Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back to School

Little Sisters,

As I write this, all is quiet in our house.   Quiet is something that I will be experiencing more after tomorrow because tomorrow you start school!!!  I have such mixed feelings about tomorrow.  I’m excited for you guys because you are so excited.  I’m excited for me because this is a big milestone that I’ve been waiting for a long time. 
I’m sad, though, because I can’t imagine my day without the “three girls” as you call us.  But, I’m not going to be too sad because you will be home with me Thursday morning since you only go 3 full days a week.  The other 2 are half days where the ‘three girls’ will be back together.  Just how we like it!

Lily Kate – I’m so excited for you silly girl.  I have no doubt that you will march right in and take control of that class – that’s your personality!  I know you will, but remember to look after Ella.  She’s a little more unsure at first.  You are a great big sister and I know you’ll take care of your best friend.  You are so excited about going to big brothers school and walking there with them.  Sister, I love you so much and am so proud of the little lady that you are becoming.  You are always so helpful and you are a hard worker, who takes such pride in your work.  Be sweet for your teacher, learn lots and above all let all the people at school see that bright Jesus light that burns bright inside you.  I love you Little Kate!

Ella – It’s your first day of school!  I know you are a little nervous, but you are going to have so much fun learning.  And you really love to learn!  Lily will be there with you, so you won’t be alone.  Please try to remember not to suck your fingers and make rats nests.  You’re a big girl now!  My big girl!  I will miss you something ridiculous, but know that you are going to love being in school.  Sister, I love you so much.  I love your big personality, your super imagination and the way you make everyone laugh.  Please try to obey your teachers and listen to directions.  If you get sad, don’t forget that your sister is there with you.  And so is God, Ella.  He loves you so much!  Shine bright for Jesus sweet girl!!

Caleb –

4th grade starts today – big time!  Weren’t we just dropping you off at kindergarten…?  Oh, mercy did I have a hard time letting you go.  I still have a hard time letting you go.  Buddy, I know it was a tough summer for us.  I know you are having a tough time figuring out who you are and where you belong.  I know you don’t feel loved enough by us.  But, Caleb, we adore you.  We are thankful you are our son.  And we love you SOOOO much!  I hope you have a great year this year, baby.  I hope you chose your friends wisely and that when you lead others, you lead them in the right direction.  I hope you learn a lot, grow to love to learn and that God reveals to you early on what you are passionate about.  Above all, Caleb, I hope you grow in your relationship with Jesus.  He loves you enough to die on the cross for you.  By name.  I know that’s hard to believe, but I also know that you do believe.  Deep down there.  Caleb, we love you with all that we are.  And God loves you even more.  We believe in you.  And God believes in pursuing you.  My prayer is that this is our best year yet, Buddy!!  I love you!!  Now go and be courageous!!

Luke – What’s up?!  Second grade!  Are you going to rock it like you did first?  I’m so thankful that last year you fell in love with reading and math and I hope you continue to do so this year.  Luke we are so proud of you and how well you do in school.  You are so smart and love to work hard in school.  We are so thankful for that.  What we love the most, though, is how much you love Jesus and share that with your friends.  You are such a bright light in a dark world, Luke!  Remember to obey your teachers, take pride in your work and work really hard on that self-control thing.  We are so proud of you Luke!  And we love you so much!! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I’m home…with a serious case of jetlag.  Honestly, I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck.  Then backed over again…and again…and again.  I’m told within the week, I should feel back to normal.

But I’m not sure if I want to go back to normal.  To life before this trip.

People keep asking me about my trip.  And I have no idea how to respond. How do you sum up a life altering, eye-opening experience in 10 words or less?  How do I verbalize what I saw – the poverty, the pain, the joy and the hope – in a couple of sentences? 

I can’t.
So I say, “It was amazing.”

But that doesn’t even begin to accurately describe what I saw God doing.

kept a journal of my trip and will post that and pictures as soon as I can.  I only took 1,000 pictures, so that shouldn’t take too long to go through.  Especially since I’m trying to jump back into life with kids on summer break.  No problem.

 Until then…

Sunday, June 03, 2012

This is really happening!

I have to be up in 7 hours to head to the airport for my trip. 

This is really happening.
I'm really going to Africa.
I'm really leaving my 4 gorgeous kids for 2 weeks.


I'm super excited.  God was in all the details and all the things I was worried about were worked out.  My clothes all fit in the bag they provided, all the items we collected were able to be packed and we are only going to have to pay for one extra tote.

My CrossFit gym really stepped up and collected so much for this trip.  Dentist donated cases of kids toothpaste and toothbrushes, members donated sports equipment, soap, school supplies, crafts and over $1000.  Mama's going shopping when I get to Uganda to buy for specific needs that arise.  So thankful.

So very thankful.
So very excited.
So very scared.

I'm stepping out like I've never stepped out before.  I don't know anyone on this trip, I've never traveled out of the country on my own before and I've never been exposed to this kind of poverty.  Over the past couple of weeks, I've asked myself (several times a day) what in the world am I doing?  And why?

