Our 20th Anniversary Trip – And What We Came Home To

Floating down a river on a raft for hours, staying overnight in a family owned bed-and-breakfast type lodge, sitting on the patio relaxing for hours – this is what Matt planned for us on our anniversary.

I loved our getaway so much – I am still flying high from it.  We only had to drive a little over two hours to our destination, which was perfect since both of us are a little “traveled out” after this very busy summer.  I’m amazed at what Matt found for us to do, right here in Nebraska.  It truly was perfect.

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The lady who owned the lodge where we stayed set up an anniversary breakfast table for us.  It was beautiful!

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What were our boys doing the whole time we were gone?  Well, we left them with long school work lists and chore lists.  We bought food we don’t normally buy - as a special treat and to keep things easy and fun for them (making them promise to eat at least one fruit or veggie with every meal).  :)  The college grad living with us made sure all was well with the boys overnight.

But beyond that?  Well, we had no idea what these boys were really up to.  We trusted that they were being responsible and wise with their time.  And just what did they do with their free time?

Amazing.  I’m telling you – this is amazing.  We thought our welcome home “gift” looked like this:

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Truly, homemade cookies, a homemade card on a piece of notebook paper, wild flowers floating in a cup of water – it was much more than we expected.  We were simply hoping the dishes would be done.  (They were.)

What we didn’t know was that there was more waiting for us than the surprise cookies and card.  We sat down to an incredible music video, made entirely by our boys.

Before you watch it, you have to know what all went in to this.  Our boys created the music and beats to this rap/song on FL Studio, our music creation software.  Our boys wrote the lyrics (which is evident in the fact that you may not “get” some of the inside family jokes).  They planned all of this on their own.  They spent hours filming, and even more hours editing.  I have watched this over and over.  I am amazed by it.  Our boys used their gifts, they worked together – well, let’s just say this video does my heart real good.

If for no other reason, you should watch this video to see the JUNK our boys ate while we were gone.  They certainly enjoyed themselves, and who can blame them?!  :)

Thank you for your sweet comments this week as we celebrated our 20th anniversary.  Thanks for letting me share a bit of our lives with you in this video.  It is so much fun to see our boys growing and creating together!  I’m thankful for the family God has blessed me with.  I do not take this for granted.

A Look Into What Our Family Did Last Week, and a Few Plans For This Week That Include, But Are Not Limited To, Eating Lots of Raspberries

We just rolled back into our driveway after driving over 2,000 miles, visiting with 100′s of people, sitting in the van for millions of hours, and eating a few too many French fries.  I am so hungry for raspberries, I could tear up a little.  Bring on the fruits and veggies to settle my traveling tummy.

I have lots of pictures to share with you from our adventures from last week.  Are you ready?  Here goes…

Our first stop was St. Louis for a Meet and Greet.  I can’t tell you how awesome it was to meet these ladies, visit, and pray together.  (Karen, I’m so bummed we didn’t get a picture with you before you left!)

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We left St. Louis around noon Wednesday, and headed south toward Nashville.  Along the way, we stopped to have dinner with dear friends from college.  Three hours was not even close to a long enough time slot to catch up and visit.

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I did manage to get some baby snuggles in while I was there.   As you can see from the picture below, God has decided that none of us will be raising girl children.  :)

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We tore ourselves away from our friends and finished the drive to Nashville.  There, we stayed with a lovely elderly couple - distant relatives I’d never met.  I regret that we didn’t get any pictures with them.  They were so sweet to let all six of our long-legged family crash at their place during our stay.

Thursday morning we got up and headed to our Nashville Meet and Greet.  It was a wonderful visit, making me wish again I could drive to every city and country to visit with allllll of you!  These Meet and Greets are awesome.

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From there, we headed to our family reunion.  Our boys had so much fun getting acquainted with cousins they rarely see.

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It was especially fun to see the teenage boys hanging out.  It reminded us so much of our generation when we were their age.  How in the world did we all become moms and dads of teenagers ourselves, when it seems that it was just a few weeks ago that we were the teenagers???

