Sunday, February 15, 2015

Merry Christmas 2014 aka Merry Valentines-mas 2015

(Once again, we are not sending Christmas cards out in the traditional way - see the end of this post for more on that...We hope you enjoy this online version! If you regularly read my blog, some of these stories will sound familiar...)
AWAY.  That word can have a lot of connotations in English!  There's gone away, put away, laid away, away game, far away, carried away, do away with something, get away, eating away at something, pass away, run away, right see what I mean?  I bet you can think of a few more!  The theme of our past year was AWAY...keep reading to see if you can spot the various versions of AWAY in all our activities!
January - we wanted to GET AWAY from the bitter bitter cold!!  There were record low temps coupled with record wind chills...We found it ironic that the movie Frozen came out during this time!  On the coldest day of the year we bundled up, covered up and manned up to get to the theater to see the movie!  And of course, like many of your kids, we still get CARRIED AWAY and cannot stop singing the songs =)
February - we didn't do much, it was still so cold! - so maybe we were HIDING AWAY?
March - Momma and Colleen's hair was SWEPT AWAY!  Short haircuts for everyone!  We are so much happier in the mornings these days - no more snarls, Charles!  Also some of our savings DRAINED AWAY as we purchased a new camper.  We had been saving for a long time to make that big of a purchase and it felt so good to reach that goal!  We took the new camper on an inaugural journey over spring break to KY and TN, our first of many times AWAY FROM HOME during 2014.  The weather SCARED OTHERS AWAY from camping but not us!  It was almost 60* most days but since we were in the mountains there were flurries one day!  There are so many cool things out there, we hope to get back.  Upon returning from break, the theater group I was a part of had a number of performances.  Some special memories were made those nights!
April - We ROLLED AWAY - we had the opportunity to go to a roller rink and go skating!  Each year the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation's local chapter hosts some fundraisers...this was the kids' first time roller skating (they've had rollerblading units at school) and it had been a long time for Dave and me!
May - All 4 of us RAN AWAY from the starting line in a family fun run to raise money for Bookworm Gardens, a really special place that combines books and plants - 2 of our family's favorite things!  If you ever get the chance, I strongly encourage you to go check it out.  You don't have to be a kid to enjoy it and if you'd like company, please call us!  We love to go!  May was an eventful month - we were WHISKED AWAY to a medical room when Moses needed his first stitches on his hand.
June - Dave and Mo shouted "BOMBS AWAY" as they did cannonballs off the board at a pool party celebrating the baptism of some dear friends' daughters.
July - July - August - This family was AWAY FROM HOME many more days than they were actually at home!!  The end of June was filled with things like football camp, camping and boating and eating ice cream every day in Waupaca, camping at Plymouth Rock with some of the best friends who have MOVED AWAY and then at Kohler Andrae State Park with some friends who don't live FAR AWAY at all!  In July we headed to Door County and Harrington Beach.  Somewhere in there we squeezed in a 15 year anniversary celebration...I am so glad that tall skinny curly haired boy I had a crush on did not SHY AWAY from this talkative goofy nerdy girl...!  And as if that wasn't enough to pack into a summer vacation, on one of the last days of July we shoved off for what was FAR AND AWAY one of the best parts of 2014!  For 24 days, we were AWAY FROM HOME again...we headed west to see Dave's brother and family in WA, stopping along the way to see Sioux Falls, ND (again!), Yellowstone National Park and Seattle, just to mention a few.  We camped in our HOME AWAY FROM HOME and praised God for each and every blessing- the camper, the family who let us steal their daughter for a beach GET-AWAY and for many traveling mercies along the way.  It was so hard to leave and DRIVING AWAY I cried.   I/We miss them a lot and I hope we can repeat the trip again soon.  But first we have to go visit the CA branch of the family!!  We miss them a ton too!!
