Free Falling

I had started this post weeks ago, but didn't want to publish it because I was afraid of what people would think if they knew the truth about how I was feeling.  At my MOPS convention last week, the speaker in my room shared her story of this very same feeling. Her honesty was beautiful, and it reminded me to be authentic to the process God is walking me through. Thank you, Jesus, for the confirmation that being honest about this journey can be used to glorify you! So be warned, this blog can be my place to share the whole journey our family is on, not just the joys. I believe when you are a fully committed follower, your life is going to have more challenges than most. God cares more about our character than our comfort...this side of Heaven!

Falling is a tangible feeling others can understand and the only way I know how to explain what the past few months have felt like. It's not bad or good, it just is. I suppose it mostly represents the fact then when you are falling, you have absolutely no control over that circumstance. The only thing you can control is your mind and how you will respond once you land. Some days my falling has been frantic, and I grasp for anything within reach to cling to. I ask the Lord to end this period of my life where I am required to blindly obey as he calls us through valley after valley. Marriage, finances, friendships...all have seemed to fall short of what I needed in the past few months. Most days we don't have enough money to get both gas and groceries, so we have to choose. Friends from back home aren't reaching out like I thought they would. And Kenny and I only have each other right now, which has brought some of our flaws to the surface! I struggle with contentment as I hear from church friends back home in MN, read updates on Facebook, and browse pinboards on Pinterest.  Why has God called us to a life that is so drastically different than theirs?

But then there are the days when my falling is full of grace. I look at my children and see the joy in their eyes and the love they have for the Lord despite our sometimes scary circumstances. They don't complain when there isn't money for the zoo or their favorite snack in the cupboard. They offer to help pay the bills with change they find in their many bags. And they encourage us to love when Kenny and I aren't doing a good job of loving each other. That is the attitude I need to work on. And I suppose until I get that right, this falling feeling will continue. Don't you just love it when God uses our children to teach us to be like Jesus!

So there is some brutal honesty about my heart and what this journey has felt like from my perspective! And I have to wonder if the Facebook posts and Pinterest Pinboards are really an authentic reflection of other people's hearts...maybe they haven't been given the same freedom I recently stumbled upon to share how hard this walk can sometimes be!

Now for some factual information:

We rented a house! It quite literally was picked out for us by the Man in charge of this transition (no, not my husband!) That last week in the hotel was such a difficult experience that Kenny and I cried out to God and committed to renting the first home available to us whether we liked it or not. That was not an easy prayer for us, don't let me fool you! Another lesson in giving up control and letting God direct our footsteps. The next day our application was accepted on a house just a few miles from the hotel. For the third time in the past few months, I walked into a home we had signed a lease on without seeing it first. So thankful my husband is good at reading my mind about what I desire in a house! We have a kitchen that was made for our dinner table, the one piece of furniture I just couldn't part with when we moved! We have a space we converted into the Homeschool room, and I think it is currently my favorite place in the whole world! The kids are loving their castle bedroom, with a triple bunk bed hand built by their daddy! And there is even an extra bedroom...ready and waiting for you to come visit!!!

The kids are so excited for activities to start next month. Kenzi was accepted into the American Heritage Girls program, and we found two homeschool groups in our area. As members, we get to participate in the incredible field trips and special classes...and of course the Mom's Night Out to encourage the mamas!!! We are hoping to have the finances to let the girls each pick one sport, and right now the winning sport is gymnastics! I'm pretty sure the Olympics had an influence on that choice. Nastia Luikin's training gym is just a few miles from our house...maybe we have a future Olympian in the ranks??

Kenny's job has been a huge challenge for our family. He works 10 hour days 6 days a week...on black roofs in the Texas summer. I have had to find creative ways to survive the day on my own, and I have to say I have an incredible respect for single moms. This job is hard! We are looking forward to some possible career changes in the near future.

