Wednesday, January 25, 2012

TODAY, we write

Back in November I think, James was able to do a "Compassion Sunday".  He did a great job sharing about making eternal investments.  He also challenged people to take their extra money and instead of filling their shed with new stuff, but be a joyous giver.

One of the things that the Lord showed me in our sponsoring a child was our lack of prayers and letters to the children.  A godly man in our church had a notebook with correspondence going back for years.  His family was able to see God work all around the world changing one life at a time.  He had the physical testimonies of the sponsor children and to see their growth and answered prayers.

Today, all the kids took just a few moments and wrote to both Cecilia and Nshuti. What a real way to encourage another person who needs your love.

If your interested in sponsoring a child or writing your sponsored child it is so easy now.  No looking for stamps.  The letters are sent instantly across the globe after you set up an account online.  Thank you Compassion International.

Below is the letters my children sent to their sponsor children:

Dear Cecilia, I hope you like this note. I hope you are getting lots of things you need. My name is Bronwyn and I am 7 years old. My favorite animal is a dog. We are going to get a big great dane soon. And I am volunteer in an animal shelter. I will be taking care of dogs, cats, small birds, hamsters, gerbils, horses. I just went through part of the training last night. It was really boring. It was all about the things that could happen to you like getting sick. My sister might do it too, but she is waiting for her friend Shelby to do it with her. She couldn't come to the training because her little brother Cody was a problem. Your mother must come to the training, but his father wasn't home in time. So Shelby didn't come neither my sister. I hope you like this letter. I have a picture for you to love Bronwyn. Love, Bronwyn XXOOO's

Dear Cecilia, My name is Hannah. I am eleven years old. But I will turn twelve in March. I hope you have fun with your family and with your friends. Do you have a dog or other pet? My family used to have a beautiful puppy. Her name was Mckinley. We are looking all around for the perfect puppy. Me and my best friend Shelby love drawing people and places that we see around our town. I met her almost a year ago. Her dog's name is Casey. How are your family doing? Mine are doing quite well. In April I have school testing if I pass I will go on to seventh grade. What do you do on your spare time? I like to read. Tomorrow I have battle of the books. At battle of the books they quiz me on the books that I read. If I pass this first contest I will go to the state contest and I will go to a big city and stay at a hotel with my mother. Please pray that I will make the quiz tomorrow. I am so nervous. I hope that I win.The first photo is of me and my friends the second is just me. I hope that you will have fun and enjoy your life. Love, Hannah

Dear Nshuti, I hope your having fun in Africa I am having fun here as well in Alaska. It is really snowy up here. Have you seen snow? It is very fun to make snowmen I hope you have fun playing in the sun. Wish you were here. I am 10 years old and I really into lego's. Are you? Love, Max

Monday, January 23, 2012

Snow to play in? OR to serve others? OR both?

Being that this is our first full winter that we are in Alaska, we purchased all the needed equipment for the children: boots, snow pants, face masks, gloves, hats etc.  Hannah has grown so much that her snow pants are more like "capris" and I am certain that Max's boots are a bit too small. Bronwyn lost her winter jacket the first week of snow (it was florescent green).  Thankfully, we have great second-hand shops nearby and everyone is ready for the snow.

Currently, we have had a winter wonderland (LOTS OF SNOW).  A few weeks back, we had a sledding outing with the young adults at church.  It was a blast.

First we get on the sleds hooked up to the back of the Jeep.

And sometimes we fall off.
We are then toed up the sledding hill/mountain.

Then we get to enjoy a fun fast ride down.

This weekend, part of my thankfulness journey I noticed that we have no snow drifts in our driveway or stairs.  But, I looked out my window and I saw 4 of my neighbors on the other side of the street shoveling and hacking away at the drifts.  I called James and we went to attack the drifts with shovels and face-masks on.  Bronwyn came too to jump on and help break up the snow.  The neighbors were so thankful for our help.  We are glad to finally meet our neighbors.

Today, I was able to meet and older couple struggling to get their back door free from the snow drifts.  I am thankful that God opened a way to share God's love to others.  No need to run today, shoveling is a free workout!
Annie playing in the LARGE AMOUNTS OF SNOW

Saturday, January 21, 2012

House Full & Homeschool Video

Okay, in South Africa, it was almost a joke, but our home was full of activity. People buzzing the gate, phone calls, skype calls, guest house people, scheduled guests, and sometimes people living with us in our home, etc.

