Friday, February 2, 2024

The Balancing Groundhog

This last year was a balance of joy and sorrow, laughter and mourning, peace and discord. I see our smiling faces and happy hearts in these family photos we took on our Charleston vacation, and think about how just two weeks later we'd turn with heavy hearts toward Texas as our beloved Papa was holding on to hear our last goodbyes. Releasing Todd's dad Ralph was a mix of relief that he was no longer suffering, and grief for the loss of the father and grandfather we loved. 

And in the days since, we've learned to balance the great happiness of our blessings with the weight that things aren't yet as they should be. We've seen the worst sides of ourselves and the best, we've been angry and overwhelmed with peace. We've hated death and we've loved life. We've been lonely and we've been embraced. It's been a hard year, and a good year. We've despaired, and yet we hope.

"...and this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. " - Romans 5:5

I hope our highs and lows of 2023 lift your spirits and encourage you that beyond smiling faces, folks like us are balancing great joy and real struggles. And with us, may you know and believe the love God has for you, and may Jesus bring you lasting peace. 


Wednesday, February 1, 2023

The Capricious Groundhog

Warning: excessive nautical metaphors, again ⚓

Throughout this year, Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide has been on repeat in my mind (and in the car as often as the kids will tolerate it):

🎶 Can I sail through the changin' ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
Well, I've been afraid of changin'
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older too…🎶

A lot has changed since this time last year when Todd’s Navy ship on the other side of the globe had just begun to make their headings home, and the home he’d be returning to was upside down in tearful difficulties and intimidating challenges. 🌊

But we’re better for having crossed that sea and come out with new hope on our horizon. 🌅

One of the biggest shifts for us was after over a decade of home-educating our kiddos, we shoved them off to the new waters of traditional school. And on the very same day the kids started school, I began my first day in a decade with a traditional 8-to-3 job! 🛟

For this and many other changing tides, praise God for Captaining us to these new seas and putting fresh wind in our sails! ⛵️

Read all about it in our annual family update below and have the happiest Happy Groundhog Day! 💌🐿️

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

The Finish Line 🏁


I’ve been running a marathon—no, not that kind (ha, ha: me run?😆) but rather a long, winding course that started late this summer and ends in just hours.

Todd’s been on active duty orders for almost a year, deployed overseas for the last seven months, and is headed home soon—I never made a countdown because the days seemed either too long and overwhelmed me, or passing too quickly and it strained me for all the “to-do’s” that I never got done (and pounds that I never dropped, dangit). 

As Providence would arrange it, my neighbor-friend Jody and I signed up for an 8K race months ago long before I knew Todd’s return date. We’ve been walking the neighborhood once a week for “training” but really for chatting, praying, and moral support for the real stuff of life. 

She’s the same neighbor who rallied our entire block to have meals delivered to my family once a week for the entirety of Todd’s overseas deployment. If you only knew how many times I wept from the mercy that arrived on my doorstep every time the kids and I needed an extra helping of grace. Our simple-church, family, and community of friends were like the 8K volunteers holding out cold cups of hydration for runners as they race by. A drop of water does wonders for the weary.

So here comes our 8K and I injured my foot (showing off at an old school skating rink, of course). I could forfeit, I could cop out, I could leave Jody to race alone, but she grabbed my race number and picked me up Sunday morning. We were in the corral about to start the 8K and I’m celebrating the half-marathoners as they trot, stumble, jog, and walk across their finish line, when I realized that this silly walk Jody and I signed up for was screaming the metaphor of the last several months: I’m five miles from my finish line and the crowd of witnesses has energized me to not just walk, but run. 

Listen: I don’t run. I have asthma and growing up my P.E. coaches always gave me permission to walk the backstops to catch my breath or puff my inhaler. But with Jody beside me and the end in sight, we started with a jog, walked a mile, ran another, and crossed the halfway mark unashamedly singing, 🎶Whoa! We’re halfway there, whoa-oh, livin on a prayer! Take my hand, we’ll make it I swear, whoa-oh, livin on a prayer!🎶 Yes, all those prayers y’all prayed and loving thoughts y’all shared kept my feet moving (even at my fumbly tortoise pace)!

Along this metaphorical course were myriad friends and family who cheered us on, ran with me, limped with me, stopped for a swig with me, and challenged me to put my eyes up and keep running. I’m teary-eyed recounting the ways so many of you have supported us along the way and shared our burdens and joys as we approach the finish line. 

And y’all, here’s the whole course from a bird’s eye, without exaggerating or uber-spiritualizing: I’ve only made it this far in my race because of the nearness and kindness of God who loves me despite my awful running gait and my wimpy faith. Jesus is my strength, my energy, and my soft place to land after a hard run. He’s real and I know this all the more because I had to run a race I wasn’t fit for. He’s everything to me. And he got me through this short race to the finish line, legs lurching and lungs screaming. 

Late tonight, my airplane lands on the west coast and I’ll see my husband who I love with all of me and have missed terribly. This deployment was a tough course and was easily the hardest year as a mother that I’ve had yet. Tonight I get to run across the terminal and be with my life partner and best friend, and we’ll finally get back to running side by side to Jesus our true prize…


…okay maybe him running and me rollerblading because let’s be frank: as beautiful as the metaphor is, running sucks! 

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.”

‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭4:7-8‬

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Groundhog Greetings! News from the Frues 2019

Happy Groundhog Day! Considering that we no longer live in the Polar Vortex and we have to worry more about mosquito bites than frostbite, the BBQ smoker has been working all night long on brisket and pulled pork, and when everything is smokin' hot, the neighbors are moseying over for a backyard barbecue to celebrate our favorite holiday! So while we get our grub on, I hope you enjoy our Groundhog Greetings!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Groundhog Greetings 2018!

It's been unusually cold 'round here lately, therefore much like a groundhog's shuffle out of his home to sense perhaps a sign of spring, today I emerged to deliver our annual letter to our neighbors with an appreciative deep breath of the fresh mid-seventies Florida air. For those of you who shoveled snow to exit their home today, I send warm hugs and our little letter here to perhaps warm your heart. Happy Groundhog Day!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Happy Groundhog Day 2017!

I'll be honest: the fate of Punxatawney Phil's winter prediction bears much less weight this year, considering my need to apply sunscreen today in sunny Florida! But that doesn't change our appreciation for our beloved groundhog and the News from the Frues that he delivers each year to our dear family and friends! Enjoy the update: a lot has changed but God's loving care for our family certainly hasn't!

(click on photo to zoom newsletter)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Groundhoggity Day 2016!

The forecasters have been bracing us for a Groundhog Day Snowstorm...apparently these happen every so often.  I'm not sure how I'll deliver our annual family newsletter to our neighbors today without my sled and dog team, so I'll post it online and call it done ;) I hope you have a snuggly warm Groundhog Day--here's some reading material while you wait for the snow plows to pass through!

Oh and hey, I had the terrifying joy of standing at a microphone to Air My Dirty Laundry with some women at Bethlehem Baptist Church and believe me, my anxiety level approaching that pulpit could have been measured in Richters. I shared with them what I originally blogged here in August (see above link), but if you'd like to listen to my voice crack, here is the link to the audio from, thanks BBC.  And here is an edited-for-sound link, thanks Tony.