One answer comes every time:  because God asked me to.
And I'm trusting, with everything I have in me, that God is going to show up in a mighty way.  Teach me something about who He is, who I am and who He wants me to be.

While saying goodnight to the girls and singing out night time song, I started to cry.  Luckily it was dark and they didn't notice.

I'm trying not to freak them out by crying.
No crying.
Just got my eyelashes done and can't get them wet for 48 hours.

See, I've got a lot to learn...

If you think about us over the next couple of weeks, we could use a prayer...or two...or ten!


Thursday, May 31, 2012

I want to be a Jesus Freak, but instead I'm a Control Freak

I leave in 4 days.

For Africa.

So, what am I doing in the days leading up to my 2 week odyssey?  Oh, you know, important things like:  cleaning out closets, cleaning under sinks, making hair bows for my girls, organizing clothes, making summer schedules for the kids, room-mom projects, researching birthday party options for Caleb, going through papers that have been sitting in a pile for months…

Basically any and every little thing I can find to do other than get ready for this trip and controlling every little thing around me.  And I mean every.little.thing.  Because that's what I do when I feel out of control.  Find something to control.


I have nothing packed.  And a ton to pack.  And I am totally overwhelmed...

With the idea of leaving my kids.

With the amount I have to fit into the smallest space.

With all that I “need” for 2 weeks away in a foreign land.

With the idea of traveling with a bunch of stranger to an environment I’ve only seen in movies.

With the details of leaving the kids for 2 weeks.

With leaving JMad – my comfort, security, sounding board and most days lifeline.

With not working out for 2 weeks.

With being out of control

With being out of my element.

With having to trust God.

Other than that, I’m really excited about this trip.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Sisters

Lily Kate!
My big 5 year old girl.   Gosh, mercy, how I love you.  I can’t believe you are 5!  It seems like we have been talking about it for months…we HAVE been talking about it for months.  Doing the countdown to your big day and now it is finally here.  You invited 8 of your little friends to Build A Bear for a party and you are so excited.  Lily Kate, I adore you.  Our family would be lost without you.  You help me keep this place running and keep everyone in line.  You really love to be my helper and second in command.  LK, you are a sweet, thoughtful, helpful, silly, kind little girl who loves to help me around the house, dance and make new friends.  You love to shop, wear jewelry and play with friends.  Your super excited about swimming this summer and Kindergarten next year.  You love Sunday school and singing all the songs you learn there.  When you pray, sister, it is so sincere and from your heart.  You love Jesus.  Lily, I pray that you always love Jesus and the songs you are learning take root deep in your heart.  I pray that people are drawn to you because of the light in your heart.  I pray that as you get older, you will look to Jesus to figure out who you are and that you won’t be easily swayed by the thoughts and opinions of others.  Little Kate, as always, I pray you marry someone like your Daddy – hard-working, generous, reflective and deeply in love with God.  I love you so much, little sister.  Happy, happy day to you!

Ella Grace!
Your BIG day is finally here!!!  You have been waiting so patiently for your birthday, counting down the days.  You actually woke up the last two nights in a row to tell me how many days left until your special day.  I love that you are not only happy it’s your day, but you also love that you get to share it with Lily.  Girl, there aren’t words to express to you just how much you love that sister of yours.  You don’t like her to be out of your sight for too long.  You love your family.  You tell me all the time that you don’t want to get married because you don’t want to leave your family.  I love you so much Gracie.  You are my baby.  When you kiss mama, it’s so full of passion and love that I want to melt.  And you know it.  You know the best way to get out of trouble is to start kissing me – it makes me laugh out loud every time.  Ella, you love to color, draw and read books.  You’ve come so far in school this year and your teachers are so impressed with your progress.  You love school and you really love to learn.  You are so excited to go to kindergarten so that you can learn to read.  Right now you are having a hard time being away from any of us, but I love hearing Lily Kate remind you that, “God is always with you in your heart!”  God is always near, littlest sister, never far from you.  Others will disappoint you, but God never will.  I pray that you always remember that, Ella.  I pray that whenever others make you question your worth, you always look at that cross and know that God died for you, Ella.  You by name.  And Ella, I pray with all my heart, that you marry a man that loves God like Daddy does.  A man full of integrity, wisdom, compassion and understanding and someone who will always cherish you!  I love you with all that I am sweet Ella.  Happy birthday!

Sweetest Little Twins, you have added more to my life than I’ve ever thought possible.   I pray that the bond that you guys have is never broken and only strengthened and encouraged by your love for Jesus.  I love you guys and am so thankful for the past 5 ah-may-zing years with you!!!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Anyone but Peter

Why can’t I be Paul??Or Timothy or Paul or Matthew or Paul…

I’ve always identified with Peter.  Passionate, fearful, outspoken, dramatic, rebellious, not the fastest learner on the team, full of hot air, prideful….

Yes, I’m more like Peter than Paul.

