When you’ve been promised BBQ, but you have to do this first.

pacefamilyportraits&headshots-dec2018-938357062874704685011..jpgClearly little Ruby Wren was having none of it. She was tired. It was cold. And she’d heard we were going out for BBQ. 

Yet here we all stood outside shivering with everybody acting really weird, and this was definitely not a restaurant. There weren’t even any snacks here.

And who was this guy who kept pointing that big black thing at her, trying to make her do things she didn’t want to do? Like trying to get her to look at him. Or to let mama hold her. Or even stand anywhere remotely near the rest of us.

Who did he think he was?

Well … this guy just would not stop, so she finally decided to throw him a bone and look at him. Or, more accurately, throw him “the look”. But that was it. No smiling. No way. PaceFamilyPortraitsHeadshots-Dec2018-83Still, this guy just kept getting sillier and, as hard as she tried to hold it in, she just couldn’t stop herself. He finally wore her down so she tossed him a quick little smile, but that was all he was gonna get.

And she really meant it this time. PaceFamilyPortraitsHeadshots-Dec2018-85Okay, fine. He got what he wanted, that man with the black thing pointed at her. Time to get out of here. Not because she was scared or anything, it was just getting really cold standing over there all by herself.

So it was finally time to run her sweet self back towards warmth.pacefamilyportraits&headshots-dec2018-877635435526196004228..jpg And safety. pacefamilyportraitsheadshots-dec2018-891425998622590710623..jpgAnd family. Much better now.

Now she was ready to go attack that BBQ she’d heard about. And yes … she thought it was worth the wait. We all did.

But, wow. What a beautiful, precious gift this day was. It was such a long time coming … to have everybody home … everybody feeling well. Finally. And what a beautiful, precious gift these people are. I’m so incredibly thankful for my sweet tribe of love.

And honestly, after the unbelievable year our family has just been through, has there ever been a more important time to have some pictures taken? I don’t think so.

And I can’t think of anything more special than to share them with all of you, either. You’ve been there to share this past year with me. Thank you for that. Thank you for your support and encouragement. And all those hugs. And thank you especially for your many, many prayers. Every, single one is precious to us, and God is listening to each of them, my friends. He is.

So please don’t stop.

As you can see from the pictures, Tommy is healing well from his cancer surgery. He is now in the midst of another 3-month round of chemo, and then more scans to follow.

But he is getting stronger every day, and just as important, he’s finally living a little more life every, single day, as well. All three of them are, really. Tommy, Hannah, and Ruby are finally living more life. And it’s just such a breathtaking sight for this mama’s sore eyes to watch.

Thank you, God.

And … blessing upon blessing … our son, Drew, and his beautiful wife, Amanda, are expecting a baby this summer! Those who know us best understand what an amazing blessing this is. We cannot wait to meet this newest little love of ours. Seriously cannot wait! And we’re thankful for direct flights between Orlando and Indianapolis, because this Mimi is soon gonna be traveling a lot more often!!pacefamilyportraits&headshots-dec2018-133440052473285322618..jpgAgain, thank you, God. Thank you so very much.

So as we press forward from the trials of last year towards whatever God has planned for us next, I humbly ask you for continued prayers.

Our extended families are all still dealing with the weight of grief over the various losses we’ve recently endured, and many of us are still trying to fight our way back to some sort of normal in the aftermaths.

That grief sure has a way of bubbling up to the surface at the strangest times, doesn’t it?

And as you well know, I personally fight a daily battle to balance illness with trying to live out my calling of nursing. It’s not an easy job, my friends, especially when you’re sick. My hope is to keep doing it for a long time to come, but as with everything else, that’s in God’s hands, not mine.

So let me be honest. There are times where all of this just gets to me. When you look around and you just see so many people suffering. In so many different ways. It’s overwhelming to think about, and sometimes it just really pierces me.

These are times where I find myself just longing for heaven. Not that I want to wish away a second of this beautiful life I have, but still … I can’t wait for the day when everything is finally, finally perfect.

No more suffering.

No more sin.

No more despicable cancer.

No anger.

Or weariness.

Or tears.

They’ve all been dried now.

No suicide.

No heartache.

Not a single disappointment.

No one without a home.

Everyone finally has a place to be.

There’s no pain of any kind there.

It’s just all peaceful.

Eternally, blissfully peaceful.

And we get to see Him face-to-face.

Peer straight into His eyes of love.

And then feel His gaze warm our cheeks.

It’s just too magnificent for me to even imagine.

Yet imagining is all we can do right now because, just like Ruby Wren and those family pictures, we are called to do this life first.

And to do it well.

With joy even in the midst of suffering. Right here. Right now. No matter what you’re facing, that joy is there, people. We may have to fight to find it some days, but it’s there for us to choose. It’s tucked right there inside the hope that’s been placed in our hearts through the spirit of Jesus.

Over time I’m slowly learning to look at my life knowing that each and every new joy or challenge placed before me comes with opportunities to know God better. This applies to you, too. Not just me. It’s all to grow our faith. And our hope. We just have to press in sometimes to see it happening.

Press in to Him … He’ll help us find it.

And, it’s funny but the stronger I grow in my faith, the more I realize just how disastrously weak I really am without Him. But God doesn’t merely give us strength, He truly IS our strength. And our hope.

All the mess of this world will be made blissfully perfect one day, you’ll see. He promises. But we’ll all need to be holding onto Him to get us there. So until then, cling tightly, my friends, and please … never, ever give up. Please.

Thanks for growing with me. ❤


“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:1-5)

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)


4 thoughts on “When you’ve been promised BBQ, but you have to do this first.

  1. Beautiful pictures! Thank you for sharing your heart & these words of wisdom and encouragement! Excited for your family to welcome the blessing of a new baby!

    Liked by 1 person

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