Friday, November 28, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well the eating is over for the day, so is the visiting, music and game playing. What still remains is a very thankful heart! God has blessed us so very much - there is no way I can thank Him for everything. Today at the nursing home my Mother-in-law and I sang "My Tribute" by Andrae Crouch and the words in it are really fitting to how I feel. It starts: "How can I say thanks for all the things You have done for me? Things so undeserved yet You gave to prove Your love for me. The voices of a million angels could not express my gratitude......." Here is a Gaither recording of it if you want to hear the song.

  Try as I might I will never be able to express my gratitude. It is beyond me but that doesn't mean I am not going to try. :-)

   I thought here tonight - on Thanksgiving Day in 2014 I would share fourteen things that I am thankful for. I could list 2014 things but that might take a while and it would be pretty long to read. I did list over that amount this year so far in my Thanksgiving section of my prayer journal.

My dad and brothers singing a song of Thankfulness in church on Sunday.
Here is my list:

  1. A Heavenly Father who loves me and has provided for my salvation through His son Jesus Christ. There is no greater gift.
  2. A wonderful family. A loving husband, 4 wonderful children to enjoy and laugh with and love, parents, in-laws, siblings and their families and the list goes on and on. Family is wonderful!
  3. The Church - the body of Christ. I am so thankful to get to be a part of it.
  4. God's word. Instructions for life that never go out of date.
  5. A warm home to live in. (After living in a chilly garage for a while this holds new meaning)
  6. Music. Music is a wonderful part of our life. Something we can use to worship our Lord, something that our family and friends can enjoy together. We have found it to be a tool to bring sunshine into other's lives which then also brings sunshine into ours.
  7. An indoor flushing toilet. After 3 months of outhouse use - we got a toilet on Monday and we are pretty excited! Our temperatures today were generally below zero and so that made us especially thankful for getting to stay indoors for this.
  8. Written Words. We sure love books and we also have been enjoying writing too. I love seeing my children write. It is exciting how they might be able to use their writing to spread God's good news.
  9. Work. I am thankful that God has given us purpose here on Earth. I enjoy being able to use my energy and work and accomplish things for Him.
  10. Water. Having our own water from our own well now is pretty exciting. 
  11. Health. We have been very blessed to be pretty healthy.
  12. Beauty. There is beauty around us all the time if we look for it. I am thankful that God choose to make things beautiful not just functional.
  13. Abundant provision of all that we need.
  14. Sleep - that is what I am looking forward to right now. Goodnight! :-)


Sunday, November 23, 2014


  For my morning devotions I was reading in Psalm chapter 50 this morning and it has a passage that really goes along with this Thanksgiving week and I would like to share it with you.

It says:

   "Hear, O My people, and I will speak;
O Israel I will testify against you;
I am God, your God.
I do not reprove you for your sacrifices,
and your burnt offerings are continually before Me.
I shall take no young bull out of your house
nor male goats out of your folds.
For every beast of the forest in Mine,
The cattle on a thousand hills.
I know every bird of the mountains,
and everything that moves in the field is Mine.
If I were hungry I would not tell you,
for the world is Mine, and all it contains.
Shall I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of male goats?
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving
and pay your vows to the Most High;
Call upon me in the day of trouble;
I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me."
Psalm 50:7-15

 Our God owns everything. What He does really want from us is our thanks. Do you do that every day? It is something that we need to remember far more often than just the 4th Thursday in November.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Out of the Dust {A book Review}

A while back I was privileged to receive and read the book "Out of the Dust" by Avis Goodhart with Marti Pieper. It is the story of an "Unlikely Missionary" - Avis.

  The book was very interesting to read. It tells about Avis' growing up years and some of the hardships she went through. She had a Father who struggled with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) from his time in the war and since he thought people were always watching them and about to get them they would move from place to place- sleeping in their car or wherever they could find a bed. As one who had a very stable childhood it is hard for me to imagine a life like that where there may not be food for the next meal or a bed for the night.

