Friday, June 30, 2017

Nebraska Ambassadors of Music

Back in 2013 Emma learned about a music trip to 7 European countries where she could play her cello and sing in the choir. At the time, it sounded impossible to me but never did Emma entertain the thought of impossibility, she knew she was going! Four years later we found ourselves leaving Emma at the three day Fremont camp to rehearse and prepare for her trip of a lifetime. To say we are proud of Em would be too simplistic. She made a plan to raise over $6000 and even though there were stumbling blocks (like a $1200 car repair) along the way she did it. Sweetheart, not only will this trip help shape the young woman you will become but the financial accomplishment will forever remind you that "IT IS POSSIBLE!" This is where Emma spent 16 days this summer...
United Kingdom 3 days
France 3 days
Switzerland 3 days
Liechtenstein 2 hours
Austria 3 days
Italy 1 day
Germany 3 days

***Disclaimer: Below you will find a bunch of SnapChat screenshots or quick photos that Emma text to me. Most of the good pictures are on her camera.

Pre-Trip Performance
I believe the choir was made up of about 130 singers. There was a chamber orchestra and a HUGE band. After the Thursday night concert, Emma was up at 3am June 9th for a 7:50am flight from Nebraska to Georgia. It wasn't until 7:28am June 10th London Time (1:28am CST) that the group landed. And then they were off to a full day of sight-seeing and no sitting. Sitting may result in sleeping. ;)

Kensington Palace...Oh my! I am in love with the Royals. This is most certainly a bucket list item for me! Obviously Emma has better pictures, these are just the photos I took screenshots of in SnapChat. The GeoFilters are fun but after leaving London Emma had a hard time getting service until they were back at the hotel. And then all that Global Roaming on our phone service started causing some problems for those of us at home. Calls, text and emails didn't always go through. My phone froze often. You know, first world problems!

The building tours during the entire trip did not disappoint. 

She's ready for another day of travel, this day it's a 3 hour bus ride to the ferry then to Paris, France. Emma wanted to complain a little that they weren't taking the Chunnel (underground tunnel below the English Channel) but she knew we weren't going to feel sorry for her. Paris is one of Emma's bucket list items. I have heard some say they weren't actually that impressed with the Eiffel Tower in person. Not Emma, she was thrilled!
The tour hit the big cities of London and Paris which were wonderful, busy and offered a lot of "touristy" opportunities.
The Eiffel Tower area opens at 9am, this picture was taken at 9:10am, hence the empty green space. Em said by the time they left it was packed with people.

On June 15th as she was about to go to bed I got a FaceTime call from Em. Actually seeing her face and hearing her voice thrilled my heart! Oh how I missed my girl! Look at that smile...she was having a ball!

In Switzerland and Austria the speed of life slowed. The people in the big cities really didn't care if there was a group from Nebraska, USA touring but in small cities and villages the people we ready and waiting for their visitors. Special food, t-shirts, ornaments, discounts and festivals were part of the welcoming nature of these people.

I just love her thoughts on the mountain

Two hours of shopping at the famous Champs-élysée was not enough time for this crew and five hours was too much time at Notre-Dame.

One day in Venice doesn't do it justice but another thing has been checked off the bucket list, the city on water.


The final country, Germany did not disappoint, beauty, history and cheap Birkenstock sandals.
The tour of Dachau concentration camp



I prayed every day for these kids and the fantastic adults traveling through Europe. Obviously, I prayed for health and safety but more importantly I knew Emma was with kids who loved the Lord as well as those who don't know Christ as their personal savior. Em is so real, so loving and non-judgmental that she can talk about her faith and her friends know it is real. I love that! My prayers were for her to impact someone for the Glory of the Kingdom. I don't know if that happened but God does. God doesn't need us but He graciously invites us into His plan.

Seeing Emma walk up the ramp at Epply Airport calmed this mama's heart and sent a surge of endorphines throughout my body that kept me awake longer than I had planned. Em, I love your stories and your desire to go back again. Welcome home Sweet Emma!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


*******I started this post a couple weeks ago and just now I am getting back to it******

Tonight I was scrolling though some of those YAHOO stories and came across one I found to be quite troubling. An article titled "DANGEROUS TEXTING SLANG ALL PARENTS SHOULD KNOW" certainly piqued my interest. To sum it up, the list was dated and the article was a bit negative however the comments were most disturbing. Everyone commented on how terrible the kids are "these days" and it's mostly the fault of cell phones. I disagree!

