Monday, December 31, 2012

My One Word Summary...




My word for 2012 was completely. My mission statement concerning this word is as follows:

As I go through 2012, there are bound to be storms and times of stress. When that happens I want to turn to Jesus to calm my storm. I want to completely trust Him, completely surrender to Him, be completely sold out for Him. I need to stop living for me and live completely for Him!

So much happened in 2012, I had plenty of opportunity to completely rely on Him! Following are some of the blogs I wrote throughout the course of the year that will show the ways God worked and how we trusted.

In January I learned wrote a blog titled This is the Stuff.... I learned to trust God and to truly see how blessed I am!!


In February, I was thinking ahead to a wedding in March and wrote this blog for my daughter. Then March came and with it the first major change...THE WEDDING! It was A Day Unlike Any Other...

In April, I was beginning to feel sentimental about my job as homeschool mom wrapping up and I wrote Jeremiah 29:11 and the Goliath Academy.

May brought about Goliath Academy's Final Graduation and with that maybe a few tears. May was also the month that God brought us to a big decision; to move to Roseau, MN! It was then I blogged More on Jeremiah 29:11.

June found us trying to sell our home and preparing to move. This when we need to completely rely on God the most. We had expected our house to sell quickly, after all God called us to move so we figured everything would just fall into place. So this Five Minute Friday post was helpful for me.

July brought our 24th anniversary, our move and our son turned 18. It was a big month for us. We have emotions we didn't know were possible to have at the same time; joy and sorrow. After living in Roseau for a few months I was able to say it was home sweet home.

The fall brought us finding a routine and adjusting to the empty nest. Leaning completely on Him became even more important to us. We did have some fun times, such as our Covert Op to meet with a certain boy who was interested in our daughter. They are still together and doing great together.


And finally we come to the Christmas season, it was a different one for us. Our first Christmas in our new town and church, our first Christmas with a married daughter and our first Christmas learning to share our kids with their significant others as well. One of my last blogs on 2012 was about being A bit homesick this Christmas. 

Now, I look forward to 2013 and wonder what will it be like? I don't know the answer to that, but I am excited to discover all the God has in store for me and my family. My word for 2013 should challenge me and help me figure out God's plans.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Birthday to my joyful one!

Our Abby kept us waiting and anticipating her birth. She was due to enter the world on December 16th, but that day came and went without so much as a single contraction. Every day after that felt like 10 days, would this baby ever come?? Thankfully, she came at the exact time she was supposed to! Abigail Nicole was born in the wee morning hours of December 24th, a Christmas Eve baby! We were thrilled and at that moment those 8 long days of being overdue were long forgotten.

Abigail means source of joy, which is so appropriate her. Joy radiates from this girl; it always has. Even when she was being naughty, she still had that gleam in her eye. She grew up loving sharing her birthday with Jesus; they even shared a birthday cake.  She loves everything about Christmas, her birthday, the lights, the songs; but most importantly she loves Jesus. Jesus is her source of joy!

Happy 21st birthday Abby! What a joy it has been watching you become the woman you are today. I love having a front row seat to your life. I am excited to see what God has in store for you next! The first 21 years have been filled with amazing things...and I truly believe the best is yet to come!!





Below is a video I took of her singing in church a few weeks ago. Abby wrote this song, it is called Humbly I Come. This song is exactly who Abby is. She simply is in love with her Savior and His joy fills her life! (forgive the quality...I was taping and worshiping at the same time...not an easy task!)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A bit homesick this Christmas...

Amidst all the excitement of the Christmas season I find myself feeling two contrasting emotions...homesickness and excitement.

I am not actually homesick for a place, but for a time. I miss having little ones running around with eyes full of wonder, excited to open the day's advent window, excited to have on more Christmas story read to them, excited to sing Christmas songs around the tree, little ones to wake up on Christmas morning and run to the Nativity to see that Baby Jesus has indeed arrived. Those days are long past and I miss them.


A few weeks ago, both Brian and I were feeling a bit sad about this empty nest of ours and we were missing the traditions we had established over the years with the kids. I told a dear friend that I was struggling and she gave me some great advice. "A word of wisdom. Traditions are great for families, helping build a legacy, BUT they are not commandments from God nor are they sacred so ask the Lord for ability to flex, to start new traditions and to be able to enjoy the season remembering memories of the past, but making new memories!" What wise words! I am thinking on these words often this year as many traditions are just not practical anymore.

The emotion of excitement is mixed right in there. This is our first Christmas in this house, this town and with this church family. I am excited to experience all those firsts, for Brian and I to develop some new traditions, and to decorate a new house for Christmas. It will be fun to open my Christmas decorations and see which ones I kept and where their home will be in this house. As always I am excited because its Christmas! I love the wonder and beauty of this season!

Our tree is up, it is still bare, but even bare it is beautiful. You see there is one tradition we were able to go back to this year. That is picking a tree out in the wild, a totally non-groomed, non-perfect tree. We did that for years when the kids were little; but in Iowa we didn't have forests, so we went to a tree farm. Those are nice trees, but we were always looking for that one tree that didn't look like it grew up on a tree farm. This year, Brian and I joined an amazing family on their land and picked a wild tree. Looking at that tree takes the edge off my homesickness and makes me smile.

