Monday, November 19, 2012

answering a call

389. my adoption into Christ's family! I'm so very thankful for the immense blessing of being adopted as daughter to Christ, that I get to share in His family and be heirs of His kingdom! What a truly special gift!

390. adoption-the act of making someone who was born of another family a part of your family. I'm thankful that it is possible to adopt children who have no family and make them your own.

391. classes, seminars, books, and all other education to help with adoption! this call I am referring to is the one from God on all believers to care for widows and orphans. In James 1:27 we are told that the most pure and undefiled worship is caring for the widows and orphans and actually meeting them in their affliction. We are all called to play a role in the care of orphans and it looks different for many people, but for us it was distinct that the call was to adopt.

It started on Easter in 2011. Church was at the Frank Erwin Center (for my Oregon peeps reading this, it is like the Rose Garden). Worship was starting and out walked a choir from Uganda of little kids that came to worship with us. Our adoption story does not begin with a sad story, we didn't hear a tragic story or abuse or neglect and feel bad. Our story starts with seeing joyful children sing and worship Jesus genuinely in such a way that I was moved. Not because of myself, but because God used this precious group of children to change my heart, to open my heart to something I never ever wanted to do.

Everything so far that I have said I would never do, God has laughed and said "we'll see about that." I never wanted to marry a military man, move away from Albany, Oregon or adopt, or have 3 kids. I wanted to stay in my hometown and have 2 kids and a dog and never leave.....well here I am, married to an amazing man who happens to be a Marine, we live in Pflugerville Texas, and are about to have a 3rd child through the process of adoption. God is funny, but He sure does know best! He is a God of providence and we trust and know we are here exactly where we are because it is where we are meant to be!

Saturday we went to the adoption seminar and too many things were said to ignore God's calling us to adopt and NOW. We as people tend to mistake peace from God as the kind of zen peace where you sit and feel calm. Jonah was going to "not Ninevah" or against God's will for him to go to Ninevah and there was turmoil in his ship and it was the craziest storm the men had seen and Jonah was sound and peacefully asleep completely disoebying God. Clearly he was not doing what he should have been, and yet he felt pretty peaceful. In Luke chapter 22 we see Jesus so distressed he is literally sweating blood and yet He is obeying God in the hardest thing ever imaginable, He was headed to be crucified and die on a cross for our sin. He probably didn't feel very peaceful, and yet He was obeying and He didn't let the hardship and stress and all the other horrible feelings He was having turn Him from obeying God the Father.

I think we were waiting for a zen peace, we were waiting for the right time, to buy a house and settle down and then we would start the process, that is what the world would say to do, it makes sense to the world, but God doesn't ask us to obey when it makes sense to the world and He doesn't ask more of us than what He is willing to help us through. I can't even fully explain all the details that revealed to my husband and I that the time was now, but finally it was like we couldn't go on saying not yet, when we felt like God was saying "how many more signs can I show you before you obey Me now?"

We know full well that what we are about to do doesn't make sense to everyone, that is will be immeasurably hard, that we we struggle, we will fail, we will do and say the wrong things, we will hurt, but we know that we won't suffer alone, we have God in this and He will draw near to us while we draw near to Him.

We didn't decide oh we need another kid, we want 3, (welll my hubby apparently did want 3 kids once I was preggo with Kenni) but I was very content with just 2. We don't have a burning desire to have more kids. We are called to adopt, to care for the orphan in this way. God loved us first and adopted us into His family and He sent His son to suffer and die on a cross for us, to save us, to make us His own, that is the beautiful picture of the gospel. Adoption is a beautiful mirror of adoption, we are going to bring a child into our home and love him/her like Christ first loved us and we are going to teach them that we are not perfect, but we serve a perfect God and that Jesus loves him/her and will never fail our child like we probably will. We are going to make this child our own and we are going to struggle with our child and rejoice with our child for every step of healing that they take. We are not ourselves cappable of healing our child's hurt, but God is and we will be praying for our child.

We could have had a 3rd child biologically for free since we are military, we could have just decided to expand our family and paid for a birth certificate and that would have been great too, but we instead listened to what God wanted for us and we are growing our family this way, by loving one of His children who were not able to stay with their biologic parents.

Help us:
Please pray with us for our child, for their safety and nourishment, for the process to go smoothly, for discernment for us as we are referred to a child-that we would say yes to the child God has in His plan for us. Pray for the financial needs to be met as they come. We emailed the lady today at Breath of Life and are waiting for the next step to adopt domestically here in Texas a child that is at least 3 years old. We are going to be a mixed family and we appreciate your support and prayers!

Monday, October 1, 2012

thoughts for the day.....

386. reading friends blog whom i miss so much! and of course being encouraged! thanks so much my dear G!
387. Being in a missional community group, knowing that if I am really stuck in a hard place all I have to do is ask and I have some great people who will be there for me! the key part for me is asking, its hard for me to ask for help, though I love to help others!
388. me-not sure if I have said this one yet as this blog has been dragging on for quite a while, but I am thankful for the gift of me, God made me who I am and it's not always easy to be this crazy, bold, say what she thinks person, but I am thankful for my gifts and for God's constant presence in guiding me how to use them and here we go again....

sometimes I feel like I just can't get things right, can't do enough, can't be enough. I know I have blogged in some form about this so sorry for any repetetion (repetition can be so annoying I know). I've got a list of to do's that don't even fit fully on a single page of notebook paper, it's spilling over onto my dry erase board. Apparently I'm not great with priorities either, what order to do the impossible list in. I have my daily to do's like dishes, dinner, feeding kids, cleaning up from cleaning kids, diapers, feeding self, etc. But if I let myself go there and really think of all I need to do and won't get done, then I will too easily become depressed about what I would like to be able to do, but will never even touch, so instead I made a plan. :) yes I do love a plan!

