This is Me!

This is Me! The good, the bad, and the bald. You get it all! But I have hair now. This spring I'll be rockin the pixie.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Blessed Abundantly

"I can't find my shoes mom" "Which one's?"
"Which car are you going to take to work?"
"What do you guys want for dinner tonight?"
"Do you all want to go camping again this summer?"
"This computer is so slow, I think it is time for a new one."
"Did you get me that new CD (book) mom?"
"Do you guys want to go see that new movie?"

Do any of these phrases sound familiar to you too? Do you know what they all have in common? They show the extravagant extent to which we are blessed. We have abundant choices in our lives, we have room for multiples and extras. Have you ever thought about it that way? When I get up in the morning the choices are never ending.

Alarm clock set to music or cd? What cd? cotton or flannel sheets? body wash or sugar scrub? What should I wear? Flat hair or curly today? What should I eat? What color of eyeshadow? Coffee or tea? Which shoes? Which car should I drive? and that only covers a few choices and gets me through the morning. I am sure you could add a dozen different choices from your routine. So, you see my point. We live blessed lives.

Mark continues to find himself in this uncomfortable phase of life where he is unable to be the financial provider and yet God is using this time to draw our attention to His form of provision. If you have never experienced this, I would highly recommend it. While we have been guilty of wanting to hold on to our physical dollars during this time, we continue to have friends and family over to share our home and food. What we are learning in this is that the more we give it away and share it, the more we have. Plain and simple. We have all heard this principle before, but have we ever really put it to the test? Ask our kids how this is working or better yet, come have dinner with us and see for yourselves. Our freezers, fridges, and pantry cupboards are abundantly overflowing with provision for daily sustenance. It has been a season of great faith building around here.
Another area of abundant blessing in our life is our family and friends. We are so grateful to have each of you in our lives. So many of you both know and unknown to us, have blessed our family during this season of unknowns. You have sent notes of encouragement, you have joined us on our knees in crying out to God, you have opened up your homes and dinner tables and shared from your baskets and you have walked beside us on days when there just aren't words. Our hearts of full of grattitude for your generousity and endless faithful petitions on our behalf. We pray God would be returning the blessing back to your home, ten fold.

God Bless as you pursue the Blessed Life. If you really want to go further with this, check out Craig Groeschel at and look for the series "the Blessed Life."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Visit From Grandma's

So, what happens when grandma's come to visit?
We stay up to late playing games, watching movies, (sleeping for some of us), or chatting.

We go for walks in the brisk afternoon, get out of our dishes duty, and play more games.

We probably eat way, way, way too many M & M's and just go well crazy like poor Terin here.

We might enlist said grandma in manual labor cutting pounds of apples for canning sauce or pie filling

There is probably a concert or two or well I guess four. We need to get this act synchronized.

Overall, we have a really great time hangin out.

Thanks for the memories.
We love you!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin Seeds!

I must confess that some years, my pumpkin carving enthusiasm is seriously lacking compared to that of an exuberant scrap booking mom. When the season rolls around and I have only one thing on my mind, THE SEEDS! I could do with out the glowing faces, fancy cuttings, and carved creations. Ya, they're fun, but really? It's all about the seeds.

This year we did pumpkin carving with our Home Group from church. This meant 14 pumpkins, opened, (with a power tool), scooped, scraped, and carved. It also meant a massive glop of pumpkin goobers to wade through for the treasured seeds. Yes, I did sift through every last ounce to get to the final seed. I am happy to report, the bounty was plentiful! and really pumpkin seeds are quite easy to make. Experiment with em too. That is how we ended up with the garlic.
After they have been pulled from the pumpkin, I rinse them off to remove a bit more of the goop. Then I put them in a bowl with water and garlic salt and let them soak over night.

The next day, I spread a thin layer on a cookie sheet and sprinkle them with salt or more garlic salt. Bake them low and slow. Set the oven to 250 and bake around 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Store them in a cool, airtight place.

