Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Sunday, April 26, 2009


This weekend went...Unplugged.

To start with, my irritation with that mind-numbing box for selling "soft-sin" that sat in my living room finally put me over the top. Now it's in our basement...Unplugged.

No more "baby-sitter" with a cord. We didn't let the t.v. be on that often prior to this weekend, but now it sits in the "dungeon" with its twin and all its technical partners.

To be honest, it's really hard to define, but what we do notice is that our kids (& ourselves) seek God more fervently, love each other more sincerely, and have a lot more self-control when the tube is dark. I truly believe that, for all of its beneficial uses, too often it becomes a conduit for selling selfish thoughts & impatience. And our family benefits from its silence. We'll keep "Tubey" around a while longer, but for now we'll let him rest peacefully.

Secondly, my "Not today" got Unplugged.

Take Jaden, Kellen, & Sage turkey hunting? Well, "Yes, today". We dressed in camo, drove through a creek, ate candy bars, talked about our Great God, army crawled in the dirt, hid behind sagebrush and little cedar trees, made turkey calls, and, oh, yeah, saw some turkeys. What a blast!

Add to that some frisbee, dodgeball, cuddling, Mountain Dew, drum circles, dancing, praying, conversations about our Awesome Lord, and lots of laughing.

"Not today"...Unplugged.

Thirdly, worship Unplugged.

Just two voices, a guitar, a djembe, & a sermon on our need for Jesus. Simple. Like our relationship with God should be...Simple. No PhD required. No multi-media effect required. No coffee kiosk required. No special Bible required. Really there are only two requirements: "...sincerity and truth." (Joshua 24:14)

God gave us a plethera of good things (including t.v.) to enhance our experience of trusting and serving Him, but every now and then the "good things" seem to distract our eyes and interests from the One who gave them to us.

So...have I gone Amish? Are we trading our minivan in for a horse and buggy?

I'd be lying to say that it doesn't seem appealing from time to time, but the Unplugged version of life reminded us this weekend that "All of life, comes down to just One thing. That's to know You, O', Jesus!, & make You known."

Maybe we should Unplug more often...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Let there be Light...

"Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you." (Is. 60:1-2)

God, may every day be about You and Your glory. May Your everlasting light shine.

The Light has come, indeed. And it will never leave...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Night Lights Out...(O Sacred Head, Now Wounded)

"He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.'

'Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed."
'All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:3-6)

And the lights went out...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Isn't she bright, and cute, and cheerful?!? Yeah...this is what I would like to feel like! (I think my hubby and kids would like that too!) However, today, this is a little more accurate...

It is just one of those days when it is difficult to be loving and encouraging. I am quick to snap, easy to become irritable, and looking to pick an argument! I just want to be grumpy!

Unfortunately, the grumpiness is oozing out of me and infecting all the innocent bystanders--my husband and kids!

I need an attitude adjustment.

I tried dice.

I vented...nada.

I took a cat nap...still grumpy!

I think during these times, it is easy to believe the lies of this world...I can't control my emotions...I deserve to be grumpy...I can't help how I respond when my hormones are out of's all about me...

I am reading a great book right now called Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It has been reminding me of my need to renew my mind (my thinking) by the Word of God. So, I went to my backpack (which is still unpacked from the hospital) and pulled out this book. I referred to some of the truths that counter these lies that I'm believing. Here is one that just happened to catch my eye...

There is no excuse for ungodly attitudes, responses, or behavior.

Ummm....maybe I shouldn't have gotten this book out after all. But I keep reading, and I turn to 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 in the Bible...

Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole
spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until that day when our Lord Jesus
Christ comes again. God, who calls you, is faithful; he will do this.

Although I feel like I want to cling to grumpiness right now, my heart's desire is to be holy and blameless before God.

So, I am making a decision to choose a right attitude, a right response, and a right behavior--and I sense God's prompting me to begin this change of heart by publicly asking Todd's forgiveness...

Todd I love you! Will you forgive me for being argumentative, rude, and grumpy?

It's amazing how God works. The truth truly sets us free. I think I can see the sunshine starting to peek out!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Good Night

It's pretty tough to look at one of your precious ones when their hooked up to all sorts of hospital contraptions. You can't even hold them as cuddly as you want. You know that they are less than comfortable, but you know that those contraptions are helping them to improve their condition.

As a dad, I typically respond to illness in my children with frustration and anger. Not so much anger that spills over toward my children, but anger that I feel helpless to "fix" what is wrong. I've had great difficulty trusting God with the health of my kids. I know intellectually that He is more than Sufficient and Capable, and I choose to believe that. I know experientially that He is Sovereign over ALL things, and I choose to believe that. But there is difficulty in living that belief out.