It was fun and flurried.  I loved it! I had the kettle going and something to share.

Today, I felt like I was in Africa. Breakfast with Anita, speed school with the children, then a few items from Carr's, Lunch with Molly, then two new friends Jeanie and Victoria.  James came home at 4 then off to Who's Coming for Dinner with another family and friends.

Needless to say, it was a full day. But, I love it.

That was Friday, today is Saturday.  We spent some leisure time gathering supplies (library, grocery). Then, I was able to catch up my reading.  Play a little "Just Dance Now". And now, I have the privilege of getting my meal planning done.

I am using an online version called: and hopefully you will be able to see and take my recipes if you want them.

Best Ever Pancakes w/ apple grated
2 c flour
1 t salt
4 t baking powder
1 T sugar heaping
3 eggs
2 1/2 c milk
3 T melted butter
3/4 grated apples

 mix dry ingredients. Add milk and beat with a whisk. Add eggs and beat again. Add melted butter last. *optional for awe factor add grated apples

The following is a video report that I submit every term to our Homeschool Contact Teacher with IDEA.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thankfulness... kills anxiety

Well, James said it.  The magic words that I have been longing to hear.  "Let's go look for a dog." Good and bad.

Good part:
Now, that we are settled into our home since moving in the end of October, it is time to find a dog.  Like I posted before, I really would LOVE a Great Dane.  There happens to be one that we might get that is 9 months old and house trained and kennel trained. We just need to be selected by the breeder as a perfect fit.  The stunning dog is named Pandora and is the one with the natural ears in this picture.

Bad part:
I was so excited last night, I hardly slept. So, instead of being being anxious about whether we get her I will count my many blessings and keep looking UP:

1) an amazing home with views of both the sunrise over the mountains and the sunset
2) great friends who shoulder my concerns
3) people to pour into (discipleship and peers)
4) Friday morning breakfast with Anita Moiser that gives me an excuse for making a more elaborate meal.
5) relationship with my Savior who protects me and cares for my needs
6) understanding and encouraging husband who is a blast to do anything with
7) children who love reading and learning -spent the last hour on the couch reading together under the electric blanket.
8) a heated garage
9) wind drifts that avoid my road and driveway so that we don't have to shovel
10) family that loves my children and enjoys our company!
11) parents that still surprise me with their unending love
12) great friends for my children
13) health and exercise
14) ability to learn about God with my children through the Bible readings
15) great library
16) love for missions and what God is doing around the world
17) heart that is still in Africa thankful for the lessons learned- Yebo Africa!
18) coffee and Kindle with a fireplace 
19) seeing others enjoy taking photos from my back yard because it is soooo beautiful. 
20) Life groups and our little church
21) Heaven!

"Life works better when we know how to glance at things but gaze at God.  Seeing Him clearly will enable us to see all other things clearly."

We had an amazing time today doing our "Young Woman after God's heart" Bible study.  The girls got to dream up of their best decorated bedroom.  Share ideas about honor parents in keeping their stuff tidy. 
The crazy fun was when we got out the tie die as part of our Homeschooling project this week.

Hannah even made one for her dad.  I got one as well.  So, we will show the finished product later.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Need one another to grow!

“Many of us in the church are under the mistaken impression that the way to produce spiritually mature Christians is to enroll people in a course on spiritual maturity. We give them books on the subject. We take them to passages of Scripture. We hand out assignments and worksheets. Nothing wrong with these activities. But has it ever occurred to you that spiritual growth is rarely a product of assimilating more information?”  Howard Hendricks

Today was one of those days.  When I look around the room, I see everything out of place and highlighted ORANGE.  However, in reality only a few things are being used and out of place.  I caught myself three times to not say things harsh.  

Tonight at our Bible Study is when we will be talking about SERVICE. Every week, no matter how tired, I love the time spent encouraging and loving one another.  

I EASILY COULD BE A MARTHA TODAY: irritated, agitated, and absorbed by work. Thankfully I chose to serve out of love and was calm with my children. Thank you for others.  

