10 Things I Learned in June


1. I still love reading books out loud.  On a recent road trip with PB, I started reading “The Boys in the Boat” and now every time we get in the car, he asks, “Did you bring the book?” Back in our homeschooling days, I used to spend afternoons reading books aloud to the kids. I had forgotten how much I enjoy reading out loud.

2. It’s nice to take a break from TV. Usually, about this time, we are tuning in to Brewer games, but they’ve lost more games than any other team in baseball (except the Phillies).  Sitting on the deck with a book or taking a bike ride is way better than anything TV has to offer in the summer.

3. James Taylor still has it. He’s 67 and released a new album this month.  His music has provided the soundtrack for some of the most significant times of my life. I brought all his albums with me to Michigan State when I was 17. I’m glad he’s still giving me songs to dance to in the kitchen.

4. Abraham Lincoln was a real leader. PB and I went to Springfield, Illinois and took in the Lincoln historical sites. Since it was just the two of us, we were able to read every plaque, listen to every documentary film, and stroll down every street Lincoln himself walked, without any kids begging to go back to the hotel pool. They don’t make politicians like Honest Abe anymore.

5. Biking is more fun when you don’t have to pedal uphill.  PB did a little research and found a company that sells battery powered motors for regular bicycles. I know cycling purists would probably gasp at the thought, but I’m loving that little button on my handlebar. Biking is fun again.

6. When I think I’ve learned it all, there’s always more. I read the gospel of Mark in June. I’ve probably read that book 30 times, but I still was able to take twelve pages of notes. There is no limit to the richness of scripture — it keeps going deeper and deeper.

7. It’s sad to say goodbye to a member of the family. Bo, our dog, started having some serious health issues, so we had to put her down.  PB bought her a Happy Meal on the way to the vet, so I know she went out happy. Food was Bo’s love language. For all of my complaining about dog hair and poop in the yard, I do miss the afternoon walks and waggy welcome when I walk in the door.  Rest in peace, Bodacious Bojangles Bo-Sox.

8. I should have been an editor. I can’t stop myself from correcting typos and grammatical errors, whether it be in the local newspaper or on a billboard on the interstate. I sent an email to an author that published an article riddled with misspelled words, offering to edit his work. I haven’t heard back.

9. If God doesn’t give any new instructions, carry on as is. I’ve asked the Lord what to do with this blog, this writing thing I can’t shake, this compulsion to put down thoughts on paper.  I’ve pestered and begged and pleaded for some direction.  I got nothing. I’m taking the silence to mean: there are no further instructions, so carry on.

10. Babies are a wonder, every single time. Ruby is our sixth grandchild and sweetness just seeps out of her. I always wondered what my family thought when I was born. I was the 11th grand on one side of the family and the 7th on the other. Now I know – they were just as enthralled and enchanted and amazed at little me, as all the others that came before. It never gets old.

Meet Ruby

Allow me to introduce a brand new bundle of sweetness.

Ruby Sims Locke was born today!

The only thing cuter than a fresh born baby….

…is watching big brothers get a first look at their sister.


These Guys


These guys don’t know what’s about to hit them.

In a matter of days, their world is going to shift dramatically.

These rough and tumble boys will soon be promoted to “big brother” status.

Baby Sister is coming!

So move over Thomas the Train —

make room for princesses and tea parties and sparkly pink stuff.

Watch out cars and trucks —

get ready for hair bows and tutus and baby dolls.

Little Sissy has a lot to teach these guys —

it won’t be long now.




I  smell a yellow rose,

drink coffee from a smiley cup,

and watch PB read the paper across the table.

No deep thoughts,

no pressing demands,

no duties to perform.

I am taking a vacation

from myself.

 “Come away with me to a quiet place and get some rest.”  Mark 6:31

Hall of Fame

sunday schoolLast Sunday our church honored those brave, hardy souls that came week after week to teach squirrelly children about the love of Jesus in Sunday school. These are people who intentionally chose to not sleep in on Sunday mornings for a good nine months. They volunteered knowing that antsy little boys and chatty little girls would ask unbelievably hard questions about God and life and the universe.  Some of our teachers who serve week after week also have been faithful year after year.  If there was a Sunday School Teacher Hall of Fame, I would have several inductees.

Being a Sunday school teacher can be daunting and thankless.  So, at the close of the school year, we sing the praises of these unsung heroes.

After applauding the sacrifice and dedication of these wonderful people, the congregation settled in for PB’s sermon.  He was preaching on Hebrews 11 – the great “Faith Hall of Fame” chapter.  The writer names several giants of the faith like Abraham and Moses, but ends the chapter with many unnamed saints who “faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison.  They were stoned, they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword.”

That jarring statement suddenly made teaching Sunday school look pretty tame.

So far, not one of our teachers has been sawed in two.

What we call “sacrifice”, the saints of old might have called “privilege”, “opportunity to serve”, or even “joy”.  Until I am chained and put in prison, maybe I better rethink the use of the word “sacrifice”.

High Heaven

smellyThere’s been a mysterious smell in our house.  It didn’t matter how many candles I lit, how many plug in air fresheners I plugged in, or how much Oust I sprayed.  The foul odor lingered.  It was especially strong near the kitchen, by the back door, in the closet.

This is the broom/mop/dog food/light bulb/batteries/wasp spray/duct tape/spray cleaner/recycle bin/plastic and paper bags/vacuum cleaner/ toilet brush/miscellaneous box closet.  Did I mention there is a refrigerator in there, too?

It’s a big closet.

I also keep potatoes and onions in the stackable baskets.

Hence the stink.

I kept dropping hints to PB like, “Gosh, where could that awful stench be coming from?”  Or “Did you step in something, dear?”  I even tried to appeal to his curiosity by whispering, “There’s something in the closet and I think it’s dead.”  He didn’t bite.

This was going to be my battle to fight.

In the dark recesses of the catch-all closet, I was momentarily startled by what I thought was a one-legged spider, but it was just a sad, shriveled potato.

It stunk to high heaven.


Funny how such a little thing,

ignored for months in a dark closet,

can produce such a foul smell.

“Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin.

Sin itself stinks to high heaven.”  Jude 1:23


Paying Respects

sympathyLast night PB and I went to a visitation at a funeral home for a dear lady that was a member of a church we used to serve.  We wanted to offer our condolences to the family and support them during their time of loss.  For PB, this is the equivalent of a Friday night date.  I’m okay with that.

Upon entering the funeral home, I went to the guest book and started to sign our names.  I glanced up at the 8×10 picture of our deceased friend and was stunned at how much she had changed in the last few years. That’s when PB whispered, “Umm…that’s not her.”  Realization hit that we were at the wrong funeral home.  I panicked.

Should I cross out the half-written name in the guest book?  No.

Should I go ahead and finish signing our names?  No.

So I took PB’s middle name and stuck it on as a last name and I hightailed it out of there.

PB was a few steps behind me because he had stopped to grab a few pieces of complimentary candy.

I sure hope no one saw us sprinting out the door and through the parking lot, exploding with laughter.

That might have looked bad.

We finally found the right funeral home and paid our respects to the right person.  But every few miles on the ride home, PB and I would look at each other and start giggling.

I love going on dates with PB.