388. plans (especially when you follow through and they go smoothly)

I made a new to do list for each week (monday-friday) and each day I do certain things-they are my only requirements for the day and then I can do something I would like to do as well as other things I should do, here is my weekly plan:

wash dishes, pick up living room (kids do most of it), clean and organize kitchen table, set up coffee, make the hub's lunch, teach my kiddos (homeschool)

vacuum all carpets
sweep/mop kitchen

vacuum living room
wash all bedding
cut coupons (if not done on monday)

vacuum living room
shop at Sprouts (bascially produce and its the double ad day =best deals)
park day with homeschool group

vacuum living room
sweep/mop (if needed)

vacuum all carpets
clean bathrooms

I feel so much better only having a few set things to do each day, of course I miss things and I'm not perfect, but instead of feeling like I have to tackle the world each day/week now I feel like I'm just taking on a piece each day and it's much more bearable.

I'm very very blessed and thankful for hands and feet that work and that I am able to JOYFULLY take care of our home and kids while my amazing hubby goes off to work and provides for us! I am also very blessed that I am able to spend time with our amazing Lord each morning through prayer and reading His word, His precious truth that enables me to learn and grow closer to Him each day!

I'm not going to ever be the mom I want to be, most people probably would say that I stress too easily with our kids and that I should relax, but by golly I am doing my best and I am thankful that God gives me the grace I need each day to do it all, His grace is perfectly sufficient for each and every moment so I can rest in that and find peace! My hubby is concerned about adopting (not becuase of money, or how small our home is, or what kind of baggage the children could have), but because he worries that our biological kids can be hard at times and drive me crazy so how would I handle adding 1 or 2 more to the mix. The answer is that I can't handle it, but I'M not suppossed to handle it, I just have to trust and have faith that God's grace will remain sufficient in each and every moment and hopefully the end result will be a family that strives to follow Christ and share His good news with others. We will have food in our bellies (mostly healthy), a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and love in our hearts. God will provide whatever it is we need and hopefully and prayerfully we will be able to answer the call to adoption in a way that glorifies God and brings Him glory. It will undoubtidly be messy and I will make tons of mistakes, but in the end all that matters is that we loved and we said yes when God asked if we had faith enough to trust Him....

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

oh for blogness sake...

380. time-sometimes good and sometimes less good, but still I'm thankful for time that goes by
381. home-it's good being home
382. a church that teaches classes as well as being an amazing church to be a part of in general!

Its been a long time again-go figure I can't seem to stay up to date on anything...

Plans are funny, I apparently thrive off plans and God thinks it funny to mess with me :) that would make sense as to why I married a Marine :) I heard on the radio that being too much of a planner is like saying you don't have faith, well I consider myself someone who lives by faith for sure, but also am a big time planner. It doesn't mean I can't take it when plans don't work out, I just feel better if there is a plan in place so I kind of know what to expect...

Lots of things are currently unplanned and I am honestly okay with it, but it will be nice to know once the time comes. We are sure we are getting out of the military, but unsure of where we will go or if we will stay afterwards. We want to adopt a couple of kids, but don't even know for sure when to start the whole process. We are taking a class offered at our church on preparing to adopt and it so far is awesome and really has so far confirmed my desire to obey God in adopting or "visiting the orphan in their affliction, which is true faith" (from James 1:27). God adopted us before the world was even created into Christ and we are part of His big family, and I want to adopt children in need of an earthly home to love and show God's grace and mercy to. It was somehow encouraging and scary at the same time when the teacher discussed what it meant to visit the orphan in their affliction. It will be hard, it will be jumping into a trial intentionally face first, but God will be with us each step of the way and He provides enough grace for each moment each day. Whatever hard time we are facing we have exactly the amount of grace we need for that moment and He will help us get through it.

I'm excited to continue learning about the process and hopefully get closer to that face first dive in moment! Another great point he made during class was how we as Christians tend to ask God for advice or wisdom and then we wait for "peace" but really a lot of us more likely wait for it to seem comfortable. We wait til the answer we have is a comfortable answer and call it peace. Peace is not always comfortable and it is not always easy, but when it is the right answer you will know it because it is pretty easy to quickly discern a wrong answer. When my hubby told me we were going to Texas I didn't find it to be a comfortable answer, yet I had peace because I really knew it was where God wanted us to be. It took time to get connected here, it was lonely in the beginning and frustrating to find a church, but God was with us the whole time and though there was discomfort at times, there was true peace that we were in His will.

383. days when daddy is home with us
384. new projects--pics to come later when I finish
385. doing the insanity workouts with my hubby by my side

Thursday, August 9, 2012

it's time to clean this old house.....

378. peace--not much of it lately and I do miss it!
379. my amazing husbands strong loving arms wrapped around me while i sleep-missing that too

I've learned that the mess doesn't bother me as much any more-truly. When I get back home, I am going to try to stop worrying about messes (aside from the kitchen of course-its too small for a mess and I can't start cooking in it til there is counter space so I digress). I've decided that I will be thankful and count it all joy that there are people in my house to make a mess and be loud! I'm happy that my house is comfortable and people don't feel like they can't sit on my furniture. I want people to make themselves at home, put their feet up and relax!

I've accepted the fact that my stuff will never look like a showroom, it will never be pristine-God willing I will have grandchildren that will visit my house often once my kids are grown and they will make themselves comfortable too! I anticipate scratches and dings and though I do believe we should take care of what we are given and be good stewards over our blessings, but not at the cost of putting other people out. Now when I see my kids carving into my kitchen table wth a fork, I'm not okay with that, but if they get some crumbs on the furniture-its something that I can clean.

