"May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace as you trust in him." Romans 15:13

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Downsizing sounds so good, so right, so wonderful...

Until you go house hunting!

Then it is just downright confusing!

Should we cram our kids into a smaller space... really?

How much money do we need to shave off our house payment to make this move worthwhile?  (Because that big house with the great sunroom would cut our payment a little, but just a tiny bit.  Not really much of a downsize - but it sure is pretty.)

Is all the clean-up, fix-up on our current home really worth it?

Maybe we should just forget it all.  That would just be so much easier.

Yet I know we are not called to easy.  We are called to lay our treasures at His feet. 

So we continue to touch-up paint, clean, and fix all the little stuff - because it is all His.  We will lay it at His feet.  We will wait on Him for what is to come.

Stay?  Go?  Only He knows.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Appreciating "Normalcy"

Tonight was really special for our family.  We were invited to have dinner at the home of our friends.  Sounds totally normal, right?  Well... for us it was nearly historic, not many people are brave enough to invite whole family to dine with them.  As a matter of a fact, Brenna could not think of any other time that our whole family had been invited to supper with friends!  We totally enjoyed.

Several other notably "normal" things happened tonight. 

Joshua played and played and played.  He totally enjoyed his time at our friends home.  He took everything in stride.  He played independently with the other kids.  I sat with the adults!  I asked his sisters to keep an eye on him while I chatted.  It was totally relaxing, totally "normal."

When Daddy arrived, Joshua dropped everything and RAN to give him a big hug.  While playing Joshua stopped to show his daddy something several times.  He also went to give his daddy several hugs, just because.  And those other guys... he was polite to them.

Joshua complained when I asked him to obey the same rules as his 2-year-old friend.  He politely told me, "Mommy Joshua is bigger.  I can do it!"  He has never, ever wanted to be the big kid before!  He was correct too, he could do it!

He ate a roasted marshmallow and deemed it yummy!

We arrived home well past bedtime, but he did totally fine.  He interacted with all of us just like he would any other night.  Glory, glory hallelujah, Joshua is starting to feel all grown up!  His reactions are nearly always age-appropriate in every way!

Boy, oh boy do we appreciate all this "normalcy."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


After talking about it off and on for two years, Chad and I have decided to sell our home.  I am peacefully terrified about this decision!  Peaceful because it has been on my heart for years.  Terrified because I do not know what comes next!

We built our current home six years ago.  Chad and I custom designed it.  We put months and months of labor into it.  We stained, sanded, laquered, sheetrocked, painted, tiled, poured concrete, landscaped... It has been a labor of love.

The resulting home has been pretty much exactly what we wanted.  It is a large home, with plenty of room to entertain.  We have loved hosting family gatherings.  Our home (fairly) comfortably holds 45 people at Christmas.  Each of the kids have their own room.  Chad and I have a lovely master suite that we totally enjoy hiding away in.  Our house is located within walking distance of the middle school, which is so very convenient.  In the world view, we have everything we "need."

But because we want to do more with our money than make house payments, we are selling.

There are few things I dread more than having a house for sale.  So please join me in praying that our home sells quickly!  Trying to keep my house clean enough to show at any moment stresses me out... and when momma is stressed, well it is just NOT good.

We are looking for a home just north of town, sitting on around 2 acres.  This would give the kids and the dog more room to play.  It would also allow us to keep the camper and boat at our home.  I have REFUSED this idea for the last 17 years, so it is a huge step for me - but I am peaceful.  I think it is time.

Here are a few other things I would appreciate you covering in prayer:
  • God's blessing on this whole plan
  • Discerning the needs... the true needs of our family... and finding a home that will meet them
  • Location, location, location... the kids really want to remain in their current schools
  • Trees... not really a need, but I would be so thrilled to have mature trees to add privacy and interrupt the prairie winds
  • For each member of our home to have a content heart as we sell and after we move
Thanks friends!  Now I am off to clean another closet!  If things go as planned we will have this home officially on the market next week.  (That's my husband...  once he decides something it happens QUICK!)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Auntie Patty Time

We spent a very relaxing weekend, 
enjoying sunsets like this,
In an extremely beautiful house,
located on the water.
It had a hammock
and an outdoor kitchen!

