For lots of reasons, yesterday was hard. I came home depleted, drained, unable to do much of anything for the rest of the day. Instead of pushing away those feelings as I would normally would, I decided to just listen to my sadness for a while. I’ve been learning that God isn’t afraid of our feelings and that He invites us to sit in His presence and just be with Him in the midst of what we don’t want or like.

I didn’t ask for anything or try to solve it. I didn’t seek solutions or try to figure it out. I just let my heart ache in companionship with the Father. I curled up by the fire to simply be  with my Savior. To be okay with unsolvable sadness.

I went to bed early, knowing that taking care of my body is sometimes the seemingly unspiritual but actually most trustful thing I can do when there's nothing else to do.

Then this morning, as if He’d been preparing a feast for me all day yesterday, my soul’s hunger brought me to a table groaning with fresh goodness. He opened the eyes of my truest self and sat with me while I feasted on His faithfulness.

He began to teach me, in that gentle way of His. I didn't hear any  "you ought to’s"  or" you should have’s".  What I heard instead of judgement was just an introduction to the Way of Delight. A way along which He is willing to take us in hand and train us— train me— how to be a child who delights in Him no matter what.

To learn to delight in Him when my soul is weary.

To learn to delight in Him on hard days.

To learn what it means to come to Him honestly and then to allow Him to take me by the hand and turn my not-in-the-least-bit delightful feelings into real delight. The kind of delight that doesn’t depend on how my day went.

These, my dear friends, are lessons worth learning, truths worth uncovering. To be a delighter in God through all the good days and even on the grey days. To be a woman who actually, really finds delight no matter what.

And to get me to that place I crave, God is going to have to let me have a few of those not good days.

Today is half way through now. I've puttered and worked, created and gone for a walk. And now I"m going to take a few moments to sip tea and just... delight.

From my heart,


P.S. If you’re with me, will you let me know? I’d love to be praying for other delight-seekers.


Just like you and everyone I know, I have obligations, chores, deadlines, and to-do lists that have not yet received the message that I have declared this December to be a month filled with delight. The post I wrote yesterday did not suddenly take care of my messy desk, nor did it give me license to take the month off.  And yet...

This morning feels different. As if the day ahead holds surprises I’ve yet to discover.

As I curled up in my big white chair early this morning, a message from  a friend who is hurting caught my heart and just as I was bringing her to the Father, this word came to my attention:

 For You bless the godly O Lord, surrounding them with your shield of love. 

Psalm 5v12

And just that little word from My Father— via me— to my friend, helped.

Maybe that was my most important job for today. Maybe all the other things that will take up the rest of my day are just chores that don’t actually, really matter all that much.

Maybe that seemingly insignificant moment is being delighted upon in that unseen world where Angels sing and Witnesses watch and Jesus sits and God reigns.

And so today I delight in listening.

I delight in the uncanny concept that the One who calls Himself “the God of all comfort” can and will and does use our sufferings to “comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1—read the whole chapter, it dripping with riches)

And He doesn't wait until we do suffering heroically, nor does He hesitate to use our messiness in the midst of real life hurts. He uses us in spite of ourselves as if to say to the whole watching world:

See? This one is Mine and I crown her with My glory because of love.

Have you seen or heard something delight-filled today? Will you sketch a picture with your words so we can see it too?

I’ll be watching the comments all day and checking on Instagram for the hashtag #adelightfilleddecember.

Delightfully yours,




Take delight in the Lord,

and he will give you the desires of your heart.


The Lord directs the steps of the godly.

He delights in every detail of their lives.

Psalm 37v4,23 

For the last two Christmases I have rushed my way through the days of December, winding up exhausted and ill by the time our Comer Christmas celebrations started.

Two years ago all the rush was because we were living out of boxes in a friend’s guesthouse while Firwood Cottage was being transformed from a not-very-nice house into a warm and welcoming home. By January I had this nagging sense that I had missed something vital.

Last year I was frantically finishing up edits to my book, afraid I wouldn’t meet my January deadline with any sort of comprehensible story. By the time I finished I realized I had fretted and worried my way through yet another Christmas.

And, while the Day has always been fun and filled with joy in having my whole family together, the days leading up to the Day have felt more like a chaotic, messy, not-very-fun list of too much to do and not enough time to delight.

This year, I have determined, will be different. Not because the schedule is suddenly clear of responsibilities or because circumstances are guaranteed to line up perfectly to plop the gift of joy into each day, but because I am finally figuring out that:

Delight and Joy and Peace and Happiness and Memories must be made on purpose.

This year, rather than rush through the days leading up to Christmas, I am making it my goal to delight in every single day. To relish and cherish the moments rather than race to complete an impossible list of tasks.

But how?

That is the question I keep asking myself, the query I have brought to the Father over and over again.

How do I become a woman who is filled with delight every day?

As I’ve leaned in to listen to the One who calls Himself the Word, the One who delights in being heard , I have sensed something stirring. 

A desire. A wish. Maybe even a warning. 

Certainly a fleeting feeling that He is speaking something I am as of yet unable to fully hear.

Instead of giving me a one-size-fits-all 3 point sermon on how and why I really ought to get my life together by now and what I must do and not do in order to force myself into being an all-day, every-day smiley person/delighter in God, He is urging me to come up with a list of doings and determinations that are unique to me. 

Delight and Joy are gifts. Gifts given by a God who lavishes love on us.

For this month of December I believe God is leading me on a treasure hunt to discover delight. 

Will you come along with me on this adventure of discovering how to actually, really, consistently become a person who delights in life and in God?  Will you join me for all the days leading up to Christmas and then the days that follow in order to watch and hear and see all those gifts He is waiting for us to find?

I'll be on Instagram every day this month, chronicling my quest @DianeWComer and, if I can ever get it figured out, also on @hespeaksinthesilence. Add the hashtag: adelightfilleddecember I can't wait to see what God is up to!

From a heart ready for a Delight-Filled December,



Firewood Cottage In The Fall

November has finally brought the rains back to the Northwest. Sandals have been replaced with boots, umbrellas are out in force, and water logged leaves make pathways slippery on my walks through the woods.

Here in the forest, it rains twice. Once when the sky lets loose, and a second time while drenched trees shake themselves in the wind like dogs after a bath.

And I sit dry and cozy in my cabin under the Redwood tree, making quick dashes back and forth to our cozy cottage where Phil builds a crackling fire every morning.


Firwood Cottage is just a simple place, but it’s become my favorite home, ever.

It is a place of rest and refuge, a place that makes room for talking and listening, for living life and loving each other.


This week, nine of the 15 of us will share a Thanksgiving feast around the table we’ll set up in the tiny living room.

We’ll laugh and relax and we’ll give thanks for these rich and full lives given to us by God.


My friend, Jodi Stilp took a few photos of Firwood Cottage in the fall so you can catch a glimpse of this place we call home.


And this little pup of Matt and Simona's will be right in the middle of all our Thanksgiving fun.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with an awareness of His riches,



A Kingdom Kind Of Life


Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.

Luke 12:32


The kind of life I want is a kingdom kind of life.

I want to live free of fussing and worry and angst and tense shoulders. To so trust the Father that every day is new and fresh. I want to wake up every morning with a smile of delight on my face because I know He has good things planned for my day.

I want to live free of fear, not because there’s nothing to be afraid of, but because I know His pleasure in me. I want to know with a knowing that permeates my being that His thoughts towards me are generous and grace-filled, that He sees the truest part of me.

I want to please Him and therefore be able to take both the threat and the reality of displeasing other people in stride. To know that it is only His favor that matters, and that if I do that, He can handle everyone else.

 I want to live, not as a perfectionist-performer people-pleaser, but as a worshipper-listener-delight-filled God-pleaser.

I want to have a plan to order my projects, but to be free to step away from the plan when the Father taps me on the shoulder and says, “I need you to do something different today- to be My hands and feet and presence to one who needs Me.”

I want to live free of all the should’s that bind me tight, and relish, instead, a life of get-too’s.

I want to be sent out by Jesus like the seventy He told about in Luke 10, and return as they did: “with joy” and in awe of what God can and will and does do when we set out on the assignments given us by God.

 I want to dream big dreams that are all about Jesus and not at all about me.

I want to so thoroughly grasp kingdom truth that I do no measure my success by accolades and bank accounts, but by the uncanny reality that the God of the universe is with me every moment of every day. And that He actually, really, truly… adores me.


I want to see and know and feel that every day is a gift, that my hours belong to Him, that there is a great crowd of people who are counting the days until I slip from this earth and into the presence of the One I live for. That they’re excited for me to get there because they love me and like me and want me to experience what they already know and I still barely grasp.

 I want time.

