"Enjoy the little things in life ~ one day you'll wake up and realize they were the big things"

Monday, August 24, 2015

Taken from one of my favorite books (sorry, it's a bit long) . . . 

"To be married is to have someone to curl up against when the world seems cold and life uncertain. It is having someone who is as concerned as you are when your children are ill . . . it is wrapping wrinkled knees in warm blankets and giggling without teeth! To the person you marry you are saying "When my time comes to leave this world and the chill of eternity blows away my birthdays and my future stands still in the night; it's your face I want to kiss good-bye. It is your hand I want to squeeze as I slip from time into eternity. As the curtain closes on all I have attempted to do and be; I want to look into your eyes and see that I mattered. Not what I looked like. Not what I did or how much money I made. Not even how talented I was. I want to look into the teary eyes of someone who loved me and see; I mattered!" (T.D. Jakes).  

So thankful for God's faithfulness to us over the past 21+ years of marriage.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday Date Day . . .

I get to spend several hours (alone!) today with this very talented, fun guy smile emoticon picking up his new (used) camera and doing some exploring / mountain biking in the CO Springs area. There might just have to be some ice cream in there too smile emoticon LOOK at this picture he took yesterday! (just don't get too close!) . . . I was impressed!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

He IS Able!

Friendly reminder for your day:  The same God who opened blind eyes, parted the sea, walked on water and raised the dead CAN be trusted with your biggest mess . . . not just the "fairly easy ones" that you really DO have the faith for (and maybe just need a little help) ~ but the great BIG ones.  The one that seems impossible, inconceivable and just too hard - THAT is the very one He wants to enter into and display His faithfulness and power . . . just sayin!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Monday, July 6, 2015

4th of July fun

The 4th of july was a work day for us – it actually fell right in the middle of a VERY long weekend at the campground (in Yogi lingo – it was a weekend with 3 Saturdays in a row – one Saturday is usually exhausting for us, three of them back to back is beyond crazy!).  I used to greatly enjoy special planning fun celebrations for holidays like the 4th of July - coordinated clothes, fun red, white and blue treats, decorations, etc . . . Since moving to Jellystone, that has been harder and harder to do (and holidays are usually work days for us).  I’m not okay with my younger kids having only pictures to look back on of those special things (from the years when they were barely old enough to remember them) – so Anna and I got up early and took a baby step back in that direction – making a big pan cookie and decorating it . . . it didn't turn out perfectly, but it was good for my soul to do something, even if it was small!  We also had fun hosting a big water fight at the campground!

Thursday, July 2, 2015


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

St. Ogden Valsinkidane Day

We have a silly family holiday -- a few years ago we even mixed up the letters of some important words and gave it a funny name.

Have you thought lately about the moment in time that became the cornerstone for your family? You may not even know when it was or remember it. I'm a little odd, but ours is vivid.

Humor me . . .

Once upon a (very long) time ~ 23 years ago, tonight . . . he stood holding the door at 1153 Ogden Street. She said hello and walked through. It was 6:42 pm. His eyes twinkled when he smiled. He was wearing shorts and a blue t-shirt . . . and an elastic knee support. She held in her arms a bag of bananas and oranges ~ to share with the homeless.  Her heart beat with anticipation - she was headed for the mission field and believed this would be a great experience.

The evening passed quickly. She talked with the lonely and outcast, she served pastries and coffee and wiped down tables, she played Scrabble and heard stories, she prayed with the broken. His wisdom and competence were apparent, and his faithful, steady service blessed her. His ready sense of humor was evident right away.  He was part of something neat and she wanted to be more involved. She knew they shared the same Jesus and the same desire to serve him, but she never really gave him much of a thought beyond that.

A week later that changed.

She found a way to go back to that coffee house outreach downtown. The evening was much like the first (except she had come with just one friend, rather than an entire college group). She talked with the broken, she heard more stories, she felt at home. He was there too (he was the director, so it was rare when he wasn’t).

She noticed how his eyes shimmered, how others were drawn to him. She observed his quiet demeanor, his carefully chosen words, the good advice he shared and the assistance he offered to those in need. She started to wonder about his story. At the end of the night, they sat together for a moment, she was struck by his kindness. He joked and flirted. He ate too many jelly beans (because they were in front of him, and he hadn't had dinner).

She really noticed him. She thought about him as she drove home.

In the coming weeks she returned a couple of times. She met his 6 yr old son (adorable!!), she met several other volunteers, she helped move the coffee house to its new location, she spent time helping babysit the charming and silly 6 yr old. She dragged other friends back with her.

Back in the suburbs, she continued her “normal life”, she loved on the elderly at her (retirement home) job, she became increasingly involved in church, she helped with a Billy Graham crusade. She went on long runs at the park and tried out new recipes and explored parts of Colorado she hadn’t seen yet (she’d just moved here a few months earlier). Her mind was increasingly drawn back downtown and she searched, at times obsessively, for opportunities to return there.