September - I SNUCK AWAY for a girls' weekend in Door County!  Much fun was had - friendships were strengthened and laughter/tears shared.  Moses practiced his FADE AWAY jumper at his first basketball camp.  It was really cool to find out his gym teacher was one of the camp coaches!
October - Fall camping in the Kettle Moraine Forest TOOK OUR BREATH brought up a lot of memories for me since that's where my grandparents and my family did a lot of camping as I was growing up.  We really have a lot of treasures here in WI in our parks, forests and recreational areas!  By the end of the month we were BLOWN AWAY by a house/property we was BY FAR AND AWAY one of the best we have seen over the years.  We began to crunch numbers, determined to keep the house from being THE (other) ONE THAT GOT AWAY...
November - We watched some of our money get CARTED AWAY as we bought the house!!  We HAMMERED AWAY at the packing and paperwork, set aside some things to GIVE AWAY and had some work done on the new house.  We were sort of in the clouds that month - not sure if it was a dream or reality that one of our (ok, mostly my!) goals was getting crossed off the list!
December - Where did December go?  I know we didn't WASTE THE DAYS AWAY...we were so busy running loads between the two houses and such that I didn't even get a Christmas 'letter'/blog post up!  Among other things!  However, we did get the new house in shape and unpacked a few boxes.  It is beginning to feel like home and we are realizing truly how blessed we are that the Lord kept this house TUCKED AWAY in the woods for us.  For so long I had been searching for houses/acreage using the map search feature.  I was mostly looking west of the city in which we had been living, not finding much.  There were a lot of old farmhouses in disrepair we had visited, or nicer houses but w/smaller properties or locations not suitable for what we dreamed of doing.  Our poor realtor had been dragged out to some remote locations while we scoped out woods, drafty houses and farmland...!  When talking to one of her co-workers about our quest, our realtor was surprised to hear that there was a property just south of us that might be suitable!  The funny thing was that it did not show up on map search due to an address change 7 years ago.  (Google is a bit behind, I guess!)  It's like this house was on hold, SQUIRRELED AWAY, just waiting for us...the house hunt taught me patience, that's for sure.  Is this place perfect?  Of course not.  But there are so many things about it that I could not have planned!  We are less than a mile from the lake, which I said I could never leave, we are in the midst of our own 10 acres, there is a fireplace and some special nooks and unique features, the long driveway is rustic - not even paved!  I could go on...=) but I won't.
Now you know I couldn't write this whole post w/o adding some photos...since it's been such a full year, it was so hard to choose just a few to include!  So I made a huge slideshow!!  It's just under 11 minutes long, so please get comfortable =)  And the song that is below (just hit play) is sort of our end of 2014/beginning of 2015 theme song!  We are trying new things and entering new territory, literally and figuratively!...more on all of that in the next post, which I promise is not months away but should be posted soon!  Finally, it seems weird saying it in February, but MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!  We hope and pray you enjoyed the holiday season and were able to spend Valentine's Day w/some loved ones!  Remember, God loves you and so do we!

