Thursday, December 23, 2010

To all my friends, Merry Christmas!

For all you friends who arent going to get a Christmas card from me (which would be all of you). Here is my Christmas letter in abbreviated form.  I always have such good intentions at Christmas.

Every year I say "This year is different, I'm going to send cards/newsletter/pictures for Christmas. I am going to be that organized!!!" And every year I don't actually seem to get them out. There have been years when I write the cards and even address them but just don't put them in the mail. Then about February I find them on my desk and figure its really too late to send them after all. One year I even wrote the newsletter. Put pictures in and was so proud of myself, but never did anything else with it. I found it on the computer the other day.................
Please don't feel slighted that I don't send cards to you. This is my problem not yours. You are great friends, I'm the disorganized crazy one!

So instead of messing with the cards,(which for some reason I still fill this need to do) I am blogging my Christmas. Lazy? Maybe............

So 2010 was a crazy year for the Bartel's. We lived 4 different places since November of 2009. This is the longest we have lived anywhere in the last year. Yipeee! I think that means we might be settled :)

Caleb starts college in January of 2011. Technically he is still a high school senior, but he will finish his senior year with all college classes at Johnson County Community College. He is enrolled at K-State next fall, though it doesn't seem to have quite the draw as when it was 2 hours away from us. He is busy right now getting scholarship applications in. He has one awarded and under his belt (yea!!) We are hoping for many more:)

Emma is enjoying Manhattan High School for the most part. She is a sophmore this year and likes the friends and the fun stuff. She isn't exactly fond of the Chemistry part, not that I blame her. She revisited her role from 7th grade as an Oompa Loompa in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory this fall as a part of the MHS musical. She was the best Oompa Loompa up there.

Ethan skipped football this fall which was devastating to Randy, but played in a tournament with friends from KC for a weekend, which I think he enjoyed as ,much as his dad did. He has already started baseball practice, though its only once a week and indoor! Seventh grade is going well, he still likes math the best and is taking Algebra I. Thank goodness he didn't get my math skills!

Randy is enjoying his work at the Ebert Mayo Design Group. He missed coaching football this fall but made up for lost time coaching for the tournament. He is working hard on several projects around town. A couple of elementary schools and some other multi use buildings.

I'm working part time as an assistant for a local broker. Learning the Manhattan market and just enjoying no home improvement projects at the moment!

As a family we have joined New Hope Church and gotten involved in a small group of really great people. The kids like the youth program and are planning a mission trip for summer.

We are so blessed! We are not anywhere we would have expected to be this time last year, but God has been so good to us. We have jobs, health, family and friends and we are grateful for all. Especially you!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I love this picture. Slightly out of focus, but it TOTALLY captures the fun! With Caleb ready to head off to college next month, days like this are so much sweeter.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving and Motherhood.

Don't judge my parenting based on the picture above please. It just made me laugh, classic Norman Rockwell!!

Last week at Bible Study we had a social time and in order to get that off the ground, the leader asked what our first job was and what our favorite job has been. My first job, if you don’t count babysitting, was at Cookie Factory at Oak Park Mall. Fun, though I can’t remember the names of anyone I worked with except my boss. It was the question about my favorite job that got me thinking. My favorite job has always been and will always be MOM.  I know there is question as to whether that really qualifies as a job. There is no question about the fact that its work :) but can I count that as a job?

I know that I was so blessed to stay home with my kids as long as I did. It didn’t happen right away, and it came at a cost, but it is the best job ever. I’m a little nostalgic about it now simply because all my kids are teenagers now (yikes!). The days of ear infections with no end and nap time have been traded for teenage drama and drivers licenses (YIKES!)

At this time of Thanksgiving, I just wanted to say how thankful I am for my family. My kids are my heart. They give meaning to my days and fill most of them with joy ;) My husband is my best friend and I am blessed everyday by him.


Friday, October 22, 2010


So the last child turned 13 on the 13th of October. We celebrated with a surprise party in KC this last weekend. (I think everyone deserves a surprise party at one point or another in their life) It was fun and E was surprised. He didn't figure it out right until we pulled the car into the parking stall at the park. HA!  Grandma, Caleb and Emma made it happen by showing up at the park early and setting things up. Considering how unorganized I am I'm surprised we pulled it off. Actually he had been to a friend's birthday party the night before and that friend's mom mentioned it without thinking. I'm sure my face would have been picture perfect when she said something about meeting at De Soto park for Ethan's birthday the next afternoon. I fell all over myself stammering and trying to figure out what to say. She recovered nicely and Ethan didn't even pay any attention. I however, was speechless. Too funny.
I can't believe how fast this whole childhood thing went. Surely I'm not old enough to have one teenager let alone three, but I guess time rolls on!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Coming Home

