Sunday, December 27, 2009


I was up late the other night reflecting on this past year. As 2009 comes to an end, I am having a hard time.

I remember thinking, around this time last year, that 2009 would be the year Dan would get a job. That 2008 would be a learning experience...the worst of times...and we would be back to "normal". I am slightly disappointed (okay, maybe a lot disappointed) that things didn't quite work out that way and that 2009 was the year that Dan spent the entire year unemployed.

I still have my moments (if you haven't already caught on) that I throw myself a pity party or get down right depressed about our situation. There are still days that I feel hopeless. Days that I look to Heaven and ask God how much longer...another year has passed and I am still waiting.

I have had many, many months of learning (God is not finished with me yet) that I need to turn my pity party in to a praising party. I have learned to ask myself, often out loud, "Are you lacking anything? Are you taken care of?" And because of God's goodness and grace, my answer is still no to the first question and yes to the latter.

Two thousand nine will be a year that I will never forget. A year that my husband was unemployed for all twelve months. A year that taught me so much. A year that broke me. A hard, hard year...but a year that I have much to be thankful for:

January - I start a job that I had been praying for and three weeks later was able to quit the other job I was working. Dan and I both feel God's calling on us to adopt (we haven't forgotten). God also tells me that 2009 would be the year that I would learn to be still and wait.

February - I read The Gospel of Ruth that seriously gives me strength to go on and leaves me whispering, "God pursue me in my pain." :

Somehow we've convinced ourselves that the more mature we become as Christians - and both Naomi and Job were seasoned believers - the thicker our spiritual skin will become. We'll be resilient in adversity. It's a sign of spiritual failure (so we tell ourselves) when suffering gets the better of us and our faith in God gets shaky. Such notions (which aren't supported by scripture, certainly not by the legacies of Naomi and Job) get in the way of our spiritual growth and block us from engaging the God who pursues us in our pain. To tell the truth, when the full force of our sufferings hit us, no matter how long we've walked with God or how much theology we've mastered, faith in God can take an awful beating. ~ The Gospel of Ruth, Carolyn James (p. 43)

March - Celebrate 6 years of marriage, the best one yet.

April - God provides the money for us to purchase our van with cash and we celebrate two birthdays in two big ways. On the flip side, our freezer quits on us leaving a bunch of spoiled food and we have both boys to the ER with in a matter of a week or so. I have to chose to say, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord."

May - God provides a whole summer wardrobe for my Princess and we celebrate 5 years of life with her.

June - We spend many days by the pool. We make it a total of nine months without missing or being late on one bill. We are lacking nothing and God gave me this verse:

The LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands.
He has watched over your journey through this vast desert.
These forty years the LORD your God has been with you,
and you have not lacked anything
~Deuteronomy 2:7

July - Family life is great. We have a family fun night. Collin (at 23 months) learns to ride a two wheeler with training wheels.

August - Celebrate Collin's 2nd birthday and Landon's 4th, Kait learns to ride a two wheeler and goes to kindergarten, I run an awesome CRIM. We are hit with a huge bill to fix the van, but the money is in our savings account.

September - We hit the one year mark and my world was dark for a few days before and after. We found out we had lost our unemployment. I want to quit but God asked me to "believe Him". I finish a half marathon.

October - All three kids are clothed for the fall/winter by others. Food is given to us and during a shopping trip my grocery bill is paid for by someone. Money is given to us at church and comes in the mail.

November - Dan and I go where God leads and while we are there, our unemployment is reinstated. We make a great team. We spend more money than we had planned (or budgeted) and God moves people to give to us an amount that totaled what we spent while we were down there. We spend Thanksgiving in Michigan with my side of the family.

December - God continues to provide our needs and beyond. We get two free date nights. A special Christmas is spent with Dan's side of the family. Two thousand nine comes to an end.

We are lacking nothing.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas recap in photos

Our tree after Santa came.

I woke my sleepy heads up at 7:15 because I couldn't stand it any longer...they still have their sleepy eyes in this picture...not quite awake yet.

A bit more awake after opening up gifts.
We spent Christmas at Dan's parent's this year. We had fun being together, eating together, and playing games together.

The clan...everyone in their PJs...the only way to spend a Christmas Day.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Christmas Wonderland

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Hollie and I went our separate ways in the blog world. Running The Hard Road is no more. You can follow me now at Running My Victory Lap (

Monday, December 14, 2009

Countdown to Christmas : Candy Canes

We started out with a story:

A candymaker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would remind people of the true meaning of Christmas; so he made the candy cane to incorporate several symbols for the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ. He began with a stick of pure white, hard candy. White to symbolize the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature of Jesus, and hard to symbolize the Solid Rock, the foundation of the Church, and the firmness of the promises of God.

The candymaker then shaped his cane into the form of a "J" to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to the earth as Savior. It could also represent the staff of the "Good Shepherd" with which He reaches down to to reclaim the fallen lambs who, like sheep, have gone astray.

Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candymaker stained it with red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we could have the promise of eternal life.

After I read the story I asked a few questions:

Me: What letter is this?

Kaitlyn: A "J"

Me: And what starts with "J"

Landon: Apple!

Me: No, Kaitlyn?

Kaitlyn: Jerusalem!!

I managed to keep a straight face while Dan was bent over the kitchen sink laughing his head off. :-)

Then we started on our reindeer crafts:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Countdown to Christmas : Cookies

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Day!

