#40Yearsin40Days 1983

#40Yearsin40Days  1983 was all about Abbey. In January, Scott and I were at the district youth retreat at Golden Bell Camp. They served sausage for breakfast which didn’t usually agree with me. And that particular morning I felt light-headed and nauseous. Thinking it was the sausage, I went back to our room to lie down and let it pass. But it didn’t pass. The symptoms returned each morning of the retreat and it began to dawn on me that I may be pregnant! I remember going through each day pondering and savoring this sacred secret. The thought of carrying another baby often took my focus and attention away from the ministry we’d come there to do. When we got home, the doctor confirmed it. There were tears of joy. There would now be four.

By 1983 the Christian radio station Scott worked for had moved the studio to Denver. It was a long commute. The move had expanded Scott’s horizons regarding radio. He grew tired of the controversy of contemporary Christian music, the angry phone calls about the music he played … the pillars of contemporary Christian music … Keith Green, Stryper, Jars of Clay, Petra, Amy Grant, 2nd Chapter of Acts, White Heart, David Meece, Scott Wesley Brown, Wayne Watson, Michael Card, Twila Paris, Randy Stonehill, Kelly Willard, Steve Camp. Scott had branched out into secular radio on weekends.

Then he discovered an opening for a morning show host in Longview, Texas. Yep. We packed up our itsy bitsy duplex and my growing baby bump and high tailed it down to Longview, Texas, where Scott Douglas (his radio name) became Larry of Longview. LOL! We laugh when we think of it now. He was one in a long line of Larrys at KYKX Radio.

goodby Colorado hello Texas

The summer was hot and humid in east Texas and we lived in a second floor apartment. I can still feel the sweat running down my back. I only ventured outside when absolutely necessary. No one would hire my very pregnant self so I worked some “Kelly Girl” assignments and Scott took a second job at night “fronting” in a large grocery store to make ends meet. #MamasDontLetYourBabiesGrowUpToBeDJs #TheresNoMoneyInIt

Adam found playmates and played outside as long as I could see him from high in my second story window. One time I looked outside to check on him just in time to see him going down over the steep driveway on his trike. The driveway, of course, led to a busy street. I raced as fast my large belly would allow down the many steps, across the parking lot and down the steep driveway. Adam was fine. No cars. No blood. Didn’t even crash. No idea of my racing heart. Another time I looked outside to check on him and couldn’t see him. Down the stairs I went again. There was no Adam and no playmate. I gathered other moms and we scattered to search. One mom followed a trail that led to a convenience store and there they were. Needless to say, after that Adam only played outside if I was with him.

Adam & Melissa – Texas

We attended Longview Church of the Nazarene and they took us in with that fabulous southern hospitality. We enjoyed making friends in our small group of other young married couples and I sang in the choir.

Early one October morning I was awakened by a twinge of labor. Scott made “the call” to the station. Scott must have taken Adam to a friend’s house; I don’t remember cos I was a little busy. By mid morning we headed to the hospital. I was scheduled for a C-Section in three days so this changed the surgery schedule at the hospital and I labored “in line”. Scott made regular calls to the station so my progress could be announced on the radio. LOL! It seems the whole town was waiting to hear whether we were having a boy or a girl.

Abbey was born before noon. A girl! A precious little girl! And the call was made to the radio station. Larry of Longview had a new baby girl! I remember often looking at my belly and wondering what this baby would look like, what it would be like, what plans God had in mind for its life. And now here she was and we would begin to know all those things.  I was so thrilled to have a little girl. I had known for a long time what her name would be. I practiced writing it spelled all different ways and settled on Abbey. It looks so pretty written out. And Abbey means source of joy.

Abbey baby angel frame








We have a new daughter!
From heaven she fell,
A brand new creation and her name’s Abbey Del.
Her big brother, Adam, is proud as can be,
And there’s not a better big brother than he.

I became enthralled with pink. The church gave me a full on pink baby shower, our small group brought us a week of meals, and we even received some gifts from radio listeners. We were grateful to have Scott’s mom come and spend two weeks with us. She was such a help in every way.

Abbs & Mommy
Abbs & Daddy 6 wks
Abbs & Adam

Just as Adam was acquiring a southern accent, Colorado was beckoning. As much as we enjoyed our Texas church and friends, we were far from home and anything familiar. Scott took a job back in Denver at KYGO. We packed up our little family and headed to Aurora, Colorado.

