Saturday, June 28, 2014


I hate money!  I hate thinking about it.  I hate talking about it.  I hate spending it.  I hate saving it.  I hate counting it.  I hate needing it.  I hate having it.

Truly, I do.  I hate everything about money.

I guess I probably shouldn't.  I mean, a lot of good CAN be done with money.  God uses money to provide for the hungry, to care for the oppressed, even to aid in spreading His Gospel.  God uses it to teach us to give and to teach us to depend on Him.

It causes so many problems, though.  You know what I mean?....If you don't have enough, then you have to determine how to get enough.  If you have plenty, you think you need more. - It's almost always a stumbling block in our spiritual lives.  Biblically, it shouldn't be.  By God's grace, it doesn't have to be...and yet, it usually is, to one degree or another.

If my Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills and He promises to meet my needs and I know He's Sovereign and I believe He's good....then why does money trip me up?  Why does the need for it, the lack of it, the responsibility of it trip me up, stress me out, and tempt me to sin?

Some people have a real issue with trusting God.  They struggle to trust that He will provide for them and/or guide them in the use of their finances.  But I'm not usually like that.  It's not that I never doubt or worry, but for the most part that's not a struggle of mine.  I have seen God provide over and over and over again, and I trust Him to continue to do so. 

My struggle has more to do with focus.  I think about money too often.  I know God will provide and I think about that provision a little too much.  I spend too much time watching for how He will provide financially and not enough time watching for how He will work spiritually.

As I consider this problem...and I wonder how to fix it...I find myself thinking about a song we often do when leading worship.  Maybe it's going through my head because the Holy Spirit is trying to tell me something?....maybe it's just going through my head because I sing it often?  Either way, the words are worth singing/typing/reading....

All to Jesus, I surrender.  All to Him I freely give.
I will ever love and trust Him.  In His presence daily live.
I surrender all.  I surrender all.  All to thee my blessed savior.
I surrender all.

I suppose that the more Jesus there is in me, the less room there is for me in me.  The more time I spend in His presence the more I'll become like Him.
I expect Jesus doesn't think too much about money.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Starting our tour off with a BANG!

I will finish my anniversary post eventually, but for now I’m skipping ahead to the present.  It has been a very busy few days and today was particularly “eventful”.  I’ll start with last Saturday when we “hit the road” again.  After two and a half lightening fast weeks back home, we headed south.  We don’t have any very long driving days on this trip, which is really nice.  Last Saturday, we left Renton and drove to Woodland, WA.  It was a fairly short drive and we are settled at a nice little RV park on the Columbia River.  It’s beautiful here and the boys already have a couple friends to play with at the playground.

Sunday was an insanely busy, but very blessed day!  We had two services in the morning and one in the evening and each of the three churches were about 40 minutes from each other.  We led worship at the first service, Josh played and shared his testimony at the second, and the evening event was a full concert with worship, fingerstyle guitar, and testimony.  I was able to share about PFM (Potter’s Field Ministries) at all three and we had a great response!  Saturday, after setting up for one of the morning services, we had dinner with the pastor and several of the church members and then we did the same Sunday afternoon for lunch.  It’s always such a gift to have the opportunity to really get to know people and develop relationships at the churches where we serve.

Monday was all about trying to put our little home back together.  When we were home we slept in the trailer, but mostly lived in our friends’ house the first week and my sister’s the second.   That, combined with our busy weekend left our “home” a mess.  So, Monday we cleaned, organized and did laundry.  In the evening, the boys played on the beach while I went to and from the laundry room.

Tuesday Josh did quite a bit of booking in the morning and then we drove to Vancouver to run some errands.  In the afternoon and evening we visited Josh’s aunt, who we haven’t seen for three years.  It was wonderful to spend time with her.  
 (short private "concert" in Aunt Wanda's backyard)

Okay, that brings us to today.  Today started out well.  I ran in the morning and the boys played while Josh worked on booking.  I’ve been still fighting this nasty cold, so after lunch I took a short nap.  The plan was that when I woke up the boy’s and I would head to the library.  We were going to do some research on volcanoes because we’re going to Mount St. Helens tomorrow.  When I woke up from my nap, I told the boys to get their shoes on and clean up their toys and I made myself some tea.  While I was facing the sink, Noah was sitting at the table behind me.  I heard an odd “spraying” sound followed by Noah’s loud scream.  I had carelessly left my pepper spray (that I always carry with me when I run) sitting on the table and Noah had sprayed himself in the eye with it!  The next two hours were awful!  I immediately started flushing his eye with water while he screamed in extreme pain.  Josh called 9-1-1 and we continued to pour water in Noah’s eye while we waited for the paramedics.  My heart broke as my “baby” cried out in pain for over an hour.  At first he was so afraid and hurting that he fought us violently!  Josh and I had to forcefully hold him down in order to flush his eye.  By the time the EMTs arrived, he had settled down and was cooperating better.   ~Afterward my sweet boy said, “I was trying to hold still for you mommy!”The EMT helped us flush his eye with water and saline.  At the same time, the pepper spray spread to his face and arms.  I was grateful to know that this was not a life or death issue, but the pain my little guy was in just about killed me!

