Sunday, December 9, 2007


How ironic that my last post included how thankful I am for New Life Church. Well, after another tragic day for my beloved church, I am even more thankful for this body of believers then ever before.

Today, a gunman shot 5 people at New Life. My city. My church. My family. Thankfully, we were not at the service this morning. We usually attend Sunday nights. But one of the most shocking texts came through my phone at about 1:20pm. "Shooting at New Life-we are OK." At first, I thought it wasn't true, and someone was just playing a prank. But then the texts and phone calls started coming in. The rest of the day has been spent tracking down all of our friends and "family" from New Life. Everyone I know is OK and accounted for, but they have not released the names of the victims yet. We are waiting, but not idly by. We are a church of prayer. So we have been praying.

We have been praying for the victims, the church, the families, the leadership of the church, and the gunman's family. We have been praying for forgiveness, peace, strength, healing, and power.

Needless to say, within the past year and 2 months I have experienced 2 days of overwhelming tragedy, confusion, and pain. But, we know that God is faithful. God is good. When everything is OK we will Praise Him. When tragedy strikes we will Praise Him. Please keep New Life Church in your thoughts and prayers.

Tonight I was again reminded why I am so thankful for New Life Church. Tonight all over this city, in homes of our members, people were getting together to pray, process, and just support one another. I am thankful for this family of believers that I love so dearly.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Thankful Thursday

As we are drawing close to the end of our life here in Colorado Springs, I am able to reflect upon how thankful I am for my life here.

I am so incredibly thankful for our church, New Life Church. Our lives have been devoted to serving and being a part of the community of New Life, especially our "old SATURDAYNIGHT crowd". I have grown in God through this church like I never imagined or dreamed. I have met and married my husband and we have had our 1st baby all here at New Life. We have grown in leadership and in the calling that God has on our lives. Without New Life Church, I would be so lost.

I'm so grateful for everyone I've met here in Colorado Springs. I have such amazing friends here who are lifelong friends. I'm sure I'll still know and keep in touch with them when I'm 75. :) I've loved meeting people who share in our love and passion for people and ministry. God has orchestrated so many amazing people to come alongside us and be our friends. Of course a lot of people have moved on, but we know that God has brought them into our lives for a purpose.

The past 7 years here in the Springs, have transformed my life in absolutely amazing ways. I am so thankful for all of my experiences here, how I've grown, and for all of the people I have met.

Christmas Picture

Here is the Christmas picture we sent out this year. It was an interesting day trying to get the kids to cooperate. We took pictures at our friends, the Chu's house, and their little girl Naomi was being distracted by Camden, and Camden was being distracted by Naomi, so we had to separate them during pictures. :) The pics turned out fairly well though. As Melissa said, it only takes one. I was just really hoping and praying that Camden wouldn't think it would be fun to scratch his face up, or get a big black and blue mark on his face the day before pictures. This was probably the one time during his 9 months that he doesn't have a mark on his face.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Bye-Bye Baby Furniture

If you've read the last post, you know we're getting rid of pretty much EVERYTHING! We're only keeping what we can fit into suitcases and maybe mailing a few boxes to Brazil. So, I've been letting go. One thing that was a little bit harder to let go of was Camden's baby furniture. I really wanted to take it, but I know that we'll find great stuff down in Brazil. Maybe it was the protective mommy in me, trying to keep something that would be familiar to Camden. But, as with many other things, I need to let his crib, changing table, dresser, and rocker go.

Can I just tell you I love Craigslist? We've sold 2 cars and now, the baby furniture on it. (Except the crib, that my friend Terra emailed me about just after I had posted to sell it on craigslist. Good timing Terra!) It's a great resource for any city. When we sold Renato's Jeep, we sold it within a couple of hours! Anyway, I just wanted to show you a few pics of Camden's furniture and room when we were in our house. I loved his room! It was hard to let go of that room, because we had just finished it in January and had to sell the house in July. At least we enjoyed it for a few months! These pics were taken about 2 weeks before Camden arrived.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Grace in Letting Go

2 Corinthians 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you.

We're about a month and a 1/2 away from moving to Brazil. As we come closer and closer to the departure date, God continues to grant me grace beyond measure.

When we 1st felt called to move, my 1st question was, "So are we going to ship ALL of our stuff?", hoping that I could just relocate EVERYTHING in our home. Well, we looked into that, got the quotes, and knew immediately it would be impossible. In the process of selling our home to a friend of ours, we decided mutually that we would sell it with the furniture. Great! Now we don't have to ship the furniture. Well, I knew I still needed to go through the whole house and have a MAJOR garage sale and get rid of everything we didn't need. So I did just that. It was hard selling our treasures. Most everything was brand new, and, or, wedding gifts. So it was a little difficult, but I really felt God's grace upon me to let it all go. (even some great things I didn't even use yet!) Friends of mine kept telling me that what I was doing was so great and honorable, and that they could never do it. I never felt honorable, I just felt like I was following the will of God.