#TexasSizedCockroaches #BugStorms #maam #MissCandy #WomenDontSweatTheyGlisten #TheirBacksGlisten #DoTheyTeachPhonicsInTexas


#40Yearsin40Days 1982

#40Yearsin40Days  1982 was another memorable year for the Troutmans. My brother enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and his first assignment was Lowry AFB in Denver. Brighton was only about 30 minutes from Denver so he and his beautiful wife and baby girl temporarily moved in with us. Yes, into our holy.moly.itsy.bitsy.tiny duplex. But we didn’t even notice. We just made do and enjoyed being together. Our kids were born about two weeks apart. They turned two this year which meant for very busy days and nights.

Airman Adam 1982 – he wears a hat kind of like this now as an airline pilot
Adam Stephy pop cans #WhoNeedsToys
Adam Stephy in cupboard 1982
Adam Christmas program age 2

My brother built a picnic table, we bought a baby hibatchi and we spent a lot of time outside. LOL! We all have such fond memories of those months. A rare opportunity to share life together as adults.

The summer brought special trips. One to Camp Sanders in northern Idaho to celebrate and honor my grandfather’s retirement from almost 50 years of pastoral ministry. It was a very special time to finally publicly highlight so many of the things Grandpa accomplished, churches built and planted, and so many of the people whose lives were forever changed because they were introduced to Jesus Christ under Grandpa AND Grandma’s ministry. A beautiful heritage and one I don’t take for granted.

Grandpa Ken Bertholf golf cart ride 1982

And another to the Oregon Coast…one of our family favorites since childhood.

Oregon Coast

But the biggest story of the year was the Blizzard of ’82. We had gone to Kansas to be with my parents for Christmas. We had a great holiday, as always, and Adam finally decided to be potty trained! We’d been trying for six months and he just decided to do it while at G&G “Lini’s” house. I was a happy mama … until we started seeing troubling weather forecasts back in Colorado. Apparently, a blizzard … a real, life-threatening Christmas blizzard … had hit the Denver area while we were gone.

Now normal, responsible parents would have stayed put in Kansas until things settled a bit more back in Colorado. But not us. Scott had begun to venture out of Christian radio and had a part time job at a large radio station in Denver. He was scheduled to go on the air that Saturday evening and he wasn’t going to miss it. So we set out for Colorado. I-70 was closed so we found another highway and made our way west and south and Scott carefully navigated us all the way to downtown Denver. To this day I don’t know how we made it. He went on the air that night on 56KLZ. The radio staff were all stranded at the station so Adam (age 2 1/2) and I joined them, mostly on the floor, while Scott finished his shift. Someone had made ham sandwiches which we ate gratefully. It looked kind of like this:

Credit: UPI

From the Denver Post: The Blizzard of 1982 in Colorado descended upon the state on Christmas Eve, continuing through Christmas Day, and once it was finished, dumped three feet of snow in total.
“And reports from surrounding towns – Fort Collins, Castle Rock, Winter Green and Limon – showed only a few inches. The Christmas ’82 storm had bulls-eyed Denver with massive snowfall amounts of 3 feet and more. It was an amazing display of the power of nature!”  –Ronn Irving

We spent a fitful night at the station and made the decision to try to make it home to Brighton. Outside the station was a nightmare. We wanted to avoid I-25 so we went home the “back way”. It took us through this area:

Blizzard of ’82, Colo 94 near Pumpkin Center. Bill Wunsuch, The Denver Post

Does it look desolate and endless and scary? Well, it was. There was nothing but white for as far as we could see in all directions. Nothing had been plowed. Not a car, not a person, not a sound. We kept looking at each other and grew silent as Adam fell asleep in the back seat and we were faced with the realization that we were in trouble. We prayed. We put ourselves in God’s care and protection and Scott kept driving. After a period of time we saw lights in the distance and as we drew closer, saw it was a grader! Scott gratefully followed behind this brave grader driver all the way to Brighton. Can you breathe again?! I just let out a deep breath of relief and gratitude as I felt all those feelings again. God was out there with us in the nothingness. Our son slept peacefully through the whole thing. We knew his tender mercy and protection once again even in the midst of irresponsibility. And Scott is still the best snow driver I know.

There is more to the story, of course. The shoveling and shoveling. The hunkering down. The sting of fully realizing we had placed our little family in great danger. The church ranchers plowing our back alley so we could get in and out. There is always more. We’ll always remember 1982.  #gottalovecolorado  #coloradowinter  #coloradostrong #lifeofaradioDJ #hotchocolate #didntdrinkcoffeeyet

Starting to dig out after the Blizzard of ’82. Denver Post Library Archive
A man uses a broom to clear off his car after the Blizzard of ’82. Denver Post Library Archive
A man trying to dig out his car after the Blizzard of ’82. Denver Post Library Archive

Family Reunion 2017

Ah, the family reunion … anticipated by some, dreaded by a few and ignored by many. ‘Tis the season. I just returned from mine and I agree with George:

“A happy family is but an earlier heaven.” -George Bernard Shaw

Reunion defined: a gathering of friends, or associates at regular intervals or after separation.