Ah to be out in the woods hunting a tree!!! We love the one we found!!

In the midst of these conflicting emotions is peace...sweet contentment...joy; Brian and I are right where God wants us to be!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Today's a special day...


This past year I had the privilege of becoming a mother-in-law! Larry has truly become a member of  our family. About a month ago I figured out just how much he is like a son to me when I received a text with the following picture:


 This is a picture of Larry preaching at his home church. When I got this text I was instantly so proud of him and found myself tearing up! He's one of my kids and I'm so proud of him!! 

Today is Larry's birthday...so like I do with each of my kids...today's blog is meant to honor him and celebrate with him. Larry is a unique guy, last year for his birthday he received this from us:

You gotta love a guy who likes to sew! So we gave him my sewing machine.

Larry is a great husband to my daughter, he makes her smile, he comforts her when she's down, he leads her, he loves her, he is perfect for her!! He is a brother to both Abby and Caleb. He is protective of Abby and helps make sure her car is cared for at school. He and Caleb are just like brothers, they love to do nerdy things together, Legos, Minecraft, and Madden. He just fits into our family so nicely!

Happy birthday Larry....I hope you know that you are loved!!!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Five Minute Friday....Stay the Course

Woohoo, Five Minute Friday time again!!! I almost didn't get it done today because my body was telling me to stay in bed!! But, I didn't listen. The rules are simple for this challenge, one word, five minutes...no editing. Today's word is STAY.

Go:

You're blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. 
Psalm 119:1 (The Message)

Life can get tough sometimes, we may feel like giving up.
Stay the course.
Sometimes it may seem like God is silent.
Stay the course.
We may think our way is better.
Stay the course.
We may try to find an easier way than the path filled with pain.
Stay the course.
We may have others who tell us we should go a different way.
Stay the course.
Satan may be whispering lies to us, that we are going the wrong way.
Stay the course.
We will be find peace and joy if we...
Stay the course. 
God's blessings will flow if we...
Stay the course.
Seek God, read his word and He will show you how to...
Stay the course.



Sunday, November 11, 2012

Won't you pray for them???

Today is the National Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.  

Please pray!



Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow
 prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you 
yourselves were suffering.
Hebrews 13:3 





Friday, November 9, 2012

Five Minute Friday...Let's not keep quiet...

 Five Minute Friday again!! Once a week I join a party of women who write for five minutes on one word...no editing!!! Today's word is QUIET.

Go:

Churches in America really have it easy. We come to church in nice cars, wearing nice clothes, each carrying our own Bible. We enjoy laughter and fellowship before and after church, we sing loudly to the Lord, some of us even use drums. Our pastors preach using a microphone so all can hear. Quiet is what we try to keep our kids while the pastor is talking. Many of us do not associate quiet with church.

However, there are churches all around the world who need to be quiet. They need to keep their numbers low...as low as 24 or fewer people. They arrive separately and try not to draw attention to themselves. They do not carry their own Bibles, they instead consider themselves living Bibles; as they have to memorize the Bible in order to have daily access to it. If they were sing out loudly as we do, they could draw the attention of those who oppose their church. They can be arrested for having church. So quiet is something they know.

The Christians in these closed countries do not openly flaunt their religion, yet they do not keep totally quiet. They are risking their lives to spread the gospel. Yet, sometimes we who can be vocal about our faith, with no fear of death, keep too quiet.

So as you attend your church this week, keep in mind those who are having a more quiet worship experience. Remember what they are risking. Let us not keep quiet about our faith, or quiet about the persecution that is happening to our brothers and sisters around the world!




Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A recent covert op....

I love being a part of a story that ends with my daughter's face looking like this:


For a few weeks Abby had been telling me about this guy from college named Josh. Let me tell you, when she talked to me about him her eyes sparkled...you know the look! Well, during one of our times of talking about him, I was keeping a bit of a secret from Abby. You see, two days later Brian and I had plans to meet Josh! This was our covert op...we drove 2 1/2 hours to where they go to school and met Josh at a coffee shop...Abby had no clue. Very difficult to be that close to your daughter and NOT go see her. We had a great time of getting to know Josh. He seemed a bit nervous;  I have to admit, that is was kind of fun to see him get a bit nervous!!! Well, at the conclusion of this meeting, Brian gave Josh our blessing to pursue a relationship with Abby. Now the really hard part...not telling Abby before Josh could!! Thankfully I didn't have to wait too long!

The next day I get a text from Abby and it said, "I think I have a date tonight. Josh wants to take me out to eat...at a place nicer than Qdoba!" I, of course, had to act surprised. We texted back and forth for a while and I knew she was freaking out because she would never enter a relationship without her daddy's blessing. So, she was thinking how long she would have to wait until we could meet Josh.


For Abby the night began in a pretty special way. She got a knock on her door from one of her best friends and she made Abby come out of her room...
This is her expression when she opened the door for Katie.

