Sunday, January 30, 2011


My women's size  8.5 Nike.  Zach's child's size 5 snow boot.  Seriously?  Who gave him permission to get so big so fast?

...And the boots arrived just in time for another serious winter storm!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Rock Star Zach

We are just so proud of Zach.  He has stuck with basketball...after an insecure beginning.

After every game, players, coaches and family members gather in the locker room for a post game talk and presentation of game stars.  Coach forgot to hand them out after the first game, so he gave them out at the next game.  We were pretty proud that Zachary was awarded the "Christlike" star specifically for how well he handled fouling out and his coach's error in not explaining fouls.  For the second game, he again won "Christlike".

By the third game he was beginning to figure out where he was supposed to be and what he was supposed to do, but he faced a real challenge in guarding / being guarded by a boy who kept hugging him during play and never knew which direction he was supposed to be going.  For his patience and perseverance, Zach was awarded the "Effort" star, and was very pleased with himself.  He sure felt like Coach thought he was awesome!

Today was an entirely different ballgame.  Zach was totally alive and knew exactly where to be and what to do.  It was amazing!!  He had at least six rebounds today and took about five shots.  He still hasn't made a bucket, but he's come a long way.  We are so proud of him for sticking with it, practicing at home, and even watching NCAA basketball for pointers.  He's a boy who loves a strategy and is easily teachable!  He was awarded the "Sportsmanship" star today.  His coach commented on how he's always having a good time and playing aggressively, yet he's never angry or frustrated. 

Zachary, we are so proud of you.  Many parents have commented to Dad and me about how much you have improved in such a short time.  We are amazed.  It is truly a testament to your commitment to the team and willingness to work hard.  You are a ROCK STAR!

"And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us." Hebrews 12:1

Thursday, January 27, 2011


This should be a font.  Right down to the smiley faced heart.

Luke's first ever alphabet.

I am so happy and honored to be a part of these milestones.

Half birthday

This half birthday brought to you by the color pink.

Because there is pink in the birthday crown, there is no getting the half birthday boy to wear it.

Oh well...  It doesn't make it any less of a fabulous half birthday.

He had a great day at school; taking Cheez-It snack mix with popcorn added for his class birthday snack.  I tried to convince him to let me bake for the special occasion, but he insisted that he just wanted Cheez-Its.

For gross motor time the kids ice skated indoors.  They had a blast!

Luke loves school.  Has a lot of great friends...and cannot wait to have his real birthday party in six months!

When I was a kid summer birthdays were a bit of a bummer, but now we've got half birthdays for school celebrations.
Many thanks to the person who invented half birthdays!

Happy half birthday, Luke!  We are so happy to {almost} have an official 4 1/2 year old in the house (celebrated at school today, but your actually half birthday is on Saturday).  To borrow one of your favorite sayings...  We love you bigger than Paul Bunyan's underpants.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Back to school

This semester has either gotten off to a slow start, or I'm not as fazed by it as I was this time last semester, or I've missed some deadlines...  Eight days in and I don't feel rushed.  I am only taking four classes this time - last semester I had five.  And my on-campus class is one night a week - as opposed to two mornings a week - and was canceled last week due to snow.

What am I taking on campus?  Fundamentals of Music.  I will learn to read and write basic music and play piano - at thirty-six!  I'm actually really excited.

So far I'm having fun.  Cultural Geography, Online Biology (the kids get to watch while I do my labs at home), Mass Communications (will hopefully help me to grow my ministry), and Music.

Bryan is also back at work this go-'round.  So during the day it's just Luke, my studies and me.

Life is great!

Monday, January 24, 2011


...comes in the form of SNOW for the boys and me.  Not so much for Bryan.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Two gain warmth from each other

I am a talker.  An open book.  I blog many of my thoughts and much of the happenings in our lives...and what I don't blog about I certainly share in conversations with girlfriends.

I had a moment today when I realized something precious...  A secret, a matter kept private between two people, fosters a great deal of intimacy.  No one else knows, so you come to each other.  Sharing your heart, your feelings, your thoughts, your desires, your fears...  When these emotions are shared only among husband and wife, it might just take an otherwise completely open couple to a place that their relationship has never been before. 

Community is wonderful.  Our marriage is repeatedly built up and held up within our group of friends.  Yet turning to each other, sharing with each other, relying on each other, finding strength and reassurance from each other -- that is all a part of God's perfect and beautiful design for marriage.

Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble. And on a cold night, two under the same blanket can gain warmth from each other. But how can one be warm alone?  Ecclesiastes 4:9-11

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The right thing

Standards are often different for the first child than for the last, especially if there are several children in between.  At age four, Zach didn't play many video games and his favorite TV shows were on PBS.  Since Luke has an older brother...he's been exposed to "older" things, including a whole host of Wii games, Noggin, Star Wars, and superheroes.  We almost never watch PBS anymore.

We draw the line though at Nickelodeon shows, many PG rated movies and snotty, back-talking books.  Our children do not own Nintendo DS systems or have their own iPods.  At age seven, Zach can live without such things.  And...  The moment Zach gets one, Luke will want one too.  So...  For now we will wait.

Our kids know the limits and our expectations.

Yesterday Zach was at a friend's house when his friend wanted to play a video game that Zach didn't think would be acceptable.  I don't think he'd ever even heard of the game before, but based on the name and box cover, it looked to him like something Mom and Dad would not approve of.  His friend is the youngest of three - one of which is a teenager.  Given that whole different standards thing, his family has just gotten ahead of us in some areas...

Zach asked his friend to put something else in, but the friend insisted.  Zach then rose to his feet, took a deep breath, puffed his chest out a little, and firmly yet respectfully told his friend that he thought they should pick another game.  The friend's mom was so proud, she called me to tell me about it!

I am so impressed by our boy.  In the face of temptation and peer pressure, knowing that he was not being watched and that we'd probably never even know if he snuck it, he chose to do the right thing.

Way to go, Zach.  You are a trustworthy young man.  We are so proud of you!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


"Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people."  Luke 2:52

Growing in wisdom is evidenced by the fruit of our lives.  Our heart.  Our desires.  Our thoughts.  Even our actions.  Where our treasures are, there our hearts will be also.

Growing in stature is more easily noticed; especially as a parent watches a child.  As I change out my boys' closets and dresser drawers, it is apparent just how quickly they are growing in stature.  As my 4 and 7 year olds exchange their too small clothing for sizes 6/7 and 10/12 it hurts my heart just a little.  They are so quickly growing from little boys, into bigger boys, and one day men.

I think about Mary and Joseph, raising their boy Jesus.  Their boy, yet God's too.

Their annual trips to Jerusalem for the Passover festival.  That trip when Jesus was twelve; when they returned home only to find that their son was missing.  Their trip back to Jerusalem, finding their son in the temple three days later.  Can you imagine?  Mary said to him, "Son, why have you done this to us?  Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere."  Luke 2:48

It makes me smile to read Mary's very motherly words.  I've said it myself - to the child who's hiding in a clothing rack at Target, or the one who got away from me for a few seconds at the local pool when he was two, or the other who was laying under a bench at a soccer game once.

Jesus was very much a normal child, but by the age of twelve he'd become a teacher.

It is hard to imagine my children as twelve year olds, but it will be here before I know it.  They will certainly have grown in stature - they were born with a significant height advantage!  I pray that they will also have grown in wisdom and favor with God and man, and that they will continue to chase after Him for the remainder of their lives.  I pray that our boys will be leaders, lovers of the Lord, standing tall for truth and righteousness, serving as the hands and feet of Jesus.

"Train a child in the way he should grow, and when he is old he will not turn from it."  Proverbs 22:6

Even at these young ages, I am already seeing lessons that they must learn on their own.  I've been in their shoes, I can tell them how this will turn out, but they must take the adventure for themselves...  Mom's wisdom and experience won't due.  It scares me just a little.  Loving and trusting the Lord is a daily decision, and one that the boys must make for themselves.  I pray like crazy that they will never stray far, but remain close to their heavenly father.

New School

For Christmas Luke, along with his classmates and teachers, got a new school building.  The open house days were snowed out, so today was our first chance to see it.

It was the most beautiful drive into school ever!

Luke was happy to see that the books and art cart made it into the new classroom.

And I was happy to see the beloved Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree.  There's been one in every single one of the boys' classrooms through kindergarten.

 And Blueberry made the move too!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


It is not my norm to pray for - or even strongly desire - worldly possessions.  I've never prayed for wealth, power, prestige, or pretty things.  When we were looking for a van a couple of years ago, I prayed for an honest seller, a reliable vehicle, a smooth transaction, a fair price, and wisdom throughout the process.  That's as worldly as my prayers have ever gotten.

I am one to pray for patience, peace, wisdom, and direction as God's plan unfolds.  For God to use my life to serve others and glorify Him.  That He would keep our family safe, and close to Him, through all circumstances in life.  And that we would always know, embrace, and share His truth and majesty.