Time to work and time to rest and time to interrupt it all to enter into my people’s joys and sorrows. Time to write poetry, to craft stories, to spill words from my life. I want time to sing and bake cookies and plant a garden and go on long walks.

 And I want my story to count, because it’s God’s story.

I long for people to know…

what He does even when we don’t deserve it,

how He cares even when we can’t quite bring ourselves to believe it,

how He speaks even when we can’t or don’t or won’t hear.

It is this kingdom kind of life my deepest soul and truest self longs for, and it is this kingdom kind of life my Father is pleased to let me live.

 May you, dear ones, enter in to this kingdom— this place of indescribable beauty, unshakeable peace, and unending delight.

 May this place be your home.

From my heart,


P.S. My book, He Speaks In The Silence is now available for pre-order.  This is where I tell my whole story, more than I'd ever thought I would.


To Know The Love Of A Father

Today is my dad’s birthday.

Today would have been my dad’s birthday.

Today I would have called him, and we would have talked. Not long— between his deafness and mine we would have strained to hear each other. Despite all that, he wanted to hear me, to connect, to be part of my life— and so he would have asked me to talk slower, to say it again.

My dad would have asked about me and about my book, then about my kids and what they’re doing. Because that is what my dad did, he listened, wanting to know about me— wanting to know me, to share in what mattered to me.

I would have told him that my book is finished and it’s more than I thought I could write. That I run my hands over the cover of my pre-release copy and can’t help but cry. If I was feeling really brave I would have told him that people I care about read it and wrote such soul-thrilling reviews that I barely recognized myself in their words.  He would have told me he’s proud of me, that he knew all along that I had it in me.

I would have changed the subject then because of the tears threatening to burst like a dam, flooding me with more loved-ness than I know how to contain. To have a dad who believed in me even when I couldn’t believe in myself is the greatest treasure.

I would have told my dad that my kids are thriving and they’re more than I dared think they would be. He would have asked why. I would have stumbled over words in reply: how can I construct a frame of words around this family I get to be part of?

I would have told Dad about John Mark and the way he has become a man I admire, how I love the way he thinks and writes and preaches. But even more, how my firstborn son chooses, everyday to follow Jesus fearlessly and love people purposefully. I'm sure he would have read John Mark's book by now and he would have loved it! My dad was all about work and calling and setting out every day to make a difference.

I would have told him about Matthew, the baby— now a man. About how he claims he has the best job in the world. We would have laughed together, my dad and I. Two overly serious introverts chuckling over my son, his grandson— and his love for middle-schoolers and late night kid-parties and Jesus.

I would have told him that Elizabeth is glowing and growing with his seventh great grandchild growing in her belly. That she is creating beauty in her corner of ugly, dirty east L.A.

Then I would have told him about our Bekah and he would have been smiling. That little one who tried her best to boss him around when he was building a swing just for her. And now she runs a business, using all that charm and drive to make it work. I would have told him that she is on her way to Japan, a country he loved. I would have told him that her husband cherishes the tools he passed on before he left us. He would have loved that.

Gosh I miss him. I miss the way he loved me— us— so quietly and so well.

And even as I ache with the loss of my dad, I hurt for those who will never mourn for what they didn’t have. All those little girls, now women, who didn’t have a dad to cherish them like my dad cherished me. And all those little boys, now men, whose dads didn’t know them as my dad knew my sons.

And all day I will be watching, hoping, waiting for that Someday when every little girl and every grown woman and every boy and every man will know the love of the Father. That Day when there will be no more tears, no more mourning, no more fear or loneliness or sadness or not-enoughness. All because of Him.

That is why this day brings joy through my tears, why I celebrate the day my dad was born— because my dad showed me the Father.

From a heart longing for everyone to know what it feels like to be loved and known,


P.S. If you ache to know what it is like to be so loved, will you let me know who you are and how I can pray? Because I cannot think of a better way to celebrate my dad’s birthday than to pray for those who have not known the kind of love I lost.

An Overflowing Life

I sit, right at this moment, in the living room of my daughter, Elizabeth. Duke is playing legos at my feet while Scarlet takes a much-needed nap. We share this moment of quiet as only two hearing impaired people can grasp. Their little apartment in the heart of L.A. is flooded with golden sunshine while storms rage back home in the Northwest. I know I'm supposed to love all this sun and warm weather, but geez-- in November? Over the weekend Phil and I were in Long Beach speaking to a group of all-in, passionate-about-Jesus parents. What an honor to get to pour into this generation of parents as they pour into their children! At one point of the conference, as I was telling a bit of my story, I just couldn't go on. They began crying right along with me as I recounted how close I came to throwing it all away in vicious anger at God. Then afterwards, women began telling me their own stories and I started crying all over again. Because God is still rescuing people, still picking broken women up out of the pits they have dug themselves into.

One young woman told me that a friend had sent her a link to my blog while she was in rebellion against God. Growing up in a pastor's home, she'd walked away from Jesus when He didn't heal her of the epileptic seizures that have created havoc for her since she was three years old. When she read about  the Beautiful No in my story, her anger turned into worship. She's been walking with Him in love ever since.  I couldn't stop hugging her! I know that on that Day we will dance together in full abandon in the presence of the One whose grace set us free.

Tonight I'll go to my other daughter's home. I'll soak her in, filling my heart full to the brim with talk about books and stories and writing and reading and all the endlessly fascinating things I love about Bekah. I'll hear about their upcoming trip to Japan and be fascinated by their life that is so different than mine. A life of creative entrepeneurism, interesting friends, and a fresh take on culture that always leaves me with things to think about that I rarely encounter in my cozy cabin in the woods.

You know that saying: My cup runneth over? Well, that's exactly how I feel. Like a way over-sized cup that is overflowing with refreshing goodness.

Let me pass on a blessing I read this morning:

The LORD bless you and keep you;

the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;

the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace."

Numbers 6v24-26

From an overflowing heart,


Teaching Your Kids To Bring Order To Their Chaos

Years and years ago we lived in a big yellow house on a hill, with a 5 acre horse stable right behind it. With two girls already madly in love with horses, this was a dream location! Every window on the back of our house overlooked our neighbor’s barn and an arena where our daughters spent every free moment. When we moved there Matthew was one, Elizabeth eight, Rebekah eleven, and John Mark thirteen. We luxuriated in all the space this new home afforded, with storage closets tucked under the eaves and twice as may kitchen cupboards as our previous home.

And somehow, somewhere along the way, we started storing stuff in all those closets and cupboards. Lots of stuff.

I went to garage sales and found stuff, then to the dollar store, where I stocked up on stuff. I bought books for the kids at the grocery store for $3.99— such a deal!

Cheap stuff, unnecessary stuff, too much stuff.

At Christmas we filled stockings with stuff, grandparents sent stuff, friends stopped by with stuff. And before long all that stuff started to back up into our living space like a clogged drain choked with excess… stuff!

Between buying organizers to store all that stuff, then clearing up clutter and putting stuff away, my days had become one long chasing after the chaos all that stuff created.

You know what I’m talking about? Does that describe your home?

Are you ready to exchange all that for a sense of order and cleanliness that doesn’t come at the cost of your relationship with your kids? Unfortunately, I too often sacrificed niceness on the alter of perfection.  I wish I could say I was always patient and kind, but if my kids read this they'll call me out! And though I struggled and too often failed, I've learned some things along the way I wish I'd known at the start. Here are...

 10 Ways To Teach Your Kids (And Yourself!) How To Bring Order Out Of Chaos.

 #1. Reduce the amount of stuff

Where does this strange compulsion to accumulate and collect come from? Is it from the Spirit of God? I don’t think so. Is it from my flesh? Yes! that greedy, grasping, heedless part of me that craves stuff. So why do we keep it? Why spend money on plastic bins and organizers and shelves and systems to store all that stuff? Why indoctrinate our children in our greedy inclination to gather more stuff?

#2. Set a limit on stuff

You’ve helped your kids edit their possessions down to just what they love, what they pull out several times a week, what they actually use. Now it’s time to be clear that if they get something new, and they want to keep it, something old has to be given away.

In other words: this much and no more!

#3. Give your kids responsibility for their stuff

Instead of being the chief keeper and cleaner and put away-er of your children’s stuff, give them that job title. Make each person over the age of three responsible to clean it up and pick it up and put it away where it belongs.

#4. Incorporate ‘Once-Throughs’ into your daily routine.

When my kids were little, every night before bed the whole crew made sure every thing was picked up and put away. School papers, shoes, toys, every odd bit and piece had to be put away. Then, after breakfast, another once-through that included beds made and clothes picked up. One more once-through before dinner enabled our home to stay reasonably tidy.

Whenever I failed to keep this routine running, I inevitably defaulted into that annoyed, unfriendly my-kids-are-driving-me-bonkers mode.