Why is smiling so big???
Oh...yeah...Josh got her flowers to start the night!
So, she was pretty sure this dinner was going to be something a bit special, and she was right. Here's proof that God is behind this whole thing. They spent the first hour talking about human trafficking. I know that doesn't sound romantic exactly, but it shows they both share the same passions! 

Basically after that Josh pulled out a list of things he appreciates about Abby. Pretty sure she was melting at this point. Then comes the question...Abigail Nicole Haynes, will you allow me to pursue your heart? (yeah, I got goose bumps and tears in my eyes at this point in the story). Just as she was ready to tell him, you need to talk to my dad; Josh informed her that he had in fact spoken to both of us and did indeed have her dad's blessing! That blew Abby away; that we were so sneaky and she didn't even know. So she of course said yes. Josh was not done surprising her yet. He then pulled out a list of guidelines for them to follow as they begin this relationship. She showed me the list...it's good! He then presented her with this frame...


 It now hangs on her wall in her dorm room. The right side where it says the first time she said yes, is from the day he took her out for hot chocolate and told her he was interested in getting to know her better. He has also told her that as iron sharpens iron, her faith sharpens him! He included their guidelines and as you can see another Bible verse.

The smile and sparkle are still in Abby's eyes...and we pray they will remain for a long time!!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

God showed up!!

Don't you just love it when God shows up and exceeds your expectations! I know I do. You would also think by now I should know that God is in the business of blowing my socks off with what He can do.

This past weekend I went to a prayer retreat. God started working on my heart before I even got there...so I knew something big was coming! And the way God worked, was not the way I expected. He knew what I needed more than I did!!

This empty nest this has been rocking my world lately. I think for awhile after we moved Brian and I were operating on adrenaline. Well, as you know eventually adrenaline runs out! I spent the first few months just pouring myself into making our house an inviting home. In all our past moves I have had the house to where I wanted it in a matter of weeks...never months. But each of those other moves, I had kids who needed for the house to feel familiar and like home. This time, the kids weren't here, so I took my time. To be honest I think I did that so that I would have something to distract me from the fact that this fall our homeschool no longer had students. I decided to keep busy and deal with that "later".

Well, "later" came and with it came the tears and sadness again. All these emotions arrived just in time for the prayer retreat! My newest saying is that I wonder what I want to be when my kids grow up. So, I figured this weekend God would give me that answer! He didn't! But He gave me something even better...peace!

This prayer retreat was so amazing. We were given lots of time to study and pray on our own. We were given some direction, but we were also told it was our prayer retreat to do with what we needed done. And God knew what I needed!

There is so much God and I talked about this weekend, but Saturday afternoon is where He really worked. We were given the assignment to get outside and find something in nature to bring back and share how God used it to speak to us. There are these amazing benches at Trout Lake Camps that have Bible verses on them. Who knew a bench with a Bible verse could be so powerful?! Well, they were for me, and I didn't even find them all. I found the ones God knew I needed to find! Numbers 6:24-25...the Lord bless and keep you...Romans 15:13...may the God of peace fill you with all joy and peace...Psalm 105:4...look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always...

The way God used these particular verses was to tell me I need to seek him, I need to trust Him, I need to lean on Him for answers. The word, always, in the last verse got me...I need to make seeking Him more a part of my life. In seeking Him, studying His word, worshiping constantly through my day, then He will show me my purpose and what He wants me to do in this new phase of my life. He also showed me that there are ministry opportunities already before me that I need to embrace. But, also that it is Him that I truly need to embrace.

In the midst of this amazing experience I found my nature object lesson to share with the group.

This leaf is huge!
 It is a big leaf and the change in my life is big. Just as this leaf has a hole, I too have a hole...one that is there because my day to day job of mom has changed. Spring is coming, and the tree that lost this leaf will have fresh green leaves. My life is undergoing a season of fall and winter, but spring is coming. The new leaves on that tree will not have holes in them...they will be whole. God will fill the hole in my life...but only God can fill that hole. I have to let Him. I can't just jump into a ton of activities thinking they will be the answer...because they won't.

The bench I next found had this verse...Psalm 149:3...Let them praise His name with dancing! As God works on my heart to prepare me for the next season of my life, my heart is dancing and praising Him. I am waiting with great anticipation to see how He grows me in this season!! Growth occurs in the valley...so I am primed for growth!!!

Our time of singing praise to the Lord were powerful as well...this is the cross I focused on during those times of amazing praise and worship.



Friday, November 2, 2012

Five MInute Friday...Rooted in Faith

 Five Minute Friday time again!! Today's word is ROOTS.

 
Go:

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”Jeremiah 17:7-8


 
Three months ago, I discovered that I had deep roots in a community. When we moved I knew they were deep because is was painful to pull them up. Brian and I were at the same time also transitioning to becoming empty nesters and I realized just how rooted in being a mom I was. So in a sense that was another uprooting in my life. Uprooting can turn your world upside down!!
 
Now, we are in a new community and are I feel like a baby tree, my roots are forming, but they are not as deep...yet. It can be a painful process to lay down new roots. Especially when I remember the comfort of how deep my roots can go. It can be easy to get frustrated that I am not where I was before the move. I have to remind myself growth takes time.