The Lord is showing us like never before how little we need to survive. I have never been so poor in my life, and I have never felt so blessed. I love the simplicity of our current season and all of the time that has been given back to me. I am in a season where my family is my ministry. Kenny and I are involved in the marriage ministry at our church and are both looking forward to getting a community group! Some accountability can be a powerful thing! I am grateful for the godly women that have reached out to me here, the patience of my children as I learn to be a better mom, and my hard working husband in a difficult field. It certainly hasn't been a pretty transition, But I have learned that the more I lean on Jesus in all of this, the more I learn of His faithfulness.

Our future is a question mark right now...but I am being trasformed into the mighty leader God desires me to be!

Judges 6-7
Psalm 84:5-7


3 weeks in Paradise

That’s what I thought the last 3 weeks would be. That’s what I expected anyways. And while I’ve never actually been to Paradise to compare, I don’t think this counts! I should probably back up and fill in some of the holes since my last post…

Disclaimer: I want to warn you that there will be a lot of Jesus in this story. I know that makes some people uncomfortable, possibly even annoyed. There are lot’s of ways I could share about this transition without mentioning “God stuff”, but it wouldn’t be real. Jesus is our life, and the reason we even have this life. And the least we can do is give Him the credit. I don’t want to be afraid to be effective for Christ! To those who don’t believe in God, life on earth is all there is, and it’s natural to strive for this world’s values- money, popularity, power, and pleasure.(NIV teaching notes, Phil 1:20) I want to be radically different, and see life from an eternal perspective. I want my purpose to be speaking boldly about the God that changed my life! I will never force my views on any of you, and I will do my best to share our journey with humility. I will also consider it a privilege to suffer for Christ as long as I can faithfully represent the Gospel. You don’t have to read the stories I share on our family blog, but I do encourage you to read the greatest book ever written and one I will reference often, the B. I. B. L. E. :)  I have so much to work on as I strive to be more like Christ, and I will write about those things in the days to come. I’m not better or holy-er or wiser than anyone else with breath in their lungs, but I am forgiven, and that make’s this life a lot easier to walk!

So…I encourage you to continue reading only if you want to hear about this journey from an eternal perspective And maybe, just maybe, think about checking out a church this Sunday! You don’t have to commit to anything, just sit and listen. And then tell me about your experience!


After returning home from our crazy, unplanned, “faith-trip/road-trip/homeschool adventure” things just weren’t the same. We knew within a day that we had not experienced the last of Texas. I think part of me was hoping that our short visit there was all God was calling us to. But the other part of me knew He was calling us to a lot more commitment than that. We wrestled with what that actually was as Kenny’s first day of work grew closer. While on our trip, Kenny had accepted a position that would require us to live in Chicago for 6 weeks and then California for another few weeks while he trained. We were both excited about the idea of extending our adventure and I could totally see our family living in the wonderful 2 bedroom suites Kenny was told we would stay in during training. But things started to get a bit confusing just a week before the move, and there were many last minute curveballs about the job that made Kenny very uncomfortable. One of the issues was quite funny as I look back, but at the time I was shocked that they had changed the hotel room on us and actually expected me to raise our 4 young kids in a very small hotel room in the bad part of town. Funny because I have been raising our 4 young kids in a very small hotel room in the bad part of town :)  God has such a sense of humor. But there were much more serious issues that came up in those last few days and Kenny took some time to discern if he was making the right choice with this company. After conversations with wise people in his life and seeking the Lord’s advice, it was made clear that this was not the path most desired for us by our Maker. And that weekend at the MN Homeschool conference, we received confirmation after confirmation that we were to walk away from the MN job and pick up and move to Texas. What??? Kenny asked for 3 days of prayer before sharing with the people in our life, it was clear that this was not a time to make quick decisions.

And three days later, we started preparing for the move to Texas! It was a difficult season to go through, some dear friends found out because of circumstances out of our control, while others just didn’t understand. We knew we were doing what was right, but it was hard to explain that to the people around us. And after three weeks in Texas, it’s still hard to explain! It’s been like one of those movies you see that takes so many unexpected turns you don’t fully understand the plot until the final minutes. And each time you watch the movie over, you pick up on details you missed the first 5 times. I don’t know exactly how to share what God has taken us through since Kenny made the decision to move our family to Texas, I just know I am so glad I have been working on Godly submission, or I would have missed it all!