I'm thankful that God continues to be just as Sufficient, just as Capable, & just as Sovereign no matter how I'm feeling or what I'm believing. He just IS. Malachi 3:6 says, "For I AM the LORD, I do not change..." Amen.

As it all relates to Katie, she is doing well. She should be able to come back home tomorrow morning. I can't wait. I hate leaving her hospital room knowing that I won't wake up and see her. I can only "visit" her.

For those parents who have a routine of hospital visitations and stays, I pray that God surrounds and protects your family, and that He provides you with encouragement and refreshment at just the right times.

I am hopeful and excited that tomorrow I will tell Katie "Goodnight. Sleep in the knowledge of the presence of God.", then kiss her, lay her down in her bed with her idea of a pillow, and know that she is home. That will be followed by a "Daddy, ada pease?" Then I'll get the water, and she'll say, "Taint-yu, Daddy."

Then I will know that it is a Good Night.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Back to the hospital...

Since arriving home with our family, Katie has flourished beyond our expectations. Sometimes I catch myself smiling and just watching her interact with her brothers and sister.

Everything from her physical motor skills to her health to her verbal communication has really blown us away. We are so thankful at how God has allowed her to blossom. So much personality in such a small package.

However, it seems that we keep revisiting ear infections. She has basically spent most of her life suffering from an ear infection or trying to recover from one(or two). As a result, the fluid and pressure in her ears is not able to drain properly. Well, this week we are hoping that those problems will be taken care of.

Thanks to a well organized and thorough team of doctors here in Billings, we were able to coordinate for Katie to have a "simple" procedure done in which she will have tubes put in to relieve pressure and fluid. Of course, by now you know, there is not much related to Katie's healthcare that is "simple".

Normally, the procedure would take less than half a day including the prep and observation/recovery time. In Katie's case, she will go in this afternoon to begin prep which will include an IV and a blood transfusion (courtesy of an unknown selfless volunteer who donated their own time and blood- Thank you). That will make up most of today. She will stay overnight, then wake up in the morning for the procedure. She will remain in the hospital for obeservation and recovery until Wednesday if all goes according to plan.

She seems to be doing very well today, which is a great sign. We are praying for God to strengthen her body for the procedure, protect her during the procedure and recovery from it, and for God to bless the doctors with success in all of their hard work. There are multiple variables (too numerous to mention) that the doctors have had to account for to keep Katie from as many risks as possible with her sickle cell. Thank you to them from our family for their dilligence, thoroughness, and humility.

Pray with us on her and her doctors' behalf. Thank Him with us also for bringing Katie to the one place in the world where she would have everything she needed. Just as God had prepared our family to receive Christopher and Katie, he also prepared our community both spiritually, physically and intellectually. Even before Katie made it to MT, God was training some of the doctors and hospital staff in treating a patient with sickle cell. He also brought into our lives folks whom have been a tremendous asset in making sure that she gets proper treatments (which are often quite different than the norm).

God is always Good. He is always Sovereign. He is always Omnipotent. He is never surprised. We rest in our Father and Lord. He is our Sufficiency. There is none who love our little Katie more than Him. So, while we pray on her behalf, we pray not with worry, but with trust in the One who heals merely with His Word.

James 5:16-18

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Living With Purpose

It seems that God often communicates at deep levels with me at the tail end of the day. It might be that I'm not very good at paying attention during the daytime when life seems to happen at full throttle. Thus, I sit here, while most of the family sleeps, with my mind weaving in and out of life's purposes and praying for God's perspective and wisdom.

An hour ago, I wrapped up a discussion with Jenny concerning God's purpose for our lives. When we have these discussions, I love how Jenny always points me back to Christ, His Word, and communication with our Father. She is the greatest asset God has given me apart from Himself. I am so thankful for her...words are lacking.

Jenny and I are not content to simply be "positive" influences to those we meet and know (especially our children). We long to be people who, by God's grace and power, influence others toward life changing decisions to pursue and serve Christ passionately.

For some, that may mean we ask a genuine, but challenging question. For others, encouragement from God's Word. Still others, a life well lived in their presence or service. Whatever the specific situation may be, I pray that we would not casually squander our moments by settling for superficial conversations about busy schedules and nasty weather.

Too often we have wasted our moments. Too frequently we have taken the "easier" road. And too much we have missed the joy of helping someone surrender their life to Christ.

Father, please don't let us miss another opportunity with our children or with our friends, family, and acquaintances. Let Your heart's desire be our joy.

Not much else really seems to matter in the context of eternity and the Hope of all mankind, Jesus. Let us eagerly prepare for the celebration of the empty tomb and the defeat of sin and death.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Intentional Obedience

We had a huge celebration last Sunday as Jaden, Kellen, and Sage were all baptized. It was a glorious day. They each have their own story as to how they came to their decision to be baptized. The Holy Spirit prompted each of them at different times and in different ways.

