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

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Foundation Insulation

 Tonight we worked together to insulate the foundation of our new house.
 I can not say enough about the teamwork that took place this evening.

After supper we looked at the forecast, and we decided that it would be a VERY good idea to work on foundation insulation today. (Because of rain predicted for the weekend.)  In all honesty, NONE of us felt like going out to the lot and working.  The kids were quiet, but there was NO complaining.  I was totally impressed.

When we got to the lot, I promised that we would leave at 8:30 whether the work was done or not.

The kids worked so hard!
And once we got started working, it was actually fun!
 Riley loved it!

It was the first time we brought him along, and he was all smiles.
 From tallest to smallest, we all found jobs we could do.

I even swung a hammer!
It was fun!
 This is the insulation we were installing.  It needed to be pounded into the clips that are built into the foundation walls.  The kids carried the insulation, cleaned the debris off the footing, helped hold the insulation on the foundation wall, and carried scraps.  Chad and I pounded the clips flat to hold the insulation in place.  (Chad will not be impressed with my vocabulary and explanation of the task - but that is the momma description anyway!)

The purpose of the insulation is to keep the floor from being drafty and cold.

There is a peek at the finished project.
I am proud to report that we had it all insulated in under an hour!
Even Chad was shocked!

Driving home we were all feeling energized and impressed with ourselves.
Jamison (who had been pretty disappointed to not be home watching the NFL draft unfold live) even commented, "That was some good family bonding!"

The task for the weekend is to backfill.

The home we are building is slab on grade.
(In other words it does not have a basement or crawl space)
Chad needs to fill dirt on the inside and outside of the foundation to floor height.
We do not have enough material on site, so he will be hauling dirt in.

We are really hoping the weather cooperates and he can have the backfilling completed by Monday morning - because the heating contractor is headed our way. (Duct work, electrical, and plumbing contractors all have work to do before the concrete crew will return to pour the floor.)

***On a totally unrelated note, please pray for Sierra's foot.  She jumped off a swing and onto a garden hoe last summer.  That resulted in a yucky puncture wound.  We had thought it was totally healed, but this spring it is causing her a lot of pain.  I take her to the doctor tomorrow.  Please pray for simple solutions to her pain.  She so wants to run several distance races at the 6th grade trackmeet and right now it is just too painful!  She told me this week she was scared it would never go away.  She commented, "Mom, I know God always has a plan, but sometimes it is SO hard to trust His plan.  I just want to ask 'why me!' I know it is not that big of a thing, but it feels like a big thing to me!"  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Surprising Morning

 That's my son.

He was required to dress up for a school project today.
It is the first time since he was a preschooler that he has worn dress pants.

Shopping with him was a hoot.
Neither of us had a clue what was cool; and then when he came out of the dressing room looking like a man, I almost lost it right in the store.
The other delight of my morning came when Brenna surprised us with breakfast!

Hot and healthy breakfast has become a tradition this school year.
My kids do not eat toast and cereal well, and because they are all growing so incredibly much, I decided that making breakfast each morning was important.  It has been a bit challenging.  In the end, I chose to give up my morning workout routine in order to prepare pancakes, eggs, sausage, waffles, etc... each morning.  It has been worth it though!  Jamison has grown 4-5 inches this school year, and I feel like he has really needed this start to his day.  Even Krissy enjoys it.  One morning, I was running behind and they were stuck with cereal.  She told me it was a "totally depressing" way to start the day.

This morning  when I entered the kitchen, Brenna had the skillet going and coffee made!
(My kids' love language may be breakfast - but mine is most certainly COFFEE!)
Sweet Brenna Joy served us all scrambled eggs, sausage, and pancakes before boarding the bus.
It was a delightful way to start the day!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Foundation Walls

 Our foundation walls were poured today!

Next step is backfilling.

Chad will start that the end of this week.

Chad and Joshua and I stopped out to check on the concrete crew during lunch today.  They were working hard in the sun.  Many of the guys had chosen to work with their shirts off.  One young guy in particular had his unders sticking WAY out - you know the look. . .

Joshua was appalled!  He asked why he would let his unders stick out like that?  He commented that if he had a belt on that would not happen!  Finally when telling my dad about the offender this evening he said, "It a good thing that guy had unders on!  If he not have on any unders then that be really ackward!  Ewww!"

