Deane's Blog


Birthday Q & A

Deane Watters12 Comments

November 17 rolled around again this year. I keep track of this date because on it, I become another year older. This happens every 365 days! I wonder how so many November 17th's have come and gone but I'm glad to still be here with reasons to live, to keep growing and to continue learning. I love my birthday because it is a day to remember all the good in my life, recall the many events of the year, and receive cards or calls from people who are special to me. Often I am given very kind words on my birthday. This is the best because often people are full of words that just don't get out of their mouths until this one special day, so I look forward  to receiving the ways people will express themselves. I know, kind of quirky, but words are important and expressing feelings are equally significant as we try to get along and encourage one another. As a fun way to remember this November 17, 2016, I've conducted an interview with myself.

What have you been thinking about lately? 

This year at church, our Women’s Ministry team is exploring the theme of REST. I find myself digging into books, sometimes only a chapter of a book, trying to comprehend what it means to be at rest, to honor Sabbath rest, to resist the urge to continue, to remember it doesn’t all depend on me. How I came to attach myself to the hard-work-ethic, I just don't quite remember, but I want to step away from it to be a more peace filled person and to acknowledge God's work. Emily Freeman wrote: "Rest is allowing the present to be imperfect"  She adds: "Rest is not for later." There is so much more to experience and understand about rest and I am an eager learner. I am not a rester. I am not a slow-downer. I am not a napper. I'm really not very chill. But I am choosing to try to ease up a bit, to become a bit more unhurried to recognize that everything does not depend on me. I have a God who is happy to take that role.

Explain your chosen word for 2016.

Beloved has been my word for the past eleven months. I have chosen to live loved in 2016. (I believe that the feeling of being unloved and, therefore, unlovable, is the root of much unhappiness.) I have decided to remember that God loves me with a love that is mysterious; one that hides me, comforts me, challenges me, renews me, makes me brave, humbles me, teaches me and keeps me as a little child with a Father who knows and loves me. There is strength in knowing I am not alone to figure it all out. He is with me. More than that, He knows and loves me.




What do you like about your life right now?

I love being a grandma. It has been so delightful to see personalities emerge from these little people. To see Lucy run to me when we first meet after a few weeks with complete joy on her face, just fills me up. To walk with Charles as he calls me Manga and to watch his little eyes light up and to hear as his language develops. To start the relationship with Annie, to see her starting to know who I am, and to see her little eyes sparkle with self determination. They create such joy; it is hard to describe. I love that the whole family lives only two hours away and that I get to babysit sometimes so that Rachel can do her work without worry.

Our family gathers for holidays. Preparing for those times by creating delicious meals enables us to sit around the table several times a day where I can see them all at once and recall how blessed I am that they are all there in one place, eating, talking, laughing and being a family.

I’m also thankful that Brian is retired. I love sitting across from him at breakfast, talking about whatever is on our minds. He listens well and asks questions and we read a devotional and pray together.  We are both hard workers in different ways and we each respect the other’s need to engage in meaningful work.

I love that I sometimes meet a friend for coffee, and I that I have opportunities to lead:  classes at House of Hope, Women’s Ministry Team at our church, our women’s Sunday school class and that I get to mentor several lovely ladies.

I love that Hannah & Greg & Moby live so close. Hannah brings me a lot of joy just by being Hannah.


List a few memorable moments in 2016

  • Sitting in the cardiologist’s office and hearing him say he can do nothing for Brian until he experiences symptoms of heart disease. ?????
  • Hearing the story of Domingos told to us by Todd Bush while we were in Mozambique. Not much has moved me like that story.
  • Holding out a bag of rice and setting it into the arms of a hungry Mozambican.
  • Listening to my brother read a poem he wrote to his daughter during the wedding service.
  • Hannah calling and asking if I was home because she had something for me. Turns out it was a pregnancy test that showed a positive result! Ahhhh
  •  Being able to speak to women and teen agers in Mozambique
  •  Experiencing several meaningful talks with women from our team in Mozambique
  •  Leading a writer’s circle at House of Hope. (Oh such fun!!)
  • Facilitating two Phase One sessions of the Ultimate Journey at House of Hope and being a witness to the stories and bravery of many beautiful, strong women.
  • Leading several women's Sunday school classes at our church.
  • Speaking alongside Hannah at our Women’s Ministry Spring Brunch and realizing once again how blessed I am to have her for my daughter.
  • Speaking at a women’s retreat for Good News Bible Church. What an encouraging time!
  • Coming alongside Brian’s mother as she lived out the past 97 years and then being able to encourage her, remind her of our love, sing to her and to pray over her as she died.