My memory is terrible so I can’t recall most of my childhood, but I don’t believe I have ever lived the way we are living now. What we hoped would be an easy (considering the circumstances) transition to Texas has turned out to be the biggest “turn your tables upside down” experience of our marriage. We imagined it would take a day or two to find a house to rent using Craigslist, and I had pictured us planting flowers in our new garden (yeah right :)) within a week! Well, it turns out that people don’t use Craigslist here like we do back home and the only way you can find a house for rent is by literally stumbling upon it. After a week of this craziness we decided to try apartment complexes. We had found a place that wasn’t exactly ideal, but it was a place so it felt good enough. Hours before signing the lease, we learned that there is a law in Texas regarding how many people can occupy an apartment. Maybe this is a law in MN too, but I’ve never heard of it. The rule is 2 people per bedroom. The apartment we were looking at was a 2 bedroom. Do the math…we would have to get rid of two kids! We didn’t want to break any rules, and we desperately desire to grow our family if that is what the Lord has planned (and we truly believe it is!) so we knew that an apartment wouldn’t work for our family. Kenny started training with his boss during the day and at night we would pile into the van with a movie for the kids and drive around the city looking for the “For Rent” signs mixed in with all of the campaign signs…lovely timing! After the first few houses fell through we learned that we were competing with a HUGE rental market and we didn’t have to wonder why we never got picked. 4 kids + dog = No Thank You. So if you are counting, that’s three very long weeks. It has stretched me as a mother like nothing else can. I was recently a full time working mom with a very social life, and I am now much like a single mom with no one to meet for a burger. That sounds really lame, but I really like burgers with my girlfriends!!

Sometimes it’s too much for me to handle, and I am quickly reminded by the Holy Spirit (Jesus talk again…it basically means God whispering in my heart) that I need to continue to count my blessings and seek the hidden treasures throughout my days. So here are some hidden treasures I have found in this mess:

• The librarians know my kids by name since we go there almost every day! It’s free. And it’s air conditioned. And you should see the way one of the librarians’ face lights up when Mackenzi walks up to the desk!

• I have already figured out which parks are awesome and which ones are not. That took me years to figure out back home!

• I made a friend! And someday I will tell her how her boldness affected my life.

• Indoor McDonald’s playlands are not all the same so it’s like a new adventure every time. And they are everywhere. And you can play in them if you just spend a dollar on some milk.

• The swimming pool (at our small hotel in the bad part of town) is always freezing, even on the hottest days! That one is a treasure for my kids, not me. I don’t understand, but they don’t seem to notice the ridiculous temperature.

• I have a reason to learn Spanish! I always thought learning one extra language was enough (in my case, it was German), but now I have a desire to learn Spanish too! My sister would be so proud! I have moments of desperation sitting at the park as a group of moms are all talking and laughing nearby. The only problem is that it’s all in Spanish.

• I get to use my creative side again! 6 people living in a hotel room can become quite chaotic. After a trip to the local dollar store, I was able to get crafty with hooks and bins! I’m sure the maids laugh when they open the shower curtain and find my makeshift closet, or move the table and find our homeschool classroom.

• I’ve been given the freedom to focus on my children and the Lord! I can’t believe I’m actually able to see it as a blessing now, but for the past month my phone hasn’t been working. I stopped getting voicemails months ago, but in the past few weeks phone calls and texts didn’t come through either. Amazing how God can fill your time once He has your undivided attention!

• I’m outgrowing my old comfort zone! We are definitely a minority in this area and at first it was shocking. Dallas is NOTHING like Chaska! The other day I got to spend time with a non-caucasian (I apologize, I really have no idea what race he was) homeless man as he helped me with the van. Kenny was at work and I had no idea what I was doing with the tire. He asked if he could help, and I got to ask if he knew the Gospel! It was a wonderful experience that I don’t think I would have handled well a few months ago.