  The book also briefly touches on the sexual molestation that she had to face as a child from an uncle. That sort of thing is so hard for me to read - it just turns my stomach. I wish that no child (or anybody) ever would have to go through something like that. Avis tells of her early marriage and then also a divorce before long.

   A hard, hard life and we might wonder how God will use someone that has had to go through so much and just feels broken but what is super cool and awesome is that He can. He specializes in restoring lives and making lives brand-new.

   The book goes on to tell of Avis finding peace in God and then being able to reach out to others through teaching (special ed) and then of her desire to go to other countries to be a missionary and how God brought that about and how he was able to use her to do some pretty cool things where she went.

Our God is so good! He can work in truly amazing ways! It was very neat to read how Avis allowed God to work through her life. May you and I also be open to letting God work through us!

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Making the Most of My Time

A cool snow thing that we saw last year - we don't have this
 much snow yet this year but the accumulation has started.
"Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:15 & 16

This verse always serves to inspire me. To make me do a little pondering on my life and my actions and thinking about if I am really walking wisely and making the most of my time. Time is a precious gift and one that we will never get back again. Please join me in trying to use our time in the best way possible this week.

  Can I share God's love with others? Can I be the example to my children that God wants me to be? Can I respect and help Ken the way that God wants me to? Those are some of the ways I hope to make the most of my time this week.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

We're In!

 It's been a quiet week on this blog because we have had a lot going on. We made the move from the Garage to the House. The house is not done (still no toilets, sinks or showers - but we can get water from the pressure tank or the outside faucets) but it is warm and our garage was not. The temperature the last couple days we were in there did not manage to get out of the 40's (inside- the outside was in the single digits some of the time) which is just a little too cool for living comfortably.

   We have set up living quarters in the basement while we work to get the upstairs done. The current project for the house is mudding and taping the drywall which we have professionals doing. They said they should be done with that and ready for me to paint around Wednesday.

We also have the fireplace project moving forward. My sister and brother-in-law and their family are up from the cities and my brother-in-law is laying the stone with we ladies (my niece, my sister,  Mara and I) helping as we can while my nephew makes the mortar. It has been very fun to see this project progress.

  I would share more pictures but the computer that I usually use is still hooked up in the garage (and I just don't feel like trying to blog in frigid temperatures) and so I am using Ken's laptop and don't have pictures uploaded to it so I just have this one which I took from Ken's facebook page.
 Our fireplace is coming along

We are supposed to get our internet switched to the house on Monday and so hopefully someday soon I will be able to blog regularly again as my fingers will not feel like they are freezing. However regular blogging may have to wait until walls are painted, floors are down and we don't have company. We are excited to have Ken's parents coming to visit next week. We are hoping we will be able to get one of the upstairs rooms ready before they come (at least ready enough) and that we will have a water heater, shower and toilet!

Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Too Numerous to Count

Winter has arrived!
"Many, O Lord my God,
are the wonders which You have done,
and your thoughts toward us;
There is none to compare with You.
If I would declare and speak of them,
They would be too numerous to count."
Psalms 40:5

We have a wonderful God! I hope that you agree. He has done super abundantly amazing things in our lives. He loves us so much and provides for us each and every day. We simply cannot count all the things that He has done for us.

  Sometimes we have to have the right attitude to be able to see His gifts. We had a beautiful snowfall yesterday and though I normally like snow quite a bit I wasn't really in the right mood for appreciating this snowfall. I was trying to help Ken outside (siding our garage) and the snow was just rather cold and wet. I was filling a bit grumpy about being cold but after watching my kids for a while who were just totally enjoying the snow and marveling in it's beauty -I was able to let the Holy Spirit change my attitude and remember to appreciate this beautiful gift. It is truly beautiful too! Trips to the outhouse after dark now may be chilly (they were before too) but they are also gorgeous. Snow coating the ground and trees seen in the moonlight or starlight is something worth seeing and enjoying.

  Even though we are unable to count all that God has done for us - I like to find some everyday to count anyway. It is fun to see just how high you can get. I encourage you too to start noticing some of the wonders that God has done in your life!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Doors and Windows!!