My quiet time lately has been so convicting.  As I prepare to go to Africa, God continues to lovingly work on my heart.  Yucky things that I didn’t think I have a problem with are surfacing.

I’ve always had a hard time receiving things from people.  I love having parties, but I hate getting gifts (except from you JMad – you’re not off the hook!)  I love helping others, but hate asking for help.  I have no issue doing for others, but am not too crazy about people doing for me.  I’ve actually told JMad, many times, “I had to ask so-and-so for help.  You know I was desperate if I’m asking for help!”

And up until recently, I’ve not seen a problem with that.

Then when I was considering going on this trip, My Michele says to me, “I think you should think about asking others for support for your trip.”

Um, what?  Ask others for support?  Uh, hello, my husband is a doctor.  We can afford it.  I would feel ridiculous asking others to help me when I can do it!  Chest puffed up, I don’t need help from anyone.

My Michele says, “Sometimes it’s about blessing others by letting them bless you.  Sometimes it’s about letting others be a part of God’s work through your ministry.  Sometimes it’s learning to be humble, put away your pride and ask for help.”

Put on humility.
Put away pride.
Yeah, that’s hard for me.

When reading the story of Jesus washing the disciple’s feet, in John 13:5-11, I’ve always thought Peters reaction was a little over the top.

5 Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.” 8 Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” 10 Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.”

Peter goes from, No!  Never!
Scrub me down Jesus.  Every inch of me!  And don’t forget my fingernails!

I never really got that.
Until now.

Peter had a hard time putting away his pride and humbly accepting the way Jesus wanted to show his love. 
I have a hard time with that too. 

Peter doesn't like the way it makes him feel to have Jesus serve him.
I can totally understand that.

Peter doesn’t like the feeling of someone doing something for him, while getting nothing in return.
I don’t like that either.

Peter had a hard time accepting that Jesus loved him unconditionally and Peter didn’t have to do anything or prove anything to him.
That one is really hard for me.

Peter eventually pulls it together and God uses him in big ways.
I’m hoping, by putting my hope in The One, that will be what the end of my story looks like too.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The cool part about Journey 117 is the training they provide before taking you on trips. One part of the training is a bible study that I work each week and then on our conference calls we go over our answers.
Last weeks study was on the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000.

For some reason, this time when I read the story, I was really sympathetic to the plight of the disciples.

Disciples say to Jesus, “This crowd is getting big. We think this would be a great time to take a break, little siesta, everyone is getting hungry - they can eat and then we can meet up later. Hungry people aren’t happy people, so let’s quit while we’re ahead.”

Jesus says, “Yeah, y’all are right, I’m bet they are getting hungry. So what are we going to feed all these people?”

Andrews thinks, WHAT?! What are we going to eat? We barely know where our meals are coming from. How are we supposed to feed all these people?! Andrew says, “Um, Jesus, not trying to burst your philanthropic bubble, but we couldn’t make enough cash in the next 6 months to feed each person 1 bite of bread. Yeah, I don’t think lunch for 5,000 is an option today.”

Go. Go round up what food you can find.” Jesus commands.

You heard the man. Let’s go see what we can find.

They bring Jesus what they have.  Jesus does the miracle.

(The above interpretation is from the SabMad International Version.  Not out in shelves.  For good reason.)

Feeding 5,000 peeps is a lot of peeps.
Pa-shaw, feeding my family of 6 overwhelms me some most days.

What I could really relate with was the feelings the disciples may have had of anxiety, inadequacy and being overwhelmed with a problem that on the surface doesn’t seem to have an easy answer.

That is how I feel when I think of the Orphan crisis....Overwhelmed, inadequate and anxious.
That is how I feel when I think of going to Africa....Overwhelmed, inadequate and anxious.
And honestly, that is how I feel when I think about ministry or serving....Overwhelmed, inadequate and anxious.

On my heart this week, God really impressed that at this point all He is asking me to do is GO.

Go do your homework.
Go get your shots.
Go ask your friends to help you collect.
Go to Africa.
Go, He says, and show people what My hands and feet look like.
Go, He says, and watch me work.

I have no idea what will happen when I go.
The disciples had no idea what would happen when they went.
They couldn’t have imagined.
I don’t think I can either.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Gosh, mercy. This has been a week.

Little recap:

Monday: recovered from my busy weekend.  I went down to Colorado Springs and got my Olympic Weight Lifting certification through the USA Olympic Training Center.  SO fun, but so exhausting.  I also wasn’t feeling the best because Dr. Germ brought home the nasty cold he had the previous week.  If only he could wear a bio hazard suit to work…
Tuesday:  JMad “reminds me” (I’m pretty sure this was the first I’d heard of it!) that he is leaving the next day for San Francisco.  Poor man was oncall and up all night then had to catch an 8am flight to CA.  This was also the day of my very last MOPS meeting!!  I’ve been in MOPS for 10 years and graduated this year.  My babies are growing up.  Perhaps it’s time to get another one???

