Hello, Goodbye

Goodbye 2014:

This year has come and gone. What a year I have had. I've learned and grown in God and, man, is He amazing!

2014 was eventful in many ways:

30th birthday
10 year marriage anniversary
The girl turned 5
Grandpa is 90 and married 65 years
First day of Kindergarten
BD trips to New Zealand & Austria
Life altering books read
Closer friendships made
We read the whole Bible (I think this is my 4th time through in a year)
Many more events, some painful and some joyous but through it all, God is good!

Hello 2015!

Things I look forward to in 2015:

Memorizing Romans chapter 8
Memorizing Colossians 3:12-17
Grace through whatever God gives
To be Christ-exalting in all I do and grateful for His grace, mercy, and forgiveness when I am not.

This new year, may you draw closer to God our Savior, the One who takes away the sins of the world. (Jn 1:29)

Tea Sets and a Birthday Party

J was invited to a birthday party for a friend and the invite mentioned a "Dress up Tea Party." Well we (yes we) were sold right there. My girl loves to dress up and I do enjoy a good Tea Party. She was even asked to bring a doll or stuffed animal along too. Here are a few pics from the festivities: 

J with the birthday girl. 

One of many outfits she tried on. Her baby having tea

Dancing to the music

Luncheon and Tea (punch for the girls)

She was loving the whole thing!

They got to have their nails painted too

After-party burnout. She was so tired when we got home.

So the party ended but she was pretty excited about the little tea sets that she could use for her doll at the party and I just had to let her in on a little secret. I had been waiting until she was older, but now was a good time: I collected quite a few mini tea sets in my younger days. Yep, I was the jr. high kid and now 30 year old with a tea set collection. So I went in the storage box and unwrapped a few of the not-so-delicate variety for her to try. 

The resin sets I have - the sunflower just screams 90s and it's one of my favorites (I actually put it back in storage for now)

All the friends, enjoying some tea

Some of the collection - for another time

More tiny sets - I did let her keep the set on the left in her room for a while. There is also a larger set in the box back there that we didn't bother unwrapping just yet. 

This was my first tea set. I am pretty sure we bought it on a vacation somewhere but I can't quite remember. Maybe when we visited Tiny Town in Colorado? So many memories when I look at it but not as clear as they used to be. 

I love that I could share this moment with my girl today. It is fun to enjoy the same things and give a bit of my childhood to hers.

Party time

We attended the BD Christmas party this weekend. Because we had a few car issues to take care of earlier that day; I had to meet Pete at my parents' house and get ready there. It was like we were getting ready for the prom - with a 5 year old and 3 year old in tow. So my mom took the "obligatory picture" and off we went. My parents were also generous and watched the kids for us. 

While it took us a long time to get to the party, because of an accident in Centerville, we found a parking spot and walked to the McCune Mansion. I cannot imagine living in a house that size, let alone during the early 1900s. It is a beautiful place. The food is good and I meet some of the same people every year, once a year. So for about an hour and a half (maybe a record for Pete) we talked with his co-workers, walked around the house, ate food, drank wine and coffee (not together) and ate delicious mini desserts - pictured below because they were so pretty and cute. 

We didn't participate in the free gambling or dancing upstairs but I did manage to get one photo booth picture out of him before we left. I love that I can dress up and have fun with my man, even though he would have rather been home.

He has been blessed with a good job that he enjoys and I'm very grateful. We returned to my parents' house to find both kids asleep in their bed. We carried them to the car, still mostly asleep, drove them home, and put them right to bed - still asleep. It was a great evening. 

P.S. I found out that B is much much heavier than J when he is sleeping.


I am trying to slow my thoughts and desires this Christmas season and focus on Christ and His Grace. Grace! Man, oh man, do I need grace. This week has been full of internal struggles and outward "failures" as I strive to be "perfect" as I mother and love my children, keep my house, and live with and love my husband. I know I should live in God's grace and surrender my will and words and desires to Him. But really, most days I think, "How?" I need a button, like my computer, that I can push to restart when everything is frozen or not-responding in my heart.