Funny thing happened this weekend.................................................
We were back in KC and it was a full weekend with lots of running kids here and there. We had birthday breakfast for all the families October and November birthdays. We worked in my mother-in-laws yard and basement getting things cleaned up for winter. We went to a bonfire at a friends house and ate smores. We got haircuts and had a surprise birthday party for E with some of his friends. (I will post birthday stuff when I have time to download my pictures!) We walked through my sister-in-laws AMAZING remodel .
I was exhausted by the end of the weekend and just found myself wanting to go home. See the significance? It took me a minute :) I thought of Manhattan as home for the first time.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Inside Pictures

 So after much drama, here are the pictures of the inside of the new house. Okay, so not much drama, just procrastination :) There is much to be done to give it the look that I would like. But don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the house as it stands. Its mostly an issue of taste, what I would like in terms of colors and finishes etc.
The chalkboard on the right wall was originally at K-State. When they remodeled the classrooms the former owner got one that they were discarding. Apparently it is attached to the wall so that even Popeye can't get it off. It weighs over 400 lbs. Good thing is that we are planning to remove that wall. It divides the kitchen area and the family room.
This is the family room. The front door is at the front right of this picture. I don't like the way we have it arranged but I don't know how else to do it. That darned wood burning stove is in the most awkward place possible. The wall behind the T.V. is the one I would like to remove.

Like my Rubbermaid blue counter tops? I bought counter top paint, I just haven't gotten it done yet. I'm thinking about painting the cabinets red. Or red on top and black on the bottom.     
Study. Imagine the baby grand where the china cabinet is. It is still in storage.
Master Bedroom(ish) There are two bedrooms on the first floor, but no master bath associated with either one. So we gave Caleb the one next to the bathroom so he gets the noise :) and we took the slightly smaller one. Eventually we will combine the two and make a master suite.
Look how clean it is. "Sigh" It never lasts long. But I promise it will be clean if you will to come see us!!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

October Already?

That time went quick! Life seems to be speeding up lately, its already October and fall is finally here :) There is a frost warning for the area tonight which will hopefully bring an end to the allergy season. My mums are blooming along the front porch; I actually wore a sweatshirt most of the day; and the kids are busy. Fall is in high gear!

On the home front, Em is participating in the musical at school. They are doing Willy Wonka and after watching practice for a few minutes Thursday night I know it is going to be really good. E isn't playing football for the first fall since Kindergarten and while it was a rough go for Randy in the beginning we have really enjoyed the extra time with no practice and no weekend games. I am working what started to be a part time job in real estate and is now somewhere between 20 and 30 hours a week. Life just keeps rolling along.

On the house front I have tackled and mostly completed the downstairs bathroom/laundry. It was a simple fix up though, just painting and replacing the mirror and light fixtures. I hung some artwork, bought a cabinet and set out the fancy soaps(HA! like I own fancy soap) My heart just really isn't in it right now. I'm so wishy washy about making decisions. It took three practice colors just to get the one I wanted for the bathroom. Normally I'm better at just finding what I want and diving in. You notice there are no interior pictures? That's because I haven't made myself just do it! I promise that will happen this week. The picture taking anyway. At this rate I might get them posted by Christmas:)

We have narrowed down our Internet options. At this point I am hoping to be up and running by Christmas!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Whiny Me

One of the best gages I have of time completely getting away from me is when I pull up this page while I am at the library, to check out all the blogs I follow to see if there is anything new and interesting happening in the lives of those blogs I follow only to nice it's been almost a month since I posted!! And though I really hate to whine, I STILL DON'T HAVE INTERNET AT HOME!!!!!!
I know there are worse things to deal with, and to bring it up again is so whiny, but I can't help myself. Don't you feel sorry for me?

So really things are good. I don't have any camp pictures to post because I'm too busy working on the team and family pictures I've been paid to work on and I am woefully behind on those.

I promise good updates and fun pictures this week. Em and Ethan go back to school. Caleb hits Chemistry HARD :/ and I have a list of home improvements a mile long. Maybe when we get the Internet thing figured out I will post EVERYDAY like some of my super organized friends.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Time is Flyin'!!!