So we sold the house and moved into a 2 bedroom apartment. We had to downsize, but I still had lots of boxes packed to ship directly to Brazil. Even though it was WAY too expensive to ship the whole house, we sold the big furniture and downsized so we thought we'd still ship all of our boxes of household things and Camden's baby furniture and baby gear. SO, we got a quote on our downsized shipment. We were blown away! Even though we cut our shipment down to a 1/3 of what it was, it was still VERY expensive, and didn't cut the price that much.

Well, that means we have to downsize some more. OK. No problem. We just won't take Camden's furniture and a few other larger items. Let's get another quote on about 1,500 lbs. (which is nothing compared to what we started with.) As you can guess. Still too much.

So this past Monday, we've decided to pretty much get rid of EVERYTHING and just move with suitcases. We'll buy everything new when we get there. And the amazing part of all of this, is that I'm not even freaking out about it. I've felt that God's Grace has been on me more and more with each downsize. Even the things I thought I could never leave behind and that I NEEDED when we 1st started this process, don't even mean much to me anymore.

I've always loved the illustration of not holding anything too tightly in the palm of your hand, except Jesus. Always be willing to let go and let God. This has been very difficult for me. I've held plenty of things so tightly my world revolves around them instead of God. It's seems God is teaching me about letting go through this whole process. The grace I've felt through this has been amazing. A year ago, if you'd have told me I'd sell all of my possessions and move to another country with just a few suitcases, I would have never have believed it. Now here I am. Wow! I've never felt so much peace and grace working in my life.

Have you ever learned this lesson of letting go and letting God? I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Christmas Cards, Christmas Cards, and more Christmas Cards

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! I'm sort of sad because this year we won't be able to decorate for Christmas. We'll only be in our apartment for about 3 more weeks, then we'll be in ND for 2 weeks, then back in C/S staying with friends until our departure date, Jan. 17th.

But, that doesn't mean I can't send christmas cards! Since we are raising our support for Brazil, we decided that our last letter would be sent in our x-mas card with a family photo. So that means that I have just a few cards to means I have over 200 cards to send!!!! And of course, I can't just send a card with our names signed, no way! I need to write in each one, because Words of Encouragement is my primary love language. (Read 5 Love Languages if you don't know what I'm talking about.) So..........I have been writing out over 200 christmas cards the past few days. YES, my hand is a little sore. :)

This got me to thinking..........are Christmas cards going out of style? Now there are so many ways to send greetings, E-cards, Emails, Family Letters, Photo cards, etc. The past few years, we've sent photo cards. And I personally love getting photos from friends and family. My fridge is covered and I love it! Anyway, what is your preferred greeting of choice? What are you sending out this year? Do you even bother to keep in touch? What do you like to receive the best? How do you display your cards/photos?

Monday, November 12, 2007

First Steps

Well, our little guy has decided that it's time for him to start walking. Let me just remind you that he is only 8 mo. old (almost 9 mo.). So needless to say, we're a little surprised. He's been "cruising" around the furniture for about 2 mo. now, so we knew it would only be a matter of time till he ventured on his own. He's only been able to take 2 steps at the most before falling, but hey, it still counts!! I'm a little scared because he's been into EVERYTHING for 2 months now, so I can't imagine how much more crazy it'll be. I was also hoping that he'd wait until we got to Brazil to walk, just because we're on an airplane for 10 hours or so. It's just a lot easier to contain a baby when they are not walking yet. So it could be an interesting trip. :) Anyway, check out Camden's website and some new pictures.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

International Driving License

It's now official. I can drive anywhere I want to, thanks to AAA and their very cheap and convenient international/inter-american driving licenses. And actually, since Brazil is in the "America's" we had to get "Inter-American" licenses, not quite international ones. But still, I can drive anywhere in the America's that I want. :)

Even though I'm quite excited about this, there is part of me that is very scared. Scared because I know what the driving is like in Brazil. (Although I must say, it's much better then India. India is absolutely ridiculous.) Brazil is just full of very "over-excited" drivers. And speed bumps every 100 yards or so. (I'll probably take pictures and post some of all the ridiculous speed bumps when we get to Brazil. It's just something you have to get used to.) AND much to my chagrin, 99% of the vehicles have manual transmissions...........that means they are "stick-shift" vehicles. And that right there is enough to not make me want to drive.


I admit, it is very embarrassing for a girl who grew up on a farm in ND to not know how to drive a stick. It's not so much I don't know how, I do. BUT I've never become proficient at this skill. I successfully have talked my dad into buying only automatics since I learned how to drive. I know............shameful. I've never driven a vehicle more then a few hours at a time, once every 4 years or so that is stick. SO, this means I need to learn. (Since my husband has absolutely NO intention of letting me off the hook and buying an automatic.) Maybe learning to become proficient at driving a stick will fall into the same category as learning how to speak Portuguese. I'LL LEARN WHEN I GET THERE. :)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Go Air Force!!