• I’m starting to understand the importance of Sabbath! If I had moved into a house shortly after arriving, I would have spent the past few weeks getting plugged into a hundred activities before they ended for the summer. But if I had done that, I wouldn’t be ready for God to use me. My batteries would have been run dry and I would have been too tired, or too busy for God to use me in the ways He had planned. I have learned that sometimes God will say no to good things so that He can say yes to greater things!

I know there are many more, some I have recognized and some I didn’t even see. And while I don’t have a lovely story to share about how we moved here and found a wonderful house right away and everything is all roses, I do have a story that God will use someday when it’s ready to be shared. Whether it’s in a marriage ministry or a first generation believer conference, I know He will show me how to use this for Kingdom work!

Our Pastor at church shared some quotes from a man named David Livingston during this mornings message. I found one that seems to reflect my current prayers perfectly:

“God, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. And sever any tie in my heart except the tie that binds my heart to Yours.”
― David Livingstone


Days 10-15

So I totally had myself convinced that I would have tons of down time on this roadtrip. I brought a bucket of books, devo's, and bible studies to do in all my free time. Hah! I was not prepared for the amount of work it would be to take all the little ones half way across thr country. I have loved the work, every single second of it, just sayin I thought I might even get bored.  NOT the case in Texas! So that's my sorry excuse for not blogging more. Sorry!

Back when we first started the planning of this trip, we decided we would let our older two have some input. We gave them some ideas of things we could explore along the way and they each got to pick out a few places on their own. Mackenzi picked Sea World! The girls spent hours watching the live feed of the animals in their tanks on the Sea World website before we left home. So when we finally pulled up to the real Sea World, you can imagine the look on Kenzi's face!! It was greater than I had imagined and the opportunities to teach our children were everywhere. I am so glad that she chose Sea World.

The last few days have been spent in Dallas with our friend Joe and his community group. They are amazing men that have been so helpful and kind. They even gave us a surprise date night! They made delicious homemade pizza then sent us to the Shane and Shane concert at Watermark. I was a little worried that they didn't know what they were getting themselves into as we walked out the door, but I felt a little peace knowing there were more guys than kids. Just a little peace :)

The concert was amazing, emotional, and powerful. One of their songs is about the story of the 3 men that were asked to walk into a fire for their faith (the same story I referenced last week). Everytime I hear that story I ask myself how far I'd be willing to go for God. Would I be bold? Would I do something that would go against what everyone else is doing? Even those in my christian circle? Would I be willing to take the narrow road? The answer better be yes. And to be certain that my answer will always be yes I must spend time getting to know my God and His promises. I'd be willing to do most anything for my closest girlfriends, and I'm guessing if God was in my inner circle along with the girls I'd be more confident in saying I'd do anything for him too.

Texas has been such a blessing for our family. We have been able to spend time with each other in ways that wouldn't otherwise be possible. Kenny and I have had moments at Watermark that will forever change our marriage. We have an action plan, and we have a faithful God! As our final days in Dallas are spent at the nature preserve and Watermark, we look forward to finishing the journey we started 2 weeks ago. Our next stop will be in Missouri where we will have an opportunity to meet with a special family that has touched my heart and caught my attention. We leave Dallas tomorrow knowing that we would be perfectly content living in Texas. There are a few job opportunities here that Kenny is pursuing, but no decision has been made yet. Just the decision that as a submissive wife, I am perfectly at peace with whatever the head of our household decides! I have come a long way :)

Part 1...they had no idea what was comin!

Part 2...OH NO!



The Alamo

Shane and Shane

Watermark Church

Our favorite place in Texas!

We passed 2000 miles!

Gattitown...wish we would have discovered this sooner!

Just too cute


Day 9

Lots of drivin today as we went south to San Antonio! Stopped by the capitol in Austin for a quick homeschool lesson then just had to find the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue for my obsessed husband. We got directions from someone on the street, it was kind of like we were on Amazing Race!

