Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!! Love, the Rettmann Family

My first instinct is to apologize for a late Christmas Greeting, but don’t you think this is a season meant to linger anyway? So, here is our family’s Christmas greeting to you (the digital version, since there was no paper version this year).

We started a new tradition this Christmas season – puzzles! We worked on and completed (!) two, 1,000 piece puzzles as a family. I was pleasantly surprised by how much we all enjoyed this slow and simple activity. Also, I’m so thankful to be in a season of family life where such an activity is possible (no more toddlers of destruction running around the house 😉 ).

Anyway, I mention all this because doing complicated puzzles is a fitting picture of what it means to be a member of the Kingdom of God’s Beloved Son – Jesus Christ. Each piece of the puzzle looks strange and indiscernible on its own, seemingly useless and out of place. But once it is placed within the context of the entire puzzle, its purpose and the beauty of its presence becomes clear. So it is in God’s reality. We are pieces of a bigger picture. We are meant to fit in with the bigger plan, not to be independent. The beauty of the Grand Design is only seen once each component is in place, and the beauty of each component is only fully realized as it serves the Grand Design.

So here’s a look at our family’s piece of the puzzle for 2018. We are grateful to be loved by the Father and Architect of all reality, and hope and pray that you know and receive His great love for you too!

I (Cyrus) continue to serve as the Associate Pastor at Willamette Community Church. August marked my first full year at this ministry and the relationships with the staff and congregation continue to grow and become more pleasant. I am thankful that I have been used by God to minster to people in many different capacities – men’s ministry, community groups, a trip to Sierra Leone in April, leading a Bible Conversations hour, marriage ministry, and the list goes on! It is such a blessing to use my God given gifts to serve the Lord and minister to His people. Another blessing has been the participation in some activities that had been set aside for many years – fishing and hunting! The whole family has enjoyed the benefits of these adventures :). Being in creation is refreshing and I look forward to sharing these experiences with my all my adventurous kids.

I (Kim) am experiencing a new stage in life. Now that the youngest of the family is five years old and in Pre-school every morning, life looks much different than it did even a year ago. I have had the privilege of being involved in women’s ministry at our church in some leadership and teaching capacities. I help lead our Moms group, helped lead our fall Bible study, and am also continuing to gain experience in Biblical counseling. Through these activities, I am discovering more and more about who God is and who He made me to be for Him. I continue to blog occasionally (though I have sort of a love/hate relationship with it), which is where you are right now, in hopes of encouraging others as I have been encouraged in the Lord!

Ruth is eleven years old and started Middle School in the fall. Can you believe it!?!? Though life has it’s challenging at this age, Ruth is making it! In the spring, Ruth participated in Track and Field and was finally old enough to give the hurdles a try. I think she’s hooked. She continues to play the violin in a local youth orchestra. Probably the most exciting thing for her right now is that she earned a part in her school’s musical – Alladin Jr.!

Lydia is ten years old and in 5th grade. Lydia also did track in the Spring and is really beginning to excel at the High Jump. And since Lydia is a kid who NEEDS to have a physical outlet, she is currently giving swim team a try. She’s seems to be enjoying it for the most part. Lydia is currently in her second year of learning the Cello. We love listening to her play and she is improving so much!

Charis is nine years old and in 3rd grade. The biggest milestone for Charis this year was that she finished eye therapy!! Almost two years ago, the eye doctor discovered that Charis had several issues with her eyes. But, after a lot of hard work, she is done. And she actually enjoys reading now. We are so thankful that these issues were caught early and resolved completely. Charis also did track with her sisters in the spring and her specialty was the long jump. She showed a lot of promise in sprinting as well. Like Lydia, Charis is also learning to play the Cello. She started in the fall and has hopes of eventually transitioning to the upright bass.

