Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Rocky Mountain National Park

First let me say, if you have a 4th grader you can get into ANY NATIONAL park for FREE! Woo Hoo! Yes I said free. Go to this web page to learn all about it and print your pass. "Every Kid in a Park" is an initiative to get 4th grade kids and their families outside exploring our natural riches.

We drove to Denver to watch Reagan play in the National Premier League National Championship Tournament. Can I brag? She played awesome! We had so much fun watching her play. Well, Olivia didn't really watch but she did go. ;) 

Once a family gets to Colorado it would be a shame to turn around and go home just because soccer is over, so we didn't. We spent two days with the Percival family...LOVE THEM! Jeff is the worship leader at Southeast Christian Church in Parker, Colorado. Hearing his voice on stage takes me back to the glory days of CCV. Thanks Percivals for making us laugh and feel so loved.

The last day in Colorado was spent in the Rocky Mountain National Park. The pictures below show some of our adventures but none of them capture the beauty of God's amazing design. Our first adventure was buying chicken in Safeway. Here's a sidenote, I remembered our AZ phone number so I could get the store discount...saved $4. Once we got through Estes Park the real journey began.
Our first waterfall. I can't remember the name of this fall
but it was formed in 2008 after a flood.
Emma was obsessed with all the big rocks
"Oh look, there's a big rock!"
Yep, here's another
Mom and Eldest Daughter
The air was thin but I climbed to the top with my girls.
Bear Lake
My zany girls
Our extra mile hike up, up, up to Alberta Falls
Alpine Tundra 11,796ft
Notice the jackets, it was chilly up there
Aw, the beauty!
No wonder he's afraid of heights!
We all wanted to stay longer but reality was calling us back home. Both of our summer jobs were screaming at us, demanding our attention. The trip home was not terrible, which I guess it means it was pretty good. We are truly blessed to be able to spend time together as a family. On our way home Chris & I began to realize that next summer Em will be in Europe, then off to college. Thus begins mom saying, "this is the last time we will..." I hope it doesn't get annoying.

A quick shout out to my Uncle Gavin in Washington turning 81 years young!
Much love to you.

I pray for those of you I know as well as the friends I have not yet met. We all can do something small to help out our fellow neighbors. Be a Blessing this week to someone new.

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 
Ephesians 2:10

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Happy Birthday Danielle

I love parties! 
I love birthdays! 
I love my friend Danielle!
What a privilege it was to celebrate another year of life with my dear sweet friend Danielle. As the party kicked off, we went around the room sharing something special about this amazing woman. The stories nearly brought me to tears. I knew only 2 other women of the 20 sitting in the living room but each of us told a story that described a lady full of strength, love, compassion, fun and spirit of God. Another highlight of the party was eating the best ever homemade chocolate cake!

Seven years ago on crisp Halloween night our families ended up at the same party. We talked and laughed as we followed our little ones from house to house asking for candy from strangers. I was hoping for almond joys, not sure if I got any. I don't believe I saw her again until several months later when I offered to bring her dinner after she had a baby. Is that weird? Maybe but I like do that for new moms. From there I don't know when we moved from being acquaintances to friends but I thank God for putting Danielle in my life. This lady makes me want to be a better person. Danielle has beaten breast cancer once and is now in her second battle. She and her family have traveled down some pretty challenging roads and all the while she praises God for his faithfulness and provisions. Happy 35th birthday Danielle, your friendship is a gift!

My scrapbook group. I'm not good at taking selfies
You are invited to pray for Danielle's health and all that comes along with the journey of fighting cancer. I don't care if you pray for her daily or just today. If you read this post two years later, please still pray for Danielle and her family. God knows every detail!

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18 NIV

Friday, July 8, 2016

Camp Rivercrest

This is a super busy time of year so I really don't have time to blog but I need a break from the crazy soccer registration I have been doing non-stop for 7 days. But praising God for this work He has blessed me to do...pays the bills.

All three of our girls have gone to church camp since they were in primary grades. Camp Rivercrest in Fremont, NE is an outstanding Christian camp. As the older girls get busier each year they find less and less time for summer camp. However Olivia and her best friend of eight years spent this week at camp. I love hearing the crazy stories, the stories of faith building, the stories about stupid boys, the stories about the amazing food and of course gaga ball. This year's key word was PERSEVERE. The girls had a great time and already look forward to next summer. In the meantime, I will be praying for the Holy Spirit to do a beautiful work in the lives of these sweet girls.

That's really all the time I have to blog. Three Hundred and Fifty youth soccer athletes depend on me (even though they don't know it) to do the behind the scenes work so they can do the thing the love soccer! GO EGA!!