Wednesday:  JMad leaves and all hell breaks loose.  The kids came home from school and, long story short, Luke busted his head open, blood everywhere and then ended up throwing up with a concussion.  On our way to our AWANA awards banquet.  Paged JMad 911 and he was so surprised I used it for an actual emergency and not because I can’t find the remote.  Not that I would ever page him for something so ridiculous, ahem, ahem.  Tough night, but we made it through and Luke the Goo Maddry is as good as new!  So thankful!
Thursday:  Stayed at home since Luke was on orders to rest with very little activity.  It was amazing how productive I am when I stay at home.  Novel concept for a stay at home mama.  Note to self:  you only get things done around the house if you stay at home.  Duly noted.

Frieday:  JMad come home at some point in the middle of the night.  At some other point in the middle of the night I realized I needed to be in 3 places at once on Friday morning.  I’m good, but I’m not that good.  Ordered requested begged JMad to stay home and help me.  Got my doctors okay to get my travel shots – military drama – but since I needed 6 shots and the DoD only lets you get 5 shots, I’ll have to go back next week for more shots and to get some blood drawn.  Good news is the malaria medication that is recommended, but expensive, is being provided by the USAF!  For free!! 

Yeah, it was a busy week.  I also got my itinerary for my Uganda trip.  For some reason I thought I was only going to be gone 12 days.  My itinerary has me gone for 14 days.  I’m getting anxious.  14 days without my people…

Lord, do I trust you to keep them safe?
Lord, do I trust you to keep me safe?

Lord, do I trust you…

Seems like a funny question to ask considering all He has done for me just this week
Seems like an even crazier question to ask considering all He has done for me in my life!

I feel like I've come so far, but I have even farther to go.
Thankful that He's willing to meet and love me, right where I am!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mama said there'd be days like this...

Kids are out of school today.
I'm teaching 4 classes.
Ella pulled the classic, "My tummy hurts, I think I'm going to be sick."  And then proceeds to puke all over her room and everywhere in the bathroom except the toilet.
My laundry room is out of control.  Again.
The floors are so gross I won't walk barefoot.
I'm tired from a long and busy week.
While Ella is in the bathroom - sure she is going to be sick - Lily Kate pees all over the kitchen floor.
Can't put off the floor anymore, can't put off the laundry anymore.
To top it all off, JMad is oncall.  For the third time since Sunday.

And the guys I workout with in the morning ask me what I do all day.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Uganda: How it all began

Last night I had my first Uganda Team Conference call.
I learned a few things:
  1. Conference calls are awkward. Especially among people who don’t know one another. I totally get the reason why we have to do it and am glad we have technology to do it, but it’s still awkward. Lots of awkward silence. And I’m not good with awkward silence.
  2. It looks like our current itinerary has us with a long layover in London. And our team leader lived there, so feels comfortable taking us sightseeing, with enough time to make our flight to Kampala. I’m beyond excited to see London and get a chance to practice my English accent! My kids say it awful, but I think they’re biased.
  3. I need to get a lot of shots. Sooner, rather than later. NOT looking forward to that. I’m not really into shots. But, I’m even less into yellow fever. So I need to make an appointment to get those shots. I guess that means I have to find a doctor? Shockingly enough, I haven’t been to the doctor since 2007. And my kids haven’t been…in a long time. I’m not going to lie; I’m really not into doctors.
This whole adventure is overwhelming right now. I actually woke up in the middle of the night panicked about being away from The Littles for 2 weeks. When we went to Mexico last year we left them for 5 (maybe 6) days and I wanted to rip the face off the 3 customs agents that – in my extremely humble and gentle opinion – were moving entirely too slow and inhibiting me from seeing my babies. Afterall, it wasn’t my fault that there were only 3 of them working and 300 of us waiting in line.


That’s my goal for the, ahem, year. I will learn to be gracious.


This all began quite simply. We have family night once a week and are using it to teach the kids about the world around them. In August I decided that I wanted to make them aware of what God says about widows, orphans and downtrodden. I started doing some research online, found some great organizations who were doing great work and we watched a video that explained how kids become orphans. And how in many countries it is a cycle that can be broken (When I have time, I’ll look for that video and post it.) Through my research I found World Orphan and through World Orphan I found Journey 117. They are who I’m doing the trip through. But at this time I didn’t know I was doing a trip.

I thought I was bringing some awareness with my kids about orphans.

It’s also through this research that I started to learn about human trafficking. I was shocked and horrified. That it happens, how often it happens, how easily it happens and that it is happening in my city. And that a significant amount of human trafficking happens to orphans.

I saw that my church was hosting a forum on human trafficking and went. Learned a ton. Found out about a Holiday Market where all of the items were free trade items and items made from people trying to escape human trafficking.

Went shopping, bought all the women in our family gifts from there and learned more about free trade and sex trafficking. Ways to help. Ways to get involved.

I decided to be a part of a group starting at my church to help bring awareness to human trafficking.

I asked God to break my heart for what breaks His.

And it was at this time that I saw a quick flash about Journey 117 hosting a trip to Uganda.