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Here is my generation of first cousins, standing with our Nana.  Wish they could have all been there.  We talked fast and furious in order to catch up with everyone. :)

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Somehow, we were able to get our entire group rounded up for a photo.  Priceless.

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Actually…here’s part of the crazy that led up to the group picture.  I can’t stop laughing when I see it, but that might be because I’ve been in the van way too long the past few days.

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You should be impressed to know that I took my first “selfie” while on this vacation.  I’ve never felt the need to take one before now.  While sitting with Nana, I grabbed my phone and took a shot.  Not too bad, eh?

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Love this beautiful lady.  She is my mom’s mom.  I have loved connecting with her, especially since my mom died almost 10 years ago.

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After tearful good-byes, we got back on the road Saturday evening, making it back to St. Louis where we stayed the night with cousins.  We loved worshiping with them on Sunday morning before heading home.

The biggest issue with our final stretch of the trip?  Figuring out how we could watch the U.S. vs. Portugal World Cup soccer game.  Missing it was not an option.  :)  We finally made it to Lincoln, an hour from home, just in time for the second half of the game.  We hit a Culvers, which had a TV.  We ate ice cream and screamed at the TV.  Of course, by that I mean that we sat quietly with our hands in our laps each time anything exciting happened.  I would have worried that we were disturbing other patrons, but they were enjoying the excitement right along with us.

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I kid you not - I bought a large order of green beans from Culvers before heading out.  Who buys green beans at Culvers?  This girl, apparently.  I was desperate for something green, and I hadn’t eaten ice cream so I was hungry.  By the way, Culver’s green beans are delicious.

As we rolled back into town, I ran into the store and loaded my cart with fruits and vegetables for this week.  I was so super hungry for raspberries and planned to buy loads of them.  Unfortunately, all the raspberries I found were moldy.  So, you better believe that I’ll be running to other stores in our area tomorrow on a mission to find raspberries.  In the meantime, we have lots of other yummy food to eat on.

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When we walked in the door, I cracked up to see our living room floor covered with boxes.  We have a young man living with us this summer, so as boxes came in, he pulled them into our house for us.  My Amazon Subscribe and Save order came in, among a few other boxes of food I’d ordered.  The boys have been opening them, and later this week I’ll show you pictures of what’s inside.  You know you want to see my case of toilet paper.

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Since I just arrived home and don’t have a menu plan created to share with you this week, I thought I would instead share a few pictures throughout the next few days of the food we decide to eat.  Sound good?  Here’s hoping I find raspberries!!!

Here’s to a great new week!

Twas a Bad Week for Matt and Feet

It all began on Monday when I made burritos.

After lunch, there were a couple of burritos left over, which the boys grabbed to snack on in the afternoon.  In the evening before we left for soccer games, Malachi carried his burrito plate back into the kitchen (from wherever in the house he had taken it?!) announcing, “Don’t anybody eat the rest of my burrito.  I had my bare feet on it.”

Um.  Okay.  Feeling it was better not to know, I didn’t ask details as to how his feet made their way to his burrito.  And besides, in this household, nothing much surprises me anymore.

In our haste, we left the half eaten burrito on the plate on the countertop and ran out the door to play some soccer.  After we got home that night, we warmed up our dinner, ate, washed dishes, and got ready for bed.  An empty plate sat on the countertop, so I called the boys in to see who it belonged to so that he could rinse it and put it into the dishwasher.  Malachi quickly recognized it to be his plate from earlier.  The problem was, it was empty.  What had happened to the burrito?

“Dad,” Malachi hollered, “Did you eat the burrito on my plate?”  Matt replied, “Yep, I saw it sitting there and figured it was free game.”  The boys and I cringed and giggled at the same time.  Apparently we’d all forgotten that Dad hadn’t been in the house at the time of the foot on the burrito announcement.  Living in a house full of boys, Matt wasn’t really phased by what he had done.  After all, what’s a little toe jam on a tortilla, right?  Leave it to Matt to be a good sport.  And really.  What was he going to do?  The foot-flavored burrito had already been swallowed.

