ReNew Hope ‘18

The large white coach lumbered along between the maze of large foreboding chain fences and rolls of razor wire. Two Virginia girls sat silently in the front of the bus, craning their necks to see what was around the corner. Finally this day had arrived.

Deb looked over at me “ Are you scared?”

I had been. My dad has been in prison ministry once a month since ‘96 at our local county jail, and thru his influence, this had been on my heart for a long time. Fast forward past the fact that Deb’s fiancé’s brother is Vice President with WeCare and had us quite inspired when we sent in our applications, to the day we received our confirmation letter in the mail, and suddenly we were staying in a different area, going to a different prison than Deb and I had thought. At that point I became scared.

Ashamedly the spirit of fear hung around too long until my cousin (who occasionally goes with my dad to the jail) told me that he’s sensed God’s presence mightily behind bars. That was the affirmation I needed. Thanks to all of you who prayed for us this past week!

So, claiming 2 Tim 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind; We exited the bus.

Getting checked in was no problem, and as we were escorted through the gate, the ladies in white looked at us with curiosity-who were these strangers in their colorful attire?

(Can I just say that I loved the ladies in our team? Deb and I were the only newbies-the other ladies have been coming for years. Also our team leader has a weekly bible study at the facility. The experience of the others helped with my confidence level. Their lives are true inspirations.)

We set up camp in the pavilion in the center of the yard, and the week began. (We were a little disappointed we couldn’t spend much time in the dorms because of the flu- this Pic is from one of the men’s prisons)

For one week in January for the past 40 years, volunteers with WeCare have participated in ReNew Hope. This year 350 volunteers spent the week in 25 different prisons, connecting with inmates, sharing God’s love with the broken.

All day, everyday we listened to stories, looked at pictures and talked about families back home, (Deborah even had lots of help planning her wedding) We prayed over parole applications, listened to stories of deep pain, and rejoiced over answered prayer (one inmate came on Monday as soon as we’d arrived to show us a Christmas card from her father-answer to her prayer from ReNew Hope ‘17- forgiveness and restoration with her dad.)

I learned so much about “state families.” The ladies will give each other titles of “mom” or “Aunt” or “sister” surrounding themselves with a support group.

And I was shown how to roll a cigarette-I will not be trying this at home 🙈

We survived Chow. Let’s just say I don’t think I gained any weight this week.

The ladies have a microwave in the dorm where they can buy things from the canteen, and cook up a feast, using their limited supplies. Our one friend even told us about the pies she’s making for Super Bowl

First you take Oreo cookies and remove the centers, then crush them and add sugar, and since you’re in the free world and can have butter, I’d melt some and add it. That’s your crust.

Then take the centers, add Peanut Butter and some creamer (we only get powered) and whip it all together til the centers are totally mixed in.

Finally, melt Hershey bars. We lay them on top of the coffee pot until they melt, because you can burn them in the microwave, add this as final layer.

Chill (I’d use a refrigerator, but all we have is a ice bowl)

And there you have it:

Suzy’s Icebox Peanut Butter Pie.

And the highlight of each day- the evening service. After Chow, the worship team and speaker came and set up for the service. The ladies LOVED the families who led us in song-emotions were really high, and then a variety of Speakers expounded on the Word. Such good reminders of our Heavenly Father’s provisions for a life of Hope and most importantly an eternity with him!

As the clock struck 8:00 on the final service, and we said our last good-byes, I looked over at my darling, compassionate, little sister, and my heart totally understood the tears in her big brown eyes.

This week of listening to these ladies heart cry, experiencing a part of their daily life, understanding the uncertainty of their day to day, spending intense time with Our Heavenly Father and realizing again the blessings we so often take for granted- may be one of the most outstanding things I’ve ever done.

So that completes #27 of the #30for30 project. Thanks again WeCare for everything-including their Facebook where I found all the pics for this post.

.. Hebrews 13:3a Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison…


P.S I will never hear this song the same-I wish you could’ve heard the cheering

If you’ve been walking the same old road for miles and miles

If you’ve been hearing the same old voice tell the same old lies

If you’re trying to feel the same old holes inside

There’s a better life

There’s a better life

If you’ve got pain

He’s a pain taker

If you feel lost

He’s a way maker

If you need freedom or saving

He’s a prison-shaking Savior

If you’ve got chains

He’s a chain breaker

These Slow January Days

Occasionally one of my sweet friends will ask “Have you been on the road recently?” This past month travel-wise has been slowwwwww for me and while you can probably hear my banking account crying from where you are- I have rejoiced at every leisure day.

