Sick Kid, God’s Care, and Last Day for Real Food eCourse Sale

I’ve got some fun posts in the works for you, but I have been running and running and running…

Yes, definitely picture me actually running. Like, in tennis shoes, across miles of terrain, with a pink head band catching my sweat, while I look adorable and perky in a cute athletic outfit. Picture that. That is definitely what I mean by running. I just can’t stop running. I am such a runner.

Now, if you’re realistically thinking, “Yeah right, Laura” then you can instead picture a more accurate description of my running which involves barely being home during the past few days and if I was home, I had guests. I have posts in my head that have not yet come out of my fingers and onto this screen. Now that I’m finally sitting here at my keyboard, I’m too tired to write actual words. Therefore, I’m going to take a couple of days off to rest and find some complete sentences. I know they’re in there somewhere.

Before I sign off, I wanted to share a little Gratituesday with you, and also offer you a “last day of sale” reminder.

First, Gratituesday.


Part of my running recently has been in the form of caring for a very sick boy. Most of us had a stomach bug a couple of weeks ago, which is no fun at all, of course. But one of our sons got a seemingly weird version that has been hanging on for way too long. When a teenage boy doesn’t feel like eating day after day after day, you know something is wrong.

It was beginning to get scary for us and for him. I am grateful to share, though, that today we got some answers. I was able to get him into our natural doctor in Lincoln who discovered the root of the problem and provided treatment solutions. He’ll likely still be weak for a few days, but I’m confident now that nothing is seriously wrong with him and that he is on his way to recovery. I don’t think any of us knew how worried we were until we got home from Lincoln and his brothers met us anxiously at the door asking for answers about what we learned from the doctor. (This is significant because these are boys who would normally say, “Oh were you gone? I didn’t realize. What’s for lunch?”)

I am so thankful for God’s provision in this. It is extremely difficult to get an appointment with this doctor right now as she just had a baby and is only back for very limited hours. In fact, I’ve had my next appointment scheduled months in advance. The fact that I called at 8:01 and got in because “there was a last minute cancellation” is amazing to me. Praise God for opening a slot that worked perfectly for us on the very day we needed it, and for providing answers that will put our son back on the road to good health.

Soooo after I got my sickie settled back at home in the recliner with food and drink and remedies, I got into the van again and headed south to a ranch with Malachi for a horse class he’s taking right now with some fellow homeschoolers. This class has been so fun and fascinating!

As you can see, I’m very gifted at photography with my phone camera. Also, you can see that as much as Malachi enjoys horses, he likes dogs even more.


Praise God for Make-Ahead Meals. Wearily, I slid a prepared casserole into the oven when I got home from the ranch (which we will eat with a salad consisting of whatever greens and veggies we pull out of the fridge). Then I plopped onto my computer chair to try to find some words (which I obviously found, thank you).

Thanks for letting me share. It’s great to reflect on God and His work and to be able to share it with people I care about (you!).

More fun posts coming back after I take a short Sabbath rest. :)

Like This? Bless Others By Sharing!
Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on Twitter0Email this to someoneShare on LinkedIn0Print this page

Gratituesday: Why I Will Always Have Coffee in My Fridge


Remember that one time my oldest son graduated from high school and moved all the way to the other side of town to the college dorm

I am one spoiled mama, that’s what I am. While Asa is super busy (16 mostly upper-level credit hours plus work study) and super involved (soccer, choir, club, and everything else fun he can squeeze in) and is barely getting any sleep – every once in a while we do get to see his face. I love those moments. 

We get to see Asa at church most Sundays. We go to his home soccer games and the away games that are close-by. He comes home to do laundry every week or so. I feed him whenever a meal at home can be worked into his schedule. Sometimes he referees one of his brother’s soccer games. See? I am super spoiled. I know many moms who said goodbye in August and won’t see their son or daughter again until Thanksgiving or beyond. I’m blessed to see my boy here and there. 