Eventually, the pain started to decrease and Noah calmed down.  About two hours later, we had his eye sufficiently rinsed.  He is seeing fine now and has no pain at all on his skin.  We can see a little bit of the irritation on his face, but he says he feels fine!  God is so good!  What a blessing to know that my Noah was in his heavenly Father's loving hands the whole time.  God was gracious to give us an amazing EMT too!  He was so quick and thorough in his response and was kind and funny in his interactions with Noah.  I am so incredibly grateful for him!  He even invited Noah and Caden to come visit him at the fire station to check out the fire engines!  I’m not sure we’ll get a chance to do that, but the invite meant a lot both to me and the boys.

What a stressful, heart wrenching couple of hours!  I know that far too many mommies have to suffer much worse heart ache though with sick and injured children, so I’m trying to count my blessings. 

This morning I spent time meditating on Isaiah 43 during my quiet time.  I was especially blessed by the end of verse 1 and the beginning of verse 4…

“…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine.”
“Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you….”

I am precious and honored in Yahweh’s sight!?!  He loves me!  I am his!  These beautiful truths washed over my soul this morning, bringing peace and comfort and joy.  This evening though, in light of all that happened this afternoon, I am reminded of verses 2-3.  
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…”

My boys are tucked safe and sound in their beds now.  Both are worn out from the day's excitement.  Noah's cheeks are pink, but he's snuggled up cozy with his new quilt.  A gift from a local quilting group via the EMT. 

We serve a mighty God and I trust Him.
“Thank you, Lord, for never leaving us alone!”

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Spiritual "Cold"

*NOTE* This blog has moved!  When you finish reading this post, be sure to head over to for more from A Family of Musicianaries.

I have a really nasty cold.  Yesterday was the worst!  My eyes were watery, my nose was runny, and I had a cough that would send even the bravest of souls running in search of clean air to breathe.  I felt absolutely awful!  I slept more than eleven hours the night before last and then barely made it to lunchtime before I needed a nap.  Josh and the boys were very sweet and took good care of me.  They were kind, compassionate and helpful.

This morning I was remembering a speaker we had at our church's "Ladies' Tea" a few years ago.  Her devotional compared a physical cold to a spiritual cold.  It went something like this:
When a friend has a cold, she feels awful and probably looks pretty bad too.  Everyone around her can see that she is sick and it's usually not pretty.  But, even though she looks bad and might even be contagious, we are generally kind and compassionate.  We express our sypmathy and ask if there is anything we can do.  This kindness is expected among friends.  We know she would do the same for us.

Sometimes though, our friends aren't physically ill, they are spiritually ill.  Sometimes they get a spirtual "cold".  The symptoms are often unattractive.  She may be grumpy or impatient, harsh or unkind, discouraging or depressed.  However, a spiritual "cold" doesn't usually invoke the same kind of compassion as a physical cold does.  Why is it that we look with sympathy on the friend who is coughing, but we look with judgement on the one who seems to never have anything good to say?

We need to learn to have grace for our friends when they are suffering with a spiritual "cold".

As I remembered this lesson, I was thinking about my own tendency to be irritated with my Christian brothers and sisters when they are not as kind as I think they should be.  Of course, my initial thought is that the two are different because sin is a choice but a physical cold is not...Hmmmm, interestingly enough, I know exactly why I have a cold right now and it's probably, kind of my fault.

You see, I typically have a pretty strong immune system.  My entire family can be sick and I often won't catch whatever they have.  However, there is one factor that ALWAYS guarantees that I will catch some kind of bug - lack of sleep!  If I go several days without getting enough sleep, I will inevitably get sick.  I've been this way my whole life.  It never fails!

Well, last week we spent the week with our dear friends who were preparing to move.  I knew our times together will be much less frequent after they move, so I wanted to soak up every minute.  We stayed up late every night and in the morning, I was quick to hop out of bed so my day with my friends could begin.  (p.s.  I don't regret it!  It was worth the yucky cold!)

Sooo, I suppose you could say that my choices led to my sickness.  Of course, I still expect my family to be kind and sensitive to me while I feel so bad...interesting....

Perhaps the next time someone I expect more from treats me unkindly, I will remember my bag of cough drops and will smile with compassion and whisper a prayer on behalf of that friend.

"Lord, teach me to love like you do!"

*NOTE* This blog has moved!  When you finish reading this post, be sure to head over to for more from A Family of Musicianaries.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Happy Anniversary! (Part 1)

Okay, here it is...You thought it was never coming didn't you?! :)  If you are new to following my blog, let me fill you in on a little secret ~ When I am back "home" (in the Seattle area), I don't blog very often.  In fact, I don't get on the computer much at all.  You see, when we're on the road, we have a lot of time when it's just the four of us.  It's not that I have less work to do, it's just that I have fewer friends and family to spend time with.  So, when we're back I want to soak up very moment possible with my nieces and nephews, friends and family!

