Monday, November 21, 2016

Today I am thankful for FAITH


Not just wishful thinking or a hoping for

Not putting it in this world

But a pure confidence in claiming the promises of Jesus.

It's not about having MORE faith, but about putting my faith confidently in the right ONE.

Putting it in The One who never disappoints.

It's clinging to Jesus.

When all around me gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.

It's confidently hoping for the things unseen.  For eternity.  For the things that truly matter.

I am so thankful for faith.  For without it, my relationship would be so rule bound. So legalistic.  So robotic.  But Jesus has given us the opportunity to "make it our own."  To give us a free will to seek after Him.  To allow us to rebel, and question.  To trust in Him when nothing else makes sense.  To have confidence in Him when the circumstances around me seem to not make sense.

I am so thankful for the opportunities that stretch my faith.  For the questions, for the doubts, for the insecurities.  For it's in these fires that my faith is refined.  It's tested.  Hopefully it doesn't just come out stronger, but it comes out more confident in the one I put my faith in.

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful."
Hebrews 10:23

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Today I am thankful for life that has been set apart before it was even formed!

I will just warn you right now that I'm sure this will offend someone who reads this, so don't say I didn't warn you.  This is heavy on my heart today, and I feel led to share.

Today I give thanks for life.  Life begins at conception.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."  Jeremiah 1:5.

This is a promise that God knew us before he even FORMED us.  So EVERY life is important and begins immediately.  How anyone thinks they should have the "choice" to be able to say if that life lives or dies is beyond my comprehension.  Before you start arguing, I'm not passing judgement on anyone who has made that "choice" to end their babies life.  I am truly saddened and feel for the hurt and pain you have and still probably experience.  And no sin is greater than any other.  My God can forgive ALL our sins and give us a fresh start.  Praise Him!

Maybe I feel strongly about this because I have lost two babies in the womb.  Our first miscarriage was 7 years ago on April 6, 2009.  It was the deepest pain I have ever experienced.  I have a blog post about it.  Our second loss was just 7 months ago, also on April 6, 2016.  Today was my due date.  How "ironic" they happened on the day, just 7 years apart?  I think not.  For God had their days numbered before they were even formed.

I know they were real.  I know they were in the womb.  I know life had begun.  I haven't really shared about this most recent loss.  Maybe because I've been busy keeping up with my husband, 6 year old and 3 1/2 year old.  Maybe because the pregnancy was a surprise, and it was a weird thing to process.  Maybe because it's a process, and I'm not sure where I'm at.

For those of you that have experienced this, you understand this pain.  A silent pain.  A loss.  A death.  A mourning.  But one that doesn't have much closure.

I feel like I was blessed with a little bit of closure this time.  For we had been to the doctor at 9 weeks and I was able to see this picture on the screen.  They asked if I wanted a printed picture.  I was in a daze but said "yes."  How thankful I am for this.  At just 9 weeks you can see the baby.  It was real.  There is no "choice."  It had been given life for those few short weeks.  And now, it has eternal life.

I knew immediately something was wrong because the first thing they show you on an ultrasound is the heartbeat.  They show you how fast it is going.  At 9 weeks, it should be going strong.  I just saw this picture.  And then nothing.  Silence.  It was strange, because I just had a bad feeling about it before I even walked into the doctors office that morning.  The next few days were a blur, and then life "went on."  But it's a hard grief to explain.  Maybe Levi says it best:

A quote from "Through the Eyes of a Lion" by Levi Lusko who lost his daughter at 5 years old:

"With grief, the horrors gradually subside but never go away entirely.  When something is stripped out, there is always a hole.  God is good enough to coat the raw and jagged edges in grace, if you will let him.  The pain in your life will remain, but like an oyster that covers an unwelcome irritant, layer by layer, to protect itself, we can turn it into a pearl."

Because of Jesus, we all have hope.  Because of the hope he gives us, even in the worst storms, we have an anchor for the soul.  Hope is a confident expectation that all is not lost because Jesus is our living hope.

Another quote from him:  "God has taught my heart to sing again, and tucked away in the minor key, I hear his promise of all that is yet to come."

From the great hymn The Solid Rock:
When all around my soul gives way, he then is all my hope and stay.
On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.

God will put to use what he puts us through.  Life is all about perspective.

On a day when there is so much division and hatred in our country, take a step back and look at the bigger picture.  God has not promised us an easy life, or for our country to be prosperous, or for us to have great Godly leaders.  We turned our back on him as a nation years ago.  We are a country full of imperfect people, electing imperfect people.  But He has promised us that He is in control, that He is good, and that He never changes.  He is not finished with us yet, or His second coming would have already happened.

