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."