We’re adjusting to life with just three boys at home. We’ve re-vamped the chore list and shuffled around beds in the boys’ bedroom and even figured out how to play games and watch movies without Asa being here. <— that part was so weird and hard at first. “We can’t watch that because not everyone is here!” had to be replaced with a sniff from Mom and an “I guess we’ll watch that without Asa.” Who knew that would be a tough adjustment? (It’s a “We love our family time” thing. That’s when we miss him most. That and when it’s his turn to take out the trash.)  ;)

Do you remember what it’s like to be a college student? We all stayed up way too late most nights and still got up for early morning classes. Somehow we survived. Now that I’m 42, my body is like, “It’s almost 9:45 and I might pass out if I don’t go to bed soon.” But 9:45 pm is still mid-afternoon for college students. That’s the time they have meetings, write papers, and hang out with friends. Night life in the dorm begins at midnight. But still there are 8:00 am classes. This is what motivates a college kid to begin drinking coffee, am I right?

So guess who likes coffee now? 

It happened like this: 

Asa’s girl, Brittany — Yes, Asa has a girl. Has had for over a year. I’ve respected her/their privacy by not going on and on about her here, but then I asked and she said it was okay so there you go — Anyway…Brittany has liked coffee shop coffee for quite some time. Asa teased her about it until the morning after the twelfth night in a row he hadn’t gotten enough sleep. That’s when he said, “I sure could go for some coffee” and she fell out of her chair. (See, this is why people shouldn’t give me permission to write about them on my blog.) 

She didn’t fall. She just hopped up and ran to our local coffee shop.

Long story short(ish) – now they both love fru-fru coffee but aren’t enjoying paying high prices or drinking oodles of sugar. They have loved my Frappes when I’ve served them, so recently when they were here, I said, “Anytime you want coffee, text me. My coffee will cost you nothing and it’s not full of sugar (plus then I’ll get to see you both which will make my day so please want coffee often and text me daily).” 

coffee for asa and britt

Lookie there. Frappes in to-go cups. 

I will stop here and tell you the specifics of my favorite way to make a delicious Frappe, because everyone needs to know this.

How To Make an Amazing (Much Healthier) Frappe

1. Grind some of the best coffee beans in the world. (I discovered these beans from Guatamala and I can’t stop loving how good the coffee is.)

2. Brew coffee as normal or make some via the cold brew method. By default, I usually brew coffee to drink in the morning, then cool and refrigerate leftovers to use in Frappes.

3. Make coffee ice cubes

4. Make Chocolate Frappe as directed here. Or this: Put cold coffee, a few coffee ice cubes, some cream, and a few squeezes of this amazing stevia sweetened chocolate syrup into a blender. (Note, that stuff is not cheap, but is still much less expensive and absolutely healthier than coffee shop coffee, so I grab some when I have Amazon or Vitacost credit.)

5. Blend until frothy and serve. 

Stevia Sweetened Chocolate Frappe

Starbucks is jealous of how delicious this is. Asa, Brittany, Matt, Justus, and Elias all love this drink. I’m still in the “plain coffee with cream” camp because it is so delicious as-is. It is so much fun to drink coffee with my people! (Malachi will come around, and for now will stick with hot chocolate.) 

The above combination of ingredients also tastes delicious as a hot drink (minus the ice cubes, I hope that was obvious). This is why I grabbed to-go coffee cups with lids because it is getting chilly outside and cold frappes for the college students probably won’t cut it much longer.

coffee cups

So there you go. I will always have coffee on hand so that I’m ready to say “Yep!” whenever I get a “Can we come get coffee?” text. For the record, I will also always have food to warm up (do not ever question this), fresh fruit, boxes of kleenex, an assortment of natural remedies, and if ever there is a request that I cannot immediately fulfill, I will put it on my Walmart list because I can’t even help it.

I’d love to hear what all of you are thankful for this Gratituesday!

Like This? Bless Others By Sharing!
Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest11Tweet about this on Twitter0Email this to someoneShare on LinkedIn0Print this page

Gratituesday: My BFF Jen Hatmaker


This message brought to you by a refreshed and relaxed me who just returned home from…wait for it…a girl weekend.