Knowing Christ involves relationship, growing in Christ also involves relationships. Most of us don’t need to know more nearly as much as we need to be known more. We don’t need a set of principles to practice nearly as much as we need other people to help us. We need someone to believe in us, stand by us, guide us, model Christ for us. We need other’s encouragement, wisdom, example and accountability we need their smiles, their hugs, their frowns, their tears. by James Embree

Running Example:   I also received a call that helped today.  It is -14F below 0.  No one would run, but not Annie.  She called me up and because of her promptings, we went running.  It was fun, but once my eyelashes got a bit stuck together on my left eye.  So, I was able to run faster knowing that a warm place was waiting for us at the end.  I needed her encouragement.  Thank you Lord for the practice of building one another up for their benefit.  
Cooking Example:  Just a few weeks ago, a few friends met to exchange recipes and talk about food/meal prep and planning.  We learned so much just by having our favorite recipes out and bringing up short-cuts.  We easily all walked away with some family tested meals. I even found a recipe I had lost for over 10 years!

Hiking Example:  James and I have gone hiking with our children.  They did okay, but a lot of complaining and such.  However, when we bring a friend or two, they don't complain and enjoy the hike.  Hannah and Max both didn't make it up this hike (without friends) and easily made it the second time with others.

Lastly, ski clinics.  I can watch you tubes, read all the books, and click on every blog about skate skiing.  However, I have learned 100 X's more by hearing and watching the instructors.  Thankfully, there has been  two free clinics and a dear friend who has skied for years taught me the first time.  I am still learning. But, since they have the personally attention and can see what I am doing wrong, I am corrected to the right way.  Same way with Spiritual growth.  We need to rub shoulders with people regularly to have them get to know our hearts and motives.  We need to look for ways to love and encourage them in the best way that they are formed.  

 (the instructors are in Blue) 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chocolate and Girls

Last year during my time with the Lord I really felt the prompting to invest in Hannah through a special Bible study/cooking.

We named it Our daily bread but we only have baked bread once. TODAY we are starting a new study just for preteens it is called "A girl after God's Own Heart." I am also glad that I am able to prioritize our relationship.

 We usually have just three or four girls. When the girls arrived, I was surprised that all four of use used an electronic book (three Kindles and one Nook).

 I am thrilled to make peppermint bark from Jess Case recipe.

 Hannah said a few months back, "Mom, you know as we are getting older into a teenager, we get closer because we are more mature and can relate with each other." Love it!

We ended our time together with some Dance Party on the Kinect.  So much fun!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Spiritual Gadgets

I googled "spiritual gadgets" with some surprising links.  I have a love/hate relationship with technology.  It zaps my time (if I let it). I love to be away from it all out in nature by hiking, skiing, etc.  However, it is the first thing I want to check.

Even there are downfalls to technology, but there are also some quite nifty benefits.

1) Ipod:
    a) first it helped me for puppets.  No longer a skipped song on a cd player.  But actually a great playlist to have dramatize scripts.
   b) songs of worship when running or anytime.
   c) podcast with challenging messages on a number of subjects
   d) I get very distracted and will play some instrumental hymns or classical music "Our Daily Bread" while studying God's Word.

2) Kindle
Before I list the many ways, I really like my Kindle.  I can show people some of the ins and outs.  I get talking about the Kindle and then I usually stop and tell them I love Jesus more.  I do get quite excited.
  a) Net Bible  It was my Bible that I learned about last year in Arizona.  I love the translator notes. You can read about the translation and their passion to be a free research tool.
      -I kept a years worth of reflections in the notes and some sermon notes right in the text where it was found.
  b) reading great books that spur on my spiritual growth.  I was visiting Grace Bible Church in Elmhurst, IL and during their Sunday school they were studying "Crazy Love" by Chan.  I just went to the online kindle store and purchased the book and was instantly part of the discussion.
  c) One book, multiple users (in the family).  Allows for us to share the books simultaneously.  So, as we are studying "A Girl after God's Own Heart" by George, we both can use the book around the table (on different devices)

3)  Apps  (used on different devices-we use ours on the Fire or you can use your home computer)
 a) YouVersion which allows a person to have a variety of reading plans, different versions of the Bible.  And it will "read to you".
b) RememberMe Bible memory apps that have a few games and memory review plans for spiritual growth.

