2017 Year In Review

It’s hard to believe 2017 is now officially over. It was a busy year for our family… here is a quick run down of what our year looked like!

  • Maga celebrated her 28th birthday on January 13th. She’s been 28 since… well a long time!
  • Natasha turned 14 on March 2nd.
  • Katherine turned 3 on March 6th.
  • Uncle Andy turned… I think 40 on March 13th.
  • Phil successfully finished his 1st full year of self employment on April 1st… no joke!
  • We celebrated Christ is risen on April 16th with lots of family at our house.
  • I turned 46 on May 11th.
  • Mikayla turned 12 on May 22nd.
  • Phil turned 48 on June 9th.
  • Natasha and Mikayla sold their Busy Bees Creations at the CHEC conference in June.
  • Alex turned 9 on August 4th.
  • Gaylene joined Keller Williams DTC.
  • We went camping to our favorite spot at the end of August.
  • Jonathan turned 7 on September 30th.
  • Phil and I celebrated 17 years of marriage on November 16th. Have I mentioned that I’m the luckiest gal on the planet? Thank you Lord for blessing me with an amazing husband!
  • We celebrated Thanksgiving at home then joined the Buttons for dessert and games at their house.
  • Our dear Miss Renee celebrated her 35th birthday on December 6th.
  • Our 4 oldest children performed in a piano recital. It was Jonathan’s first recital since starting lessons in August and he loved it!
  • We celebrated Christmas at home then once again joined the Buttons and the Keels for dessert and games at the Button’s house.

I’m sure there are many events I missed… my apologies… I need to start writing this stuff down throughout the year!


Christmas Traditions

This week we started a couple of our family’s Christmas traditions. Sunday marked the beginning of Advent and for the 2nd year in a row we are reading a story book about our Savior. Author Arnold Ytreeide has written four books for Advent. Last year we read Ishtar’s Odyssey and enjoyed the story so much that I bought Tabitha’s Travels. So far we are loving the story but we are only on the 3rd day of Advent so we have much adventure to read about!

The other tradition we have is each year I individually wrap Christmas books and keep them in a basket under our Christmas tree. We unwrap a book each night leading up to Christmas and read that book. This is our 3rd year doing this and the kids really look forward to this tradition. Jonathan got to unwrap the first book tonight and as usual he picked the Charlie Brown Christmas Story. Alex will get to pick the book to unwrap and read tomorrow night. My goal is to have 24 books that we get to unwrap each year starting on December 1st. We only have 13 books this year but I try to add one or two books each year.

What are some of your family traditions?

Youth Groups… Why our family steers clear

Many years ago I had a close Christian friend tell me that her and her family (mom, dad, 2 sons) were looking for a new church and one of their goals was to join a church that did not have a youth group.  Of course, this wasn’t their only requirement (doctrinally sound, etc were requirements) but it had become very important to her.  Honestly, I thought she was nuts!  Her boys were about to be pre-teen… or do they call them tweens these days… anyway, I was thinking her kids are going to need friends when they become the dreaded teenagers (this was back when I thought teenagers had to behave the way the world says teenager have to behave) and what better friends then to have as part of the youth group?

Fast forward a couple year later and we had moved across town and were going to a different church.  I started paying attention to their youth group as my conversation with my friend was always in the back of my mind.  As I watched our youth group (no, I didn’t have any kids of that age yet) it became glaringly obvious that our youth looked no different than the youth of the world.  They dressed the same, they talked the same, they had the same attitude.  We, as Christians, are called to be set apart.

The church was having a potluck one day after the service.  As I was standing in line to get my kids their plates of food I overheard a conversation between our youth minister and a 16 year old girl who were standing right in front of me.  As I listened to their discussion I was, quite frankly, appalled by what I heard and envisioned Natasha having this same conversation in a few years.  Instead of the youth minister kindly but firmly pointing this girl to have this discussion with her parents he engaged her about boyfriends and how important they can be in a girls life, etc.  I realize, to the world this is a completely normal conversation but to someone who desires, more then anything, to raise her children in the admonition of the Lord I was sickened.  There are so many biblical teachings this youth minister could have said to this young girl but instead played into what the world has taught her.

Anyway, I came across the video below that explains better then I can why our family doesn’t attend a church with a youth group.  The video is about 39 minutes long but SO worth it!  He talks about how Sunday school and youth groups started here in America.  Watch to the end when Voddie gives a simple message to fathers and another simple messages to pastors.



Our Favorite Camping Spot… so far!

The last weekend of August we went on a family camping trip and I have to say it was my favorite family trip so far!  We had such an enjoyable weekend and in a beautiful campground in Rocky Mountain National Park.  I reserved a group site (because our tent is TOO big for the regular tent pads!) in the Glacier Basin campground.  It was a great spot with lots of room between us and other camping neighbors.  In the past, we have typically stayed at a campground that has a pool, arcade, miniature golf and/or other activities.  But Glacier Basin only had a presentation on Friday night that you could attend if you want.  I was slightly concerned when I made the reservations that we would be bored without all those ‘activities’ but let me tell you we had a fantastic time!  We took walks and hikes and played frisbee in our large group area and ate and ate some more.  We hiked up to Sprague Lake a couple of times and walked around the lake; it was absolutely beautiful.  We already decided we are going back next summer!