My mother’s family is large and loud. We have a history of frequent gatherings but as the family has grown larger, the intervals between gatherings have grown longer. After all the weddings, funerals, births, other trips that have kept us apart for several years, we finally nailed it down this year … a Bertholf family reunion at Camp Sanders in spectacular northern Idaho.

Sanders Pond 1973


• Mixed-up family team activities like creating family crests and counting how many countries had been visited by each team

• Games like Liar’s Club and Family Feud

• Softball, volleyball, swimming




Eating meals together that included
conversations, laughter, robust discussions, cooking and dishes.


Relaxing with coffee in the morning, afternoon naps, sitting on the deck watching the sun shine through the sprinklers …

Remember Day

• A devotional about legacy

• Candlelight Memorial to honor and remember those who came before us

• an explanation of who is in each generation and how we’re related

• a visit to the family cemetery

• family tee shirts for family pictures













Our family is blessed by generations of pastors and ministry leaders. Our gatherings always include singing and devotions. Whether we can sing or play or not, worship in music is in our DNA. This is how we express our praise to God.
















We had a baby dedication by the pond and two baptisms in the pond!

Some of the young men put on a fantastic 4th of July fireworks display to celebrate the greatness of our country!


Because we re-discovered the joy of REUNION, we re-committed to re-instating our regular gathering interval of every three years. That’s a mouthful!


“You don’t choose your family; they are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” -Desmond Tutu

Can we use these words intentionally to help us re-discover something we’ve lost? 

Reunion – come together with someone you’ve been missing.

Re-Acquaint – intentionally move toward rekindling a relationship you used to have that was important to you.

Repast – share a meal or offer hospitality to someone who needs it.

Repose – take the time to rest and restore.

Remember – Honor the good in your past and pass it along to the next generation.

Rejoice – celebrate the milestones of your life!

Re-Commit – Commit to letting joy unfold.



Feeling Small

♪♫♪ When you’re weary, feeling small, when tears are in your eyes ♪♫♪

Everyone feels small sometimes. We move in and out of the feeling.  We often say we feel small when we feel insignificant, unknown or unseen. It often comes when we experience significant change.

We can let it overwhelm us, defeat us, or we can change our thinking and let it remind us of the bigger picture.

♪♫♪ When times get rough and friends just can’t be found ♪♫♪

Feeling insignificant is no small thing. We’re created in God’s image. When we feel insignificant, we’re saying that God Himself is insignificant.

If we look at ourselves honestly, sometimes we choose to remain unseen because it’s easier. It’s familiar. It doesn’t require anything of us.

We can move through our days appearing to function normally but inside our head be consumed by self-doubt and pain. We can do our jobs, attend social gatherings, get dinner on the table, mow the lawn … we can complete our tasks. But when we’re alone with our thoughts, those old, familiar patterns invade our mental space:

  • if they only knew who I really was
  • I feel left out, left behind
  • they don’t like me as much as …
  • I’m not as good at … as “they” are
  • my personality rubs people the wrong way or my personality is invisible
  • if only I was thinner, prettier, more athletic, more educated,  younger, older
  • if only I had more money

These kinds of thoughts paralyze us and keep us from moving through or over trouble waters. This is often why we keep ourselves so busy with activity. We don’t want to be alone with our thoughts.

♪♫♪ Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down ♪♫♪

But there are times we should feel small.

We feel small in the presence of new life.

There is nothing more intimate or awe-inspiring or miraculous than a brand new baby … a little human with a blank slate … no accumulated baggage, no unhealthy habits, no self-hatred, no judgmental attitudes … only pure love. The only thing that matters is their needs. Our problems seem small.

Our daughter and her newborn son

We feel small when we stand beside the sea.

“There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.”  ~Victor Hugo

Sometimes there are no words that come when we stand beside the sea, or when we are on a boat or ship completely surrounded by the silence and power of its waters. Water as far as we can see yet still knowing there is more out there. There is more than we can see. There is something bigger than we are. Our problems seem small.

These great and grand experiences give us PERSPECTIVE.

Dictionary definition: the faculty of seeing all the relevant data in a meaningful relationship.

There is always more than we can see in this moment. In this moment we may feel small, unseen or insignificant. But if we step back, away from the situation, take the emotion out of it, and look for that bigger picture, we can regain our perspective.