Then, I read a verse like Jeremiah 17:7-8, I may be forming roots in a new community, but I have to remind myself I am rooted in something much deeper....the Lord. I am rooted in faith. As long as I remain in Him, I should have no fear of the storms in my life. Does that mean it won't hurt? No. It means that as I establish myself in this community, I have the Lord. He planted me here, so I need to trust in Him!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

A few lessons I've learned.

After three months of living in Northern Minnesota, I have learned a thing or two. 

*It takes less time to get a United States Passport than it does to get a Minnesota Driver's License (and less paper work too!)

*It is not casserole, it's hotdish.

*Hockey...kind of a big deal here! (yep, there's a few NHL and Olympians that began here!)

*You don't say "that's funny"...you say "oh for funny."

*When you live near Polaris, it is not uncommon to see a snowmobile go down your street...even when there is no snow!

*Border Patrol does not appreciate a good sense of humor. And when entering the US they will take your picture as you pull up, so try to look your best. :)

*The people here truly are Minnesota Nice!!

After a few months of the empty nest, I have also learned a thing or two.

*A gallon of milk and a loaf of bread last a really long time!

*Cooking for two is an art form I have not yet mastered, especially goulash! Lots of leftovers at our house!

*Brian and I can be more spontaneous. (if we plan it!)

*My husband has really good shoulders when I need a good cry!

*It is true you can feel joy and sadness at the same time. (Joy because our kids are following the Lord, sadness because my heart is still a homeschooling mom.)

*God is amazing and He grows us most in the valley!

*Our kids still needs us. Love when they ask for advice or prayer!

So all the boxes are unpacked, we feel settled and yet unsettled at the same time. There is still so much to learn, so many adventures to take, so many new people to share life with. We have good days and we have bad days. We feel so blessed that God has given us this opportunity, we know He's growing us into better people. We are learning patience, but we know that one day we will wake up and realize just how at home we are here...things won't all be new for us. We won't be newbies anymore, the roots will begin to grow and Northern Minnesota will truly be home. How fun will it be to not have to stop and think about the answer to the question; "So, where are you from?"

** Oh and something else I've learned, you really can decorate with Pinterest...here's a few examples in my home!





Friday, October 19, 2012

Five Minute Friday...Just do it!

Oh friends it has been too long since I have blogged. I missed you and writing. Hopefully today's Five Minute Friday will be just the jump start I need to regularly begin writing again. I have been studying James a lot lately, so you will see his influence in my post today.

The rules are easy:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..



Today's word is LOOK....

  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does. James 1:23-25

I'm not a huge fan of mirrors and I have to admit some days I wish I could forget what I look like after looking in one. However, when I look in a mirror, I look long enough to see what needs fixing and then I do my best to fix it. If my hair is bit wild, I try to tame it. If there are any blemishes on my face I do my best to cover them up. I try to present myself the best I can to those I run across.

When I look in my Bible, do I do so with the same gaze I use when getting ready in the morning. Do I see what God wants me to do? Are there any blemishes in my life that need fixing? To read the word and walk away without making any changes is not good. James says if we do what we read, we will be blessed. I don't know about you, but I could use all the blessings I can get! 



So today, don't just read the Bible, look intently into it....remember what you've read...apply it to your life...and to quote Nike...JUST DO IT!!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

To this question, I said yes...

I am one of those rare people who has no problem saying no. I know that if I get over-committed it is not good for me. However, I do say yes to things that are really important.

One such time I said yes was 25 years ago today. It was to be a fun weekend...it was homecoming at our college and my boyfriend was driving in from Colorado for the weekend. He got in earlier than expected which totally made my day. Long distance relationships are tough, so I savored every moment we got to spend together. By the end of the day, he was no longer my boyfriend...he was my fiance! 25 years ago I said yes to Brian! Other than my decision to say yes to Jesus, this is my favorite yes ever!


Friday, September 28, 2012

Five Minute Friday...Grasping on tight...

Today is Five Minute Friday. Here are a brief review of the rules we all follow:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..


Today's word is GRASP.

go:

We had a child who was something of an escape artist. The minute her hands were free from ours she would take off; didn't matter where we were, didn't matter if there were strangers around. This child had a need to run, and run she did on several occasions. We had to grasp her little hand in ours, sometimes I wonder if maybe we squeezed too hard; she was good at slipping out of even the tightest grasp.


We held her tight, not because we didn't like her energy or desire to run. We held her tight because we knew the danger if she ran at the wrong time. We knew something she couldn't yet grasp. We weren't holding her back to anger her; we were holding her back because we loved her.

I believe God is like that with us sometimes. There are times we want to run ahead, but God's hand grasps ours firmly to keep us from running ahead too soon. God can see the road ahead, He knows best for us. So in those times when we sense that God is holding us back from our goal, we need to realize he may be protecting us. We need to trust Him and not struggle against his grip. When the time comes he will release our hands and let us run!




Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fingerprints on my heart...

Just when you think you've got this empty nest thing figured out...you unpack your scrapbooking stuff and find this item. So moms, enjoy those fingerprints, they really will gone 
so quickly!!