I've long since given up my ritual deep cleaning friday's, I no longer mop my floors every week for the sake of doing it, no one eats off my floors and I find that as long as I clean them once my feet start sticking to the floor it's all good! I try to vacuum frequently because we have a dog, but I don't lose sleep if it doesn't happen.

It's all how you look at it really. I just saw a quote on facebook saying that "trying to clean the house with kids in it is like brushing your teeth while eating oreos"--too true and there are 2 choices we have-either be irritated and present yourself as having no joy in the task God has given you-which rubs other people wrong. Or be joyful over the task set before you and accept that it may take longer-you will get interupted, and by the time you are done, it won't look like a showroom. It will be sanitary and if you are able to find joy in the simple fact that you have hands and feet that allow you to clean yourself without extra effort it will show in your smile and patience and the people around you will notice and see you and have joy as well.

Some day your house will be empty and you will be able to clean it quickly without any interuptions (yes you can ignore the phone) and then you will finish and it will look like you really put your hard work and effor into it, but then you will sit down in a quiet house alone-then what?

I want my children to see that I am so very happy to serve Jesus and my husband and them, that requires a smile and positive attitutde while I work on the tasks God sets before me and then as they grown they will find joy in doing the tasks God calls them to do and it can be a very positive cycle. I used to be angry while I cleaned, I found no joy in doing the work and when it was done and someone came right behind me and made another mess I would be even more irritated, well that ends. That is a thing i grew up learning and it ends here. I pray that God would change that in our family and that my kids would never be angry over doing the tasks required of them.

So the choice is yours do you want to be angry over the mess and noise or be thankful that there are people there you can love on to make those messes and noise?

Monday, June 4, 2012


374. "under the overpass" a great read!
375. encouragement from the Kropp family!
376. cici's pizza cinnamin rolls-best cinnamin rolls ever

too much time can be so easily wasted on the computer, and yet here I sit determined to write a post as it has been far too long and I'm feeling bloggy :)
I jIust finished the book "under the overpass" and it was amazing! it changed my perspective on homeless people and the way the church responds. Let me first just say that I too have done many things that the church does and know that it was wrong. For instance I looked the other way when I passed a homeless person, pretended not to see them, just plain ignored them. What does it feel like to the person sitting there below the sign, covered in dirt and stink, just hoping to eat that day, losing hope, turning to the wrong things to ease their pain and suffering? When we don't look at them we say they aren't people who exist, we say that they are of no value, we tell them that we just don't care and they are below us. How much can a smile affect someones day? I enjoy people who smile at me that don't know me, so how much more than does it mean to someone who is ignored by the marjority of the people who pass by? A smile is free and it brings joy to both the give and the reciever. See waht happens when you smile and look into the eyes of the person sitting there down on their luck. Sometimes I feel silly just smiling at them, but I pray that it lifts their spirit even just a little.

tips for helping a homeless person according to the author, mike, for one thing tortillas are better than bread as they take up less space and don't get squished and taste just as great with peanut butter. flip flops are very handy to have in case theirs are broken so they dont have to walk barefoot and risk stepping on an infected needle. Get a couple of friends to bring an extra shirt or sweatshirt and go together to talk and clothe/feed your local homeless. Spend time just having a conversation and even share a meal. Don't treat them like somethign you have to try and fix or like a project you need to work on, just show them Christ's love and be genuwine.

Of course this extends beyond homeless if we only treated everyone with Christ's love what a different place we would live in right? We teach our kid to share and to love others and yet how great are we doing it? How well are we treating others we come into contact with? Do you thank people who you appreciate? do you tell people how you feel about them? or do we assume they know? how good does it feel when someone does these things to you? Yesterday my newer friend Kim told me that she really enjoyed and appreciated my friendship and it was so nice to hear! it was reaffirming and a blessing because lets face it I'm crazy and I get in my head and sometimes see little worth in myself as a friend to others-I'm human....last night we went to Ci ci's for dinner and there was a waitress there that I have seen every time we have gone and she is always very kind, helpful and gracious. I ran into her at the dessert bar while I waited for some fresh cinnamon rolls and she apologized for me having to wait (all of about a minute) and I told her it was okay and then I couldn't help myself I told her that she was good, that I have seen her working before a few times and that she was a hard worker and I appreciate her and she said a simple "thank you ma'am"

377. being called ma'am-gotta love texas manners

my man playing with the kids and our neighbors kids after work, love him so!

we can't help everyone, but everone can help someone in even the simplest ways, who is right in front of you needing help? serve them with Christs for me right now that means going and playing with my kids so until next time enjoy!

Monday, May 14, 2012

healthy healthy health health (for my sis that was to the tune of turkey turkey trust trust :)

368. coffee with 1 tsp. of honey and 2 Tbls of creamer = healthier and now it actually tastes good since I have acquired a taste for it!

369. taking friends on their 1st couponing trip
370. making choices that honor God instead of indulge my wicked sinful self...
371. being able to encourage others with their health.
372. simple ways God uses to move big and make an impact in His kingdom! such as a Ruth class that turned into a meetup for the people in the class as well as added others......can't wait to see what God does with this wednesday night gathering!
373. completing projects as gifts for others :)--you will soon see mom!

my good friend Marylee and I are on a journey to be healthier and it is awesome because we are doing it together. we are on and it has turned into some other people being on there as well--my sis and her boyfriend were already on it and I am very thankful Marylee taught me about it. If you know how biofeedback works, this is how I see the fitness pal. You see how you are doing during the day, its in front of your face how much fat, cal, sodium, cholesterol, sugar, etc. and so you choose your foods more carefully and you workout and get exctied to have that posted! we don't know how much time we have on this earth and its true you could eat like crap and live forever or you could take great care of your body and be hit by a bus at a young age, God will take us when He wants to take us. The only control we have in any of it is the choices we have to work out and what to eat and it directly affects the quality of life we can have. I want a quality life and I want it now, I don't want to wait til I'm 60 to decide I need to change and take care of myself so I can run around with grandkids, I want to be my best me now.