We hope you enjoyed this green version of our Christmas card!  There are lots of reasons we decided to do things differently a couple of years's a few:
1) Save postage. We love you, but we're cheap!
2) Save paper. You just recycle those cards after you read do recycle them eventually, don't you??
3) Save printing costs. See reason #1!
4) Save stress. Nothing to print, sign, stuff, address...
5) Expand our options! Now you can see a practically limitless amount of photos.
6) Our greeting to you is saved in cyber-space for posterity! Yes, we can be that vain sometimes!
7) It went so well the past years...we heard a lot of positive responses, and even some people who said they'd try it themselves. Welcome to the dark (green) side! (Sorry that was a goofy Star Wars joke...)

Monday, September 22, 2014

July, August and September 2014 so far..

There's so much I want to write!  And of course very little time...
You'll never guess what we did in July!  We camped =)  We went up to Door County and tested out the new Harrington Beach campground.  And celebrated Colleen's birthday too!  It was another month where we were pretty much gone more than home.  It was really good though, for more than one reason.  For one, it was good practice for the long August road trip.  We were constantly thinking about what we would need, how we could improve on the storage, finding a system that would work while we were gone for 3 weeks, sometimes w/o getting to big cities w/a box store.  Also, we did some really awesome stuff!  Normally, I am not comfortable enough in the boat to go out into Lake Michigan much.  I get panic attacks, mostly when I can't see the shore or there are waves bigger than, oh say, 6".  Which, on Lake Michigan, is a lot of the time!  However, I love Rock Island and Dave was trying to convince me to take the boat from a launch in Door Co all the way to the island.  I wanted to do it...but I also didn't want to puke, pass out, or hyperventilate in the middle of the bay.  I finally decided the big adventure would be memorable enough and the bay isn't nearly as choppy as the big lake.  On a scale of 1-5, the only time I got to a 3 or 4 was when we chose to stop for gas.  We didn't HAVE to, but we thought it would be better to play it safe than get caught out of gas in the twilight.  We had to cross between the islands and the big lake water was tossing us around!!  I survived though...and it was so worth it!!  How many people can say they did that?  Again, we learned a lot for the next time we do it.  B/c yeah, I'm ready to do it again next summer!  
On to August.  We left the homestead in late July for a 24 day road trip - all the way to WA State to see Dave's brother and family!  Again, we camped along the way =)  We were able to go back to the Badlands, the Black Hills, Custer State Park, Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone.  I could talk for hours about what we saw and did!  There were animals of all kinds spotted by all 4 of us...we cooked some yummy meals over the campfire and hiked and hiked!  We got to see some beautiful country and it was a huge blessing that we could 'camp' right outside our family's house.  The cousins wasted no time running off and playing and it was almost like we were still in WI.  By that I mean that the WA house was sort of similar to the WI house they had and since it was all their same furniture and stuff in it, well...we felt like we were in our home away from home!  They fed us, took us to church, showed us around and stayed up late talking.  It was like the old days.  Dave and I used to go to their house a lot when we first started dating and...ARG no crying while typing a blog post!!!  After a few days, we took the oldest niece still living at home and headed to the coast to camp.  We hiked to the northernmost/westernmost corner of the US!  The beach was many memories made there too!  Then it was back to home base and well, it was really hard to leave.  Let's just leave it at that.  =)  The trip back home was fun too - well, ok, I won't lie, I was complaining a lot more about a sore behind from sitting in the truck!  We had fun but pushed it a little more to get home faster.  And then - we had a mountain of laundry, a 4lb pack of mail, lots of political robo-calls and almost 2000 pics to go through!  It wasn't long and we celebrated Mo's birthday and then we were at school for the open house, meeting teachers and finding cubbies.  Dave went back to meetings and paperwork while I figured out how to calm the voices in my head that were trying to fill the silence here at home.  Last year I was home all year w/no extra kids, but phew!  It was a tough transition this year.  It was a rapid one, an abrupt one...I went from living w/3 other people in close proximity (less than 200 sq ft maybe?) to rambling around an empty casa more than 5 times that size!  It was hard.  I kept grumbling about everyone else getting to do something new and exciting while I went back to packing lunches and cleaning.  Ok, that's a lie, I rarely clean.  I'll say running errands...anyway - I'm over it now but I had a whiny re-entry into regular life!  I really want to have more adventures.  It doesn't help that one of my best friends and her family drove off in their motorhome/house for a life of travel and adventure.  I keep reading their stories and daydreaming about driving my camper over to wherever they are!  Again, I'm over it now, but yeah.  I had to go through an attitude adjustment...
September is not quite over yet but it's had adventure of it's own!  I was able to get away for the weekend to Door Co w/some good girlfriends from church.  We laughed, talked, wine tasted and hiked...another weekend found us at the Y for the first gymnastics meet of the year!  For the boys, no other teams accepted the invite to compete, so the judge scored and provided notes for them to learn from.  It was great to see the improvements in Mo's strength and endurance from last year!  He was a lot more focused this year I think.  It's going to be a fun season!  This year Colleen is taking ballet instead of gymnastics.  We get to go to a dance recital!  Looking forward to that too...Sorry there's no pictures in this post.  I was going to find some, but I'm distracted today.  I can only do one thing at a time!  I'll come back, hopefully later in the week, w/some pictures and other updates.  I'm so glad I got to write and I'm not even behind on the housework - take that, laziness and clutter collection!