Sadly I don't have time to upload one of my own pictures of home. This IS where we live, it's just greener these days :)
One of the reasons I don't have pictures of my own to upload is that we have yet to figure out how to get Internet at home. Everything I do online has to be done at the public library. Taking the time at home to load everything to a thumb drive then down load onto the computer at the library is more organization than this little brain can handle!
This is just one of the fun "get to know your new home" quirks we are experiencing. Another is that our cell phones don't work in the house. I set my phone by the front door and it if rings I run to the front porch to answer. If I'm lucky, by the time the other person responds I am in the front yard where the signal is strong enough for a conversation! It's all fine now, even though it's a bit hot. When winter comes I might need a new plan. Needless to say.....we now have a land line again!
We have things mostly put away. No decorating has occurred, but I'm thinking I have some time for that.
We had our first friends from out of town in to see our home and hang out with us for the day. It was so nice to see them! The fact that they are Jayhawks at heart should really shame some of our Wildcat friends into getting here! They even SAID they enjoyed touring Manhattan!!
Anyway, time is short, I just wanted to say "HEY!" and let you know we are still here!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New House

I just have to say its nice to slow down. By slow down I mean not be scrambling to pack or unpack something which seems to have been the story of my life for the past year! While things aren't perfect at the new Bartel homestead, the beauty of it all is that they don't have to be! I did get most things put away and the house set up as we would like. I don't have pictures on the wall or things painted. To be completely honest I really don't even care at this moment :) I've even read for FUN this week!
Of course nothing really ever completely slows down. The kids are getting ready to enroll in schools and I do have a list of things I need to do. I can't avoid everything...................
I'm putting up some pictures here of the new place just for fun. Of course before we even officially bought the house Randy had the master plan finished. Additions, barn, even swimming pool (think 20 year plans). He is awesome!
This is the backyard. The small triangle raised bed is strawberries. We got here too late to eat them this year. Next year:)
This is the back of the house. The garage is semi-detached. There is a breezeway between it and the house that the dogs have commandeered for the time being. I'm not sure where they will end up permanently. But this works for now. There is a game room over the garage. It has a window air conditioner that has done its very best to keep up with the heat of this last week or so.

This is where my super fantastic garden is going to go. I have a master plan for that too so you can see how much alike my husband and I happen to be:) I'm going to try to get it fenced this fall  and raised beds put in so it will be ready to go next spring.
This is one of my favorite spots. It is nice and quiet out here most mornings, and not too hot if you go out early enough. When the garden goes in it will be to the top right of this picture. Then my view will be even better!

God has been so good to us. I feel blessed everyday to see things going back to some sense of "normal" whatever that is! I know I've learned a lot this year. I'm pretty sure the whole family has. I remember late last year comparing the stress of what we have been going through to a dark tunnel. With only enough light to see your own feet on the path and only enough strength to think about taking one step at a time. It does make me think about Psalms 119:105 "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." God has been there every step of this walk. I know it has given new meaning to "Feet to my Faith" . There are lessons yet to be learned from this, it's just going to take some more processing. I'm sure there will be many conversations between us about them yet!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Grown Up

I'm in KC this week to put Caleb on a plane for Nicaragua in the morning. It's the second time he has gone with his youth group. I'm not sure how I feel about it really! Oh, not in the way that you suppose, I'm not worried about him or concerned for his safety. I'm thinking more along the lines of relishing the giddy excitement that he is feeling, or the joy that he will experience sharing the good news about Jesus. I also know the impact it will have on him to see how the majority of the world really lives. Mission trips like this are where so many of us found the most life changing moments. I love knowing that is what this will be for him........... life changing.

Last night the mission team shared the dramas and music they will be performing in parks, schools, and streets. (What an amazing group of kids!) I sat there in the audience holding back tears, kind of like I'm doing now. Silly I know, but its just the joy of seeing my child start out on this amazing journey in life, finding himself I suppose. He looked like a stranger on stage. Bass player extraordinaire standing in the back corner. Who is this man/boy? Is he really the kid who ran naked around the backyard when he was three? Really?!
I am so proud of the man he is becoming!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Update on Insanity!

I'm sorry its been so long since my last update. So many things have happened (or NOT happened, depending on how you look at it) I didn't even want to think about them let alone share them!

In my last post we were getting ready to close on the house. The movers were coming on the seventh and all was plugging along nicely. Sadly while I watched the movers cart all our stuff out of the house I got a call telling us we weren't going to close. Actually that was the beginning of a pretty bad week. The bank just turned down the house and wouldn't loan anything for it. Short explanation is that it is a unique rural property that just didn't fit any set criteria to judge value. Banks don't like things that don't fit the prescribed mould and we were toast. The buyers went to another bank and after several circus like hoops to jump through the house is due to close this afternoon. In one hour and 15 minutes to be exact. I won't be calm until I get the word that all is signed and DONE!!!