Yesterday was Moms day, Happy mom's day friends! I had a nice day! my man took us to mexican lunch--yummy! and then to Old Navy --awesome score on workout pants for me $4.91 yay! and then I went couponing with my friend Kim and then we had a great dinner of cheese and crackers and wine--yumm yummm yummmy! The best part about it was that I chose to indulge that day and knew I would be going over in all catergories (calories, fat, carbs, etc.), but I was okay with it and I didn't feel like I needed to punish myself for it, I just enjoyed it and today I am back on track with healthier choices-what freedom there is in this! I can have cheat days and not fall into a guilt spiral and I can keep pressing on with being my healthiest me most of the time! Thank you M for your encouragement and for my new pal :)

In other news: my dear friend Gretchen and her family are about to head to the Phillippines and start their mission there. Right now they are taking care of her mom who is dying of cancer (she is on a different mission while waiting for the next mission) I am sad becuase I miss them and wish I could greedily keep them in Texas a little longer, but I am so excited for them at the same time to get to the Island and start "washing feet" please join me in praying for them to have a safe journey there and for them to be able to be okay with leaving. Pray for peace that surpasses understanding and comfort and a gentle passing for her mom when that time comes. I am very thankful to have spent the time that I did with their amazing family and even more greatful for the impact they made on my life! they are very loved and missed by this family :)

some random spring pics:
 krazy Kenni
 silly tanner

sweet daddy/daughter love!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


wow I do not like the new blogger posting part, just like the new facebook timeline, but anyway

Lately I have been struggling with judgement. yikes I know. I have been a busybody and I am in some ways ashamed to admit it, but i cant deny its truth and i am convicted so here i am repenting. I have been worrying about what other people are doing or not doing instead of just making sure I am doing what i should be doing. If I were making sure I was doing what I was doing I would never have been judging. For example there is a woman who coupons at my walgreens and she is a hoarder. I need to focus on me doing what is right and taking fair amounts and donating a lot of what I get and not worry about what she is doing. I teach this to our kids, worry about yourself make sure you are doign what you should be doing and yet I have failed to listen to my own lesson.
The good news though: my sin was nailed to the cross and I don't have to feel bad over the past sins I made because Jesus already bled for those sins and forgave me for them! I am so very thankful for my precious saviour and I am being proactive in getting out of my own way so that He can lead me and help me walk in His spirit so I don't continue to make the same mistake. The way I do this: read my Bible, focus on things above and not on the things of this world. I make a better effort to love thy neighbor and put others before myself. I can't do this on my own, but Jesus can help me to do this if I let Him. I know I will struggle with sin my whole life, but I don't have to struggle alone and I thank God for that!
I was very encouraged when i read Colossians 3 this mornign and I encourage you to all read it as well. here is a bit of scripture from it, verses 12-17:

"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. but above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body and be thankful.. let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."

I was also encouraged by the last 2 sermons at church (hence my last blog) and would encourage you to listen to it, even just play it in the background while you check your email or facebook or fold clothes, it will be worth your while. here is a link  and it is the one titled gospel obedience part 2 (though again both are great and i recommend both)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


362. waking up early to spend time with God, today that looks different-instead of reading God's word I am speaking on God's word....

On Sunay at church pastor Tyler (pretty cool dude by the way) taught on Gospel obedience. We discussed the point pastor matt made on Easter about how religion says I obey therefore am accepted, but Gospel says I am accepted therefore I obey! I love that! He also discussed paychecks in a way that made complete sense to me and I want to share so others may understand as well...

we get frustrated sometimes because we don't think we get what we deserve, we work hard, we do right, we get nothing, no glory, no recognition (I'm sure mom's and wives can relate), sometimes in fact people who don't work as hard or do as much as us get the reward we feel we have earned. I will admit I never thought of myself this way, but pastor tyler hit the nail on the head in some ways with this. It also explains some of my lack of joy. I am looking at life as though I work hard and earn what I get. When we get paid our normal weekly or bi-weekly paycheck do we get excited and find joy in it? no usually I mean maybe a little-but its not real joy-its more like oh good now i can get_________ and pick up some groceries as well..... in fact sometimes we probably get frustrated with how little we preceive we are getting with our paycheck.

Ready to have your mind blown? We have worked hard and definitely earned something---death and hell-----yep hell that is what we have earned and deserve, but God send His son Jesus to use His paycheck to pay the debt we couldn't pay so that we don't get what we earned. Jesus died for our sins and atoned for them and because of Him we can choose to accept a free gift-the gift of salvation-eternity in heaven with our good and kind heavenly Father. Most Christians get excited about this right? Now picture this-Jesus paid our debt so we owe nothing and we don't get what we deserve (this is grace to the maximum) so whatabout those paychecks we don't find joy in? what about the lack of recognition for the hard work we do? what about all that stuff we feel robbed of? what about that person who gets more than we do even though they work half as hard?....