(We may choose to leave Joshua home when the plumbing crew is onsite.)

Racing Spikes

I saw Jamison's racing spikes up close today for the first time since I bought them.

Look closely.

He has personalized them.

I do not normally like it when my kids choose to write on their stuff.
But this time, I love it.

Phil 4:13
Jay's verse.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

What better inspiration could he have on racing spikes?

I love it when my kids inspire me.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pajama Party

 Do these faces not make you smile?!?

Oh, we had so much fun last night hosting Ms. Ellie and Ms. Abby!
I adore these girls!
I was so excited to have them at our house that at one point Jamison said, "Mom.  You are so weird."

These four ran and giggled and played and played and played.
 They had such a good time together.
At bedtime Ellie read us all a story.
Brenna listened politely.
 Abby and Joshua,
well. . .
they acted like Abby and Joshua.

They climbed and giggled and made funny faces for my camera.

(Joshua LOVES Abby.  He says she is his girlfriend.  Last night Ellie asked him if he was going to marry her sister, and Joshua responded, "Some day when I bigger I gonna!")
 When bedtime came, we had a big girls bed -
and a little corner for Mr. Joshua.

They cuddled in and watched a movie.
When the movie was over
they fell fast asleep, cuddled up like kittens.

It was such a precious night.


On Friday, April 20 concrete was poured at our new home.

Construction has officially begun!

 Brenna and Joshua wanted to watch.
And they thought it was totally fascinating. . . for about 10 minutes!
After that they climbed like cats all around Chad's truck and giggled like crazy!
One step down!

It was a solid way to end the week!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mr. Plungy

This post is further evidence that my children are delightfully wacky, and that I have a terrific sense of humor.  (My kids are groaning and rolling their eyes at that last statement!)

Perhaps the goofiest of our kids is Jamison! I think it has something to do with being an 8th grade boy. . .  Anyway, one Saturday we were killing time while the house was being shown.  Krissy had Jamison and Joshua with her, and they stopped at the dollar store.  (Because Krissy is awesomely smart, and she has learned when all else fails killin' time at the dollar store is cheap entertainment!)

Jamison chose to purchase. . . a toilet plunger!  He thought it was THE FUNNIEST thing EVER.  Just looking at it made him laugh!  He named it "Mr Plungy" and carried it around like a doll (for an hour or so).  (And YES, 8th grade boys have an extremely weird sense of humor!)

Joshua thinks ANYTHING Jay does is SUPER COOL so. . .

The next day I was handing out allowance.  Joshua does not get allowance yet, but he asked me for some that day.  He pointed out that he did help clean up his room, so I handed him a dollar. (Yeah, I know - I am a BIG spender!)

He was so so so thrilled!  He yelled, "Krissy!  I havie a dollar!  Will you drive me to the dollar store?  I NEED to BUY a PLUNGER!"

Yep.  You guessed it.

She did.

Which means that Joshua spent the very first dollar he ever earned on A TOILET PLUNGER! which he named "Mr. Plungy" just like Jamison.

(I told you my kids are hilarious! I am so thankful for the many things they do that make me laugh out loud!)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ground Breaking

 Amid all the crazy that was Saturday, Chad dug the foundation for our new home!

I made it just in time to photograph the ground breaking!
You guessed it...
our little digger had to be a part of this project!

He loves to ride in the backhoe with Chad.
He always has his hands on the sticks along with his Daddy!
It never takes long before he has the task "figured out,"
 and he is trying to run the machine by himself.

Our footings and foundation are scheduled to be poured this week!  So construction has begun for real!

Our home is once again sold... hopefully!  The home inspection takes place on Thursday. 

We are set to close on June 29. 

And the plan is to NOT have a plan... yet!  (Which is totally NOT in my COMFORT ZONE!)  The amount of building that occurs this month will have a lot to say about when the home is complete.  While I would love to tell you all to pray for beautiful construction weather (no rain, and little wind), that would be unfair to the farmers and ranchers who really need rain.  So, instead I trust that God has a plan much bigger and better than my plan.  In His time we will be settled in our new home.  A couple of weeks or a couple of months in a camper really will not make much difference in the end (maybe in the moment, but not in the end).

