Archive for December, 2021

Closing out 2021

Thursday, December 16th, 2021

We’re up on the wall of the gym at Goshen!

The school made everyone dumplings to try at Salem-Liberty, a HUGE undertaking!

Getting one of the assemblies set at Royal Manor

One of the groups at Stiles – I’ve been doing multiple sessions at most schools because of distancing for Covid

Such a sweet letter from Prairie Norton!

Beautiful, historic Centenary United Methodist

One of the groups in the library at Slate Hill – they were so good!

Anna got her ears pierced for her birthday.

Ethan became a teenager with Key Lime Pie!

At Cornerstone Alliance Church

Holt Intermediate

At Marysville Grace

This has been a challenging year. And as I’m writing this, we are seeing the Omicron variant of Covid 19 on the horizon and no one knows what it means. It’s very disheartening in so many ways as we really thought we might be getting a bit more “back to normal” and now who knows. But in the midst of that reality, there is hope. I am very grateful for the Lord.

This past two years has taught me yet again that we are not in control, that we can try so hard to protect ourselves (and I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t!) but ultimately, we are not in control. And so I lay my fear and worry at the feet of the Lord, because He does know the big picture we can’t see, and in the end, He wins. I believe His promises, and they are bigger than my circumstances. I’m grateful for a more “normal” fall all things considered, and I’m going to choose to be thankful for that time and not worry about the future. “For who by worrying has added one hour to his life?” (Matt. 6:27) “Tomorrow will worry about itself.” (Matt 6:34)

The last two months have been really busy, as in literally events every day for several weeks, so here’s a little round-up for historical purposes. 🙂

Nov. 3rd I visited Goshen Lane Elementary School in Gahanna. This school has incredible diversity, and I loved watching so many kiddos become the “cool kid” because they knew how to make dumplings and saw themselves represented in our book.

Nov. 4th I was on the Chris Ayotte Show on WMUZ in Detroit in the afternoon, and then drove a couple of hours to be with Salem-Liberty Elementary for their Family Reading Night with “Dumplings.” I’ve been with Chris before, and he just does a fantastic job with an interview, just a pleasure. Then Salem-Liberty was so interesting, a complete change from the day before as it was completely rural, set in the foothills of Appalachia, completely white, and an area where families have lived for generations. They made dumplings for everyone to try, and it was the first time for the entire audience. They were so kind to me, and open to new ideas.

Nov. 5th I was back in my hometown over on the east side in Gahanna at Royal Manor Elementary. Another very diverse school, so many incredible questions, and just a very engaged audience. I came home and immediately did a radio interview for WTGN promoting our weekend events.

Nov. 7th I went up to Lima, OH and did a couple of worship services speaking at Union Chapel for Orphan Sunday. I was so touched by the incredible response of this church to sponsor our Compassion kids! Truly amazing. This is a rural area that has been hit hard, and they people really responded sacrificially which was amazing.

Nov 8th I taped an episode for “The Big Impact” which is a podcast and television show out of Michigan with Bill Hobson. Bill was adopted and he had some very insightful questions.

Nov. 9th and 11th I was at Stiles and Prairie Norton Elementary Schools on the southwest side of Columbus. These schools share a librarian and are also very diverse, Title 1 schools. I absolutely loved these kiddos, and my favorite was a girl who ran up to tell me that she loved my book because she had had 7 families, and she was finally getting adopted in 2 weeks! She was so precious. I also loved this librarian’s fierce commitment to her kiddos, it really showed.

This week I also shot a video for our author visits to be able to do a “digital visit” where live timing wouldn’t be necessary as I had had that requested several times.

Nov. 13th I did a one day retreat on Esther at Centenary United Methodist out in Granville, OH. These ladies were fantastic. It was a smaller group, but they were just so joyful to be together!! Covid had cancelled our previous plans, and I was so glad to finally meet them.

Nov. 17th I stayed local and did an author visit at a school just around the corner from me at Slate Hill Elementary. This was SO fun as I actually knew a few of the kids and teachers! We were packed into the library, but I actually really loved it – I could see all their little faces (above the masks)!

Nov. 22nd I was live on the air for an hour on KLFC on “Good Morning Ozarks!” This show covers all of Missouri and a good bit of the surrounding states as well, and those hosts were definitely lively!

That week was also Thanksgiving and Anna’s birthday, so we had a fabulous time celebrating her and also getting to have our daughter Rachel home from college for a bit!

Nov. 28th I guest-led worship at St. Luke Lutheran in Gahanna. This is a church I’ve been to many times before, and they (like so many churches!) have been hit hard by the pandemic. I was so happy to get to see them again as I love their pastor and we have some dear adoption friends who go here as well.

That entire next week I had a “virtual visit” with a huge school in Dayton OH, where they basically showed my video all week and then I answered questions via email and sent them signed books afterwards. We also had Ethan’s birthday this week, and celebrated twice so Rachel could get in on it a bit early and then again on the actual day.

Dec. 1st I also was on “Life Today” in Fort Worth Texas, and that was streamed on all their platforms. I feel like I’m getting a little TOO comfortable with this “being on TV but also in my office at home” situation – you forget how many people are watching!! That was also a fantastic show, and the host was pretty incredible.

Dec. 2nd I also did a ZOOM visit at Cassady Alternative Elementary, and those kiddos were hilarious. They were so excited about the stories from China that I could see them jumping and dancing at times, and everyone wanted more info on Emperor Qin!

Dec. 4th I drove up to Marion and did a Women’s Advent Breakfast for Cornerstone Alliance Church speaking on “There Will Be Joy.” I loved this – this is a wonderful tradition at this church that had also been derailed by Covid, and this year they really did have such joy to be together! Their organizer even made every single women (100’s of them!) their own “Joy” ornament to remind them of the day, so sweet!

Dec. 9th I was with Holt Intermediate School, again in the southwest part of Columbus. About 700 5th and 6th graders, but the challenge was to keep them distanced! So I had a couple hundred with me in the cafeteria, and then the rest tuned in from their classrooms. Another very diverse school and a great discussion.

Dec. 10th I did a beautiful event out in Marysville – their Women’s Advent Dessert, and I spoke on “A Night of Hope.” Two of my favorite things about speaking this year have been that 1. I never take it for granted and 2. Everything I teach reminds me of truths I need myself as well! I love this. And I’m going to be doing the women’s retreat for this church (Marysville Grace) in the spring, so I’m so glad I’ll get to see them all again!

Then this past week has been, let’s be honest, a completely frantic attempt to get Christmas planned!! I have six kids and extended families, and that means serious spreadsheets, but I am finally in a decent place, and that is why I have time to write this wrap up. 🙂

2022 is looking very busy right now, and I guess we’ll see how and if Omicron changes things and go from there. One thing that never changes, though, is the Lord. I hope this Christmas after this incredibly tumultuous year that you know Him, and that He is your hope and peace, and your foundation that is sure no matter the circumstances!