She wrestled with her motives. A lot.

Almost a month later, she finally decided she needed to talk to him about that. They walked to a nearby restaurant and she attempted to confess her mixed motives.  After he embarrassed her greatly by ‘accusing’ her of having a crush on him . . . he admitted that it was mutual. Her heart raced, her tongue became tied. He ordered pie. They decided they should ‘become friends’ and spend more time together.

They went on hikes and picnics, they wandered in and out of bookstores and roamed the streets of Denver talking to the homeless, she helped him study Greek (he was a seminary student at the time), they looked for pictures in the clouds, smelled flowers and ate ice cream, she visited his church (she loved it!), she spent time at the discipleship home where he lived and worked (and became close to several people there). She grappled with her views on divorce and remarriage. She went on early morning fishing trips with her dad (and tried to get an opinion out of him!), she went on retreats with her college group and went mountain biking and rafting.

Somewhere along the line, she learned that about a week prior to that night (at the doorway ~ with the oranges and bananas), he had told God that he’d really like to meet someone – but he was so busy that if it was going to happen, He’d probably have to bring her to him!

She thought she was headed to the mission field. She began to wonder if she'd already found one.

Over the next year and a half they went from strangers to friends, they spent time with their families, they helped lead a house church together and eventually found themselves planning a wedding.

The ‘house’ has been built (and at times a wall torn down and rebuilt entirely) brick by brick over the past 23 years . . . an entire little family has moved in!  The house has become a community unto itself. That cornerstone moment is what we look back on and what we celebrate each year on June 30th at 6:42 pm.

Have some ice cream and join us! God is good.   

Monday, June 29, 2015

Downtown day

We spent some time downtown today.  We haven't been there in a very long time - at least not as a family.  It was a free day at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, so our plan was to spend some time there and then go out back and play in the fountains at City Park.  Both of those are right around the corner from where we used to live (when our kids were MUCH younger).  The spent far more time than we thought we would at the museum and it turned out that the fountains were closed. One of the highlights, however, was a trip to the Sam Gary branch of the Denver library.  We had never been to that branch before.  We went there on a mission.  It was actually a two fold mission:  1) to sign up for the summer reading program and 2) to track down one of our FAVORITE librarians from our years downtown.  For many, many years, we had some awesome librarians.  They knew us, their faces lit up when we walked into the children's area.  We were always thrilled when we walked in and found all of our favorites working on any given day.  They knew what our kids liked to read and were eager to help them find some new favorites.  That is a huge blessing (especially to a homeschooling family).  We took them treats at holidays and sent them postcards from road trips. They were a little bit like family to us.

One of the hardest things about moving away from the city was leaving those librarians (and our church downtown).

Our mission was successful!  We located Kristi and enjoyed catching up with her!  (and we signed up for the summer reading program . . . Elitch's, we're coming for you in late July!)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Horsin around . . .

Anna is in “happy horse-lover heaven” this week! – attending a jam packed horse camp.  It’s a bit of a drive to get her there and back each day, but she is LOVING it! 

"Micro Camping" at Kenosha

Last summer we unlocked a secret to achieving some balance in our life at Jellystone. We were able to enjoy regular days off at the beginning of each week (most of the time).  We planned some fun day trip excursions during those times and even re-discovered tent camping!  We called them "micro camping trips", since we were only able to be gone for one night . . . but they were still a HUGE blessing.  This summer has started off far more hectic than we've wanted, but our goal has been to do the same thing this year . . . planning day trips and some overnights as well.

We were able to escape earlier this week and enjoy a micro camping trip at one of our favorite spots in Colorado ~ Kenosha Pass.  It is a little piece of heaven on earth . . . breathtakingly beautiful, raw, serene, peaceful and oh, so relaxing!  We are thankful that we've been able to share many memories as a family in that beautiful setting and we look forward to returning there again and again in the years to come.  The kids hung their hammocks in the trees and talked and laughed and lounged together . . . priceless.

Below are enough pictures to convince you that we were really there FAR more than 24 hours (even though we weren't)  It was our sweet Selena's first camping trip -- we thoroughly wore her out, but we think she was an extremely content little puppy!

Thursday, June 18, 2015


The kids and I (along with many others from our wonderful Pathmakers Church family) are helping with a VBS this week. It has been such a blessing! Emily has been 'hosting' the puppet show gospel presentation each day (Levi and Daniel are voicing the puppets) - they are all doing an awesome job! 

The VBS kids are also raising money for a missions outreach of our church. Anna, our youngest, is SO excited about this! . . . she cleaned out her piggy bank last night and has spent much of the afternoon going around the campground, talking to our summer staff - sharing about the outreach opportunity and FUNDRAISING!! (I didn't know that's what she was doing until she came back with a handful of money!) She's even spent the last several HOURS pulling weeds (in exchange for a promised donation to her cause!). So much fun to see!