I will say this process has certainly been a growing experience. I know that God has planned this move for us. It is solely in His very cape able hands. I guess my humanness just jumps out and expects that when God is in control things will go smoothly and we won't struggle. God has certainly taught us in all that. I KNOW He is in control with every part of me. But this has been HARD, and to be completely honest I am so tired of things being hard. I'm ready for some easy:) God didn't promise us easy though, I'm sure Paul was wishing for some easy when he sat in his prison cell. At least I hope he was. That would make me feel better!

Spending time in scripture has been my lifesaver. Every time I feel myself starting to stress I would just focus on getting back into the word. Even when I was running to ballgames and the grocery store etc. I was thinking about when I was going to next get a chance to be back reading my Bible. Not doing in depth study on the faithfulness of God or anything, just reading. I started to read Job. Bad idea. If I wasn't stressed before that about pushed me over the edge. My friend Nancy sent me to Psalm 107. That was such a great chapter to read through. I used Psalm 106:48 for a status on Facebook the other day. It brought me great joy and a few "Amens" from friends. I hope it does the same for you.
"Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, Amen!Praise the LORD" Psalms 106:48

Monday, May 31, 2010

Moving to Manhattan

You wouldn't recognize me if you saw me. Sadly I look like I've been dragged backwards through a hedge......twice. I would post pictures for your entertainment, but the thought of those out there in the never land of the Internet doesn't bear thinking about!

We are drawing closer to what looks like the end of our time in Kansas City. The movers come on Monday to load up. (When I talked to the moving company the woman commented on how much stuff we had. I kept thinking "You should have seen me 6 months ago!")  We have gotten rid of so much! Most of our belongings are actually still packed. I haven't seen a box of my shoes since October!!

This time really is bittersweet though. Randy and I have lived here for the majority of our lives with friends that are very precious. We are so happy that God has provided a job that Randy loves and has made the path to that job fairly smooth and simple, But the thought of starting over in a new area is a bit daunting. I'm trusting God knows what He is doing. I'm just along for the ride :)

We have a contract on a house in Manhattan. Randy and I went house hunting a couple weeks ago and found three that we loved/disliked. They all had at least one major drawback and we couldn't decide which way to go. Finally we took the kids up last week and told them to decide. One house sold before we got there, which just told us that wasn't in God's plan. The other two were complete opposites. One was almost brand new, 3 bedroom 2 1/2 bath, beautiful house with an unfinished basement that had great potential. It was on 3.2 acres in the country with a view of the countryside. It's drawback was the lot. On a corner, house smack dab in the middle with no trees but some scrub cedar.
The other was 20 years old in a valley right in the middle of the Flint Hills tucked in a large lot subdivision on 3 acres. Wooded with open spaces, a big front porch and 4 bedrooms 2 1/2 baths. It's drawback was it's partial basement and Manhattan schools. (largest 6A high-school in the state of Kansas).
We saw the new house first and I could see the disappointment on Em's face. The boys were ambivalent. When we got to the second house all that changed. They all loved it and started fighting over bedrooms. Their excitement was contagious :) After some negotiating, it is ours(ish). Inspections are tomorrow morning.
I will post pictures when we are closer to truly owning it! There is some work that needs to be done and updating (rubbermaid blue counter tops). But the potential is fantastic. God is so good to us.

Please continue to pray for the Bartel's. Many of you know what the past year has been like for us. The thought of some stability and financial security feels a little like a dream. I know we are going where God is planting us, we are just learning to trust and lean on Him. Please pray that the kids transition well into schools and make friends. That we find a great church home. And that our finances allow us to get the house!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Move Updates

Just a couple of updates. (And no the picture really doesn't have anything to do with the post. These are my kids in the front. was taken at my brother -in -laws wedding a couple weeks ago and I LOVE IT! IT makes me smile whenever I see it! It is just an indicator of how I feel right now.)
First: We have a contract on the house! We have had it for about a week. Tomorrow are inspections and after we are through the renegotiation process I will feel more comfortable saying we have "SOLD" the house. We have actually had the contract for 6 days, but things have been so crazy I haven't had time to update. I have to say since I posted the last time  God has just completely been in control of this process. I have done nothing. Everything that has happened, from the contract, to loan approval on our next house. God has opened doors and smoothed paths. I have started to stress a dozen times and God just whispers into my heart "BE STILL AND LET ME" and he has taken the stress and worry right away. Any doubt that Manhattan is where God intends us falters against that evidence!
Now we get to look for houses. Normally I love to look at houses but in this situation I'm not sure about where I'm going. God has opened doors wide up to now though, I'm sure He has this figured out too!

