Sunday, April 6, 2014

Home. Sweet. Home.

And how sweet it truly is!

The last time I blogged we were still living at Nana and Papa's house, anxiously awaiting being home owners again. Spring is finally here and we are now in our home, loving every minute of it. I know we are incredibly blessed to have family who would take us in. We are loud, messy, crazy, busy among other things and they embraced all of that with great grace. Thank you just doesn't seem adequate.

I. Love. To. Paint. With that said, I have never painted this much in such a short period of time. I'm kind of OVER IT! Hours after closing the sale of this home I began wiping down walls and priming. No rest, I didn't stop for 10 solid days. Now 6 weeks later I still have a little bit to do but I'm not painting every day anymore.  whew!  The walls looks great! I have a few thank yous to dish out. Uncle Jim at Sioux City Painting and Decorating helped us with our paint selections. Kelly, Krista, Tracy, Nikki, Susan and Ingrid all pitched in a variety of ways while I had the paint brushes out. You girls are all a blessing to me, thanks!
Twenty-four (24) gallons of paint is a little overwhelming. Turns out I bought a little bit too much but it will be ready and waiting for me when we get our basement finished next year.

Creativity is too often squashed for one reason or another. I just hate that! My girls pick their room colors and designs, no matter how crazy. They did a great job. Reagan's room was really fun because it was quick and turned out great! Emma's room is nearly done (sorry no picture) and I'm feeling good about it. Olivia's orange wall took seven (YES 7!!!) coats of paint. Now it's time to decorate.

M. O. V. I. N. G.   D. A. Y. was better than anyone could have imagined. All credit due my husband. This guy makes a plan and sees it through. We had one moving truck and two storage units. Most everyone showed up by 9:30am and I was feeding the crew before 1pm. (I have to mention that Aunt Helen made all the good!!) Boxes and furniture flowed through the house with minimal breakage while I stood in the entry way directing traffic. Thanks to a few practical jokers we had some kitchen stuff in the basement and boxes relabeled with items I can't even mention on a PG rated blog. All in all it was fun and again we are so thankful for the outstanding turnout. Love you guys! I'm a little afraid to mention names as I may forget someone, there were so many.
Birges, Kellers, Blacks, Bitters, Ratliffs, Wimmers, Glecklers, Meyers, Eastridges, VanSurksum, Jensens, Snyders and Kruses.
It looks like Joe Jensen is the only one working, pretty funny!

Here are some pictures of the house...
View from pantry before painting began

My kitchen

I really like my doors
Chris added shelves to the pantry

I made this and will add to it... love it

In the midst of moving we still have daily life... work, school, concerts, soccer, family fun, church, friends and snow. I know eventually both vehicles will fit in the garage, the donation pile will get taken to the shelter and all the boxes will be emptied. I'm not stressed. We are so blessed to have a home and family. God is good to us, better than we deserve. I mean those words. Thirteen months ago our family was teetering on the edge of a very dangerous cliff. None of us knew what tomorrow would hold. Each day we take a step on the journey of our new life together but only because we trust God.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New House Timeline

It has been fun the last 6-7 months to watch this house building process. Usually once a week after picking up the girls from school we drive by "our dirt." The waiting has been challenging for all. Each of us have had our less than pleasant moments but I do want to say that our girls have done a great job adapting to different living environments. Thank you girls for remembering there is an end in sight. Now that we have only a few days left I am about to go out of my mind.  I want to move in NOW!!! (3 yr old tantrum right there)

I have a series of pictures below with dates. We have hit several holidays and milestones during this process...
School started
All 5 of us celebrated birthdays (Chris turned 40)
New Years
Presidents Day...that's a big one right?
But we will be in before St Patty's Day. I might even want a green beer. Wait, no I won't. HA