Sent JMad a text and told him I wanted to go to Africa.
He sent a text back and said, “when?”
I was sure I was to go.
JMad wasn’t so sure.
We prayed about it.
I wasn’t so sure I was going to go. JMad was sure I was supposed to go.

What if something happens to me or him or the kids while I’m gone? My Michele says to me, “If you are where God wants you to be, there is no safer place.” (Side note: seriously, is she amazing? Love her more than there are words!)


If you are where God wants you to be, there is no safer place.


I’m scared to leave my man and kids. I’m scared to see poverty. I’m scared to be changed. I’m scared to have my heart broken. I’m scared to leave my safe place of control and comfort. I’m scared to travel to the unknown. I’m scared of shots. I’m scared of strangers. I’m scared to do this without JMad to help me through it. I’m scared to rely on God. I’m scared…

What was romantic when it was a pipe dream is so scary when it’s reality.

So, one step at a time. I'm taking the advice I told my girls the other day: Do not swallow an almond whole. You will choke. One bite at a time.

First bite: shots!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Warning: Only read if you have 4 hours to do nothing!

Where to begin?
Not at the beginning, that’s for sure!
I’ve been blogging for 7 years and never taken a hiatus this long. Let’s just dive in!

We are loving, absolutely loving, Colorado! What other place has such amazing weather that you can go skiing on Friday and then go for a long warm hike and picnic on Saturday? Or be out in tanks and shorts at a football game and wake up to snow the next day? That’s what our weekend look like in Colorado these days!

JMad is staying busy with work. He’s learning a lot and really likes his colleagues. When not working he can be found with his second love CrossFit. Yep, I’ve seduced him to the dark side!! It took a couple of years, but he has finally had a drink of the CrossFit kool-aid and loves it. He’s building his own gym in the garage and is getting pretty good. I think I could still take him!

Caleb continues to challenge us as parents, disciplers and disciples. He is so materialistic and is drawn to the wordly things in life. There are moments where he is so difficult to parent (and be around for that matter) and then there are other moments where he is such a joy ( I have a feeling God says this about me too!) God continues to use this child to humble us and keep us on our knees. I believe with all my heart that God specifically uses this child to teach me more about His character and my character too. Caleb has been doing CrossFit kids and AWANA and both have been really good for him. Caleb is a natural leader – he was nominated for Student Council and loves being active in school leadership. We signed him up for camp this summer (the camp I was a counselor at!!) and I think he will have a great time. One thing that stays consistent with my boy is that he loves his mama. And, mercy, I love him too!

Luke continues to amaze us with his love of school, learning and athleticism. I went to his parent/teacher conference a couple of weeks ago and that child continues to stay at the top of his class. Luke has this fantastic teacher who has gone out of her way to come up with work that will challenge him. She has even had to go to other grades in search of work for him. (BTW – this has given me a whole new appreciation for what a “good” teacher is!) He loves math and is always asking me to make-up math tests for him at home. While he is super smart, he is also a huge mess. He is our personal, “Little Einstein.” His appearance is always disheveled and his teacher laughed when she showed me his desk. It was such a mess that he uses the empty desk next to him to hold his overflow papers. His backpack is an equal disaster – found his teachers Christmas present in it at the end of January!! Luke also loves football and plays in a flag league. He shocked us all by scoring 2 touchdowns his first game ever! (I think Caleb was most thrilled for him and kept yelling, “Number 1 Fan” to his baby brother!) Luke also really loves Jesus and is always sharing his love for Him with his friends at school.

Lily Kate is the mama and my little mini-me! My brother came into town and I wanted to run at the gym before he got here, so I say to the twins, “Let’s hurry to the gym and run because Uncle Mark will be here soon.” Lily Kate immediately says, “Oh, no! I didn’t get a chance to clean the floors!” Seriously, this child is my replica. Yep, at her parent/teacher conference her teacher said that she is the mama of the class and has a flair for drama. I think it is her “mama-drama” that keeps her and Luke fighting all the time. Those two bicker the most, but always want to play together. Lily Kate is by far my most helpful child and loves to work side-by-side with me. Love her!

Ella is the baby. That girl keeps me laughing with the crazy things she says. She totally melts my heart most days with her antics. Ella has made huge progress in school and is being taken off her IEP for OT/behavioral play. She’ll be reevaluated tomorrow for her speech, but her teachers are thrilled with her progress. She loves art and is working hard at learning to ride her trike.

Honestly, I can’t believe my twins will be 5 next month. I’m overwhelmed at the thought! A couple of months ago I signed the girls up for Kinder – my babies are going to school next year!

