Friday, June 26, 2015

Reading God's Word on the Porch

Yesterday, the boys and I did our Bible lesson on my in-law's front porch.  I sat on the swing with my Bible and binder and the boys sat on chairs across from me with their Bibles in their laps.  They took turns reading from Genesis.  They tend to mumble when they read aloud, so I told them to speak up and speak clearly.  We started with Creation a few weeks ago and were reading about Abraham's servant bringing Rebekah for Isaac.

At some point as the boys read aloud with no fear or shame or hesitation, images from my Voice of the Martyrs magazine came into my mind and I began to wonder..."How long?  How long will my boys be able to read their Bibles in public without fear?" 

I don't mean to be a doomsdayer.  I am not one to predict the future or worry about such things...but I do wonder.

In the meantime, I pray for my boys to grow in courage.  I pray that they will truly love the Lord their God will all of their hearts, souls, and minds.  I pray that they will not be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ because it is the power of God that brings Salvation!  I pray that they will love and give and share and forgive and speak Life!  I pray that they will know and believe Truth to the very core of their being.  I pray that God will use them in a mighty way for His kingdom.  I pray that if ever faced with a choice, that they will choose to stand - that they will not cower but will claim Jesus with pride! 

And as a mama, I pray that God will have mercy on them and me.  I pray for their safety, for a hedge of protection around them.

"Almighty God, Creator of the Universe, Giver and Sustainer of life, You alone are God!  Teach my boys to love you!  Grip their hearts and hold tight all of their days.  May they love you more and follow you better than I.   May they run the race you have called them to and finish well."

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Montana - Our Summer Home

Saturday we drove from Butte to the Billings area to stay with Josh's parents for a few weeks.  We'll be serving at churches all over this area (and beyond).

Butte has such a unique kind of beauty!

We are all settled in at Josh's parents house.  We park our trailer in front of their house and enjoy the benefits of a shower we don't have to wear flip flops in and a full kitchen, while still sleeping in the comfort of our own beds.  Yay! :)

Friday evening and Sunday were busy days of ministry, connecting with three new churches.  God moved and blessed tremendously and we look forward to a longterm partnership with these churches!
 Look, I do participate at our events! :)  - We've enlisted Caden as our photographer.  He's learning quickly.  Now all we need is a real camera! ;)

We found a new family hobby - letterboxing!  We went on our first hunt last week and had so much fun! 
 (We found our first letter box before we even had a stamp, so Noah decided to draw the picture of the stamp in his book)

 Beautiful Montana!

  First bike ride with Grandpappy of the summer

Blogging is particularly difficult when we are here, because we do not have internet at the house.  Frequent visits to the library allow us to get online, but it definitely limits my computer time and I have to prioritize carefully how I spend that time. I'll do my best to post as often as I can.  In the meantime, "Happy Summer!"

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


I'm gonna be really honest with you.  Sometimes this life is hard.  I mean really, really hard!  I try to smile and nod whenever someone comments on how much "fun" our life must be, but it's not always easy to do.  Sometimes I have to literally bite my tongue when a comment like this is made to keep from blurting out the long list of things that happened in the past week that made us desperately wish for a more "normal" life.

Of course, living a "normal" life (the kind where you live in a house in one city and work 40 or so hours a week at the same job each day) has plenty of it's own troubles.... I suppose if I wanted to, I could make a list of "pros" and "cons", or a chart to compare the two.  You know, like when you're in middle school and trying to decide whether to spend your money on a bike or a trip to the amusement park - or maybe you're trying to figure out whether to go to church camp or volleyball camp...  (no, I never played volleyball). This is the kind of chart where you list all the advantages and disadvantages of each choice and then pick the one with more advantages.

We did not make a list like this when we were deciding whether to move out of our home and sell most of our belongings.  We didn't do it when Josh put in his notice to quit his job either. 

Why not? ....  Good question.  I was wondering that myself today, when Josh came in after another discouraging day of booking. 

It's so strange.  When we go to churches and share this ministry, people are so blessed!  We don't claim any of the credit.  It's all God, for sure!  But, people do love it!  We hear story after story of how God used the music and the testimonies to deeply challenge, encourage, and move people's hearts.  Pastors love it to!  Of the over 200 churches that we've been to in the past 2 years, only a handful have not asked us to come back. 