We must pray.  We must love.  We must respect.

So today my perspective is to give thanks for this beautiful little life I was privileged to carry for 9 weeks.  I am thankful that God honors and ordains life from the very beginning.  EVERY life matters.  EVERY baby matters.  Praise God for this indescribable gift.

Monday, November 7, 2016

November 7

Today I am thankful to be an Aunt.  My second nephew Matt was born on this day 10 years ago.  I love him.  I love his personality and the way he tackles life.  Kayla takes a lot after her cousin Matt.  I am realizing I don't have too many pictures of him and I.  :(

I love you, Matt.  Thank you for being you.  Wild, fun, adventuresome, and never afraid to tackle what lies before you.

I am blessed with 8 nieces and nephews, and I could do an entire post about each one of them.  But to keep it short, I will say I am so grateful for the relationships and opportunities I have to build with each one of these precious people.  I know it is a huge blessing that we are all close, and that we have these relationships, and for that, I am THANKFUL!

ANNIE!!!  I need some pictures of you!!!  :)

Yesterday I was thankful for...

This young lady...

My beautiful sister!

Thankful for a spontaneous trip to Spokane yesterday evening to celebrate our birthdays!  Yes, hers was in July, but sometimes life gets in the way.  Mine was just last week, and she was gracious enough to treat this older sister to a yummy dinner with even better converstaion and over 2 hours of carefree, no-list, no-kids, no-agenda, Target shopping.  Why yes we roamed target...and made this "meme" come to life...

with my sister and a Starbucks in hand...

Does it get much better than that?!

There are so many things I could say about this fabulous sister of mine, but tonight, "thank you" for being my friend, my companion, and someone I can just be myself around.  Thank you for always keeping me young with fun adventures.

 Surviving the Olympic Park tube rides!

 Luke Bryan @ Salt Lake City!

 Why yes, we had LB PIT seats!  

 Why yes, it was a team effort to "catch" Little Big Town's guitar pick! 

 Why yes, the trip included In-And-Out Burger!

 Enough Said :)


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Lots to be thankful for on this Sunny Saturday

Today I give thanks for a warm sunny Saturday of 65 degrees on November 5th!

It was a day for sleeping in and no agenda.

It was a day to be home with my girls.

It was a day for doing a few last things in my yard before winter sets in.

It was a day for sidewalk chalk and kicking balls around in the yard.

It was a day for finding worms and making homes for them in glass jars.

It was a day for stopping to take in the beautiful creation all around us.

It was a day for sisters to make memories together.

It was a day for rest time, to revive the soul.

It was a day to practice some swimming skills at the aquatic center.

It was a day to celebrate Matt's birthday with the family.

It was a day to rest, to recharge, to take in the everyday beauty around me.  To enjoy the girls, to enjoy where we live.  To be so in the moment that I forgot to take a picture to remind us of the day.  The memories are etched in my mind.  Thank you, Lord, for all the things we tasted and saw today!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Today I give Thanks...

For all of the wonderful people who have helped us with the First Friday ministry.  We felt lead to serve families in the same stage of life as us by provided an opportunity to give parents a night off--free of charge.  We prayed about it for several months, and continued to feel the Lord tugging at our heartstrings to join Him in serving those around us.

It has been 2.5 years and we couldn't do it without the many helpers who give of their time and energy.  We continue to meet on the First Friday of each month and continue to see new kids come each month.  We have seen 96 kids come since we started.  We average about 25-30 each month.  We are so blessed to be a part of this ministry!

I know I will forget someone, but I'm going to attempt to list their names here.

We are THANKFUL for you.  Sydne Weerts, Nelda Strevy and Armeda Hayer serve month after month.  Tirelessly.  Without complain.  They WANT to be with these kids.  We are so blessed.

Others who have helped:  Pastor May, Pastor Steve, Pastor Dean, Dean Gibler, Freda, Dean and Wayne Miller, Jamie Kinley, Justin and Bridgett Morgan, Becky Elfers, Loretta Paulson, Alan and Cathy Morgan, Andy Carriker, Melissa Carriker, Jeni Tussey, Adam and Erin Kroll, Aaron Lawhead, Brenton and Heather Cammack, David and Shelby Ledbetter, Jamie Kellog, Darlene Kroll, Doug and Lori King, Megan Dorman, Carlena Schlunegar, Greg and Denise Huber, Morgan Willson, Holly Rimbey, Kylie Kackman, Riley Kincheloe, Emma Neu, Jaydon Soncarty, Chase Barelocker, Hailey Lomax, Airelle Grimoud, Dana Kincheloe, Cigne Reynolds, Norah Burrill, Lilly Swan, Averi Mackleit, Shyah Antoine, Greta Geier, Mark Morgan, Kimber Kelton.

