Thursday, September 17

We are Still Here!

What a whirlwind it has been ... we're still here, and will be posting soon! :)

Sunday, June 21

To the Most Incredible Man In the World ...


Strong and steady.

You are a true man of God.

Shook my hand and held my heart from that moment on.

It was love at first sight.

Cupping my face for a kiss.

My heart still skips a beat.

Wipe away tears.

Your tenderness reassures.

Write words that leave me speechless.

How can I ever express how deeply I love you?


My basketball stud.

Hold our beautiful children.

They could not love you more.


You are shaping generations to come through your faith.

Scoop up sleeping babies to put into bed.

They know they are safe in your arms.

Wrestle with your son.

You give him your time, and that gives him the world.

Hold me tightly. Never let go.

Monday, June 1

before and after

david and i (or at least i) had believed that we could certainly get our yard completed in a weekend ... we've been working on it as often as we could during our first year here. last weekend, however, church family surprised us with news that they were going to give us a fully landscaped yard ... and it was quite an undertaking! dozens of very hard workers and many hours later, we have a yard more beautiful than i could have ever imagined!

we are continually reminded of God's love through the kindness and support of our church family, and are so thankful ... each and every day and we are so blessed!



FRONT FLOWER BED: Minus some annuals.



Hayden was such a helper!

Thursday, May 28

yay for sunshine!

on a saturday morning ...

no ... she's not drinking coffee ... yet. just practicing! :-D

we woke up very early last saturday, which is kind of silly because it was one of the first "lazy days" we've had in nearly a year ... it was such a fun morning of relaxing! hayden is definitely a morning person!
sweet ellie gets herself caught between this plant and the couch, and though my mommy instincts want to immediately rescue her, it's been very helpful for me to see her think through getting herself out. i'm a work in progress.

storybook island

ellie made it very clear that the stroller was her favorite place ... she was absolutely unwilling to even go down the slide with mommy. it's my fault ... i'm kind of a wimp, too.

hayden was very excited to ride in the train ... and saw that there was a new caboose and begged to ride in it, but was turned down, so he jumped into a red little train car. right before the train pulled out, three kiddos came to ride, and wanted to be in the little cars, so hayden offered to give up his seat for one of them ... the "conductor" was very impressed, and let hayden ride in the "best seat" afterall. hayden told me later ... "it's so fun to do the right thing!" i'm hoping that lasts. ;-D

hayden called it the coolest thing in the world!

we went on the yellow brick road. hayden hasn't seen the movie and didn't get it, but i convinced him that the nice girl in the blue dress was from kansas, and that the guys around her weren't strange ... i don't think he believed me.

noah's ark ... we spent some time looking for noah (hayden didn't understand why he'd be in the boat, because animals smell so bad!)! haha!
rrrrrr ...

Saturday, May 23


Although I do not enjoy getting my nails done at a salon, I do love to paint my nails. I often find that when my nails are "done," even by my simple standards, it is a reflection of how my day ... or my week has gone; if it has been busy, taking time to polish, or even to touch up goes to the bottom and often undone.

Today was an absolutely wonderful day, the likes of which we've not seen for some time. It was literally a "do whatever" day. We slept in ... relaxed ... went to Karina's graduation party ... to the church for some early-Sunday prep ... then for a long drive through the beautiful South Dakota scenery (Keystone, Custer, Hill City). It was while we were at the church, however, that something happened that I believe will forever mark my life.

We are often at the church on Saturday's ... setting up, double checking things, etc. It's not unusual, but it was certainly not in our plans to stay as long as we did. While I was organizing the nursery, David and Hayden headed over to the office for just "one last" thing. We just kept finding a few more things to do here and there. While they were at the office, a young woman who attends came to the steps, nearly speechless as David opened the door. "I need help" was all that she could get out. David sent Hayden over to get me, and as I approached, I saw this beautiful young lady that I have had the privilege of getting to know for the last few months absolutely overwhelmed with sadness, tears just pouring down her face. Life is falling apart at the seams for her, and there are so many things that are happening in her that just don't seem to be fair or make since ... and through similar experiences she's lost her way, wondering if God really was who He said He was for her. Today was different. Driving on the interstate that goes right by the church, she was overcome with a need to get off. She's never been here any other day but Sunday, but did it any way ... and we were there. How perfect is God to put us all in the place He wanted us at the perfect time!?

