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

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Family Pictures 2014

 I love Joshua and Mataya here. He is always trying to get her attention!
 I love how all the kids are interacting here.  It was totally posed - and yet, their personalities are shining through.  (Especially between Joshua and Krissy, those two tease continually.)
 I'm not a huge fan of kissing poses - but Mataya cracks me up in this photo!
I think she is quite happy as the baby!
I'm so thankful for this crew.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Kids - Fall 2014

 I begged my kids to pose for pictures a few weeks ago.

While they were not happy, they were great sports.

I am so thankful.

SO thankful.

What was an annoying event to my kidos, resulted in photos I will treasure always.

Krissy - 18
Jamison - almost 17
Sierra - almost 15
Brenna - 11
Joshua - almost 7
Mataya - 6 mo.

(I'm still choosing my favorite full family poses, so I will post those another day.)

Thanks J & J Photography!

Friday, September 19, 2014

My Very Favorite Cheerleader's Very First Homecoming!

 School has been rough this year - but the one thing Sierra LOVES is cheering.  

She is good at is, too.  

Her very essence as an encourager makes her a sweet, kind, genuinely enthusiastic cheerleader.  Her work ethic makes her a good one.

She has been battling a shoulder injury since July.  Her right shoulder subluxes (mini-dislocates) at both the shoulder joint and the collar bone.  It is very painful.  Sierra has this crazy high pain tolerance, and with the PTs permission, she has been pushing through the pain.

She has been progressing in PT and was just cleared to stunt again about a week ago.  Though we knew her shoulder was fragile, and we had the PT tape it before every practice and game, we were hopeful that things were improving.

Tonight, right after half-time, the girls were cheering through the school song.  It was just a cheer.  No stunt.  Nothing scary.  Mid-way through I saw Sierra freeze for just a second, our eyes connected instantly, I knew.  She did a few mini arm movements trying to push through the pain.  Then with tears in her eyes she mouthed to me, "it popped."  Sierra never cries publicly, but she could not stop a few little tears from leaking out of her beautiful eyes tonight.  Silent tears of sadness, pain, fear, and frustration.

She saw the on-site trainer.  She tried another cheer - but the pain of lifting her shoulder above shoulder height was too unbearable.  I promise you, that was some serious pain.  She is one tough cookie.  For her to sit out half of Homecoming, she HURTS.

 So she ended the game with an ice pack taped to her shoulder, and a brave smile pasted on her face.

UGH!!!!!!  I am so frustrated for her.

I know she is just a Freshman.
I know it is just cheerleading.
I know it is could be so much worse.

I am truly thankful that it is not!

I am also so frustrated!
She could not work any harder.
We could not spend any more time at PT.
We thought it was getting better!

This just stinks!

So. . . please pray for miraculous healing.  Please pray that Sierra is encouraged.  Pray that she finds her happy place.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

6 Months Old

You, Mataya Hope, with your long, long lashes, your sweet curly locks, your one baby tooth, your pensive eyebrows, your pacifier love, your infectious laugh, your rolly-polly thighs, your grabby little hands, your babbly baby words, your full-body, wrinkled-nose smile, and your snuggled in tight under my chin hugs make my heart happy.

Everywhere we go people seek you out.  They coo at you.  They tell you how beautiful you are.  They do all sorts of silly things just to make you smile.

I realized today that world would be a much better place if we treated everyone with the love and affection that is lavished on tiny one's just like you.

You remind me constantly of what a miracle life is.

You continue to fill me with wondrous hope.

You are a gift, precious one.

A treasure I will always cherish.

Happy Half-Birthday baby girl.

Momma loves you.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


I love this girl.

As she grows, I just love her more and more. . . because I respect her more and more.

The beginning of this school year has been hard on her.  Things with friends have been rough.  As she continues to make good choices, she is feeling more and more alone.

Yesterday she said something that totally wowed me.  She was sharing that lunch is really hard.  I was listening and sympathizing.

And then she said it.