WOW.  I'm sure I've forgotton someone, so please forgive me.  What an incredible outpouring of love to support young parents!

Not to mention those who have donated paper, money and other supplies to keep the ministry going!

THANK YOU!!!  What a blessing to join God where he is already working!  Come join us!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

November 3

Today I am thankful for my freedom and my right to vote. I filled out my ballot tonight. While so much uncertainty and unrest is amongst us in this election, I am thankful I know the one who is ultimately in control and who ultimately has the last say and who has already won the battle.

No, there are no perfect candidates. But we have a right, and we should use it.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

November 2

Today I give thanks for life, for these girls.  They are a gift.  They have been entrusted to our care.  Not all babies make it into this crazy world we call home, but these two have, and we are so thankful for this time with them.  

They are beautiful-inside and out.

They live with passion.  They are unique.  They have a purpose.

I pray they find Jesus and seek Him with all their hearts.  

Psalms 139:14
"I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

Every life is precious.  From the moment of conception and that first heart beat.  For He formed us in our mother's wombs.  He knows each hair on head.  He has a plan for each of us, and He set that in motion before even time began.  

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Sitting in my Thankful Chair

I find when I am grateful, I complain less. So in a month where we are supposed to be thankful, why not put it "on paper."

Today I am thankful for my incredible husband. Life is busy, he works hard, we don't have much quality time together, and yet, he still knows the way to my heart. He loves me--all of me. My good, bad, ugly and beautiful.

This is how my birthday started yesterday.... :)

The note said to go buy myself a donut or coffee or whatever I wanted. The card was filled with words of affirmation. Ways I feel loved. The day was filled with these texts:

Love you!!!  Happy birthday!!!!!!

You are a great wife and mom!  Love you. Have a wonderful birthday!!

You are so great at Serving your family! Thanks for keeping us organized

I am honored to have you as my wife because you Love and pursue the Lord.

Thanks for making my lunch everyday!

You are a great wife and mom!  Love you. Have a wonderful birthday!!

I am blessed. Sitting in my thankful chair for the man God gave to me!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

To My Sweet 6 Year Old

6 years ago today I held you in my arms for the first time.

You forever changed me.  For a moment, I was relieved of the stress I carried not knowing if you would be delivered safely into this world.  For a moment, I was overwhelmed with peace and a love I cannot explain.  A love that goes deeper than anything I have ever experienced.  

6 years ago, after that brief moment, the "Mom Radar" set in.  What was I supposed to do next?  How do I feed you?  When do I feed you?  What do I do when you cry?  When do I pick you up?  Will you pee enough?  Poop enough?  Cry enough?  Sleep enough?

I suppose you can say, it doesn't ever leave.  That built in concern and nurturing spirit you get for your children from the moment that pregnancy test is positive.  Some may call it worry, some may call it stress.  I like to think of it as the Mom Radar.  :) 

Fast forward 6 years, and today you start Kindergarten.  

You have grown into a beautiful young girl who is passionate, and lives life with everything you have. Anything "new" has always been a challenge, so you were nervous for today.  It's ok.  So was I.  So was your teacher.  :)  

I am reminded of so many lessons I feel the Lord was trying to teach me 6 years ago when I was fighting for your life on bed rest at 21 weeks pregnant:   

There are times (many) when I have to let go, and trust the plan of the Father.  This world is scary, and it's a world where I fear you could be swept away by so many things.  But I have to LET GO, in order to LET GOD draw you out out to the path and plan He has for you.  Yes, he has entrusted us to be your parents, but you were His first.  

I will always long for control.  It is my human nature.  Just when I think I can control something, or someone, I am swept off my feet (sometimes literally), and placed in a humble state.  

Let go.  Trust.  Pray.  Hope.  

I have been praying so much in preparation for this day.  It has helped.  We have talked a lot with you about this day.  What it will be like, who you will meet.  How things will be different. That it's ok to be scared.  That you are not alone.  