If you remember and beleive the gospel fully than you realize that we have earne nothing but hell and yet Jesus gave us a gift and all else other than HELL and DEATH are GIFTS--all else are GIFTS! Not just the stuff we think we find joy in or in fact do find joy in, but all of it--yes that includes trials, suffering, the tough stuff-what is worse than hell? nothing! I'm getting real with ya'll right now because I want to celebrate together in heaven as well as right here right now. Our paycheck shouldhave been hell, but instead it's life, its a love that we can't fully comprehend, its a savior who cares so much He would suffer in our stead to save His children. He was fully God but because fully man as well and walke this earth livinga completely perfect life and suffered greatly for just being HIm, then He was brutally beaten and tortured, hung on a Cross and died. He expereienced death fully and 3 days later He rose victoriously from the grave-that is good news for all who accept and believe that there is a love that great that sets us free and if we believe it, He will dwell in our hearts and help us to remember the gospel. We will see that what we get is a gift because we have no debt to pay. God is blessing us with gifts all the time and we can choose to see them that way and worship Him for it and find joy, or we can forgot the Cross and think we don't get enough of what we deserve. I don't want religion, I don't want a set of rules I try to follow and fail continually. I want my life and joy to reflect my rememberance of the gospel and count all things as joy since I do not get what I have earned (to go to hell) because my amazing Jesus, my savior died for me! Thank you Jesus for reminding me of what You did for me and how much I am blessed in spite of my sinful heart! Thank you for being good when there is nothing good in me, for being joy, for paying my debt and giving me so many many gifts-the greatest gift I have ever received is You, thank you!
363. the Cross
364. sermons that remind me of what I have been saved from
365. being reminded that when I don't get the credit I feel I have deserved that it doesn't matter-my credit come from Jesus and any credit I do get is mercy, a gift from God!
366. my aunt lora and her family! for inspiring me and edifying me
367. my computer, table, chair, internet, home, AC, lovely morning breeze, my body, my health, my family, friends, fingers....everything, every single thing about my life and the lives of those I love is a gift I don't deserve.........

Monday, April 2, 2012

gifty gifts and missing you

354. time can be a gift, it can be slow and painful, but I'm looking at it today as a gift (easier to do when I know my man will be home tonight with a more normal routine)

Today I feel a litte uneasy for some reason. I am not quite sure what it is, except that I feel like there is so much to do and normally I just say okay lets start doing stuff and I dig in, but today is not like other days. I have definitely dug in and started, but the unease is still lingering. I went in T's room and played with him and K (pretend kitchen play) which of course turned into us searching through the 3 toy buckets in various rooms for all the kitchen stuff (a.k.a. cleaning up involved here)...played a bit then decided to put away some laundry and finally check my email. I have already worked out today and spent my wonderful time with my savior this morning, so what is it???? I thought it was that my focus was on too much of my to do's and not enough of my kids, but that didn't change it. T worked on school today, dishes done, k's high chair deep cleaned, table cleaned, deal lists printed, bed made, laundry going....

I read my email from my dear friend G, then read through her blog posts and in many ways I was encouraged and I was also brought to tears with her kind words for me, thank you my dear beautiful friend! I love and miss you so very much! Maybe that is just it, I am not a huge cryer (though that is changing as I age) and I really miss my friend as well as my family back home in Oregon. I looked at pictures from Christmas when we visited home for 8 days (not long enough for sure)....and I remembered that those are special people who make me smile and laugh and they make Oregon feel like home. I miss people I guess is what is going on. I miss my family--just being all together in the same place sipping coffee and watching tv and laughing and eating big meals together. I miss my amazing friend G, who would bring a smile to my face and heart every wednesday when i would get to see her and talk with her and be real with her. She always challenged me and edified me (loving this word lately) and her kids made me smile too!....G I miss you very much, you are a spiritual mother to me (even though you are not like a mother more of a sister) and I thank you for all that you taught and inspired me! I apprecaite the fact that you have a blog to help grow me, but it will never measure to spending time with you in person! You are a very special gift to me!

355. G's blog and friendship!
356. stepping out of my comfort zone-thanks M for inviting me to sing with you on Easter!
357. back at church this sunday and it was amazing as always!
358. milk and crackers (this time its generic club) thanks dad for sharing this snack with me and now I get to share it with my kiddos -they love it too, next its smoked oysters on saltines

359. health
360. family walks
361. looking at pictures of family!

*these are oregon pictures from 2010, but I'm feeling nostalgic and wanted to post my family and home anyway.....p.s. my hubby is an amazing rock skipper

Saturday, March 3, 2012

It's so hard to say goodbye.....

349. precious kids that have a special place in my heart that say they will miss our family as one of the things they will miss most about the states! It makes me feel so good to know that we will be missed almost as much as they will be missed :)

We took our dear friends G and her 5 amazing kiddos to the train station this morning, it was very hard to say good bye to such amazing people who have influenced my life in ways I can't even put into words! They are goers, they have sold everything (gave away much of it) and are moving their family to the Phillipines to be part of the Great Commission to love others like Jesus loves and tell them about the Prince of Peace! It is bittersweet to say goodbye because I am so encouraged by what they are doing and yet I want to selfishly hold them here near me so I can soak up more of them and more of what they have to teach me.....

I am a new woman thanks to you, Gretchen! You have done amazing things for me and for my family and have led by such an amazing example, you and Brian and the kids: Tom, Yosef, Seth, Ethan, and Bis! Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for simply being you! Thank you for loving us and teaching us and inspiring us and loving Jesus so much! I wish I would have spent even more time with you all!

The hardest thing about saying goodbye to someone who means so very much to me is not knowing when I will see them again! It is hard to say goodbye to my family, but I generally know when I will see them again and its hard to not have a clue when our time will be to see each other again. But, I am saying this with confidance that I will see you again! We will make it happen whether its in the Phillipines or somewhere else!

350. My hubby not working today, all for the cost of homemade cookies! thats all I have to do to get to have him here today is make cookies for a couple of generous guys from his work. It was nice to be able to cry on his shoulder! Thank you Lord, for working that out for me and us!

351. Great neighbors including an amazing friend (Jenn that is you), whom G prayed for me to have to help me pick up the torch and continue on serving Jesus and others.

352. Realizing God has us exactly where we belong and seeing the possiblities for more to come to serve Him right here in our neighborhood.

353. Other people seeing growth in my man, its not always to recognize it when you are with him daily, but there is a great change and I am so proud of my man for getting out of his own way and letting God work in him!

