

The best back to school EVER.


Our daughter Caroline had what can only be described as an EPIC summer. I’ve written a little about her time in Switzerland … which was incredible! She would text me from Switzerland though with countdowns for how many days left until she got to Zambia. She couldn’t wait to go meet “her kids”. Being there was a transformational experience, for sure.

We have filled up the last several days listening to her stories from her work there. The way Family Legacy runs is that orphans are brought from their “compounds” (slums) to go to “camp” for a week.

During this week they hear about the love of Jesus, have fun, they are fed and at the end of the week they go back to their compounds and share with the people in their village about the love of Christ. It is the gospel going forth in an amazing way!

Caroline got to take a group of boys (pictured above) through “camp” the first week she was in Zambia and the other weeks she worked behind the scenes. She LOVES these precious boys.

The children in each group are available to be “sponsored”. What this means is that after camp if they are sponsored they are given the opportunity to attend school which will be held in their compound. They are given uniforms and textbooks, etc. The cost to sponsor a child is $48/month. The sponsorships last (hopefully) until the child graduates from high school. One of the beautiful stories we heard was of a family who flew over to watch their Zambia “son” graduate from high school. What an incredible opportunity they had to see him fulfill his dream. When he received his diploma he turned to his sponsor family and moved his tassel on his mortarboard from one side to the other while looking at them to show his gratefulness for the gift of education he had been given. To read more about the sponorships you can find more information here:  Sponsorship


Our family sponsors two boys, George and Robert. Caroline got to meet her “brothers” while she was there and gushed about how cute and fun they are. Every now and then we get emails from them and each summer can send them a small package. We are looking forward to one day hearing of their graduation. Here are our boys with Caroline:


Five of Caroline’s kids still need to be sponsored. You can see their sweet faces and read more about them here: Sponsor kids I am here to tell you it feels good to know that there are orphan children who are given an opportunity to change their life because of you. If you feel led to sponsor one of these precious children, pray about it and click on the link to select the child you’d like to send to school. These boys want, more than anything, the chance at an education. It will change their lives. They will change yours.


If given this chance at education and a hope and a future … well, it would really be the best “first” back to school for them EVER.




Olympics Obsession

Olympics Obsession



I am obsessed with the Olympics.

Literally obsessed.  Night after night we stack up on the couch and watch whatever NBC picks for us to cheer that evening. Watching Michael Phelps win gold after gold (after gold) was so cool. And the Simone’s?! Katie Ledecky? They are all incredible!!! It’s truly amazing to see these incredible athletes do their thing.

There have been a lot of neat stories to come from the Olympics … Michael Phelps coming back after overcoming some personal demons, the 41 year old gymnast (Really?! Just wow) and many, many others.  The story yesterday of the USA 5000 runner helping the Australian up after a brutal fall … that was the Olympic spirit at it’s finest.

But one of my favorite stories from this years Olympics hasn’t gotten much press but it is truly the story I love the most. It is the story of a swimmer from Spain, Miguel Navia who was set to swim the 400 meter freestyle. He was a longshot even to final but just getting the opportunity to swim in an Olympic race was a dream come true.

When Navia stood up on the blocks waiting for the signal to start he fell in. Literally fell off the blocks into the pool as the crowd gasped.  What normally would be called a “false start” in other swim meets, in the Olympics equals an immediate disqualification.

Miguel slapped the water in disappointment, knowing he was done, and got out of the pool.  The TV  announcer said: “well, that’s the worst thing that could happen” as Navia gathered his parka and headed out of the swim facility in tears.

The crowd, in a show of sympathy, begins to clap and gave him a standing ovation as he exited. It was enough to choke up even those of us watching from the couch.  I SO wanted him to have another chance.

The swimmers prepared to get back on the blocks when all of a sudden a huge cheer erupted from the crowd. The other swimmers looked around confused as to why they were cheering.

And then Navia re-entered the arena.

Unbelievably the judge determined that Navia did not fall in the pool as a result of his own error. The judges conferred and determined that “he had heard a noise in the crowd that caused him to false start”.

He was allowed to swim.

This never happens. No one thought it was going to happen … but it did!

Navia didn’t final … he was 8 seconds behind the swimmers who made the finals in the almost four minute race ,,,

But he got to swim.