I know. A little get-away like this doesn’t seem like much. But remember who I live with. I love all of my many male people so, so much. But this weekend I got to go to where there were all women, all the time. For 26 hours.

Here’s part my private Facebook thread conversation with friends before leaving Friday:

Tonya: What are you guys wearing tonight/tomorrow?

Emily: Jeans, tennis shoes…

Me: Capris and comfy flip flops. Debating on a bra. #girlweekend

Of course I was serious. So off we went to the Women of Faith conference. (Fully clothed, with all appropriate underthings in place.) The closer we got, the more excited we got.

Now I’ve got to tell you something before going any farther. I am not one to be star struck. Our family has been to Newsboys concerts in which Michael Tate was close enough that we could reach out and stroke his hair (which we did not do). All my guys were like, “Dude, that is Michael Tate!!” and I’m all chill with, “Now which one is he again?” We’ve been to a Toby Mac concert where we were sitting so close that the sweat from his brow could have sprayed our cheeks. We rocked out with Lecrae and loved it. But hey. These are just regular (very famous) people. No need to get all silly about it.

All that went out the window though, because this weekend, here’s what I discovered. Sometimes you just need to get silly. Need I remind you of the lack of male people in the arena this weekend? Not to mention my complete lack of any responsibility or need for thinking, answering questions, or any other such mothering or wifing on my agenda for 26 hours. This brought out my silly. I’m not even ashamed about how totally age 12 I was acting half the time. For real – laughter is so good for the soul, as is quality time with girl people who speak my language.

So guess what? My favorite author and best friend, Jen Hatmaker, was going to be speaking at the conference. If you do not read every word that she writes, I encourage you to change that immediately. I adore her writing style, but mostly her heart for Jesus and people. I’d never heard her speak before (which is so odd seeing as we are best friends and all.) While I was looking forward to many things about the weekend, I was really looking forward to seeing and hearing Jen. (I dropped the last name here because we are on a first name basis, obviously.)

Here’s where I started to get silly. I mean, I already was silly, because #girlweekend. But as my friends and I were talking more and the conference was about to start, our hashtag turned from #girlweekend into #mybestfriendjenhatmaker (because my friends claim her too).

When we first saw her come out to be introduced with the rest of the speakers, I got so excited I actually jumped up and down and pointed (see age 12 behavior admission above). This is when I knew, whoa, I cannot even believe how excited I am that she is here. I now want to turn into a weirdy weirdo about this. I just love her so much.

At this point, since she was so closely in front of me, I decided I’d best try to get a picture. It was either that or holler her name, jump over eight people, and grab her into a big bear hug so we could start catching up on the past 40-whatever years we’ve missed out on together. I totally could have done it (like a weirdy weirdo), but I settled for a picture. (You’re welcome, Jen.)

Allow me to now present to you, the Jen Is About To Be Introduced and I’m Seeing Her For the First Time Scrapbook. What? The only reason I took so many shots was because I hoped to get at least one good one (which I did not). It’s okay though. I don’t need no stinking picture. To be star struck is sooo silly.

Here is #mybestfriendjenhatmaker standing beside another conference speaker when she first came out from back stage and stood eight people in front of me:


Here’s another of her smiling and talking to that same other conference speaker. Told you I didn’t get any good pictures. Being a groupie is not my gift.


Here’s another in which she continues to talk expressively with her hands. Isn’t that so endearing? Yes. It is very endearing.


Jen, pointing to the left.

Jen linking arms with other speakers while the lights went down.


Jen sitting in the chair farthest left by the stage where she would later impart wisdom and humor and blessing.


The evening continued with worship, fun, and speakers. And also #mybestfriendjenhatmaker was there.

By the end of Friday night, I was at a high point of silly and decided to just go with it because it was #girlweekend and I was having so much fun. This is why, as my friends and I were leaving the conference arena and we walked by the very chair where #mybestfriendjenhatmaker had been sitting, I was all, “Ooh, there’s her chair, I’m going to touch it!” One thing led to another and well, I have no idea how I ended up sitting there, but would you just look at that?