We signed the builders contract on August 1st, one day before we had to vacate our home.
An interesting sidenote: the new home owners on 162nd Ave already have the house on the market. I hope everything is okay, probably just a job transfer. I wish them well.
October 11, 2013- digging began
Digging the Hole 10/15/13
October 18, 2013- Poured the footings
Basement Walls then wait 30 days 10/23/13
November 11, 2013-Garage floor poured and pipes in basement
November 16, 2013- Driveway, sidewalk and basement floors poured
Liv on the backside of the house
November 19, 2013- The wood arrives
Wood Dropped, now 90 days from completion
November 26, 2013- Opa makes a visit to the building site
Opa and Olivia on the main floor
December 2, 2013- we sneak in for a photo without the roof (can you tell it's unseasonably warm)
upstairs close to the laundry room
December 6, 2013

December 8, 2013- Windows installed
December 10, 2013
Backside of the house
Nothing significant, I just think this is cute.
December 14, 2013- We write scriptures and prayers on the floors and wood beams of our walls.
John 3:16

Isaiah 40:31
Romans 12:21
Our Happy Family
Writing scriptures on the walls of a building has nothing to do with magic, instead it has everything to do with the foundations of our new home being built on the Word of God and His promises. We will use this house to honor and glorify our Lord, Jesus Christ. We laughed as we froze our fingers trying to write on rough wood. I wanted to have something in every room of the house. There really isn't much in the bible about laundry so I may have taken that scripture out of context. :)

December 19, 2013- Siding & Garage Doors went on
December 28, 2013- I walked around the inside of the house video taping the walls so we would know what was under the dry wall, where pipes and wiring were.
First week of January- Drywall and mudding
January 10, 2014- Back deck was completed
January 14, 2014- Interior Doors and trim was installed
January 22, 2014- Cabinets through out the house were installed and exterior lighting
kitchen cabinets
January 31, 2014- Tile and hardwood installed
February 4, 2014- Counter tops installed & fireplace stone completed (love both of these!!)
February 11, 2014- Carpet guy came back to finish the install
February sometime the door was painted. The house will be painted when the weather warms up.
Oh I have a brown door...I like it!
February, 17, 2014- A pre-walk through with the agent.
They approve
All that's left now is a few appliances and a some touch ups.  
February 24, 2014- Official Walk-thru
February 26, 2014- We close (hopefully)
March 8, 2014- is our official BIG move in date. Aunt Helen is making food for the movers, so it will be yummy. If you are reading this you are invited to come help. (Vicki, I know you won't make it.)

There are several things that we want to do to the house in the next year. I will give you before and after photos as they are completed.
-painting, upgrading light fixtures & ceiling fans, seal the deck, landscaping, finishing the basement, more stone on the house and new front porch posts. Chris says "we'll see."  Oh yes we will.  ha

Monday, February 17, 2014

You Had Me At Bacon

My daughter is obsessed with bacon. It started with wanting to eat more than her fair share at breakfast. Then she began asking for it as a side to some odd combinations. The next thing I knew someone from church brought a pound of bacon to TO CHURCH for her. It's not an illness but we are keeping close tabs on the situation.
Recently our eldest celebrated her birthday with 3 dear sweet friends.[i love these girls] As you may guess there was a theme:
Among other things, Emma received a BACON T-SHIRT and a POUND OF BACON. Very comical!

The beautiful baby girl who took so long to get here (2 weeks overdue and 18 hours of labor) is now a beautiful young lady who still does things in her own time frame. I remember thinking the days with little ones running all over and making messes were long but I do see that they years were short. I enjoy my girls and thank God for the creativity he used in making each masterpiece. Don't try to be something you think the world wants you to be. You are just as God intended! Oh how I love you Emma.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Is It Worth Working On?

Turning 23 years old was a pretty big deal for me. Most people talk about their 21st birthday. Oh, that was a fun celebration but number twenty-three was life changing. My boyfriend and parents were in town the weekend before the big day. We did the normal stuff, dinner and some gifts and I got my hair cut extremely short (more about that later). Oddly enough I don't remember much more about that weekend. The following Wednesday, my actual birthday, I was interrupted at work (Knortz-Snyder Physical Therapy) by the most handsome boy. Chris was in town again to take me out for dinner. Aw, I love surprises (and gifts). We went to a near by steakhouse, The Bum Steer and mid-way through our meal Chris gave me one more gift... a pair of socks. Oh good, I didn't have to take his anymore. However, inside those socks I found a little gray box. Chris got down on one knee, opened that little box from Nebraska Diamond and asked me to marry him. Oh my word, I was floored. Apparently so was the couple next to us. I remember hearing a very feminine male voice say to his boyfriend, "Oh look how sweet that is, I just can't stand it!" Seriously, the biggest day of my life to that point and that guy's comment is cemented into my brain. So weird! 