We have talked about baptism throughout the last couple years with our kids... We would make it a point to have our children present (instead of in the nursery/child care) when someone was being baptized. Our children loved watching baptisms, and it would usually prompt many questions. It would also come up whenever we would read particular Bible stories. Sage especially like reading about John the Baptist and how eccentric he was, and we would usually end up in a long discussion. However, she would always end our night with "...but I don't want to be baptized. It would be too scary."

We never wanted to be the ones to "make" our kids be baptized. We truly wanted the Holy Spirit to be the One stirring their hearts. We were very careful to give them info about what Scriptures says about baptism, what it means, why God commands us, etc. without causing our kids to think "this is something my parents want me to do."

We started talking about baptism in everyday conversation a couple weeks ago. We told the kids that there was going to be an opportunity at church. Sage actually responded immediately with enthusiasm. She said, "I want to be baptized and tell the whole world that I love Jesus." She was genuinely excited and had plans of all the people she wanted to tell.

Jaden, on the other hand, was very hesitant. He knew it was a command, but he did not want to get up in front of the church. He had his mind made up that he would not be baptized.

Kellen has such a tender heart for Jesus. He wanted to be baptized because he loves Jesus and wants to follow him! It was something he just knew he was supposed to do.

Later in the week, just a few days before Sunday, we had Jaden and Kellen write in their journal why they have chosen to follow Jesus and also why they should be baptized. Jaden said, "well I don't have to write in my journal because I'm not getting baptized." I told him that he still needed to write about why he has decided to follow Jesus. So he reluctantly went to work. I ended up taking a cat nap, while they worked on their journal (unbeknownst to me). When I woke up, Jaden eagerly came to me with his journal wanting to read what he had written. He began sharing why he has chosen to follow Jesus. Then he flipped the page and started reading "why I should be baptized..." I was surprised, and asked him why he wrote that. He said that he decided that he should be baptized because God was commanding it, and he loves Jesus and has already chosen to follow Him. We were so proud of Jaden--especially that he would not let fear get in the way of doing what God has commanded! After making the commitment to be baptized, Jaden had such a joy and enthusiasm. He kept saying, "I can't wait until Sunday!" Then Sunday morning when he woke up, he ran up the stairs, saying "Today is the day I get baptized!!!"

Then on Friday, March 27th, we had each of the kids send an email to Pastor Marc, telling him of their decision. I love their emails because it shows their individuality--each of their personalities shine through. Pastor Marc actually had the emails put into power point and shared them with the church before each of their baptisms. Here is what each wrote...


I am Jaden and I would like to baptised. Could I? Because I chose to follow Jesus for my whole life. I believe that God is my Savior!



I want to be BAPTISE ! I Love Jesus with all my hart ! I hav a journal to i'm going to read it.


I want to be baptised...
because Jesus loves me and I love him a lot too (like a thousand, million, gillion, killion)
I want to follow Jesus because I love him so, so, so, so, so, so, so, much. I want to follow him where ever He goes. Jesus loves me and someday I will go to heaven. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. That makes me want to follow Him.

From: Sage (as dictated to my Mommy)

P.S. The "so, so, so, so" went on for about 2 minutes!


On Sunday, everyone was so excited. We brought clothes to change into, towels, cameras.... Once we were at church and in the bathroom changing, Sage became very upset. She did not want to have to wear her capris over her swimsuit. They were going to get all wet. I tried explaining that everyone wears their clothes. She did not like this idea. It did not make sense why you would wear your clothes knowing you are going to get soaking wet. She remained a little uneasy throughout the service, and I was beginning to wonder if she might change her mind last second.
Finally we were called up front as a family. The order was for Jaden, the oldest, to go first, then Kellen, then Sage. Sage watched with a huge smile and clapped as her brothers were each baptized. Then on her turn, she quickly hopped into the "tub" eagerly anticipating her baptism. As she was dunked under, she had that panicky response, of being put under water. She scrambled, standing up, wiping the water off her eyes, as Pastor Marc asked if she was ok. She hopped out with a towel wrapped around her, and immediately turned to me and said, "Mommy, I want to do that again." We kept walking down the hall back to the bathroom, with Sage asking the entire way, "Mommy can I be baptized again. I liked that so much." She was disappointed when I said no, but I explained to her that she had many friends that had not been baptized yet. She can now encourage them to be baptized and tell them how special, awesome, and celebratory it is to be baptized. A week later, she has asked me a couple more times if she can be baptized twice because it was so much fun. I am so thankful that she has a memory of it being a joyous occasion.

It was such a special day. I was very overwhelmed with emotion and shed many happy tears. I couldn't help but think how we have prayed for each of our children to accept Jesus as their savior, to love Him wholeheartedly, and to pursue Him with passion. I realized that we had even begun praying that while each of our children were still in my womb. God had heard our prayers and He had begun answering them! There is no greater joy than living a life in complete surrender to Jesus. And to see our children start on that journey....pure joy!