The next day, Matt woke up alive and well, despite having ingested his son’s foot funk the night before.  He proceeded with his day as usual, doing work on some rental properties and mowing lawns.  His afternoon ended with a job trimming hedges for someone, then picking up firewood.  Ready to head home, he stepped through some debris to make his way back to his truck.

Nasty paragraph alert: 

As he stepped onto what he thought to be a pile of leaves, his foot came down hard directly onto a hidden piece of wood with two nails sticking up.  The nails went through his shoe and into his foot.  In serious pain, he worked to pull out the offending wood and nails.  (This is the part of the story where I have to stop, breathe, and fan my face.)

Somehow, he drove himself home.  Through the window in my office, I saw him hopping on his good foot and knew immediately something was wrong.  After all, hopping on one foot is not usually how Matt comes home from working on a project.  Usually he skips or trots.  (That was me trying to divert attention away from the pain of the situation.  Did it work?)

I met Matt at the door, learned what had happened, helped him get cleaned up, and tried not to pass out.  Blood, I can handle.  Seeing my husband in pain and looking at nail holes in his foot just about did me in.

A call to the ER, salt water soaks, herbal poultices, clay, wrapping, propping – these wounds are keeping us busy.  The pain seems to be a tiny bit less intense by now, thankfully, especially if he keeps his foot propped up on pillows.  We went to the clinic to have it checked out today, and it seems that we’re on the right track for proper healing.

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Bless my husband for being married to a blogger who thought it was a
good idea to take a picture of his wounded foot. 

At first he was like, “You’re actually going to unwrap it and show it to everyone?”
Um, no.  I’m pretty sure my readers don’t want to see the actual bottom of the foot.
He was kind enough to smile for the camera.

Our boys are amazing help, taking on much of what Matt would be doing today if he could be up and around.  We are so proud of them and thankful for them.

As for me?  I recognize my limits, so I’ve decided to drop kick the rest of my plans to do more freezer cooking this week.  I figured you all could carry on the challenge without me, right?  I’m thankful I at least got half-way through the challenge.  And I’m incredibly grateful for all the food that is in the freezer right now from past challenges.  Without it, I would have been struggling to put food on the table today.  As it was, I simply pulled out some food I’d already made, warmed it up, and threw it on the table.

Pray for us, if you will.  This could be so much worse, and we’re very thankful that it really is such a minor injury.  But prayers for healing for Matt and extra strength for me as I pick up slack is appreciated.

I would say that Matt is tough as nails, but that just doesn’t seem as fitting in this situation.  He is a tough one though.  We’ll have him back on both feet in no time.

As for the burritos, I’m pretty sure Matt will ask a few more questions before finishing off leftovers on one of the kids’ plates in the future.  :)

Basketball, Daylight Savings Time, and a Menu Plan. Wait, What Menu Plan?

This has been such a fun weekend!  We’ve been in Kansas since Thursday night with our homeschool basketball teams at our final tournament.

This tournament is always such a blessing.  The fellowship with families on our team, plus families and friends we get to meet up with while we’re there is priceless.  Having hundreds of homeschool athletes together in one place makes for a wild and crazy weekend.  It’s a highlight of our year.  We watched so much basketball this weekend, I was dreaming basketball last night.  As if the weekend of games wasn’t exhausting enough.  :)

After little sleep, hundreds of miles, and loads of basketball games, I’m not sure if/when I’ll get around to creating and posting a menu plan to share.  Instead, I thought I’d share some photos of the weekend.  By the way, who decided that daylight savings time should coincide with a night we were getting home in the wee hours?  Ah well…

Here’s our girl’s team.  They played better than I’ve ever seen them play – going up against some super tough teams and holding their own.  So proud of them and grateful that these young ladies are in our lives!

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Here is our boys’ team, just before the tournament started Friday.  Asa is #23; Justus is #32.  Asa got a lot of playing time this season.  Justus is an eighth grader, so this was a big learning year for him.  His time is coming.  :)

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All three games our boys played were nail biters.  They have got to stop doing that to us.  Parents and fans can only handle so much stress, you know?  Phew.