She said, "Mom, right now really sucks.  I totally have NO friends.  But I am just going to hang out and wait.  I'd rather have no friends than the wrong friends.  I know who I want to be.  I know I want and need friends that will help me be the person God is calling me to be.  I need friends that will make good choices.  I want to have SO MUCH fun in High School.  Like the good kind of fun.  Alone sucks - but it is better than hanging with the wrong people pretending."


I wish I had been as confident and true to myself and the Lord at her age.

So join me in praying that those true friends emerge quickly, because this momma has NO tolerance for the pain of her children!

(And to clarify, NO friends to Sierra means the lack of a best friend/confidant.  As I heard one classmate tell her, "Sierra everyone likes you.  You just don't have a BFF right now."  Sierra, more than any of my children, craves deep relationship so the lack of a BFF is painful!)

Sierra-girl, you have no idea how much I admire you.  You are strong and courageous.  You are true to your faith.  You are loving and kind and fun.  You are so very thoughtful and encouraging. I am so, so proud of you.  Thank you for loving me so deeply and trusting me with your heart and feelings.  I am thankful to be your mom and honored to be among your friends.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Rhythm is Changing

Sierra asked me this morning why I never blog any more.

While in some seasons blogging has been a release, and in other seasons it has felt like something God was asking me to do, in THIS season silence feels right.  In this season of heart and priority changes, I feel called to silence.  I feel as though He is calling me to ponder all of these things in my heart and trust them to Him and Him alone.

It is also a time in which I feel called to SLOW DOWN!

After years and years of rushing ALL. THE. TIME, my rhythm is changing.  My heart is beating more slowly.  I am breathing deeper.  I am thinking and praying more and speaking less.  I am healing. . . and healing takes time.

I am trying to be a more thoughtful and caring friend, especially in non-emergent times.

I am trying to love more deeply.  That takes TIME people!  Today I stopped at Walmart for two items.  It was going to be a quick stop.  But them the sweet granny who was working as a greeter stopped me to talk to Mataya.  Mataya gave her her full-body, wrinkled-nose grin, and this greeter melted.  She asked for a squeeze, and I handed over my baby.  (This is RARE!  I NEVER give my baby to strangers.  Heck, I rarely give her to people I know and love.)  Mataya snuggled right in, loving this grandma in a way that I could not.  It was really beautiful.  And the lesson of what a full-body smile and a deep loving hug can do lingers each time I hold our Mataya since she carries the scent of that grandma's perfume.

I am trying to pray without ceasing.  Sierra asked me this morning what I do all day, and the answer is pray.  Sure I fold laundry, cook, clean, buy groceries, get the mail, work for Chad, run errands, sing to Mataya, vacuum the floors, shower, fix beds, schedule appointments, etc. . . but all the while I am praying.

I am trying to listen and follow. . . even when it is hard.  Some painful decisions have been made.  They will be misunderstood by some and criticized by others - but in my heart I feel set free.  At long last, I feel solid, sure, and released.

I am trying to savor and celebrate.  Moments with my kids are fleeting.  I savor every second.

I am trying to give wise counsel.  As a mom I am constantly giving advice and setting boundaries.  I am trying to be wise, loving, and fair.

I am trying to be a better employee to Chad.  It is not easy working remotely - though I am loving it.  Communication can be tough.  I am trying to listen intently and discover the gaps that I could fill to lessen the burden for Chad.

I am trying to be available.  My schedule has been overflowing for years with things that do not really matter.  I am trying to be choosy and invest in only things that could make a difference in my heart or someone else's.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


We had the extreme pleasure of watching these 7 run and win the meet in Fargo today.

Not only did they win the meet, 6 of the 7 ran PRs.

Jamison had a nasty cold that had settled into his lungs, and somehow, (perhaps positive peer pressure?  true grit? or his father's competitive spirit? along with a TON of training!) raced his best time ever!  In fact, his season goal was a 16:59 and he raced a 16:56! He is now choosing a new goal!! 