 I have turned my life into things I should be doing and the joy has shrunk down. I should be cleaning, I should be nicer, I shouldn't be frustrated when the 3 year old acts like he's 3. I shouldn't bicker with my 5 year old "teenager." I should desire to cook healthy meals for my family. I should meet my husbands' needs better. I should read Ezekiel - and finish the Bible by the end of the year, I should read more books/Bible and watch less TV. I should watch my 3 year old at all times instead of sleeping in because he terrorizes the house and puts himself in danger. I should love on my friends and pray for the needs of others. I should..... my list that I created only gets longer! But here's the deal, I created it! God does not mandate those things from me and I need to give up on becoming who I think I need to be and do what God requires of me:

He has told you, O man, what is good: and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8

Now, maybe that verse does not encompass everything God wants of us. But Christ has paid the cost and we are not required any payment! We should LOVE GOD and LOVE OTHERS. Much of how we should live is summed up in the sermon on the mount, Matthew 5-7. So, I'm done with this "pity party of my failures" and I will go forward in Christ's grace! I am a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) He has called me to live for His glory, right now, in all I do! "Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him." 1 Cor. 7:17

So I am using the season of Advent to restart. I am going to pray and seek God. I want to fill my life with His Word and give thanks for all His grace and mercy. How can I change if I don't fill my life with His goodness and rid it of my sin and selfishness (easier said than done in the past but I am trusting in Jesus to carry it out this time.)

We are using two books this year to guide our Advent celebration; along with a few printable ornaments from The greatest Christmas site:

I could go on and on about advent. We don't have an advent wreath yet, but we do have 4 candles that we'll light each Sunday (no, they aren't the pink and purple colors.) We set our tree up, we will read the story at bedtime while the kids color the ornaments that correspond to the Jesse Tree and we'll hang them on our Christmas tree with the other ornaments.

I really want this season, and my life, to be focused on Jesus and who He is. Praying that my family will reflect His love to each other and to our community.

Time to restart! Pray with me, and for me, that we can be a community of believers known for our trust and dependence of God and our abundant out-pouring of His Grace! 


On this day in 2003, there was enough snow on the ground for a young man to take his girlfriend on a snowshoe adventure.

As is the case today, it was a Sunday. She went to church that morning and sang on the college group worship team. She shared her afternoon plans with her friends before leaving 5 minutes early to make it on time to church service at 11 with her man. Somehow, all the friends had figured it out but the girl was not convinced. They smiled and giggled and the girl went on her way - oblivious. 

After church, the memory of lunch escapes her, they must have stopped somewhere to eat because she has since learned that he needs food/energy to stay a happy and kind man. 

The destination was Snowbasin's lower parking lot. The snow clothes were on, the snowshoes fastened, they were ready. She can't remember ever walking far in snowshoes and was secretly hoping it wouldn't be "his idea of an easy trip." 

But the day was beautiful, the snow was in good condition, and the company was fun. There may have been a few thoughts of being cold or tired but she mostly kept them in her head. 

He knew exactly where they were going and soon the "trail" opened to a wide meadow area. The snow was fresh enough to still sparkle in the sun. They walked out a ways into the middle; his mind must have been racing. Her mind was honestly looking all around for a moose or mountain lion ready to charge. She laughs at it now but it nearly ruined the moment. 

He spoke sweet words to her about their time so far together and how they are better together than separate. At that moment, she knew. The clues fell into place. She realized the little and BIG hints had all been pointing here. 

Maybe a month or two prior, he had "jokingly" stolen one of her rings she always wore. She was annoyed then that it was missing but now sees that he used it to get a good size. 

Just the day before, he had taken her parents out to lunch. At the time she thought something of it but dismissed it because, "Who asks for permission then asks the girl the very next day?" Well now she knew. 

So there they were, she was smiling like crazy - the wind even making her teeth cold - he dropped to one knee and reached into his inside chest pocket and pulled out a white box. 

The exact words escape her but he asked her to be his wife. She said, "Yes!" He took the ring out of the box, she took her glove off, and he slipped it on her finger. They were now officially engaged to be married. 

There they sat. In the snow, talking of life and love. A few hugs and kisses were shared. The glove went back on the hand, because it was indeed cold and the ring was a size too big and how terrible it would have been to lose it in the snow! 

The walk back to the car was much shorter than the walk there. Not only because they took another route but because she was no longer paying attention to the terrain or cold or "moose" about in the woods. 

Before going home he suggested they stop at his parents' house, "since we're in the neighborhood." So they stopped in to announce the engagement but they were all but waiting at the door. A picture was taken and smiles and hugs were shared. 

A young couple, she was 19 and he 23. Seriously, how cute are they? 