Yet, I have found that my prayers have become increasingly specific - about comfort, security, and peace of mind - over the last eight months.  I have prayed for a specific job, that brings with it much more [worldly] security and reliability than what we have known over the last nine years.  My husband is a hardworking, ethical, bright, god-loving man.  His line of work has been impacted tremendously by work shortages, and we've weathered many lay-offs and uncertain times.  We have faced these challenges with faith in the Lord to provide, and every time He does so abundantly.

"Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?"  Matthew 6:26

He has always provided for our every need, and we know He will continue to do so.

I'm a firm believer that God already knows our every thought, and that He wants us to come to Him honestly.  So...  I do.  Although He has never, ever, failed to provide every single thing we need, I have prayed fervently that He would give Bryan this very specific job.  I want Bryan's faithfulness, love, commitment and sacrifice to be honored with a  job that is more reliable and less worrisome.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."  Matthew 6:34

We try; honestly, we do.  But when you know your family's health insurance is expiring, your vehicle is on its last leg, and you could get laid off again at anytime, it's hard not to worry about tomorrow.  How will we pay the insurance premium?  What if the car leaves me stranded an hour away from home in the snow?  This other job would relieve those concerns.

"Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.  For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God."  Colossians 3:2-3

We strive to live in accordance with this everyday.  In wanting this other job, we do not want extravagance, we merely want to catch a break, rebuild a little savings, start college funds, and to take the occasional family vacation without worry.  Although we haven't "caught this break" previously, we know without question that God has been overwhelmingly generous in his provision for us.  We are deeply grateful no matter how this goes.  This is just the first time in my life that I've really wanted and been on my knees for what so easily sounds like money and material comfort.  It feels selfish, yet honest.  Tired, yet we are trusting that God will take care of us whether this job is "the one", or not.  I feel like I'm asking God to allow this to be His will.

Either way, I know we will be fine.  More than fine.  We will be in His grip.

As I went to look up that last bit of scripture in my Bible, I left out the hyphen and went to Colossians 3:23.  It was no accident that I landed on this gem.

"Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people."  Colossians 3:23

This has always been our heart.  Bryan and I both attempt to work - whether volunteer or paid - as if working for the Lord.  We wish to honor whatever He has in store for us and know that "every good and perfect gift is from above".   James 1:17

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Basketball. Determination.

Saturday was Zach's big basketball debut.  He is playing on a boys team of 1st and 2nd graders.  I think Zach is the only boy who has never played before - never even with neighbor kids!  (We don't have any neighbor kids his age.)  This is also his coach's first year coaching this age.  Coach and Zach are both just finding out what basketball looks like when you're seven.

Coach hadn't thought to teach the kids what a foul is, so it stands to reason that he didn't teach the league's rules regarding fouls.  Zach fouled once in his first period, and then twice in his second period.  Two fouls in one period and the player fouls out.  Zach was bewildered; he had no idea what was going on.  He was escorted off the court, another boy given his band, and two coaches and three players huddled around him on the bench as the coach finally realized that he'd left out a few important details.

My guy sat there, intensely listening to the discussion.  I could see that his feelings were hurt and he was confused.  Why did they kick him off the court and bring another boy in to play when it was Zach's turn?  There was very little time to explain, as the game was going on and Coach needed to get back to the kids on the court.  Explaining, reassuring Zach that he was doing a great job despite the foul trouble, would have to wait.  Despite his emotions, he remained composed and cheered on his team.  He went back in for his final period, and had one last foul.  Grandpa and I still maintain that it was an awesome block - not a foul - but the official saw it differently.

Right after the game, he said he didn't think he should come back after this season is over, "I might just keep fouling".  We pointed out that he didn't do anything wrong; his coach had simply forgotten to explain certain rules.  And being aggressive is a wonderful trait that cannot be taught - we just have to figure out how to use it within the confines of the game.  Bryan, in sheer wisdom, shared with Zachary that he thinks God picked him to be the one to foul out, because Zach handled it with such dignity and set such an excellent example.  We are so proud that he didn't cry or protest, and was eager to understand what he'd done and learn how to correct it.

The virtue he is studying at church this month is determination.  Determination is deciding it's worth it to finish what you've started.  The timing could not be better for this lesson in Zach's life.  I pray that Zach - a young boy who really doesn't like new things and prefers to excel rather than lag behind - will find his groove and will become comfortable playing this sport that is so new and unknown to him.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


When faced with a difficult decision, I think a lot of Christians ask themselves "What would Jesus do?"  Is what I'm considering ethical?  What would Jesus do?  How much should we tithe or give to charity?  What would Jesus do?  Should I reconcile a broken relationship?  What would Jesus do?