#5. Train your kids to focus and notice stuff.

The child who can stand on the edges of his mess and evaluate what needs to happen in what order, is already way ahead in management skills! But most kids do not learn this automatically— they need to be patiently taken through the process of a quick and thorough clean up of toys and clothes and towels and last week’s lunch.

#6. Give your kids daily chores.

By training your children to have a daily work routine, you are preparing them for real life. In the real world no one steps in to do our job for us when we don’t feel like it. In real life something not-good happens to us when we drop the ball on one of our responsibilities.

#7. Institute periodic family workdays.

Something about cleaning out your closet while mom is cleaning out hers just takes away some of your child’s reluctance. We’re in this together! Or getting the whole family to chip in for a spring yard clean up, or window washing, or tidying up the garage. Teach your children that we work as a team, everyone contributing, everyone sticking with it until the job is completed.

#8. Whistle while you work!

This, of course, starts with mom. No barking orders (gosh, my kids hated that!), or getting mad (after all, it’s your job to stay on top of it by wise management), or grumbling (I can’t believe this mess!). Instead, teach yourself and everyone in your family to enjoy the sense of achievement that a clean up or a project can bring. Make sure they step back and admire their work- and that you step up to cheer them on.

This, for me, was a big fail. If I had it to do over again…

#9 Work before play

It’s a whole lot easier to get your kids to clean up and do their chores before they get involved in playing than it is to interrupt their creative play. But I still use this phrase to motivate me when I’m just not feeling in the mood to get something done.

After I work on this project for 2 hours, I can enjoy a break for tea and read a book for a while…

#10 Teach your kids how to break big projects into small steps

Some of us are not born knowing instinctively how to tackle projects. We don’t see those logical steps that lead to the finish line. Which may be why your child doesn’t even try.

If you’ll come alongside and do it with them, teaching and training them how to make lists, how to start, how to backtrack a timeline so they get it done on time… you will save them so much angst in our extremely project-oriented world.


My home is empty of children now, just the two of us in this small space. And I still find myself defaulting back to clean-it-up-only-when-it-drives-me-crazy mode! Back to those once-through’s for me…

From a heart craving a life of order,


P.S. Okay moms— this is your clue. What are you doing to bring order out of the typical chaos that seems to cling to children? How are you managing all that stuff? Send us the ideas in the comments so we can all learn from each other!

A small but valuable life: by Allie Rice

Today's guest post was written by Allie Rice, our resident web designer and consultant. In You’ve Got Mail, Kathleen Kelley (Meg Ryan) is writing an email to Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) in which she talks about how her life is valuable but small. She then goes on to ask: Do I live this way because I like it or because I haven’t been brave?

I would actually argue that living a small life is very brave.

When I think of a small life, I think of Paul’s exhortation to the Thessalonians to live quietly. There are many good reasons to live quietly, but for me, it’s because I don’t want to miss the things that only surface in the spacious quiet. For me, like Elijah, the voice of the Lord isn’t in the gale and it isn’t in the earthquake and it isn’t in the fire; it’s the still small voice (1 Kings 19).

But living a small but valuable life — living quietly — is hard. Sometimes, our lives feel too big — too many people, too many engagements, too many text messages, too many to-dos. Other times, our lives feel too insignificant — too many mundane tasks, too many obligations, too many hours on Pinterest, too many dishes and diapers. Still other times, our lives feel too noisy — too many Instagrams, too many lifestyle blogs, too many screaming toddlers, too many expectations.

And often times, our lives feel too big and too insignificant and too noisy — too much and not enough, all at the same time.

We're running all day and yet getting nothing done. We’re giving all of ourselves and yet feel the crushing weight of inadequacy. We’re never alone and yet we’re lonely.

I’ve run up against this too much and not enough for many years, and managed it with varying degrees of success. But since becoming a mama, it has become louder and sharper. I’ve become messy and disappointing. My desires — to create things, to love people well, to check my checkboxes and plan my plans and do life on purpose — haven’t changed, but my life certainly has.

If I want to keep living intentionally and getting things done and fighting against a big, noisy, insignificant life, there are some things I have to do.

I have to say no to good things.

The truth is that there are too many good things and not nearly enough time for all of them. I tend to have a default setting of yes. But that was never sustainable or wise, and now it’s impossible and foolish. Just because something is good doesn’t mean that it’s something God has for me, and I have to discern the difference.

How I make it happen:

  • I constantly ask, "Has God given me grace for this?” This is not a question of what he has given someone else grace for (or, more accurately, what I perceive that he’s given them grace for). He may have given someone else grace to make homemade goldfish crackers and candy corn, but he hasn’t given that grace to me.
  • Per Shauna Niequist’s recommendation, I made a list of things I don’t do. (My list includes things like I don’t shop at WinCo and I don’t garden.) See also: Quit something on Thursdays.
  • When all else fails, I give myself a refresher on why to say no and how to be less available.

I have to be okay with working incrementally.

I love giant expanses of time where I can really dig in and make substantial progress. I like to finish things the day I start them. But life with a baby who doesn’t sleep (and now a toddler who doesn’t sleep) doesn’t yield expanses of time. Instead of having three hours to write a blog post on a Tuesday, I have to invest 20 minutes a day for a few weeks. Instead of doing all the house cleaning on Saturday afternoons, I have to clean my house for 15 minutes a day (and, let’s be honest, have a slightly dirtier house). I have to remember that one big achievement is the sum of many small faithfulnesses. Or as Van Gogh put it, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

I make this happen through time blocking:

  • When we ask the question, “What am I going to do today?” it’s likely that we’ll feel overwhelmed by all the things or end up discouraged because we were derailed halfway through a project. Instead, I ask, “What am I going to do in [area] for the next [minutes]?”
  • Set a timer for a limited amount of time (usually 20 or 30 minutes) and use that time to do something specific. When you go into it knowing you only have 30 minutes, you’re likely to pick tasks that actually need doing and that you’re actually going to finish in 30 minutes.
  • And if you don’t finish the task, don’t despair — you can set aside another 30 minute block tomorrow to wrap it up. Instead of feeling like your tasks are “now or never,” you’ll know they're “now or soon."

I have to redefine accomplishment.

If I only feel accomplished when I complete a project, I’m going to have a lot of disappointing days. I have to count every one of those small faithfulnesses as accomplishments. Some days, my only accomplishments are brushing my teeth and keeping the toddler from eating rocks. That’s enough.

How I make it happen:

  • If you’ve attended a liturgical church or read the Book of Common Prayer, you’re probably familiar with the daily office: prayer and scripture for times of day. I’ve started thinking of the responsibilities of my days as another kind of daily office: Bags to be packed in the morning, snacks to be prepared in the afternoon, bottles to be washed in the evening. It would be ideal to complete several tasks or an entire project every day, just as it would be ideal to spend an hour or more reading the scriptures every morning and evening. But some days — and some seasons of life — aren’t conducive to these things. Instead, I do my daily office — I read my few verses and attend to my personal litany of daily duties — and have faith that, when it’s possible, the Lord will entrust me with more (Luke 16).
  • If something requires more than one step to be completed, it’s a project, not a task. This is why laundry sits on my to-do list for three days before I get to check it off. I try to avoid these projects masquerading as tasks whenever possible. Breaking things into their smallest possible pieces makes your tasks attainable, simple, rewarding, and transparent.
  • I’m a big fan of the priority triangle — the idea that, at any given time, you should have fewer big things than small things on your plate. The problem is that my triangle is too big. There have been times in my life when having 20 small things, 12 medium things, and 5 big things on my agenda was doable. That time is not now. Three small things, two medium things, and one big thing is probably where I should cap out in this season of my life. Know your limits. Draw a smaller triangle.

I have to find my value in my identity, not my role.

When I have more capacity, I can find much of my value in what I do. But when I have little time and zero margin, I’m forced to find my value in who I’m created to be. This is actually a profound gift.

I’m so quick to slip into striving, to pursue every cliche of so-called biblical womanhood, to try to be a Proverbs 31 woman (whatever that means). Yet when my life feels too big and too insignificant and too noisy, I can only be one thing: beloved daughter of the King. And the only way I can make that happen is by leaning into Jesus.


“…the wise of heart will know the proper time and procedure.”

Ecclesiastes 8v5


For as long as I can remember I have fought the feeling that I have too much to do. Too many errands, too many deadlines, too long a to-do list. Too many things I should have done but didn’t because I had too much to do.

 And often— too often— that too-much-to-do feeling has turned me anxious, fretful, and inevitably crabby.

Do you know what I mean? Is that your story too?