Highlights from the first half of 2014

As many of you may know, WI had a really bitter winter this past year.  It wasn't exactly that snowy, but it was one of the coldest on record.  There were windchills in the negative 20s and such for weeks, school was canceled for temps, not snowfall...etc.  We were all indoors A LOT since it wasn't safe to go out and play.  For people like me, who love snow and being outside, it was brutal.  For kids of all kinds, it was torture.  They were so sick of indoor recess!!  Being who we are, our family could not get our brains off of being outside and traveling...on one of the coldest and windiest days of the year, Dave went down to an RV place to check out a hard sided camper.  We video chatted so I could see the thing and laughed about the wind rocking the camper!  Spring break was coming up and we were itching to 'get out of Dodge'!!  It wasn't long and the camper was in our driveway and our savings was in the hands of an RV felt good to have worked toward a financial goal!  Then spring break came and it felt even better to say we were going to drive until the thermometer rose above 60*!  We almost made it there too...=D  We ended up in was pretty nice, not hot, by any stretch of the imagination, but they had spring bulbs pushing up through the dirt and that was good enough for us!  One day I left the towels hanging on the line and when we came back to the campground, it was snowing!  Nothing stuck, but it was an adventure!!  One of our favorite things was having pretty much the whole entire campground to ourselves.  There was only one other group of campers....and they weren't even there the whole week!  We went on some sunny hikes and explored the KY and TN border.

A Glamping We Will Go!

In late April, we took a mini vacation to the WI Dells waterpark hotel, while early May found us on the run for the local Bookworm Garden Fun Run!  I was able to go on field trips with both Moses and Colleen - one to a Y nature camp and the other to a nearby zoo.  

JUNE!!!!  We looked forward to June and it did not disappoint!!!  Of course there were the obligatory make up days of school but that didn't change the fact that a big anniversary was coming up!  The love of my life and I spent the day with our family - and then kicked off a week in the same town we had our first honeymoon =D  It was a little different with kids along, but we are not complaining!  There was much fun - boating, kayaking, mini golfing, tubing, swimming, camping, and YES every day included ice cream!  The weather was perfect - hot, sunny and just what we needed after a winter cooped up inside!  We polished off the first half off 2014 by going to football camp, seeing family, camping with some good friends, and doing some MORE camping!  

Monday, August 25, 2014

The year that almost wasn't....or was it?

This year has been jam packed w/living life and all sorts of big things happening!  I used to write a ton of words about everything...I still do - only lately they've been trapped in my head.  I think in the past writing here was my therapy.  When I was feeling super blue (like a 5!) my crazy spilled out all over.  These past few months haven't been all sunshine and rainbows, admittedly, but I'll take a 1 over a 5 any day!!  (I call the worst of days 'defcon 5', so a 1 sustained for a number of months is stinking fantabulous!)  Anyway - I started feeling like a flake for not writing more here - I miss it, mostly b/c it was the way I chronicled our days, our big events and such, even when they were not always happy ones.  There were so many happy ones this year!  I aim to slowly start writing about the stuff I've backlogged in my mind....
For now?  I'm stealing an idea from someone else, with my own twist.  Have you heard of setting Do Read Learn Be goals?  I'm going to just write about what we are currently doing, reading, learning and how we are being...if that makes sense...
Dave is back to school!  Today was the 1st teacher inservice day.  So far the 3 of us have played superhero memory and Trouble.  It's raining otherwise we probably would have gone for a nice hike.  We are also working on some chores, organizing the camper, and trying to decide what to eat for dinner.  Moses is back to gymnastics team practices and Colleen successfully completed her first family bike ride w/no training wheels last night!  I'm catching up on messages and appointment reminders and laundry - starting to remember some of my responsibilities...
Well, for Mo it's everything!!!  Colleen is starting to read stuff, like the pizza box, too!  The word local threw her for a loop the other day.  She kept reading loca and I had to stress the final L.  But I loved that the bilingual education is getting in her brain!!  I have been reading about concrete thinkers lately and how to help them build flexible thinking skills.  Learning another language is one of the best things so that made me feel pretty good.  As a family, we are reading The Indian in the Cupboard - I remember my 5th grade teacher reading it to us during snack time =)  The story is set in England so we've been learning some new words.  One funny part is when the boy says that in his class, when someone is lying they shout "Beard!"  and if they really don't believe you, it's "Itchy beard!!"  Now we shout that out when we don't quite believe makes us laugh if you can do it w/a British accent too!
Just the other day we discussed the periodic table of elements.  Density, basic elements and their scientific symbols were some of the key topics.  Like I said earlier, Colleen is learning to ride w/only 2 wheels.  Mo is always learning a new song by ear on the piano...I want to re-learn music chords.  I might go through some of our books to do that this fall.  I'm also learning what my flower beds look like after 3 weeks of no one tending to them!  WEEDY.  There are some great Bible verse we are going to be learning for back to school soon.
I can't say that we are being patient or calm w/each other lately.  We've all been tired so there's a lot of responses yelled back to stinks.  But if I had to pick a positive one, I'd say we are all being present and there for each other.  I think our family bonds are stronger and I know that is for sure evident between Colleen and I.  Since Dave left for school early today I was the one giving her meds and wow - I don't know that it's ever gone that well!  Not going to crow about it too much - don't want to fall flat on my face tomorrow!  I'm just saying that it was a nice feeling =)  I hope to work w/the kids about being more intentional in our actions this week.  We'll see how fast this week flies...
Our county fair is this weekend and I know we are all looking forward to it!  It's always an awesome way to cap off the summer and we need a good dose of home =)  That and I haven't had any sweet corn yet - so summer cannot be over yet!!  I don't know how people in other states do w/o that...all over Idaho we saw fields and fields of anything but corn.  There were sweet potatoes, sunflowers, wheat/hay, probably soy, but no corn.  I'm hoping to get some from the farm market and freeze it for burritos like we did that one year - we had summer in a tortilla all winter long!
Look for some fun stories in the next few posts...I can't let the year go by w/o talking about some pretty big things that have happened this year =)  I'll probably have to write in shifts until school will be slow going, but I like to share the memories we are making here so we can look back on them!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Slam! Creak...Woosh!