What makes a good friend?

One who is interested in learning new things and is growing spiritually.

One who looks for me and is eager to talk even if it is just for a moment.

One who is not afraid to share her life, thoughts, feelings with me.

One who wants to do fun things together.

One who reads my blogs and lets me know. (ha…)


What has broken your heart this year?

The illnesses of some very dear people.

The fear of change.

All that is happening in the middle east.


What books have stimulated your thinking this year?

A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman

Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

Fierce on the Page by Sage Cohen

The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp


Biggest challenge this year?

Brian’s health scare.


What were your favorite words said or written to you on your birthday this year?

 There is no one like you.

You’ve been a wonderful mom.

I’m so grateful for you.

My true prayer is to be just like you.

I’ve enjoyed getting to know you.

You are one of my most favorite people in life!

I wish we could spend more time together.

You continue to be such a blessing in my life.

Thanks for being one who has a passion for following after God and desiring to come along side others in their journey.

Your life is the best gift!

I love you!

We are thankful for His light shining in and through you to all of us. Beloved child of God.


When were you brave this year?

Every day I stand in the truth about who God is and who He created me to be: a unique and precious individual. Remembering my mother's courage in her hard life fuels my desire to be brave. I will not let fear hold me hostage, control or manipulate me, although it takes much practice and determination.  I find great peace in loving my family, praying for them and by trusting that God exists, sees us and bends down to hear our cries.


What are you looking forward to in 2017?

Wonderful times with Lucy, Charles and Annie Pearl.


Growing in my ability to trust in my mighty God.



November 17th has come and gone for 2016. In the coming year every day will be bursting with glimpses of God and I am determined to keep my eyes open for them. I expect many opportunities for grace, to be given and received.  I stand ready to welcome my life with a fresh and peaceful heart.


charles' first birthday

FamilyDeane Watters2 Comments

2015-05-16_0003Hand, hand, finger, thumb...Charles is turning one! Our family gathered in Pella to celebrate this, our newest and littlest member.2015-05-16_0004With freedom to dig into the cake, Charles showed hesitancy to get frosting on his fingers!2015-05-16_0005But Lucy knew exactly what to do! She skedaddled right up to claim the first piece! Savoring every bite, she slowly forked tiny pieces into her mouth.2015-05-16_00162015-05-16_0006 2015-05-16_00072015-05-16_0018 2015-05-16_0017 2015-05-16_0008 2015-05-16_0009A beautiful boy with his precious dad.

We love you, Charles! We look forward to gathering every May 8th to celebrate YOU!



happy birthday mr. thirty-year-old

FamilyDeane Watters4 Comments

2015-03-12_0013Thirty years ago today, at 10:50 pm the world was given a gift like no other. He came in the form of a little white-haired, blue-eyed,  beautiful baby boy who we named Joel Chesley Watters. God breathed into this treasure a gentle and kind personality, a strong work ethic and a winning smile. Today I remember this son of ours. Happy Birthday, Joel!

You were the one sent to be our glorious "middle" child. The one who never tried to fix anyone but who always made an effort to get along with everyone. You made us laugh and asked us to throw that ball one-more-time as you sang and whistled with a bounce in every step. Climbing trees, huge rocks and walls gave you unique ways of exploring and experiencing "dangerous" wanderings. You were the one everyone liked; the one boy in the Sunday school class full of girls. The one who adored his big brother and played endlessly with his little sister. The one who smiled and cried exuberantly, who so wanted to get it right. The artist. The musician. The team mate. The good reliable friend. The runner. The prom date. The violin player. The one who listened and embraced. The one who put that angel on the Christmas tree - every year- while balancing on your dad's back. The one who cut open his chin on the air conditioner, and the first to get stitches while mom nearly passed out watching you. Your love of big old trees led to countless visits to Old Henry at the Indian Creek Nature Center and the pointing out of favorite oaks on every car ride anywhere. You are the one who ran beautifully, like the breeze, while fully embracing cross country running, teammates and great coaches.