Spring had finally sprung and all my crocuses were blooming! I was so excited. Spring is my favorite time of the year, and flowers just make me smile!

Then...we got more snow melted. It would warm up during the day to melt everything, but freeze again at night. During this crazy Montana weather, we got this picture of a crocus completely encased in ice! (this was the day after taking the snowy basketball picture!)

For school, Jaden and Kellen had to dress like they were 100 years old. This was their socks and flip flops, highwaters, a robe, beards...

...and didn't you know that every old man has some great moves...

just a cute picture of Christopher!

Saddle Up! This is some Work Horse! Look how many kids are piled on!!!

Then the old horse gave out...

Then Mommy realized that half the kids were shirtless for the pictures as they were all getting ready for bed. So everyone had to find shirts so we could just take a couple more pics...but it seems we may have lost our Kodak moment...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Quarantine House

This is the time of year where us Montanans catch some major Spring fever. There are a few who desparately cling to winter by catching a few extra runs on the ski slopes. But for a home full of kids, we're desparately ready for some serious outside time.

Spring fever is here in more ways than one. First, Jenny is just ready for them to have some room to run during the days, and not be stir-crazy inside. It seriously is getting to be like feeding squirrels coffee beans and turning them loose in our house.

Second, there is something about the arrival of warmer weather (perhaps the outside time helps) that helps us to sterilize our house from winter germs. We figure that most of the kids in Billings have been to our house this winter-or, at least, their germs have been. I'm finding that I'm becoming a bit OCD with keeping things cleaned up. Thankfully, Jenny does a GREAT job of keeping our house spotless. I'm really amazed at all that she accomplishes in a day. I certainly feel a bit guilty that she doesn't at least get paid vacations. She deserves it for sure.

Over the last couple of weeks, we've basically been keeping our house as a nonofficial quarantine site. Let's see...we've done the coughing, aching, sneezing, stuffy head thing. We've done the fever and headache thing. We've done the asthma/Croop cough thing. We've done the throw-up thing. We've done the whining, grumpy, "I want it now!" thing that goes along with all the other things. I'm sure I'm leaving something out,--and to that particular Virus or Viruses, I apologize for the lack of recognition.

So, if you've got sick kids, bring them on by, maybe we can expedite this "germ sharing" thing that we've drawn out all Winter. We're ready to be done with it.

FYI: Currently we are in the Asthma/Croop & Fevery, achy, runny nose, whining, grumpy, "I want it now!" thing. As a result, Katie has made her customary trip to the ER for blood work to rule out infections. She seems to be doing very well inspite of her fever. She is drinking a bunch of water & juice which is really helping. Hydration is a very big deal for her. We are so thankful that she continues to recoup pretty normally after these viruses blow through our house. It certainly is a contrast to our first few months after her arrival.

It's times like this where I know Jenny gets fatigued and strained from the "daily" stuff, but God knows how to strengthen and uphold her. Pray for her strength, patience, and rest as Spring finally blossoms here in MT.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Emmanuel - God with us.

Tonight we sat and ate dinner as a family. Nothing unusual about that. But conversation insued with Jaden, Kellen, Sage, and us about orphans who need extra medical care -like our Kisakye (Katie) used to be. As we talked with the kids, I found myself saying-without having truly considered it-that if Kisakye wasn't here with us, she might be dead by now.

(Pause) My own words made me stop for a second as I injested them. Lord, could that be true? Is it possible that the sunbeam smile, captivating eyes, and personality-plus sitting two seats down on my left might not even be in this world apart from Your Mercy expressed in our family?

(Another pause) Thank you, Father, that we get to be a part of what your doing down here. It's hard to believe that in my very house, the tangible expression of God's grace and mercy wakes up every morning singing her own praises to her Creator before Jenny gets her out of bed, and then dances her joy-filled limbs through the house to the breakfast table.

Emmanuel - God with us.

A couple of days ago, I was asked about generational sin and illnesses like Kisakye's. Though it was a sincere question, I found myself wanting to take the part of Protector of my baby girl. But still, it is true that children too-often bear the burden of rebellious offenses against God by adults around them.

I've ruminated on that question since, and asked God to give me His perspective and wisdom. Something about the context disturbed me,...until right now. Like dawn chasing darkness from a hidden valley, John 9:1-3 blazed in my mind.

Now as Jesus passed by He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him."

I get it now! The question over who sinned is totally irrelevant and unproductive. The fact is, God has chosen to reveal His works in a little girl that is my daughter. Praise God for little miracles. And praise God that whatever her heritage may have been, it is now one that is blessed by God.

Emmanuel - God with us.