I said "YES!" Then suddenly I remembered I just chopped my hair all off SUPER short. Geesh, why didn't someone give me a warning? Don't get me wrong, it was cute and fun but not what I wanted my wedding pictures to look like. Seven and a half months later we were at the alter and thank goodness my dress was beautiful because my hair looked terrible. 

That was over eighteen years ago. So much has happened since then. We have owned several houses, many old vehicles, brought 3 delightful children into the world (whom we remind we can take them out too. LOL), taken vacations, earned degrees, owned pets, buried loved ones, faced failures, loved each other, hurt each other and through it all we have relied on God to walk with us every step. I know some of my failures have been a result of forgetting God was with me. I tend to try to do stuff on my own. Why Oh Why am I a slow learner?

The dreaded holiday is quickly approaching. You know the one that reminds single people that they are unloved and those of us in a relationship that someone else gives more thoughtful gifts than our loved one. Ever since the year Chris gave me a teddy bear and kitchen towel set purchased from the convenience store down the street, I have had to change my views on the holiday a little. Chris wants to show his love for me when HE wants to and not when Hallmark tells him to. Okay, I can live with that. This year our celebration will be a month late. We are going to Family Life's: A Weekend to Remember. I can't wait. Thank you Christopher for this thoughtful gift.

Take a few moments to check out the website and look for a location near you. It is worth the money! Click HERE  This is for pre-married, happily married, and struggling married couples.

Blessings to each of you and please leave me a message below.  Thanks

T o d a y ' s  G o o d  W o r d:
For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.
1Peter 1:23 NLT

Thursday, January 23, 2014

It's A Wonderful Life

Let me introduce myself...
Other than living in a state right now that is riddled with frigid temps, I am an incredibly bless girl. I'm a mom of three terrific daughters and married to the man of my dreams. It would be fair to say that we are an active family, some would call it chaos but we call it a wonderful life. (That's one of my all time favorite movies!) 

The year 2013 was a year I have a difficult time labeling. It was like driving through the Rocky Mountains. The scenery is beautiful but if you aren't careful you might die. There were mountain peak moments and there were valleys so low I honestly didn't know if there was a trail to get out. Looking back on the journey through the Rockies, I had no idea how majestic the view of the mountain tops were until I was stuck in the depths of trails below. 

I don't want this blog post to drag on forever so I am going to hit some of the high points.
We sold our house
We bought dirt
We picked out house selections
Portillos in Chicago
Soccer has kept us on the road whether it's in town for training or city to city for tournaments. Elite Girls Academy has taken us to Chicago, St Louis, Minneapolis and Kansas City in the last year. I was so excited to finally see Mall of America. We need to go back. Then finally this spring I get to see my friend Marcy in Denver.

The girls started school... three kiddos in three different buildings. If soccer, cello, church and play dates don't keep us busy, 3 school schedules definitely do.

Oh what I didn't mention is that we moved out of our house on Aug 2nd and officially became homeless. Thankfully Nana and Papa welcomed our family of 5 into their home. Five months later we are still living in Elkhorn but anxiously awaiting the big move back into Millard and into our own home.

We celebrated my brother's 50th B-day

We had a wonderful Christmas. Chris' parents decided to winter in Arizona (wonder if 5 extra people living in their home had anything to do with that??) so we spent the 25th with the Heller's in Omaha and the 26th with my parents in Kansas.
We celebrated our marriage
 B  I  R  T  H  D  A  Y  S

Yes, these are the happy pictures. Believe it or not, I didn't take pictures of the valleys. Satan is real and wants nothing more than to destroy lives. We struggled but we clung tight to Jesus. Thank you Lord for loving my family and leading us out of the valleys of 2013.