Sadly, this season comes only once a year. Savor the seeds you get and then wait til next year to do it all over again. What a great seasonal treat!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Little One's

After being asked "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven ?" Jesus responded this way.

Matthew 18:2-6 He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Childlike humility and faith are unlike the faith you and I share. They have not yet been clouded with doubt, despair, corruption and unbelief.

There is nothing like the feel of a newborns skin to bring out that deep sigh from within. To touch something so new and perfect is a sensation like no other. Looking into eyes that have not yet experienced the pain of seeing a loved one die or the violence of the streets. Holding a tiny hand that hasn't walked someone to their grave. Feeling the strong beat of a heart that has not know heart ache. Caressing precious bitty ears that haven't heard the harsh words of anger, slander or lies. To see life in it's most perfect beginning, grabbing hold of each new breath in order to grow and become what God has pre-determined.

Take the extra time to hold a newborn baby or small child on your lap. Bathe in the beauty of their innocence and purity and ask God to restore unto you, the Joy of your salvation. And always remember to pray for these little one's who are so precious to God. Whether you are a parent, grandparent or great grandparent, friend, aunt or uncle, youth pastor or Sunday school teacher you undoubtedly know children you can pray for.
The requests I received this last week were delayed in being posted as I attended the memorial service for my sisters best friend, at only 23 years old. Oddly enough most of the requests are for children. So without out further delay...

Please lift up Zac, an 11 year old boy in North Carolina. He was in a small little accident like all kids where he scraped his skin. It was nothing mom couldn't handle with a little neosporin and hydrogen peroxide. Until 15 mins later he had a severe reaction and they discovered by the grace of God that he had some serious issues inside his body. First thank God for allowing this accident in order to discover the larger issues. God's timing is always perfect. Secondly, thank the Lord that this family is leaning on the strong shoulder of their Lord and Savior Jesus for strength at this time. Finally, lift up this little guys physical body to our God who holds this precious boy in his grasp. We are asking for a physical healing of his body Lord for your eternal Glory.

Evan - a 12 year old in Arizona - This poor young one was recently diagnosed with Leukemia and Lymphoma. Father God again we cry out to you for the life of this child. Touch his body, hold this family firmly in your grasp and walk them through this horrible experience and bring them out to testify of your goodness.

Some friends are in Colorado for the next two weeks for some training for the mission field. Their three boys, ages 5 and under, are with them and will be in day long child care. While it is a blessing that this care is provided, it will be the first time for these boys to be in childcare with complete strangers for full days, for two weeks. This is really burdening "moms" heart. Pray that God would bring her peace about this next two weeks and allow her to fully focus on the training and what He has for her there. I ask that you allow the kids to find friends and really enjoy this time and thrive in the situation with loving caregivers. Bring them home encouraged and feeling confident in your calling to the specific group of people you would have them ministering to.

My sister in law had her son. Lukas Asher Adams. Pray for healthy growth for this little guy. He seems to have his days and nights mixed up so Lord we ask that this would quickly get turned around so both mom and dad would get well rested. Thank you for this little life.
On the same day as this birth my sisters friend died. I would covet your prayers for her broken heart as well as the parents and sisters to this young life cut short.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Loaves of Love!

Sunflower Honey Bread with Plum Jam

All the yummy smells the boys have been baking up around here got me inspired too. I have always wanted to try this recipe so now seemed like the perfect time. It comes from one of my favorite cookbooks from one of my favorite sisters. If you are interested in purchasing one of these loaves with or without the jam, just let me or one of the guys know. It will go towards the Haiti fundraiser. I made two of them and we ate the first one. Can I just say, it makes amazing toast! It is a yeast bread so it isn't quite like the banana or zucchini. But it is delicious just the same! It would make a great gift with the jam. Let me know!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Prayer Requests

It is late and I wasn't planning this one but it is necessary.