Or are you like all the women I put up on a pedestal— cool, efficient, and AMAZING? You know who I’m talking about:

They post pictures of their four-year-old’s Princess Party on Pinterest. Gauze and glitter, crowns on every child (and DIY directions on how you can make them for under a dollar!). The birthday girl looks overwhelmingly happy, not a tear or a temper tantrum in sight.

The women who manage to keep their house perfectly clean, their clothes perfectly stylish, and their lives perfectly managed. Women who never lose anything, never run out of anything, and are never, ever late.

Oh! And whose Christmas gifts are wrapped in perfectly coordinated paper— of course.

I am not one of those.

And if you’re not either, I’d like to share with you some things I’m learning about what to do when that feeling of too-much-to-do begins to choke your joy. And how not to let your LIST chase your dreams right out to the rubbish heap where dreams go to die.

1.    Rejoice by choice.

I know that sounds hokey but it’s a phrase that has stuck in my head and keeps coming back to me whenever I’m running helter-skelter to get more done than I am capable of doing.

The apostle Paul was stuck in prison and couldn’t do or accomplish anything! Instead of going crazy and complaining, he chose to “continue to rejoice”[1], dictating a letter to a group of Jesus followers for whom it had “been granted on behalf of Christ… to suffer for Him” the “same struggle” as Paul was enduring.

Here’s Paul’s motto: “Rejoice in the LORD always. I will say it again, Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all.”

Rejoicing by choice replaces stressfulness with gentleness.

2.    Hide and Abide

Once, years ago, I was hiking high in the Alps with Phil and some friends. All of a sudden I was overwhelmed with a sense of panic— the drop on either side of the path was dizzyingly steep. I froze. The only way I could get down that peak was by putting my hands on Phil’s back as he led me step by step down the mountain. I think of that often when I remind myself to hide my face in the One who loves me like no other.

By hiding in, and abiding with Jesus, we can make it step by step down any mountain we face.

3. Get your Assignments from God

When I wake up every morning early enough to spend a luxurious amount of time listening to the Father, He directs the paths of my day. Which is why I make my list after I’ve spent time in the Word.

I get my list from God by knowing who I am and who I’m not, lest I try to be superwoman. Or someone else: my best friend, that woman I admire, or the pretend person I follow like a puppy dog, wishing I were her.

I cannot do everything but I can do the all-things God has assigned just for me.

4. Know your Big Thing

The same man who rejoiced by choice, had purposefully cleared his life of anything that wasn’t about his God-given purpose. That specific, clarified purpose gave him the power in Christ to “strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” [2] It was Paul’s Big Thing.

For most of my adult life, my God-given purpose was raising four children to love God with all their might and mind, soul and strength. Now that’s changed. Now my Big Thing is to invite women to know God intimately, to learn to listen to His Voice.  And it’s also to partner with Phil to teach parents to intentionally raise children who become passionate Jesus followers. All the while, continuing to do all I can to help my own children raise the next generation of passionate Jesus followers.

Your Big Thing is that one thing that, if you found out your death was imminent, you would regret you hadn’t done.

5. Turn your Dreams into Goals

What do you dream about doing and being? What do you wish for in those quiet moments when you can listen to the longing in your heart?

I’m not talking about dreaming of cruises and castles and becoming a super star. I mean those God-given dreams, the things He has equipped you for but life keeps getting in the way and you’re afraid you’ll never do what you know God has called you to do.

Rather than spend your life simply wishing, what if you laid it all out before God and under His guidance dared to turn your dreams into actual, bona fide goals?

Goals are dreams purposely put on the calendar.

What a difference might it make if instead of forging ahead, list in hand, working harder, smarter, better, and more, we chose instead…

to rejoice,

to tuck ourselves in close to the Father,

to get our assignments only and always from God,

to ask Him what is our Big Thing, and then

to confidently put His dreams for me onto my calendar?

From a heart learning wisdom,


P.S. How are you learning to tame your to-do list? I'd love to know.

[1] Philippians 1v18

[2] Colossians 1v29

Finding Your Big Thing

 I was 19 when I married Phil— a girl just emerging into womanhood. I hardly knew myself, let alone what I would do with my life. I thought what I wanted was to be a wife and mother and home manager/beautifier/creator. And I did. I still do.

As my children grew, however, my heart widened to want to do more. I had poured so much of myself into my family for so many years and learned so much about myself in the process. Now they were leaving to embrace their own lives and callings and I wanted to do the same.

Instead of aching at the loneliness of their empty places at the table I wanted to set more places. I wanted to make room to bring more people into my heart and life.

But, truth be told, I am a raging introvert and by the time all four of our children left home I needed unstructured hours to relish vast spaces of time alone. And that’s what I did. I puttered around the edges of those things I’d never had time to do. And the more I crossed off my To Do list for “when the children grow up”, the more I found myself disappointed by what I’d thought would be so satisfying.

I canned peaches. The idea of rows and rows of cans lining my pantry appealed to every part of me. But my peaches turned out just a little too soft and mushy instead of bright and crisp like my friend-the-expert-canner.

I burned fancy jams on the stove when my head wandered into lines of thought that sent my scurrying into my library to look something up or write something down.

My house refused to stay as clean as I’d thought it would. And when it was sparkling and pretty I just didn’t get the rush out of it that I’d thought I would. The dog still shed atrociously, the yard still grew weeds, the windows still suffered the onslaught of Oregon rain.

Soon my time filled with the miscellany of urgent must-do’s and ought-to-do’s that I hadn’t done while I was giving myself to the task of raising four children. And...

All those musts and oughts of grown up womanhood left me underwhelmed and unimpressed.

What was supposed to satisfy me didn’t.

That is when I ran smack into a truth I hadn’t seen, hadn’t known was meant for me too. I found it in the New Living Translation of Ephesians 2:10,

“For we are God’s masterpiece.

He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,

So we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

 And it dawned on me that those “good things he planned for us long ago” are actual, real, tangible tasks!

Then I bumped into Mark 13v 34. Jesus is telling a story about His coming again. As He so often does, He puts His truths into a real-life context for us so it’s more than simply pie-in-the-sky theory. He’s painting a word picture about a man who goes away and…

"He leaves his servants in charge, each with his assigned task."

 Hello! I have an assigned task?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

And so do you.

Long ago, God planned tasks for you to do, then He master-crafted you into just the right combination of gifts and personality and talent to do those assigned tasks. He gave you a story to live with room for dreams and risk and wild ideas about how your life might make a tangible difference in this world.

And now He is weaving your story— the good, the bad, and the ugly— into the your own coat of many colors as His empowering mantle enables you to do those things that only you can do.

That is your Big Thing. That task, those assignments that God gives you, and only you.

Have you discovered your Big Thing?

Because if you haven’t, you will flounder. You’ll be frustrated, sidetracked and unsatisfied with the daily doings of the stuff of life.  Or you’ll be comparing yourself to all those other over-achievers who manage to don their superwoman costume before they’re even out of their twenties. And then you’ll feel inadequate and disappointed in the YOU you have become.

Do you know why your Big Thing matters?

Our Big Things are not first and foremost about us and our desires and gifts and opportunities, but about God’s story and the part we each get to play in it. If you miss your Big Thing by ignoring or being ignorant of His assignments for you, the whole Church suffers and so does this world. You are needed.

Do you know how to find your Big Thing?

It might not be something that will put your name in lights and have people begging for your autograph. It might not make you money. For my friend, Kathy, it means getting up the courage every week to visit the women in jail who have become her "girls". To pour the love of Jesus over them and into them, to make disciples in prison. Now she's got a whole list of us who pray for each of these women and for Kathy. Her Big Thing is a very big thing to those scared and scarred young women who hang on to her every word.

And if you’re a parent, your first and foremost Big Things have names. God’s astonishing first plan for evangelism is stated in Deuteronomy, chapter 6. Nothing could be a bigger thing than creating in your child a deep, authentic love for Jesus and training him to follow Him.

Is there any urgency about doing your Big Thing?

Yes, I do believe there is. Jesus said this:

All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the One who sent Me,

because there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end.

John 9v4 NLT

 Do we get more than one Big Thing in this life?

 Yes! Once upon a time my Big Thing was all about my kids. Then it was all about leading the Ministry to Women at our church as a means of helping my husband and loving our people. Then it was all about writing my story. And just as I see the completion of that, it is pouring myself into the Intentional Parenting ministry with my husband so we can come alongside a generation of parents who need help.

These Big Things have filled my days with meaning. When I remember that the Big Things are what matter more than all the pressing duties and deadlines, I live with a sense of accomplishment, of grateful rest. I am needed and I know it.

When you identify your Big Thing, you live every day with a sense that you were made for this!

And in case you’re wondering what a Big Thing looks like, I’ve lined up women to tell you about theirs in the coming months. Because it is my earnest prayer that each of you find your Big Thing and hold on for the ride of your life!