One of life's greatest pleasures is finding the time to do something you love...
I like to blog and keep track of what we're doing and how we're doing and all that, but sometimes we're so busy doing that I don't get the time to write here!  I miss it =)  I find myself w/a random 30 minutes now.  I don't want to clean.  (Don't act so shocked!)

The other day there were 3 meetings scheduled and I wanted to make it to all of them.  Gymnastics parent meeting at 6, women's ministry meeting at 6:30 and crisis pregnancy center meeting at 7.  I packed a bag, almost like I was moving out!  It turns out the cpc meeting was not until next week, which was a nice surprise, but the point is that the one hour + span of my life pretty much sums up the rest of it!  For years I have prayed for God to stretch me and help me do things I felt he called me to do.  Truth is, I didn't pray that hard b/c I sort of worried that I couldn't do it/them.  I have all my hang ups and idiosyncrasies/aka crazies and I wanted and didn't want some things to happen at the same time!  But - I'm learning to recognize the seasons of my life quicker and getting better at being obedient and having a willing attitude when it comes to being stretched.
Well!  With that said...God has been closing and opening doors in's been a crazy past few weeks!  I'm grateful for the open doors b/c closed doors can be very difficult to handle at times...

-My time w/the theater group has ended.  My choice - I'm mad, sad, frustrated...but the truth is, the joy was gone a while ago.  Sort of a long story, but I have been blessed by the friendships I made and I did enjoy doing something that was so 'me', even if it was only for a while!  The lesson I am learning is to trust my instincts and when given discernment, I should chuck my plan and remember that I serve a big God whose plans are better than mine.  He is my Rock, my Defender and as long as I am on His side, I've got the victory!  (sorry, I'm dancing as I type, well you can't see that, but just typing that last part I can hear one of my favorite gospel songs in my head so I'm dancing! on a Monday!  Yep!  Turning my attitude around =)!)
-One of my best friends is moving away.  I have a million things to say about her...but that's almost a whole other post!  I knew it was coming and it still makes me sad.  This woman is a huge part of why I am me and she inspires me to be better, to be more and to stop letting other random things hold me back.  What makes it harder is that she's not moving away to one particular place I could go visit - their family is going to be rocking the RV life on the road!  Oh I'll still go visit her, I'll just have to find her first!  Back in the day, the lesson I would have taken from this is that I should just not make friends!  But now, it's different.  I know that I can maintain a friendship wherever Tracy goes and that no matter what, I know she will follow God's call in her life.  That is the kind of friend I want, not someone who lets her emotions or fears control her and the choices she makes for herself and w/her family in life.  So it's a good thing, but still just hard for me.  You know how it is, right?  Let's all bust out in the latest greatest theme song...."Let it go, let it go, can't hold me back anymore....let it go...let it go..."  (Now it's in your head, you're welcome, just wishing it wasn't in mine too!)
-Dewey and Curly Sue are back in foster care.  =(  Only this time since we don't have a county foster care license, they didn't call us.  It was our choice to switch to the state adoption list only, and I know that they are in really good hands, but it still was like a big door closed.  I hadn't missed foster care much and was looking forward to adding to our family permanently this time.  But when this happened, of course I couldn't help but feel like I wanted to run to them and switch our license back!!  I was reminded though of the other doors that are being opened...and to be patient...