Second: Randy loves his job. That is a HUGE blessing! I know he would do it even if he didn't like it just to provide for us, but God is again blessing in His abundant way.

I'm trying not to be the puppy running in circles around God!

"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom ans revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints , and His incomparably great power for us who believe." Eph 1:17-19

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chasing My Tail

So I had a light bulb moment yesterday. I was mowing the yard and consciously focusing on God. Sort of a combination of praying, meditating and avoiding sticks. (Weird combination I know but there you go.)
 I am a fixer. I know I've said before that as long as I have a plan I can handle anything. I don't think the WORD says however that I can do all things through Christ as long as I have a plan! I can get very wrapped up in the process of doing. kind of like a puppy when you first bring him home. He spends countless minutes running in circles, digging holes, chasing the ball, constantly running , moving, doing something. while you are waiting patiently at the side with the food and water bowl, just waiting for him to calm down long enough to notice you! I am like that puppy!  Never stopping while God waits patiently. Then I collapse exhausted at His feet wondering why He isn't acting in my life. I got the distinct impression that God was waiting for me to stop yesterday. Stop and wait patiently for Him to show, teach and do.
I have this tendency to feel like God isn't going to act unless I'm doing something. Reality is Its not about me and what I do. All the scrambling and running and worrying isn't going to change God. I think he is waiting for this puppy to collapse at His feet and say "OK, I'm done" Then when I am worn out from all my scrambling, He acts. All He wants from me is a teachable heart not me trying to fix everything. I think the God of the universe can handle my life much better than I can. I just need to give up and let Him!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Renovation AFTER pictures!!!

So I guess the house is as done as its going to get. There are still odds and ends to take care of, I need to get a used over the stove microwave; put a side on the jacuzzi tub; replace a broken pane of glass; replace a seal on the front edge of the garage that is allowing a tiny bit of water in the basement wall and tile the hearth of the fireplace. But other than those items we can say DONE!! Now my goal is to say SOLD!!! I am going back to the beginning to show the complete transformation.

Living Room BEFORE

Living Room AFTER

Kitchen BEFORE

Kitchen AFTER

Family Room BEFORE

Family Room AFTER

Friday, April 2, 2010


Today I woke up at 5am unable to go back to sleep. Maybe I could have if I really tried, but Good Friday is on my mind. It's so quiet and dark out now, it makes it easy to picture Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, or the early hours in the morning before His crucifixion. There had to be in all the craziness of the trial and activity, moments of silence like this where it feels like the earth is waiting.
"The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge."
Psalms 19:1-2 NAS
I picture that quiet before the earth can't contain itself in silence any longer. The waiting for an event that literally changed to world in far greater ways than we can ever imagine. The quiet before pain, blood, suffering, and loss. All because of me, or rather, all because God loves me.
I often wonder what people who aren't Believers think of  Good Friday and then of Easter. Do they really only see the chocolate bunnies and the baskets of eggs? Can't they feel the earths silence? The waiting quiet before that moment of celebration of resurection? To me the silence seems deafening!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

We Have Flooring!

With some late nights, early mornings, and help from friends (Thank You Rick P and Ken K!) We now have hardwood floors installed on the main level of the house. Yipee!!
When Randy and I picked out the floors, we picked something we would like, not thinking too much about resale. I know they might not be to everyone's taste, but we loved the variations in color. I think it will be beautiful when I get furniture in and pictures on the walls. Though to be honest the thought of unpacking all that stuff just to repack it in a few weeks to move doesn't excite me much.
Cabinets are going to be picked up tomorrow, along with all the trim that I will spend all day outside painting. At least I'll get to be outside, it is supposed to be beautiful!
We also had the kids from De Soto Youth Ministries (the youth group Caleb and Emma participate with) out all day on Tuesday. Even though it was cold outside they raked leaves, mulched, cleaned out flower beds, moved three brush piles to a central location, hauled trash out of the garage and shed to the dumpster, moved old cabinets and even chopped up a tree for us! They worked for several people Monday, Tuesday and today raising money for a Haitian orphanage. Several teens and adults had planned for several months to go to Haiti this week to work at the orphanage but the earthquake made that an impossibility. They have raised almost $11,000 over the last couple of months.
Anyway, we should have things looking good by Monday. Randy will be gone all week to Manhattan, so no big jobs will get done while he is gone. Hopefully everything will be done enough to put the house on the market............