Caleb, seven, is now in 1st grade. He is excelling academically and he loves his teacher! Caleb also gave Track and Field a try in the Spring, but he was much less enthusiastic about it than his sisters. He continues to surprise and delight me by breaking some of those ‘boy’ stereotypes I held. Though he can be rough and tumble, he is also very sensitive, expressive, and cerebral. We often refer to him as our “little professor.”

Lukas, five, is in Preschool this year. He is enjoying the new friends he has made at school and church. As much as Caleb didn’t want to do track in the Spring, Lukas wanted to do it! He’s just not quite old enough yet. We see Lukas’ personality develop more and more these days. He is energetic and stubborn, but also has some of those ‘baby’ of the family traits – like trying to get out of trouble by being super sweet. The girls have started calling it ‘cute-ing.’ “Mom!” they say, “Lukas is ‘cute-ing’ me to try to get what he wants!” Mostly, he makes us all smile and laugh 🙂

We’ve been privileged to have a couple family adventures this year. In March we went to Disneyland with my parents and had an absolute blast! It was the first time for the kids and we have great memories of our time there. Right after Disneyland, we joined up with a group from our church for a mission trip to Mexico. This trip was such a blessing. We met some fellow ministers of the Gospel and were encouraged by them and sought to be an encouragement to them. Another exciting thing about the trip was that our kids were able to be immersed in the Spanish language. Our kids attend a dual language school and have been learning Spanish since kindergarten. I was amazed by how fluently they were able to converse with native Spanish speakers and I think our friends in Mexico were equally surprised. As a parent, it was just amazing to be able to watch our girls serve others by translating and building relationships with other kids. What a gift it is to be bi-lingual!

Whew! If you’ve made it this far into the letter, thank you for loving our family and having a genuine care and interest in us! We are so thankful for all the beautiful cards and letters that were sent our way this Christmas.

We love you!


The Rettmanns

P.S. – I’d like to offer you a little gift, straight from my heart. The most life transforming thing I have ever experienced is getting to know the Love of God better and better. It was with great trepidation that I agreed to speak at our church’s women’s retreat back in April. I was able to share more specifically about how learning of God’s love is so simple yet so profound. The retreat theme was “Rooted and Grounded in Love.” Unbeknownst to me, a couple of the sessions were recorded! So, I’d like to share them with you because I think we can all always benefit from a reminder of God’s love. The two recordings below are sessions two and three out of the four sessions I taught. May you be blessed and drawn closer to your Creator and Savior!

Rooted and Grounded in Love – Session Two
Rooted and Grounded in Love – Session Three

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. 

Ephesians 3:14-21


Softening and Delight

What if God desires my delight in Him rather than my sense of duty to Him? What if we love Him more by finding pleasure in Him than by proving ourselves to Him?


The thought seized me and trapped me. It locked me in an escape room and I’m still working my way out. This flash of an idea: My life has been a journey from duty towards delight. From law to grace. I’m growing up and out of a heart motivated by fear, into a heart compelled by Love. 

Perhaps this is every child of God’s journey.

But the theme of the journey that keeps ringing in my ear is delight.

Problem is, I’m not good at delighting.

My delight receptors are naturally filmed over with a thick layer of duty and fear. There’s no time for pleasure when I’m consumed with a try-harder and be-better life of proving myself to God, others, and self.

But slowly, oh so slowly, I’m learning what it means to delight in God and how to actually, practically do it.


I’ve heard riffs on this passage more times than I can count from speakers, writers, preachers, and peers. Usually with an emphasis on the second part. It’s one of those passages that’s so overdone I hadn’t given it attention in quite a while. But as I ponder delight, I can’t avoid it any longer.

Delight, in Hebrew awnag, in this passage means to be soft or pliable.

What on earth? What does softness and pliability have to do with delight?

Maybe there’s something tucked away in this Psalm that I’ve been missing.

We are warned throughout Scripture that hardness of heart leads to hardness and rebellion toward God.

But still, what is it about the softening of our hearts that God desires?