-There are many more things to do with the women's ministry at church, the crisis pregnancy center and Love Feeds OUR World, a mission group working in Haiti.  I'm excited to be involved in these things!  I've prayed about some of those closed doors w/my friends/sisters in these groups and I know they are praying for me about the other ones that they are not even aware of yet.  Never in a million years would I have believed I would be doing some of these things, but I am, and I am realizing that when I/we are operating in God's Will, He blesses us greatly.  I am so grateful to be able to witness some of these awesome things!!
-We saw an adoption profile that to us seems like it would be a good match.  Our study has been submitted!  That's all I'm going to say about that soon as I know something else, you know I will be shouting it from the rooftops!!
-Do you know that I have had a lot more free time lately?  It's amazing what you can do w/some bonus time!  Now don't go getting the wrong idea...I'm still me, not Martha is still cluttered...cleaner, but cluttered...I learned some things about iMovie, read a book I love, and we changed the orientation of the couch!  Yeah, even the boring things are new and exciting!

This past weekend the weather was half way decent and we did our first family fun run!  Mo and I ran 2 miles (mostly me chasing him!) while Dave and Colleen walked one mile.  It was awesome!  We're looking forward to another in June and then who knows?  Soon it will be summer and we'll see where we wander =)  Or what doors will be opened!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Goal setting for the year...

Yes, I know it's February but I started this post in January and have since had time to reflect on it.  In the past I have made lists of goals and this year is no different.  One year I think I chose one word to focus a theme for the year.  This year I am doing 'D' - all of the above.  I chose 2 words for the year.  One I'd like to focus on passively and the other actively.

This might surprise some people, but I am not exactly an optimist.  I tend to get anxious over things to come, to over-think all the pitfalls or ways things could go haywire.  When I do that, I forget to acknowledge God and His Promises.  There are a couple of big things coming up in 2014, some I am sure of and some that may not happen.  I am choosing to focus on the word PROMISE for various reasons - to remember God's Promises, to remind myself of hope and faith, to honor the promises I have made to others and myself and basically to flip my thinking.  I have been so blessed by God - He has kept and continues to keep many of His promises.  In my head over the past couple of days, I had much more to say about this one but I'm realizing that I'm not in a place to share it all.  But please trust me when I say that this word is needed.  This word is one I'm clinging to this year.  

In regard to the action word, I chose GIVE.  Part of me was thinking of people I know who are so very giving of their time, money, talent and themselves!  Many times I wish I was like them.  Then there are times I feel like I already do a lot of giving and it's exhausting!  Sometimes I think of my Lord and Savior on the cross and all that He has given to me and I can barely fathom it.  Many people will say things like "I don't know how you do it!" or "I could never do what you do!" when they find out we foster and have adopted.  (My response to their comments is a whole 'nother blog post, but that's not the point right now.)  There are few people who's opinions and feelings on the matter that count when it comes to decisions about whether or not we are going to continue or try again.  When it comes to the kids, obviously there are times when they get jealous or feel left out.  (Side note - go read the book 'How Are You Peeling'!  Everyone of our kids - bio, foster, adopted, babysitting, friends' kids, etc has LOVED this book!)  We talk to our kids about their feelings a lot.  It's ok to have feelings, it's ok to express them, it's NOT ok to be disrespectful and out of control when expressing them, etc...We always say that we love b/c He first loved us.  We receive so much love, grace, mercy, compassion, etc that tons of extra comes pouring out of our hearts and there's plenty of it to go around.  The fact that the kids tell other people that in their own words is...special.  Now, when I say GIVE here, I don't just mean money.  Like I said before, for me, I'm going to focus this year on how I can give support, encouragement, physical stuff, money, my time - all of it.  Not to the point of being empty, mind you, I still need to take care of myself.  But truly I/we have been so blessed and it's time we actively bless others.  Another reason I chose this word is for the last definition.  As I said earlier, I am not the most 'chill' person out there.  My brain cooks up these ideas of what the future could look like and then when reality doesn't match, I feel overwhelmed and stressed and I just hang on to those thoughts of what could have this last definition was for me.  GIVE - as in be flexible.  Life for me so far has thrown a lot of curve balls, some I handled better than others.  Admittedly I am still 'handling' or processing some of those curveballs b/c I didn't want to deal w/them at the time.  But I can see that now and I can see that I didn't 'GIVE', I wasn't willing to be shaped or molded by those events.  So I have learned something, even at my age, about how to go forward.  Whether I wanted to or not, many curveballs have already changed who I am and what I do when thrown the ball.
Like I said, I have chosen some words to focus on but also written out some goals.  Not much has changed from last year - w/4 kids in the house at the beginning of the year, it was a struggle to move forward on some things.  Then when they left, it was a different kind of struggle.  Some of you know what I'm talking about!  It's ok if you don't, in fact, I pray you don't ever have to struggle like that.  Even though many or my goals remain the same, I'm still writing them as goals for this year.