Monday, March 8, 2010

Update on the remodel

Just to give you a quick update on the remodel. We have obviously changed our focus and now we are are calling this our "Flip" HA! I've always thought it would be kind of cool to flip a house, now I'm not so sure. This is hard work! Today I made the obligatory trip to Home Depot, painted doors, pulled up the kitchen linoleum,  ordered the dumpster, and contacted the kids youth group to work on the yard for their work day next week. We are having to choose very carefully what to spend money on and what not to. It's hard to decide what will help us sell vs doing what is unnecessary. The kitchen is where most of our time and money will be. Earlier we planned to take a wall out and rearrange the layout. Now we are putting it back the way it was, just with all new everything!
It's a little bittersweet to do all this work and picture how great it will be when we get done, only to sell it as quickly as possible. This evening I was on the back deck getting rid of trash and I could hear the frogs in the pond on a neighboring property. I have to remind myself of what God has been writing on my heart lately. Let go of my dreams to allow God to accomplish something bigger than I can imagine. I'm trying!
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and HE will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
This verse was one of the first I memorised walking on campus back in the day. It's been one that has come often to my mind in the last few months.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Do I have Love?

In the last year Randy and I said to God that we would go wherever He wanted us to. Honestly I was hoping for somewhere exciting, I mean I told God I would go ANYWHERE. (I was thinking about just having come back from the trip to Africa last January.) I even grudgingly said I'd go someplace cold, and if you know me you know THAT is sacrifice. We really meant it too, anywhere.... You know where God is sending us? About an hour and a half west of where I am now. On one hand I am a little sad it wasn't a more exciting place. On the other hand God has made it pretty clear that He is the one sending us there and that is so exciting to me. Not only did He provide Randy a job in Manhattan, He provided Randy a great job in Manhattan! so obviously my thoughts are consumed with making ready and selling a house. Finding a place to live. Transitioning the kids as smoothly as possible etc, etc....... Today though the thought of pointing my faith feet toward Manhattan has been topmost in my thoughts.

I haven't talked much lately about putting feet to my faith, which is really what this blog started out to be. I think the thought of God calling to put my feet in motion and go somewhere else that He has called me has gotten me thinking about everything in light of that again. Ordinary me trying to do what God calls all of us to do everyday. Show myself and others what it really looks like to walk my faith in the real world. What are practical ways to live like I love Jesus everyday? In doing this I have experienced growth and challenge, prayer and an intensity in my relationship with God. No big theology or evangelism plans but real walking with Jesus and what that means.
The walk this year or so has been eventful. God has opened my eyes to so much that I would never have even noticed without this experience. There are many hurting people out there. People that you never suspect live with hurt that they think they hide from everyone else. Often we have little time to really engage in conversation deeper than the flippant "how's it going?". If we did maybe we could see past the surface and into their hearts. The sadness that loss brings. The anxiety that is behind every bite of food that passes into their mouth. The hopelessness and desperation that comes with physical disability. The brutal pain of a spouse telling you they just don't love you any more. Sadly I know someone who is dealing with each of those things. A couple of them are covered by more than one person. 
What am I doing to reach out and Love them the way Jesus would?  I'm not sure. I know that there is a reason God has put those people in my path. He doesn't do anything by accident. For me it always helped when someone acknowledged my pain. Mentioned the elephant in the room so to speak :) Love speaks volumes. One thing I will try to do is to pray that I show love the way God models it to us. Sometimes I think we try to make it more complicated than it needs to be. Show love.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love , I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.                                                                   1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Feet are moving to Manhattan

So just to prove that God does have a sense of humor, the girl who said "I will never" just had it come back and bite her in the bee-hind AGAIN!" Let me re-cap the last few months for you in case you have forgotten. Recession kicks in, work is very bad for architecture, especially if you are self employed. We find ourselves in a situation we never thought we would be in, dependant on people who love us and the grace of God to survive. I go back to work. We sell our house (which really wasn't that hurtful, I didn't transition well to a subdivision). We go through insanity trying to close on the house we bought. And Randy gets a job offer OUT OF TOWN!!! so guess who is moving again? Yep that would be me. Well me and my whole family.
Understand that is said realizing the HOLY and AMAZING GRACE of MY LORD and SAVIOR. I know without a shadow of a doubt that God has held us in his mighty hands the entire time we have struggled. It is only by an act of God that Randy ever got an interview let alone a job offer. We are so grateful to be blessed in this way.
I guess putting Feet to my Faith takes on a whole new meaning. God is so good!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Manhattan and the Flint Hills