From my heart,


P.S. It would be so fun if you would write your Big Thing in the comments so we all get a glimpse of what God is doing with other women’s lives.

P.S.S. There is so much more to be said here. My son’s newest book, Garden City, will give you the full theological scope of these “assigned tasks”.


My love for books is legendary.

Phil sighs every month as he goes through the list of Amazon purchases. My bookshelves groan and I need more so I can liberate my boxes of books from the stuffy attic.

When I open the pages of a new book something happens inside me, a yearning to push myself into a front row seat, to learn and gather and grow.

Not surprisingly, then, as I spend this month sharing what I have learned and am learning about bringing ORDER to my oft times messy mind, I turn to the books that have earned space on the table next to my great big white chair. This is where I read and study and get lost in another’s story.


The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst

The president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Lysa writes like a woman who knows how hard it is to clear the cluttered counters of our lives so that we can do that One Thing that matters. She writes about the aching of our souls when exhaustion becomes normal and rushing takes the place of achieving.

And then she gets practical. She asks questions I felt compelled to answer- so much so that about half way through I ordered the Study Guide. More questions. The kind that I couldn’t answer right away. The kind I had to take on long walks so I could think and pray and wait for true answers.

This book would be so fun to work through with friends. And really, it’s designed that way. The study guide has 6 sections- about the perfect length for a sit-around-the-table group of friends.

Organizing for the Creative Person by Dorothy Lehmkuhl & Delores Lamping

This book is changing the way I do life. Of all the organizing books I’ve read, this is the one that makes sense to me. This book explains how right-brain dominated people can choose to adopt left-brain tactics to bring order to their creative dreams. If you start things but don’t finish… if you have a gazillion ideas but can’t seem to follow through… if you face a project with dread because you don’t know what to do first, and second, until it’s done… this is your book. I will be rereading this often.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

This is a business book. I am not a businesswoman. I am a woman with a passion to live my life fully and only as a follower after Jesus. I want to make a difference. Which is why I think everyone should read this book. God gives us purpose by assigning us tasks to do that only we can do. This author has made a career of studying how to do that one thing well rather than what he calls “the undisciplined pursuit of more”.

I’ve put this on my yearly must read stack.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Who hasn’t heard about this book?! The premise of the book is that all the clutter we live with is drowning us, chasing peace and a sense of calm right out of our lives. Marie Kondo gives readers a delightful way of deciding whether to keep it or give it away. I won’t spoil the surprise by telling you here- but this is the method I will use in a couple of weeks when I go to switch my closet to fall/winter clothes. And this is the question I bring with me when I go into a store lest I walk out with a bag full of clutter I thought I needed.


If you are trying, as I am, to order your world in order to do the dreams God is calling you to, will you send me titles of books and links to websites that are helping you? I’ll gather them up and post them later this month.

From a heart yearning to learn,


Learning to bring order to my messy mind

 Teach me to order my days

 that I may present to You a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90v12 NASB

For far too long I have been confused and conflicted about the messiness of the daily, weekly, and monthly doing of my life. I crave order, spending most of my spare moments tidying up, making sure my home is neat, my world uncluttered, a place for everything and everything in it’s place.

People who know me just a little live with the false assumption that I am organized.

I’m not. Not even close. And it bothers me. Not because I want to be someone I’m not but because I have things I long to accomplish. All too often I feel like a hassled hamster running as fast as I can to nowhere.

The truth is…

I work relentlessly to keep everything neat and tidy because of the disorder that wrecks havoc inside my head.

For years and years I thought something was just wrong with me. My parents are two of the most organized, efficient people I know. Not once did either of them moan about having to clean out the closet or the garage or anything, really. They never had to because they somehow managed to always keep things tidy. Both my parents seemed to walk through their days without the chaotic juggling that too often marks my way.

Why couldn’t I be like them?

On my visits home I'd watch closely to see if I could learn their secrets. When I asked about how they stay so organized they just looked at me with all that left brained logic and said, "Well, we just do it."

After much trial and error (and a crazy but effective book entitled Side Tracked Home Executives)

I did mostly manage to stick to some semblance of a routine when the kids were little. Four children will do that to you, especially if you decide, as did I, to homeschool. I made extensive chore lists for all of us, filled out every square of the monthly teacher’s organizing binder, and probably managed to actually cross off about half of what I thought I should be doing.

As one-by-one, each of my children grew up and left my neat and tidy but inwardly disorderly nest, the structure that had worked sufficiently well for organizing my home and family failed me. I dreamed of writing books, of teaching women, of studying and learning, and finally getting that degree that I wish I’d finished.

But how?

I’ve tried sheer willpower. Raised in a home that valued work, I know how to put my nose to the plow and power through. Some months it seemed that’s all I did: work, work, work.

And yet, it seemed to me that all that busy working wasn’t leading me any closer to accomplishing my dreams— those things I felt God had made me for, that He was asking me to do.

I studied Michael Hyatt’s weekly flow chart but never could figure out how to make my computer obey my wishes. So after a few frustrating attempts, I quit.

I tried reading the New York Times best-seller, Getting Things DoneI underlined and took notes and when I finally came up for air I was more confused than ever— and hadn’t gotten anything done.

Then one day as deadlines threatened to be my undoing and the confusion of my self-made chaos sank me closer to despair, I cried out to God:

What is wrong with me, Father? Why can’t I seem to keep up? Why can’t I get done  what I know You’ve called me to do?

 And I heard the gentlest truth dance across my despair:

Di, I made you just how I wanted. You’re beautiful, just right. I made you as My masterpiece for My purposes. Delight in Me as I delight in you.

 And slowly, step-by-step I have been learning that…

When I fully embrace

how He made me to be,

God enables me to accomplish

what He has assigned me to do.

I am not the logical, left-brained achiever that my parents and so many people I love and admire are. Those who, according to experts, handle the daily decisions first by analysis, then by action, followed finally by the emotions that come with a job well done.  Like this: Analysis—Action—Feelings 

A great way to get things done! But, sigh... not my way.

My way looks more like this: Feelings—Action—Analysis. A typical right-brain way of getting things done that doesn't actually result in a lot of consistent getting things done.

Can you relate? Are you one of those...? You live in your head, you thrive on passion, you drop too many balls that you meant to do but you either forgot or lost steam or just got distracted by a more compelling idea.

Passion awakens us, happiness fuels us, delight drives us to do- 

not because we should or someone said we ought to, but because we must and we want to and we will!

The action I take is always, always, always preceded by the conviction that what I am to do must be done. Now. Only after it is done can I tell you why I had to do it, and if I could have done it better, and how I’ll do it next time.

I dare to think that a whole lot of you are right-brainers like me. (I much prefer the term “creative thinkers”.) And I believe that many of you are as frustrated with your messy way of doing your days and accomplishing your dreams as I am. And maybe you’ve suffered the shame that goes with being different, of approaching love and life and dreams in a way that makes little sense even to you.

With the One who created you I want to tell you that:

God likes you just as you are. He made you that way— on purpose, for a purpose.

He made you for His purposes—all those tasks He made for you alone to do, just as He wrote in Ephesians 2v10:

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.

For the month of October I am going to be sharing with you some of the things I have learned and am learning about ordering my days— about doing and being the me He made, on purpose. I am spending this month ordering my days, not so I can please or impress anyone, but so that my world works more smoothly and my days reap the purpose I am made for.

I’ll also be writing for mothers with insight into how to develop your own child’s sense of rightness and the way of order that is unique to them. Can you imagine the gift this could be to a child? To understand and appreciate the way they are wired before they try to stuff themselves into a mold that won’t fit?

And because my way tends leans more toward the random than the regular, may I suggest that you allow me to alert you via email when I post? (simply subscribe below) That way you won’t miss the conversation and the comments as we learn together.

From a heart learning to please Him just as I am,


P.S. Can you share with us the One Thing that helps you more than any other to free you to efficiency and that lovely rightness that comes from actually doing what you’ve dreamed?

We learn best when we learn together and I crave what I learn in your comments.

GARDEN CITY: Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human

Welcome to October! Crisp mornings, fall colors, a sense of fresh beginnings as school routines normalize and we lean forward into our lives.

Here in the Northwest we know the rains are coming and so we live our lives outdoors as long as we can. That last bike ride, a walk in the woods, dinner on the deck. Surrounded by beauty, we dive in before the mists and mud make our treks cumbersome.

And we buy books. Lots of books. The citizens of Portland are readers. We brew our coffee strong and are more prone to meet friends at Powell’s than the mall. In the dark days ahead I’ll light cinnamon candles and look forward to reading my way through blustery storms in my corner of the world.

One book in particular.