Friday, September 21, 2012

Five Minute Friday...try and grasp how wide...



Today is 5 Minute Friday. Following are the official rules.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..


Today's word is WIDE: 

go:

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 
Ephesians 3:17b-19

Is it possible to grasp just how wide, long, high and deep Christ's love is for us? How can we? We only have our own personal experience to go off of. We have people we love, but our love is a not a perfect love. We may love unconditionally, but our love comes nowhere near the depth or width of Christ's love. 


My prayer for today is that of Ephesians, to be able to grasp just how amazing the love of Christ is for me. He gave his life for me. He suffered unimaginable pain, not just physical, but the pain that He felt when God turned His back on Him while he hung on that cross with all our sins, had to be the worst pain of all. Yet, Christ did it willingly. He did it because He loves me. He not only loves me, He love all of us. Take some time today and try to grasp and understand just how wide, long, high and deep Christ's love is for...then take sometime on your knees thanking Him for that love.


This is one of my favorite songs about God's amazing love for me!!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Five Minute Friday...Focus on your race...

Today is once again Friday...is it just me or did this week just fly right by? Anyway, time for Five Minute Friday. One word...five minutes...no editing...just our thoughts flying out! Today's word is FOCUS.

Go:

I've discovered a fun new sport to watch, cross country! It just amazes me how these runners can stay focused and keep their eyes on the prize...the finish line. They also need to keep their eyes on the cart leading them around the course or they could take a wrong turn. The closer they get to that end goal, the faster some of them run. I can't believe that anyone has that much energy left at the end of three miles to sprint it out. The look of joy and excitement on their face as they cross that finish line is priceless. And this isn't just the top finishers, its pretty much every one who finishes. These runners train for this. They don't just run once a week and expect to be able to finish the race.

Our Christian life has been compared to a race. We must keep our eyes on the prize as well. We need to focus ourselves on Jesus! If we take our eyes off of Him, we lose that focus. We become lost. We too need to train ourselves. We can't just show up at church on Sunday and think that is good enough. We need to spend time each day in the word. We need to pray and seek God's direction for our lives. Then we need to do it!!! Just like the runner needs more than one day of training, so to do we!

What are you focusing on today? Focus on Jesus and you will be amazed at how clear things become!!


Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:1-2

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ah...home sweet home...

We arrived in Roseau exactly two months ago today! We were excited, we were exhausted and we were a bit emotional. We asked ourselves, what have we done? Are we ready for this? Is it to late to back out?
 

On our second day we received a bag of goodies from Roseau, kind of like a welcome wagon! This bag had a saying on it..."Roseau, Feels Like Home" . We chuckled to ourselves because it didn't feel like home yet. In fact, at the time we were standing in our new home with only one piece of furniture (thankfully a bed!). We weren't even sure when the stuff that made us feel at home would show up!


Two months later we are still very much newbies in town. Still trying to figure things out. We are still waiting for our Minnesota driver's licenses to come in the mail. The grocery store still confuses me and I find myself searching for items on my list. I have yet to get my hair cut because changing hair dressers is a big deal! (I better get over that one soon...I'm in need!)

Two months later and we now own Roseau Rams clothing, we even own Polaris shirts (even though I suspect Brian would be happier with something from Polaris that had a motor!). We are settling into a new community. We can drive most places in town and not get lost! We find ourselves knowing more names on a Sunday morning in church. We have been to sporting events and cheered on our new team...the Rams. There's something about high school sports that makes us feel a part of a community.

Last week I spent most of my time painting, painting and still painting our kitchen! When I started I was planning on using red as an accent color. What I wound up with was an almost entirely red kitchen! This is why I spent the whole week painting....red requires lots of coats. Anyway, when I was done Brian told me this now feels like home to him. That made me smile; I want this house to be a home!

The only part of the kitchen not painted red is the backsplash.

Gone are the grapevines on the pillars. Someday the pillars may be gone as well...we're waiting to see if the grow on us!

New light in dining room...much more understated than the previous one!

 We are still newbies and will most likely continue to be for quite sometime; but I can say...with confidence that "Roseau, Feels Like Home!"  Brian and I are so excited to see just what God has in store for us here!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Nine years ago...

**Today I turn my blog over to husband. This is a tribute to my father-in-law, who passed away nine years ago today. My favorite memories of him are the way his eyes twinkled when he would spend time with his grand-kids and no matter how hard we tried we could never beat him at cribbage.


 Today is  September 8th, 2012.  When I look at the calender and see the date I remember that it was 9 years ago today that my dad went to be with the Lord.  He had fought cancer for over two years.  He was a man of great strength and courage. The way he handled his fight with cancer was the same way that he lived his life.  He walked straight into the trial with courage and confidence that he could fight this.  Fight he did! 

As I reflect on this day it seems so unreal that 9 years has passed.  He is ok.  For I know he is with the Lord.  In the final weeks of his life God gave me some special time with my dad.  We talked about his faith in Christ. In August of 2003 we all began to realize that his time here on this earth was limited.  This trial and test was one of the most difficult tests of my life.  God where are you? Why is this happening? How long can this continue?  God answered my prayers and delivered my dad from cancer on that September day.  Cancer didn't win, God won and my dad is free!