I was enjoying some family time with the kids tonight and missed a message from my sis. A dear childhood friend of hers passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. She was around 23 years old. Please join with me in prayer for the family of the girl. What a tragic loss. Please pray for my sis, Ashley, as she has to go and say goodbye to this dear friend. Lord give her peace in this storm. Comfort her heart.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, I would ask for prayers for my sister-in-law who goes in at 5:30 for a c-section. Pray that it goes without complication and that Lukas would arrive safe and sound tomorrow around 7 ish. I pray this would be a blessed time for the family.

Thank you for your faithful prayers for each other, for fellow believers, and for friends and family. What a gift that we can go confidently before the King and know he not only hears but cares about our lives and our concerns.

A New Look!

Little Miss Payton, during schooling last year, told me with great frustration, "Mom, I can't read the small words. They are too hard for me." In confusion and frustration I asked her "Can you read the bigger words?" to this she sadly replies, "Yes". Color me baffled. How is it that she could read larger words, but not small words? Reading has always seemed to be very difficult for her, so I worked extra hard with her on it and concluded that if it was still a problem next year, we would see a reading specialist. Even after three successfully reading, I was missing something "big" with the fourth.

Shortly after we began our school year, we discovered that low and behold, the same problem showed back up. I decided to talk to someone to get her some reading help. Surely this will fix this strange disorder I reasoned.

About two weeks ago, during reading, she got frustrated again almost to tears and said "but mom I told you I can't read the small words". I asked her to show me which ones she could read. She pointed to the story title. I asked cautiously, slowly realizing what she has been trying to tell me? "You can see the large print words but not the small print words?" "YES! That's what I keep telling you!"

Ah, now I finally "see" what she was saying. So off to the optometrist we went and sure enough, our little miss is severely farsighted. No wonder she couldn't read the "small" words.

These little readers are just to get her through until they get her new glasses are made. Wait til you see her in em. She is pretty darn cute. I think she feels a little extra cute in em. She was told she looks like someone she admires very much. This was a great compliment according to Payton. So she proudly wore her little glasses all day for school.

This story reflected a weakness in my ability to see something so obviously in front of me. It got me wondering how often I do this in my spiritual walk. How many times has God put something right in front of me and I fail to see it? I just needed to step back and look at life through the eyes of Jesus eyes. How much clearer would life be, if I would just slow down and look at things through His eyes. Like Payton with her new glasses, I would probably be shocked at what I would see.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Daily Work Organized.

I realize I said I would get back to the notebook and planner concept several weeks ago, it's just that so many other things became "front burner issues". So, better late than never.

This little system has been a great tool for our family and the many others we have shared it with. Hopefully, you will find it useful for yours as well.

One of the really great things about home school, is that it is anywhere, everywhere, and anytime. This means doctors appointments, lessons, banks, meetings, you name it. Being able to take schoolwork with you is just part of the routine. This system allows you to take it all with you without taking it ALL with you. Even if you purpose to be primarily stay at home home schoolers, this system will have its advantages.

To get started you will need: a 3-hole punch, a large clip, possibly some hole reinforcement circles, dividers, the binder, and the planner.

It begins with the binder. I am a bit of a color coding nerd. Just ask anyone who knows me. Having four kids I found it easier to give them each their own color. In the binder you will need tabbed dividers for each subject your child is studying. It should look something like this.

For some of you this next step will feel very scary. Take a deep breath and repeat after me, "I can do this. It will be okay and I won't get in trouble." I want you to tear out a weeks worth or even two weeks worth of the worksheets for each subject and put them behind the correct tab.

Then you begin planning out the work and writing in the assignments. I usually do 2 weeks at a time. That way if we jump ahead I don't have too many changes to make. Likewise if we take extra time in an area. For the older kids, this is where the month at a glance becomes helpful. I use it to put in reminders of when they have tests, papers that are due, lessons and or appointments, or labs that need to be completed. This allows them to look ahead and begin planning their time accordingly. (in theory, these are pre-teens and teenagers we are talking about)

As you begin planning out your weeks, you may notice that Thursday is consistently a busy day away from home so your lesson plans for the day may be smaller like this example. You can see the math assignment and corresponding lesson.