And if that were not good enough...
THESE people were there!

Where, oh where were we?

With my Auntie Patty!
My Auntie Patty has always been one of my very favorite people!

Some of my favorite memories growing up are of time spent in her small town salon, watching her transform lady after lady.  She let me hang out and sweep up hair - and I loved it!  (TRULY!)

Patty is FUN and sweet and kind and thoughtful!
I have not had much time with her in the last years, and I have missed her!

It was so very fun to hang with my special Auntie this weekend.

It was so wonderful to be spoiled by her hospitality!

It was such a treasure to watch my kids fall just as in love with her as I have always been!

She just has those snugly kind of arms!

She also has all the best treats... pop AND cool wheels!

What could be better in the eyes of our JG? 
Chad and I even enjoyed a little quiet?!
Shhh! Don't tell!

Brenna lookin' lovely in the hammock.

Lucky Krissy gets to spend the week with Auntie Patty!
Patty is her Godmother, and they are sure to have a very special week together.

Patty treated us to finger lickin' good ribs!

I love to have someone else do the cooking!
It was such a treat! 
Eskimo kisses... but happily summer weather!

We brought our boat and totally enjoyed the Reservoir. 

Thank you!  Thank you, Auntie Patty for a wonderful weekend!  We had so much fun!  You are a treasure! We love you lots!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Jay's Challenge

I have given Jamison a challenge this summer...
to grow taller than I am!

So far, I am still in the lead!

Just how long do you think it will be until I am looking up at my oldest son?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How quickly I forget...

It amazes me how easy it is to forget, to ignore, to become complacent...

When we were waiting to travel to Ethiopia to bring Joshua Gebeyehu home, there was NEVER an hour that went by that I was not praying for the people of Africa.  They were a part of nearly every thought and every conversation I had.  The poor, the needy, the oppressed, the orphans OWNED a huge piece of my heart. Almost every financial decision I made factored in how we could give more... do more... serve more.

We traveled to Ethiopia to bring Joshua home and I vowed to NEVER forget.  As the mother of an Ethiopian child, Ethiopia has become a part of our home.  We talk about Ethiopia daily.  We advocate when possible.  Support financially when possible.  Pray.

But in all honesty, the rawness and passion I once felt has faded.  As Joshua has become more and more attached, as our family has become more and more settled, the urgency I felt to DO and GO has dimished.  Africa has started to feel more distant, less personal.

I was forgetting...  I was becoming more and more like most other American momma's.  I was more and more focused on school clothes, swimming lessons, and summer vacation plans.  How can we "afford" to do all we want to do?  The kids "need"  so many things.  My vision was becoming narrower and narrower.  I was less and less focused on how we could serve, support, and reach-out to others.  Funny how when I are so focused on what my family "needs" I become less and less grateful for what we have.

Last week I saw this.  It is raw.  It is sad.  It is TRUE and needs to be watched.

Makes me realize than most of my "needs" are really wants.  Makes me so very thankful that all my NEEDS are met.  Makes me remember how very much I love the people of Africa, how very much I desire to serve them.

Father God, please send rains to Africa.  Shower the people in Eastern Africa with rains of water, but also shower them with hope, stregnth, food, health care, peace.  Meet their needs God.  Show us how and where to serve.  How and where to give.  And give us the stregnth, self-control, courage, and love it will take to follow Your call.

I added this map of Africa, just in case your geography is as bad as mine.  Ethiopia is in orange.  Somalia is in yellow. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Keeping Cool

Today was HOT, HOT, HOT!
as in 102*

So, we headed to a little lake with our new friends!