I’ve never made any type of pottery, but I learned (thank you internet) that clay needs conditioning before it is ready to be molded. That in it’s raw state it would crack and break and melt into an oozing mess in the furnace. But if it is conditioned and softened, that lump of earth becomes pliable and easy to work with, ready to be formed and molded into the manifestation of the artist’s vision, able to withstand the furnace and maintain its shape.

So the softened heart.

A soft heart is impressionable, moldable, formable. The soft heart receives the Artist’s touch with pleasure, humbly accepting and desiring the push and pull of the Artist’s hands, the smoothing strokes of His plan. This plan is a mystery to the clay, but a grand vision in the mind of the Artist.

And as the Artist forms the vessel He forms its desire as well.

He forms cups waiting to be filled and overflowing with refreshing drink. Vases longing for the adornment of cascading blooms. Dishes spread wide to be filled with sumptuous morsels.

Only after we are formed according to the Artist’s plan do we truly know our desires and God given shape. Unless I receive His touch and His imprint, I don’t know my own heart, my own desires.

But of first necessity is the softening heart, the delighting heart.

So I’m pursuing delight, not duty. It’s not so much my word of the year as the trajectory of my life. I’m softening, not stiffening.

I’m receiving His touch through The Word and creation and circumstances. Push.

I’m allowing feelings to rise to the surface rather than locking them up in dungeon places – and spilling them out in His presence. Pull.

I’m embracing trials as well as blessings. I’m tearing down self-made fortress walls between myself and everybody else. Smooth.

I’m allowing myself to be effected by The Cause. To rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Become.

God takes pleasure in our unrestrained delight of Him – a heart soft in His hand.



He desires our love rather than our lawfulness. Our delight rather than duty.

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:30&31

I’m beginning to realize that it’s delighting in God alone that will enable me to be what He desires and experience His love overflowing in my soul!

Maybe on the outside the results of this changing mindset will not be discernible. But The Discerner of Hearts, His is the opinion that matters. He sees the motivations and He is the Rewarder of those who walk with Him and produce fruit from His Spirit, not their own hands.

Hands. My hands make a mess of my heart. Only God’s can make it something beautiful.

I’ve wasted too much time trying to give Him worth-proving works with these dirty hands.

He’s reaching past my hands and taking my heart instead and whispering, “delight in Me, soften to my touch, enjoy My loving artistry in your life.”


Creator, Potter, Author,

I want to delight in You. And that is Your desire too.When I walk in duty, trying to be something on my own, shatter my hard heart with Your grace. And as I learn to delight, help me to soften and be transformed by the pleasant and refining touch of Your hand. Thank You for first delighting in me so that I may in turn delight in You. 



Delight is a heart attitude I am pursuing while Aiming at Heaven. I invite you to walk alongside me by signing up to follow the blog (see bottom of page). And as always, I love to hear from you and am often encouraged by what you share, so leave a comment if you’d like!

Do We Really Want the King?

Peace and Joy won’t come this Christmas in the form of kids who don’t fight during winter break, a spouse who meets all your needs, a perfectly decorated home, enough money to buy all the things you want, good health, physical comfort, a relaxed schedule, or a good night’s sleep.

True peace and joy will come through the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace.

But do we really want Him?

We celebrate the time when heaven came to earth, when the Word became flesh, when the Prince of Peace was born. We celebrate Christmas because the King of Kings and Lord of Lords bent low to rescue His creation.

But do we really want Him?

Most of us long for peace, joy, love, and hope this season; really, every season. But it all feels so elusive. We navigate broken relationships and broken bodies, deal with disappointment, feel unloved and fail to love others, and have our hopes dashed daily.

Do we really want the King?

We know there is something wrong in this life we live, in this body in which we dwell, in this earth we trod. And so we search and plot and plan: how to feel peace, how to be loved, how to have joy, where to find hope.

But do we really want the Prince of Peace?