 Last week a pretty fun delivery arrived from the lumber yard (with my brother Luke doing the delivering) - Windows! I love windows and it was pretty exciting to see these arrive. Normally I think just about how I love how windows can let the sunshine in but lately I have also been thinking about their purpose of keeping cold air out - windows work much better than open holes!
 Later that day the doors also arrived. Our contractor and his crew of two are pretty speedy at putting doors and windows in. When we have done it we can spend hours on one door or window but they pretty much did the whole house in one day.

 I am really rather liking our front door. Hopefully it will be used many times to welcome in guests to our home. We decided to go with a fiberglass door but with a wood look - and though I don't normally like "fake" stuff I think this looks pretty nice and I am very happy that we won't be dealing with the moisture/swelling issues that real wood can have.
 Here is the door for our mud room. We have one like it but without windows for our garage service door. I think this door is cute too. I am pretty happy with our door choices. This is a steel door.
 We are still missing the french doors for our dining room as you can see in the right hand side of the picture above. I guess they must be taking longer to make.  The living room windows are in though and I am loving the sun room sort of look.
 Here is a picture from the inside. We are planning on having a window seat all along the big south window. I think it will be great for lots of seating when we have company and also just a nice place to sit and soak in the sunshine. I have always loved the idea of a window seat so we planned this house to have one. Above the window Ken designed an alcove where a screen can go. He is putting on the ceiling on the opposite side of the room a projector. This way we can watch movies or Ken can watch his ball games in the living room without needing to have an ugly TV in there. This was Jonathan's brilliant idea.

   One step at a time this house is getting done. This was one of those exciting steps. :-)

Last week the Sheetrock was also put up (A really speedy crew did this in a day and a half) and this week the started on the taping.
We put up more siding on the garage today (while it snowed!) and hopefully will be able to start on the house before long.
On Sunday afternoon we had our last warm day with a night above freezing so I did as much more rock as I could. We have a lot of the cultured stone put on the house now. What I haven't done now will probably have to wait until spring as it is doubtful that their will be another night this fall and winter that stays above freezing.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Firewood for the Winter

 Since we had to clear a lot of trees from our land before being able to put in a driveway and build we now have a pretty good supply of firewood. Much of it however was really big and needing splitting. The birch logs especially needed it as they will rot if not split and dried properly.

  The boys thought that splitting sounded rather fun. The splitting maul that we had was to big for them so Ken went and got the lightest one that he could find and the boys (Aaron especially) liked that much better.

While Jonathan was busy working on the chicken coop Aaron was busily splitting wood. They had asked Ken if they could earn some money at splitting wood and then offered to do it for a penny a log - Ken was quick to accept that deal. Talk about cheap labor! :-) After doing it a while they did negotiate and get a bit of a raise but it still isn't much. They do think it is fun though so earning some cents everyday works fine for them.

Our neighbor (a very nice man who will turn 80 very soon) enjoyed watching them but then offered to come over and help them split the wood with his gas powered splitter. We said that he didn't need to do that but he insisted and the boys were pretty excited about that.

 Jonathan was in charge of putting each log in place, Merle would split it and Aaron would put the pieces on the pile. They were able to get a bit stack done working an hour or so on two different days. After the first day Merle came and told Ken and I that he just really likes working with the boys as they are eager to do it and he finds that very fun. We are feeling super blessed to have such a nice neighbor!!!

  We are looking forward to sitting by the fireplace one of these days getting warmed by some of this wood.

  We will not be primarily heating by wood but it will be a fun supplement and great for an emergency back-up. I am very excited about having the fireplace. Do you heat your house with wood? Do you enjoy gathering the wood up in preparation for winter?

I am linking this to Simple Lives Thursday

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Please Remember to Seek God's Wisdom as You Vote

    Election day is here! We are blessed to live in a country that at the very founding of it people chose to allow the normal, everyday citizens to be allowed to do the running of this country. We have a republic at that means that the power belongs to the people. We are given the responsibility of choosing leaders (from among us) whom we think will best represent us in making decisions for our city, our county, our state and our country. We have a big responsibility and it is not one that we should take lightly.