God bless the younger siblings of these athletes.  They’ve been dragged to game after game after game - almost every weekend since the beginning of January (and a few in Nov. and Dec. too).  They have so much fun playing with each other on the sidelines during games.

At the end of the day Saturday, our boys played in the championship game in their division.  We are so proud of them!  They played hard, worked together better than ever, and pulled out the win against a tough team.  It was so much fun watching them work as a team to pull out the win.

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Here’s Asa receiving his 1st place medal:

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And our entire boys’ team posing after the championship game:

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Now we’re home again, catching up on work and laundry, and getting ready for a new week.  Praise God for all the fun and friends He gives us!

Just for giggles, I’ll leave you with this gem.  We went out for dinner Friday night, and found this among the drink choices.  Read it carefully:

natural flavors

Awesome marketing.  “Naturally flavored with other natural flavors but probably not the ones you would expect so we would rather not post them here.  Instead we’ll print words that don’t really make sense, along with a delightful picture of some fresh raspberries.  Drink me.”

Visiting One Child Matters in Colorado Springs

Remember way back in May when I shared about the trip our family took to Colorado?  We were able to spend an entire week in the Denver and Colorado Springs area doing a variety of service projects and ministries together.  It was such an awesome way to spend our family vacation!  We saw God work in so many ways to make this trip come together, from opening up opportunities for us to hand out food to families in need to joining with some college friends to serve the homeless.

Now that I’ve been able to share the One Child Matters ministry opportunity with those of us here at Heavenly Homemakers, here’s another piece of that glorious week in Colorado I want to tell you about.  What you have to know is that our family was already planning to be in the Denver/Colorado Springs area before we made the connection with One Child Matters.  We got so excited about the ministry opportunity with OCM, then learned that their headquarters are in Colorado Springs.  We asked if we could spend time with them while we were in the area and asked them to please put us to work!  They did just that, and they treated us like royalty from the moment we walked through their doors.

It’s one thing to look at the Once Child Matters website and talk to the people on the phone to hear their heart regarding the ministry.  That alone had made me fall in love with the children and mission behind One Child Matters.  But having the honor of meeting the One Child Matters Team face to face, and then spending the day working with them?  It was awesome.  These people care about the children they are serving - there is no doubt.

They had our kids feeling right at home in no time.

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I loved meeting everyone, but it was a special treat to meet Kate – the one I’ve been in contact with the most.  She took our family on a tour of the office so we could meet and get to know what each person did to fulfill the needs in this ministry.

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A great bonus is that my cousin works at One Child Matters, so we were able to catch up with her a little bit and steal some hugs.

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After a tour, we got to sit down and work together on the letters people send to their sponsored kids.  This experience was so rich and so much fun.  I’ll share more details about sending letters to your sponsored children in a future post, but wow if working through these letters didn’t inspire me and make me feel the love between sponsoring families and the children they are serving.

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During the late morning, our younger boys headed to the kitchen with some of the OCM team to cook up a Jordanian feast.  You’ll notice on the One Child Matters Blog (written by Kate, pictured with me in the second picture above) that they occasionally share recipes from the variety of countries where the sponsored children reside.  I love this feature as it can help connect us to the children there.  Our boys loved helping prepare this meal and being featured on the One Child Matters Blog.  Remember how I mentioned that our boys felt right at home?  The pictures in this blog post featuring the Jordanian meal will prove that to you.  ;) 

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After we ate together, some of us continued to work our way through sponsor letters, while the younger boys headed over to create some masterpieces to send over to our own sponsored child.
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I am excited to introduce you to our sponsored child soon.  It’s amazing how you can feel connected to someone you’ve never met, and how praying for someone holds so much power.  If you haven’t had a chance, head over to the Once Child Matters site and consider sponsoring a child.  We are so thankful for the opportunity to participate in this ministry!

A Wonderful Birthday

My husband and boys are the best.  They made my 40th birthday awesome, as did so many of you who have wished me a happy birthday.  Thank you!