Kropp family~ my dear friends  you are like family to us and you are literally our brothers and sister in Christ, but more than that you are like family to us and I thank you for all you are and all you have don't for us! for the amazing example you have set and for touching our lives in ways we couldn't have even asked for! Thanks for being "weird" and helping us to get "weird" (of course that is a term of endearment that I use the word "weird') We are set apart and we should look different in the way we live our lives so thank you for showing us what it means in a tangilbe way! You are going to be missed so much and we will continue to pray for you and will remember you every day and we love you all! Thanks for everything!

*pretty ms. Gretchen helping me with Kenni

*Sweet Ethan with his buddy Kenni

For more pictures of this amazing family please visit and follow them while they serve Jesus in the Phillipines.

--Darn why didn't I take pictures while you guys were here, of the dancing game and the crop of Kropps on our living room floor....well at least I have the memories of it, thanks for staying with us, it meant a lot to have you here for the epic sleepovers before you left :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

full house

344. a full house--full of loud, sweet, energetic, fun boys

We went to the park with our boys today and their dad, it was fun! I got up like a kid and was on the bars doing can openers and impressing them with what I could do at my old age of 27! ha they couldn't believe I could remember how to do things from so long ago when I was in elementary funny how kids see thigngs!

Then they came over, are over now, and are playing the wii and we have a wonderfully small single wide mobile home and there are 6 boys, 2 men, me, a toddler, and a dog and I have to say I love it! It could have something to do with the fact that all the boys here are awesome kids! I just enjoy people though too, and I can imagine having a huge group of kiddos a gaggle of kids, if you will, via adoption.

345. man talk, the 2 men and one boy were just discussing and looking at guns...
346. christian concerts
347. dad's that actively are involved with their kids, doing what their kids enjoy doing
348. youtube = listening to Christian music

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


340. learning, growing in faith

signed up for a class from our church on the book of Ruth. Thanks to my friend Lupita who invited me to join, and my amazing hubby who told me it is no problem for me to do it and encouraged it. Invited my new friend Jenn and her daughter and they might take it as well!

341. documentaries that defy evolution based on the animals that God created--proof, what? yes proof with simple things like beetles and giraffes in their specific design.

342. getting my lesson for school done on tuesday night instead of thursday night--ahh peace for the next 2 nights

343. seeing my son learn, knowing he is growing knowledge and in faith.

He asked me if I knew how much God loves us? I said no do you know? he said the neighbors know and its soooooooo much! I said they are right and He loves us more than we can imagine even more than mommy and daddy can love! precious!

papa misses his tater!


336. neighbors, an opportunity to love thy neighbor even when its not easy and then God making a way for it be be easy!
337. new friends who have some of the same interests
338. kids praying and being thankful for our family (what!)
339. helping others, the ability and desire to do so

I was listening to a clip of Francis Chan this morning about thithing and recently I have heard new perspective on it so I of course wanted to know more. It is not about a number or percent you give, but what matters most is that you give cheerfully. Those that give more will reap more, those that give less will reap less.

I don't think that means give more money get more money and Chan doesn't either. Give more so that God may choose to bless you with more so that you may in turn give even more! I love it. Who doesn't love to give? Okay its not easy to do I know, but when you look at it through Christ glasses you see that as Chan said, Jesus gave up all the riches and comforts of heaven to become poor so that we could be rich in Him. What a blessing for us believers, now we get to choose to give up of ourselves to help someone else see what awaits them if they so choose to follow Christ.

Give up what? $-yes sometimes, time, possessions, food, clothes, give your ears, your hugs, your caring--give it and be blessed so that you may get more and be able to bless more.

We are really excited about getting back our taxes because we are planning to use some of the money to bless various others. We are excited to support our friends in their going and being on mission in the Philipines and sponsor a child and support St. Jude, and even more excited to ask our son what he thinks we should do with some of the money--to learn where his heart is in this. Granted he is 4 (almost 5) and doesn't know exactly what it means, its not his money so of course it is easy for him to give it up, but he understands needs. I've shown him videos and he sees needs of children to be fed. He sees homeless people while driving and says we need to give them food so they won't be hungry. He gets it to an extent and we want to water that seed.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


331. call to be courageous in raising our children

My hubs and i watched the new movie Courageous by the Kendrick brothers and oh man was it good! It is by far their best movie yet! I cried a lot! The way it starts out even captures my heart! The movie is based on fathers leading their children and household, but its not only fathers who have the important task of raising their children. I am constantly being reminded by God that our children are gifts! they are precious and the only way I can love them and train them is by trusting God and asking Him for guidance! It is hard enough to take care of my self, my own righteousness and then to try and teach our kids, yikes.....

Thankfully God gives us tools, The Bible for starters, on how to raise up our kids right, teach them His ways and they will not depart. Friends and family can also be great tools, learning from others mistakes and successes. A loving husband to step in and help when he is home. Ultimately what matters most? That our kids know and love Jesus! How do they know Him? Love them like Christ loves them, show them that you love others like Christ loves them, spend time with them doing what they enjoy (yes even if it means sitting on the floor and playing with cars (i'm not a fan of this activity). Trust God to mature them and He will do it!

I am not a person who most people would deem capable of home schooling, I am not patient, I am too quick to anger, my kids can be difficult--regardless of correction, reproof, and instruction. Here is the thing though: God calls us to teach our children, to raise them up in Him, we are responsible for them-all of them, its on us. I never thought I would be taking on this immense task or that I was in any way capable of doing it, in fact I know that I am not capable of doing it, but I am stepping out in faith, trusting God and doing it anyway. I am faithful that God will guide me and teach me to teach them and love them. I am scarde of doing it wrong, I am nervous to teach other peoples kids at co op, I am concerned that I will screw up, but ultimately I trust Him to give me grace and mercy and step in when I am doing it all wrong and show me right. To help me be courageous!