The child will have most of the work they need right with them in their binders for two weeks out. You may need to bring along a reading book. Our older kids often have to bring along a textbook but, it still eliminates carrying all the work texts around. I have discovered another advantage to this system is that when it comes time to report in or create a transcript, you have all the information you need regarding what your child has covered quickly at your fingertips. By scheduling out your days, you are helping to create a routine of school for your children. Once established, this routine frees you up to be more hands on with the younger kids.

The clip is used simply to hold the at a glance month and the current week open. I am primarily using the month at a glance with my two older kids. The goal here is getting them comfortable with the idea of being responsible for commitments they have. I think it is important to teach them early on the value of their time as well as others. If they have committed to be somewhere for a lesson at 4 and then show up at 4:20, not only do they miss 20 mins. of their lesson which isn't very good stewardship of funds, but it doesn't honor the other persons time and obligations they may have. I am not talking about the occasional running late because you got caught at the train, behind the school bus parade, or your car got a flat tire. I think being good stewards of our time is just as important as being good stewards of our funds. They learn primarily by watching us so we have to try and set the example on this one.

When the kids have completed an assignment we mark it of with a highlighter. This allows me to easily see at a glance what work is completed and what things still need to be done. The paperwork gets turned in to a turn in box. It is collected here until the end of the month. At this time, I go through them all and type up my report. I have the older kids keep all their work in their binders until after a test so they can use it for studying.

If you have any questions or would like to see first hand what this looks like and how the kids use it on a day to day basis, please feel free to ask me any questions or give me a call. Good luck with it. It has been a great source of sanity for me.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pure Faith

I was lucky enough to overhear a quick little conversation between Payton and her best friend. They weren't paying attention to anything or anyone around them. They were in the moment of being together and being friends. A simple pure comment stood out. It was said in matter of fact faith. "We are going to be best friends forever and when we are in heaven too." This wasn't a question or a goal it was a statement of fact. Of faith. You need to understand one more thing about these two little girls when they are together. Their exuberance for just being is explosive, like a Romanian Poppy. These flowers look like they just couldn't wait to burst open and declare the glory of the Lord. A giant percussion of petals and color. This is Payton and her little friend.

Observing this little moment caused me to question my passion for pure faith. Do I explode with hope for the friendships I will still have in heaven? Do I exude pure joy about the prospect of heaven at all? or do I, in uncertainty, sit back and hope the conversation moves to something I can grasp a little bit more tangibly like the evidence of Christ in my life. Sadly, I have to confess that this is something I struggle with but am leaning on my patient savior to work this unknown out in my heart. How about you? Is there an area of your life where you could use a bit more of this pure childlike faith?


There are several people recovering from major surgeries. Let's keep each of them in our prayers this week.

Stephanie - mastectomy
Vonnie - mastectomy
Kellie - mouth cancer
Shirley - gall bladder

A young man with young son is really making poor choices. He has given his heart to the Lord, said he wants to walk a new life and yet is being constantly pulled back down the old roads. Let's just pray the Lord would rock him to his core and show himself as the only true source of life and all he needs to really live.

A sweet young friend is having tummy troubles. She has had and is having lots of test to determine the causes but they have come up with nothing yet. She has a upper GI x-ray tomorrow morning. Let us pray God reveals the problem area to the Dr.'s and they are able to help this young thing live a long and healthy life without these problems.

Theresa - She is to be induced next week to have their second little guy, and my precious nephew, Lukas. God hold this family in the palm of your hand and make it a beautiful and uneventful delivery that they can remember with joy and not fear. Thank you for a healthy life for Levi now. We praise you for this sweet and joyful little guy.