  So, as you head into election day I am asking that you will realize how important it is that you let your voice be heard. But most importantly that you seek to know how God would want you to vote. How do these people stand on the issues that are very important to Him? Do they stand for life? Do they stand up for religious freedom? Will the choices they make allow you to worship freely, to teach your children freely and live the life that God wants you to live?

 For my fellow Minnesotans I would just like to tell you a little about some of the candidates that are running that I have met personally and visited with and I would really like to recommend that you would vote for....

For Governor- Jeff Johnson
I have been privileged to meet Jeff Johnson on numerous occasions and have found him to be an extremely thoughtful and kind man. He is pro-life and wants to have a more limited government so that we can make our own choices concerning how to live our lives. He is involved in his church and feels that parents should be able to make their own choices concerning educating their children. I urge you to vote for Jeff!

For Secretary of State - Dan Seversen
I have had the honor of getting to know Dan and KathyJo some and have come to respect them. They love the Lord, and they care about our state and country. Dan wants to work hard to make sure that there integrity in elections (no voter fraud which we currently have troubles with). Something that has no bearing on his ability to serve but that I find fun is that they also live on the Mississippi river - just quite a ways south of us. We have joked about sending messages in bottles down to them. :-)

For State Auditor - Randy Gilbert
This man is a hard worker. He always seems so upbeat and positive whenever we see him. He also is actually an auditor (something our current state auditor isn't) and has experience with dealing with finances and money and wants to make sure that our state carefully uses the money that comes from us - the taxpayers.

For Attorney General - Scott Newman
I have only met this man briefly but I am sure that he will do a good job for our state.

For Senator- Mike McFadden
Here is a man who is pro-life, has business experience, feels strongly about good education (allowing parents to make decisions) for our children and knows how to work hard. This is something we do not have currently.

For US House district 7 - Torey Westrom
I have truly enjoyed getting to know Torey and his family a little this election season.  Torey has a very neat story as a man who became blind as a teenager but has overcome odds by going on to become an attorney and then has been a state representative and senator. I enjoyed visiting with him about the importance of parents having the freedom to educate their children the way they want to. He is also pro-life. I have been amazed by his memory and knowledge.

For US House district 8- Stewart Mills
We had the honor of seeing Stewart last night (along with Torey and Dave Hancock) and was impressed yet again with with his common sense approach to life. If something is bothering you (such as the state of our country) then do something about it - don't just sit back and complain. Stewart runs a very good business but he has decided that he needs to step forward and do something about our country - not just sit back and complain. He is pro-life, pro-constitution and is willing to work hard.

For State House 2A - Dave Hancock
This is a man I am happy to call a friend. He is such a kind and thoughtful person. Slow to speak but when he speaks people listen because he has obviously but thought into his words. He is strongly pro-life. He feels passionately about standing up for the constitution and state's rights. He is an extremely hard worker and and am praying that he will be able to win.

Please go vote - and please seek to honor God in that vote. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Living in a Tent (or a garage)

"For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 NIV

 I have been thinking of this house a lot lately. As the time comes closer for us to move into our house and out of our garage I have started to feel a little impatient and very eager. I love how Paul (in 2 Corinthians understood that feeling and compared it with us in our current bodies and how they are like a tent or some temporary home but we have prepared for us something so much better. 

  We tend to feel pretty satisfied with our earthly bodies and life here on earth when we are young and healthy but the truth is that life here is nothing to be compared with what is ahead. Living in a tent (or a garage) is so much harder than living in a nice house but even that analogy doesn't really compare with the difference between here and heaven. However this garage living is helping my to understand a little better then difference. I can see my home taking shape and I am very, very excited to be living in it. I don't see heaven but I do know the Master builder and He is a much, much better builder than any we have here. He also has prepared a place with no more sorrow or pain. That is going to be pretty wonderful!