I have pictures of the many stages of building a home. 
More to come later!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spring Snow

Happy Easter from the Raabes

Spring has Sprung and today (April 1st, one day after this picture was taken) we have snow on the ground again. What the heck is wrong with our crazy weather? Yes, the snow all melted by lunch time but it's just not right to wake up to snow the morning after Easter.

Spring is a time of new beginnings. Praise the Good Lord for new beginnings! 
*new wardrobes-break out the flip flops
*new sports seasons-Olivia playing softball and Reagan playing outdoor soccer
*new book releases
*newly recharged marriage-aw, I love my husband!
*new life-celebrating the birth of two new babies
*new summer plans-vacation to Seattle
*new priorities
If I sit her long enough I could probably come up with more "new" things to celebrate this time of year but you get the idea.

Easter is by far one of my favorite holidays. I know there are people who get very caught up in the chocolate bunnies and Easter egg hunts but we don't. Sure my girls get baskets from us and from Nana but we seem to do a better job keeping the true meaning of the celebration in perspective. Our baking consists of empty tomb rolls and our decorating is pretty simple. But for weeks we concentrate on 2 simple days that have made the largest impact in history...Good Friday when Christ Jesus was beaten and crucified on the cross next to the 2 criminals and Sunday morning when the women found the empty tomb. Oh the Glory of it all! 

If you keep current with texting lingo you know about YOLO (you only live once). My favorite quote this season was made by the pastor at Third City Christian Church in Grand Island, "Easter: the day Jesus slapped YOLO in the face!" I love it!! Jesus' twitter feed would probably read "YOLT" (you only live twice)

It's way past my bed time, all good things must come to an end. Tomorrow my to-do lists consists of a hospital visit, more painting, folding laundry, changing out hardware, baseboard touch ups and prep for my Wednesday class. Then it will be time to pick up the girls from school, that's when things really get busy. 

Blessings to each one of you who takes the time to read my ramblings.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Taking ON THE RUN to the Schools

After taking some time off from the book for a number of reasons, this week Chris and I have been connecting with several local schools in hopes to get THE PHENOMENON SERIES in the hands of students. People young and old are eating this series up, now to figure out how to get it to the masses.

We are looking for reviews to be posted.  If you have read The New Phenomenon or On The Run please take a few moments to write a review (it can be just a couple sentences). Places to post review include but are not limited to... (print and ebook)
Good Reads
Facebook...Chris has 2 book pages. Please use 

Thank you to everyone who has read our books. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Busy Signal

It's been a month...oh what a month it has been. I didn't realize God had such an important message for me. Apparently, He has been trying to reach me and my line has been busy. Wow, that takes me back to memories of trying to call someone on a rotary phone and the sound through the receiver was an annoying intermittent buzzing telling me they were either on the phone or someone in the house accidentally left the receiver off the hook. That was frustrating as a teenager when I had THE MOST IMPORTANT INFO EVER to tell my BFF. Sometimes I was so desperate I went to extraordinary lengths to talk to them. I am pretty sure that is how God has felt with me lately.

Music has been very important part of my life as long a I can remember. My mother is an excellent musician, I grew up listening to her sing and play the piano, teach piano and voice lessons in our home and lead all kinds of music in church. I played the piano, violin and flute growing up and sang in every possible choir. However, it wasn't until I became acquainted with christian contemporary music in college that I developed a new love. Until then I didn't realize there was a powerful message packed into songs. Other than Christian music, I still listen to country and sometimes pop artists but I have found dangerous messages lurking in the lyrics. We have to protect our minds. Recently Chris and I have found healing "powers" in song. I sit back and wonder if my house has been bugged, the lyrics are speaking directly to me in the midst of my trials.

Mandisa's "Stronger"
Brandon Heath's "Jesus In Disguise"
Third Day's "I Need A Prayer"

Chris is the perfect man for me and I love him dearly but my relationship with Christ is more important. God loves me more. Looking for fulfillment in a man is foolish, only Christ Jesus can meet my every need. Although I experienced a depth of pain that I would not wish on my worst enemy, I am also grateful that God allowed me to "go there" in order to restore a full relationship with a loving, all knowing and powerful Creator.