Kaitlyn had her first snow day today. I knew how exciting it was for the kids from personal experience, but never realized how fun snow days are for the parents too!

I was especially happy that Daddy was home with us to be able to enjoy the snow as a family. We got out there and piled up snow to build a fort below our deck (no pictures, I was too busy having fun with my little family). At one point, Landon looked at me and said, "Mommy, this is great that we are all doing team work together."

I was dreading snow like this for selfish reasons, but I am realizing there are more important things other than running on a snow-less road. Hooray for family time and snow days!

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Sometimes you just gotta stay home from church. Today was one of those days. So, while Daddy went off to church to teach, the four of us stayed home and did "church" at home.

I wanted to follow along with what they would be learning if they went to their classes today. So, the passage that I taught was Luke 1:26-38. I read it from my Bible and discussed each verse as I went along to make sure they understood the basic point. At the end, I asked questions.

Earlier in the morning I searched online and found a printable that went along with our lesson and printed one for each of my kiddos. We headed to the table and got to crafting:

Friday, December 4, 2009

452 days

I have been working outside of the home for over a year now. It started out as an act of desperation in a not very likable position. But, one year ago, I got the news that I had gotten the phlebotomy job that I had been praying for.

It has been a perfect fit for me. My boss has been really great and has even had Dan do some side work in the past for him. My co workers are awesome. It's unlike any work environment I have been in ever. We are truly a team and it makes leaving my family and going in to work a little easier. I'll admit that my vein fetish helps a bit too.

It's been fifteen months since Dan lost his job. Every month, I hope and pray it's the last 2nd of the month that we will see that Dan is still unemployed. I don't wish for my old life anymore. I am happy to walk with God down this road that He has set in place for us. Part of me though...okay, a lot of me, still cries out and asks Him to take this cup from me. With the busyness of the season, it's easy to not set out time in His Word and in prayer...and then I begin to feel it again. I feel despair, jealousy, selfishness, sadness, and anger. All of these are a reminder that I can't walk this alone...that I can't let go of His hand for a second.

I am hoping that January will bring some exciting things for us...hoping and praying.

Please God, only one more 2nd...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Countdown to Christmas - The Tree

In the 7 Christmases we have spent together as a married couple, we have never had a real tree. We will be home this year for Christmas so we decided to go pick one out. We ended up at Menards with a tree that cost us about $15...can't beat that!

After we ate our countdown to Christmas kisses, we pulled out the Christmas tree decorations and got to work. I put in a Christmas CD...gotta have Christmas music when decorating the tree. The kids really enjoyed putting things on the tree this year.

After we were finished we read about the Christmas tree and how it should remind us of Jesus.

As the kids get older, the more fun the holidays become.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Countdown to Christmas

We are all so excited for Christmas this year! With the help of a book that my bestest recommended, The ADVENTure of Christmas by Lisa Whelchel, we have a lot planned for the month of December to remember why we celebrate Christmas and to keep the meaning centered around Jesus.

I couldn't get the whole thing in the picture, but this is our countdown to Christmas. It's about 5 ft long. It has three kisses in each bundle. Every afternoon when Kaitlyn gets home from school, we cut the bottom bundle off and they each get a countdown kiss. They can go over and count how many are left to see how many more days until Christmas.

Last night we went and drove around our little town looking at outdoor Christmas lights. Before hand, we read a story about outdoor lights and how we as Christians should be "God's light" in our neighbourhoods all year round. The kids chipped in with tangible ways we can do that. It's was pretty fun.

This month I will be doing several posts on our Countdown to Christmas...our next one starts when Kaitlyn comes home from school in just a bit!!

In other news, my littlest man is now in a twin bed! It was not planned at all. On Sunday night he told us that he wanted to sleep in a big boy bed and so that is where we put him. I didn't think it would last more than 10 minutes, but we didn't hear a peep out of him until the next morning. He is doing wonderfully in his big boy bed...and I am a little excited to get rid of the crib!!!

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Poppy and my two little men

My sister, brother, and me

Buddies - Levi and Collin

Cousins - my sister's two, my brother's little girl, and my three

Helping make the pumpkin pies


Baby Emery thinking her Daddy is pretty funny

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I have been traveling down the same road for almost 8 years now.
I know it all too well.
Often, I put myself on autopilot and a few miles go by that I don't even remember.
I can pass a landmark and know how much longer it's going to be.
I have my favorite places to case we need to stop.

I used to start in Michigan, just myself in my cute little two door Cavalier.
I would be so excited to see him and would think about him the whole way there.
I would dread driving the opposite way.
My heart would ache when I would read the "Indiana" state sign because we were no longer in the same state together.

I thought once we got married, that this ache would go away.

Now I start in Illinois, my little family and me in a cute little minivan.
I get so excited about seeing everyone in Michigan that I have trouble sleeping the night before.
The time goes by so's like I blink and it's over.
There is a sadness every time I read the "Indiana" state sign because we are no longer all in the same state.

Although it's getting easier as the years go by to come back home, the ache is still there, and I am always missing someone.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We were able to spend last week in Michigan with my extended family...the first time all being together since last Christmas. It was nice to be together, see grandparents, aunts, uncles, and with my sister every morning (even though she did kick my butt)...see my little niece for the first my Mom's wonderful cooking (that aided in my gaining 3 pounds!) face to face with everyone instead of over the be thankful. Pictures are coming!!