But nothing could prepare me for this next moment:

There were no words, just tears and I froze.  You clung to me and just cried and cried.  I didn't know what to tell you except that you had to go, and that you would be just fine.  That I love you.  We both survived and even had smiles before too long.  But those moments of letting go and walking away from you while you are in tears, tear at my heartstrings.  I know this is nothing new under the sun, that many have gone before me, and many will go after.  And the years will fly by and I will wonder where time has gone.  

We love you more than you will ever know.  We cherish you.  We are challenged by you.  We are humbled by you.  We learn to live life a little fuller because of you.  We prayerfully lead you.  But the hardest part is letting you go.  So today, we continue to open up our fists we tend to close around you, trying to control everything to be just fine.  

We let you go, prayerfully giving you back to the One who entrusted you to us.  We send you off to clear the paths God has placed before you.  

Happy 6th Birthday our dear sweet Kayla Grace.

2 Thessalonians 3:3
"But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one."

Joshua 1:9
"Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

We can't wait to see what lies ahead for you in the next part of your journey!  

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Be still, my heart

Forgive the quality of these photos, but I just couldn't help myself the other night when I went to give my girls a kiss and found this:

Sometimes when the days are crazy and I feel like I'm on a merry-go-round, I get overwhelmed by my job as "Mother" to these two sweet ones.

Then I stop and see these sweet sleeping ones.

A dad who hasn't even cleaned up from his long day at work, and yet lays on the floor, bringing comfort.  I may be biased, but he truly is one of the greatest dads.  He is so great with the girls.  He works hard, but always has enough energy to play with them and listen to their stories from the day.

Little Sister who is full of life and sleeps soundly because she has made the most of her day.  As long as she has her "favorite blankie" all is right in the world.  Ah, if only life was so simple.

Big sister who lives her life with great passion and loves pink.  (If you couldn't tell.)  She challenges me every day of my life.  She teaches me so much and seeing her sleep peacefully is one of life's greatest gifts.

There will be a day when the "crib" is too small, when they don't want pink walls, or pink polka dots, or even don't ask us to "lay on the floor."  So for these moments, help me to slow down and enjoy and see the gifts that are before me.

It is a scary world we live in.  To release our kids to Our God is a daily job.  There are so many things I can't control.  Well, let's be honest--most I can't.

But I can rest in the fact that He is in control, and continually give them to Him.

I pray that they will "desire truth in the inner parts," (Ps. 51) in a world where truth and absolutes have gone by the way-side.

I pray that in seeking for truth, they will find Our God and desire a personal relationship with Him.  That it will be THEIR choice because God is drawing them to Himself.

I pray they will seek out great friends who will live life with them.

I pray they will never be afraid to ask questions and continually learn.

I pray they will be confident women who can stand up for themselves.

I pray they will learn to say "no" and respect other people's "no."

I pray they will continue to be best friends.

I pray they will always know how much their dad and I love them.  No.  matter.  what.

Lord, "teach me wisdom in the inmost place" (Ps. 51) and use us to continue to guide and shape these sweet girls you have gifted us with for this season of life.  Help us to not cling to them, yet rather hold them lightly--with open hands to You--enjoying the beauty of the moments.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Our Bridgie!

My next post is about this wonderful lady!  We have know Bridget for several years now because she has graciously been the babysitter for the summer Bible Study we attend.

She had been doing some babysitting off and on for us the past year and last summer, however, we had the opportunity to have her live with us!  Those of you that know our house probably wonder, where?  Well, Kayla willingly gave up her room to Bridget and moved across the way into the office.  It was a tight space for Kayla, but she loved every minute of having Bridgie upstairs with her.

What a blessing this young woman is to us!  It was the perfect balance of having her around to help during the long days of Ben at work, and yet her having the freedom to continue working and come and go as she pleased.

The girls fell quickly in love!  They were (and continue to be) Bridgie's little shadows and light up whenever she is around.  The summer was full of long hot days and lots of slip and sliding!  We spent time at the river, camping, canning, eating meals together, princess parties, watching movies and just living life together.  She helped with yard work, house work and kid work.  :)

 Not only was she a blessing in helping with the day to day work, but just to have her presence around was so uplifting.  Summers tend to get long with Ben working so much, and her positive spirit and bright attitude made the days go quickly.  She had a fun "sleepover" night in her room on her last night in our home, and the girls had fun doing some make-up.  

Make-up time!
We did take some time to play and spent time time at the water park, as well as doing a little shopping.

