Happiest Place on Earth

Happiest Place on Earth

Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas Letter 2017

Dear Friends and Family,

It looks like it’s almost Christmas time again.  I’m not sure why I’m surprised every single year!

How about some stats since we last wrote:

Phil and Lisa celebrated 20 years of marriage in August.  Phil continues to work for USPS, which means we haven’t seen him in weeks, since everyone… everywhere… orders all of their Christmas presents online!    L accepted a new position as Director of Family Ministries at Asbury UMC in Portland, IN, in July.  So we moved to a house located in the middle of a pig and chicken farm.  Life is funny.  She has also enjoyed being a part of the editing team for the book, Uncontrolling Love, which was released this summer.  As part of the book launch tour, she traveled coast to coast and her feet touched both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in the same week.  That was a highlight!  We are looking forward to “sacred days” between Christmas and New Year’s, when the whole family will go “missing” for awhile from everyone except each other…  

 Seth turned 17 in September.  He remains involved in teen Bible quizzing and continues to enjoy Lego, art, reading, and baking, which is a very good thing, because someone has to feed us in the midst of our busy schedules!  Seth is a Junior in high school, this year.  He is very helpful with generally keeping everyone on track from day to day, and he is looking forward to finishing up his school curriculum as quickly as possible! 

Grace, also a Junior, turned 16 in October.  She fills our house with piano music and teaches piano lessons, as well.  We have come to realize that it is a great asset that she learned to play guitar, because that means we have mobile live music and can throw her into all kinds of random and spontaneous predicaments.  She also continues to quiz and writes even more than her mom.

Caleb is in 8th grade and launched us into the “families with three teenagers” category when he turned 13 in May.  Following in his siblings footsteps, he made two all star quiz teams this year.  He has recently developed an interest in drafting and architecture, which means Grandpa is bringing him all of his equipment, like drafting tables and such.  He is helpful with tech related stuff for children’s Sunday School, and he remains the “go to” guy when his younger siblings need anything (even in the middle of the night). 

At age 10 (almost 11), Ian continues to be the spice of life at our house!  He is in 5th grade and has begun to tell people that he plans to be a theological paleontologist when he grows up, which apparently means he intends to discover the back-story of the history of the world.  If anyone can do it, it’s Ian.  He is thrilled to have his own room for the first time ever, and we have discovered that he has definitely always been the source of the mess.    

Miah turned 7 in March and is technically in 2nd grade, although she likes to tell everyone about her third and fourth grade schoolwork.  She is so full of life and love and keeps us all on our toes!  We are continually amazed at just how much we needed this bringer of all things rainbows, glitter, and unicorns into our lives!  She loves Lego, wants to be an OBGYN when she grows up, and moonlights as “Pastor M Squared,” preparing sermons and worship services for which only my (L’s) mini-me #2 could be responsible.

We’ve had an incredible year of travel, heartache, blessing, tears (happy and sad), and decisions.  It’s the stuff real life is made of.  Somewhere along the line, I heard a quote about how, in this age of social media, we are all comparing our practice tapes to everyone else’s highlight reels.  Christmas letters are highlight reels, too, friends, but rest assured.  This year has been just as real for us as it has been for all of you.  Because of this, we ask that you continue to pray for us as we navigate life, day after day.

May love overwhelm you in the coming year.

Phil, Lisa, Seth, Grace, Caleb, Ian, and Miah Michaels


Ecclesiastes 3:12:

“I know that there is nothing better
for people

than to be happy and to do good while they live” (NIV).

Monday, February 13, 2017

Stay the Course

I don’t do anything halfway, but sometimes it doesn’t matter.  Sometimes, even when you put everything you can and everything you are into something, it still doesn’t work out.  But friends, I really stink at rejection. 

I saw a quote the other day that went like this:

“The woman who does not require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet.” -Mohadesa Najumi

Of course, I loved it immediately; because that’s the kind of person I want to be.  Heck, sometimes I even embody this.  But I knew I couldn’t claim to be this person, today, because within moments of reading the rejection letter that crossed the screen in front of my eyes, I was looking at another message, from one of my dearest friends, which read, “I love you.  You’re enough.”

And let’s be real, if your closest friends respond like that, it’s because they know how very, very badly you need the validation.

So, quite honestly, I’m sitting here tonight weighing the risks of vulnerability.  There is a deep part of me that knows I would benefit from a crushing hug and as many words of affirmation as the people who know me best could offer.  Seriously, hundreds of thousands of words would be helpful.  But I am also terrified that any degree of human contact might cause me to shatter into so many pieces I will never be able to pick them all up again.  And it absolutely comes from feeling as if I am not enough.  Because today, I wasn’t.

It’s only been a few days since I blogged and assured the Internet world that I was going to be OK, one way… or another… or another…  And I am.  But I suddenly can’t remember what ‘Plan B’ was.  I think I need permission to fall apart for just a little while.

I put an awful lot of myself into ‘staying a course’ that no longer exists.  The road has shifted underneath my feet, and I need a minute to forge a new path.  Just a minute…


Wednesday, January 4, 2017


Some Things I Loved About Today...

1. My breakfast smiled at me.
2. Having coffee at my favorite local coffee place…
2a. with one of my favorite people…
2b. while totally rocking my unicorn laptop and tie-dye tennis shoes.
3. Finishing the rough draft of my manuscript!!!!!
4. Returning home briefly to get the whole family packed for the next adventure… which includes being bowled over by Caleb and Miah, at the door…

This Verse:

“And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14b, ESV).


Tuesday, January 3, 2017


Some Things I Loved About Today...

1. Making a new stick family (since many of us have recently been beheaded on the back of the Nazarene Limousine)…
2. Putting together a few more sharable safety pins. If you need one, I have plenty. Apparently creativity appeals today...
3. Writing… and writing… and writing… (My latest work has reached enough words to be classified as a novel, but I’m not quite finished. Perhaps tomorrow the rough draft will be ready.)

This Quote (So timely…):

“Never annoy an inspirational author or you will become the poison in her pen and the villain in every one of her books.” –Shannon L. Alder

This Verse:

Genesis 28:15 “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”