Remind me of that, if need be, in July and August. . . Okay?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

These Are the Busiest Days of My Life!


6:00 wake up for shower for the day
7:00 start making breakfast
7:45 pick up Sierra from a lock-in
8:10 feed the crew breakfast
8:30 send Jamison to his first basketball game of the day
9:15 leave for Women's Brunch at church
12:15 receive "where are you" text from Jamison
12:17 race home to drive Jamison to his track meet
12:40 drop off Jay at track meet (10 min late)
1:00 go through McDonald's to pick up lunch for Chad
1:19 arrive at the lot, eat lunch, and see Chad's progress in staking the house
1:55 return to the track meet, eventually watch Jamison run a respectable 800
4:20 leave track meet, stop at Good Times for Jay's lunch
5:00 return to the lot to watch Chad begin digging our new house
6:30 head home to bring Jamison to basketball game #2
7:00 watch Jay play ball
8:20 drive through McDonald's (again) for supper (GROSS!)
8:45 Joshua in the bath and eventually bed
9:30 make late night snacks with Chad who returned home from digging the house
10:25 attempt sleep, however spend more of the night planning the next day than actually sleeping

***For those of you who know me well, you know that driving through fast food once in a day signifies extreme busyness.  (I am NOT a fan of fast food!!!) Three times in a fast food drive-up in the same day, that is just completely, totally over the top!***

As I record this crazy chain of events, it is not with complaint.  It is about me wishing to remember the moments.  I love these days of chasing after my kids.  I love the conversations that happen in-between activities.  I love the hidden grin Jay shoots me when I arrive to watch him race.  I love bringing Chad lunch, and praising the progress he is making on our home.  I love watching Joshua play in the dirt and drive backhoe.  I love listening to Brenna's and Sierra's stories.  I love sharing hopes and dreams with Krissy.

I love being mom at this very moment, with kids at all kinds of ages and stages, and more to do than I will ever get done.

Some days are overstuffed with activity, but that crazy rush is evidence of all my blessings.

And even in these crazy, overstuffed, rushed days - I am so aware that these are the best days of my life.  Days when I am in the center of it all, soaking it all in!

I am thanking God today that I am surrounded by a swirl of activity.  I am having the time of my life.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Sometimes, because he is little and cute, Joshua stories and Joshua photos tend to take over my blog.  For the most part, the older kids enjoy that!

 I snapped these photos of Sierra over the weekend, and decided they were too beautiful to keep to myself.  My Berra-girl is slowly transforming from little girl to teen-ager.  And I want to take a minute to celebrate all that she is.

Sierra Faith is a most amazing 6th grade girl.

She is tall, skinny, and all legs!
 (WITH stunning, long, blonde hair)
Her feet are now one size bigger than mine, and
I suspect by the end of the summer she will be as tall as I am.
Yet she moves with the grace of a dancer.

She scoffs "dating!"
Saying, "Who needs a boyfriend in 6th grade? It's dumb!"
(Chad and I love that!)

She is warm, warm, warm.
Sierra is always quick to notice someone in need of a hug or a word of encouragement.

She loves to serve.
More often than not, she "disappears" during church because she has noticed some task that she could help with.  I have found her in the kitchen, church nursery, and Sunday School classrooms recently - happily helping in her gracious manner.

She is proud of her faith and does not struggle with sharing it.
She works hard to live in a God-pleasing way.
She told me last week about a tough decision she had made, "because I prayed about it, and I really think it is what God wants me to do."

She is smart but rarely serious.
She IS silly and fun!

She is honest.
She lets positive comments flow freely,
but usually keeps the negative stuff to herself.

She is all heart,
which once in a while comes out in a fiery temper.

She is stunningly beautiful,
because she allows the love, grace, and faith of Jesus
to shine brightly through her.
I celebrate, today, all that Sierra is
all that she will become.

You are a treasure Berra-girl.
I am so proud of the enthusiastic, encouraging way you live.
I adore the way you serve so purely and naturally.
I am challenged and encouraged by the way you follow Jesus.
I am so thankful God chose me to be your mom.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Brenna Turns 9!

 Our beautiful Brenna-girl turned 9 on April 6.

