Sunday, December 23, 2007


Well, we had our first episode of stitches on one of our children today. Bailey was running in the aisle of the sanctuary after church and tripped and fell, hitting her forehead on one of the chair legs. We spent three hours in the ER and I have to say that she was a champ. She cried a lot when they gave her the shot to numb her head, but other than that she laid really still and let them sew her up. She walked away with 5 McDonald's toys and a whole bag of M&M's from the doctor. It's hard to realize how fast your children can get hurt and how out of control you are to stop it. I know that God gave us all grace to get through this afternoon because it was not near as bad as I expected!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Hey Owen!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pumpkin patch!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Here's my heart, blogger world

I hesitated to write this, but when we know we are completely loved just as we are, why not, right? I'm sure this will be a little long...

All the Campus Outeach staff went to Minneapolis this past weekend to a John Piper conference on endurance. Some speakers and their themes were: Jerry Bridges (spending time with God and reminding ourselves of the gospel), Randy Alcorn (what you will be tomorrow is determined by choices you make today), John McAuthur (Jesus is our master and we are his slaves), Helen Roseveare (there is no quitting until we cross the finish line) and of course John Piper (there is no American dream and retirement for Christians).

Well, to those of you who don't know, I have not spent time with God in 3 1/2 years (minus about 10 times, as to not exaggerate). I had a friend ask me when I told them that this weekend, "you mean in the classic way?" and I shook my head no. He said, "not at all?", I shook my head no, "you just didn't do it?", again, no. He said, "How have you survived?" My only answer is the sweet grace of God, who gently leads those with young. I really believe that. I quit when I was in my first trimester with Bailey because I was so tired, and have never recovered. My life has become a series of small choices (mostly to take a nap or take care of other things around the house) that have added up to not knowing where my Bible is most of the time. I never thought I would say that. I did not think that would be possible. I remember at first the feelings of guilt and legalism, but through Bailey's birth God showed me his deep love for me as his daughter. I guess I am thankful that my motivation has not been legalistic, but it would have been nice to have some stronger motivation than that quiet voice that says, "come spend time with me, I'll give you rest." And it is so easy in my heart to say "I don't believe you and I'm too tired," and off I go to take a nap. He is so sweet that He lets me sleep anyway. I know that not once have I felt that he has left me or been mad at me.

The word of God that I hid in my heart long ago seems like a vague memory to me most days. It seems so vast and the times I wanted to open it, I felt like I didn't know where to start. I know truth, I feel like I live by Biblical principles and know God is there, but the verses I used to know are a fog in my head somewhere. Prayer has become something I try to remember to do most of the time. It was so good to sit in truth (hard, strong truth) this weekend and have those verses start filling my head again. I started evaluating my life over the last few years and saw so much. It was good though, not overwhelming.

The major thing that God has been putting his finger on for the last months, and strongly in this conference is my love for my children. I love them way too much, more than Him. And I don't trust Him with them. Not their salvation, but their lives here. I am way too afraid that they will have to go through some great pain if I release them to Him and put them on the altar (like I have a choice what they will go through or if I will be there). My mind knows intellectually that He will do as He pleases regardless, but my heart says hold on to them. The thought of specific situations that I imagine where I picture them in pain (especially Bailey, I guess because she's older) cause me great pain, almost unbearable, as I'm sure any mother can relate to. My problem is that my love for their security is greater than my love for Jesus. I remember when I was single, and so authentically said, "anytime, anywhere, anything Lord!" and I meant it. I think those words now, and can only say, "I can't say that anymore God", and I can't even want to say it for fear of what that might mean. They are so precious and dear, and I leave their rooms at night and my heart aches for their protection and that God won't put us in some place or situation where they won't be safe. To clarify, my fear is not of them dying from being sick. I think I could handle that, at least in my imagination, although it would be very painful. It is them being taken from me, or being in some place in the world where I have to watch them be hurt for Christ, physically, or imagining in this conference during the talks, what if I had to take a stand and let my children be hurt in order to not deny Christ? I picture their terror and my heart aches. And my heart just wants to be comfortable, to live this safe, daily American life where we go to church, and run errands, and play with our friends and I know they won't be in those situations. Is it wrong to live this way? I don't think so if we serve Christ where we are, and our hearts are yielded to Him in our tomorrows. But I know that mine is not, and until I can give them to Him, there is a barrier that hardens my heart against Him, and is sin. It is almost impossible to think of following him right now if it means their pain. I thought of an example in the conference, and it helped me. I remembered those children in the holocaust who were ripped from their parents, underwent innumerable tortures, and ended up in old age walking with God and joyful. And I thought, God IS capable of taking their pains, regardless of whether Duane and I are with them, and giving them joy and peace even in this life. He can bring something from nothing. Anything is possible with Him. But there is a great work to be done in my heart yet. I don't know what it will look like or how long it will take to replace them in my heart with Him.