I’ve found my little niche here. I have friends that I could call if I needed something, but I don’t have friends to call just because. Those ‘just because’ friendships are my favorite and I miss them. Luckily, while I don’t have any of those friendships here, I do have them all over the country. I continue with my obsession with reading. To be honest if I have any spare time, I’ll pick up a book. Hence, why no blogging. A couple of weeks ago I read 7 books in a week. Thankfully, for my family’s sake, that doesn’t happen very often. I still am obsessed with CrossFit and love coaching it. I have a fabulous ladies bible study and it has been amazing. Unlike any study I’ve been in for a long time this one is filled with women of all ages. So much wisdom! My exciting news is that I’ll be going to Africa in June! So exciting and overwhelming. I’m going on a mission trip and maybe I’ll blog about how all that came about. Pretty exciting God stuff!

Our sad news of late is that Titan Dog, our family dog that we got when we first got married, got out and we never found him. It has really been hard for all of us, but especially me, which is surprising because that dog made me crazy more often than not. We are going to Alaska this summer for our family vacation, but when we get back we’re planning on getting a dog...or two?!

Well, I guess I’ve made long enough…
Here are some pictures of late. Isn’t that all people want anyway?!
The Kids on the first day of school!

My street in the fall.  The colors here are ah-may-zing!!

Nana's visit in the fall

Check out the colors and LK's sass.  That girl...

The boys first real snow!!!  They were thrilled to get to walk to school in it!

Ella, ready for the snow.  Seriously, it took longer to get the girls in their gear than they even spent outside.  So I got smart and made a new rule...

LK stylin'.  New rule is you must stay out longer than it takes to find your snow stuff and get dressed.  We didn't have snow boots yet, so we wore our rain boots we never got to wear in SA!

the Princess girls at Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Our first Air Force Academy football game!  We tailgated before we some friends - my first tailgate party!  The awesome part (that I don't have pictures of!) of this day was our friends we went with are USAFA grads and played on the football team, then coached the team when he graduated.  So after the game we got to go on the field and meet the players.  My boys are football FANATICS and were beyond thrilled!!  One of the players even gave Caleb his sweat band from the game.  I think Caleb slept with it for a week -yuck!!

Our annual tradition of Operation Christmas Child.  Whew shopping for 4 kids, with 4 kids was something! 

Christmas Girls!

Caleb and Luke are in a duct tape phase.  They make skateboards, shoes, ties, belts, wallets, cars...with duct tape.  Here's Caleb and Daddy with their ties.

Caleb's first time on ski's.  This child loves to ski, has no fear and is really good!

Aunt Carami came to visit and make gingerbread houses

Ella wanted me to take a picture of her "Daphne smile".  This girl loves Scooby and the gang!

Uncle Mark and the Beauties

My little ski boys!

Mountain Man Maddry doing some spring skiing

I think it was the warmest ski day I've ever skied.  Here are my boys as we head down!

Hiking the next day!  Love Colorado!!!!  Ski one day, hike the next.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thankful #6

The "three girls" (that's what LK and E call us when the boys are at school and Daddy is at work) were on our way to the gym this morning when the following conversation spontaneously happened:

LK:  "God saved Daddy.  And God protects daddy."
E:  "Yeah, God protects us."
Me:  "Do you know how God saved Daddy?"
LK:  "No, how?"
Me:  "God sent Jesus to die on the cross to pay for our sins."
LK:  "Oh.  Jesus loves me."

Yes, he does baby.

Thankful #6:  My kids know that God protects, God saves and Jesus loves them. 
At the end of the day that is THE most important thing.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Thankful #5

Thankful #5:  The cooler weather has arrived!!

Yesterdays high was 70 degrees.
It was 58 and glorious when I got up to go and run.
So I opened the windows, turned off the ac and went to run.
When I got home, my kids were all complaining of the cold, so I told them to go outside on the trampoline in the sun.
They did.
With their winter coats on.
My neighbors were probably shaking their heads saying, "Those poor Texans are in for a long winter!"
I have a feeling they are right!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy 7th Birthday Luke!

Happy Birthday Luke!!

Luke, you turned 7!! How did that happen so fast? Well, it was fast for me, but you couldn’t wait. You’ve been telling everyone you’re going to be 7 since the beginning of summer!

Lukie-lou-magoo – what am I going to do with you? That is my mantra a couple of times a day. You have this amazing ability to drive me crazy one moment and make me laugh in the very next. You are so charming. People have always been and continue to be quite drawn to you. You definitely have fans in your little sisters. They follow you around and beg you to play with them. You are so good with them and they love you so much. You and Caleb have that very brotherly love for one another. You’ll play together for hours on end some days and others you guys argue nonstop. Still, Caleb loves you very much and is always looking out for you. He walks with you to and from your class every morning. And you adore him, Luke. You are always asking his advice and say that you want to be like Caleb.

I’m glad that you are Luke. I love you so much, child. I pray that you always have such a sweet love for your bible and God. You tell everyone you want to be a “Preacher” when you grow up. I pray you do grow to be a man of God. That you have God’s Word tucked in your heart. I pray that you are always so bold in your faith. You wear a cross necklace to your public school every day and are always proud to tell others that you are a Christian. Luke, you are a light - in our lives and in the world. Continue to shine bright for Jesus. I am so proud of you and love you with all that I have.