So the day continued. He was not finished with the surprise. They pulled into her parents' driveway and the lights were on while joy and laughter poured from the door. Her parents had invited all their friends who had played an important part in her life and her friends too (many of whom were children of her parents' friends.) An engagement party was happening with only a days notice. What an enjoyable day she had. 

God is good and she knows that more today than she did 11 years ago. Their story still continues and in God's sovereign grace, may it continue for years to come. 

The End 

Reformation Day and Halloween

Happy Reformation Day! Okay, it is over now but it takes me a while to fully compose a post lately, so this is what you get when I start the post on the actual day.

Ever since Jr. High (or maybe before) I've been able to remember the date of Martin Luther nailing the 95 Thesis on the door in Wittenburg Germany because of a song my mom used to play (and I do now) by Wes King called "Martin Luther" on his album, The Robe. Reformation Day was just a small act one man did to start a discussion and now today I pray I will continue to follow the Bible and do what God commands over the voices of man. I read a great article this week related to Reformation Day and I'll link it here so you can understand more (though some of you may have already read it.) The Reformation: Trick or Treat?

I also read another Desiring God article on Halloween. I've never really enjoyed Halloween. But this year, we participated in Halloween more than ever before. Mostly because J is in school now and man, it's a big deal in public school here. I volunteered at the school to help with her class party. My game station was bingo. I like to volunteer in her class so I can meet all the kids and get to know them better and some of their parents too. I was convicted by a video floating around on facebook by Desiring God (I admit, we have always like John Piper, he is a very wise man and his organization, Desiring God writes some amazing articles/books/videos for us to learn more about God.) The video, if you you choose to watch it or not, talks about not hiding on Halloween but embracing the fact that your neighbors freely come to your door every year for candy and what an opportunity to share the gospel. So this year I was less cynical about Halloween.

A few pictures of our adventures that day:

J and her class. Little B made an appearance too because he came to help me with the party. 

There were 3 Elsas in her class a few superheros and ninjas and she was Cinderella. 

The principal likes to prepare a performance for the kids before the parade. This year they were ghostbusters. 

My little Cinderella during the school parade. She had "glass slippers" but they weren't reliable for actual walking. 

More of the parade

Brother & Sister: Thomas the Train and Cinderella

Action Shot: He was making a train whistle and she was trying a "curtsy" 

This is what they do when no one's looking: He puts things over his head and she eats paper. yep. 

Fun times at a friends' for "trunk or treating" and dinner

His favorite part of the trunk or treat, the fire trucks were there too!

We are becoming more involved in our community and if it means we have to dress up and parade around the school so I can get to know our new neighbors more, than so be it. I am trying to follow God's desires for our life and living in His grace more and more each day, and for that, I'm eternally grateful. 

Instruments of Mercy

You guys! Today I was able to exercise alone. B went with his Grammy and Papa to run errands while I volunteered in J's class at school. I made it home before B, and J rode the bus home, so I had about 40 minutes to myself. I decided to use the last of the good weather, and my new cool-weather fleeced-lined pants and long sleeve workout clothes from TJ Maxx, to go on a run in my neighborhood.

The hills by my house are tough to actually run so I was able to get a good workout, even though it took me 30 min. to run 2 miles. The run was so enjoyable because I listened to an album I forgot I had. Not sure how I found out about them or if I even paid for it - may have been a Noise Trade find - but it was the best running music!

The words are so encouraging and the music was just the right beat. Now I'm not normally a rap/hip hop fan but having amazing theology in music is always a plus for me. The album is by Beautiful Eulogy called Instruments of Mercy. Seriously, if you need to be reminded of God's mercy in your life and/or get pumped up on a run, this is the album for you! Go find it and I hope it will encourage you to love God more!

Worship and Suffering

God is the one who gets the glory; somehow, He always will.

This month I've had a few conversations about God's will, "His plan for our lives", our spiritual gifts, and what we should do with the talents and gifts we've been given. I've also read 3 or 4 books this year - and many blog posts/articles - that have spurred me on "to love and good deeds." (Heb. 10:24)

Throughout that process, I've come to understand more clearly the part I have to play in God's story. Especially here, in this valley, where I live. I am more committed to Christ and Him magnified.