The truth is that life is a precious gift and none of us know how much time we will have.  So we must, as I saw my dad do, live life to the fullest. Thank God for the time that we have been given.  Make the most of everything that God has entrusted to us.  Live life in a way that brings honor to God and to those in our lives that mean the most to us.

I thank God for my dad.  He was a support, an encouragment, an example and an inspiration to me.
When I think of my dad and the gift of life I have been given, I remind myself that I need to live life to the fullest.  I grew up in a family where faith and family were important.  So I continue to honor my dad and my heavenly Father by living each day to honor him.

Life is such a brief, precious and fragile gift. 

What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes
James 4:14

With the time God has given me to live here on this earth I choose to live my life with eternity in mind. God help me keep my eye on the prize.  My eyes are fixed on Jesus the author and perfecter of my faith.



Thursday, September 6, 2012

Five Minute Friday...Who me...Graceful?!

It's Five Minute Friday time again! That means two things...its almost the weekend and I get to partake in my favorite activity of the week. The rules are simple...5 minutes...one word...no editing and lots of interesting takes to read about. So check out my blog and then head over to Lisa Jo's place to read even more ideas on this one word. Today's word made me laugh out loud...it is GRACEFUL.

Go:

If there was one word that does not describe me its graceful. I just don't possess that quality. I think of all my accidents as a child...I flipped a mini bike...I ran a snowmobile into a barbed wired fence...I hit a parked car while riding my bike....I biffed it big time warming up for hurdles in track (still have part of the track in my knee. The list could go on...but I do only have 5 minutes.

In fact, I currently have a corn maze injury. Yes, I got hurt in a corn maze!! Let's just say it was not graceful and after a week I can barely walk down stairs without sharp pain in my right leg! (Yeah...I see a doctor visit in my near future).

The theme of the corn maze was the Titanic. Guess I went down with the ship!!
 So, God may not have gifted me with that kind of grace. That grace I can live without (of course it can create pain!), but thankfully God has gifted me with His grace! I thank Him for it daily...so if I look at it that way I am grace-FULL!


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Two special September days...and one in March...

In our family birthdays are a big deal. We love to spoil the person whose birthday it is. We love celebrating the day our children took their first breath. We also love to celebrate another birthday for them....their spiritual birthday. This is the day each of our children decided they wanted to become a Christian...the day they accepted Jesus as their Savior.

Today, we celebrate Ashley's spiritual birthday. She was just a little one when this happened. We had been praying for this day since before she was born. After she prayed, we told her there was a party going on in heaven...that the angels were rejoicing with her. So we did the best we could on short notice and threw her a party. It was right before bedtime, so we popped some popcorn and had root beer. To a three year old, this was a party. Woohoo!! Ashley's first prayer as a Christian was for her sister Abby to become a Christian. I'm sure had we had Caleb at the time she would have prayed for him then as well (he was but a glimmer!).



One year later we celebrated Ashley's spiritual birthday and being creatures of habit, we did the same thing...popcorn and root beer. By now Abby was almost three and curious as to why big sis was having a party. A little over a week later, she and Ashley were discussing this party after we had tucked them in for the night. After some discussion Ashley came out and said...well Abby's a Christian now. We were  a bit on the skeptical side. So we started questioning Abby and sure enough she truly had prayed to become a Christian. Not only had Ashley's first prayer as a Christian been for Abby; God allowed her to be the one to lead her to Christ. Pretty amazing!!!

Not to leave out Caleb, he also became a Christian at a young age. We celebrate his special day in March. Brian was the one who was privileged to get to lead Caleb to the Lord.

A lot of people were skeptical when we share how young our children were when they became Christians. However, that is the journey God led them on. They have grown up loving the Lord and each year on their spiritual birthdays Brian and I thank God for answering that prayer of ours. We feel truly blessed with each of these kids. We have had the honor of watching them grow in their faith and we continue to pray for them to follow the Lord.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Chivaree is not dead...

chivaree -n
1.a discordant mock serenade to newlyweds, made with pans, kettles, etc
2. a confused noise; din 
 Brian and I are not newlyweds...yet we were the recipients of a chivaree on Thursday night! We arrived home after supper with some friends (some sneaky friends mind you!)...Brian went to open the window on our deck to let some fresh air in. As he was opening the window a loud noise began, and when I say loud noise, I mean LOUD noise. My first thought was glass was breaking, then I wondered if the deck was collapsing, were we being shot at? Brian turned the light on and we discovered a large group of our new church family in the back yard banging on pots and pans! To say we were surprised would be an understatement! What a fun way to feel welcomed and accepted into our new church family! We invited them in and enjoyed fellowship, ice cream, cookies and brownies!

So...here's a word of advice to you. Should you get invited over to someone's house and their children start saying how tired they are and that they should go to bed...be warned...its a set up!!! Especially if these people are night owls!!!

The way it was worded is that we have newly married this church family and therefore a chivaree was in order. Chivaree is not dead!!!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Five Minute Friday...When everything is changing...