♪♫♪ When you’re down and out, when you’re on the street, when evening falls so hard
I will comfort you

Perspective says: A bad day is not a bad life. A challenge is not a crisis. In a lifetime, today is a drop in the bucket. We can CHOOSE to let our days drift by in the familiar or we can live them intentionally, living in our purpose and calling.

BE the change … SEE people as you’d like to be seen, especially to those who serve us: restaurant servers, grocery clerks, receptionist, postal workers, customer service workers. And treat them accordingly. We can’t control how others see and treat us but we can bring encouragement to others in the moments we live every day.

♪♫♪ Sail on, silver girl … Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
See how they shine
If you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water ♪♫♪

Feeling small? There are always two ways to look at feeling small. There will always be troubled waters. There will always be a bridge.

Author Interview: Janet Thompson

Janet Thompson
Janet Thompson

I would love to introduce you to my speaker and writer friend, Janet Thompson. I met her through a speaker networking/support group in our area. I’ve so enjoyed following her since then and seeing the impact her ministry has for the Kingdom of God. Plus … she’s an IDAHO girl now!

Below is an interview about her newest book … great subject and one that isn’t written about a lot: a stay-at-home husband. This is a life circumstance that many face and will face. My own husband works from home; our desks are side by side in our home office. There are definitely “issues”. LOL! I’m reading her book right now.

All the information you’ll need to check into Janet’s new book is below. Enjoy the interview!


(1) What inspired you to write a book about living with a stay-at-home husband?

Dear God, He’s Home! is the third in a “Dear God,” series. The first two are Dear God, It’s Cancer: A Companion Guide for Women on the Breast Cancer Journey and Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? A Companion Guide for Couples on the Infertility Journey. Each of the “Dear God” books mentor women who are on a journey that I’ve been on myself. I know the loneliness and need for support and understanding that isn’t always available, so I write to mentor and encourage these women. The best compliment is when someone tells me it was if I was sitting right beside her as she read my books.

In Dear God, He’s Home!, I chronicle the difficulties and joys my husband and I encountered during the various seasons of him being a stay-at-home man: multiple layoffs, illness, disability, and now, retirement. I understand the strain on a marriage of a husband suddenly being home 24/7, regardless of the reason. As in all of my books, I offer various perspectives from other women who are willing to share their stories to help others going through something similar.

(2) Tell us a little about your research. How did you encounter other wives with stay-at-home husbands? What struck you about their experiences?

Whenever I mention the title of this book, wives smirk with raised eyebrows and knowingly remark, “Boy, do I have a story for you!” “I need this book.” “I know someone who could use this book.” Or “I’m going to need this book soon, write fast!”

When I sent out an email or Facebook request for stories of women with a husband home due to retirement, illness, disability, out of work, home office, the military . . . whatever reason…the stories flowed into my inbox and my ears.

I noticed that whatever circumstances brought a husband home, most couples admit they didn’t prepare for a time of being together 24/7!

tight rope(3) What would you say is the most common struggle wives have with their stay-at-home man? What is the most common struggle that husbands have as a result of becoming a stay-at-home man?

Regardless of the reason for this season, wives of stay-at-home men experience similar difficulties, hardships, and blessings. The specific circumstances might be different, but the heart issues are the same.

The struggle I heard most often from wives with a stay-at-home man: he’s invading “my space.” They recount the loss of my home, my space, my privacy, my domain, my downtime, a place to call my own. As if that weren’t enough, looking for something to do with all his newfound free time, the husband may decide to rearrange her routine, her kitchen—her life! One wife lamented that her CEO retired husband was “organizing” her kitchen and alphabetizing her spices. Another wife compared it to her going into his office, sitting in his chair, and rearranging his desk for him—“not.”

The wife may also feel like her work load is increasing while his is decreasing, especially if she is still working or has to go back to work to support the family. The dismal prospect of him expecting lunch every day was lamented by the majority of wives.

At the same time, the stay-at-home husband is now trying to find his space in what used to be her space and that can lead to crowded space. Military families call this the “reentry phase” or reintegration—fitting back into “normal” home life and society. In Called To Serve, Lt. Col. Tony and Penny Monetti, who are endorsers of Dear God, He’s Home!, quote one returning solider who said he felt like “a background wall in his own home.” An apt word picture for any stay-at-home man.

The home balance of authority feels off kilter when a husband is home.

(4) Speaking of military, how can your book help women whose husbands are returning from deployment?

Military wives would be good mentors to every woman with a stay-at-home husband because they experience the reintegration process every time their husband returns home from deployment. The wife has been in charge while her husband is gone and they both have to figure out how to transition him back into the home schedule and activities, and she has to relinquish responsibilities taken over in his absence. The chapter topics and Mentoring Moments in the book offer encouragement and ideas for dealing with specific issues.

