Newsletter – Volume 50


Newsletter – Volume 50

June 17, 2024

This Week

Confessions From the Back of the Pen
Meet Carol...

Harrison Butker, the kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs, created quite a stir by extolling the virtues of motherhood and marriage in a commencement speech he gave at Benedictine College. Who knew this would be so controversial? My wife Carol Van Waarde has taken great joy in her role as a mother and a pastor’s wife, which apparently makes her a legitimate modern-day Black Sheep Messenger.

I would not classify myself as your prototypical ‘black sheep’.  Apart from some minor rebellion in my teenage years, I have always appreciated rules, thinking they were there for good reason, and found myself at home within typical Christian circles.  I made a commitment to Christ in my high school youth group, attended a Christian college, and married a man who wanted to be pastor. That was actually a bigger hurdle for me, since I never imagined myself as a pastor’s wife.  But when you love someone, you make compromises and figure things out as you go.
When it came to being a mom, I wasn’t confident about my abilities.  I came from a broken home and don’t have many tender parent/daughter memories.  So, early in our marriage we had long conversations about when/if we would have children.  We waited five years, and by then God had prepared my heart for that next step. 
In college, Piet and I had mentors who shaped so much of who we were becoming, including their approach to marriage and family.  I remember one conversation where Mary said, “Every couple decides what kind of luxury they want to give their family, we decided to give our kids the luxury of a full-time mom.”  That really resonated with us and we made a similar decision.  I put my career aspirations on hold and decided that while the kids were at home, I would devote myself to being a full-time mom. And honestly it was a stretch for me, especially since I was far from any feeling like motherhood suited me. Piet was a busy pastor and we were far from family. So I read books, joined groups and faithfully listened to Focus on the Family.
Looking back, I feel so blessed having been able to give that kind of attention to being a wife and mother.  Like all families we had our hard times, but overall I feel such deep satisfaction at how our lives turned out. Motherhood eventually grew on me.  I have no regrets!  Especially when I look at what our kids are doing these days, I could not be prouder of them.
Now that they are off making their own unique contributions to the world, I have been able to do something I love, which is real estate. As a kid I loved pouring over house plans and designs, architecture and decor. My father introduced me to the phrase, “location, location, location” in elementary school. Now, as a realtor, I get to help people realize their dream of “home” and assist in selling or buying homes and investment property. 

Now, I’m in my fifth year in the business and have recently partnered with Jake Panko to form a new team under the banner of Lake LBJ Property Group.   I am very excited about this new venture and look forward to the opportunity to continue serving clients around Austin at Lake LBJ.
I believe God had a plan for me, it involved commitments to marriage and family first, and now the dream of serving people in the world of real estate has also come true.  Life is good! And I am grateful.

And if you happen to see Carol this week, you might wish her a Happy Birthday! On June 19th she celebrates another trip around the sun!

Word of the Week


Noun: The final part of something

Have you ever wondered why the Lord saw fit to make the end of a day so beautiful?  God has a purpose for all he does, so it would seem there is something important he is trying to say about endings.

It’s a bit ironic, because often we think of endings as something negative.  We typically don’t want things to be over – endings usually involve grieving about what’s been lost and lamenting about what didn’t get done.  And maybe this is God’s way of reminding us, it ain’t all bad!

  • Notice the good that was also done
  • Appreciate the experiences you had 
  • You got to live another day 
  • Count your blessings

A Book That That Has Encouraged Me

Now I Lay Me Down To Fight

Overview: When facing the darkness of our mortality and fragility, we need theologians, but we also – and more so – need poets. We need help to notice the hint of light in the darkness… who with pen in hand act as spelunkers, plunging into the dark caves of human experience, exploring what we would rather avoid… ~ Forward by Tish Harrison Warren

I have read a lot of books dealing with the topic of cancer, most of them from the technical or nutritional perspective. I craved the information. These books were essential to my healing journey. But of all the books I read this was the most timely. This is what I needed now. A book of poems about a person’s personal journey through cancer (written poetically). Part of what gave it such meaning for me was how she described her reason for doing it. She wrote, “I wrote these words for me, to survive. To fling out the fear and sadness onto a page where I could look at them and have more control and understanding. Where I could admit them and yell them and pray them.”

Love that and I can certainly identify!

Status Report

A Month Later

I like this illustration, because it’s a reminder about the power and significance of focus. There are times in life when a certain ‘thing’ must be the central focus – education, kids, work, health, marriage, debt-reduction, home, rest…

In this last season, I’ve had to become ‘OK’ with recovery being the primary focus of every day. I’m 4 full weeks away from my last surgery at Mayo. I am certainly better off than I was a month ago. But progress is way too slow for my liking. Still on the 4, 2, 9:30 plan. And besides that, I can typically take on one other project each day.

This past weekend, Carol and I were supposed to be in SC with our extended family to celebrate my niece’s wedding. We decided it would be best to cancel. Bummed about missing. Even though it was the right call.

I’m still working on being a more patient patient. Wish things were different and better. But I’m also grateful that there is progress and although recovery is the primary focus right now, I know it’s for the sake of other (more enjoyable and meaningful) things being the focus three months from now.

An Act of Service That Has Moved Me Deeply

Mowing the Lawn

Bill is a friend, who is also one of the hardest workers I know. He is a fellow motorcycle enthusiast and manages the facilities of the church I attend – which is a huge job. He is cheerful and gracious. AND every Friday (for the last five weeks) he has shown up at my house and mowed my lawn – on his day-off!

On my first week back home, I had a chance to meet him after he finished and thank him for his servant-spirit. He just flashed a broad smile (already sweating from the Texas heat) and said, “No problem, Piet! Glad to help!” I had to hold back the tears. His parting response? “Piet, can I pray for ya?” And a beautiful prayer was prayed.

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