It was so fun to see the heart of champions emerge in this team.

I am so happy for and proud of them!

As Jamison said, all those miles we ran in the off-season are paying off now!

(Also a BIG thank you to all the family we have in Fargo for showing up to sheer!  Time is a precious thing.  Thank you for sharing some of your time with us.  We felt very loved!)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Garlic Ginger Beef and Fried Rice

I am trying to be a bit more "Suzy Homemaker" now that school has started.  I do not love to cook - but being organized helps.  My plan this school year is to make a menu over the weekend, shop for groceries Monday morning, put together meals for the week Monday afternoon, and enjoy the rest of the week.

This week my cooking success was garlic ginger beef made with fried rice.

Garlic Ginger Beef 
4 pounds beef--tough cuts work great  (I used rib steaks)
1  cup soy sauce
3/4 cup honey or maple syrup-- (I used maple syrup)
12 cloves of garlic-minced
1 1/2 inch chunk of ginger peeled and chopped or grated (I chopped.)
A couple pinches of red pepper flakes--optional (yum!)

To Cook:
Place the contents of the bag in a crock pot - frozen (my meat was frozen, but the marinate was not)
Cover and cook on high 6 hours

Fried Rice
4 cups cooked rice
6T butter
4T soy sauce
4t worcestershire sauce
1t pepper
1/2 t salt
2 cups frozen peas and carrots
2 eggs scrambled

Dump it all together and cook until it's hot.

My family loved this meal.  That does not happen often, people.  

For a more regular size family I would make half these recipes.  I actually tripled the meat from the original recipe and doubled the rice.  And we ate it all - but we did have enough leftovers for lunch the following day.

Sorry about the weird formatting. . . no clue. . . sigh.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Day of School 2014

TBH as my kids would say, translated to be honest, I hated sending my kids back to school today.  Although my kids say it was a boring summer, translated we did not go on a fancy vacation, from my perspective it was the best summer I have had in many, many years.  Summer is so hard for full-time working moms.  The kids want (and sometimes need) to go places. For the past several summers I have flet totally conflicted.  I wanted the kids to be able to do fun things, go to camps, participate in sports, attend summer school, etc, etc, etc. . . but I also needed to work.  Getting them places was a constant source of stress.  Not getting them places was equally stressful because then I worried they watched to much TV.  I spent the last several summers feeling like a failure.  For me there was no good way to balance both my job and motherhood.

This summer I was free to be me - momma first, employee second.  Working for Chad works well in that he prefers to work more and I prefer to parent more.  He is thankful when I am able to do most of the parenting, and I am thankful that he takes up much of the slack at work.  Focusing on my kids and NOT feeling guilty for it was THE BEST. 

Thankfully the kids were not as sad about the start of school as their momma!  They were up and ready to go.

Jamison had early morning xc practice.  I did not have the heart (or maybe guts) to ask him to pose for a picture at 5:30 am.  

Sierra is a Freshman at CHS.


After a summer of cheer practices in the halls of CHS, she is SO ready to take on High School.
 Brenna Joy is a 6th Grader.  It is her first year of Middle School.

Unfortunately she got the flu mid-morning and I had to bring her home.  She was devastated, poor girl.  
 Joshua is in Kindergarten.

He was AMAZING this morning!

I pulled up to his school and he said, "You stay in the car.  I got this!"

I was not sure what to do.  No "good" parent allows her child to walk into school by himself on the first day of Kindergarten, right?!?  But when Joshua is ready, he's ready. . .

I told him to have a good day and then watched him walk away.  When I did not drive away immediately he walked back to the car.  I got out and asked if he wanted me to walk him in.  He said, "You can if you want to.  I just wondered why you didn't drive away!"

So I walked him in.  He hung up his backpack and headed out to the playground.  He walked me to my car and I worried he would get sad.  I could not have handled his sad this morning.  I was not up to tough love.  But when we got close to the car, he gave me a hug, Mataya a kiss, yelled "see ya later" and went to play on the monkey bars.