The other issue I am becoming well aware of, is the way that I live my faith out in front of my daughter (and son, he is just too young). I hear the things I say sometimes, whether teaching her or in discipline, and I think, "How long will it be before she sees through me?", that these things are true in my intellect but not so truthfully lived out, not in the closeness of a deep relationship with Jesus that keeps it from being just religion. Giving in to my flesh almost constantly, establishing my will and battling for it as a default, a superficial love for Jesus, a lack of spending time in His word, poor character when no one but her and a friend are listening. It makes my heart sad, and I want a fast fix, but I know it can only be hammered out in reestablishing my heart in His Word.

And the gospel...I live my days at home in my neighborhood and on those few days at work like no one is perishing. We had a talk before the conference by a CO director, that life is for keeps and there are no do-overs. I live my life like none of that is real anymore, and the people that are lost around me are fine, even though I am certain it is all very real. Yet it does not lead me to action. I realized during the weekend as I was thinking about all this, that I used to target people that I wanted to spend time with, and pray for them. That seems so simple, but I have somehow forgotten to be deliberate and trust God to do a work through me. It seems so nebulous sometimes, there are so many that I work with, but I reminded myself that I only have to start with a couple, one girl in particular that I think of from Brazil that is my friend.

Of some encouragement, I thought of the things that have changed in my life over those 3 1/2 years, and I know because of that He remains with me and is still finishing His work. I think He has taught me how to be a better friend, to care, and to love past hurts and sin. I want to serve people who are walking through things I have been through because I know how hard it can be, especially being a mom and the daily sacrifices that come with that. I know in a way that I could have not known before that there is not an easy fix for the things we go through as we walk with God (i.e. a spiritual desert), even if we know the right answers. Sometimes our flesh can be so strong, and I am glad for the extra compassion that I have seen Him grow in my heart.

I guess I will end by saying, please pray for me. These things may sound like I'm doing horrible, but I'm not. I feel like I am in a good place, and I need prayer to make those small daily choices to pursue Him and His word. It is so easy to revert to old habits. I will publish this before I want to erase it all:)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Reflections on boredom

This week has been really hard with Bailey. I think coming off Beach Project and the whole summer in general where she was always with people and always had something fun to do or someone to play with has been an adjustment (I can relate). Especially the mornings are hard while Owen takes his nap. Playdoh, crayons and watercolors only get you so far and then she's bored again. Everytime she wants my attention and I am busy, or she can't do something she wants, she says that she doesn't feel good. I had (and still am a little) been struggling with her having to be bored, until I realized that our problem is alike and I do the same thing. When I am bored, I call someone to talk, or go run an errand I don't really need to run, or see if a friend wants to hang out (these are not necessarily bad things). I want something to fill me, and so does she. We both have the same void, and we both want to fill it by shoving something else but God in there so we'll feel better (it's just been hard because she wants that something to be me). As I was thinking about all this, I realized that not only do I have to let her be bored sometimes, but it is GOOD for her. How else will she understand that she has a hole in her heart that longs for something greater if I never let her feel it because I'm too busy keeping her entertained (and how can I talk to her about that feeling in a way she can understand when she is older if she is never allowed to feel it)? Anyway, these thoughts have helped me look at things differently, and even in talking to her about being bored sometimes.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Article by John Piper