This was taken after Luke opened all his presents.  J and I love how this picture really does capture each child's presonality.  Ella is OBSESSED with being a mermaid, Lily Kate has that aren't I so cute smile, Luke is crazy and Caleb is all things skater and Mr. Too Coo for School.
Gosh, I love these kids!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Day 4: Thankful

Today I am thankful:  That I don't have to work.

My neighbor across the street has a home day care and every morning I watch moms and dads drop off their little ones and in the evening I watch them come home to retrieve them. 
While being at home all day can be difficult, there is really no place I would rather be.
I'm thankful that we are in a situation where I can choose to be at home.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day 3: Thankful

Today I am thankful for:  My 5:45 AM drive to Crossfit every morning.

To the right of me is a gorgeous sunrise,
To my left the Rocky Mountains,
and in front of me is a great view of downtown.

Every morning I'm reminded of how glad I am to live where we live!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Day 2: Thankful

Today I am thankful for: Tennis Lessons.

When people ask me what I am going to do when all my kids are in school I've always said the same thing. "play tennis."  Then they usually say, "Oh, I didn't know you play tennis?"  To which I reply, "I don't, but I'm determined to learn!"

And learning I am.  I started taking tennis a couple of weeks ago and I love it.  Love the instructor, love the game, love it all.

I'm defintely not going to be a tennis pro anytime soon (or anytime at all) but I am having so much fun learning the game.  My goal is to become good enough that I can play on a doubles team.  After today's lesson, I think that may take a while!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Soli Deo gloria


Boy, have I had lot of it over the past couple of months.

First I blamed it on Joseph being gone, at what some would call an important time in our lives – moving! Then I blamed it on the move. Then on being homeless. Then the adjustment of the move. Then on having boxes all over my house from the move. Then on moving to a new place and knowing NO ONE.

Seriously, here we are 7 weeks later and by golly the move is over and it is time for me to MOVE ON. Mercy.

Honestly, though, I have been a mess. Easily irritable, grouchy, complaining, frustrated, angry, overwhelmed, unhappy, full of anxiety, sad, lonely, depressed, miserable…basically a mess. And because I’m feeling that way, it has rubbed off on the whole posse. Because rivers flow south. Or something like that.

I’m having a hard time. And I have no idea why. My life is so blessed. I have a husband who loves me so much and would do anything for me, I four gorgeous and healthy kiddo’s, I live in a beautiful place, I’ve been spending time with Jesus, I don’t have to work, don’t struggle financially, I’m healthy… So what is the problem?

The problem is that I’m not content. With what I have, with who I am, with…everything.

I’m not patient enough.
I don’t homeschool (even though I don’t want to!)
I’m not smart enough.
I don’t remember people’s birthdays.
I’m not thoughtful enough.
My kids aren’t as well behaved as…
I’m not thin enough.
I don’t cook well or enough.
My house is messier than…
I don’t have a job (even though I don’t want one!)

I wish I had a bigger house.
I wish my kids were better behaved.
I wish I had the three new pair of running shoes that Zappo’s is teasing me with.
I wish I had clothes that were more fashionable.
I wish I parented like so and so.
I wish I looked like so and so.
I wish I was as creative as so and so.
I want, I want, I want.
I wish, I wish, I wish.
And on.
And on.
And on.


One of my FAVORITE things about parenting is how God reveals so much about who we are and who He is through being a parent.

Caleb is my child that had issues with contentment. I want a new BMX bike, I want new trucks for my skateboard, I want new skateboard, I want new Vans, I want a new DC hat, I want a new ramp, I want an IPAD, I want a IPOD, I want…I want…I want. He wants what everyone else has. He wants to be like everyone else. Because he’s not content with who he is and what he has.

UGH. J was so irritated with him and I was so frustrated with him. We started in on the lecture about its sinful to covet what other have and not be content. God created us to be original and we need to be thankful for all that He has given us. It’s going to be a hard life ahead if we can’t learn to be content… He wasn’t really listening, was definitely angry, definitely had a bad attitude and definitely had a hard heart.

And then I realized – this is me.

In a small body, more blatant and obvious, but me. Angry, bad attitude, hardened heart and more.

One of my most favorite peeps in the world came to visit me during the height of my sadness. She recommended that I write daily what I am thankful for. Small things and big. I used that idea with Caleb and challenged him to start listing all the things he was thankful for.
And you know what. His heart softened. Almost immediately. Because it’s hard to be angry, resentful and unhappy when you look at all you’ve been given. By God’s grace alone.

I recently read a devotional on 2 Samuel 7:18

18 Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said:
“Who am I, Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?

The Author of the devotional (Chuck Swindoll) says:
"It's important that every once in a while we sit down, take a long look at our short lives, and count our blessings. Who are we to have been protected from the rains that fell and the strong winds that destroyed regions, leaving hundreds homeless? Who are we that He has blessed our house and kept it safe? Warm in the winter . . . cool in the summer. Who am I, Lord, that You should give me health and strength to be able to hold a job or pursue this career or get this degree? Or to have parents who have encouraged me? Or to have these great kids and to see them grow? Who am I?"