My son, John Mark, has written a book that may well change the way a generation views the purpose of their lives. It's intriguing title is: Garden City: Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human.

And though his words are directed at millennials emerging into the early stages of their work lives, I believe the truths he writes just might change the way my generation sees the purpose of the later stages of their own professional lives as well..

Let me explain.

This book is about being human in real time. In that easy way he has, John Mark manages to bring the theology of work and rest out of the ivory tower of academia, right smack into our conversations over coffee.

He gives us room to dream, to imagine, to dare and risk and be the thriving humans God designed us to be.

And he refutes the widely held idea that, for Christians, who we are is more important than what we do. Instead, he paints a picture of a fully integrated life. A life where we get to choose. A life that finds satisfying meaning, not in living the American dream of more and bigger and better, but in choosing to become who and what God invites us to be.

And then he writes about rest. About Sabbath.

When John Mark first began sharing what he was learning about Sabbath with me, and then later when he developed the teachings that became the basis for this book, I listened like a woman whose canteen had run out of water while crossing the desert. I’d been pushing myself to work harder, to accomplish more, to wear every hat I’d been assigned.

And I was staggering under the impossibility of the load.

I couldn’t get these truths out of my mind. I couldn’t shake the sense that I was failing at everything, like one of those circus performers who spins so many plates that he’s running back and forth frantically to keep them from falling to the ground and shattering.

When I read his words I gave myself permission to quit.

I quit a job I loved, but that had outgrown my time constraints and my abilities. Was that little extra in my wallet worth it? Could I make do without?

I quit saying yes to needs I was not best equipped to meet. Instead I began to see myself as a connector. I hear a plea or help and connect that woman to one whose story is similar or whose strengths are just what she needs.

I quit going to every church gathering, every event, everything I was “supposed” to do. Instead I left room for myself to linger, to think and ponder and be alone enough to fill my introverted cup.

And I gave myself room to dream with God, to throw myself into what I love.

And Phil and I changed the course of our future. Our son’s words got us to talking and Phil quit too. He resigned a position he loved but that was choking the life out of him in order to start Intentional Parents, something we had talked about forever but would not have had the courage to dive into without these truths.

So I’m warning you. This book will give you permission to dream, to throw yourself into your God-assigned work, and to purposefully hit the pause button in order to give God one full non-achieving, non-striving, non-conflict day every week.

Read this book and you just might get messed up in your head. You might have to downsize your budget. You’ll probably make some changes. You might even quit.

And somehow I think God will be smiling, cheering you on as you dare to drink deep, to have courage, to know the hope of His calling… for you.

From a heart so proud of my son and so hopeful for you,


P.S. What is it you dare to dream about doing? My dream was to write, to overflow all that I have heard and learned to women. I so want to hear yours so I can cheer you on and pray.

P.S.S And if you do buy the book, and it does set you free to do and be what you hear God whispering in your soul, would you consider leaving an online review? For some reason I do not understand, those reviews mean something to publishers and booksellers. And they wouldn’t accept mine—can you imagine?! I guess they think I might be just a little bit biased…


Many of you know and love my daughter, Elizabeth. It has been her artistry that has crafted the design of this blog from the very beginning. And it is Elizabeth who has encouraged me more than any other to keep writing, to risk, to be raw and honest and completely me. 

I could not and would not have begun this blog without Elizabeth.

So you can imagine my dismay when she told me that she would be moving to L.A. I vacillated between aching with the loss and thrill for what I knew was the faith adventure of a lifetime for their family. 

I know she is just where she belongs. And yet I miss her every day.

I’ve asked her to share with us some of the lessons she has been learning in the midst of living on mission to the city of Los Angeles.


Do I really believe that God is faithful? Faithful to me?

If there is one thing I have learned and experienced this past year and a half, it is that God is faithful. Everyday.

I had heard stories growing up of God asking people to take huge leaps of faith, I'd witnessed lives changes by those acts of faith... but I had never really lived one of those stories.

I'd had a pretty safe and comfortable life and walked with Jesus from a young age. And yet both my husband and I felt there was a stirring for something more and a calling we had yet to hear. We prayed for several years that God would show us what He was leading us to and what He was preparing us for. Wondering why God kept bringing California to our hearts.

Then we waited. And waited. And waited.

I will never forget the day I knew God was moving us to Los Angeles. It was the day before Thanksgiving in 2013. Brook, got off the phone with the lead pastor at Reality LA in Hollywood and he called me to tell me about their conversation. As soon as I heard his voice, I knew something had been ignited in him. I heard hope, vision, joy... I heard things I hadn't heard in him for several years. I knew deep down that God had answered our prayers and had shown us the next step. I had no idea how or why but I knew we were going.

I was both excited and terrified. LA is a city that is very big, very dirty, very fast, and very broken. I grew up in the suburbs of Portland. A city that is very clean, a comfortable pace and most of the people I knew followed Jesus. My husband had been a pastor at an amazing church for 8 years and I got to stay home with our two little kids like I'd always hoped I could.

But there is nothing worse then being comfortable, yet not being where God has called you.

Brook interviewed with Reality LA for several months and we grew more and more passionate about the church and called to what they were doing and to how they were impacting Los Angeles for the Gospel. At the end of those few months we got the call from the Church letting us know that they loved us, wanted to hire Brook, yet simply didn't have a pastoral position available at the time. There was hope of a job in the future but no promise.

Yet the calling we felt to the people of LA and to the church was something we couldn't just ignore. It was time to have faith. Our new phrase we quoted to each other daily was "Where God leads, God provides". A phrase that proved to be true, over and over and over again.

In April of last year, my husband and I hugged our families goodbye, loaded up a U-haul and headed south with our two little kids, Duke and Scarlet.

We started out in a one bedroom apartment while Brook worked 4 random jobs to provide for us. We lived off food stamps and learned to live with a whole lot less. We felt more settled than we had in years. We were doing exactly what we knew God had asked us to.

We had to trust Him more than a paycheck. Him more than a good job. Him more than our community of family and friends. Him more than a secure future.

It was hard. It was exhausting. And it was worth it.

A few months after we moved Brook was hired to do pre-martial counseling at the church for 10 hours a week, 6 months later he was hired as the Community Group Director and was able to quit his other jobs and almost a year after we moved he was hired as a pastor and elder at Reality LA.

That year was stretching to say the least but we are so thankful for the way God wrote our story.

We are changed. We now know what it means to rely on God for everyday needs, for friends, for food, for clothing, for joy, for future. We were shown the true meaning of generosity as we experienced people help us and support us in anyway they could.

We don't just know that God is faithful... we have experienced that faithfulness firsthand.

Doing what God has asked you to do doesn't mean that the road will be beautifully paved with ease and comforts. It most likely will be the opposite. But it does mean that you will gain a whole new understanding of who God is and that the purpose of our lives is not ourselves, but His glory.

Los Angeles is anything but comfortable and nothing like what you see in the movies. It is rough, broken and a hard place to live. Yet God has allowed us to see beauty, to love these people like they are family and given us strength in Him to live out His call for us.

God has been faithful and God is faithful.

More next week on everyday life in LA and a few lessons I've learned along the way...


PS: is there something God is asking you to do that seems so far out of reach? Are you at the edge and not sure if the next step is "jump"? I'd love to hear and would love to be praying for you!

How To Hear God Though The Clamor Of Me.

On Faery Tears and Pity Parties…

 Just a few days ago I woke up from a cold and restless sleep, emerging from our tiny tent to find our camping gear drenched, skies leaden, and snow forecast for the High Sierras.

Our two week nostalgia tour wrecked.

The plan had been to road trip our way through the mountains, landing at Lake Alpine for an extended time.  From there we would hike and fish and I would spend time writing while tucked away from the craziness that had kept me from finishing work on a proposal long overdue.

As I heated water for my tea over the camp stove, I mumbled and groaned under my breath about everything going wrong that could go wrong.

Just two days before, the little device that enables me to hear (called a cochlear processor) had inexplicably quit working. In the middle of nowhere, so remote I couldn't find a town near enough to warrant a weather report on my IPhone, how would I get it fixed? What would I do? Must I submit to this turn of events that had, thrown me into involuntary silence?

I couldn’t hear the rain pouring on the tent, couldn’t tell if I was talking too loud or too soft because I couldn’t hear my own voice, couldn’t hear Phil. All I heard was just silence—

A silence that felt isolating, frustrating, and in truth, for a while sort of menacing.

Phil built a fire with the wood we’d stacked under the table the night before, trying to cheer us up with a campfire to warm our shivering selves. I huddled as close to the fire as I could get, a mug of tea in my hands, feeling cold, forlorn, and… forsaken.