332. Christian movies
333. Christian music
334. Christian books
335. all the tools to help me along the way, by God grace and design.

Friday, January 20, 2012

learning, never stop...

324. learning, about anything really, i very much enjoy learning, but especially about my Lord, Jesus Christ

I love to talk with people about all things, from the vague to the personal, but more than anything else my heart smiles most when I get to share or have someone share God, in story, testimony, plans, etc.

Park days are great because I get to hear from others, what God does for them, what they want to do for Him, and of course I get to share. One of my favorite park friends, G, told me a lot of things, but got me thinking and I really feel and know for us anyway-that God is calling us to be on mission including our kids. I am a practical person so I need to have examples and see how others are doing it to see if it would work for us. The Texas Baptist Children's Home responded to my volunteer inquiry and gave me an example, she said the best way to serve their when you have little kids, is to make treats or prepare healthy snacks and bring them in to the home for the various cottages there. Not only do the kids get to have fun in the kitchen with their mom and eat a few treats themselves, they get to give them to others who have less and be part of serving God's other children. I love this idea.

then we were driving to CVS last night for this weeks deal and we went by a Care Center, I wondered if that was an old folks home, then I remembered a while back that I had thought of what a great idea it would be for the kids and I and hopefully other people will want to join-to bring them cards, pictures, treats, whatever they let us bring. I love having asked how I can include our kids in mission and getting 2 answers for what we could do---for now it may be simple, but its doing and as they get older we can expand on what we do....

325. being excited to serve others
326. meeting new people
327. telling Tanner he gets to take a cooking class and him getting pretty excited!
328. ideas--seriously imagine not having any ideas,
329. feeling a little more confident about having to teach a class after registering today :)
330. G's blog--great info, great videos--you are never too old or too young to serve and be on mission
        Proof---an old woman lived in a brothel in India just to show love to the enslaved women there
        and teach them about God by studying the Bible and teach them to read and write and do math.
        More proof---what can a baby do? Babies bring joy to people, think of someone you safely
       visit with your baby and put a smile on their face (ex. an elderly neighbor with no grandkids)

**sorry no photos today

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I praise You, my savior and friend....

320. hearing other people's stories, seeing what God is doing in others
321. worshipping through tears
322. being overwhelmed with knowing how good God is
323. being reminded that God is in control of our path and He will give us wisdom to do what we need to do according to His timing and His ways

Church was refreshing to me on Sunday and God spoke to me there about our paths and how He is in control. He reminded me again about how blessed I am and what amazing things He can do, when we let Him do it and get out of the way!

A woman shared her story with me about how she was trying to Foster/adopt and how her MC leader was not getting her letter of recommendation done and she was so eager to get all of it in so they could get a kid. When she finally let go and let God give her a child in His timing, it happened at the perfect time, bringing exactly the child she was meant to have. A 5 week old baby boy came into the hospital and should have died, he was being resuscitated, he had several broken ribs, his intentestines were torn in half due to abuse---how can anyone abuse a tiny little baby--how can a parent who carries their child for 9 months, labors him and births him, harm their precious gift? those are the parts we don't understand, but God was working good for this little boy-His little boy and for the family who fostered him. The day the paperwork was final for this woman and her husband she met this little baby and was able to foster him, had to drop him off with his abusers for 9 months before finally having that stopped and when he was 17 months adopted him as theirs. He is 100% healthy now and she told me that she gets it even more with her realationship with God. We are adopted by God and He loves us as His own, just like she loves her little boy as her own--he is her son and we are God's children and He would do anything for us.

God is soo good and He knows what He is doing, get out of your own way and His way and let Him do it. It doesn't matter what you can do, step out in faith and trust Him, He will provide whatever you need.

I thank God that His mercies are new each day because I seem to screw up and drop the ball each day, but I am allowed to try again the next day, and maybe some days I will start to do it right, not because I can, but because if I get out of my way God will!

Most parents think their kids can do no wrong and I regret to admit I am not one of them (in some ways this is good, in others it is not) Example, at church a woman came up to me and said is Tanner your son? I immediately thought "oh crap what did he do" as I said yes and she told me that her daughter just thinks Tanner is wonderful and is always talking about him and excited to see him at church. I was literally beaming. He is such a good kid with a great big compassionate heart, yes he does wrong, but he is good and he is capable of so much more than I even give him credit for! Its me that needs to change, then he will. God help me to change, change my heart and my thoughts and my words (my words!).....whether its good or bad your kids look up to you and want to be like you, what example are you setting? I have learned that I set an example of frustration and guess what? now he gets frustrated and makes the same irritated sound I do. But, today is a new day and God's mercies are new today and I am going to try and get out of God's way and let Him help me!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


316. today was so much better than yesterday,
 though it started very very rough--with horrible sleep and horrible trees screeching across the windows-waking me and Kenni

317. bought me some big ol' loppers to chop the heck of the trees branches to make the screeching stop!!! yay yay amen for peaceful sleep tonight

318. anticipating the hubs coming home tomorrow feels pretty awesome!