Yet, all our searching seems futile. All our carefully followed ‘steps to happiness’ only lead to ultimate frustration and disillusionment. We grope around in a pitch black room, looking desperately for sunlight. We bury our heads, our hearts, our humanity under mounds of quick fixes, if onlys, vanishing hopes, and endless strivings.

Do we really want the Lord of Lords?

Advent means ‘coming.’ Christ came humbly through the womb of Mary over 2000 years ago. But a new advent is on the horizon – when Christ comes mightily with all authority to execute justice and mercy where it is due. When He comes to tangibly do what He has always been doing – reigning as King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, and Prince of Peace.

Do we really want Him?

We must live NOW like He is King of our hearts – because this is reality. This is practice for what will completely be in the future. We live NOW with all aims and hopes set on the King of Heaven because this is more true than what we daily experience.

Do we really want the King?

That peace, love, joy, and hope we want – the Ruler, Owner, Creator and Bestower of these experiences and truths is the Eternal Father. And He gives liberally to those who partake in His kingdom here and now. We experience these blessings of His kingdom when we submit to His rule, His perspective, His reign in our hearts.When we live according to self-rule, self-perspective, and self-reign, we only receive what we ourselves as ruler have to offer – imperfection, disappointment, and darkness.

Do we really want the Mighty God?

It’s not about our own set of rules and standards. It’s not about our circumstances or ease of life. It’s not about our bank account or beauty. None of these things will bring lasting peace because they are not God. If we hope in anything or anyone other than God it will fail us, because only God is faithful and able to do what He promised. And only God is the source of Peace. Abundance of peace and joy comes to those who “Seek First His kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33).

Do we really want His kingdom?

Peace and Joy will be yours this Christmas when you “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15). The Peace OF Christ, not the peace of our own design. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27).

Do we really want the King?

His rule may be uncomfortable to a heart that isn’t accustomed to it. His reign may require a complete paradigm shift in your expectations and hopes. His kingdom requires that His people do things His way. But He is a King who already did what we couldn’t; He lived perfectly, died humbly, rose victoriously, and reigns righteously. No other ruler is so loving or mighty. We can trust His rule. We can enjoy His reign. We can experience His Peace, Joy, Love and Hope this Christmas season.

Sandpaper and Confetti – What I Learned This Fall

In a span of six days, our family celebrated my son’s birthday, Thanksgiving, and my birthday.

It was fun!

But sprinkled in like jagged scraps of sandpaper amidst the sparkly confetti of celebration, were moments where I became frustrated, grumpy, and rude to my husband and kids.


One mid-celebration-week morning I was especially rough and scratchy – coarse grit sandpaper. My husband gently brought this to my attention and I couldn’t deny it.

Reality was, my unpleasant exterior was a manifestation of an even more coarse interior; one which had misplaced priorities and purposes.

I was prioritizing performance over people and purposing to achieve for the sake of praise rather than produce from a heart of love. I was grasping for control of the throne of my heart rather than delighting in the One who has given me a new heart.

Sometimes learning isn’t about acquiring new information, but comes from remembering. Remembering what you’ve already learned and know to be true.

And this I know:

The holidays aren’t about celebrating my delicious food or perfectly picked gifts or party planning skills (I’m not saying I’m great at any of these, I just have grand ideals). Celebrations aren’t for me to make or do special things, that maybe, hopefully, will earn me some respect or praise or accolade. This time of year isn’t a stage upon which we all must perform.

I’m learning more and more to receive God as the King of my heart and to stop trying to usurp Him. When He is on the throne, I delight in Him alone; He gets the glory when my skill and effort is bent toward serving others in love.

Maybe we all need to become like the shepherds and wise men of old who came to worship the Christ Child. Maybe we all celebrate best when we bow to the Creator and Savior of the world.


I want to let what God has revealed to me this past Thanksgiving help me to move forward into the even bigger season of Christmas with a posture of humility and an attitude of praise.

Will you bow your heart to the Lord and celebrate Him with me?