Who am I, Lord, that I should be so blessed to walk along this rich, amazing path? Left to my own devices, I should be strung out on drugs or living with some random person who is abusive or living in fear, guilt and shame. But by your grace alone, I am who I am, where I am today. Who am I, Lord, that you would love me so much?

So I’m not the greatest wife, mother, friend, cook, housekeeper, teacher, shopper, blogger, anything… But, by His grace alone, I am who I am. And He will work good in me and from me. By His grace alone.

I’m going to start my 100 Days of Thanks here, right now.
Day 1:
I’m thankful for my Michele – whose lake in her backyard could be filled with my tears that she has helped wipe away. My Michele, who is my ‘safe’ person that I can tell anything to because I know she will love me inspite of it. My Michele, who challenges me and inspires me to be the person that God created me to be. My Michele, who I look up to and love with my whole heart. M, thank you for sharing, teaching, loving, holding and praying me through some of the hardest times in my life. I love you, friend.

Monday, August 08, 2011

A visit with one of my FAVORITE friends!

(STILL catching up from June)

J had to stay in SA a little longer than we did and, since he was travelling with the pets, Caleb was very set on riding with him.  So Luke, the Diva's and I set out on our own adventure.  We headed to stay with some of our best friends in St. Louis. 

It's only a 14 hour trip, but with one adult and three kids it's more like a 20 hour trip.  So we took it in 2 days.  I was a little nervous because it was my first time travelling that far and staying in a hotel by myself with the kids.  But it turned out to be surprisingly easy!  I just may be doing more of that in the future.

We had a fabulous time with The Ziggy's!  My BFF Amy is amazing.  SO different from me.  She home schools, loves to cook, loves to try exotic food, is extremely patient, has big ideas, loves to take her kids on adventures by herself, she's great with a budget, lives frugally, lives simply, uses every opportunity to teach her all around incredible.  Seriously.  We were laughing because I told her that I recently described her to someone as a mix between Martha Stewart, Ma Ingalls and Mr. Rogers.

She didn't think that was flattering.
I do!  I love all three!!

Anyway, here are some pictures of our adventures with them.

Ella with her sad, drama face.

Sad because I wouldn't let her down in the Mississippi river that was FLOODED.  Gosh I am such a mean mom.

Now she got her sister in the drama.  See, that's the trouble with twins.  Once one gets started the other likes to join right in.  So that she isn't forgotten about.  Heaven forbid.

I lived in St. Louis during my high school years and never once went up in the arch.  Amy thought it would be fun.  Just her and me and our (collectively) 7 kids.  I was surprised that they all did well and no one fussed too much about the scary ride up.  The lady in front of us actually refused to get in the tiny box that takes you up to the top.  It was scary.  The arch actually sways quite a bit.  I never would consider myself claustrophobic, but I was ready to come down once I saw the storm coming.  S-c-a-r-y!

Ella and Elise

Big Man T.  This child has some energy.  All boy!

I like this one of Lily Kate

Lily Kate the little fish

My girls are getting so big.  Look how long those little legs are!

Baby J

Amy!  She's gonna love this one!

Little Gracie

We went downtown one day where they have all these little splash pads and ponds for kids to play in.  See the guy in red...he's the lifeguard.  I think our kids were making him nervous.  It was really slippery with the marble.

Luke and Lily Kate.  I make my kids buddy up...Caleb is in charge of helping Ella and Luke is in charge of LK.  In all honesty, LK is really good at helping Luke remember what he is supposed to be doing.  Luke and Ella have the same spacey, irresponsible, having too much fun to listen, crazy, wild personalities.  Our little buddy system works well!

Ella Mermaidy.  Oh, my.  Ella is obsessed with mermaids.  Obsessed.  Everyday she asks when she is going to turn into one and I don't have the heart to tell her it isn't going to happen so I say, "I guess not today, maybe tomorrow?"  Then tomorrow comes and she realizes she still isn't a mermaid, so she asks again.  I know.  Sad.  Someone really needs to tell her the truth.  Maybe her Daddy will!  Anyway, this is the face she makes while she is singing her "Mermaid" song.  The boys hate the...noise that her singing makes.  Her Daddy (who adores her) says it's like nails on a chalkboard.  We probably won't be telling her that truth anytime soon either.  Isn't she cute though!

The Ziggy kids minus two Mad kids.  Missing Ella Mermaidy (and yes, she tells everyone her name is Ella Grace Mermaid-y) and Caleb who was with his papa.

Lily Kate's mean face...

...1 second later, her sweet face.

Kids loved play rock, paper, scissors

Mr. T and his two little ladies

Amy and I!  Mercy, we have been through lots together.  Family vacations, many states travelled, 8 kids between us, husbands graduated from the Academy together and then changed career fields, many moves, many different phone numbers, but always good friends.  I love you Amy Z!

See, isn't she the perfect picture of motherhood!? 

And bringing it back to the sisters.  Love Ella's face!