Here's the problem though.  Josh has to call about 50 churches for every 1 that actually invites us to come!  When you do the math, that's A LOT of hours on the phone and sending emails.  But what's more significant, is the amount of "No, thank you's" and "We're not interested's" that he has to listen to each day.  Throw in the occasional "This is a horrible thing that you're doing to your family." and "This cannot possibly be God's will for your life!" and you have a recipe for discouragement. That is hard on a man's spirit and as his wife, it breaks my heart because I can't fix it.

So, like I said, today I found myself wondering if we were sure this is what we should be doing.

Then I read this,
"What is my purpose in life?  If our goal in life is to be happy or accepted or loved, then anything that threatens our well-being will be an enemy - an obstacle to fulfilling our objective.  On the other hand, once we agree with God that we exist for His pleasure and His glory, we can accept whatever comes into our lives as part of His sovereign will and purpose.  We will not resent, resist, or reject the 'hard things', but embrace them as friends, sovereignly designed by God to make us like Jesus and to bring glory to Himself.  We will be able to look into His face and say, 'It's not about me.  It's about You.  If it pleases you, it pleases me.  All that matters is that You are glorified.'"  (Nancy Leigh DeMoss - Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free)

I asked Josh this afternoon, "Do you still believe this is what God has called us to - that we are in the center of His will, obeying and following Him?"
He answered, "Yes."
And so do I. 
No pros and cons list necessary.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Sunny Side of the Mountains ;)

Isn't our God amazing!?  One of the sweet blessings of this life is how often we get to see new displays of God's beautiful creation!  It never gets old!  Last Saturday we spent the afternoon at Farragut State Park.  We took a short little hike down to the lake front and let the kids play in the water!  It was a beautiful, peaceful afternoon and our boys enjoyed the gift of spashing in the lake with a friend! :)

 I couldn't resist the cuteness of this picture!  The four kids swinging are ages 8 - 16.  My Noah is the one not on the swing and he is the youngest of this group.  He's standing with his arms crossed, not because he's upset, but to show how close he can stand behind the swings without being afraid or getting clobbered! (not sure how to "type" an eye roll) He's such a boy!
Sunday we ministered at two new churches!  It was such a gift to connect with each of these churches and partner with them in ministry!  Both churches opened their doors to us because of references from pastors of other churches we've been to.  Praise God for these pastors, and others like them, who believe in our ministry and support us in this way.  We look forward to longstanding relationships with these new churches as well!  God is so gracious to include us in His work!
Yesterday, we shared at a homechurch that we have been to twice before.  What a sweet group of people.  Every time we minister there, we leave feeling ministered to - so very blessed and loved!  Tonight we'll be at a church that we haven't been to in two years.  It was one of the very first churches we went to after God led us out on this adventure.  Our ministry has changed dramatically since then and we look forward to sharing those changes with this group!
The weather has been absolutely beautiful and very toasty, so the boy's and I played "hooky" from schoolwork yesterday and went to the beach instead! :)  (This is one of my favorite reasons to homeschool "year round"!  We can skip whenever we want!)

 It was pretty crowded and the water was chilly, so it took a while for the boys to get the nerve to go in all the way.)

I however had no problem at all doing what I came to do...lay in the sun and soak up some Vitamin D! :)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Hey! Bring back our cooler!

the view from our front step

 This week has been pleasant and productive.  Josh had a very successful week of booking and the boys and I completed a full week of schoolwork for the first time in a few weeks! :)  Yay!  The park we're staying at is very pretty and peaceful (geez, I seem to have a thing for adjectives that start with "p" today)! :)  We've also been blessed to spend quite a bit of time with some dear friends who live in the area.  We met this family about 10 years ago.  Since then both of our families have grown and we've all moved several times.  It has been a joy watching God guide them in ministry and being able to reconnect with them often over the years!  They have 5 kids and one of them is a son that is right between our boys in age.  The three of them have SO MUCH FUN together!  Josh and I are also always so encouraged when we have the opportunity to spend time with them!  We have visited with them a couple times already this week and plan to enjoy most of the day with them tomorrow!  Friends like this make our life on the road so much less lonely!  Thank you Lord for this blessing!
starting our school day with our Bible lesson
Today was our official "family day off".  The weather was gorgeous!  We spent the morning hiking in Coeur d'Alene and then had lunch at Costco (nothing beats a Costco hotdog for a cheap, tasty lunch)! 