That’s when the lie whispered insidiously in my soul:

You needed this time away… you’re tired… weakened… you needed refreshing and rest… and look at this—

God sure isn’t taking very good care of you… hiss, hiss, hiss.

 And the lie felt true.

Truer than anything else. All the work to get here, the long drive, the sadness that my parents no longer lived just twenty minutes down the mountain, that dad wouldn’t be there to rescue me…

 And God couldn’t keep one storm at bay after four years of drought? hiss hiss

I stayed in my self-pity styled funk as the sun broke through, flooding the world with a freshness that can only be seen in the aerie heights of the Northern Sierras.

Beauty sparkling like crystal ornaments on tall pines, dripping faery tears on my pity-party.

My soul responded with that leap of joy I have come to know as God drawing near just when I need Him.

I know better than to blame God when life doesn’t line up according to my wishes. Lessons learned from my long ago dance with despair over my encroaching deafness came flooding back. I heard words from the One who calls Himself The Word:

Don’t go there, Di. It is your dangerous place, beyond your power to crawl out of.

 For the rest of the day I pondered God’s message to my spirit as we put away wet gear and packed up what we’d need for a dry night at a motel down the mountain.

 How had I come so close to blaming God… again?

 Why do I feel entitled to a perfectly pleasing vacation? Am I really that tired?

 I was beginning to suspect that my attitude of I need, I need, I need was wearing me out far more than the reality of my circumstances.

Before long, I began to thank Him for:

… the blessing of good health (so many of my friends suffer)

… happy relationships with each of my children (so many women I know walk on eggshells, feeling alienated and judged by the ones they love the most)

… restful friendship and vibrant connection with my husband (how many women do I know who can say that after 37 years?)

…all the things we take for granted until they’re taken away.

My own entitled expectations began to sound spoiled.

Did God really have to give me sunny skies and a perfectly served up vacation in the mountains in order for me to feel blessed?

Geez Louise, get over it Di! Go out and have a fun adventure in this storm!

And so I did. We did.

The rest of the day was filled with wonder and delight at the swiftly changing sky. We watched an eagle— a bald eagle— circle and swoop and dive to the surface of the lake, emerging triumphantly with a fish in it’s beak.

Later that afternoon we drove a ways down the mountain to pick up the package from Cochlear that had been Fed Ex’d to the small town hardware store. A quick change out of the misfiring cord and…

Voila! Sound rushed back into my world.

This morning I am relishing clean sheets, fluffy pillows (we forgot to bring pillows camping!), a couple of hours just to myself while Phil goes fishing… and then back to camp. Blue skies are expected for the rest of the week, but we’ve been duly warned that weather in these high Sierras is unpredictable.

And I’ve been warned in that beautifully restorative way of the Spirit of God, to…

 Cling to Me even when you do not understand.

 From a heart that is still learning to cling after all these years,


P.S. Is there something you are moaning and groaning about that is keeping

      you from seeing and hearing the beauty of God’s presence in your life?

      The surest way back to joy is the relief that comes with confession.

      My go-to sin is self-pity, what is yours?


Every once in a while I like to give you a peek into the everyday doings of life and love, work and play at Firwood Cottage. And so, as summer winds down and crisp mornings hint at things ahead, here’s a glimpse into my life: 

What’s new at Firwood Cottage?

We’ve cleared the piles of pine needles, uprooted weeds, shooed away moles… and planted the beginnings of a lovely garden. My favorite is the apple tree I planted right outside the windows of my Writer’s Cabin in the back. Check out my Pinterest board (For My Back Porch, A Garden To Create) (Diane Comer) to see who I hope this garden grows.

What I’m learning: 

To pay bills! Seriously, my husband loves all that financial, budget, balancing, bill paying part of life. But once my mom moved to the Northwest and after my dad passed away, I’ve been designated mom’s Bill Pay-er. It’s actually kind of fun when it’s not my money and there are no worries attached!

What I’m loving: 

My clothes-line. I’ve wanted one for so long but in our previous house it would have been right in our neighbors line of sight. Now, at Firwood Cottage, no one sees but me. There is a primitive joy in hanging sheets to dry in the warm Northwest breezes— and in falling asleep to the scent of the forest on my pillow.

What I’m reading:

I discovered Parker Palmer this summer and I’ve devoured his little book, Let Your Life Speak. Beautiful, transparent writing from the heart of a poet, a dreamer.

His words set me on a quest to narrow my doings down to only what is mine to do, which then led to a whole stack of books I’m reading right now:

The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst (so good!)

Thrive by Arianna Huffington (interesting)

Essentialism by Greg McKeon (just started)

Organizing for the Creative Person by Dorothy Lehmkuhl, Dolores Lamping (absolutely excellent for my messy mind!)

And, because my favorite before-bed reading is stories, especially the magical, mystical, fairy tale type, I’ve been delving in to Michael Sullivan’s Riyria Chronicles. Elves and dwarves, secret underground cities, a few scary monsters… delicious!

What I’m listening to:

Music is one of the things I miss most about hearing. I see how music speaks to the deepest part of people and I wish I could experience that. But I do have what audiologists call “auditory memory”, which means that my brain perks up and sings along with the melody of songs I listened to years ago before I went deaf. So… Phil bought a couple of albums to play in the car and then he printed off the words so I could read along. So fun!

So far I’ve been smiling with the Beach Boys, crying with Carole King, and singing along (in my 2-tone deaf girl singing voice!) with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Watch out Nashville, here I come!

What I’m writing:

I finished my first book, He Speaks In The Silence: finding intimacy with God by learning to listen. Loved every moment of the whole process: writing my story, editing under the guidance of a master, editing some more, editing more… and now I’m in the part the scares me most, marketing. This is the grown up version of the girl who quit Girl Scouts because selling Girl Scout cookies terrified me! More about that in a couple weeks…

I’ve just begun to write the proposal for a book that I’ve wanted to write, but couldn’t, when my children were young. Intentional: Raising Passionate Jesus Followers. It is the written version of what Phil and I teach in the conferences we have taken all over the world, plus all the files we tucked away because of time constraints.

Writing the proposal is not fun for me. I have to somehow convince a board of editors that this book is worth pouring money into, that they’ll be glad they did because thousands of parents will be clamoring for this book. Ugh. Girl Scout cookies all over again.

Where I am right now:

By the time you read this I will be in the High Sierras, camping with Phil. Yep, in a tent, a little tent. We’ll be overlooking Lake Alpine— our favorite place in the world, and I’ll have my books and files and papers spread out on the picnic table. I have all week to write and hike and think and mull and kayak and cook on a camp stove and sit by a roaring fire. No internet, no electricity, no cell service, no traffic.

Just breathtaking beauty.

Every few days we’ll drive down the mountain to the booming town of Arnold for groceries and a few minutes of cell service so we can check on the kids (who are not, by any means kids anymore, but you know that thing? Once a mom, always a mom…)

I’ve been posting pictures of God’s astounding creativity on Instagram (@dianewcomer).

What I’m learning:

That I have an assigned task to complete; that God actually designed me different on purpose. That my head-in-the-clouds dreaming is part of His design, not a flaw to overcome.

Tears well up as I write the words for you to see. I am just grasping this, finally believing the truth He says about me. I have pardoned and apologized my way through most of my life, thinking I was less-than because I’m lost in my head instead of efficiently organizing my to-do list.


I can’t wait to begin sharing what I am hearing from God about His craftsmanship in creating us the way we are… on purpose. I want you to learn alongside me, so please, stay tuned.

If you haven’t already, sign up to have posts delivered straight to your in-box. I don’t want you to miss what’s ahead… I dare to think that what I’m hearing is for you too.

From my heart,


P.S. Tell me, what is your favorite place in the world? Better yet, send me a picture via Instagram (@dianewcomer) with the hashtag #myfavoriteplaceintheworld.




This is a page of my journal from twenty years ago. A glimpse into who we were then and a revelation of who we have become.  Us:

A husband and a wife.

Four children, including two teenagers, one pre-adolescent, and one toddler.

Two cats. One totally disobedient dog. And two horses.

This is the make-up of our family.

Needless to say, with all our comings and goings, individual personalities, and distinct wills, ours is not always a peaceful place. There is plenty of teasing and laughter…and fun. And if I'm honest, quite a few thunderclaps of conflict as well.

And I love it.

Oh, I don’t always like it. I am, after all, a woman who thrives on solitude, order, calm, quiet, and peace (rare qualities in this busy household). Yet I love the richness, the ever-changing variety, the heart-stopping intimacy of shared thoughts. I find such safety in the “kindred spirits” I have found in each of my family members.

I know what they like…

They know what I like…

We know what we like together.