One of the talents God has blessed me with is the ability to worship through song. I am a worship leader (or lead worshiper as I like to think) and have been, on and off, for 11 years. 14 years of my life have been spent on a worship team of some kind in various ways. Through that time, I have learned much about myself and how I receive and show God's love to those on my team, and to the other worshipers in the room. I know how important a worship set can be for a visitor to our church or even to a long time member who is learning not to just go through the motions every week.

That said, I don't often "practice what I preach" and I can sometimes be left wanting for a more polished service or have even led worship sets where I have not really worshiped God. My preparation for the week may be the best I can do or I may have been lazy and not prepared a single song or practice until Saturday night and Sunday morning; yet God still gets the glory and He seems to work most out of my inadequacy. Most people can't tell when I'm unprepared, but a handful of us know  and I find myself giving in more deeply to God's leading on those weeks.

There is often a weight I feel when selecting the songs we will sing because I know from others and my personal experience that the words we sing on Sunday can carry throughout our week, year, and even lifetime. I have had a few friends comment on the songs we sing and how they impact their week and become "stuck" in their head. Part of me wants to take credit for the "good job" we did, playing the music well and choosing songs that reflect God's grace and truth - but it can only be God who impacts His people in such a way! He is teaching me that I am His instrument, used to show others His love.

I am so moved by worship music; which is why I assume others will be too. Some people are drawn closer to God in many other ways. But for me, if I'm out of sorts and need to be pulled back; I grab my guitar or even a put on a favorite album and turn it up. It is then, the words speak to my heart and help get my mind back on track.

One song has spoken to my heart in a deep way lately. So much, that I sang it in church today for others to be introduced to it's powerful message. Our church, Ogden Valley Community Church, may be small compared to others but we have a community that loves God and loves each other more every day. (1 Jn 4:11)  I am blessed to belong to such a group. I have been thinking a lot about suffering the past few months. Not that I personally have endured a "crisis" (as some call it) within the past year but so many around me are dealing with some very difficult issues. I know our little church is going through a lot together and I pray we are doing it well and for God's glory.

I'll not list the many afflictions we are experiencing but everyone goes through suffering. Our afflictions are not meaningless. The Bible has many passages explaining why we should rejoice in suffering and not be surprised that we endure it. (Rom. 5:3-52 Cor. 4:16-18Job 13:15,) It is difficult for me to explain so I'll let Shane & Shane and John Piper do it for me. They are a few of my favorite Christian artists/authors/influences. The link below is titled: "A Song for the Suffering" and the music video is,  "Though You Slay Me - featuring John Piper"

"Though You Slay Me" Shane & Shane with excerpt from John Piper (transcript found here, also embedded below)

I pray you will be encouraged to walk in faith and hope when suffering comes. You may be in the midst now or it may be past or more will come in the future and I know it is easier said than done. This world is fallen but Christ is all we need, He is enough for me.

Suffering Servant

I just finished reading the book of Isaiah for our year through the Bible with the "Bible eater" plan. I know there are a lot of Psalms that have been turned into praise and worship songs but through reading Isaiah, I noticed many verses that immediately brought more songs to my mind.

One of my favorite albums as of late is The Water & The Blood by Dustin Kensrue. He wrote a song based on Isaiah 53. It is so powerful. I included a YouTube video so you could hear the beauty of the song. So, check it out.

His appearance was so badly marred
He could not have been recognized
So disfigured, so beyond all human likeness
That we hid our eyes

Though he carried all our griefs and bore our sorrows
We esteemed him not
But despised him and considered him afflicted
And as one reviled by God

Though all of us have gone astray
Though all have turned to their own ways
The Lord has laid our wickedness on him
His punishment has brought us peace
And crushed for our iniquities
He died to save his people from their sin

He was stricken, and though pierced for our transgressions
He did not lash out
But was silent, like a lamb led to the slaughter
So he opened not his mouth

The might of Yahweh stands revealed
And by his wounds we all are healed

He offered up his soul to death
He poured it out till none was left
He died but now shall rise and surely see

The many he has righteous made
And satisfied, his work surveyed
This man of sorrows evermore shall be

On high, exalted, lifted up
The righteous servant raised above
His mighty hand shall work the will of God

The nations all shall hear and see
Astonished at his victory
The kings of men shall shut their mouths in awe

If She Hadn't Told Me

Another kindergarten post is about to happen but bear with me because this is a new thing happening in our lives so obviously, it takes up a lot of my thoughts and time.