Speaking of soccer...kind of have some cool updates but I can't release them for a while. Stay tuned!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Visiting Dad

The last year has been fairly challenging for mom and dad. This guy, whom I have loved and respected all of my 43 years of life is blazing a trail that no one dreams of traveling. Over fourteen years ago dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. At that time I envisioned my dad would turn into some version of Muhammad Ali or Michael J Fox only not nearly as rich. As it would happen, his disease has not mirrored theirs at all. Because my dad has such a positive attitude and has stayed active all these years, the progression of his disease has been much slower. Mom and dad also researched many alternative treatments because what the doctors know to do is just mask the symtoms, it's not a healing at all. Obviously, they followed the doctors orders but used nutrition and some other treatments to keep dad healthy. Just in the last 18 months dad has really taken a major turn for the worse. Dad has now been diagnosed with Lewy Body Disease. We won't ever know if he really had PD, his current doctor says probably not. Knowing he ingested toxic, damaging Parkinson's drugs for 14 years that weren't needed is just too much for me to think about. This has got to be left in God's hands.

Dad is now in a nursing home which is better for both mom and dad. No one truly understands the life of a caregiver until they have lived it themselves. It's hard to accept that dad will never be in my home again nor will he attend a concert or game. However, mom now has a little more freedom and as wonderful as that sounds, it is difficult for her too.

In May Emma and I visited dad with her cello and prom dress. He was thrilled to hear her play. 

Dad, thank you for teaching us that hard work, honesty and respect for others is important. You are a great man and I love you dearly. You shirt is right...This Grandpa Rocks!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Student Takeover 2016

I love to serve.
I love to serve.
I love to serve.
Everyone is different and have been given different gifts but I feel closer to God when I am serving Him by serving others. I am so proud of how our youth ministry at Christ Community Church is focusing on helping kids connect to God through service. This can look different for everyone but certainly our children need to understand that this life is not only about them.
Reagan is completely out of her comfort zone in this picture, shaking hands with a man she doesn't know is frightening for her. So this may not be the place she wants to serve long term but it's a great first step. Side note: most people don't wear suits to our church.
Emma on the other hand is in her happy place, on stage with her cello in hand playing worship music. She has found joy in volunteering at church both with the worship band and toddler room.
This makes my heart overflow!
The girls made fun of me for taking this picture but truly, I love having my girls (plus 2) sitting in church with us. My number one goal as a parent is to I introduce a life with Christ to our girls. Then teach them how to engage with Christ, to know Him personally and put Him in the center of their lives. We encourage the girls to bring friends to church, attend fun activities and ask lots of questions. I grew up in a time when kids went to church because their parents told them to. There was very little dialog about the whys and what ifs of my faith and heaven forbid having fun at church was not even a concept. The result is a generation of people who don't personally know Christ, who attend when it is convenient and live their lives just like everyone else. I do believe whether I am an adult or a child there should be something about me that seems different, and that difference is Christ.

As the Scriptures say, "People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.
1Peter 1:24:25 NLT

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Rotary Scholar

******Just found this...forgot to post it in May******

This week, four hundred twenty-seven Omaha area students who embody the traits of leadership, character, scholarship and presence came together to be recognized by the local Rotary Club. These remarkable kiddos represent the top 5% of Omaha eighth graders. I love that many of Reagan's close school friends are all part of this group. Not only does she have awesome parents but her friends are pretty great as well.
The Crew from Reags middle school 
Proud Mom and Dad
Nana and Papa
Two of her besties
Reagan, remember that great things seldom just happen to people. It takes hard work, perseverance and good character to achieve your goals. But also remember, you don't have to be perfect and it's okay if plans change from time to time. Your mom and dad are proud of you and love you dearly.

7300 Days and Counting

This month Chris and I celebrated our 20th Anniversary. 
7304 Days
175,316 Hours
10,518,984 Minutes many moments of love, laughter, trials, hard work, faith and anticipation.

I had so much fun looking back through the years via photographs. One thing I noticed was once our first child was born there are very few pictures of the two of us without a child until they were all old enough to walk, wipe and fully weened.
Wedding day circa 1996
Life seems to take over our calendar and before we know it, we have forgotten what it is like to just be together without an itinerary. Chris took us back to a no plan, fly by the seat of our pants kind of day. We hit the Old Market for food and fun shops. (I love the Old Market) We shared grouper at Plank, sushi at Blue and planned to go one more place but couldn't eat any more. I have wanted to go to Ashley's Underground but always thought it looked a little sketchy. Besides the overwhelming smell of incense it wasn't bad at all and actually had the most eclectic collection of items. (A whole line of bacon everything...must remember for Emma's birthday.)

We accidentally dressed alike
Pitch Pizza...LoveIt!
After a nap we went back out on the town for dinner at my favorite pizza place. Our last stop was Brix for a glass of wine. To our surprise we ran into a good friend so we stayed until they kicked us out at closing time.