If you find yourself in a tough spot and there is nothing you can do about it may I suggest you drop to your knees and allow God to break through that busy signal of your crazy life. He has a message of freedom, grace and love especially for you. He doesn't care who you are or what you have done, He loves you just the way you are. The rest of that thought is this...He loves you just as you are but cares too much to leave you where you are. He wants so much more for us.

Monday, February 4, 2013

HaPpY BiRtHdAy #1

My oldest is turning 14 today.  How is that possible? Before I know it she will be in high school and you know that means in a blink of an eye she will be out the door and (somewhat) on her own. Wow, that went fast! This is the picture I posted on facebook, I love the comparison. This little blue dress and hat, taken 10 years ago brings back so many memories. Certainly one of my favorite pictures of Emma.

Sweet Emma, we love you dearly and thank God for the great honor of being your parents. We cherish every day that we have with you. From before you were born we have prayed for you, your friends and your the man you will some day marry. May God remain the cornerstone of your life. As much as we love you, He loves you more! Happy 14th year to you.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Everyone Gets a Medal

Oh My Word! This drives me crazy!! 

At age two it is okay to tell your sweet toddler that they did a great job coloring even though they scribbled all over the page and that they ran the fastest even though you were crawling on your hands and knees and still crossed the finish line first. What is NOT okay is telling your 3rd grader that even though their softball team came in last place they deserve a trophy for showing up with their gloves on. 
-Not everyone gets an A!
-Not everyone gets the preferred job. (or any job)
-Not everyone gets the girl!
-Not everyone wins!
-Not everyone gets a medal!

Why do I even need to talk about this? It seems like common sense to me. Learning to deal with disappointment and failure is part of becoming a well adjusted person who will have something useful to offer society. 

Our church did Project 4:4 last year which meant we read through the chronological bible in a year. Not everyone completed the project but hopefully everyone learned a little more than what they knew in December 2011. I missed some days and even missed some weeks but did my best to catch up or listen to some of the video accelerators the pastors made to enhance the reading. So either you did it or you didn't, not a big deal either way. No one gets a fast pass to Heaven nor does anyone have to stand in the corner of shame. With that in mind, I was bugged when I overheard two women at church discussing the stickers that were handed out at church. Everyone was offered a sticker that said "I finished Project 4:4" 
Woman 1: I see you got a Project 4:4 sticker?
Woman 2: Yes I this was the first time I ever tried to read through the bible.
Woman 1: Don't you think this sets up an environment to make people feel bad if they didn't read it or finish it?
Woman 2: Maybe they should have made stickers that said "I participated in Project 4:4"

OH MY WORD!!  I had to walk away. I wanted to tell them, "In Jesus name, you are what is wrong with society these days!!!" 

I feel better now that I got that off my chest. 
Agree with me or don't.  It really does not matter. We can disagree and both go to heaven but if you have a child, please allow them to fail while they are still in the safety of your home. If you don't, they will fail when they are too big for you to fight their battles and it will not only hurt them but it will hurt others around them.

Blessings to each and every one of you!

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Phenomenon Goes On The Run


1. ON THE RUN has been well received so far. The reports I am hearing are that this book is better than the first book.  Love that!

2. Our official release date of OTR is January 15, 2013 and it looks like everything is going as planned. That day the ebook will also be released on kindle. If you do not have a kindle or a device that allows you to use the kindle app don't worry it will be released 91 days later in other formats.

3. Our new business cards were ordered today...they look great.  Seriously, it's the little things that get me so excited!!

4. We are still hoping to get the rights to publish our first book, THE NEW PHENOMENON. I don't want to bash anyone...oh that's not true.  I DO but trying hard to take the high road.

5. The author (my handsome husband), is a great speaker and presenter. If you or your organization is looking for someone to speak about writing, reading, publishing, teaching and/or motivational speaking please contact me through this blog or at
Please check out Chris' website...
Like his facebook page... (he has a new author page)