4) Internet (too many to name, but just a few I have used)
*websites, groups
  a)  puppetresource  is a free puppet script site.
  b) is for researching questions
  d)  Facebook  - we have a bible memory group to challenge each other to learn our verses.  It was also instrumental to get the news out quickly for prayer or activities.

Personally, this year 2012 I want to limit my time in order to make the best use of my days and look forward to no computer days during my week.  


Monday, January 9, 2012


Some crazy things about me:
1) I can't stomach any details about medical procedures.
2) I couldn't even make it through the child birthing classes
      Almost about to faint/nausea I spent the rest of the time in the bathroom, while James learned how to give birth.
3) Upon entering a dentist office, I saw a IV bag (not hooked up to anyone) and I ran to the bathroom just in time to faint and knock my head on the bathroom sink.
4) My children run to Dad not Mom when they are hurt.
5) Christmas eve, when getting my eldest daughters ear pierced, I ended up laying on the cold tile floor at Walmart because I was scared I would fall down when I fainted.  Little old ladies were asking if I was okay.

There are many more but, those come to mind right now.  However,  I will get a shot because I am one of the adults going on the Youth Missions trip to Guatemala with Paradise Bound.  We are leaving in 9 weeks.  

While working alongside Paradise Bound staff as well as Guatemalans we will share the gospel with the locals. During this time we will have opportunity to hand out Bibles, food, and help with a Gospel presentation that the staff will put on. The next few days we will help put on a mobile medical clinic in a rural village, after which the staff will show the Jesus Film.

Thanks for those who have been praying for the team.  We had an encouraging meeting with the parents and students.  

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Fun Saturday

So thankful.  What an amazing day! I did finally learn to turn going downhill on the skate skis.  We went up to Hatchers Pass and they were having a Winter Trails Day.  Not only was the instruction free, but REI had the gear to rent (for free) and free cocoa/cider and snacks.

Two great friends came alongside and we all learned different skills.  Exhausting.  Then we came home and ate and then played Kinect. Then went to our dear friends for a great dinner that we have yet to see in 1 year in Big Lake.  Fun.  Hannah also got a sleepover with our friend Shelby.

You can admire their smooth technique in the video.  

Friday, January 6, 2012

Lost skiing

Yesterday, I was fortunate to spend a 1/2 day with the Lord. It was exactly 6 months after the last time.  I didn't plan it that way.  It just was.

You may ask what in the world is she talking about.  A day with the Lord?  I thought everyday was "with the Lord."  But, it is kinda like a date. I plan the day (or 1/2 a day) with a place and no distractions.  Because I love nature, I usually go to somewhere to enjoy the Lord in His creation.  I find a baby sitter. And I spend some unhindered time of worship, reading the Bible, sometimes singing (since no one else is around), and just quietness.

I listen to His Word and see if anything sticks out. (command to follow, a promise to believe).  This years verse was in Matthew "obey my commands and teach others" with "let your light so shine before men that they see your good works and praise your father in heaven."

Then I evaluate (strengths/weakness) vs. activities.  Then I make adjustments in my life to what God wants me to do this next season of life.

During my outdoor time, I went skate skiing on the new to me Colony High School trails.  I loved them.  The trails were nicely groomed.  One time, I made it up a crazy high hill.  I got to the top and looked over and was like "I am NOT going down that."  Seriously, there was a huge drop off and then a sharp turn.  (it wasn't like this photo but, you get the point)

 I am a beginner skier and I haven't been taught how to turn or stop (besides the snow plow).  So, I began to go down the mountain (okay a hill) creeping parallel walking.  Then I finally decided, I must fear not, and go. I did. It was actually really fun.   There were all these neat trails darting off in different directions.  However, I ended up getting totally lost.  I kept going in circles with no signs.  I was so disoriented.  I had no idea where the school was and a bit exhausted of skiing.  I almost decided to call someone to rescue me.  Then out of the blue, this lady just skied across the trail.  She ended up easily guiding me to the school. She knew the way and it was simple.  I was so thankful.