2014 goals
-I will be joining Inspired To Action's Maximizing Your Mornings Challenge once again! (REPEAT)
-I'm hoping to do more scripture memorizing w/the whole family.  Out of all the verses I had memorized w/Moses, a little over half have 'stuck' in my gray matter.  I can do better.  (REPEAT)
-I am serving as a part of the women's ministry at church.  I hope to be a part of a small group soon!  
-(NEW) I've been reading a lot more about accountability partners or mentors or just having a person in your life to talk to about spiritual's been a long time since I've consistently had someone like this in my life and I would like to change that.  Not sure where to start, but just by writing it down here and praying about, I believe God will give me wisdom and maybe bring a woman like this into my life.
-(NEW) As faithfully as possible, be involved in a small group.  I started going to one on Tuesday mornings and I am amazed at the ladies assembled there.  I really appreciate the diversity and the women who come together to pray.  

(REPEAT ALL OF THESE!! - we did pretty well at the last one, but there's always room for improvement!)
-Step it up in the homemaking department.  (Said the woman sitting on her couch w/2 torn out pages of a magazine, a binder, a highlighter, the remote, a banana peel, some laundry and a pile of kleenexes!)  This one is super broad so I need to break it down into smaller pieces...
     -Make more hot breakfasts.
     -Get better at meal planning and prepping things ahead.  (2013 was better...barely...)
     -Buy less cans, packaged foods and aim for more things from scratch.
     -Sew - do you think I can do 6 projects in 2014?
     -Declutter in general.
     -Declutter/minimize clothing stash.  (This is still so hard for me!!)
-READ.  Again.  I miss reading books!  (Doing better b/c I've found some 'old friends' to re-read and actually found some time to read them.)
-Get involved w/the Intergenerational Center.  
-Make it more of a habit to have Sundays be outdoors - hiking, playing kickball, going for bike rides...just keeping at least one day a week for family oriented stuff.  Not family oriented in the way that it's just us, but I mean that we're doing things as a family, maybe w/other families, outside.
There are others from last year's list that I just don't feel are as big of a deal for me this year...

-Get sleep - 7-8 hrs each night.  I know everything else in life goes sooooo much better when I do!  
-Run a 5K in less than 30 minutes.  
-Thin the thighs.  Ugh.  I've recently seen my weight go up by give or take 10 lbs.  No one else probably can tell, but I can.  Those 10 lbs are in all the wrong places and quite honestly cause physical discomfort at times.  Just being real people.  I'm not even going to get into the psycological/emotional disgust for those 10 lbs.  So - the goal is to kick them and a few other to the curb!!

-Adoption.  Step one already done!  At this point our license has been switched from the county to the state and our 'study' has been tossed in to the pool of those waiting for a match. 
-Memorize Bible verses together.
-Out West trip.  
-As always, we're are moving in the direction of less waste, less plastic, less consumption of unnecessary goods, real foods, less chemicals, more garden boxes, more chickens, etc...just keep moving in that direction.
-Move? out of the city.  This is a long shot again this year, but it's still a goal and we can be taking steps toward it every now and then.
-(NEW) Better record keeping.  I am so not organized but I do have a few binders and such...getting better every day at finding systems that work for me.