With some things, the question works.  In other situations, I find that it is much more complicated.  Jesus didn't have a spouse that he needed to be on the same page with.  He didn't have children to provide for and protect.  He was a single man without any material responsibilities.  Jesus was part man and part God.  He was keenly aware of his purpose and possessed God-like peace, knowledge and wisdom.  Jesus was Jesus.  And I am me.  Different people all together.

Would Jesus knowingly place his life in jeopardy for his ministry?  He did.  Does this mean that we should move with our young children to a dangerous, remote village as missionaries?  I'm not so sure.

One flaw in merely asking WWJD? is that I am comparing my options to the specific actions of Jesus.  I am not meant to live a life identical to His.  I'm meant to have a heart like Jesus.  If everyone were to do the exact same thing, just imagine how much would go undone.  How many gifts and talents would be wasted?

Additionally, I'm not meant to ask myself anything...  I am meant to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  There are some things I have written on my heart and don't generally need to process - thou shall not steal, so fork over the cash for that new sweater.  However, I'm often faced with several options, all of which are good and decent.  But which is the best?  Which is the road God has mapped out for me?  The only way to find out is through prayer and patience.

In all things, I pray that our family would seek to discern the will of God, and wait patiently for His perfect plan and timing to unfold.  Sometimes the waiting can seem like an eternity, and in all of my human frailty, I try to take matters into my own hands and make things happen.  Things happen all right, but I'm afraid those things are more my things and not His.

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him."  1 Corinthians 2:9

"Who can know the Lord's thoughts?  Who knows enough to teach him?" 1 Corinthians 2:16

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Church? What church?

As we sat at a stoplight yesterday, I asked Zachary if he remembered our MOPS days.  Regrettably, he does not.  I asked him if he remembered all the mornings that he went into church childcare while I went to Bible study, and he doesn't remember that either.  All those days I volunteered?  Nope.

We practically lived at church the first 5 1/2 years of his life.  Anytime we'd pass the church, he'd point at "his church" and tell us how it was his favorite place on earth.  He'd tell me Bible stories every afternoon after having been at church, he'd sing "church songs" all day, and he'd hang all of his church art and Bible verses on his playroom wall.  But it's the last two years that he really remembers.  Sadly...  With all of Bryan's night shifts, outgrowing MOPS, transitioning to evening Bible studies, and the advent of online church, my son barely remembers being on our church campus.  What he does remember, he loves and misses.  Our church has an outstanding children's ministry.

I texted Bryan as soon as I was done driving, telling him how royally we are messing up and that we need to get back into church immediately.  He agrees.  It is not enough for us to watch the service on our computer screen while the kids play in the basement.  Not enough to go to a couples small group while the kids gather in the basement for a movie with a babysitter.  It may be marginally enough to keep Bryan and me connected to the body of Christ, but it is certainly not enough for our children.

We will be back this Sunday; no excuses.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy new year!

We rang in the New Year at home this year, just the four of us. We watched a movie, played Mario Cart and did some Wii bowling.


We watched the ball drop and danced to Kool & The Gang's Celebrate ... twice.

Even the dog rang the new year in right!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

World War I Museum

We went with our favorite war hero to the World War I Museum yesterday.  It is an incredible museum with massive amounts of information and artifacts.  Incredible.  Everything shown in the museum is authentic, used in the war, with the exception of the planes.

Did you know the life expectancy of a pilot in WWI was only 6 months?  And a pilot's life was pretty comfortable compared to ground troops.  What a devastating war.

To enter the museum, you must cross over a glass bridge.  Under the bridge are 9,000 poppies, and each poppy represents 1,000 combatant lives lost, for a total of 9 million combatant deaths.

It is a beautiful sight, but the beauty is diminished by the weight of what it represents.


On the other side of the bridge is a small theater where a movie is shown.  The movie explains how the war began.


There is a second video later in the museum that explains how the US got involved in the war.


Between the movies, the artifacts, the docents, and all the written accounts, there is enough information housed in this one museum that you can visit every day for two weeks and still not learn everything.


There are also excellent views from the lookout tower.

I couldn't help thinking of our dear friends who are currently serving a wartime assignment while life goes on as usual for us.  Beau is flying over Afghanistan, offering air support to ground troops while Sandra and the boys are stationed in Utah, thousands of miles from family and friends.  We pray every single day for comfort and strength for all of them, wisdom and guidance for Sandra as she mothers her boys without Beau, and for Beau's protection as he does what is required of him while at war.  What an enormous sacrifice.  We are honored and blessed beyond words by their friendship, as our nation - the world, really - is blessed by their service.