Enjoy a few pictures!

Katherine fell asleep near the campfire Saturday afternoon.

Women’s Bible Study Groups or Retreats

I have a problem… a problem with most women’s bible study groups and certainly retreats. I’ve been on 3 retreats and really only 1 was worth it and that was because I was with my best friend. The time spent with her made it worth plugging through the 2 day retreat.

However, I strongly dislike women’s retreats and many women’s bible studies. I’ve struggled to put into words why but this article really lays out a lot of my feelings. Mainly the part about all the emotion and shallowness of it all. I’m not lacking in compassion but I’m certainly not an overly emotional touchy-feely kind of gal either. The other retreats that I’ve been too consisted of most of the women crying about their life circumstance and weren’t truly studying God’s Word or even building each other up. I don’t understand the gather together and cry crowd but then again I’m more of a one on one kind of person.

I did attend a one day Refresh conference for ladies in February and I can honestly say I was refreshed!  We were in our bibles often throughout the day and seeking the truth of Scripture.

I am part of a monthly book study group with a handful of wonderful women and I am blessed to sit at the feet of 2 or 3 wise women who have mentored me and given me encouragement specifically over the last 4 years.  We are in our bible continually, praying for one another and helping hold each other accountable.

Like I mentioned this article really hit home for me.  Take 5 minutes and give it a read.  I agree with the article about just picking up the Bible and studying THE BIBLE.  You don’t need a canned book study to get to know our Lord and Savior.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.

God Bless!


Coffee Bars and Fog Machines

I came across a blog post that made me cry and also had me saying AMEN!  Kevin Swanson originally talked about it on his podcast a couple of weeks ago.  I looked it up so I could read the entire post.  Suffice it to say it is a must read and you can find it here.

I believe there are far more seeker sensitive and shallow churches now then ever before.  Churches that care more about the decor and what ‘programs’ they offer then about the hurting souls within their congregation.  Loud bands/music, fog machines and the like are such a turn off for me.  I was visiting with one of my daughter’s friends and her parents.  This friend’s ice skating coach goes to a very large and loud church and when I asked about the worship he explained that although it’s really loud they hand out headphones to drown it out for those that don’t care for it.  What a shame!  I love hearing believers sing to the Lord… an preferably not a Chris Tomlin song.

Too many churches these days are more concerned with meeting a quota then they are discipling the congregation sitting before them.  The sermons are fluff and they continue to say they’ll teach new converts the hard stuff once they get them converted.  But, Christ did not die a horrible death (read Isaiah 53 for a beautiful passage describing Christ’s suffering) for the church to teach fluff.  As a side note, I took note in Eric Metaxes book about Dietrich Bonhoeffer how Bonhoeffer visited America in the 1930s and was surprised at how shallow the American churches were…  that was almost 90 years ago!

However, despite a lack of bible believing and teaching churches, as Christians we are commanded to be part of a church.  This article details WHY we are commanded to be part of a church family.

If you call yourself a Christian you should have a new life; a changed life… not the same life with a new title… hmmm, I see another blog post on that topic!

Please click on the link in the first paragraph and take a few minutes to read the words of a young mother in mourning.

A Graduation Party

Well hello!  I know, it’s been awhile!  When you are a wife, homeschooling mom to 5 amazing gifts from God, a daughter, sister in Christ, a property manager, template builder and capsule weighing expert there really is no time to blog!  There are so many things I want to say.  In fact, almost every single day I see, read or think of something I want to blog about but alas, I just haven’t had the time.

I just wanted to take a few minutes to say HI and to share a brief note on what a wonderful afternoon we had.  We were invited to a graduation party of a young man who Phil knew of while he was in the womb.  Phil has known this family for about 25 years… maybe a couple more.  Their 2nd son graduated from high school this year and we were blessed to be a part of the celebration.

It was such a joy to be around so many like minded families.  To watch kids of all ages playing together, interacting with others and all the adults, and to see the relationships being nurtured.  To see these young adults (the world calls them teenagers) behave in such a kind, respectful way to all of those around them.  To be around teenagers who actually care about other people and take the time to talk with others and invest in relationships is so refreshing.

This young man will start college this fall after being home educated all the way through high school.  He has worked hard and earned many scholarships. Because of his grades and the Godly character his parents have instilled in him, he will have nearly a full ride.  Our society needs more young men like him.  Young men, whose number priority is his relationship with God and who seeks to follow God’s will for his life, not his own will.  Young men who put faith, family and the Gospel before video games, partying and all the other priorities this sinful world puts at the top of its list.  His parents have taught him from a very young age to be wise about what he puts in his head and his heart.  To be discerning about what he reads, listens to and watches.  To see the fruit from this young man and his family is so encouraging to me.

It’s so refreshing….  we were surrounded by teenagers who didn’t act like ‘teenagers’ but who acted as though they belonged to the Lord.

Psalm 119:9-16  
How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word.
10 With all my heart I have sought You;
Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
11 Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You.
12 Blessed are You, O Lord;
Teach me Your statutes.
13 With my lips I have told of
All the ordinances of Your mouth.
14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
[e]As much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on Your precepts
And [f]regard Your ways.
16 I shall [g]delight in Your statutes;
I shall not forget Your word.