Last week we stayed with our dear friends who are moving to Hawaii in a couple weeks.  We spent our days just "doing life" side by side and then stayed up way too late talking and laughing!  Those were incredibly blessed days we will never forget!  God was so gracious to give them to us!

This week, we're squatting at my sister and brother-in-laws place.  The cousins play and fight, while the mommies chat and clean, and the daddies work.  It's a joy to share these moments!

Now, on to what you've been waiting for.  My official "1 Year Anniversary Post"...(Part 1)

June 1st marked the one year anniversary of our family being in full-time ministry.  It's amazing to believe that something that we felt called to and that we prayed for for nearly 10 years finally has come to be.  This has been the most challenging, overwhelming, and blessed year of our marriage!  Time and time again, God has proved himself faithful...not that He needed to and not because we deserve it, but just because He is faithful!  He can be nothing less!

Here is a brief year in review
 June 1, 2013-June 1, 2014:

On May 31 we loaded up our minivan, far beyond perceived capacity
and headed for Wenatchee, WA.
June - August, 2013 our ministry was focused around Josh's fingerstyle guitar playing.  Josh played concerts in a variety of venues, but primarily in churches.  Churches would use Josh's concert as an opportunity for outreach and Josh would share his testimony about God's redemptive work in His life, leading into a Gospel message.  We also shared about our experience sponsoring a child through World Vision and encouraged believers to sacrifice on behalf of the poor.
On our first trip we stayed in cheap hotels on the weekends
and tent camped during the week.
This was our first hotel, and I think it was probably the smallest hotel room we could have possible gotten.  We unloaded our stuffed van into the room and literally had to step over our stuff to move around the room.

I cooked most of our meals in a rice cooker or on a hot plate. 
I'm sure our hotel neighbors appreciated the roasted brussel sprout smell! 

Although tent camping is great fun for vacation, we discovered quickly that it is a poor way to travel for business.  We wasted so much time with set up and tear down, food prep and clean up, and loading and unloading equipment.  It was impractical, inefficient, and very stressful.  By July, we were playing earnestly for a truck and travel trailer.  God provided and we purchased a dilapidated 19 foot, 1967 Aljo trailer.  It was hideous and disgusting, but it was cheap and we were grateful!  We also purchased a 1998 Ford F150.  God provided it at a much lower cost than it's value! 
He is such a phenomenal provider!

Remodeling the trailer was a team effort,
requiring every ounce of energy from all four of us.
After two weeks of crazy intense work, the trailer was livable.


 In the fall 2013,we headed back through eastern Washington and into Montana.  Josh played at some of the same churches and some new ones.

This past year, we experienced the strangest weather timings ever!  It was 70 and sunny when we went to the pumpkin patch (at home it's usually cool and rainy) and then in early November it snowed!

We came back to the Seattle area for the holidays.  Josh performed at a couple Christmas events and we enjoyed our time with friends and family!



In late January, we headed out in uncharted waters.  We toured through southern Oregon and into Northern California.  That was by far our most challenging trip.  It tested our faith in God's provision, as our schedule was very light.  Also because of circumstantial struggles and the financial stress, it was the most difficult time for our marriage and our family.  Our trailer leaked like a sieve among other problems.  Of course, as is usually the case, it was a time of great growth,
blessing, and seeing God work through us.  During this time God made it clear that He has done a work of healing in my voice.  I was continually getting stronger and we began praying about and considering how to follow
God's lead in how much He would have
me use my voice as part of our ministry.

We did a lot of hiking on that trip and God used that time hiking as a family
to refresh us and give us a way to enjoy time together,
away from the stress of ministry and our trailer.


Our time home in March was complete insanity!  We had a "to do" list that was absolutely way too much to accomplish in the short amount of time that we were going to be back.  BUT as usual, God came through in a big way!  Here is what we accomplished in the three weeks we were back...filed our taxes, applied for healthcare, sold our old trailer, purchased a new trailer, recorded a CD, and moved out of my parent's house.  We did all of that in six weeks on the weekdays and traveled out of town for concerts every weekend.
To be continued.... 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Home sweet Home!

It has been a busy few days, but now we are enjoying great rest and refreshment!  I have been working on an anniversary post, but so much has happened in the past year that it is taking a lot of time to put together.  I figured I had better at least say "Hello" in the meantime....So, "Hello!" :)

We made it back to the Seattle area on Monday and are so excited to spend time with family and friends!  We spent a couple days with my family, letting the cousins run wild together and enjoying time with my parents and siblings.  Then we hauled our trailer to squat on our dearest friends' property.  We are loving being able to enjoy late night chats after the kids go to bed and waking up to have breakfast together.  These moments are especially treasured since these friends will be moving to Hawaii at the end of the month and our visits will be a little fewer and further between.

This weekend will be a special treat as we will be sharing about our ministry adventures with our home church and then leading worship!  We have had very few opportunities to worship with those who have been "family" for almost ten years, and we are so excited to have this chance!

I promise to get our anniversary post up in the next couple of days.  Until then, I have also posted some notes (my personal thoughts and ramblings) on my Bible Study Prep for Guatemala here