So its that time of the week again....Five Minute Friday! One word...five minutes...no editing...and lots of fun blogs to read and lots of different ways to interpret that one word! Today's word packs quite a punch for me...the word is CHANGE.



Go....

Change...I've been writing about it for months now.

Our daughter got married....change.
Our son graduated high school...change.
We said good bye to one church and community...change.
We said hello to a new church and community...change.
We took our youngest to college...change.

So much change in so little time. I've been bringing you along with all the changes and they haven't always been easy on me!

So what hasn't changed?

That is simple..God! He remains the same in the midst of all the newness of my life. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is never changing. He is my Rock, my Fortress, He is amazing. I find no matter which church I am in I can still worship Him.

As I work through the changes, God has also given me something here on earth that remains constant as well....my marriage. Brian is going through the same things I am, he understands, and he can give me comfort and hugs on days when the changes are just too much. On second thought, maybe my marriage has changed...its gotten stronger!!

Thank you God for change...without it I wouldn't grow....without it I would have as much reason to cling to you...without it I would have missed living in an amazing community....change is hard, but can also be very very good!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

He's Ready...am I???


Exactly one week ago, it happened. We walked into Belcher Center on the campus of LeTourneau University to check in Caleb. Immediately we saw two sets of footprints on the ground...one set for the student to follow and one set for the parents to follow. My immediate reaction was NO...don't separate us yet. He needs me to help him maneuver through this process..right? I complied and followed the red set of footsteps down the hall to get our schedule and name badge for the weekend. Then it was off to the parent "holding tank"...where a roomful of freshman parents were assembled.  We met some parents, picked up some LeTourneau swag (pens, LETU parent stickers and a few notebooks). Caleb came and found us after awhile...he made it through check-in just fine without me.

The next several hours were spent moving him in and getting him set up. A list was begun for the first of several Walmart runs. Yes, I wondered how he would survive without me...he had an iron with him, but did he know how to use it...would he use? He still needed mom right...after all his closest was full of dress shirts and they were very wrinkly!

The next few days were spent with all of us attending orientation sessions; some together, some separate. Then came Saturday, the day all parents dreaded...there was one activity on our schedules we didn't like. It said "Time to say farewell to students." We all knew it was coming, we all hoped for the day to move slowly by. We attended our first morning session which turned out to be a chapel time. It was good. God needed to be a big part of this day and He didn't fail to show up. The worship was amazing...God was present and worked in all our hearts.

During this chapel I found myself looking down at my son (students sat in the section in front of the parents). I found myself having a conversation with God concerning Caleb.

Lord, he's not ready.
Yes Brenda he is.
I have so much left to teach him.
No, you've taught him how to learn...he's ready.
But, he's so young. He just turned 18 last month.
I've used young men before...remember David.
But Texas is so far away Lord.
No distance will ever be too far for you to pray for him. And remember I am with him. I love him even more than you do.
Are you sure he's going to be ok Lord? Doesn't he still need me?
Yes, Brenda he's going to be fine, and yes he still needs you, but your role is changing. You and Brian set him on this course. You've prayed for him, guided him and loved him...he's ready.


Then came the time, the time we dreaded. We knew we needed to pray with Caleb and we found a prayer room and got alone with him and spoke our hearts to God. We shared a few tears there and then walked to our truck. Caleb got several hugs from me, and we all shared some more tears. The time had come, the time to release the final arrow from our quiver and let him fly. We cried a bit more on the drive out of campus and headed north.


As we were settling into our hotel that night, we found two notes. One was for me and one was for Brian...they were from Caleb. It was like he knew of my conversation with God earlier...is he ready? Caleb assured me in the note that Brian and I had prepared him for this journey, he assured me he was ready!! God is good, He knew I would need to read those words from my son.

So ready or not, I am now the mother of three adult children. Each one trusting God and trying to discern His plan for them. God is good!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Five Minute Friday...Joining a new community...

Five Minute Friday time again! One word...five minutes...no editing...lots of fun!
Today's word is JOIN.


start...

Tonight Brian and I witnessed a pretty cool event. The Welcome Ceremony for 450 new students at LeTourneau University. Our son Caleb is among those 450. There was an ivy planting at the conclusion of this ceremony. This ivy is currently many different plants, but as it grows they will join them together. The ivy will grow for the next four years, then when its time for graduation, the students will gather around the ivy and the president will walk around the circle and clip the ivy.

The freshman ivy.

Tonight was the joining of Caleb with these 450 students and the whole LeTourneau family. It was a special night. One of great significance. The faculty dressed in their academic regalia...this signifies something important is happening. Tonight we as parents dedicated ourselves to continuing to love and support and pray for our children. The faculty dedicated themselves to leading, supporting and educating them. The students dedicated themselves to the educational principals and lifestyle standards of the school. We are joined together.

Saturday we drive away from Texas and our son. Tonight we joined a new family, one that will have a huge impact on our son. We feel blessed and excited. Driving away will be hard, but seeing the amazing place that will be investing in our son for four years has given us amazing peace!