We pulled into San Antonio and ventured around the city until we found the River Walk. Wow. Was that amazing! Kenny and I have added it to our bucket list as a place to visit again...without children :) Anyone wanna come with us?!

Kenny worked his "salesman magic" and got the whole family into the Timberwolves game for $20. He is so good at that. We haven't paid full price for anything on this trip. Gotta love Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace"!

I LOVE Texas :)


Days 5-8

The last few days have been filled with unexpected adventure! We have had some amazing conversations with people in Dallas and are falling in love with the city. One of the greatest places here is Watermark Community Church. Watermark Site We have been able to experience a new class every day, all of them filled with incredible and inspiring messages.
Sunday’s message was given by a pastor clearly gifted in speaking and communicating.

He started in Galatians and asked us if we served men or God? Do we serve ourselves and fall claim to pride? Do we serve idols like alcohol or money? Or do we choose to serve God and ignore the earthly ways of those around us? He challenged us to live by this statement:

“I’m going to live according to the faith I say I have.”

If faith is such a good thing, then why are so many afraid to use it? Why do we hide it away for another day? I find that I often try to organize my life in a way so that I don’t need to use my faith. That’s silly. It’s illegal to worship in 52 countries. I live in a place where I can worship any time I want. So why don’t I do it more often?
He finished the message with the story in Daniel. Three men were being challenged in their faith and were thrown into a fire. Do you know these three men? They leaned into God, trusting that they would walk away untouched by the flames. And they did. Their faith was real. And they used it.
Monday we got to attend a ministry called regeneration- "re:generation recovery puts Christ at the center of all healing and relies solely on God’s word as its authority and counsel. We are an authentic community of Christ-followers, relentless in helping each other experience intimacy with the LORD, and are committed to glorifying our LORD through regenerated lives. At some level, we all experience brokenness. At re:generation, we believe that people can experience growth and new life by working through the healing path God has given us in the Bible. The mission of this biblically-based 12-step program is to call all people to be fully devoted followers of Christ. Our experience and prayer is that you will find healing."

There were many in the room that were suffering from circumstances far greater than my own, it was encouraging to worship together. The message was focused on #11 of the Believer’s 12 Steps. They spoke of how so many want to really feel God, and one of the best ways to do that is to suffer for Him. Not to choose to suffer, but in suffering, glorify Him. One of my favorite parts of the message was this:
God doesn’t save us from trouble. He sees us through it and uses it.
The next evening we went to The Porch, a young adults ministry led by Pastor JP, the same man who gave the message on Sunday. I was so excited to spend another night learning from him! He shared a story of a member wanting to start a ministry. The pastor asked him if he was currently living with his girlfriend, and when he responded yes, the pastor asked him to spend some more time in his Word before asking to start a ministry. I was blown away by his boldness, and I loved it. I want a pastor like that. A pastor that isn’t afraid to enforce guidelines given to us in the Bible. His story opened my eyes to my own circumstance. I am overflowing with ideas of how to serve the people around me. Kenny and I have recently been talking about some major life changes that would allow us to start a few ministries in our own home. But just because it is the desire of our hearts to do these things (adoption, foster care, missions) doesn’t mean that God is going to open those doors right now. He may need us to work on some things first. And that is a very difficult thing to admit! So…we turn our timing over to Him and commit to these 3 things while we wait:
1) Spend time in his Word- daily quiet time is great but the most important thing is learning the stories in the Bible. There is an amazing year long camp that helps you do this that we are praying about. What an incredible experience that would be!

2) Start your day in prayer and end your day in prayer- A dear friend gave us the book "How to Develop a Powerful Prayer Life" by Dr. Gregory Frizzell before leaving on this trip. It has been a wonderful resource and I highly recommend it.

3) Form close relationships with other believers- We are both going to seek out specific accountability partners as well as a mentor to help us grow and start dealing with the sin in our lives.

The last few days have been exactly what we needed. Tough conversations with each other, honesty and teachable moments with our children, and intentional time with godly people who have been willing to walk in this journey with us. My heart is heavy with desire for the life God has planned for our family, and I am so excited to see all of the dots connecting here in Texas. It’s going to take some difficult and humbling work, but we will get there, and we will have unspeakable joy!