There’s me. In the very chair #mybestfriendjenhatmaker had been sitting on.

Well anyway. I had a super fun weekend. It was a blessing to see #mybestfriendjenhatmaker and hear her heart on stage. If you haven’t already, go right away and read her new book, For the Love. #iambossy

Now I am back home and no longer acting like I’m 12, nor am I speaking girl language because of all of the obvious male household mothering and wifing reasons. (Spell check does not like the word wifing. I think it is a brilliant word, so you just need to get over it, spell check. What makes you think you are the spelling authority? My brilliant words trump your red squiggles of dismay.)

While I found the Women of Faith conference to be less meaty overall compared to last year, I still feel filled up because I had so much stinkin’ fun. I have not let my guard down and laughed so hard in months.

Also, I really recognized the value of enjoying friendships this weekend. While I’d love to have a sit down with #mybffjenhatmaker sometime because I appreciate her Spirit-filled life and work – lemme just tell you how blessed I am with the women right here in my life, right here on my porch, right here in this very place.

I am loved by many. I have many to love. Life is fun and full and rich.

May we live life entirely. May we see people through the eyes of Jesus. May we love and be loved, bless and be blessed.

And every few months, may we all have the chance to act the part of a silly 12 year old, laughing for hours until we almost pee (because you are – in real life – much older than 12 and your bladder does not agree with your choice to revert to that time of life).

Like This? Bless Others By Sharing!
Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on Twitter0Email this to someoneShare on LinkedIn0Print this page

Gratituesday: How Much You Mean to Me

I decided it’s high time I wrote another Gratituesday post. Please join me today as I celebrate God’s goodness in my friend Edith.


She first emailed me in 2009 to say, “I want to tell you how much I enjoy your blog newsletters. I have shared many of them with our two daughters.”

That email came when my blog was a baby. She was one of my first blog followers. Her name was Edith. She was from Ohio.

Edith and I continued to email from time to time during the next few months. Then something I said in one of my posts sparked an interest, and would you believe? Her husband was born in the very same town where I grew up. Wonderful thing, this internet – connecting people who otherwise would not have met.

The email she sent in June, 2010 took our relationship to a new level. I had just written a blog post about our oldest son becoming a teenager. She wrote to tell me how wonderful teenagers are. Then she went on to say:

“Count your blessings every day – treasure every moment. And I know it’s trite, but do live each moment as though it truly were the last moment you have with your loved ones. We recently unexpectedly lost our elder daughter at age 36 in a matter of just a few hours.”

This began a friendship that was absolutely God given and beautifully selected. You see, the daughter Edith had lost was just my age. And my mom. Well, my mom had been gone already for a few years.

No one takes the place of a lost loved one. But Edith and I – well, I suppose we needed each other. She continued to send me emails of encouragement every few weeks, often to let me know she was praying for me. She sent me beautiful eCards for every holiday, which she personalized.

Edith loved me. Her love blessed me in ways I cannot describe. She was on my team. She was my prayer warrior. She was my friend. I loved her so.

Edith died unexpectedly last week. When I received the email from her younger daughter, who was so kind to think of me and share the news, I fell tearfully onto Matt’s chest. Not my Edith. I need my Edith.

I am going to miss this precious lady. Edith – the lady I never met face-to-face. The lady I could count on hearing from every few weeks as she cheered me on in my parenting, my writing, and my Christian walk.

My dear readers, I share this to let you know how much you mean to me. You’re not just “some people out there who read my blog.” You are a part of my life – a God given part that I do not take for granted. I treasure you and I am thankful for you.

When her oldest daughter died in 2010, this is what Edith said to me in her email:

“We are truly at peace even in our sadness. We know she’s having the time of her life in the presence of her beloved Lord and Savior. As her sister said, ‘She beat us home.’ And in that we rejoice.”

Now I say goodbye to my dear friend Edith, using her very words.

Thank you for loving me, Edith. Thank you for allowing God to work through you to be such a blessing in my life. I miss you already. But you’re having the time of your life in the presence of your beloved Lord and Savior. You beat us home. In that, I rejoice.