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Do you remember that game?  It was recently 'unearthed' from a closet and the kids are loving it.  I personally never liked it much - you work so hard to put all those pieces in the correct spaces before it pops up and they get all mixed up anyway!  Not to mention how some of them are really similar.  The little kids call the game 'shapes' and are so very proud of themselves when they get them all put in (it's not running...).  That's the version I like =)  Low stress, just put them in on your own time.  Lately I've been seeing that game like a metaphor for life!  There's a lot going on here and we work hard to fit the pieces in just at the right time...
First things first - lots of prayer requests!  Please pray for our family, as our home study file was submitted for a possible adoption (foster-to-adopt).  They (the state or the county of origin) will call and let us know if we have been selected as a match.  More on that later when I am able to share details, but of course you know I will be quick to announce any updates =)  Also, please pray for Dave's mom.  She's been struggling w/a lot of migraines and they found what they believe to be a benign tumor.  If you would like, she has a caring bridge page where you could read more about it (let me know and I can get you the link).  This weekend she will receive IV treatment for the migraines.  Pray for her physical comfort, peace about the situation and that healing will come quickly!  Finally, please pray for the theater group...we are going to be filming the play and turning it into a movie!  It will eventually be sold on amazon, but we will be raising funds to pay actors, the directors and filming costs before September.  If you would like to be a part of the production of this movie in any way, please see our website ( or FB page!  We have seen the Lord's hand at work in all of this and we cannot wait to see what is to come!  We would appreciate your prayers, your encouragement and of course, if you are able, your financial support.  We are in the process of setting up a way for people to donate online, so I will let you know when that is up and running.
Things you can join us in praising the Lord about - recently Colleen was at the children's hospital and her BMI was AVERAGE!!!!  That is a huge deal here at our house!!!  The doctor and nutritionist told us we can 'back off' - no need to stress about calories and how much Colleen is eating.  (Easier said than done, especially when you've been doing it for years!)  It's pretty exciting to think that Colleen has reached her goal, now to work on maintaining it =)  Please praise God w/us that so far no one has gotten super sick or anything.  It's been a pretty good season so far of relative health.  Also that we are all enjoying our various activities - Moses' latest floor routine in gymnastics was much improved - he almost has cartwheels down!  And by down, I mean feet up!  The last couple of meets he struggled to turn his long self over like that...but he's getting a lot better!  At conferences, the teachers all had such good things to say about our kids.  The reading teacher showed me Colleen's writing journal.  I held back the tears as I saw the first few pages of chicken scratches compared to the most recent page.  There was at least one whole was readable, there were spaces between the words, it was in a straight line and I know it took a lot of focus and determination for her to do that!  My sweet girl is starting to read on her own and impress me w/her fortitude and stamina to do more in school than I thought possible for this year.
I have been meaning to write a bunch but it has been so busy lately!  AND COLD.  Many days of below zero and wind chills waaaay below zero.  We sort of go into survival mode on those days - check chickens more often, kids might not have school, check pipes and find indoor activities to keep us from getting cabin fever =)  Thankfully lately it's just been snowing a bunch and not too cold.  I started babysitting a friend's little girl 2 days a week - it's so much fun having a little one in the house again!  She found some of our favorite books and I was reminded how special some of those foundational things are to kids.  I started going to a small group of women, the women's ministry is busy serving and getting ready for our conference, play practice is in full swing since we have 5 shows over the last week in March/first week in April.  And then there's the movie!!  Busy busy...Moses just finished his 3rd gymnastics meet and both kids started practices for the kids' spring musical.  Dave is playing music for church again and starting a small group too.  He's been taking on a few more responsibilities at work and we're helping w/the kids' musical at church too.  We know that if we are able to add to our family, we may need to slow down a bit at first, but most of the people we are working w/already know that =)  We are very blessed to have friends and people we consider family here that are so supportive!  Best of all, we know they are praying for us!  I'm doing my best to 'lean in' and let God lead.  So many times, big stuff like this starts happening around here and my brain takes off - I think through all sorts of scenarios, good and bad, riding emotional waves as I think about each one. It's good for me to be busy, to keep my mind centered on what is important and keep my thoughts in the present.  I am very grateful to be a part of the small group and the group of people in our theater company.  I praise God every day for Dave and all the ways he helps me, not to mention keeps me on task =)  It's helpful for me to write here too - like therapy! - and to know that people who read here are praying too, so thank you!!