The whole family spent the day in Manhattan today. I love this area. The Flint Hills are always beautiful, even in the middle of winter. You would never expect to see as much color as there really is. This picture doesn't do it justice. Part camera problems mostly user problems, it was cold!!!!
It's funny the memories that pop up when your back in an are you haven't seen in a while. Driving down streets that were vaguely familiar I was flooded with memories of college. Lots of funny stories that I think the kids liked hearing. I didn't catch any eye rolls anyway. We went to the Union and then walked through Seaton Hall where Randy spent the majority of his time. (No really, almost every moment both waking and sleeping.) Studio rooms all looked the same. Same chaos, same harried looking students! Emma remarked that we were getting a lot of strange looks, but that those students had certainly walked around like that before they came to school there!
Sadly the art building that my classes were in was torn down several years ago to make way for the HUGE library, so no classroom memories for me:(  We didn't head over to the dorms, but I think we might save that for an official college visit when Caleb goes. Fun day, lots of memories, and kids that got along without incident even sitting three across in the crowded backseat of my Mother-in-Laws car! (ours broke down yesterday.... of course:)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I have to share this blog posting from a friend who is a missionary in Mozambique. God has been teaching me about suffering this year. I'm definitely looking at it differently, but this is a perspective I don't experience.
"There are days when I really feel sorry for myself. Days when I feel like I have had to suffer.....because I was SO hot in church and the bench was uncomfortable, or I was sick with a virus, or because I live so far away from my family and we miss getting to celebrate together, or because our water is off again for several hours and we had to haul in buckets of water to flush the toilets and I couldn't shower when I wanted to, or they were out of lunch meat at Shoprite and my kids will have to take pbj sandwiches in their lunch this week.

Then I hear stories of Mozambicans. Stories of real suffering.

And I am shamed and humbled.

Eugenia, age 41 year, died of AIDs on Saturday. She had 5 children. She was so weak and ill in the days leading up to her death that she would cry out in pain when her friends tried to move her. Her eyes appeared to bulge out of her head. She begged for Jesus to take her. She knew Jesus and assured her friends that she would see Him soon.

She is not from this province, so besides her alcoholic husband, she had no one. Her church family had been caring for her. Her oldest child has a child of her own. Her youngest child is about 2 1/2 and is probably HIV positive.

After her funeral, church family came to bring food and other items for the family. Some brought a few coins, others a bag of sugar or some tea, others some fruit. There was no family to come and take her children. Her church family members aren't in much better shape, financially, than she was. So there was no roster going around at church to sign up to bring a hot meal to them for the next week. No one bringing frozen casseroles to stick in the freezer.

Here, if you have HIV you are known as "positivo". Some people will shun you. Eugenia was very involved in her church, where she was loved and accepted. The family of God was her only family here. Sometimes she would come to church and quietly ask a friend for money because she had nothing to feed her children. When she looked thin, her friends would ask if she was eating. "If there's food there, I eat," she would answer.

Her church family has taken care of her as well as they could. Sat with her, prayed with her, and given from their meager means. They gave when it looks like to these American eyes that they had nothing themselves to give.
Another young woman, Lily, just had twins last week. She had been hospitalized because of high blood pressure and the babies were finally delivered by c-section. She and the babies left the hospital to return to a tiny house that was filthy and full of mosquitoes. There was no family waiting with welcome signs and a hot meal. No clean bassinets and sweet little baby clothes. No running water with baby bathtubs and sweet smelling baby soaps and shampoos.
We get upset when we lose the remote control to the TV or someone ate the last cookie and we didn't get one or we run out of toilet paper, or I'm tired and don't feel like cooking but I have to because going out to eat is not a viable option tonight.
Our houseworker, Lucilia, goes through our garbage on the days she comes to work. If I have thrown away a package of half-eaten, stale cookies, she takes it out. A half -a loaf of moldy bread, goes in her bag. Not for her family to eat - she and her husband have good, steady jobs - she gives it to her neighbors who have nothing. I have a package of cookies in my pantry right now that my kids don't like. So it sits there going stale. Lucilia's neighbors don't have the luxury of turning down food. They'll eat anything and be glad to get it.
So the next time I feel like I'm suffering, I hope the Lord kicks me in the tail again, like He did this morning when I heard these stories, so that I can stop and count my many, many blessings."
Borrowed with permission from Angie

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I have this done for the time being. Figuring it all out taxed my puny brain cells to their limit! I know there are still issues with the whole thing but I will figure them out later!
I would love to hear what you think of the page now, please share :)

Trying something new.

Ok, there are a lot of fun things out there for bloggers. Most however, are probably more tech savy than me so please bear with me as I "fiddle" with how this works!!