I cried all the way home.  They were tears of pride and joy really - not sad tears.  We have worked so hard to get to today.  Joshua is truly confident - in himself and in us as his family.  He is so capable.  I am so, so thankful.  It is absolutely amazing.

Only God could heal our son so completely.

Sweet Mataytay did not know what to think of all the commotion this morning.  She was up before 7, which is totally unheard of for her.  In fact, she needed a nap on the drive to drop off her kids!  I have been so thankful to have her home with me today.  Her smiling self cooing at me is just what I needed this morning.  God knew I would need her this fall.  I feel blessed over and over again by the gift of this tiny one.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Everything Is Changing

Today is the final day of summer vacation.

Back to school always gives me a bit of a stomach ache.  This year that ache is a bit bigger than usual.

EVERYTHING, it seems, is changing.  And although the majority of those changes are good and exciting, my heart aches a bit as I process them.

The picture above kind of sums up the changes. . . there is one less.  Always one less it seems.  My kids are growing up.  It is rare for us all to be together.  I hate that.


It is also good.


The reality of life.

I am so thankful I will have Mataya with me this fall.  I thank Jesus for the gift of our tiny one about a thousand times a day!

Joshua heads off to Kindergarten tomorrow.  Though he would rather got to work with Daddy, he is READY to go to Kindergarten.  I am so proud of him!  (My mommy heart is also a little worried.  He will be the only one of his siblings in his school since Brenna is headed to Middle School.  He does not care about this.  It does not seem weird to him at all.  But the last time I sent a little one to Kindergarten without an older sibling in the building was 14 years ago, so it feels a bit lonely to me.)

Brenna heads off to middle school.  She is calm as a cucumber about this.  She is super pumped that she fits into size 0 jeans, and she is feeling and looking very grown up in her school clothes.  I LOVE her middle school.  I also know she is ready, making this transition one of the easier ones.

Sierra heads off to high school.  She is the first of our kids to be at the high school as a 9th grader.  It is both happy and sad to me.  She is ready.  I am too. . . mostly.  Sierra is a beautiful, very social, and an incredibly grounded young lady.  As a cheerleader she will be spending a lot of time with upper classman this year.  I am praying like crazy that as her friend group rearranges (as is only natural in high school) that her friends will continue to be wonderful influences to her and she to them.  Ever since she was a toddler I have joked that she will march her crowd either into our away from trouble.  And I have prayed that the Lord would use her for His glory.  He has been so faithful, and so has she.  She has a beautiful, encouraging, enthusiastic heart.  She has a wonderful opportunity to shine for Him as she cheers.  I expect great things.  I also confess to being a little scared.  High School presents so many opportunities to stray.  I want to keep her in a bubble and protect her from all evil.  While that is totally unrealistic (and also not what I would truly wish), I AM thankful that Jamison will be there to watch out for her.  He certainly keeps tabs on her, and she adores him. . . almost all the time.  I expect there to be a few hiccups as they figure out how to navigate the halls of CHS together - but I also expect it to be a great time for them both.

Jamison is the most steady of the kids this fall.  He has few changes.  More and more is expected of him as he progresses through high school, and thus far he has responded with maturity.  He feels solid.  And yet, he turns 17 in November.  My only other experiencing a seventeen-year-old was not so fun, so fair to him or not, my stomach hurts a bit as his birthday approaches.

Krissy is living in town with a friend.  We see her once or twice a week.  She is scheduled to head to Basic Training in October.  She has had some health issues which may delay that departure.  She's struggling with many aspects of leaving.  Growing up is hard.  Please be praying for her.  And me.  All this letting go and staying out of it is hard for me.  I wake up at 4am most days worrying about her.  Worrying is not Godly, but it sure is human.  Sigh.  I'm working on it.

I'm tired, friends.  All this change is wiping me out.

I am thankful that there is One who never changes.  In Him and only Him do I place my trust.