I found this article that he wrote after the bridge fell in Minneapolis. Here's the link: (copy and paste)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Owen's birthday party

Doesn't Owen look excited about his birthday cake? I don't think he smiled at it once unless we made him. The party was kind of crazy, we had almost 20 adults and 8 kids! It was controlled chaos, but it was fun. Owen's been walking for about a week now and doing better every day. Everywhere he goes he has a big smile on his face. I think he's glad to see the world from a different viewpoint. It's hard to tell, but Owen got his first big boy haircut last week while were back at Beach Project (you can tell when you look at the picture below).

Bailey and Owen (1 year!) pics

Thursday, July 12, 2007

He's growing up

It's hard to believe he'll be one year old in a few weeks!
P.S. I'll put more pictures of Bailey when I get a few good ones.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Summer family pic

Sunday, July 8, 2007

God Our Sweet Provider

Last night while we had some friends over, the spring to our dishwasher door broke off (it's very old). I realized today that Bailey and Owen could get hurt badly if the door came down on them suddenly. I told Duane and we decided to go get a new one today . We walked into Lowe's and right away saw two couples we knew. Long story short, one of them had just replaced their appliances and had a white dishwasher (which matches our cabinets) sitting in their garage, and they gave it to us! What is so amazing is that just 15 minutes sooner or later, and we wouldn't have crossed paths. Can you imagine all that has to happen, all the things in the universe that have to line up so that we met at that exact moment? Owen went down for a much later nap than usual, we went to Home Depot first instead of Lowes, and stayed exactly the amount of time that we needed to, and even that our dishwasher broke last night and that they would have a desire THAT DAY to go look at grills at Lowes (and that is only a few of the many unseen things that had to line up that we know of). It is so unfathomable how God orchestrates our lives to provide for us in such supernatural ways! Only a God who is in control of ALL things could make it happen!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Our "home with the blue door" as Bailey calls it

Here is where we've been living for the last month, if anyone wanted to see! I feel so blessed to have had two rooms.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Summer Beach Project

I took these pictures this week - I love them!

We are at Project in 2 adjoining motel rooms. It was a little more difficult to get adjusted than I thought it would be, but I feel like I have my feet under me now. Owen and Bailey have to sleep in the room together, but they are both sleeping all night now and things are better. One night the three of us were up from 2:15-3:45. Owen woke up then Bailey woke up. That was a bad night. I am enjoying having people so accessible, especially at night since I can walk right outside my door and talk. We just had our first off day yesterday, and we went to the Holiday Inn Sunspree (the managers gave all the staff hotel passes). They have a toddlers waterpark that they just built along with the big pool. It is nice to have somewhere to get away from (especially free!) They even have bouncing swings for the babies under a big shade. We will be here three more weeks and then start traveling. Bailey and Streed get to go to a VBS next week so that should be a good break for them and for me and Shelley. I'll write more later!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Sorry everyone!

If you saw our blog in the last 24 hours, we got on today and saw that someone had posted obscene videos under our videos. We're sorry if anyone had to see that there.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

It's done!

God was so gracious to us - Duane was really weighed down with trying to finish the she d before we leave for Beach Project (he leaves tomorrow), and we had the primer on it but it still needed a roof. All he could do was leave a tarp on it (which would not be good in a hurricane) but a student that he had been spending time with came over the other day. He said his younger brother did some roofing and he would call him. So the last two days the three of them have done the roof, and it only cost us $100. God was so good because he knew Duane was so overwhelmed, and He also gave us someone who knew what they were doing.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I'm crawling!

Owen started crawling toward toys and such...he hasn't figured out he can come get me yet! I'm sure it won't take long.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I like this picture...