I wanted to share the thoughtful gift my husband bought for me.  But first, a story:

When I was in Jr. High, my mom needed new plates.  She picked out some of the prettiest I’d ever seen.  I loved them.  They were our “everyday dishes” and we used them for years.

When she died, out of everything in her kitchen, I wanted those plates more than anything else.  My dad, however, had a difficult time parting with them.  They were very much “Mom” so it made sense that he wanted them too.  Instead, I was able to have several other meaningful kitchen items of my mom’s, so I was okay to leave the plates with my dad.

A few years later, my dad remarried.  The two of them got dishes of their own, so finally, the precious plates were mine.

I’ve loved using them for my own family during the past five years.  They are a piece of “Grammy” that I can share with my boys, a treasured item we use constantly.  But in a busy household, breakable items will sometimes…break.  Here and there, one of the special plates would be dropped and broken.  The stack of my mom’s plates began to dwindle.  Each time one broke, I know Matt was watching me bravely and sadly clean up and throw away the shattered pieces.  I know the plates are just “things” but some things are more special than others.  These plates definitely rank at the top of my “special material possessions” list.

Knowing my love for these plates, Matt has searched online for a couple of years to find replacements.  They were either unavailable or ridiculously expensive.  We got down to just seven of the eleven plates we started with.  I refused to put them away and get something else.  Using these plates everyday was something I loved and needed to do.

Finally, just before my birthday, Matt’s efforts paid off.  He was able to find a perfect set of six, presenting me with this wonderful gift on my 40th birthday:

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I don’t believe there was another gift I would have rather received.  (Well, except for the handwritten poem he also presented me with. Wow.)

Now my stack of treasured plates takes on a new special meaning.  I am blessed.  I am rich.  And the love in this family?  Unbreakable.

Why I Am At Church Camp This Week

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I grew up going to church camp every summer.  I loved every minute of it and never missed a session, even going as a counselor once I was too old to be a camper.  Then got married and I had kids.  Changing diapers while swatting at mosquitoes was not my idea of pleasant motherhood, so I quit going.  My husband continued to go each summer to teach Bible classes – something he is very gifted at doing.

Our oldest began going to church camp several years ago, followed a few years later by our second son.  They love it so much ain’t nothin’ could keep them from going.  We have seen so much spiritual growth in them as a result of their time studying God’s word out in the middle of His creation.

Through the years, several men and women whom I respect have told me that I should consider going to camp to teach.  I always gave the “nod and smile” response.  Camp?  Not for me.  I have kids to take care of, a website to run, and several other excuses that involve cleaner showers and fewer bugs.

In January of this year, our church hosted a Youth Rally in which teens from all over Nebraska (and beyond) came for a weekend of fun, fellowship, and worship.  As I looked around the auditorium on Sunday morning at all of the teens, I was struck with the thought, “These are my son’s good friends, many of whom he is growing with spiritually. I don’t really know any of them.”

At that point, God gave me a nudge which said: “Go to camp.”

Ah, now that would be a great way to get to know these kids and to become a part of their lives.  But I quickly reminded God that I didn’t do camp. That I sent my husband to camp to teach. That I sent my boys to camp to learn. That I prayed for people at camp. That I cheerfully washed dozens of loads of laundry after camp.  But that I didn’t do camp.

He didn’t respond, which I now assume meant that he was just giving me the “uh-huh go ahead and try to talk yourself out of it and I’ll just be right here waiting for you to come around to obedience” face.

As I prayed that morning (while simultaneously listening attentively to the sermon of course) it didn’t take long for me to not only decide that I needed to go to camp, but to actually become excited about it.  If that’s not a God thing, I don’t know what is.

Over the past seven months, God has taught me so much about laying my life down for Him.  Each time I began to doubt that I would be effective in this role for Him, He reminded me that He always gives us everything we need, especially when He calls us out specifically.

All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:16

So this week, I am at camp.  I’ll be doing my best to keep up with my blog work while I’m here.  There is wireless internet available here if I sit in just the right spot in the cafeteria and curl my toes just the right way.