What a blessing this kind, smart, helpful, considerate you young girl is to our family!
 She chose ice cream cone cupcakes for her birthday dessert.
 She and Sierra decorated EVERYTHING with pink and white streamers and balloons for the party.

It looked so sweet.
One of the many signs that she is growing up is that she did not want toys.

She wanted books!
And clothes!

Watching children grow up is the weirdest thing.
On one hand, I want to keep her little forever.
On the other, I am so proud of the young lady she is becoming.

I guess the key is to enjoy every age and stage -
to treasure each and every moment up,
and hide it in my heart

I love you Brenna-girl!
I am so thankful that God chose me to be your mom.

An Easter Filled with Broken Rules

We broke many "rules" this Easter.

  • I did not buy my children cute Easter outfits.  (They HATE them.)
  • I did not plan an egg hunt OR fill Easter baskets with gifts.
  • I did not cook anything special.
  • I did not take a single photo.
And, you know what?

All that rule breaking was wonderful!  It gave me the freedom to enjoy worship.  Instead of being totally hung up on having a picture perfect day, I was free to sink in, relax, and enjoy worship.

The BEST moment of my day occurred during worship team practice early Easter morning.  It rarely works in my schedule for me to sing with the worship team, but I love it when it does.  So standing on stage, singing with the talented group surrounding me was a gift in and of itself.

As we vocally ended one of the songs, the instruments continued to play.  They had a beautiful, spontaneous time of improvisation.  They "jammed out" with pure, enthusiastic, unregulated joy.

As they came to a close, the young man playing the sax breathed, "That right there was holy prayer."

It was.  It was the most pure and beautiful prayer of worship I experienced all day.

Sometimes, there is  much beauty and joy in broken rules.  Improvising and growing near to the heart of God often go hand in hand.

(For the record, my kids also enjoyed the broken rules.  They do not enjoy pictures or fancy clothes.  They did enjoy the food their Grandmothers prepare.  They also enjoyed the egg hunts set up by Grandmas as well.)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Dream Begins to Unfold

Last week a team of four people from our church traveled to Ethiopia with Children's HopeChest.  This was extremely significant to me because I have spent a lot of time in the past 2.5 years researching, checking references, and praying in preparation for this very trip. 

From the time that God opened my eyes to the fact that as Christ followers, we are all commanded to take care of widows, orphans, and oppressed people, I have been praying about my church becoming intimately involved with a community in Ethiopia.  I spent about a year learning about different organizations and the types of partnerships that they made possible.  It soon became apparent to me that a partnership with HopeChest was the best fit.

I then spent months interviewing HopeChest staff and references.  The more I learned the more excited I became.  I was just putting together a proposal for my church when I learned our Senior Pastor was resigning.  At that point I was really frustrated.  I really felt that we needed pulpit support to make the partnership successful, so I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

In the mean time, we hired a new Senior Pastor.
And he hired me to be his office administrator.

I continued to wait, as both he and I were trying to figure out our new jobs.
For those of you that know me, you know that I do not wait well!
Once I have a plan, waiting to carry it out is very DIFFICULT.
But God kept reassuring me that he would open doors in His time.

Then one day as we were working together, Pastor Jared said, "I would really like to figure out some type of world mission project."

And I said, "Pull up a chair.  I have been waiting for someone to say that for a looong time."

To make a long story short, Pastor Jared and a team of three others traveled to Ethiopia with HopeChest last week to learn more about the country and HopeChest's program.  Some went hesitantly. 

All returned changed.


They also returned with gifts for me.
(Indulge me while I show off my Ethiopian treasures below.)

The shell detain makes the best noise when he dances!

Thanks, Troy, Claudette, Jared, and Lyra, for traveling to Ethiopia to check out my dream.
Thanks too for bringing treasures home for me!

Please join us in praying as God's plan for our church in Ethiopia continues to unfold.

Ladies!  If you would like to hear more about Claudette's and Lyra's trip to Ethiopia, you could join me for brunch this coming Saturday!  They will be sharing all about their trip - including Lyra's beautiful photography - at 10am Saturday, April 14 at BCC.  Even if (especially if) you do not attend our church, we would love to have you attend. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easter Eggs 2012

 One of our Easter traditions is having Grammy over to dye Easter eggs with the kids.