Our 20th Anniversary was a perfect day with the man I love. Chris knows my love language is "Quality Time" and he gave me that. Thank you Chris for showing me love. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mom's Day

Graduation Parties
Family Dinner out
Chris' softball team
Emma's softball team
Late Night meeting

This is what Mother's Day Weekend looks like at our house. What a fantastic way to celebrate doing and being the thing I love most...A Mom! My favorite part of the day was lunch with the girls at a little taco shop in a nearby shopping center and some brief shopping. We laughed so hard at silly stuff. There is nothing better than the love and joy from a child. These three girls are the reason my life is so crazy and also so filled with laughter and joy. I am blessed beyond words that God saw me as a woman (along with her awesome hubby) who could raise them to know Jesus as their savior and rely on the Holy Spirit for wisdom and guidance.  I am humbled! 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Color Run EGA Style

When soccer girls plan a team building event it still includes running and they love it. This wasn't the official color run but it was a 5K fun run which involved colorful dust flying through the air. Reagan is surprised to find that she had blue toes when she jumped in the shower.  Color went everywhere!

 The hills were brutal!

 My little blondie had pink, blue, green, yellow hair.
And finally the team jumped in to the pool to wash off. However, Nebraska pool water on April 25th is stinkin' COLD! As soon as they hit the water they were scurrying for the steps. 

Sometimes these competitive soccer players need to spend some time together letting loose, doing the things that fourteen year old girls do...laughing, acting like fools and being care-free.

Monday, April 18, 2016

MRL Weekend in Kansas

Soccer Soccer Soccer
Here are a few pictures of our soccer weekend in Overland Park, KS.
(Reagan in white.)
I love the stretch through the legs to steal the ball
Header while being pushed in the back.
I don't like to have negative comments about student athletes but this picture is one TINY example of the overly physical game the girls endured against the Michigan Jaguars. By the end of the game we had Maddie with a black eye, Reagan with a huge turf burn, Grace with a possible concussion, Lexi had been thrown around like a rag doll and several girls who had been flat out pushed around. Needless to say the ref needed some glasses. ;)

Reagan said, "I didn't know my leg could go that high!"
 EGA lost to Michigan Jaguars in the first game of the weekend, 1-0. So disappointing for them, as they know they can defeat this team. Our league is called the Midwest Regional League (MRL). As we go through the season, we earn 3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie and 0 points for a loss. At the end of the season our point total is part of the determining factors to advance to the Regional Tournament in Colorado. This loss could end up being a bad deal for the team.

Game #2 of the weekend came the following morning against the National Champions, the Michigan Hawks. They beat us in the fall 2-1 so we knew we could compete with this powerhouse soccer team. The girls fought a tough battle for 70 minutes on the field and finished with a 1-1 tie. I am so proud of them. Now we need to win the rest of our games and for them to loose a league game this spring to help us reach the top spot of the region.
Reagan in black and gray stripes

I included this picture to show the organized chaos that occurs during a soccer game. Look at all these athletes in the box during a corner kick, there are bodies and legs going everywhere. It's a wonder there aren't more injuries.

Reagan's soccer team is full of incredibly talented little soccer players. These girls are smart, driven young ladies. Most of them have big plans for the future whether soccer continues for them or not. Watching 18 girls come together for a common purpose, knowing there is sacrifice and hard work required to reach the goal is a cool thing. Good job girls!

Gotta give a shout out to Uncle Rodger, Aunt Laura and Uncle John for making it down to the soccer fields to support their niece. It's so wonderful to have family and friends in so many of the locations Reags plays in. I can't wait to see my friend Marcy in Colorado. Yes, I'm praying the girls will play well enough to make it there.

Friday, April 15, 2016

(She) Takes My Breath Away

 Prom 2016
Everything about it was perfect, she said. 
Emma got the dress she so desperately wanted. (it has pockets)
Emma had her best friend of 11 years as a date.
Emma spent the day doing hair, make-up and nails with the girls.
Emma and crew got their picture spot. (seriously this is a source of HS drama)
Emma and crew enjoyed dinner together.
Emma and Colin got home at 4:30am. (Prom and Post-Prom)
Bella, Emma and Azaria
Cassidy and Emma
Christina and Emma

Colin and Emma
The Crew
 It may seem that this event was all about Emma but that's not the way I saw it. Emma and her date, Colin met in 1st grade when we lived in Grand Island. Through school and soccer events we became friends with Colin's parents. Even though we left GI eight years ago, we have blessed by our friendship with the Williams family. I saw the weekend as an opportunity to hang out with Tami and Steve. While Em and C were dancing the night away the rest of the two families were eating, playing games and catching up. Thanks Williams, we love your family.
My beautiful girls
 And this one is my favorite...