I have very good news….

These were the words echoed often from the back seat of the Van by my 3-year-old niece as we traveled this past week….

There is just something about a 3 year old’s voice…

Johanna in pink sunglassesThe energy….

The happiness…

The innocence…

Her very good news was always about how we were almost there….

Her words were often sparked because she could see the flag on the GPS indicating our destination was close…

Almost to Missouri…

Almost to the Cave….

Almost to the Train ride…

Almost home….

I hope to carry her sweet voice in my memory for a long time to come….

I thought of it on the way home from Church last night….

As I reflected on Christ’s death, I was thankful that my faith story does not end with Jesus death on a cross….

The cross reminds me that I also  have very good news…..

May I share it with the same energy, happiness and innocence until I too arrive home…..♥

Easter Ressurection


Living in the tension…

I feel like I am learning to live in the tension of life lately…

Feeling a deep ache in my heart and at the same time experiencing joy….

Wanting to live with healthy boundaries and give myself generously to others…

Craving time alone and longing to live in community….

Loving comfortable living and wanting to live impacted by experiences I have had in Romania, Haiti, the Dominican and many other places…

Wanting to be at peace with who God has created me to be and committed to becoming the best “me” I can be…..

And so today I took time to reflect on these reminders of Good Friday knowing that Easter is coming….

Each hangs in my house and yet today, I put them together and again felt the tension….

The tension of  knowing the depth of my sin and the gratitude for Christ’s gift of full forgiveness….

deeply grateful

And yet in that tension, I find myself deeply grateful!

Learning to ask questions….

I have had the enjoyment of a road trip with some of my family these last few days….

There is nothing quite so bonding as hours on end in the car….

I really do enjoy road trips…

One of the most delightful memories I have on this trip is my 3 year old niece learning about asking questions….

johanna bosIt goes something like this…

Johanna: Mom, what should I ask Beppe?

Suzi: What would you like to know?

Johanna: Hmmmm, let me think….I know…

Johanna: Beppe, what is your favorite animal?

Beppe: Tigers…

Johanna: Me too Beppe….

And then you hear this…

Johanna: Mom, what should I ask Aunt Trish?

Suzi: What would you like to know?

Johanna: Hmmmm, let me think….I know…

Johanna: Aunt Trish, what is your favorite fruit?

Aunt Trish: Bananas….

Johanna: me too Aunt Trish….

Suzi: Really Johanna, even more than blueberries?

Johanna: Oh, that is right, I like Blueberries and Bananas….

And then you hear this….

Johanna: Mom, what should I ask Beppe Dot?

Suzi: What would you like to know?

Johanna: Hmmmm, let me think….I know…

And on and on it goes…

The questions are basic and each exchange makes me smile…

I believe what I find most delightful is the training that occurs to care about others…

I wonder how well you have mentored your mind and heart to be curious in daily conversation…

It may not be asking about a favorite animal, fruit or food….

But I would guess there is a lesson to take away from this bright eyed chatty three year old….

I would guess if you stop and think, pause and say hmmmm, there may be something that pops into your mind that you would like to know about the people you are with….

I believe it is one of the best skills children, teens, young adults and adults can have….the ability to be curious and ask questions!



Three months ago….

IMG_2869It is hard to imagine that we are approaching the three-month mark since my brother’s death….

I still find myself counting the Sundays, remembering the 23rd, and feeling the urge to call him or check in….

In some sense I wish life would return to the before grief stage….

I also realize how much I am changed by the death of my brother, how much I experienced the kindness of others, how quickly my appreciation for my family was deepened, how intentional I have become about saying what needs to be said, how tender my heart feels as it goes from shattered to restored….

I believe that God knew my journey would include this major grief event….

I believe that God will provide me all I need as I continue the day-to-day journey of my life….

I believe that we all experience grief, loss and brokenness and through Len’s death, I am invited to connect more deeply with those who also have a story of loss….

It has been difficult to focus on my journey to wellness these past 3 months. I have resumed normal activities but find that I am still returning from mindless to mindful living….

I am committed to living honestly, healthy and well and that will only be done if I return fully to mindful living….

And so as each day comes and goes, as the tears flow and laughter resumes, in our remembering, reflecting and creating new memories…..

I know Len’s memory will never leave my heart ~ no matter how much time passes!

The power of community…

communityI am regularly touched by the power of community….

I see community at work in my job,  at my church, in my volunteer opportunities, in my family and now in my grief….