I have pretty strong opinions about parenting so I tend to lean more to blaming the adults than the children and their devices. I know a bunch of really great kids and they ALL have cell phones. I also knew a bunch of naughty teens when I was in high school (spoiler: I was one of them) and not one of us had a cell phone. I could go into a long soapbox explanation of how and why parents should be more present in the lives of their youth, how they should say "no",  how they should make their kids go to church etc. Instead I'm going to say, encourage a teenager to show love. That message will do more than telling them that they are lazy, disrespectful or entitled.

Believe me, I can go right down that same road of negativity, it take intentional parenting to be the adult in the relationship. Recently, a dear friend of mine reminded me to be thankful for the frustrations I sometimes focus on when it comes to my own teenagers. Can they be messy? Can they be disrespectful? Can they ignore my requests to help around the house? Yes, Yes and Yes!! That's really not all that bad. Thank you God for giving my girls a loving heart and a desire to serve you.

I have a fun video to share. Reagan and some of her soccer friends have a new found love...Creekin'. Not far from our house there's two little man made ponds which lead to a creek that runs for miles. I have heard stories but not until tonight have I had any real visuals. Reags and Grace took 7 girls two miles through the creek. You will see they had a blast. Click HERE to see the creekin' video. I post this video to show that kids still really do want to go out and just be kids. High school girls acting like 5th grade boys in the mud and simply enjoying life! Great job girls and thanks for the laugh.

Some moms were a little concerned. Honestly, I don't know if it's ok but what I do know is this... there are high school girls out drinking, smoking and treating their bodies with a lack of respect. My daughter is having good clean (actually pretty dirty) fun playing in the mud. Hearing their stories and giggles gave me a wonderful sense of who they are. They are beautifully created in His image. Thank you girls for putting a huge smile on my face tonight!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

National Best Friend's Day

Two big holidays today...




So here's to my best friend and love of my life!

The Big Day

We love our Huskers!

Date Night

15th (ish) Anniversary Date

Serving at the shelter

Date Night 2011

Annual July 4th party

We love the Huskers even in the cold!


Wedding Date

Golden Gate Bridge Date

Nappa Valley Date

20th Anniversary

1st year of marriage

If it weren't for the "selfie" type picture apparently we would have very few pictures of just us two.

Today was a crazy busy day which left little time for us to celebrate. Trust me, this isn't a complaint. Our life is full with all kinds of activities that we love. Today we had sleepovers, last minute shopping, HS softball practice, college soccer ID camp, softball tournament in Illinois, final concert out of town and the Europe Trip send off. In the midst of all that 4/5 of the family ate a nice home cooked lunch together. Making the most of each moment is important. We look forward to all being together again in July.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

All-State Honors

The High School soccer season has ended and little miss freshman has earned some awards thanks to her hard work and dedication to the sport she loves. First off, it's an honor to be a starting varsity soccer player as freshman in a high school of 2500+ students. From game one she was determined to show that she deserved to be out there amongst the other starting 10 wildcats. By the third game she started scoring goals and ended up being the top goal scorer on the team. To be honest, I don't know what that number is, maybe 19 or 20 goals with several assists.

Reagan was excited to learn at the soccer banquet that she would earn a varsity letter. Great job kiddo! Coach Tevis spoke highly of Reags and mentioned that she hopes to hear her talk next year. High school soccer is looked down upon by many in the serious soccer world. However, for the kid in a small market like Omaha, Nebraska, it's all about school pride. Wearing the green and white uniform to school, getting your name in the paper and having a full page spread in the year book is pretty special. Of all the schools in the metro, MW does the best job of playing a possession style game but it's still pretty ugly out there...too much boom ball and a true lack to finesse. Other than notoriety, Reagan learned to be tough. She played against some bigger, stronger, dirtier soccer stars. Quickly it was apparent that she could either take them on or get burnt. I'm proud to say her stubbornness, skill and speed paid off.

Now that the season is over, the coveted All-State honors came out in the paper. 
-The Lincoln Journal Star placed Reagan on the All-State Honorable Mention Team. If you would like to read article click here.
-The Omaha World Hearld placed Reagan on the All-Metro Second Team. If you would like to read the article click here

You will notice Reagan lettered in both soccer and academics this year. Soccer will hopefully be a means to her post secondary education but her intellect will be the bread and butter after soccer ends. Now to keep her focused the next three (or seven) years!

Club soccer has started back up, no rest for the weary I guess. ;)
Thanks to a mom on our club team, we get video's of goals. Don't blink, it's quick. She's in a maroon jersey on the left side of the screen. If you can't see the video below, here is the link to REAGAN'S SHOT ON GOAL 

Wow, it's late and I should wait until tomorrow to click "publish" but I'm not going to. Happy reading...typos and all.