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...

Monday, March 7, 2016

Presidents Day Tournament 2016

The Fabulous U14 EGA Maroon Soccer Girls
Who's up for a 19 hour road trip? It was our joy to carpool with Goalie Cat and her mom Kimberly on what many called a crazy road trip. For us it was a no-brainer! Each family saved at least $800 and had a great time together. Talk about teammate bonding! 

Sidenote: How do I get so lucky? Chris takes some pretty fantastic dad-daughter soccer trips (insert sarcasm) to Muscatine, IA; St Louis, Mo; Minneapolis, MN in February and I get to go to Phoenix AZ in February. Yep he's a keeper, love that guy of mine! 

We have entered into a new phase of soccer for Reagan. I know this is just the beginning, crazier days are on the horizon. These girls are being to be looked at by college recruiters, or so we are told. To be honest, I'm not all that excited or worried about it. When the time is right I believe Reagan will be seen by the right people. See, our daughter is driven to play college soccer and even dreams of being on the US Women's National Team. However, first she needs to make it through 8th grade promotion in May. Even though soccer is a big part of Reagan's life, it does not define her. Our little soccer player is pretty awesome, but ask any mom and they will say the same thing about their child. Who knows if I am right, I just want Reagan to have fun, stay fit and learn some great life lessons along the way. In the meantime, we plan to do whatever we can (with in reason) to help her reach her dreams, as long as she cleans her room, helps her sisters do the dishes and does her best in school. Shouldn't that go without saying?

Now back to the "crazy part." Our soccer club, Elite Girls Academy does a tremendous job of getting the athletes seen. Thanks to the connections our club director has the percentage of EGA girls who go on to play at the next level far exceeds any other club in Nebraska. The President's Day Tournament in Phoenix is one of the top recruiting tournaments of the year. With that said, I kind of doubt there were many D1 coaches watching a bunch of 8th graders play soccer. So for us it was a fun weekend to be in beautiful 60 degree weather and hang out with a bunch of our Phoenix friends and family. Next year, the recruiting aspect of this game will get crazy. And I have heard, things get a little strange on the team from time to time. You know, our unwanted friend Jealousy finds his way on to the team. Chris and I see it as our job as Reagan's parents to keep her focused on what's important. 
1. God has a plan for your life. 
2. Love people, even when you don't feel like they deserve it.
3. Work hard to be the best YOU that you can be.
Reagan has the best cheering section
 It's true, typically Reagan has the most fans at any game, what a lucky girl. A shout out and Thank You for coming to see us...Uncle Eric, Mike & LuAnn, Aunt LaRae, Nana & Papa, Great Grandma, Aunt Shelly, Miles, Tammy, Vicki & Dan and the whole Walker clan.

Soccer Moms had a little R&R poolside
Soccer Girls and the Walker Boys
I'm not going to lie, the travel gets pretty expensive with this soccer team but we have managed to find some great solutions. Obviously, driving was much cheaper than flying. The next big expense is the hotel stay. We do our best to save where we can which means if you live in a city that my daughter plays in you can expect to get a call from me asking if we can camp out on your floor for 1-2 nights. It saves us a bundle! As luck would have it, we use to live in the valley of the sun so we had lots of places to stay. The Walker family was so gracious to give us their boys' bed for 4 nights. Yes we saved money but we gained many wonderful memories. Thanks G, J & H for giving up your beds. You boys are AWESOME!!! Seriously, come see us in Nebraska!
No filter: God is an amazing artist!
Love them!
I have known these girls almost longer than I have known my own children. The miles may physically separate us but our hearts stay close. Miss you already.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Jael's Baptism

I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength. 
-Philippians 4:13

There's just something about a decision for Christ that seeps all the way deep into my soul. It's the most powerfully moving event I have ever experienced. Last month we had the privilege to not only witness Jael's baptism but we also accepted the opportunity to be her Godparents. 
Levi's Blessing
The Band of Brothers is a group of authentic, loving, hardworking, hard playing, faith filled men who are came together to bless Ryan and Kelly's family before the baptism service. It was amazing! Above you can see them praying over Levi and his role as a big brother.
A Father's Blessing 

Our family, Pastor Dan and The Birges
The Family
Jael's Gift Phil 4:13
Since I have never been part of a baby baptism I wasn't really sure what kind of gift a Godparent gives so off to the Christian bookstore I go. (I love browsing at Parables.) Shopping in the gift section is both a blessing and a curse, everything I see I think, "I can make that!" In the typical scenario I don't buy it and then I don't go home and make it either. This time however I was motivated. My basement is much like a craft store and I knew I could find everything I needed there. My finished product is a shadow box frame with Jael's baptism verse on the glass and a small photo frame inside. My hope is that as Jael grows and learns what her baptism means, one day she will ask the Lord into her heart and be saved by her faith in Christ Jesus.

I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength. 
-Philippians 4:13

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

She Gave Me My New Name

Once again I have hit a period of time that my blog has been neglected. There have been several afternoons in the last month that I have opened this page to write something of interest. The issue is not a lack of material, there is always something going on at our house. Quite possibly the issue is too much going on in this house and in my head. It takes disciple to quiet my mind. With that said, my mind still is not quiet...start the laundry, order cupcakes, get the taxes ready, pack for my trip but I am still going to write something. You can decide if it is of interest or not.

February brings me great joy, the month Chris and I received our new names, mommy and daddy. Emma forever changed us. I know she loves it when I recount the way I felt on February 3rd, the day I went to the hospital to finally have this over due baby only to be sent home that evening. Some how I did not know that was a possibility. Sure enough I went into labor at 2am then began the worst 18 hours of my life which was all forgotten the moment she was placed on my chest. Skin so perfect, the touch of my new baby's skin will be etched in my memory forever.