Quite often- Mark 6:31 “Come ye apart and rest awhile” speaks to me. But I don’t typically associate this verse with staying home and just being. Regardless, this month of quiet has been a balm to my soul.

A few highlights:

The chicken house pads at Kerry and Emily’s farm are really coming. We had a blast there last week ☺️

After several months of worshipping elsewhere, we are back at the newly remodeled Bank Church. Her appearance has been altered a little-but the worship is still the same.

We pulled up all sorts of nursery rhymes to create the menu for a cousin’s baby shower hosted by Julia. I must admit-I was totally amused by the ladies who couldn’t eat the cheese ball because it looked like a mouse 🙈cheeseball sculpture by Jess and Joel. And my mom and sisters came up with a pretty good cupcake representation of “the animal fair”

And last but certainly not least- I’m gaining a brother!!! Nate had a significant question for Deb out on the ice at Silver Lake one night recently 🙈 let the planning begin ☺️

And so that’s a quick peek of the more picturesque portions of my world the last few weeks. (I’m not subjecting you to photos of the mad scramble of the year end books around here 🤔)

Praising God for the present, trusting Him for the future,


A Piece of our Hearts


Cut with hope

Stitch with grace

Quilt with dreams

Bind with laughter

Share with love

I come from a long line of quilters, and while I’d love to continue the art-there are lots of elements of this gift I’m missing 🤔 I’m ok with handwork-but sewing is not my thing. I tell Mother that I can combine a straighter row than I can sew. And then we laugh because it’s true. (P.S autosteer makes this even more of a fact) All jokes aside- when we listed piecing on the #30for30 project-I knew it would stretch me. And my poor mom probably knew it was a matter of time before I’d coughed up more work for her. What the rest of y’all didn’t realize is that I’d be summoning a number of you too!

One idea led to another and the project evolved:

Briefly- my brave friend Rach is fulfilling a calling on her life by leaving for the Middle East the middle of this month, and I wanted to put together something that would remind her that the folks at home are sending her with all the love in our hearts; covering her as best we can.

So here it is.

Credits to my darling Mother who was the brain and the brawn for this project.

And to all of Rachel’s sweet friends who sacrificially bent over these little patches adding their signatures.

Romans 10:13-15 stands out to me again: 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

May we take this sending job seriously.

Go with God, dear friend


Bonus Pic:

Little trip down Memory’s Lane for the youth girls from way back when- recognize the adjoining fabric? These are scraps from those dresses years ago 🙂

Combating the Cold

Do you like cold weather? I don’t. I can get excited about a snow every now and then, but I know I’ve never looked at the extended forecast and said “wow! This is great! Look it’s supposed to be 10 degrees all next weekend!” Nope-not a fan.

But life doesn’t always bring us exactly what we like. So we have the choice of sitting around grouching about it, or embracing the less than perfect conditions.

So here we are: 10* degrees with the wind blowing.

I’ve gotten a complete kick out of watching my family combat this cold snap we are experiencing:

Father got all excited and rallied the troops and we spent hours in a friend’s warm shop polishing Miss K. It’s only slightly discouraging to think how fast she will be covered with road grime on her next trip out to the port-but she’s smiling for now!

Father has a complete list of trucks to polish now that Miss K is done-I wonder if his friend minds if we take up permanent polishing residency in his shop 🙈 what do you say, Harold?

Mother’s method of coping involves various sewing projects. Pictured is an embroidered quilt that I gave Deb for her 18th birthday. It took me way too long to complete this. It’s a solid queen size, and somehow dragging around that size of a piece of fabric was bulky, hard to deal with, and uninspiring. But 4 years later, it’s ready for the frames 🙄

But the most exotic way of embracing the cold: our pond at Turleytown. ⛸⛸ We have a gifted photographer for a neighbor- who captured the moonrise.

The fire was quite lively, and the wisdom shared around its friendly glow was unending. These are good times. It’s been fun seeing who all is diehard enough to brave the cold and come enjoy the ice.

Father heard us lament the shortage of firewood- so he solved that problem by moving in a few trees. Thankfully someone else brought a chainsaw.

I think there’s nothing quite so nice,

As going skating on the ice.

When we go skating round and round,

Our voices make the clearest sound,

And all our caps and jackets look

As bright as pictures in a book,

Against the rim of glistening snow.

But much too soon-it’s time to go.

When I grow up, I’ll skate all night

Under the moon’s bright, frosty light.

And when it’s morning, I’ll just say,

It’s early, so I’ll skate all day.


Stay warm,


Bonus Pic: My mom spent hours on the ice during her childhood, and a horrid cold has kept her hibernating in the house this season. But that doesn’t keep her from refereeing from afar 🙈