And I think the reason I love his story so much is because it is our story. Each one of us falls off the block in our lives. We may feel like the announcer’s words  … “well, that’s the worst thing that could happen” or feel like we have failed and have no chance of getting back in the race.

But because of God’s redemptive death on the cross … no matter what we have done, it is not the worst thing … he forgives us. As the Psalmist says … “he throws our sins as far as the east is from the west”.

He tells us to get back on on the blocks.

When circumstances aren’t what we had hoped or dreamed?  It’s still not the worst thing.

Even then He tells us to get back up on the blocks.

He wants us in the race.

There are no gold medals or endorsements … but there is peace and joy.

We get to swim!

Enjoy your race.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.  2 Timothy 4:7-8

Be the Good

Be the Good



Summer is quickly coming to a close as school starts for us next week. I see reminders everywhere … the stores have been selling school supplies and backpacks for weeks.  I am enjoying our last remaining days before it’s time to start filling those brown paper sacks with lunches again.

Now that my kids are older, getting ready for school is a bit different.  I have one child who will go back to college, one who is applying to colleges, one who is dreading Algebra 2 and one who will get to play middle school football for the first time this year.

When the kids were younger the big question at the start of the school year seemed to be  …. “who is your teacher?” or “who is in your class?”.  Of course everyone was excited and wanted to know if they would have a friend in their class.

Yet year after year we told our kids the same thing … it matters less who is in your class than who you are in your class.

Now that they are older, that advice still stands.

Maybe even more now.

So as we prepare to head back to school this is our message for our kids:

There are people in all of your classes who need a friend. Look for them and be that friend. Everyone needs encouragement. Some people will be having a bad day and some people will be having a bad year.

Love them all well.

Look up from your phones, sit by someone who is alone, invite someone to join your table for lunch or in your group for a project. Send a text asking a friend how they are doing. Bob Goff says “give away inexplicable amounts of love with tremendous courage”.

Yes, do that.

Make sure people don’t feel left out. It hurts.

Just because people aren’t in your “friend group” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be friendly.

Last week I was at your school and there were some girls from another country who were enrolling in the high school. It was obvious they were uncomfortable and unfamiliar with how things worked. I have thought about them so many times. Look for them in the coming weeks, make sure they can find their classes or unlock their lockers. They aren’t just getting used to a new school, they are getting used to a new country. What a privilege to get to welcome them here.

Maya Angelou said: “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel”.

That’s good stuff. Make people feel great.

It might just a smile or a word of encouragement … but it could make a big difference in someone’s day.

Be characterized by kindness. Be interested in other people.

Your teachers, professors and coaches need encouragement too.  Teaching you every day is not for the faint of heart! They work so hard … please show them your appreciation.

And, more than anything, be a reflection of the Christ that lives in each of you to everyone in your school.  When you shine the light of Christ, you will light up dark places.

Each of you make us so proud … for so many different reasons.

So now go, be the good in your classes and have a great year! Cheering you on in life is the thrill of a lifetime.

We love you so much!

Mom and Dad

Choosing is the thing ….

Choosing is the thing ….



Last month Bill and I happened upon the “love lock” bridges while we were visiting Paris. As soon as we saw the locks I remembered that a friend said one of the “must do’s” in the city was for you and your love to put a lock on the bridge and then throw the key over into the Seine River. Throwing the key away symbolized that your love would be “locked” forever.

The bridge was covered in locks!


Thankfully there was  a man selling locks so we quickly bought one.


We added our initials and a heart and locked it onto the bridge. (Bill wanted to find a place that “wasn’t crowded” so ours would be noticeable).

IMG_4445 IMG_4455

Then we threw over the key!  Gone forever!


Throwing the key over the bridge was really fun but the truth of it is we really threw away the key on August 11, 1990.  Twenty six years ago today.  And daily we’ve chosen to remember the key is thrown away.  The love is locked.

Sherman Alexie said … “He loved her, of course, but better than that, he chose her, day after day.  Choice:  that was the thing.”

And every single day since I’ve chosen him right back.

Happy 26th anniversary Bill Baerg!  I choose you forever!

I choose you and I’ll choose you over and over and over.  Without pause, without a doubt, in a heartbeat.  I’ll keep choosing you.