Dear God, He’s Home! shares stories from military wives and their coping tips, which are often applicable to every wife with a stay-at home man. For example, Kathryn shared: “In talking to many military wives, one of the biggest challenges of a loved one returning home is meeting him right where he’s at and adjusting to the “new normal.” Every woman with a stay-at-home man experiences a “new normal.”

Also in the “Sanity Tools” section of the book there is a section dedicated to support for military couples.

(5) How can readers benefit from the examples and advice you offer?

I include stories and scenarios from a variety of perspectives, not just my own so that the reader will surely find an example and situation she can identify with. Everyone sharing in the book, including my husband and myself, are open, vulnerable, sometimes raw, and often humorous.

I don’t want the reader to only rely on my suggestions and advice. Each chapter includes “God’s Love Letter to You,” which is paraphrased and personalized Scripture, and “Let’s Pray” where I pray with the reader. There’s also space for her to write her own “Dear God,” and practical application tips are provided in the Sanity Tools section.

My husband has been a stay-at-home man numerous times during our marriage and I understand the stress it puts on a relationship. Couples like us and those who share their stories in the book, who have experienced and survived the stay-at-home transition, can reach out to offer seasoned encouragement, tips, and prayer for couples currently going through it.

(6) Who is your biggest supporter in your writing?

I dedicated this book to my stay-at-home man, Dave, who selflessly allows me to write and speak vulnerably and honestly about our messes and our miracles in sharing our story. I call him the “hero” of the book, but he laughingly refers to himself as “the sacrificial lamb.” He wrote the Epilogue and I think the way he signed it gives a window into the kind of support I have from him: Janet’s encourager, cheerleader, loving and devoted –stay-at-home man, Dave.

(7) What is your passion and why?

Mentoring is truly a passion, a purpose, and a mission that God put on my heart when I first went into ministry 18 years ago. After graduating from seminary, I asked God to use me in the business world where I had spent most of my career and was familiar and comfortable, rather than in women’s ministry where I had no experience. But as He often does, God put me in a ministry where I would have to depend completely on Him in starting the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry; and He soon gave me a heart for women and the issues we all deal with in everyday life. My passion is to help women learn to: Share Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. That’s my “tag line” and what I try to do in my books and speaking.

All my books have a theme of mentoring from experiences that others and I have encountered with the goal of offering hope, help, and encouragement to the reader. For example, I also wrote Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter (I had one), and the subtitle of that book is Hope, Help & Encouragement for Hurting Parents.

My passion and mission is to help other women learn how to use the good, the bad, the ugly life experiences to reach out and help another woman going through similar circumstances. It always helps to know we’re not alone and someone else has survived what we’re going through now.

To read a snippet of Dear God, He’s Home! A Woman’s Guide to Her Stay-at-Home Man, click here.

Dear God, He’s Home! A Woman’s Guide to Her Stay-at-Home Man (New Hope Publishers) is the third book in the “Dear God,” series by author and speaker Janet Thompson. Janet is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and the author of seventeen books, including: Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer, Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?, Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, The Team That Jesus Built, and the Face-to-Face Bible study series. All of Janet’s books are available at bookstores and online bookstores, as well as signed by her, at her website store.

Visit Janet at:


dear god he's home book coverAbout the Book:
A husband is now home 24/7 and the wife needs help ASAP!

Regardless of the reason he’s home—out of work . . . retired . . . home office . . . returned from military deployment . . . disability or illness . . . whatever—wives of stay-at-home husbands share many of the same transitional and heart adjustments.

Dear God, He’s Home! is a practical and raw look at issues couples go through when a husband is suddenly home full time. Sharing openly from personal experience and through Scripture, Janet Thompson encourages wives to joyfully embrace their God-ordained marriages.

The book also includes personal thought questions, discussion questions for couples, and a small-group or book club discussion guide.

Amazon Purchase Link
Book Excerpt
Book Trailer Link

About the Author:
Janet Thompson, founder and director of About His Work Ministries, is the author of 17 books and the recognized author of the “Dear God” book series. Janet developed the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry at Saddleback Church, served as a lay minister for 12 years, and continues to share the blessings of mentoring through her Woman to Woman Mentoring resources, trainings, and speaking events.

Janet and her stay-at-home husband, Dave, have four married children and love being Grammie and Grampa to 11 beautiful grandchildren. After living in California her entire life, Dave’s retirement led Janet and Dave to move to the rural mountains of Idaho.

%d bloggers like this: