Back to normal?

We started getting lots of pictures like this – people making the dumpling recipe from the new kid’s book. This may be my favorite, though – you can’t argue with the technique of actually standing ON the table.

In a cave in Kentucky

Visiting Rachel during summer research up in Michigan.

Fun on the beach of Lake Michigan with Nathan’s family.

WIth my friend Erin, a teacher at one of the schools I did an author visit for.

The amazing front porch at the retreat center where I spoke near Philadelphia.

The sweet sign Anna made us when we got home from the retreat – we aren’t used to be apart anymore!

So. Much. Cross-country. Here’s Toby (front, left)

And Ethan.

Ethan and Anna distribuing moon cake for Mid-Autumn Festival

Speaking at the Carlisle Inn in Amish country.

Some of the kiddos at Worthington Hills Elementary during my author visit.

One of our fun outings with A Kid Again – this was a Columbus Crew game.

What a weird world we continue to live in. Last year my kids were all in online school because of Noah’s medical situation. This year we decided to go back to school since the boys could all get vaccinated, but we didn’t realize vaccines would take so long for Anna when we made the decision. Then there was the national debate on masking in schools, and we were so tense for a while – for our family, it’s not optional, and we understand that people have different circumstances, but for us it really was the difference between being able to go to school or not. All the kids were so relieved to be back – they really missed their friends and teachers, and everyone was sick of trying to learn in a class of one.

My speaking also started coming back more and more. We saw it some in the spring, and obviously events are smaller than they used to be, but I am finally not cancelling everything, and that is a relief. We’ve also had some really great coverage for the book, and that has been so fun!

Here’s a snapshot of some of the last few months:

In June we took a family vacation for the first time since Covid, exploring the hiking and caves in Kentucky. Later in that month we also headed up to Michigan to see our daughter Rachel who was doing summer research at her college – we have missed her so much this year, and I knew I could never make it through the summer without seeing her too! We got some precious time with her and with Nathan’s family as well, and also got to go to the fantastic beach at Lake Michigan.

In July I was featured on the “Success Made to Last” podcast with the book and also on “This Day,” a TV show on WATC shot in Atlanta. Toby was also able to go back to volunteering at the zoo which is something he really missed last year, and at the end of the month we celebrated 4 years with Ethan and Anna!

In August, Ethan and Toby started back to cross country practice, and all the kids went back to school in person. I also had my first author visit for Dumplings Mean Family of the school year, this one actually at a church for their whole Sunday School program at Linworth Baptist Church. I was also featured in Crossroad Magazine, on KCFY with the book, and in the American Family Association’s book reviews.

In September I was featured on TCT Television’s “Prayer on Purpose” and also on Christian Life Radio. That month, I also had a fantastic time speaking at a retreat near Philadelphia for the entire region of the Churches of God. I went with my mom, and it was such joy to be back at a camp, doing what I love! I really didn’t know if I would be getting to do things like that again at some points in this journey, and it was so lovely. The theme was “He is the Potter.”

And finally, this last month has been busy and wonderful. We celebrated Mid-Autumn Festival which is a Chinese holiday, and then I did an author visit at Worthington Hills Elementary – such a fabulous school! Then I headed out to do a retreat with some of my favorite people for the Evangelical Friends Regional event up in Amish country which is gorgeous. It was so fun to catch up with them, and I spoke on “U-Turn, Trusting God When Life Changes Direction.”

Later, we got to take a super secret family trip, and also had a couple of very fun experiences provided by the amazing organization A Kid Again – they work with families whose children have serious medical conditions, and they have been such a blessing!! We also watched tons of cross country, went trick or treating, and I was able to be back on the amazing show The Meeting House with Bob Crittendon – I absolutely love that show!

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