Shopping Day!
It was bittersweet when she moved out because we couldn't imagine not having her sweet spirit around daily.  We were excited for her and the cute old house she found.  Thankfully, she only lives 5 minutes away.  We had a small Christmas celebration together before she went home for the holidays.  I cherish this picture of my three girls. 

Love these girls!

Christmas with Bridget!

Santa photo, which is a long standing tradition for Bridget.  Audrey was super excited about it.

We know she is destined for great things, working with and loving on people.  She has so many gifts in working with and serving others.  She is selfless, giving and always willing to help however and whenever she can.  God has given her lots of "mommy abilities" already, as I see her with my girls, and with all the kids she interacts with at AWANA.  She truly has a gift and calling to work with kids and we are super excited to see where God takes her when she is done with school!  Although we MIGHT selfishly be a bit sad if He takes her far away from us.  We will be so excited for her though, that we will just have to get over that!  :)  

Thank you for being a part of our lives, Bridgie.  We pray for you and for your future, that God will lead you where He wants you. We pray for  that that amazing man of yours, wherever he is is, that he is getting ready for you and the amazing wife and mother you will be!  

Thank you for giving me opportunities to "breathe."  I appreciate your willingness to give of your time to invest in the lives of our girls.  We look forward to many more memories in the future.  Of which will include some more nature walk, right?!  Haha!   

Monday, February 22, 2016


Sometimes the silence is a welcome reprieve.  For those of you with kids at home, or busy jobs, you understand this.  To just be alone for an hour or two, with the sound of silence can be water to a weary soul.  I never understood this until I had my ovarian torsion and was forced to bed rest for three months.  I am the type of person that "goes" most of the time.  It was hard for me to stop.  But I was forced to, and forced to recognize my sin of being unable to just BE in God's presence.

But this silence takes on a whole new meaning now that I have my kids here "on the ground."  I don't think I've ever really understood the verse, "Be still and know that I am God."  Psalms 46:10

It is no secret that I'm an extrovert and thrive on being around people.  But now that my life is full of my "little people" I crave that sweet stillness with God.  I am not fully refreshed unless I have some of that quiet stillness before the Lord, when I know I won't be interrupted.  Some may think, well you're a stay at home mom, so you have nap time, and then once they are in bed, you have that.  I used to be someone who thought that.  Although I am thankful for those times, if I am home, and in the same place as my beautiful daughters, I always feel "on call" for lack of a better term.  They could need me in a moments notice.  So this silence is best found when I can physically be away from them for just an hour or two.

I used to feel selfish about that.  And think I wasn't a good mom because I "needed" that.  But I've learned I'm actually a better mom when I have had some time alone. Time to let God refresh my weary soul so that I can pour into my family again.  I am so thankful I have a husband, and other family and friends that allow me times to do this.

I want other moms out there to know it is ok to ask for help.  It is ok to admit that your soul is weary and you need some time to "be still."  Maybe that means finding someone who can take your kids for an hour so you can have time at home.  Maybe that means leaving them while you go sit at a coffee shop, or go for a walk.  We all get refreshed in different ways.  Pray and ask God to show you how He can best refresh you.

Our society of "I can do it all and then some" doesn't help us at all.  We are supposed to be strong, confident and able to manage the house, the hubby, the kids, the job and still have a "pinterest perfect life."  There is no way that is what God has called us to.  He has called us to be obedient to HIM, not to the world.

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 1 Corinthians 12:8-9

He can still use us in our weakened state.  In our state of "winter," in our state of being overwhelmed with the noise.  For it's in that time that we allow Him to take control and work through us.  It's in that time that we fall to our knees and our faith is deepened.  It causes us to wait and waiting forces our hearts and our minds to grow in ways we never imagined.

Sometimes the noise is more than we can handle.  Sometimes we can get away and have the silence, and other times we are told to wait and lean on Him.

I am thankful for times of silence that are welcome rest for the weary soul.

"Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He will do it.  He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday.  REST in the Lord and WAIT PATIENTLY for him..."

Psalms 37:4-7

Saturday, February 20, 2016

New siding project (March of 2015)

I didn't blog much last year, so I'm trying to catch up a bit.

Last spring in March, we had the house resided that we currently live in.  After the bad hail storm the summer of 2014, we decided it was time to update as much of our siding got damaged.  It sure is fun to see the transformation of this over 100 year old house!




 We also finally finished our tile backsplash in the kitchen!  That had been on my to-do list for 6 years!  Thanks to Pastor Steve for helping me out!




Excited to finally have the kitchen "done" for now!  :)