God will give this incredible young lady hope ... He will sustain her through this ... He didn't have to bring us together to listen and to share and to pray and to just be there for her at that time, but what an privilege He gives us to serve and love others. He gave her the faith and vulnerability to share with people she is only getting to know.

One of my greatest fears is buying into the idea that perfection is attainable. To, in a sense, polish the rough edges only so that others will not see the scars ... the mistakes ... the weaknesses. My nails are such a visual for this, as I am often pressuring myself into touching up in a rush to avoid the mere possibility that someone may notice that the cherry red has chipped and lost its shine. I have been trying to break out of my "people-pleaser" mold for years, not because I don't like making people happy, but because in my very attempt to please, I am actually robbing people of the opportunity to see what God has done through my scars, mistakes, and weaknesses.

I will not walk around with a sign that lists my shortcomings ... it's too long, and I am really not that certain too many would even stop to read ... but I will begin to allow myself the freedom to share my struggles without fear of judgment ... to pray for opportunities to care for those who are in need of encouragement or even just a listening ear. Just as this young lady did today ... not knowing where to turn in her time of absolute emptiness, she quieted her humanness that screamed to go home and cry and "deal" behind closed doors enough to hear God whispering that He has put people in her life to be there for her.

Nail polishing is not something that I will be giving up anytime soon, but just as with life, I will be doing it for the right reasons, and praying that in the midst of life's struggles (and joys!), that we will be willing to share that with those around us.


Tuesday, May 5


We're still here ... we're loving life and keeping busy, and thought we'd give you a brief update ...

1. David GRADUATED from Indiana Wesleyan University with his Master's Degree on April 25th!

2. Hayden is loving soccer and about to start baseball ... and learning that his toys are becoming Ellie's toys ... we're helping him to set boundaries ... either putting "non-Ellie" toys away, or closing our bedroom doors and keeping them in there. Ha!

3. Ellie is obsessed with "talking" on the phone ... and pushing the buttons. I am very certain that her first word will be "HELLO!"

4. I turned in my final paper for my last Master's class last Saturday, and am happy to report that I only have one year of practicums before I am free!

WE have been so blessed in ministry, and have been keeping busy and enjoying every moment; from Clergy on the Catwalk to raise money for a local charity to visiting the Badlands (below) to evenings at the golf course with friends, life is good and God is GREAT!

We are so thankful to be here!

Ellie's favorite "look."

Tuesday, April 14

Catch-Up Part I

Hello! Long time no see! Time is flying and we are having so much fun ... and obviously not keeping up with our blog!

Here are a few pictures ... Ellie can't change her clothes yet, so we have a picture of her in her Easter outfit ... Hayden, however, changed immediately ... we left the house just after 6am and returned just after 6pm ... but had an incredible day of celebrating what Jesus did for us.

Today (Tuesday) the weather was fantastic, and we spent nearly all day outside ... I realized that I really, really, really, really love sunshine. :)

Thursday, March 12

Chef Hayden

Ellie loves to feed herself, and we love to save money by mashing up fruits and veggies from home ... Hayden decided to make his own concoction today ... mashed lunch meat (turkey), bananas, and peaches. He even fed it to her!

That, my friends, is a great big brother, and this mommy is going to cherish the memory of watching it, especially on those days where hair is being pulled and toys are flying.

Wednesday, March 11

Goodbye, Old Friend

Our beloved coffee maker (deliverer of FABULOUS mornings) was laid to rest today ... after years of bringing us such caffeine-filled goodness. Though we've replaced you with the newer, "sleeker" model, we will never ever forget you.

Saturday, March 7

books, kites, and cowboys

::March 7::

Ellie really likes books ... mostly to chew on and talk to. Hayden gets her "toy basket" from her room each morning and just dumps it out in front of her ... he said that babies like to have lots and lots of toys. She actually prefers books right now ... mostly to chew on and talk to. He told his teacher that Ellie will not be able to come to school until she'll stop chewing on things ...

We got Hayden's kite out this week ... and spent so much time outside flying it ... he even realized that he could get it in the air by himself, so I was relocated to the porch to watch and ponder the joys and sadness that overcome me when I think about his growing independence.