They have so much fun!
 We are hoping we can get Sierra to dye eggs with us a few more years!
 The ONLY color Joshua used was blue.

Because, "I, I like blue!"
The finished product - all 4 dozen!

In other news:
  • Joshua has been limping for a few days.  We brought him in for an xray today, just to be safe.  Nothing is broken, thankfully!  However doctor's orders are for NO running, jumping, or kicking!  I am HAPPY to say that is nearly impossible to keep Joshua from running, jumping, and kicking!  I have "complained" tongue in cheek that it would have been much easier if he would have had a sprained foot last year, before he COULD run, jump, and kick!
  • Tomorrow he goes to the dentist for the first time.  Pray for me, the dentist, him! Medical stuff is hard for him.  (You should see the fuss he creates just having to be weighed at the doctor's office -eek!)
  • We have a BUILDING PERMIT!  Construction is officially beginning.  We have concrete scheduled for about 2 weeks!
  • Our loan is waiting for signatures.
  • Our current home is still for sale.  UGH!  Please pray for a real sale!  I am so tired of showing it.  It would be really nice, however, to live here until the new home is complete!  I am trusting God's timing and doing my best to remain flexible.

Track is Back!

Last night was Jamison's first track meet of the season.

He ran the 800 and the 1600... indoors.  (Yuck!)

Last week I asked him if he had a goal time for this season.

He thought a while, and said, "5.30 for the mile"

Last night he ran a 5.31 - INDOOR.

Guess he needs to reassess that goal!

I'm excited!  It is going to be a fun season!

Reminders of Things Soon to Come!

Every day, it seems, there is something in my mailbox that reminds me that our oldest daughter will soon fly the coop.

Most days it is post cards or catalogs from colleges, trying to entice her into moving far, far away.

Today, it was this:

For some reason, it was this that placed tears in my eyes.

It is easy to pretend we really do not have a high school student under our roof when I am not actually at the high school!  Today we were invited to an awards ceremony at her high school, and although I am beyond proud of her, it makes the fact that in two years we will go to her graduation really hard to ignore!

In all reality, I am thankful for these reminders!  I am going to need each one of them to help me prepare for her departure.

My goal is to enjoy every minute of the next two years!

Two years from now, when we are planning her Grad Party (sniff),
I want to be ready to celebrate with her -
and NOT
burden her with my grief!

She is a smart, strong, confident young lady.
If far, far away is the desire of her heart, I plan to do everything I can to give her strong wings.

I am SO excited to see where those wings fly.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Palm Sunday 2012

 Brenna and Joshua participated the the Palm Sunday Procession this morning.  They were so excited.  Joshua grabbed Brenna's hand when we walked into church and asked, "Can we go mom?!  I ready to sing!"
 (Not a good photo, but rather scurry across the church and create a scene, I settled!)

Joshua was so proud!  He was ALL SMILES and waved at me a couple of times to make sure I could see him.  He kept right next to his big sister, of course, but with Brenna at his side, he was the picture of confidence!

When he was done singing, he ran to me for a big hug.  Then he whispered in my ear, "Mom!  I knew all the words!  I singed Mosanna, Mosanna!"  (I did not have the heart to tell him it is really Hosanna!)
 After church, I took the kids for lunch at the park.  (Chad and Jay were out of town for a basketball tournament.)  The littlest three indulged me in a few photos.

It is so much more fun to take pictures in the sunshine!
 Our beautiful Brenna-girl turns 9 this week!
 Joshua Gebeyehu Chad is 4.5.
He is strong, confident, coordinated, and quick!
(Praise God as each one of those adjectives are the result of much prayer.)

As I have watched my children the last few days, I marvel at what a blessing they are to each other!

They love and support and challenge (and tease) each other so perfectly!

I loved watching Joshua be twice as brave and confident today because he had "his" Brenna at his side.
I loved watching Sierra read to Brenna yesterday, doing everything she could to make her sick sister feel a bit better.
I love listening to Krissy give Sierra advice on friendships.
I love seeing Brenna give Jamison the biggest hugs when he returns.
I love watching Jay and Joshua wrestle.
I love listening to the kids laugh together, even when it is at my expense!

A family is such a beautiful gift.