And no, I havent found anything amazing in the jungle. I'd love to be there right now, it has to be warmer than here!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Boring Background

I'm tired of my background for the blogpage. I'm thinking maybe I need to figure out how to do that on my own! I've seen such neat ones, but I don't want to pay for it!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

clean basement

Okay so I am a couple days late re posting the cleaner, box less, basement but it really was done on Sunday! I CAN'T believe that we found a place for everything in the house. (If you hadn't guessed the new house is quite a bit smaller than the old one) Though I guess we really didn't honestly find a place for everything. I packed 4 or 5 very large boxes of clothes and shoes for Goodwill. You can actually see the floor in our bedroom. I have seriously risked my life getting out of bed in the middle of the night to find the bathroom!
Randy is supposed to start the kitchen this week which be fantastic as only the necessities are unpacked. The pots and pans we must have and 6 plates with assorted plastic cups from restaurants round out our gourmet eating utensils.

On a different note, the sun came out for a short while this morning Yippee!! Probably to celebrate Emma's 15th birthday which is today. I know, let the cliche's start, but I can't believe she is 15!She is a beautiful, funny fantastic girl, and I am blessed to be her mom.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Just to make you smile!

Just for grins I thought I'd show you what my basement looks like! We emptied out the two storage sheds we got when we moved in with my sister-in-law. Yea!!!!! I was so excited to get that second one done. Small bites:) We have one more storage shed but it has a lot of stuff we are going to continue to store, hopefully out here in the shed instead of paying someone to keep it for us. There are old doors I've collected, odds and ends of furniture I hate to get rid of, and car parts. We actually have most of the parts for a jeep out there somewhere. I guess its our "someday pile". (Or the beginnings of one heck of a garage sale this spring.) We have filled the shed here, so it might be a couple of months until we can get the rest. Randy is the master packer, so every time I think we can't fit anything else out there he rearranges and it magically empties!!
I've been so busy at work I haven't had time to deal with the piles this week. So Sunday I will take another picture and post it. That is my incentive to get it done this weekend. I don't want you to think we live this way all the time!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

This year I changed

I was painting the bathroom yesterday, reflecting instead of paying attention to what I was supposed to be doing! (Now I'm thinking a discreet quarter round will look nice between the ceiling and the wall.) I was thinking about what an eventful year this last one has been. I know I'm supposed to have been thinking about that long before now, but things have been a little crazy with the move. I guess I'm running a bit behind!
If I am going to truly believe what I say, that God is using everything I've ever been through to make me who I am supposed to be tomorrow then I need to look at how He has changed me in the last year. This year has been hard. I know I haven't experienced pain like others have. And it is easy to see someone else MUCH worse off than we are. But the hard stuff we have gone through is still hard stuff. Walking this road we have experienced things I never thought I'd experience. Hopefully I've learned compassion and some sensitivity to others going through the same.
This year I learned what it was like to have an empty cupboard and nothing to fill it with.

This year I learned that God is sovereign and doesn't have to explain why.

This year I learned that people disappoint but God never does.

This year I learned what it was like to humble myself and ask for help.

This year I learned what it was like to really feel blessed in the middle of crisis.

This year my concept of church changed.
This year I changed.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of
Compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so
that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have
received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our
lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows."

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

More Pictures

Progress has slowed considerably these days. Randy is working hard to finish plans for my sister-in-law's remodel. When those are done he will be back to finish ours! We have moved into the basement and the kids rooms upstairs. I've got a "kinda" kitchen set up in the basement because I don't want to unpack boxes upstairs and load cabinets only to unload them a week later to pull the cabinets out!
Since I can't stand to post pictures of the chaos that is our living space. I am adding some of the property. Again its got lots of potential. Our big outdoor project come spring will be the garden and hopefully fixing the pool, if its fixable. If not I'm going to have the biggest water feature in the neighborhood!

This is the view of the property from the deck. Our property line is in front of the trees you see along the back of the pictures.

This is what I see out the front door. Looking west over the field across the street. I'm hoping for no houses anytime soon. I LOVE the tree in the front yard. I can't stop taking pictures of it:)

This is the picnic table on the deck. Not a property shot, but it shows how much snow we had! Randy had to take the glass out of the screen door so he could put the snow shovel out and clear a path just to open the door.

This is the sad pool. It hasn't had a liner in three years we just hope it can be salvaged. It's so close to the road though that we are going to have to invest in a privacy fence before I will even think about swimming!

And this is the shed. You cant see the fantastic, blacktopped second drive and parking area under all the snow. Just made for parking when all our friends come over.