 When I was looking at this scripture I found it in The Message too and I just so enjoyed reading it that I wanted to share it with you too. I have some sections bolded that I can so relate to the thoughts right now.

2 Corinthians 5 1-5 "For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.
6-8 That’s why we live with such good cheer. You won’t see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don’t get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead. It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going. Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us? When the time comes, we’ll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming.
9-10 But neither exile nor homecoming is the main thing. Cheerfully pleasing God is the main thing, and that’s what we aim to do, regardless of our conditions. Sooner or later we’ll all have to face God, regardless of our conditions. We will appear before Christ and take what’s coming to us as a result of our actions, either good or bad."


   Something that I probably have done more research on and debated over more than anything else for our home has been counter-tops. The thing is I wasn't truly happy with any of the choices that I commonly see and then when I found one that I really liked every cabinet person I talked to looked at me with a blank look and then tried to talk me out of it.

  Our counter-tops are still a little up in the air. I think I am getting what I want but we don't have a price yet and it is not set in stone. So- we shall see.

I thought I would share some of the many options that we have considered and what my personal opinion is on them - then I would really love to hear about what you have, or have used and your opinions on them.

Granite Countertop
image source
Granite Counter-tops. Around here if you want a solid surface it seems that pretty much everyone goes with granite. It is a nice counter-top and doesn't require much maintenance but here is why I didn't really want it: It looks to elegant in my opinion. I wanted something that fit into a more rustic/farmhouse look. I also don't care for the way the color is all in little dots. It does also require sealing from time to time.

Tile Countertop Style 7
Image Source
Tile Counter-top. We did consider ceramic tile counter top for a bit as I think they are decently economical and we liked the way they looked fairly well. However when we thought about cleaning something that wasn't perfectly smooth and that had grout we decided that was not what we wanted in the kitchen.
Laminate Countertop Style 9
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Laminate Counter-top. This is a favorite of cabinet makers and what we have always had before. It clean easily, it is quite inexpensive and it is not so hard as solid stone so dishes don't always break if they fall on it. My problems with it though are that it stains, it can't have hot pans set on it without hotpads and little boys can make gouges in it when messing around with kitchen knives while working in the kitchen (speaking from first hand experience). Also I just would really like something that will last for the lifetime of the house - and this won't.

Image source

Wood Counter-top. I think wood is very pretty but we decided it wasn't good for us because we planned on having wood cupboards (not painted) and wood floors and countertops too would probably be a bit to much. I also think that you have to be way more careful with moisture on wood counter-tops and I don't really want to deal with that.

Epoxy Counter-top. I had seen this idea for laying down pennies a pouring epoxy over them to make a counter-top and though I didn't want that I thought it would be neat to do it with river stones instead. I thought that sounded like a pretty fun project and fitting for a home on the river. Ken however was not convinced and I didn't know that I liked the real shininess of it anyway so that idea got rejected.

Concrete Countertop w/ apron sink by Rob Markus-2
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Concrete Counter-top. This is my second choice and still could be the one that I go with but my concerns with it are that it has to be sealed and is absorbent. I have also heard that it can sometimes crack and that doesn't sound so good. Concrete counter-tops can have a lot of different looks and some I don't care for but there are quite a few that I like.

Slate Countertop
Image source
Slate counter-tops. This is the one that I want to get and here is why: They look really natural and timeless. They look good quality without having the fancy look to them that I think granite often has. Also- slate is a non-porous stone so it doesn't harbor bacteria in it nor does it absorb stains. You don't have to seal it. This is a unique quality that most solid stone counter-tops do not have. It is not damaged by heat and so we can set hot pots and pans on it. It feels really nice - rather soft and super smooth. I love the subtle graining in it. It can scratch but that can just add to the look of it or you can rub the scratch out with steel wool.

Do you have any thoughts on countertops? What do you or don't you like? I would love to hear about your experiences. Obviously I didn't talk about every option but these are the ones that I have mainly considered.


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