Like This? Bless Others By Sharing!
Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on Twitter0Email this to someoneShare on LinkedIn0Print this page

How About That? God Really Does Work Everything Out.


Remember this post? You know, that one post I wrote last September? The one where I shared this:

I hate to spoil the ending...

The one where I talked about how we had no idea how everything would work out for our oldest son at the end of the school year? How we didn’t have any idea what would be best for him? How if he chose college, which one would it be and how would we work that out financially? How there were so many unknowns and what ifs and major decisions to make?

And more importantly, the one where I shared that God was teaching me to trust – like for real.

Last school year was wonderful and exhausting in countless ways. In the midst of it, we knew God had a plan and would roll it out for us in His timing. But when I wrote this post, we had no idea how the story would end. I just knew that it would…end. And that the ending would be good because God was writing the story.

In the midst of the waiting (we all know what that’s like, right? no matter what it is we’re waiting for) – our minds can turn toward all kinds of doubt and worry. We can invent scenarios that may or may not happen and then create all sorts of responses to the made up scenarios.

Unless any of those thoughts are Spirit led, they are absolutely pointless and completely exhausting. When I look back on our school year and how we watched our son learn to listen to God as he made his decisions, I am…

1) Really glad it’s behind us because it was just hard. Good, but hard.
2) So excited to realize God’s absolute promises and His guidance in everything. Everything. All of it. Every single bit.

We should never doubt. Never, ever, ever.

Not sure about an employment situation looming in your future? God does. Wait for Him to show you. Listen to Him and trust.

Not sure about a decision you’re making about parenting? God does. Wait for Him to show you. Listen to Him and trust.

Not sure how you can possibly afford whatever that need is that there is no money for?  God knows. Wait for Him to show you. Listen to Him and trust.

Not sure what to do about forty different questions floating in your head about everything from little to big? God does. Wait for Him to show you. Listen to Him and trust.

God never asked us to get it all figured out. He only asked for our faith. If you don’t believe me, go read all the words of Jesus in the gospels. All of them. They will change your life.

And oh yeah – about this post. The one where I wrote about how we had no idea how the story would end, about what would be best, about how we would survive such a major change in our lives (yeah, I know, all the parents do it, but it’s hard and that’s just the truth). Go back and read this.

Then. Then read this one. Seven months after I wrote the “we have no idea” post – I was blessed to be able to write the “well look at that. now we know” post.

There is always an ending to the story. If we’re seeking God, the ending is beautiful. If we’re not, well, God can still work and God is always lovingly waiting for us to turn to Him.

I write this as a reminder. To you – to me. Trust God. Where there are question marks, trust God. There will always be question marks. But there will always be answers because God is God and He is faithful. And because of that, there can always be peace.

Like This? Bless Others By Sharing!
Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest9Tweet about this on Twitter0Email this to someoneShare on LinkedIn0Print this page

So…What Are the Cake Boys Up to Now?

Remember the Cake Boys? That series of videos, started by our little boys, was the beginning of what has become a passion of theirs: video and music creation.

cake boys

In fact, Asa (who is now 18) plans to make a career of videography. His chosen college major is Business Communication, which will guide him in the right direction for pursuing his own business as a videographer. He continues to learn, experiment, and develop his talent. He researched and used some of his savings to purchase a very nice camera as well as professional video editing software. The guy is well on his way. He even has his first professional video job later this summer (filming and editing a wedding video). Skies are the limit with how he can use his creativity in videography.

And Justus? He’s 15 now and while he also loves creating videos, he has also discovered a bigger passion and talent for music. He is taking both piano and guitar lessons, and he loves singing. Even more, he is gifted with the ability to compose music sound tracks on FL Studio – music creation software Matt found and invested in for the boys a few years ago.

Elias (13) and Malachi (10) join in with both music and video creation from time to time. We are anxious to see how God continues to grow all of the boys and develop their talents.

So Cake Boys videos have given way to several varieties of videos – both fun and serious. It amazes me. I cry like I’m their mom every time I watch something they create.

Here are two of their recent “Ace Video” productions, now being shown in Asa’s YouTube account.