I've noticed, since she began school, there are things I just won't know unless someone tells me. I'm of the type that is controlling and likes to know everything my children do or experience at all times. While my faith and trust in God is stronger now than possibly any other time in my life; there are still thoughts that creep their way into my mind and make me question things and sometimes fear follows closely behind. With that in mind, I'm thinking on Colossians 3:15 "And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful." I need to surrender to Christ and let his peace, not my fear, rule in my heart. I'm thankful we live in a wonderful area where we can send our girl to a great public school.

Because I stay home with the kids, I have been near them and have known what is happening most of their life. Even if they go to a grandparent's home or with friends, I usually get a "report" of sorts when I pick them up. Now I know, even then, I don't get the whole story but they are with people I love and trust. It's different at school, I trust her teacher and I know she is well cared for, but there are 21 kids in her class too and I'm getting most of my information from the perspective of my 5 year old. So with that in mind, here is a list of recent things she has told me. Some funny and some I'm glad to have found out.

Things I may not have known, if she hadn't told me... 

1.  J: "Oh, we had to move seats on the bus today." Me: "Why?" J: "I don't know, I think we were being too rowdy." - She and her neighbor-friend were playing too loudly with their backpacks. 

2. J: "I got hurt two times today on the playground." She is just fine but this is what prompted me to write this post. 

3. J: "I'm not supposed to whistle anymore at school, only on the playground." Apparently her teacher must have asked her to only use her new found whistling skills outside. :) 

4. J: "I got a treat today at school!" Me: "Why?" J: "I went to another classroom with some other kids from class and we took a test. Because I was good, I got a tootsie roll at the end." She had gone to the reading specialist's room for the beginning of year test. 

5. J: "We get to go to the library again tomorrow!" I didn't even know she went last week! But I did receive an email update from her teacher this week detailing what their weekly schedule is like. 

6. J: "I am supposed to wear colors like the flag tomorrow, you know, red white and blue - but I'm not sure why?" I had to think about this one for a minute but now I realize that tomorrow is 9/11 so maybe they are doing a tribute/memorial of some kind. I also had to explain to her today what 9/11 is and why we should take time to remember every year. I wasn't quite ready for that talk but it went well. 

I'm sure there will be many more instances, like this, throughout the school year but I'm glad her teacher is very open to communication and I can always email or call to find out more info if I need it. 

God has shown me many things about myself and how I should change throughout every stage of my children's lives. This next stage is probably related to control issues and letting go of my will so I can wait and trust God to work things for His will. There are good things happening for my little girl and our family. I need to be open to seeing what they are and stepping out in faith and thankfulness to God. 


We've made it through the first "week" of kindergarten! My sweet girl is loving her time there. I, as the Momma, am adjusting to the new change better than anticipated. I continue to over-analyze most things but I'm learning, more than ever this year, to trust in God all the time. I am so pleased with her school and teacher. She came home today and I asked her how it went. She said, "Kindergarten is amazing!" 

We have embarked on a new phase in life and I pray that I will be more in-tune to God's leading in my life and how to raise my children well - to love and glorify Christ.

2014 I have been trying to reflect on Colossians 3 specifically verses 12-17. This section is my prayer for our family as we become more involved in the surrounding community and grow closer to other believers in Christ.

Colossians 3: 15-17  " And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

I am so thankful to God for all He is showing me in my life and I will strive to make Him known where ever I am.

Miss Bindergarten

Last weekend we went to the Treehouse Museum for the Miss Bindergarten party given for the new kindergarteners of Weber School District. It was a great time with a "circus" outside including activities directed toward skills the students need for kindergarten. I'm glad my mom and sister were able to join us to help out with the kids too. 

There were a few reptiles and birds to watch. We learned a sound to make that made the kookaburra talk back. It was cool. 

Acrobatics and dress up fun

Letter matching game

Obstacle course

She made two in the bucket!

Inside the museum, her favorite exhibit is the hospital/nursery and she would stay all day if she could.

There is a new "Diner car" and even though I'm sure it was full of germs, she had a great time and didn't care a bit about the crowd of people around her.

If he could be anywhere in the museum, it would be downstairs in the workshop or farm area - which is why I need helpers when I take the kids because the babies and the diner are upstairs.

Picture with Miss Bindergarten and of course Aunt Sarah - free t-shirt too!

Group photo - taken by Nancy, thanks!