She's so cute to me. She likes me to carry her into the den when she wakes up every morning, and this morning I told her I couldn't because my back was hurting. She raised up my shirt and said, "Can I kiss it?" I told her yes, so she did. Then she asked me, "Is it better?" I told her yes, and thank you. She smiled sweetly, then said, "You can carry me now?" (Of course I did.)

I have a hydrangia!

For some reason this really excites me. I planted one at our other house but it never did very well. Now, I have two bushes by our deck!

We have grass!

Before...(after the whole area was cleared of the jasmine for free - it took them 7 1/2 hours)


By the way...I know grass is not too important on most days, but I have to celebrate a little about all that jasmine taking up the backyard being gone and now my kids can play!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Friday, May 4, 2007

Our new "garage"

I am so proud of Duane. I feel like he can do anything, and he isn't afraid to try. He designed this shed all by himself. He went to Home Depot and looked at their sheds and took pictures, then took some plans off the internet and meshed the two together to come up with this. We will be glad to get all our stuff (bikes, surfboards, freezer, work bench, etc.) into it that we haven't had room for since we don't have a garage anymore. By the way, it's going to match our house - white with a black roof. I'll show it when it's done!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cute pics!

Friday, April 6, 2007

Thank you God!

We have jasmine (about a foot high) for a lovely 2/3 of our backyard, and it just keeps growing.

On a sidenote: When I was over-emotional and we were looking for houses last summer, after Duane had told me he liked the house, we stepped into the backyard, and I said, "Is this what you want for your children?" (another side note, our backyard in Pcola was HUGE and I had so looked forward to Bailey and Owen getting to play back there). Duane and I laugh about this now, but you get the idea of how much jasmine is in our backyard (and the rest is pretty much dirt).

Anyway, we had checked into getting it dug up when we moved here and got a quote for about $1000 (then would have had to sod on top of that). Since we are having to build a shed right now, we could not do both. Well, our neighbor next door had some landscaping people working on their jasmine, and I mentioned we were trying to get rid of ours. They offered to dig it out of our backyard if we didn't charge them for the jasmine!!! (And I just thought a few minutes ago, we know they'll get all the roots because otherwise it won't grow:) Just wanted to share God's faithfulness!

Bad parent award again! or "Good baby award" as a friend said

Today I had a friend and her 2 kids over and after they left I was helping Bailey play and also cleaning up. I noticed that Owen had gotten really quiet but didn't think much of it because a few minutes before he had really been concentrating on moving the train pieces on his exersaucer. I came in and this is what I found. He didn't even cry.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


Okay, usually Owen is a pretty lively fellow when going to sleep in his crib. He plays for a while, then when he gets quiet I go in and find him in various positions, this morning with his legs through the crib slats. Well, this afternoon, after being especially squeally (I thought, he is really having a good time in there), I let him get quiet and forgot about him for a few minutes. About ten minutes later I remembered and went to check on him, and his blanket was all the way around his head, tight (not around his neck), i mean SNUG and he was asleep breathing in and out really loud. He took a deep breath when I pulled the blanket off. Poor little guy was trying to tell me the whole time. Oh well, at least I know now that babies really can breathe through crochet blankets! In addition, last week he was in his portable swing, and I was having lunch in my kitchen with someone, and had my back turned to him. I haven't been strapping him in because up until now I have found it really hard to believe how a baby could fall out of those bucket swings. Anyway, I heard a small noise which I didn't pay any attention to, but a few minutes later I glanced over, and Owen was on the floor playing on his stomach on the tile! I guess he flipped out, caught himself and decided it was a good change of scenery. Poor second child:) I'm glad all of this didn't happen the first time around.

A funny Bailey story:
In school the other morning, Bailey was having a bad day as far as obedience goes. After being put in time out two other times (which I don't really love the whole time out idea but oh well), they said she disobeyed and then said "I'm going to go get in time out." They said it was hard to follow through when she was so cute.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Spring pics

Of course, my first pictures have to be of the kids! Bailey was with Daddy at Home Depot and the picture of Owen is him at 7 1/2 months, weighing 25 pounds and 29" long (half my height)!

Friday, March 30, 2007

OK, I'm here!