NOTE TO PARENTS: The first video below, called “Refresh” was created with kids in our youth group to encourage and refresh a large gathering of teens we hosted for a youth rally at our church back in January. The struggles addressed in this video are real to life and important. However, some of the content is a little bit heavy for young viewers, so please use discretion. Matt and I are actually featured in this video (oh my) and you can be assured that nothing is actually being smoked. Video editing software is amazing, which makes the cigs look very real (oh my). I told you you’d need to use discretion. The video is powerful and had a huge impact at the youth rally. Note the sound track, as it was created completely by Justus, specifically to fit this video.


Below is the boys’ most recent video in which they took four of their favorite songs and recreated them into a music video “mashup.” No viewer discretion needed on this one! It’s awesome, music fun!

Brothas C Mashup

I’m offering you this show-and-tell for two reasons:

1. Many have asked about the Cake Boys. Sniff (and rejoice) along with me that the little boys in those videos are not little boys any more, but are instead becoming young men working for the Lord and following His leading. We get quite a kick out of watching the boys’ first video attempts – hearing their young boy voices that are now such deep manly voices. Now you know what the Cake Boys are up to these days!

2. I want to encourage you to be excited – as we are – to watch God develop the talents in your children as they grow. Not sure what your kids’ talents are? Pray. Ask God to bring them to light in His time, then watch Him do His work. You will be amazed at what our Father will do. Be prepared to foster your child’s talents, but most of all – be at peace, resting in the truth that the Lord will do His work.

Happy Gratituesday, by the way! I’d love for you to leave a comment to share what God is doing in your life – specifically in the lives of your children if you are a parent.

Like This? Bless Others By Sharing!
Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on Twitter0Email this to someoneShare on LinkedIn0Print this page

Gratituesday: On a Positive Note…


I consider myself to be a fairly positive person. Grumbling helps nothing. I don’t like hearing it from others and I don’t like participating in conversations that are negative and whiny.

Inside my own head, however? I have found myself fighting to take captive every thought and make them obedient to Christ. I haven’t even recognized how negative my thoughts have been because ultimately, I really am trying to figure out positive outcomes for every aspect of my life – my marriage, my boys, our church life, my friendships. But with each of those can come discouragement since life isn’t perfect and my ideals aren’t being rolled out on a red carpet. That’s how I find myself focused on the negative instead of breathing in and relishing in the positive.

This was my brain this morning:

  • Did he really leave his strawberry bowl on the floor after I asked him last night before bed to put it in the sink? I’ve gotta get that boy to listen and obey better.
  • Whose duffle bag is that? I know they are tired after camp, but I asked the boys so many times to unload their dirty laundry in the bathroom. Ugh.
  • I don’t even know where to begin on my to-do list.
  • Is it really cloudy again today? When is the sun going to shine???
  • Shoot. I forgot to thaw meat last night.

This was, of course, all within the first five minutes after I stumbled out of bed this morning. So much for “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

While frustrations are real, my thoughts and attitude have been very negative.

Without knowing it, a friend of mine – during a 30 second, obviously Spirit led conversation – convicted me in the church foyer yesterday between Bible class and worship time. I don’t even remember her exact phrase. I was just struck by her suggestion that the positive must outweigh the negative. I actually barely heard her at the time because I was gathering my kids so we could find a pew.

Well, God did His work, as He always does. I chewed on my friend’s words, which helped me recognize how negative many of my thoughts have been. This morning (strawberry bowl, duffle bag, list, cloudy, meat – yes that) sealed the deal as I got ready to open my Bible with my coffee.

Even in my prayer life, I have been so focused on the negative. It’s as if I don’t even recognize all of God’s goodness and His promises.

So hi. I’m confessing all of this here to you. God is so good, you guys. He offers so much goodness. My life is full of goodness. When I stop being negative and recognize the positive? It’s a no-brainer that I am more cheerful and have more energy.

I’m sharing this on Gratituesday not just so we can think about what we’re thankful for. It’s more than that. It’s about fully allowing our minds to recognize that God has provided so much goodness! We’ve got to fill our minds with the positive so that we can actually see the God-given blessings that are absolutely overflowing around us.