Day 4

We made it! It was a huge sense of accomplishment to see the "Welcome to Texas" sign! We managed to arrive safely, under budget, with all of our children(that's not that easy when you have 4), and nearly no meltdowns. Hello Texas!

We stopped at an Outlet Mall just inside the border. Apparently outlet mall's are popluar here, there are at least 7 in the city of Dallas. The kids got out to play and stretch their legs which we have found is the key to long distance roadtrips. We tried to stop every 2-3 hours at a playground and that seemed to be just what they needed.

The outlet we had stopped at was mostly empty and pretty run down. As we were leaving, Kenzi announced "Mom, I don't think Texas is that great." Oh my child, Texas is much larger than this little outlet, I assure you!

We loaded into the car one last time before arriving at our friend's house not too far away. Tori fell asleep (they ALWAYS fall asleep right before you get to your destination, what's up with that??) and Selah was bored. Until she disovered Toria's hair lying dangerously within reach of her sticky little fingers. And that is why we found clumps of hair all over Selah's car seat when we got out.

We made it Texas. We followed your calling. Now what, God?
Eyes wide open...


Day 3

Today was a great day. A fantastic day. I loved today! We packed up early and went to a local museum in Wichita called “Old Cowtown.” One of the reasons we love homeschooling is that our kids can do more hands-on experiences like this one. Check it out  Old Cowtown Museum

We toured the town for hours, of course having to go into EVERY building. The kids got to check out the old schoolhouse, run through the rooms of 200 year old houses, see where they stored their animals, and probably Kenzi’s favorite, dance in the saloon. It was so wonderful to watch them soak in all the information as we read the plaques outside each building. It’s important to Kenny and I to teach our kids about how other people have lived, and even still live today. We want them to know a different way of life so that they can truly value theirs.

We knew it was time to hop back in the car when we found Graham takin a nap on the post office porch! We stopped in the store for a few Honey Sticks (remember those?!) and continued the drive South towards Oklahoma City. Once there, we went straight to the Oklahoma Memorial for another homeschool lesson!

The kids found the platform where you can leave chalk notes about the people who died in this terrible tragedy. Selah mostly ate the chalk, Graham mostly threw the chalk, but the girls left sweet messages about Jesus. And Mackenzi’s American Girl doll, Rebecca…I didn’t ask.

We found the chair that represented the little girl I learned about in school shortly after the bombing. Her name was Baylee, and I was given her name by my teacher to pray for. I don’t remember my teacher being a believer, nor did I go to a school that was very supportive of Christian faith. So strange to have this memory. But I remember thinking about Baylee often, and I never forgot her picture. The girls had a lot of questions about what had happened, and it was a priceless teachable moment.


Everyone was hungry, so we decided to stop for dinner somewhere with a playland. We are really trying to avoid McDonalds and Wendy’s on this trip, so when we found Chic Fil A, Kenny was thrilled. I, however, was not. I don’t like chicken. Did you know that Chic Fil A only serves chicken??? Seriously. I enjoyed an old granola bar I found smashed in the bottom of the diaper bag while the rest of the family ate their chicken.

Hotel Homeschool!

We found a cheap hotel (we quickly learned why) and settled in for the night. The girls worked on their homeschool lessons with dad while I sat down to read a book a friend had lent me before leaving. I had never heard of it, but she said I HAD to read it. And I totally trust her, she is a very dear Christian friend who keeps me accountable in so many ways. So I started reading, and didn’t stop til I had finished it. Yes, it was one of those books! The Cross and the Switchblade…about a man who felt God telling him to go to NYC, but he didn’t know why. Sound familiar?!?! Haha! Kenny and I laughed as I read some of the story to him. What an awesome motivator for this crazy trip of ours. The man who went to NYC was the man who started Teen Challenge. Ever heard of it? Quite amazing.

Thank you Lord for this day! It was exactly what I needed.