In addition to learning what it means to really celebrate, I’m reflecting on what else I’ve learned this Autumn.


Here’s my list:

I Need To Be Connected To Nature – Back in September, we experienced layer upon layer of smoke settling into the Mid Willamette Valley due to forest fires. We were told to stay inside as much as possible to avoid the oppressive and dangerous atmosphere. The sky was so filled with smoke that it looked like a thick fog. It was during this time, when it was advisable to withdraw from nature, that I began to ache for even a glimpse of the foothills to the East. Though I’m not a die-hard outdoors woman, I was desperate to dwell in connection with creation – to smell, see, touch, feel, and hear the fingerprint of God all around me. Part of me felt lifeless without it.


It’s OK Not To Finish That Book – This fall I learned to say no to finishing what I started. I was reading a novel that was entertaining in it’s own way, but lacked the depth and meaning I search for in literature. So, I stopped reading after the first five or six chapters. It’s in my nature to finish what I’ve started, so this was a difficult decision to make, but in the end I’m glad I did. Saying no to finishing an uninspiring book allowed me to say yes to more meaningful uses of my reading time.

Names – I’ve learned names galore this season! Three months we’ve lived in our new community and I still have more names to learn. The beautiful thing about all these new names is the story which lies behind each life that name represents. I’ve met so many precious people already and look forward to encountering many more!


It’s interesting as I consider my list of learning to realize that all of it has come partnered with something difficult or unpleasant. The smoke was yucky. Moving is hard. Quitting is against my nature. And it took God revealing some ugliness in my heart for me to learn a bit more how to walk in His ways.

It’s a good reminder that what seems bad or uncomfortable may be the very thing that is bringing about beauty and growth in our lives.

If you’ve been encouraged by reading my list, you may enjoy reading what other bloggers are learning and sharing on Emily P. Freeman’s website.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and maybe learned something along the way. On this last day of November, maybe you can take a few moment to reflect too.

God bless you with His Peace this Christmas season!

That Time Pentatonix Made Me Cry

I was piloting our family mini-van down the parkway, all the kids in tow. The kid-of-the-day had requested that we listen to Pentatonix as we drove that afternoon. The perfectly in tune vocals had us all wrapped up in the musical experience.

And then I started to cry.

I had read a few weeks earlier about the importance of listening to our tears, so I did. I didn’t brush them away as I am usually prone to do. Instead, I let the tears take my hand and direct me through the pathways of my heart.

“We could be timeless, we could be classic
We could be stars, we could be rose gold, rose gold
We could be diamonds, we could be an anthem
We could be stars, we could be rose gold, rose gold”

They sang. And my heart heaved with longing for HOME.

Something in the repetition and emphasis of we could be struck a cord of desire for true beauty, true glory, true music, true rest – for my true HOME. I was longing for what will be, but isn’t yet. They sang of the hope of earthly love while my heart sang of deep desire for my heavenly Love.

It’s six months later. We’ve slept in our new house and lived in our new community for about two and a half months.

There’s something about all the change that has stirred again that longing for HOME.

Life feels unfamiliar, so I long for the stable and unchanging presence of God.

Relationships feel a little awkward, so I yearn for the all-knowing and deep, deep love and intimacy of my Savior.

These feelings are not bad or sad, they makes me glad!

That longing for our true HOME is a good and holy longing. It is a desire worth dwelling on and being motivated by. It is a God given hunger. I am thankful for the temporary discomfort because it reminds me that this world is not my home. It is not where my real treasure resides. It is not my source of hope or peace of joy. I don’t place my faith in the world and it’s ways.

We all have the same hope as that fiery disciple of Jesus – Peter – who declares: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”  (1 Peter 1:3-5)



Music continues to stir my soul as I’m sure it does yours. Here are a couple songs that have recently accompanied my own heart’s song of longing for HOME. May your heart join in too!

Out of Hiding by Steffany Gretzinger

C.S. Lewis Song by Brooke Fraser