I’d appreciate your prayers as God puts it on your heart.  I’ll be teaching a girl’s Bible class each day while we’re here.  Matt will be teaching a mixed (girls and boys) Bible class.  Asa is a camper.  Justus, Elias, and Malachi have agreed to work as “kitchen staff.”

Here’s to a great, full week of serving God and checking heads frequently for ticks!

Our Family Service Trip Journal, Day 6: Rockies vs. Diamondbacks

I just realized I’m behind in sharing the final days of our Colorado family service trip!  Be sure to check out Day One: SEVENS Ministry, Day Two: Handing Out Food to 100 Families, Day Three: Purple Door Coffee and a Wedding, and Day Four: Church in Colorado Springs, Meet and Greet, and Garden of the Gods

You may have noticed that I went from Day 4 to Day 6.  What happened to Day 5?  Not to worry – I will be sharing about that soon.  :)  It was a very special day in which our family was able to meet face to face and work with the people behind a ministry all of our families can take part in.  Details coming soon, I promise!  There are some technical difficulties that are still not worked out that are causing delays in my ability to “reveal” it to you. 

For now, I’m going to share what we did on the final day of our trip.  After several days of traveling, working, and visiting with many people – we were all happy but tired.  We chose to take our final day off, spending several relaxing hours with our friends (that had been kind enough to let us stay with them for an entire week), hiking, and playing lawn games. 

Late that afternoon, we headed to a Rockies game.  This had worked out so perfectly!  We are friends with Brad Ziegler, a pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks.  It just so happened that the two teams were playing against each other in Denver on the last day of our trip.  It was a no-brainer.  Tickets were purchased!

We arrived early to the game so that we could watch batting practice and try to catch Brad. 

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He was watching for us and came over for a short visit.  He signed baseballs for the boys – always a fun treat!

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Since we still had time before the game started, we headed up to the “mile high” row of seats in the stadium.  
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It was quite the trek.  Matt and I decided to prove how difficult it is to breathe up there at such a high altitude.

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Okay, just kidding.  We were really fine.  (mostly)

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The game was a blast and we loved watching Brad pitch a perfect inning!

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Side note:  They should totally have a “visitors section” at the stadium.  We felt like the only Diamondbacks fans in a sea of Rockies fans.  Awkward.  ;) 

It was a perfect ending to a perfect trip.  God blessed us so much as a family and we pray we were a blessing to everyone we visited with and ministered to.

Our Family Service Trip Journal, Day 4: Church in Colorado Springs, Meet & Greet, Garden of the Gods

In case you missed them…Day One: SEVENS Ministry, Day Two: Handing Out Food to 100 Families, and Day Three: Purple Door Coffee and a Wedding.

Did I ever tell you we used to live in Colorado Springs?  Yep, from 1998-2002, Matt worked with a small congregation in the southern part of the city.  In fact, our two middle boys, Justus and Elias, were born in Colorado Springs.  Good memories!  And so, we were excited to head down from Denver to Colorado Springs on Sunday morning to worship with the church family where we had worked for four years. 

We drove by the house we used to live in, saw the park where we used to play…and pretty much nobody remembered it but Matt and me since the boys were all so little while we had lived there!  They still had fun having us point out all that we remembered.

Our former church family welcomed us with lots of hugs and plenty of, “I can’t believe how big your boys are!”  The congregation is much smaller than it used to be, so we were glad to learn of some prayer needs there.  Our goal was to encourage those that were there, so we are prayerful that God used our family in that way.

Later that afternoon, I was able to meet quite a few Colorado Springs area readers.  I can’t tell you how much I enjoy the visits we have at these Meet & Greet events!  We shared stories, recipe ideas, parenting tips…it was great.  As soon as I’m able to put some of these thoughts in writing, you’ll be able to benefit from these visits too.  (Just wait till I share the homemade cereal recipe I heard about!)

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Several brought their kids along, which I always love.  They all got along great, playing board games and cards together while we ladies visited.  I loved hearing some of the kids tell me, “I really love the recipe {fill in the blank} my mom makes from your website…”  Yay for healthy recipe lovin’ kids (who don’t hate me because I’ve encouraged their moms to ditch the jelly beans)!

