Jen Hatmaker posted this on her facebook/instagram a few days ago….

jen hatmaker

This is the opening quote to my new book (releases August 2017):

“Many people between the ages of thirty and sixty – whatever their stature in the community and whatever their personal achievements – undergo what can truly be called a second journey. The second journey begins when we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the morning program.” ~Brennan Manning

Just a reminder to you today, dear ones: You do not have to be who you first were. As long as you are still breathing air, you have permission to change, shift, take a whole new path, unpeel a long-held label, embrace new ideas, take a crazy risk, drop some old baggage, turn the page, turn the corner.

You may discover around our age that you can no longer live according to the morning program of your life, AND THAT IS OKAY. That early version of yourself, that season you were in, even the phase you are currently experiencing – it is all good or purposeful or at least useful and created a fuller, nuanced you and contributed to your life’s meaning – but you are not stuck in a category just because you were once branded that way. Just because something WAS does not mean it will ALWAYS BE.

It may be time to change the program for the afternoon portion of your life. Maybe everyone knows you a certain way, in a certain ideology, in a certain job, or in a certain tribe. More than likely, there are many wonderful elements to that place and you in it.

Something doesn’t have to be bad to be over.

But maybe that season has given you everything it has to offer; it shaped and developed you, it stretched and inspired you. You’ve deeply incorporated its lasting values, and this place has been true to you and of you. Even then, you STILL have full permission to move forward or move on to something new, different, surprising, or risky.

Here’s to the afternoon program, friends. May we be bold enough to embrace it ourselves and gracious enough to allow our people to embrace theirs.


I read this and it struck right to my core.

I am in a funky season right now.

I hope one day I look back at that sentence and laugh.

I have been mourning what is no more and clinging to it so tightly that I am missing the present.

My word for the year is Purposeful.  And as I watch life unfold around me right now, I am trying to be Present and Purposeful.

And one thing is VERY apparent.

I can not live this afternoon program following the morning schedule.

My morning schedule was home all day, every day with four boys.  Thanks to timehop and facebook memories,  I can see I bemoaned cleaning my house only to have totally covered in mud and legos later that day.  I could go a solid week and never leave my house.  My boys and I were living adventure after adventure and I was able to blog it all regularly.

Fast forward to today.  I am weary of people asking “How are you?” because my answer is ALWAYS “BUSY!”  And when they look at my calendar they say, “Oh. My.  I thought I was busy.”

Today I have one boy that is so rarely home that I often feel his friends eat at home with us more than he does.  It’s all good things.  He works early and he visits with others late and when he arrives home my heart does a happy little dance because he is home and my four are all together.  I feel at peace.

That is happening less and less because…

All the boys are not because one is gone to football training.

And two are outdoors playing baseball.  Or, as when I am writing this, at the school learning to fly RC airplanes.

All good things!

I looked at my scattered little group and thought my adventure was over.  That somehow I have been so busy doing cleaning and laundry and dishes and cooking upon cooking that I missed them growing up and now I am saying “Wait!  Wait!  I’m not ready!  Come back!”

I would look at this one family photo of us so much and think how perfect that time was.  How wonderful.  And I didn’t even appreciate it. I looked at the photo and mourned my time gone.  I had to move the photo.  It was too much.

I then avoided timehop.  I avoided facebook memories.  I mourned what was lost.

And then, I don’t know why, I realized I still had time.  Hello?!  My boys are actually still living at home.  My adventure isn’t over.  It’s just changed.  Changed dramatically, yes.  But not gone.

But also not here to last forever.

Snap out!  Get to living!  Embrace life!

So at night I go out and watch them play baseball.  I’ve even attempted to throw and hit and that was sort of traumatic and scary.

If they want a beach day, I take them even if it means I don’t get some time I really feel I need at home.  Not that I give them everything they want, I just find myself saying yes whenever I can more often.

I get up early and have coffee with my oldest son every single morning.  These have become precious times.  They last all of about 15 minutes but I refuse to miss them.

In the afternoon, when the day is winding down, I will sit with my boys who are home and we just talk about our day or what they did or I listen to them tell me about some show they just watched or listened to.

My time isn’t gone.  It’s just changed.

Also, my house is messier now than it was before.  Just different messy.  Because instead of picking up, I am sitting down and engaging.

When I go to the Bible study I am a part of, I am the “old mom”.  The one who people introduce as, “She had four little boys and see, she survived!”

I did.  I did use to have four little boys.  But now they are all getting so grown up.

It’s fun to see their personalities emerge more.  See the men they are becoming.

But oh, my mama heart aches.  My mama heart has cried writing this.

I did not know how I am supposed to blog when I don’t have all four boys to tell a story about.  Like we are broken up, somehow.  If all four boys aren’t all together with me, how can I be LIFE WITH FOUR BOYS?

But I read this and it just went right to me.

Ah, yes, I was beginning to figure this out. But Jen put words to what I was feeling.  I was living on morning schedule for my afternoon program.

If I would be Present and Purposeful in this moment, well, I wouldn’t be missing an adventure, would I?

Isn’t all of life some sort of an adventure?

last day of school 16

I mean, I am glad I am not the person I was when I first began blogging and oh thank God my writing has improved.  And one day I will look at this and think WHAT WAS I THINKING?  THANK GOODNESS my writing has improved!

I am not the person I was back then.  Who wants to stay the same?  You should ALWAYS be growing and changing and improving and learning.  If you stay exactly the same, here’s something you need to know: YOU HAVE PROBLEMS. Let’s face them, deal with them, learn and move on.   Example: as a mom, I can’t be holding my son’s hand and kissing his booboo’s when he is obviously driving and working a man’s job.  I have to change as a mom!

And my boys may not race down the beach with Tonka Trucks anymore and I may not be following behind them lugging nearly every toy box toy we owned plus swimming diapers (that I was praying would not get filled with poo because oh my goodness those are the WORST diapers to change!) and fall into an exhausted heap on the beach in hopes I could regain enough energy to pack up when we left.  Those WERE exhausting times.

Yes, they were great times.

But these times right now are pretty darn good too.  And I can’t loose sight of that.

I think I did.

Time to embrace that new adventure.

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5 Responses to Time for Afternoon Programming

  1. Ron - Arkansas says:

    For many years in speaking with men, I have spoken on this very thing. – Don’t miss the preciousness of the moment because you’re racing to the future! Our kids as you know, grow all to fast, and they’ll be gone before you know it. – Don’t miss experiencing them while you still have them. The coolest thing in all this is, you will experience them in different stages, and even as different people in your years together. Learn to appreciate each stage because none of them last that long. – Good writing Denise!

  2. Regina Shettler says:

    Denise, this was a wonderful blog post. You captured it perfectly!

  3. carla hansen says:

    Being a planner this hit right on! I remind myself a million times a day to SLOW DOWN, live in the moment, make that memory. Thank you!

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