Caleb at the Memorial Garden where the ivy was planted.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Five Minute Friday...but I want to be comfortable...

Five Minute Friday again! One word...five minutes...whatever thoughts come to mind...no editing. Today's word is STRETCH...

 Begin...

Comfort zones...we all have them. We like them...after all they are comfortable and we like that. We like the predictability and ease of them.

However, if we stay there too long, we get stale, boring, and lazy. 

Sometimes, God comes along and stretches us...He pulls us out of our comfort zone. He allows us to be... dare I say uncomfortable. It is when He is doing this that life is exciting. What purpose does God have in stretching me beyond that which I am comfortable? What new chapter is He writing for me? 

Will I run back to my safe spot, where I feel at ease? Will I allow Him to continue to stretch me? 

Lord, Stretch me...mold me...use me!! Keep me out of my comfort zone!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Word Filled Wednesday...fix our eyes...


Our new house is only a block away from this sunflower field; which made my daughters very excited and lead to this picture being taken. I love that there is this field so close to my house. I see it every time I walk up the block to get our mail. The sunflower is a unique flower in that it follows the sun. This is what we as Christians need to do; we need to fix our eyes on Jesus; we need to follow the Son!!!


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Of piano playing and cheese graters...

I have a confession to make. It's a big one...are you ready? I'm a pastor's wife and I don't play piano! There, that felt good to get it out in the open! I feel so free now that you know.


Ok, so I know that pastor's wives are not all piano players, some are, but many are not. However, that is one of the stereotypes of us. How boring would it be if all pastor's wives were the same? How boring would it be if all Christians were the same?

I am reading through "Crazy Love" by Frances Chan (AMAZING BOOK!). In the chapter I am reading now he talks about how sometimes as Christians we try to be like other Christians. He illustrated it in a great way. Imagine if you opened your drawer and all you found were cheese graters, and you wanted to eat soup. A cheese grater won't help you there. The Church needs more than cheese graters too! If we were all the same, how would anything get done in the church?


So, as I pondered this chapter today, I realized that I am not a cookie cutter pastor's wife and that's ok! I am actually not a cookie cutter anything! I don't want to be like other people, but I do want to be like Jesus! I want to be the person He created me to be!

How about you? Do you find yourself falling in the trap of trying to be a cheese grater, when God has called you to be a different utensil? What is your passion? Is there a need you see that you feel needs to be filled? If so, then perhaps you are the very person to meet that need!

So ponder with me today...what does God want from you? What did He create you to be?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Five Minute Friday....Take time to connect!

Today is Five Minute Friday. One word...five minutes...just writing what comes to mind.


Go:

Yesterday morning was just one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days! Little things and big things derailed me and my attitude. It started with a simple task, one which should have taken five minutes but took me an hour. Technology was not my friend and this started my day off on the wrong frustrated foot.

Just when I thought I was out of my funk, I opened my load of whites to discover a pen was among those clothes. It decided to explode on my clothes, not a little but a whole lot! Well, that pretty much sunk my attitude for the morning. I blamed the one who put the pen in their pocket, thinking that would make me feel better. It didn't...it only made him feel bad and then I felt bad for making him feel bad! After all I know to check pockets, I do it every week, in reality I could have prevented this accident.

Thankfully, as the day progressed things got much better. God sent several people into my day to brighten my mood and make me feel connected to my new community.

As I reflect back on yesterday morning, one important ingredient was missing...one important connection was not there. I usually wake up and spend time with God. Yesterday, I woke up and tried that "simple" task, thinking I will spend time with God in five minutes. Well, that didn't happen. I went through the morning on my own strength. I never even tried to connect with God. I just kept plowing into my bad day.

Today, I woke up and first thing I did was ask God to forgive me, I asked him to steady my heart today, to be my strength today. Little annoyances will come, laundry will get ruined, technology will fail us, but as long as we connect with God everyday, He will give us the strength to get through it. Yesterday I caught a glimpse of my attitude without that connection and it was not a pretty sight!!!


Friday, August 3, 2012

Five Minute Friday...Here I am...

I was so sad to miss  5 Minute Friday last week! We were out of town and  about half way to our destination, I realized it was Friday and I had completely forgotten! So I am excited to get back on track today with 5 Minute Friday. The rules are simple, one word...five minutes...no editing...which means no over-thinking!! Today's word is HERE:


 Here I am to worship,
Here I am to bow down,
Here I am to say that You're my God...


These are the words to one of my favorite worship songs.

Here I am to worship...it doesn't have any conditions on it...just that I am here to worship...no matter my mood...even if the worship team doesn't sing songs I like....I am simply here to worship.

Here I am to worship...it doesn't say where I am to worship...just here...worship is not exclusively for inside the walls of a church...I can worship Him here...and here is anywhere I happen to be! I can bow down and say that You're my God anywhere...I can do it here...right now...where ever here is!

Each morning as I wake up all I need to do is say God I'm here...and here and now I choose to worship you!!

Here I am to worship...what is worship? Is it simply standing up and signing songs on Sunday morning? Is it listening to Christian radio? Worship is so much more that what we think it is. 

Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship! Hebrews 12:1