The best way to spend a sunny fall afternoon is at an Air Force Football game. We are lucky here in the Springs, to have the Air Force Academy in our back yard, so that means lots of excitement in many different sports. My personal favorite is football. Just because there is no other college football game that you go to with F-16 fly-overs and people parachuting out of airplanes to land on the 50 yard line. It is just all around great entertainment. Renato had never been to an air force football game before and that is something everyone in the Springs should experience, especially since we're leaving the country and maybe won't have another chance to see one while we're living here.
When I first moved here, I guess you could say I was a little obsessed with Air Force Football. To a young single girl (who was a big football fan) from North Dakota, there was just nothing better then going to football game that had lots of men in uniform all around you. :) Just ask my friend Beth. We had lots of good times at those games. :) Anyway, now that I'm married, the football game, fly-overs, and parachuters were more then enough entertainment. And I was glad to share it with my husband. We had a great time, and the Air Force went on to beat Army 30-10. GO AIR FORCE!!!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Brazilian Life???

So how does a farm girl from North Dakota end up living in Brazil?? I can only say, by God's will. As my friend Rachel says, "It's just not natural for you, a farm girl from ND, to marry a man from Brazil, then move there. It's just not natural." :)

It all started on a crispy fall day in October, when Renato and I met. Let's just say we both knew quickly that we were meant to be. :) Within a year we were married and had bought a house and were planning our life together ministering in the Springs. Well, God had other plans. We started our own ministry, traveling to other countries and ministering to local churches to teach and form relationships with those churches. Renato went to Brazil to minister and came back, knowing that God was moving. So we prayed a lot and knew it was God's time to move to Brazil.

We're headed out Jan. 17th. We'll be staying with Renato's parents until we find a place of our own. Our main goal is to travel within Brazil and get to know the local churches. We'll also be doing as much as we can to reach out to the city we're living in. And of course we'll be opening our home for lots of fellowship. Eventually we'd like to start a home church and see where God takes us from there.

So we've got lots of excitement and adventure ahead of us. Now we're just trying to figure out all the details in moving to another country. Do any of you have any idea how expensive it is to hire a moving company to move you to Brazil? Let me just say, it's not cheap. So we're trying to explore all our options.

Anyway, that's an update from where we are, 2 and 1/2 months from the big day. :)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

All Things Pumpkin Party

Camden, Gordon, Renato, and Corey
Jody, Sharon, Darcy, Camden, Me
Yummy pumpkin goodies!!
The Hosts Debbie and Randy

Our friends, Randy and Debbie, hosted the 3rd Annual All Things Pumpkin Party. It is always a good time with friends, but the best part is the vast array of amazing pumpkin dishes. Everyone is required to bring a homemade pumpkin dish. I know lots of people who keep their eyes open all year long for a new recipe. This year was by far the best. There were 3 tables full of different pumpkin dishes. Some of the variety this year was, Thai Pumpkin Soup, Pumpkin Stew, Pumpkin Soup in a pumpkin shell, Pumpkin Strata, and LOTS of different pumpkin desserts. Here is the pumpkin soup I made this year. It was really easy and very yummy! I've never seen anything like it before, so I thought I'd try it out. All I can say is YUM!!!

Holiday Chilled Cranberry Pumpkin Soup
2 cups Ginger 'Ale
1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar
2/3 cup Canned Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
2 cups Canned pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp Salt
1 and 1/2 cups Half-and-half or Light Cream
Garnish: Sour Cream and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

In a medium saucepan, heat ginger ale until it begins to simmer. Stir in brown sugar until dissolved. Stir in cranberry sauce. Add pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. Stir in half-and-half. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Spoon out into 4 bowls. Top each with a tablespoon of sour cream, and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

No, No, No

Since Camden has become mobile the last month, it seems most of our spoken vocabulary to him lately has been......... "No!" "No, no Camden." "No Camden." "Don't Touch." I know we have a lot more of this coming our way, but it's very difficult teaching boundaries to babies because they really don't understand. Even though I must say, Camden knows the things he's not supposed to touch, but temptation is just too great sometimes. :) I guess mama and daddy are learning just as much as Camden right now. I do love how curious babies are though. They have to try out everything to see how it works, and that's a part of the learning process. So pray for patience for us and wisdom as we begin the stages of boundaries. :)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Look at that face!!

Here is a cute pic of Camden. He is now 8 months old. He has 4 teeth and can crawl and walk around the furniture. (Mom isn't ready for him to walk on his own yet!) His little personality is sure starting to shine. :) Being a mom is absolutely amazing. I still feel like I need to pinch myself sometimes. It's not easy all the time, but it is rewarding. Although when people ask me how it's going and comment on how hard being a mom is, I don't agree with them. I was a teacher for 8 years before I had a baby and decided to stay home. Taking care of 1 baby is MUCH easier then teaching a classroom full of 23 1st graders. I'm sure my outlook will change when I have more children, but just having one now, I must say, is a wonderful job. :)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

3 Months and Counting

In less than 3 months, my family and I will be in Brazil. Right now we have sold most of our possessions, and are living in a small apartment with a 6 month lease. All I can say is that God moves fast when you are willing to say "yes" to His calling. I must say, it was very exciting to buy our One-Way Tickets to Brazil! Our "go-date" is January 17Th.

I intend to use this blog to keep everyone updated and posted on our preparations for Brazil, then to keep connected once we are there. So stop by whenever you can, and I'll try to do my best at keeping this up to date. I'm excited to have found a great way to keep in touch. So stay tuned for future posts about my life in transition. :)