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Because the first four days of our trip had been so full, and because we had a big day of service ahead of us the next day in the northern part of Colorado Springs, we had made reservations at an inexpensive (but nice) hotel for the evening.  I knew we’d all need some downtime to keep our wits about us.  This ended up being the perfect treat.  We checked into our hotel, kicked back for a little while, then headed out to experience Garden of the Gods together.

Did I ever tell you that Matt and I had our honeymoon in Colorado Springs?  That was before we knew we’d live there someday and that two of our babies would be born there.  Being back in Garden of the Gods brought back great memories from 18 1/2 years ago when we were newlyweds.  How awesome it was now to head back there with our four boys!

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We thought we may not be able to walk around and enjoy the beauty because of the rain that had been threatening all afternoon and evening.  Instead, we were blessed because the rain stopped AND we got to see a rainbow!

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The boys had a blast climbing (in the areas were the park allowed climbing).

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Don’t worry, Asa and Justus really aren’t as high up as they look…

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Here’s a great shot of Pike’s Peak:

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And a shot with Matt and I with Pike’s Peak behind us:

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This may be one of my favorites of all the boys:

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And of course, Mom and Dad had to get a picture in the same location.  Hey, if the boys can be silly in pictures, so can we!

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Just before taking off for the hotel again, the boys climbed one last rock:

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And then they pushed each other off while screaming and crying.  Kidding.  I’m kidding.  They’re just good at adding drama to an otherwise normal climb down off of a boulder.

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I’m having so much fun re-living our trip while I share pictures and tell you about it.  God is so good to give us such great learning experiences, opportunities to serve, wonderful people to meet, and awesome memories we’ll hold onto forever.  Can’t wait to tell you about the rest of our trip!

Our Family Service Trip Journal, Day 3: Denver Meet & Greet and a Wedding

Thanks for following along as I share the highlights of our family service trip to Colorado.  If you missed the first days, catch up on those here -  Day One: SEVENS Ministry and Day Two:  Handing Out Food to 100 Families.

On the third day we were in Denver, we headed downtown to Purple Door Coffee.  We were so excited to finally have a chance to check out this great ministry spot, which was started in part by a friend of ours who had been a York College student several years ago.  The coffee shop is beautiful – very well put together!  They employ homeless teens and young adults in an effort to help them get on their feet and find a new way of life.  We love this!  It was our pleasure to hold our Denver Meet and Greet at this location.  It was a perk that their drinks were delicious too!

Call me a geek (go ahead, really) but I had to take a picture of the bottoms of their tables (that they made themselves).  They are made from old treadle sewing machines – just like the one my grandma had used (and let me use!) many years ago.  What a gorgeous way to reuse these beauties.  I learned to sew on a machine like this!!

purple_door

In addition (although somehow I failed to get pictures, duh) – Purple Door Coffee had lots of really cool jars in use in their shop.  I was in jar heaven.  What a great place! 

Even better was that I was able to meet several Denver area readers.  We had such an encouraging visit.  Thank you for coming (and navigating the crazy parking situation that day!!) so that I could meet you!

denver_m&G

Later that evening, we were blessed to go to the wedding of one of the ladies on our YC soccer team.  We are so proud of this girl and the choice she has made by beginning her life with such a godly young man.  It was wonderful to be a part of her special day.

While I don’t have any pictures of the ceremony  (because I was too busy wiping happy tears from my eyes to take pics – seriously, I am a mess at weddings) I do have a fun picture of our family at the reception.  A photo booth was provided for fun, and we were able to get a little bit silly while leaving a fun message for the bride and groom.  Malachi was in there too, but unfortunately, he was a little too short to make it into the pics without jumping.  If you look really hard, you can see a tuft of his hair right under Asa’s elbow.  ;)

wedding_photo_booth

Side note:  Have you ever tried to put six people into a photo booth?  Yowza.

We headed back to our hosting friends’ home that evening, and made preparations to head to Colorado Springs the following day.  More details to come!