Sierra loves little Brynda.
They are really sweet together! 
Is that a boy chasing my Sierra???
(Just joking... they are just friends!) 
Brenna Joy is my nature lover. 
Who needs to pay big bucks for a mud bath??
Not Shea! 
or Brenna!

We had a terrific time swimming, splashing, rolling in the mud, and playing in the sand!
I hope you found a fun way to stay cool today, too!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Worth Sharing

Out of all the words of wisdom, songs, and testimonies I heard last week, this quote is what spoke most to my heart.

"If the enemy keeps reminding
you of your past;
Remind him of his future."
Michael Tate

I just love those words.

God does NOT rub your nose in your past hurts.




Talk to him.  Listen to Him and Him alone.  Allow His voice to be your compass.  For He is the voice of TRUTH!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sonshine Festival 2011

Did you miss me?
(My not blogging for a week is nearly unprecidented!)

We spent the end of the week at Sonshine Christian Music Festival in Wilmar, MN.

 Because we had a difficult start to the week, we left a day later than we had hoped. 
We drove late into the night, stopping to camp in the Walmart parking lot.
Believe it or not, it was a great night's sleep.

We were so very thankful to arrive at the Festival on Thursday morning!

20,000 people and LOUD music had Mr. Joshua pretty overwhelmed... for about 30 minutes.
He did NOT stay overwhelmed for long!
After about an hour close to mom, he was wanting to party up close to the bands!
(Just like Daddy!)

Unfortunately, Daddy had to field a few work calls in between shows.

We experienced all kinds of weather, a little cold, some rainy, and some steamy!

Joshua loves, loves music!
He  plays a mean air guitar, too!
I do confess that his dancing looks pretty similar to Tommy's Firework Ballet.
(not sure it is jammin' but it makes momma laugh!)

This was one of Sierra and Brenna's favorite parts of the Festival.
The lead singer from Family Force 5 did his final song being tossed around over the heads in a hamster ball.
He was thrown all over the place while never missing a note in the song.

My favorite part of the festival was watching my kids (and meeting my friend Sharon)!
The night Skillet played they (and daddy) had oh-so-much FUN!

This is our crew ready for day 2!
Do they look ready to rock?

Rock On!

Daddy had the great idea to poke a hole in a water bottle and let Joshua play with it.
Joshua really enjoyed it! 

Jamison's favorite part of the Festival was the funnel cakes.
He also really liked Remedy Drive.
Singing in the rain.

Let me tell you, this child really LOVES umbrellas!

Long naps kept little man going LATE into the night.

Pillow fight!

It rained and poured and got really, really messy! 
Thank you God that we were not tenting!

Joshua is not such a fan of his stroller anymore, but when he saw all the mud he happily hopped in!

I love this girls heart.
Sierra said one of her favorite parts of the festival was one of the singers talking about raising hands in worship. He explained that he thinks of  hands raised in worship just like his daughters' raising their arms up wanting to be held.  She said those words, "I need you Daddy!" made worship feel safer, more real, and less embarrassing.

Sierra's other Festival favorites were Skillet (of course), Family Force 5, and the Newsboys drum stage.

Smiles at 11...PM!?!
Maybe if we are really, really good momma will let us stay for the encore?
She did!

Rocking with Toby Mac
Joshua says his favorite part of Sonshine was going to the "yucky potty" in the dark using mommy's cellphone as a flashielight.  He also really liked funnel cakes and too noisy guitars.

I mentioned many weather changes, right?
Saturday was so very steamy the girls stood in front of the fan every chance they got!

First we used the umbrellas for rain,
later we used them to block a little sunshine.

While the weather was crazy, the Festival was awesome.
lISTENING TO Christian music for 3 solid days was superb.
Seeing teens be EXCITED about Jesus was inspiring!
Hearing testimonies was challenging.
Partying in worship with my family was amazing.

So there you have it... the reason for my blog silence.
Concerts, concerts, and more concerts!
So thankful we were able to go!