There is something soul-satisfying about a shared beauty; a favorite song on the radio, a breath-taking sunset, or better yet, the groggy-eyed wonder of an early morning sunrise. When I see a brilliant rainbow with my family, it takes on a deeper beauty because we gasp in wonder together.

This family of mine is nothing like the still-life portrait I once imagined it would be. For goodness sake, we can’t even get a quick snapshot of all six of us smiling with all 12 eyes open at once!

I am learning, ever so slowly, that if I let go and stop trying to get everybody to be quiet and still and orderly, I enjoy this crazy crowd a whole lot more.

Though I treasure order, they do not.

Though I love quiet, I have never known one of them to leave our noisy family circle to seek solitude for the sake of silence. They prefer noise, and lots of it.

And while neatness seems essential to my peace of mind, not a one of the rest of them care a whit if the house is in perfect order before they go to bed, or when they get up, or anytime in between!

I’m finally getting it.

That family peace consists more in letting go and accepting each other than in trying frantically to keep everybody calm, quiet, and tidy. I am learning that conflict is sometimes okay (will I ever really believe that?) and that closeness comes not by obliterating conflict, but by living with it comfortably.

We do not always agree. In fact, we rarely all agree. And that’s okay. It is when we graciously respect each other’s differing opinions and ways of doing things that friendship sprouts like well-watered weeds all over the relationships in this family.

So I am learning painstakingly slowly to let go and enjoy this crew of six. I am daily resisting the hundreds of urges to control and corral them into my version of the Happy Family.

They are they…

and I am me…

and together we are us.


Then there were six of us. Now there are fifteen.

In the midst of living real life we have grown and changed, wept and danced, learned, grieved, become real friends.

We are still Us, still in love with Jesus, still learning how to follow in His footsteps. And, perhaps most real of all, still in awe of the incomprehensible truth that He loves us just as we are.

May you delight in the truth of His love this week.

From my heart,


P.S. I am away this week, road tripping and camping high in the Sierra mountains I love, with the man I have loved for well over 37 years. I'll keep checking in so we can pray, together, for those whose hearts need a touch from God. Leave your name- or not. As we hike and explore the beauty of the Creator, we would love to bring your hopes to Him who hears our cries.


 As I've watched the school buses go by this week, I've been thinking about all those mamas who are feeling the loss as their little ones don backpack and lunch sack to step into a whole new world.  I'm sure you've shed some tears, as did I, mixed with the thrill of knowing your child will soon be experiencing the great, life-long joy of learning.  I loved those years of being mom to two little boys and two little girls. Loved the fresh school books and cute haircuts, the untucked shirts and lopsided ponytails. I miss so much about those years. My children are all grown now, with children of their own. And too soon yours will be too.  

These are the words that spilled out of my heart nearly 20 years ago when my son, Matthew started school. May you share the same immense joy that I have in watching your sons and daughters grow into men and women whose hearts beat for God. 


Today my little boy went off to school.

He was afraid.  I was afraid.

He was excited. So was I.

He was brave.  I cried.

We chattered cheerfully in the van on the way to school.  He looked so fresh and grownup in his new haircut, plaid shirt tucked neatly in, appropriately cool baggy pants and black suede tennis shoes.  I took pictures in front of the flagpole.

He smiled.

Walking into the classroom, he gripped my hand in sweaty palm and sat oh-so-quietly at his pint-sized desk.

“Don’t leave yet Mom.  Wait ‘til all the other parents go…”

I rubbed his back and labeled his supplies.  Crayons, scissors, lots of glue, a binder covered in G. I. Joe stickers.  I took a picture of my little boy at his desk.

No smile.

Time for Mom to leave.  One last squeeze of his shoulder.  One last kiss on his cheek, and out the door.

That’s when the tears betrayed me.  Unbidden, they pushed against my eyes, threatening to embarrass me completely.  Gulping them back, I waved with false cheer at a neighbor and drove in my empty van to my empty house.

So quiet.

No chaos, no arguments, no laughter, no messes.

I have looked forward to this day.  I have plans.  For years I have said, “When my children all go to school…”

Yet today I can do nothing. I grieve an end of an era.  An era I have loved, filled with memories I cherish.

I did my share of complaining to be sure.  “Can’t I even go to the bathroom alone?!”  But I loved the unrushed mornings cuddling with blankie and bear and my squirmy little boy.

I loved the Lego creations and the storybooks and Wee Sing tapes.  I loved sidewalk chalk and popsicles dribbling down dimpled chins.  Rainy days spent building forts in the family room with blankets anchored with encyclopedias.

Most of all, I have loved the absolute trust in his eyes.  He knows I am here for him to protect him, to be proud, to understand.

For I am Mom.  Matthew’s mom.  The Best-Mom-in-the-Whole-World.

That is who I was yesterday when I held him as a babe in my arms.  It is who I am today as I leave him at his desk at school.  And tomorrow, when he is a man, I will still be…


From my heart,


P.S. Who feels the same? That bittersweet, confusing mix of relief and sadness? I'd love to pray for you this week. And if any of you have children you're especially worried about, let me know and I'll pray as I did for my own.


 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8v28

He who has ears to hear let him hear.

Matthew 11v15

When I first learned I would likely lose all of my hearing— that horrifying diagnosis of progressive sensorial neural hearing loss— well-meaning people looked me in the eye with that intensity that comes from an inner compulsion to convince.

“God will use this to help so many people…”

Those words made my insides churn, feeding the maw of roiling anger in the pit of my soul. I spewed the words back at God:

How could a good God, as You claim to be, make me go deaf so that others can learn?

 I looked at my young children, John Mark was 5, Rebekah an adorable toddler, Elizabeth a babe in arms. Matthew just a distant dream.

I would never, ever even consider hurting one of mine to teach lessons to the others! How could You?

And there’s a whole story there  of how this good God of mine rescued me from that terrible and terrifying place of seething rebellion. An ugly story that is part of who I am, making me worship in deepest wonder at the One who loved me, even then.

 And now… a new chapter. Another hard part.

Last week I flew to L.A. to surprise that baby, Elizabeth for her 30th birthday.

Joy! Laughter! Hugs and hilarity that we pulled it off!

I stayed a few days extra so that I could go with my girl to a dreaded appointment for her son, Duke. And I cry as I write the words I’d hoped would never be true:

My grand-boy is loosing his hearing.

Six years old and full of bright hope. He’s strong like his name, analytical and logical like his Uncle Johnny. A unique and magnificent representation of a part of God, made in His image, purposed to bring His likeness to a world of hoping, needing people.

Those horrible words again: progressive hearing loss

I grieve deeply for the loss I know too well. For all the memories of sounds and songs he will never hear:

The dance of rain on the rooftop.

The song of birds, all those trills, squawks, whistles, warnings.

The crackle and hiss of fire in the fireplace.

The lap of water against the seashore.

Whispers. Wind.

I’ve cried and prayed and breathed deep through the crush in my chest. And all the while, Elizabeth feels no fear, none. Her words to the family:

“I was reminded this morning that God watched His own son suffer and He knows the grief we feel. Duke is His child too and He knows the greater redemption being worked out in this ugly and painful thing. We have peace as we grieve but there is deep sadness too…”

And now— finally—I know exactly what those kind-hearted, less-than-ideally-worded phrases were meant to convey.

Now that I have heard God speak into my silence…

Now that I have embraced what I didn’t want…

Now that I know that God takes what the enemy of our souls tries to steal and He turns it into something good, something beautiful…

 All of it is worth it… if I get to forge the way for one of my own to follow so he wouldn’t have to be first.

 All of it is worth it… if Elizabeth won’t have to live in fear of the future because she’s seen my worst nightmare come true and now she knows it’s okay, doable, hard, but not tragic.

All of it is worth it… if this family of mine knows that even this— even DEAFNESS— becomes mysteriously beautiful and good in the hands of the Father. 

All of it is worth it if my pain has paved a path that will lead my grand-boy to the heart of the Father.

I see the kindness of God now, how He allowed my sons and daughters to watch my story. Elizabeth saw my brokenness. She lived with the embarrassment of not understanding. She felt the weight of my deafness… and yet somehow the Spirit is breathing courage into her soul as she helps her own son adapt to a world with fading sounds.

Every missed melody, every frustrating conversation, every embarrassing, feeling-stupid moment is worth it.  For the Savior… for the women who read my words carved out of silence and know that I know what their pain feels like too… and now for Duke.

From a heart that is humbled and in awe of a God who weaves magic in the midst of sorrow,


P.S. I would be so honored to pray for you who are trying to find your way through the often hazardous grieving of hard things. You know I’d love to know the story, but if you’re not there yet, just your name will let me know to pray.

P.S.S For an incredibly wise, dangerously heart-wrenching sermon on the why of suffering, listen to Dominic Done’s message  (the teaching pastor at our church)