My skiing adventure is somewhat like people's walk with the Lord, they begin on the right trail but get distracted doing alot of good things.  However, they get worn out and need to get help and lean on the Saviors leading.  So, that is what I try to do.  I end up writing it down and having James (my husband) look over it and also give it to a mentor.  I only want to do the Lord's will so He is most glorified.

Needless to say, James and I are going to a free skate skiing clinic tomorrow.  I hope I can learn to turn.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hound Heartache

I know this is the dumbest post.  But, since we had to depart from not only our many friends in South Africa but also our two dogs.  English Bulldog Denali and Great Dane McKinley.  We wanted to bring them to USA but, the airlines changed their policy and had to be shipped on a separate airline costing too much money (thousands+).  Our animals had the best of homes and we were thankful.

A year has gone bye.  We don't need a dog, but our family enjoys them.  They are my extra eyes when hiking, running partner who is never late, and they make us laugh.  We have looked at a variety of breeds but, after having the Great Dane all other dogs just seem too small to fill the part of our heart that was made for that great breed.

A few weeks ago, my youngest and animal lover had taken the entire blog of post it notes.  I took a photo.  It sums our feelings up.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Opportunities or another rock?

On Monday during a study, I was reflecting on the story in Having a Mary's Heart in a Marthas World.  The parable in general was about a  person given a task to do from the Lord.

An Overloaded Wagon

The story is told of a man who met God in a lovely valley one day.  ”How are you this morning?” God asked the fellow. “I’m fine, thank you,” the man replied. “Is there anything I can do for you today?”
“Yes, there is,” God said. “I have a wagon with three stones in it, and I need someone to pull it up the hill for me. Are you willing?
“Yes I’d love to do something for you. Those stones don’t look very heavy, and the wagon’s in good shape. I’d be happy to do that. Where would you like me to take it?”
God gave the man specific instructions, sketching a map in the dust at the side of the road. “Go through the woods and up the road that winds up the side of the hill. Once you get to the top, just leave the wagon there. Thank you for your willingness to help me today.”
“No problem!” the man replied and set off cheerfully. The wagon pulled a bit behind him, but the burden was an easy one. He began to whistle as he walked quickly through the forest. The sun peeked through the trees and warmed his back. What a joy to be able to help the Lord, he thought, enjoying the beautiful day.
Just around the third bend, he walked into a small village. People smiled and greeted him. Then, at the last house, a man stopped him and asked, “How are you this morning? What a nice wagon you have. Where are you off to?”
“Well, God gave me a job this morning, I’m delivering these three stones to the top of the hill.”
“My goodness! Can you believe it? I was just praying this morning about how I was going to get this rock I have up to the top of the mountains,” the man told him with great excitement. “You don’t suppose you could take it up there for me? It would be such an answer to prayer.”
The man with the wagon smiled and said, “Of course. I don’t suppose God would mind. Just put it behind the other three stones.” Then he set off with three stones and a rock rolling behind him.
The wagon seemed a bit heavier. He could feel the jolt of each bump, and the wagon seemed to pull to one side a bit. The man stopped to adjust the load as he sang a hymn of praise, pleased to be helping out a brother as he served God. Then he set off again and soon reached another small village at the side of the road.  A good friend lived there and offered him a glass of cider.
“You’re going to the top of the hill?” his oldest friend asked.
“Yes! I am so excited. Can you imagine, God gave me something to do!”
“Hey!” said his friend. “I need this bag of pebbles taken up. I’ve been so worried that it might not get taken care of since I haven’t any time to do it myself. But you could fit it in right between the three stones here in the middle.” With that, he placed his burden in the wagon.
“Shouldn’t be a problem,” the man said. “I think I can handle it.” He finished the cider, then stood up and brushed his hands on his overalls before gripping the handle of the wagon. He waved good-bye and began to pull the wagon back onto the road.
The wagon was definitely tugging on his arm now, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. As he started up the incline, he began to feel the weight of the three stones, the rock, and the pebbles. Still, it felt good to help a friend. Surely God would be proud of how energetic and helpful he’d been.
One little stop followed another, and the wagon grew fuller and fuller. The sun was hot above the man pulling it, and his shoulders ached with the strain. The songs of praise and thanksgiving that had filled his heart had long since left his lips as resentment began to build inside. Surely this wasn’t what he had signed up for that morning. God had given him a burden heavier than he could bear….
But at the top of the mountain, distraught he complained and God said my yoke is easy and my burden light.  You loaded your wagon with others peoples burdens. 