Please join me today in allowing God to do His work in our minds as we recognize His abundant goodness.

Look around you. Breathe in the good. Leave a comment here to share and encourage us all: In what ways do you see God’s goodness in your life?

Like This? Bless Others By Sharing!
Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on Twitter0Email this to someoneShare on LinkedIn0Print this page

Weekend Gratituesday ~ And Why Is There a Margarine Container on My Countertop??


Tuesdays have been passing right along without a moment for me to post something especially Gratituesday-ish. Therefore, I decided to take the time this weekend to share some highlights from our week that I am grateful for.

(I’m pretty sure the grammatically correct way for me to say that would have been, “highlights for which I am grateful.” But really. Who talks like that? And anyway, at least I didn’t say ain’t or say something like I am more grateful then you know. It’s than. More grateful THAN you know. That one really gets me. Not that any of this matters when we are focused on that for which we are grateful.)

So where shall we begin?

One of the biggest highlights of our week was that we received a surprise visit from my cousin and his family. Their kids are similar in age to our older kids and we rarely get to see them. While traveling, they drove an extra few hours out of their way to see us on Wednesday/Thursday. We grilled chicken and had a feast, followed by Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits.

june 13

All the kids and the dads spent hours in our yard playing soccer. It was awesome. We moms cheered and swatted mosquitoes on the side line. I love this picture:

june 14

After we sent them off the next day, Asa and I drove three hours to watch his girl compete in the Miss Nebraska pageant. Here she is singing for the talent competition. I teared up as she sang The Revelation Song – proclaiming her faith right there on stage, “Holy, holy, holy…is the Lord God almighty, who was and is and is to come.”

june 19

Tonight (Saturday) is the final competition. I’ll update as soon as I hear the results.
UPDATE: She didn’t win Miss Nebraska. We are so proud of her for her hard work and commitment to staying true to her values and faith during this. Now she can breathe and enjoy her summer counseling at church camps!

Asa and I drove all the way home that night, doing whatever we had to do to keep ourselves awake and safe until we got back at 1:30 am. It was so worth the drive. When we walked into the house, what would be the first thing I saw? This. On my countertop.

june 15

A margarine tub? Who would dare bring such a thing into my home?! Funny that at first I didn’t even notice the Dr. Pepper and Doritos, etc – just the margarine. Turns out, the tub was full of popcorn. That, along with everything else, was the result of Matt having guys over to play games while we were gone. They left their snacks behind. The next day, I had a few Doritos. As opposed as I am to margarine, I choose to ignore the label on the bag of cheesy nacho chips. It makes no sense. 

But back to our week and the real food and blessings that came with it. I attempted to make a healthy version of the Chocolate Lasagna recipe I’ve seen floating around. I thought it would be a perfect Low Sugar Treat to add to our collection here. Yeah. Tasty though it was, my version turned out anything but picture worthy. And yet, here I am, showing you a picture anyway. I don’t know why.

june 12

My grocery store run this week looked like the following. As you can see, we cannot get enough fresh strawberries. Our family has gone through almost all 10 pounds I bought this week. Bet you’re wondering what that Feta cheese is for, right? Right. That’s for my other addiction: BLT Factory Chopped Salad.

june 11
It was a Bountiful Basket week too, so we are set on groceries for a while – especially since our older boys are headed to camp Sunday. (Also, much of what is pictured above and below has been eaten already.)

june 16
june 17

Hey, what does a person do with Endive, pray tell? That’s a new one to me.

june 18

This week it’ll be just three of us at home with all the teenage boys at Soul Quest (on the York College campus). Matt, Malachi, and I will head to campus each evening to worship – a huge perk to living right here where this awesome camp takes place. It is a highlight of our year, for sure!

So now – your turn! What are you thankful for? It’s Gratituesday over the weekend, after all.

Like This? Bless Others By Sharing!
Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest1Tweet about this on Twitter0Email this to someoneShare on LinkedIn0Print this page

Gratituesday ~ Today and Every Day (Plus come see my pretty bathroom!)