Em had a fantastic celebration with a group of girls who collectively raised the noise level to something I have never experienced. I've heard the pit at NASCAR is deafening, so was this!
Pretty proud of the money cake, always wanted to do this.
My dad did something like this for me on my 20th bday.

Emma, we love you dearly and couldn't be more proud of you. Keep working hard to achieve your goals and don't expect perfection. In the past year you have experienced some amazing highs and some devastating lows but you have relied on your faith and your family to walk you through them both. Dad and I will always be right behind you offering support and encouragement, no matter what you face. And as much as we care for you, your Heavenly Father loves you more. Never stop looking up! You have said it many times, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Sunday, January 24, 2016

California Dreamin'

It's a midwest soccer girl's dream to be playing the game she loves one minute and in the ocean the next. Not only do we lack the beach and ocean in Nebraska but the 20 degree temps make playing in the water fairly difficult this time of year. Our soccer player, her dad and grandparents had the privilege of spending some quality time in the sun this weekend. Missing games makes me a little sad but a great time was had here at home. And after all, Chris said I have to take turns.

the team
goofing around
bay, jay, reags
a little pool time
Team sports are so much more than just playing soccer, basketball, etc. 
They learn hard work
They learn teamwork
They learn discipline
They learn sacrifice
They learn disappointment
They learn about opportunities
They learn the importance of taking care of their bodies
They learn about goals
They learn about adversity
They learn about honesty
They learn respect
They learn commitment
I am not suggesting they all get it (neither do all the parents) but it's there for the taking. Chris and I are proud of what Reagan does on the field but we are more proud of her as she grows in all of these areas. She is becoming a wonderful young lady and soccer is just one tool, of many to help her get there. I feel like I could write to much more, I will leave it at that for now.

Reagan and I will be carpooling with the goalie and her mom to Phoenix, AZ for the President's Day Tournament. We can expect tough competition and with six players staying home for a variety of reasons I hope the girls dig deep. I will be there for the sun, soccer and some special people. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

What a Fighter

Most Recent Family Picture - April 2015

I love this family! My friend Danielle has been fighting breast cancer since 2012. When it reappeared after the birth of her youngest child in 2014, it came back with a vengeance. Danielle and Ryan love the Lord and continue to share the light of Jesus with everyone they know. I struggle watching Danielle go through the highs and lows of cancer and I wonder why, why does this young mom have to deal with this. In some ways this cancer thing has given them a greater platform to tell people about Jesus. I know God does not cause bad things to happen to his servants but he will certainly use them for their good and the glory of His kingdom.

Please pray for Ryan, Danielle and their four children. God hears your prayers. If you are able and feel called to help them financially I have attached a Go Fund Me link below. I am reminded time after time that we don't have to break the bank or spend every waking moment serving others but we do have to do something. Each of us doing something small equals a huge impact.

To financially help Danielle offset some of her treatment costs Click HERE

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

War Room

Have you seen this film? I loved it.

I believe in the power of prayer so then why do I ever think I should take a battle on by myself instead of dropping to my knees and asking God to take over? This movie reminds us of Jesus' teaching in Matthew 6:6. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Miss Clara in her War Room
Reagan and I were invited to a friends house to watch War Room. We were both trying to find a reason to stay home. You know, it was the day before school started back up, we were exhausted from a weekend of travel, we wanted to lounge around, I wanted to scrapbook. Honestly, there are so many excuses but we went anyway. The blessings were poured out on us in spite of our determination to stay home. Once the movie ended people left one by one but we stayed, I guess doing nothing at home became less important.

Today I am excited to share that I started my war room, in my closet. No, I didn't remove all my clothes (I mean from the shelves not my body) but I have a spot to post prayers and spend quiet time with the Lord. I am not one to keep (or even make) New Year Resolutions so I won't even try. I will use this time to think about what I want to improve on. I want to be skinny but I guess not bad enough because I just ate some M&M's. My greatest desire however is to reflect God's love. When someone sees me, I want them to see a little bit of Jesus. If I overflow with the love of Christ, that is surely what will pour out of me. His love for each of us is beyond my comprehension which is why it's time for me to recommit to studying daily and releasing my control issues to God. Oh if I can be transformed by the renewing of my mind rather than conforming to this world I will be on the right path. This movie is predictable but it is also a strong reminder that we can fight the enemy when we do it the right way.

There is none righteous, not even one. Romans 3:10

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Phenomenon Trilogy Update

For some time now, Chris has been wanting to move his blog to a site that looks a little more like an official website. It's done. Looking for Chris on the web? We mad it easy on you just type or go here. We know you don't need any new challenges in your life. 
You can even click here ... Home of All Things Phenomenon
Please go ahead and check out Chris Raabe's book webpage
Ok, here's one more chance... CLICK ME CLICK ME

This past Saturday we were surprised to see a fantastic article in the Omaha World Herald about Chris and friend/author John Kalkowski. This should take you there Chris and John are good friends and co-workers at Andersen Middle School. If you know Chris at all then you know he gives John a hard time about which book the kids like better. Truthfully, we are thankful to have a partner in crime for Chris. They do many book events together and bounce ideas off one another. What a blessing.

Are you looking for a last minute Christmas gift? Currently we are waiting for a big shipment of books to arrive at our house. Until they arrive, you can order from our website ORDER BOOKS HERE or from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and locally from The BookWorm (90th and Center) and Barnes and Noble (143th & Center). All three books are also available in kindle format. FYI: there's a kindle app for apple devices.

Wishing each and everyone of my readers a happy holiday season. Blessings!

Lots of links in this post
No excuses for not finding the book.