So, now on Tuesday, I was given a few new rocks.  One is to be a speaker around Alaska to share my testimony.  The second rock, is to have an hour long Interactive Bible Study for the Radio that would be broadcasted to the remote villages around Alaska using material from Stonecroft.  A dear friend asked me to pray about leading this woman's Bible study.  

Pray with me.  I only want the Lord's rocks.  I am going to take tomorrow off and spend a day with the Lord.  Thankfully I have an amazing mom in love to take the kids for part of the day since our children are on their last week of Christmas Holiday.  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Why I enjoy homeschooling.

 Why I enjoy homeschooling is best written during the two weeks break. There are things I don't like about homeschooling, but more on that later. 

1.  Find their loves.

How many of you were stuck in a class that was just not you? You longed for something different, something extraordinary. I want my children to explore the uniqueness of the way the Lord created them.  If that is inventing things or just caring for others.  Homeschooling gives them more freedom to do the things that they love.

2. Specialized training.
The good and the bad. My children get to see God's grace as I fail and make mistakes.  They have seen me on my knees after being too critical or spoke harshly.  But, isn't that life too.  To teach them that God loves us NO MATTER WHAT.  Both in the great days, and in the days I should of slept in :)

3. Flexibility.
I enjoy the flexibility to take a break to get outside whenever we feel the need.  Our flexible schedule means that we can take a day to go on a field trip whenever an opportunity comes up. We can do more hands-on experiential learning.  Even visiting people in the hospital or caring for others.

  4. Love being with them.
I must admit the days when we explore the world and see their eyes open up to something new and exciting.  I love to be apart of it. Teaching them each to read was a so much fun.

What I use:

For my reading, history, Bible, worldview, geography, spelling, and literature:  I am currently on my fourth year of using Tapestry of Grace.  It has been an adventure.  I love it because it is "literature based" with great books.  It is a classical education with a chronological teaching of history.  

Math U See & Teaching Textbooks for Math

Science: We are currently on our 5th Apologia Science called : Swimming creatures which is a biology study.

Etiquette Factory

English from the roots up: basic latin/greek root words study

Institute of Excellent in Writing 

Learning Language Arts through Literature: (Bronwyn only)

Easy Grammar

IXL online Math (extra)

National November Writing Month (in November)

Character First (sometimes)

Ateiler Art 

When my children were young I loved:  
Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons
Five in a Row

Monday, January 2, 2012

Garbage out, Life in

Recently I heard a Beth Moore podcast while skate skiing with Jen.  She said that if someone was to ask her what she is memorizing and she didn't have a verse that would be bad.  She admits that she has so much garbage in her head from her past and the culture around her, that she must "reprogram" her mind.

So do I.   (Krispy Kreme doughnuts are so good, but NO VALUE)

So, here is what the new year's plan is:  Memorize Colossians (only 2 verses per week).  I got the plan from A Holy Experience under their free downloads.

I  am also restarting the facebook group called Memory Verse Challenge and your welcomed to join.  The plan is to once a week, write on the wall or message someone your verse that you choose to memorize.  Lets have God's Word dwell richly in us.

John Piper pleads with you to hide God's Word in your heart.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


“God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible.
What a pity when we plan only the things we can do by ourselves.” -A.W. Tozer
Prayer.  Why do I care?  It is just pain.  I feel so weak.  I just need to read the right book.  Isn't there a website to go to? Google?  
At His feet.  It is where I humbly began my journey of faith, saying to our Heavenly Father, "I have tried everything, it hasn't worked out.  I will try you.  I will follow you with my whole heart.  I have been disappointed and rejected. You might not be real, but I surrender to YOU."  
He has been there. My comforter.  The joy of my heart.  The great healer.  
That is where I am today.  I want to have the right answers or fix problems. But, today-I will seek.  This year will be the Year of the Lord and a steadfastness of prayer.  
If you have hurts, pain, relationships gone wrong, bear one another burdens only to the cross. Pray. Pray. Pray. It is not a religious practice but a two way communication to listen and speak to the King.

An answer to prayer my friend Tamara got accepted into her nursing school.  WTG!