Why yes. I did just invite you to go to the bathroom with me. That’s what girls do, right? They go to the bathroom in pairs?

I’m ever so grateful for your input and thoughts about my blogging schedule (or lack thereof). Gratituesday will remain. But if sometimes I post something else on Tuesdays instead, so be it. And if sometimes I post what I’m grateful for on a Friday, so be it. And if we can all focus on giving thanks to God every single day, especially when we are tempted to grumble – well then God be praised!

So back to my bathroom.

You guys!!!!!! My husband has worked so hard and has done a beautiful job transforming this room. It is finally almost completed. Just a few small-ish details (hang the mirror, etc.) left to call it “finished.”

Before I show you what it looks like, first let me remind you of the before pictures. It may not look “so bad” but trust me – this bathroom was 40,000 years old (or so) and had some – shall we say… issues. Issues, I’m telling you.

bathroom 1

So Matt gutted it and started from ground zero.

bathroom 2

Then he managed to get the shower installed before we had a houseful (and I do mean house FULL) of teenage boys for an entire weekend.

bathroom 3

Then slowly but surely, Matt continued to work for hours over the past months replacing the toilet, installing a fan, installing a light fixture, putting up drywall, tiling the walls and the floor, grouting, painting, and installing a new sink (with silly plumbing issues).

bathroom 8

And now LOOOOOOK!!!!!!

bathroom finished 1

I cannot tell you how fun it is to go pee in there, and that’s just the truth.

bathroom finished 2

The room is so pretty, and I just love it! I’m so thankful for my husband’s hard work, and I’m very grateful that it’s ready before we have a houseful of out-of-towners coming for graduation. Phew!

Here’s to one more house renovation (almost) in the books.

Now your turn! Leave a comment to share what you are thankful for this Gratituesday!

Like This? Bless Others By Sharing!
Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on Twitter0Email this to someoneShare on LinkedIn0Print this page

Gratituesday: Survival and Sunshine


April showers bring May flowers. This is good! Very good.

But silly me. April showers have also brought on dreary days with no sunshine, and I just don’t like that very much. This time of year becomes a little harder for me as the winter has seemed to go on forever, and the sun is still having a hard time shining consistently. I need sunshine!!!! {insert crazy Laura face here} {on second thought, don’t. no one wants to see that.}

So yay for rain, and in particular the rain that came so fast and hard that it rained out soccer games on Saturday so that I could stay home and get much needed work done!!  Rain is good for so many reasons, and I’m grateful for it.

I’m just thankful that today the sun decided to shine. It is a breath of fresh air (literally) for me when I step outside. The flowers are blooming everywhere. There is a gentle breeze. THE SUN IS SHINING!!!!  {insert Laura’s happy face here.} {except that she doesn’t have time to stop and take a picture of it because she’s breathing in the brightness and the fresh air.}

In other news related to Laura’s crazy face and the absolute need for sunshine – we’re down to just about 11 soccer games remaining in the season (no wonder I can’t get anything done around here), we got Asa’s graduation announcements almost all ready to send out, the bathroom we are remodeling is this close to being finished, and this is our last week of school. Asa is actually taking all college-level courses this year (love getting dual high school and college credits, but phew!) so he will complete his course work and finals the middle of next week. What a huge relief!

asa grad announcement

The plans for Asa’s graduation reception are well under way. Then we will be welcoming guests into our home who are coming from out of state to celebrate with us. There is much to be grateful for, and today, I’m thankful that the sun is shining on all there is to do so that we can not only survive the next few weeks of extremely full schedules – we can love every minute of the ride!

By the way, if you’ve emailed recently and I haven’t responded – just know that I’ll work at getting back to you the end of May when the rest of life settles down a little bit and I wake up from a nap.

Share with us! What are you grateful for this week? How is God working in your life? Isn’t it wonderful to see God’s hand in every bit of our lives?

Like This? Bless Others By Sharing!
Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on Twitter0Email this to someoneShare on LinkedIn0Print this page