Five years ago you picked a wife who is just right for you! You have become a real doctor, a carpenter,  builder, painter and restorer of an old house, antique lover, writer and book maker. You do laundry, cook, change diapers, read stories and wrestle, coming alongside Rachel to parent well. You come home happy, eager to play and make your children laugh. You take your faith seriously and truly want to be an honest follower of God. Aware of your own brokenness you strive to be real which makes you able to come alongside others. You enthusiastically play basketball, ultimate frisbee, flag and fantasy  football. You cross country ski, go biking and have plans to visit all the National Parks. Taking care of people in physical pain is your gig and with gentle firm hands you guide them to wholeness. Your insistence has led to many years of White-Watters' foot ball games during Thanksgiving weekend and your desire for family time has led to watching innumerable games while packed in our little TV room in our big old house.

While honoring and encouraging us as parents, you aren't afraid to let us know when we mess up. At the same time you are quick to forgive and to invite again. You and Rachel have given us two darling babies to love and embrace. Your love of home and family truly blesses us.

With open heart, a genuine desire, you are one to be respected.

God has been gracious to our family by planting you in our midst. We love and remain truly thankful for you in every way. May you feel celebrated today.

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(Thanks to Hannah White for photos.)

happy birthday, brother Dale

FamilyDeane Watters5 Comments

ScanWhen I was little, if you had asked who my favorite person was in the whole world, after my mom, I would have told you it was my brother, Dale. We were the two youngest in our family of four kids. The oldest, my sister Ann, was totally adorable with a big warm and  friendly smile. Being eight years older, she mothered me, made my doll clothes, and we called her Sis. Next was my brother, Don, who was funny and wild and, according to this little girl, quite annoying. But Dale. He was just two and a half years older, mature for his age and extremely caring and sensitive. He watched out for me as we played in the rough old farm places, as he watched out for each of us. I, in turn, became his side kick when he pretended to be Zoro, fished with him at the creek, followed him around and simply adored him. As a teenager, without a dad, Dale became more than a brother. He became my mentor, my confidante, advisor, friend and in many respects my hero. He helped me navigate the awkward years of adolescence and guided me in my faith when I came to see it as mine to own. I had crushes on his friends and he dated some of mine. He taught me to play guitar and we sang together and listened to John Denver albums. We talked often and he truly loved me well. This was no small task because I was insecure, unsure of myself and quite whiny.

Dale was the first to hand me the big Alcoholic Anonymous book and asked me to consider the truth that our dad was an alcoholic. He told me that we were adult children of an alcoholic and that there were unhealthy broken places inside us. I sure couldn't argue with him on that one! He suggested that we could come to know these places better and healing could take place. He said it. I believed it. This information started my journey toward wholeness and I jumped right in.

In time, and in the healing process, I had to let go of Dale as hero. It wasn't healthy and it wasn't fair. He was just a little boy like I was just a little girl and he needed to let that little boy in him not be responsible for me. But I never gave up my fierce love, gratefulness or humble thankfulness for this truly brave and selfless warrior, sent for me and our family. I don't know what we would have done without him.

Dale went on to be a pastor, of course. I always say I was his first congregation because he learned how to shepherd little lost sheep right there in our home. And oh how I love him for it. He is also a poet. He wrote a poem every day in 2014 which, hopefully, will be a published book one day. He introduced me to Mary Oliver, a Pulitzer Prize winning poet, whose poems hold a wonder of nature and beauty like none other. I get lost in her images with delight.


I love you, my dear brother. Thank you for being an honest pilgrim on your own road to wholeness. God, in wisdom, knew I needed you. I will be forever grateful.

In honor of Dale's 64th birthday today, I share his published poem from the book Simul, Lutheran Voices in Poetry, collected and edited by Mark Patrick Odland


by Dale P. Chesley

Bitterly cold;

Christmas Eve Day;

A committal at a windy North Dakota prairie cemetery.


Our broken hearts suffered the weather appropriate.


A nineteen year old daughter.

A holiday tragedy.

A late night rollover.


It felt right to freeze while we buried her.


Her father is a tall man.

I am short

My arm his waist, his arm my shoulders.


At the car he turned and kissed my forehead.


I wasn't embarrassed.

I know it wasn't planned.

I felt anointed.


Few things as genuine and warm have been in me so deeply planted.


The man I sought to comfort

Reached out to me with human touch.

We stood against the cold.


Shadowed in this face I saw the suffering of Christ.