In other news ... he thinks he is a cowboy ... hence the hat. It rarely comes off. Story below.

Daddy and Hayden confirmed their TOUGH GUY COWBOY status this week with some good old fashion gun decorating and cowboy talk. They had a great time having "shoot-outs," and mommy ended up spending lots of time in the "jail", which was the pantry ... so it was a win-win because I got lots of organizing done!

Thursday, March 5

the beach.

Hayden just said these things before I even had a chance to respond ...

I want to go to the beach.
Can we go there right now?
If there are other kids there, I will be so nice to them.
Please just let me go.
How long will it take to get there?
Can we go right now?
I'll get my flip flops ...

Saturday, February 28

mommy, when will it be warm?

::February 28::

Ahhh, the first snow fall. we were so excited ... now, months later, we are more than ready for spring and the promises of consistent warm weather. One of the many wonderful things about where we live is that though yesterday was 5-degrees and snowing, it will be in the 50's this next week.

We've manage to pass the time of frigid days with lots of different things ...

We went to Mt. Rushmore this past week when it was still "kind of" warm ... Hayden was very certain they hibernated during the winter, and was afraid they wouldn't be there ... half-way up the steps, he saw them, and said "Ok, mommy ... they're still up there ... it's windy ... we can go home now." :-) He managed to make it all the way, and we had a great time!

We planted our own "greenhouse" ...

We let Hayden choose what we should have for dinner ... on this night, he chose Pumpkin Pancakes after watching Rachael Ray make something not even remotely close to pancakes ... but she used pumpkins. He told us that we HAD to have scrambled eggs ("They go together like peanut butter and jelly, mommy!").

We work on our ZOOLANDER faces ... and NO ... Hayden has not seen the movie, but has become obsessed with the word "dude!" (thanks, Reid), and I caught him in the middle of one of the many times he sputtered it out the other day while getting the water ready for Ellie's bath ... he was saying something like "Dude ... I want to take a bath first!" Seriously ...

We introduce ourselves to "sippy cups" and fall in love with them ... Ellie started her mix of apple juice and water sitting up ...

and soon after was on the floor talking gibberish ... she cuddled with this cup ... she was very, very happy to have something different, for sure! It was hilarious, and she loves it like one of her stuffed animals ... they're pals, she and random sippy cup.

We found a very favorite spot in the house ... Ellie adores this rug ... she is constantly staring at it and trying to get words out ... and in her attempts to crawl, this is always the place she works towards ... Hayden carries her over to it because he wants nothing more than to see her happy, but mommy and daddy are not thrilled that it is so very close to the stairs!

We get teeth! Ellie has two pearly whites and is so silly about them ... she'll smile like crazy, but I cannot seem to get a picture of it ... so I had to take matters into my own hands ... she wasn't thrilled! :-)

Thursday, February 12

as days go by

Hayden and Ellie have both been growing so fast! They certainly are the happiest when they are together!

A favorite thing to do is to play in Ellie's room ... and stack these wooden boxes. Hayden likes to help "sister" stack them, but she likes to have them knocked down so she can chew on them. Do you see the sad face she's giving as Hayden is trying to be a helper by fixing them?

Hayden and Daddy went to the Rapid City Stock Show/Rodeo the other day, and Hayden has decided that he wants to combine all of his very favorite things, and be a Cowboy Preacher that drives a race car. He was practicing the other day with a water gun complete with a pen and flashlight on the end ... because cowboy's are like police men and they have to help people with flashlights ... you know ... when the lights go out.

Sunday afternoons are officially "veg" times. Reading the paper is a very popular event. Our little guy has a bald spot because while fixing his hair for school one day (he insists on doing this), he thought that he should just cut off the pieces of hair that were not going where they should.

We've been pretty crafty lately ... lots of "school" time at home, because he's been obsessed with homework. This nightlight was a fun painting activity, and is the brightest night light on the planet.

Ellie's personality continues to just blossom, and these are some very common expressions that randomly appear. It's so much fun, and big brother is constantly trying to figure out what she's thinking!

Tuesday, January 27

Papa! Papa! Papa!

Papa Kinnan came this way for his sermon retreat last week, and we were very thankful to get see him! Hayden (Boomer) was at his side as much as possible, and Ellie (Peaches) loved smiling at him and talking to him!