They are also waiting to hear some decisions from the bank on their property. Lord just continue to direct the timing of this whole process so that it perfectly coincides with your plan for their future.

A son who has walked away from the Lord needs to come home. God guide him and his wife back to you. Lovingly bring them back to your heart and first love.

Kristy - She is having health problems that are effecting her pregnancy, namely asthma and gestational diabetes. Lord I pray that you would breathe your perfect breath of life into Kristy's lungs and remove the asthma so the medicines are no longer a problem which will allow the diabetes numbers to come back down and stay manageable. I ask too that after this little guy is born her pancreas would begin to work properly again so that she doesn't have to fuss with the diabetes. We know you are holding both of these dear ones in your very hand, allow them all to feel your presence as they press on to the time of this delivery. Please keep this baby boy a deliverable size.

I received a request for a "friend" who has to remain anonymous for security reasons. He his a missionary and is heading to Columbia for U.N. business. He works for the International Atomic Energy Agency of the U.N. He is being targeted by local drug cartels. They believe he has intellectual capital that could be sold or that his computer has information that could be taken and sold. His safety is in jeopardy. Lord God surround this friend with your Shekinah glory. Protect super naturally and allow your will to be carried out.

Doug and Jan are missionaries in Eastern Europe with Child Evangelism Fellowship. Their Austrian visas of 20 years have been unexpectedly and inexplicably revoked. Let's ask God to intervene and push their visas through so they can continue their work for God in the school in Vienna.


While Stephanie is still in the healing phase, she has received a very favorable report from the Dr.'s that the cancer is 95% gone from the tissue that they had removed, so with all the tissue having been removed, she should be completely cancer free. Her body responded well to the chemo and radiation treatments. Praise God for this miracle. Let's keep her tender heart and emotions in our prayers as she begins to adjust to her new body. Give her complete confidence in who she is in Christ ALONE!

Mark had two really good interviews this week. One job in particular would be really great. Lets pray as my friend prayed, that Mark's name would rise favorably to the top of the list if this is to be his next season of employment.

We continue to thank God for his provision for our family. It is amazing how much he loves us. He provides even little things that might seem like splurges at the moment. Yet God has seen fit to give us these little gifts along this weird rode. Thank you Lord for seeing our family and actively blessing us.

To Haiti With Love - Part 2

Got Shoes? They Don't! Let's Share!!!

What do apples and zucchini, tennis shoes and Haiti have in common? Everything if your name is Gavin Mikkelson. He has been working hard at his fund raiser to buy shoes for the people of Haiti. He has made flyer's and distributed them. He has gone up and let people know, and he has been baking non-stop. I could very possibly retire from my job as head baker in our home except for one problem... I love to bake as much as Gavin.
It was an easy and natural fit for the girls and the dresses and this seems to be that fit for Gavin. I think it is super important for us to involve our kids in learning the needs of others and then responding to the need. I love that for Gavin this is a very natural gifting in his heart.

He has been making zucchini bread, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, banana bars, and apple pies just to name the current goods. His weekly list of available items changes every Sunday, however, I am pretty certain you could make a request and find he was more than willing to accommodate. His fee is donation only, and 100% of your donation goes towards the purchase of shoes (and possibly clothes) for our church team to take with them and distribute in December. Our family is donating the ingredients and other items required so that he can truly spend 100% on the gift.

This weeks choices are apple strudel bread, apple crisp muffins, apple pie, French apple custard, or apple crisp. He is also making cookies and pumpkin breads or muffins. All baked good are from scratch and having sampled one or two, let me tell you they are pretty great! If I were to recommend one to you this week, it would hands down be the apple crisp muffins. This is dessert in a cup!

Call or post a comment if you are interested in contributing to this cause and aquiring some breads or baked goods for your family. He will be holding his bake sale fundraiser from now til December, so think of holiday ideas you may like some additional baked goods for.