There is something so beautiful when a group of people gathers….

There is something so comforting when a group of people shares a common experience….

There is something so powerful when a group can connect on a shared faith….

I truly believe that I am a better person because of the communities that surround me…..

As a result of my brother’s death, I have recently been invited to receive from my many communities….

To be hugged, to be pursued, to be cared for, to be prayed for, to be quiet in the presence of those who love me is a true gift….

I wonder what communities you are a member of…..

Are you more of a giver or receiver….

Do you allow good words to penetrate your heart….

Do you find your communities life-giving….

It is my hope that each person experiences the power of community and is changed for the better by it!








The fifth teenager….

And Ellie Grace has officially become a teenager….


At 13 Ellie is full of life, laughter, adventure, kindness, and compassion…..

At age 13 Ellie is loved by her parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, horses and  dogs….

At age 13 Ellie enjoys anything that includes people, does well in school, worships with her whole heart and loves life…ellie on gunsmoke

ellie and johannaAt age 13 Ellie can dress up for a party or spend hours in the barn, either place she is equally delighted (and delightful)

At age 13 Ellie is the youngest of five children, who all happen to be in their teenage years. She has learned to use her voice and make her presence known.

At age 13, Ellie loves to paint our toes, curl our hair, give pedicures and pamper each of us in 100 different ways….dekam kids 1

At age 13, Ellie has invited us all to smile a little more often, laugh a little deeper, and to enjoy any time shared more fully!


I love you Ellie Grace and look forward to so much shared life in your 13th year!


Praying for the grieving…

I have often offered prayers up for those I know who have lost someone close to them…

I have often tried to pray for them in the days and weeks following….

I have prayed for comfort and peace, for that has always seemed like the very obvious need of the grieving…

But now I am journeying that road of grief and I have a few new thoughts about how to pray for the grieving….

Yes, comfort and peace fit the needs of my soul, but I am learning that the grief journey is not that simple…

I am learning that as I walk the grief journey I am in need of wisdom, discernment, compassion, gratitude, courage and grace!

I want to be an intentional about allowing myself time to grieve…

In order to take time to grieve, it requires wisdom and discernment to know when to allow my heart to lead and when to keep my activity rational and functional.

It can be easy to get lost in my grief. It requires wisdom and discernment to remember that I am not the only one grieving, in my day-to-day or in my community at large. I want to keep my eyes open to other people and keep my heart tender to my own story and the story of others….

I want to be compassionate and grateful in my grief.

It is important to me to have a heart of compassion and gratitude in my grief. I want to have a heart of gratitude which allows me to remember the joy of good memories and celebrate the legacy of my brother. I want to choose gratitude for all we had and even in my sorrow, I don’t want gratitude to be drowned out completely….

I am learning that grief is complicated. I want to have a heart of compassion. Compassion invites me to be kind both in my own journey and to the people who surround me. I want my heart of compassion to believe the best about people I interact with, even if their words, actions or absence seem to provoke my grief….

I want to have an abundance of courage and grace….

I want to live honestly in my grief. Honesty requires courage to say what needs to be said and courage to love each other through awkward moments and difficult times. There is a real transition that occurs after the first weeks of saying good-bye to the every day, new normal kind of living. It takes courage to keep moving forward and living well, when it feels like a lot of energy to get through some of the most routine tasks.

And I want to move through every day, every conversation, every interaction, every space of silence with an abundance of grace. It may be grace I offer to myself as I journey or it maybe grace I extend to another who is journeying their own path….

It may be grace offered to those who surround me or those who feel distant from me….

It may be deep gratitude for the Grace of God offered to me….

New Pope impacts other faiths…

I am thankful to have grown up with an understanding of the world being a big place…

I realize as an adult it takes an intentional effort to be aware of global issues.

To remember that the struggles of the world are bigger than what I encounter every day….

To recognize how blessed I am, even in the midst of my very real hardships….

I am thankful that my parents have always encouraged me to travel and experience the world….

Tonight I am thankful that my Dad has a passion for faith development in people’s hearts all over the world.

Recently when my brother died, we received kind thoughts literally from all over the world. It reminded me of my Dad’s involvement with people over the years….

This clip from tonight’s news is again a reminder of my Dad’s ability to think globally and share his vision for the faith community world-wide….

And due to technical difficulties, the video was sent as a separate clip…

May your day-to-day world never lose sight of global issues…..

Please join me in praying for so much around the world….

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