Ode to My Man, Chilly

He’s Chilly.

It’s his birthday today.

We meet 24 years ago this month.

He’s encouraged me countless times since then.

He’s cracked me up countless more times!

He’s pushed & inspired me  to live stronger.

He is just what I need.

He’s pushed & inspired many, many others to live stronger.

He’s held up a high standard… preached it and lived it!

He’s unafraid to tackle to the controversial issues;

doesn’t shy away speaking the truth, even if it ticks off those convicted

He is bold and real.

His commitment to his family never comes into questions…

He puts us first.

The stereo-typical-pastor he is NOT… I’m so grateful!

He is dedicated to us.

His humor &  ability to find it in a multitude of settings keeps

life from being boring & “regular.”

He is humorous!

He leads with the courage to forge new paths

but also with the compassion that breeds love & courage in those who follow.

His temper is never lost; calm but passionate.

He is a reflection of Christ’s leadership.

He is the one who we celebrate today.

The birthday boy, the one I love.

He is My Man!

Happy Birthday, Chilly!



That was years ago! Ode to Mariah



She was born all pink & sorta pudgy…

she’d make a cute little “birdy beak” with her mouth if she was hungry

and if we noticed that little birdy face soon enough she wouldn’t even cry.

That was 19 years ago.

She’s still beautiful, not pudgy, and is slow to complain.

She’d smiled often. Laugh easily. Stand up on a little chair & sing out

countless songs of happy praise to Jesus.

That was years ago…

but she still does all those things (well, everything

except for standing on little chairs!)


When she was a toddler/preschooler, our youth ministry was hundreds of students

in Youngstown Ohio &  she was in the thick of it… and assumed that ALL

teenagers in the entire city were “her REPO kids!”  I had to watch her

carefully in the mall cuz she’d manuver her stroller closer to teens

and then just chat it up with them… even if they were complete strangers.

(She opened the doors for us some great conversations that way).

That was years ago.

But today she can still be found talking to strangers about the love of Jesus.

Her elementary school teachers loved her cuz she was nice to everyone.

So nice that the she was purposely seated next to the “class trouble maker”

for three straight years because she could “handle him and get him to

settle down & do his work!”  (And then she had to deal with him at home, too,

cuz he lived one house down from us!)

That was years ago.

But she’s still a kind, smiling face to a variety of people.


After completely her first year of Jr. High, God moved us to Detroit… and

her homeschool career began. It wasn’t easy, but she worked at the transition

with a smile (even when tears filled her eyes). Soon after, when I was

sentenced to “bed rest” for weeks while I was pregnant with her brother,

she stepped up and became the family cook as a 7th grader.

That was years ago.

Now she braces & faces transition with faith… and can totally rock it in the kitchen.


This list could go on… and on & on.

Years worth of stories and memories.

Yes, this beautiful person entered our lives 19 years ago.

And today we celebrate her!

We celebrate, you, Mariah.

Being your Mom is a total JOY!

I loves you years ago,

I love you now.

I’ll love you always!

Happy Nineteenth Birthday!






Ode to the Couch Cushions

It’s raining outside… AGAIN!
So.. couch cushions have become many, many things…
A bouncy (aka “Moon Walk”)
A stage for all types of musical talents to be showcased
An Olympic Diving platform (thanks to the sturdy
coffee table nearby)
A reason to make up some funny names from some far-away
countries while you pretend to be in the Olympics
A balance beam
A bridge across a raging river
A boat lost at sea
A excuse for little boys to take off their shirts cuz they’re
A high flying plane crossing foreign continents
A good cause for sister to put on her swimsuit
A giant drum set
and many more… yet to be thought of

He’d be Proud! ( Ode to my DAD)

My Dad…
any of you who knew him remember that
he was quite a character. He’d make ya smile,
find something funny to say to make ya relax
and cheer you on in whatever
you were doing.

I know that he’s be proud today.
It was 11 years ago today that
my Dad saw Jesus, face to face.
I miss him… If he were alive he’d be proud.

(Leonard Hoke, Sr.)

He’d be Proud of…
(in no particular order)

– My daughter, Riley, playing softball, working hard, having
a wonderful attitude (and being more athletic than her Mom!)
Dad was “Joe-Jock” during his own high school years-
basketball star!

-My daughter, Courtney, who is artsy, creative, thoughtful,
funny & kind. Dad would draw the silliest little faces & say the
most unexpected things (even during church… sorry Pastor Mickley,
but it’s true! But you probably knew that already) hee hee

– My daughter, Zoe, who is so full of LIFE, ideas and has a natural
way of organizing and including people in things. Dad was a
leader; the kind that people enjoyed following cuz he was fun &
made them feel appreciated.

-My son, Maximus, for being so sweet and gentlemanly.
Dad hugged everyone, held the doors open, always found things
to compliment in others and had a warm smile… just like Max!

-My son, Chase, for loving music, singing his little lungs out about
Jesus and for wearing his glasses crocked! Dad played the guitar,
loved to sing and the glasses thing… yeah, it must be hereditary.

-My husband, Chilly, for being the pioneer pastor who isn’t afraid to
start something that others haven’t even considered let alone have
courage to actually do. If he were on earth, he’d be listening to
Chilly’s sermons each week and tell all the other guys at the
coffee shop about’um.

– His 2nd daughter, me, for decoupaging the pages of one of his
Bibles to the tabletops in the coffee house at Real Church.
Dad loved JESUS and he REALLY liked coffee (hmm, sounds like
the guy I married!). Many men over the years heard of Jesus’ love
over a cup of coffee during a “coffee break!” (old term, I know)

There’s a ZiLLION more things that would make’um proud… that
would also include my extended family, too, but hey, I only have so much
time & can type only so fast!

If my Dad were to pop back to earth for a moment today, I’m convinced
that he’d tell you, “Submit your life to JESUS! It’s ALL worth it!”

I miss ya, Daddy! But my family & I serve Jesus with all our heart, soul,
mind & strength.
We’ll see you again… someday!