This is what happens when I leave for a few hours to run errands! 
LEGOs take over the trailer and a two foot long aircraft carrier is built!

In addition to hanging out with friends, hiking, and building LEGOs, we do actually do some ministry work during the week as well! :)  Besides the hours and hours that Josh spends practicing and booking, we also are continuing to work on material for our worship cd.  The worship cd will be mostly worship song covers, but will also include a couple songs that we are writing.  In addition to the worship songs that we often lead at our ministry events, we recently decided (i.e. I told Josh I HAVE to sing this song! ;) ) to learn Matt Maher's song "Lord I Need You"!  We began working on learning it tonight.

God continues to work in and through us!  I am so grateful for the privilege of being His daughter and His servant.  I am reading through 1 Samuel right now during my personal devotion time in the morning, as well as reading a couple of books that God is using tremendously in my life.  Praise the Lord that He who began a good work in me, promises to carry it on to completion (Phil. 1:6)!  I know I have so much to learn!  I am so thankful for His Word and the gift of knowledgeable teachers and pastors in my life. 

Beginning Sunday we have a very busy schedule.  We have two church services on Sunday as well as Tuesday and Wednesday night services.  Then we travel on Saturday.  As always, please continue to pray for us to follow our Shepherd well! :)

One more thing: I really struggled to think of a title for this blog post!  I just couldn't come up with one.  I don't know why it was so hard.  I guess I had "blog post title block"!?  Anyway, then I remembered that when we woke up this morning our cooler was gone.  We leave it outside the trailer.  It just had a few of the kids sand toys in it, no food.  Well, apparently someone needed a cooler and thought ours was up for grabs.  This was weird but in reality, it's not that big of a deal.  The only real issue is that now we worry about someone coming back to break into the truck or something.  Whatever.  God knows and maybe someone really needed it.  Whatever the case, it supplied me with the needed post title, so there you have it. :)

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Monday, June 1, 2015

First Weekend of our Summer Tour

Our Summer tour is in full swing now!  We started with three services this weekend, one on Friday and two yesterday.  Friday we packed up the trailer, gave kisses and hugs to the cousins and set out for Wenatchee.  The temps were high and our truck did not particularly appreciate all of the work it had to do through the heat, so it punished us by over heating.  We spent most of Friday driving with our windows down and the heat blasting, trying to keep the truck cool!  Friday evening was a church we've been to twice and it was a blessing to begin our summer schedule worshipping with familiar faces! :)

Saturday we packed up and headed to Idaho.  We were grateful not to have any mountain passes but did have to tow up out of the gorge, which again required the windows down and heat on.  As I sat with my legs tucked under me (to avoid the heat blasting my feet) and my hair blowing around, I reminded myself that this is truly a first world problem!  We are blessed to have a trailer to tow, a truck with the guts to tow it, and air conditioning to blast when the road flattens out.  God is good and I am spoiled!  I am praying God will teach me to have a grateful, uncomplaining heart! :)

We parked our trailer at a cute little RV park in northern Idaho Saturday afternoon.  We have not camped here before and were excited to see what a beautiful and peaceful place it is.  Two weeks in this park will be a pleasure!

Sunday morning we drove back into Washington to minister at a cute little country church north of Spokane.  We walked into the church to hear the Gaither's music blasting in the background and find a couple women stuffing cookies and tracts in baggies to distribute throughout the week, another woman working in the kitchen to prepare the meal they offer free every Sunday afternoon, and a young man busily looking for any little detail around the church that needed attended to before the service.  After praying with the pastor in his small office, he shared about the church's work in the community.  They offer food and clothes throughout the week, pickup trash from those who cannot afford trash service in the community, host a recovery group weekly, offer scholarships for church camp to neighborhood children, and so much more.  This is truly a church that extends well beyond the building walls.  They are loving their community and spreading the Good News!  I was humbled and awed by there hearts and service!  What a privilege to be small part of their great work in that community!

Last night we returned to a church that we've been to three times in the past two years (four times now)!  This is another small church that is doing BIG things to reach their community for Jesus.  Every time we come they welcome us as family and amaze us with stories of their work in their neighborhoods!  We feel at home there and sharing our ministry feels comfortable and refreshing!

What a gift to kick off our summer this way!  I feel energized and ready to see what God has in store in the upcoming weeks. 
For today, it is homeschooling, laundry, emails, planning, and cleaning! :)