319. finding ideas from some amazing ladies blog on how to make super cool gifts for people--Christmas next year is going to kick off early---and this time I am really going to hope it is more than just talk to get done early so there can be one less stressor at a time of year that is suppossed to be focused on joy and Jesus

well I am going to bed earlier tonight so i must go for now, but i will leave you with some awesome photos of my awesome people:

so cute i can't take it

 just like mommy finishes first and wants to "help" others out
 Romeo wants a piece of Tanner's new bike
 i mean really, are you kidding me with this: i love love love it---look at daddys proud happy face
 more of that precious dimple
 getting so big and so cute

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I just put the kids down for bed and I am still a little shaky and my heart is beating a little faster than normal and I just have to stop and start counting some gifts because i am about 2 seconds from exploding....
301. baby hand dimples (thanks to M for bringing this back to my attention)
302. a son that is able to do most things by himself, even getting better at brushing his teeth
303. even though it was super stressful, the Lord is good and provided so many free things tonight from Walgreens! a blessing to bless others is headed my way (and others) very soon

304. a missional community meeting planned that I am more excited for than normal even!
305. thinking of some great ways to serve others today and just waiting on their responses to bring back to group---feels good to have a deadline and bigger purpose for our M.C.

306. back to kids---Kenni found great joy in just screwing on and off a vitamin container lid--no worries she cant get the seal off so we are good :)
307. a boy finding security in a Lightening McQueen night light--can't blame him i fall asleep to a show every night (usually friends or scrubs--back when I lived at mom and dad's and had cable in my room {their spare room-nothing done for me in that no worries} I would fall asleep to the food network, often Alton Brown's good eats-good times)
308. being reminded of just how cute my kiddos are by strangers in a store-not that I need reminding, but it always makes me smile anyway--gift :)
309. cowboy boots and warm up pants on a 4 year old that he recieved as a wonderful gift in the form of hand me down by his favorite boys---truly one of the best gifts are hand-me-downs!

310. deep breaths--they really do help a little, now repeat

311. my camera finally letting me upload pics
312. friends checking up on me
313. North East Metro Park in Pf---really good park with Kenni currently

314. knowing that God will show me grace (heaps of it tonight) for my less than stellar parenting today-with high stress and yelling and all the fun stuff that always is brought out of me when daddy is away training and that his mercies are new every morning

Tonight was a little on the....okay it was really rough, but we all survived and the kids went down easy (315. kids went down easy-no tears) and I get to spend time focusing on all the gitfs that filled my day inspite of the stress.

 that's my boy
 couponing wears Hank out too :)
 Photography by Tanner :0
 Little Miss is really gettin into her eating and or once keeping her bib on--nice
 best things I ever found in a toy box.....
 check out this cool dude, he came out ready to dance
 dimple :) :) :)
 Aunti--we miss you <3
now to get about cleaning and all that fun stuff--have a great night all

Monday, January 9, 2012

God is moving

289. recocilliation
290. My dad praying over dinner---this is a huge huge gift, for those who don't know my dad well, we didn't grow up in church, praying together, or anything like that--we simply believed there was a God. This is so awesome to see God working on his heart, holding hands and leading prayer with my mom and sister!
291. my sister's faith growing leaps and bounds daily!
292. Fil being such an awesome Godly man and amazing influence in the Van Etten and Pierce homes!
293. my hubby stepping up to lead at missional community group
294. actively chosing to be on mission, not just with words, but with homework to back it up
295. crying (or trying really really hard not to cry) with friends
296. being inspired and challened by great friends (G  that is you!) I can never truly explain to you what you do for me with words, but thank you from the bottom of my heart!
297. friends who encourage you to do somethign you are afraid to do (M that is you)
298. freinds who call to check on you and pray for you, making time just for me (thanks to B and G.B.)
299. being encouraged to read and pray with intention every day--and finding a way to make time even when you get up early to do it and your baby wakes up right as you grab the Book!
300. walking into my daughters room to see whats going on with her and daddy to find them both sleeping on the guest bed cuddled together--so precious--too bad it was too dark for a picture!

We don't know what is going to happen next--not an easy concept for someone like me who just thrives on planning, but i know that no matter what God is in control and so long as we seek His widom and clarity and His will above all else, it will all work out! The tough part is just in the waiting and not knowing. We are unsure if we are going to move to base and which one it will be or if God will shut those doors to keep us in Texas to finish our time in the Marine Corps---regardless God will have His will and i am just so thankful for where we are right now. I am so proud of my husband's leadership skills and for what we are doing as a family and as a community and i can't wait to see what all God has in store for 2012---one thing is for sure, He is moving!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

happy new year

286. remembering what God did for you through 2011

Vacation to Oregon was lovely (as it always is), but I have to say it was a blessing to be back at our church on sunday at the Austin Stone! Our sermon reminded me of waht God did for us the last year.

We started 2011 on a bad, well not so it was bad note! Our 3 month old baby was very sick and when I took her to the doc I was sent to the ER immediately because she was having trouble breathing and was dehydrated. We spent 5 days in the Dell Children's Hospital
287. Dell Children's Hospital

Our good friends took Tanner and we stayed in the hospital watching our poor baby try to get better. She had RSV--no cure, just waiting.

This pic was when she was getting better and would actually take a little milk. She was hooked up to IV's and Oxygen. One night they told us they might move her to ICU, that was about where I was starting to lose it. Up to that point I just kept waiting, but then I was a little more than worried. I hated to see her in her hospital bed and feel like there was nothing i could do to make her better or help her.

Good thing God is in control and reminded me shortly after my worry that she was in His hands. I hated that all she had was a diaper on though, eventually they gave her big socks for her feet and of course she had a blanket, but I still just didn't like it.

 our bed, thankful to be able to stay in her room with her!

 getting better......

wanting to comfort our precious girl!

 feeling better, but not that better dad come on
 Iv out yay
 what just happened????
 288.worn out and happy to be rid of all those tubes and finally have some jammies on :)
its been a year since all this and now:

oh my gosh I am filled with gratitude for a loving heavenly Father who gave us a beautiful gift (2 beautiful gifts) and both are healthy and sweet and smart and that is what God did for us in 2011.....among many other things!

Take a moment to reflect on what God did for you in 2011 and remember that nothing happens to you, if you are in Christ, God allows things to happen for you Romans 8:28 "All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose"