Looking out my window…  it’s dark.  We’ve been hanging out in the subzero temps for the last week. It looks like we may be warming up a bit over the weekend though and possibly getting some more snow.

I am thankful… for a good, mostly relaxing Christmas.

One of my favorite things… Christmas butter cookies.  Scott gets me a big tin of them every year which I thoroughly enjoy.

I am wearing… jeans and a blue striped, long-sleeve t-shirt.

I am reading… The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers.

I am hoping… that we can get through this succession of sicknesses quickly and easily and that Elaina will sleep through the night again. (I don’t think she slept at all Christmas eve.)

In the kitchen… time to start thinking about the next birthday cake.  Matthew said he wants a red velvet cake.

In the schoolroom… just before Christmas we were finally able to order the first of the bookshelves I have been wanting for organizing our homeschool materials and it arrived today.  This is a huge thing for me because it means unpacking and no longer homeschooling out of the boxes we’ve been using for the last year while traveling. I want to get some baskets to go in the top shelves for their pencil bags and other small stuff. (Side note: I find it humorous that Amazon will ship a bookshelf to Alaska no problem, but when I try to order a pair of tights they say it needs special handling and can’t be shipped to my location. LOL)


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Gabe’s 5th Birthday

Having our van broken into meant spending an extra day in Anchorage, so Gabe got his wish of celebrating his birthday at Chuck E Cheese.

Gabe was so excited to get a new bike helmet since he outgrew his old one; it’s required gear for skating on the ice rinks at the school.

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Looking out my window…  a pretty sunrise is edging the clouds over the mountains with pink, but the rest of the sky is clear. The temps have edged downward again although we’re still unseasonably warm being above 0o F.

I am thankful… for friends who are generous to my kids.

One of my favorite things… reading a good book.

I am wearing… a turquoise and grey sweatshirt with jeans and no makeup.  After three Christmas potlucks in a row this week I’m feeling the need to be casual today.

In the kitchen… the kids are enjoying the leftover pie and rolls that didn’t get eaten at the potlucks.

In the schoolroom… the art class Kara was taking this quarter finished and we got to see her artwork displayed at the homeschool Christmas dinner.

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Elaina’s 1st Birthday

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Lydia’s Birthday

Starting off her birthday watching our first snowfall!

Excited about the new socks Grandma knitted for her.

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Looking out my window…  an overcast day today. Fall is tenaciously hanging on here and the snow is yet to fly.  We’ve had a couple frosty mornings and seen the snow creep all the way down the mountain, but then the chinook winds blow and it all warms back up again.  Winter’s coming though; the forecast for next week is calling for the clouds to clear off some and the temps to start falling.

Caleb raking leaves

I am thankful… to be settling in to our own home and no longer in transit, for the long fall giving us time to get settled in here, to see my husband excited about going to work, for a homeschooling community to be part of, and for a good sharathon for the radio station this year.

Scott during KCAM’s sharathon

One of my favorite things… curling up with my husband at the end of a long day.

I am wearing… a striped sweater and a pair of jeans that I need to patch where my cell phone is wearing a hole in my pocket.

I am creating… lesson plans. Slowly, but surely we are adding subjects to our school schedule as we get curriculum ordered and figure out how it’s all going to work this year.

I am hoping… for good traveling weather when we go to Soldotna in a week to visit my sister’s family and pick up our suburban from my brother.

In the garden… it’s nothing fancy, but with some help from my boys we have a spot to dump kitchen compost scraps and leaves they’ve raked up from the yard. We’ve also been cleaning out some of the garden beds, prepping them for winter.  Meanwhile, Matthew has been hard at work digging up the numerous volunteer trees that were attempting to take over the yard.

In the kitchen… I’m a bit frustrated with the cooking/baking options in this kitchen (an old finicky stove top, a tiny old wall oven that can’t fit my cookie sheets, and a microwave/convection oven combo that isn’t quite on par with a traditional oven though I’m grateful for the extra baking space), but we’re figuring out how to make it work for us and hoping for the possibility to upgrade things soon.

In the nursery… she’s walking! And quite pleased with herself about it.

A look at my week: For those curious – prices on fresh produce at our local grocery store.


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Looking out my window…  lots of sunshine and a cooler start to the day which is quite helpful when packing and prepping the car for a VERY long trip.

I am thinking… after a year of ‘not sure when, hopefully soon’, leaving this week feels almost unreal. It’s strange to look ahead at what the temps will be like at our different stopping points and see an actual forecast instead of just the average temps for that time of year.

I am thankful… that God sent the bulk of the rain around us yesterday allowing us to do most of the packing.  Instead of a 60% chance of rain most of the day we only had a short sprinkle here.

One of my favorite things… smiling, happy kids.

I am creating… I accomplished my goal of finishing the outline of the cross stitch I am working on before this final trip to Alaska.  Now to begin filling in the lines.

I am hoping… we can fit everything into the car and trailer without much trouble.  Not sure we’ll be able to use the trailer for sleeping (thankfully the tent is plenty big for us all), but if we can at least have access to the stove without having to unpack a lot of things I’ll be happy.

I am hearing… 12:30 – kids chattering as they eat lunch, Kara blowing her nose (Poor girl has been hit hard by some type of allergy here this week. Hoping it clears up quickly as we travel north.)


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Looking out my window…  it’s dark now and still warm out when I went out to the car a little while ago.  Still getting up into the 90s here in AZ, but the dry heat is much to be preferred to the humidity we experienced on our trip through Texas.

I am thinking… You know how that last hour of a long trip just seems to drag?  That’s how it’s feeling as we near the end of our home service time. Scott said he had senioritis (like in high school).  LOL  I think road weary would be a mild way of saying how we feel.  Even the kids are struggling.  The hard part for me is knowing I’m going to want to crash when we finally get there, but then comes all the unpacking, trips to town for furniture and groceries, and the need to getting going on school before it gets much later into the school year.  God is gracious though and I know he’ll provide the energy needed.  And sometime in the not too distant future we will be settled in and be reestablished in the routines of our family.

I am thankful… for a husband who is willing and able to work on cars.  No major repairs this time, but we have new shocks and spring helpers on the van and trailer which should make for a better ride as we head north.

One of my favorite things… sharing some ice cream with my husband at the end of a long day.

I am wearing… jeans and a plaid turquoise blouse.

I am creating… lists – lists of clothes my kids need for winter, ideas for camping meals while traveling, where to stop along our route north, and what we will need to set up house when we get to Alaska.

I am watching… with all the traveling and visiting it’s been awhile since we watched anything but we took some time the other night to relax and watch Ready Player One.

I am hoping… that Elaina will adjust quickly to the Alaska time zone so that she won’t be wanting to get up at 4am (7am central).

In the kitchen… I am looking for meal ideas that are quick and easy for camping.  We try to do as much camping as we can while traveling to cut down on cost. However, setting up and taking down the tent every night means less time for cooking and of course there’s limited space in the cooler for fresh ingredients. On quick trips we often do a lot of sandwiches, but the trip north will probably take us around 2 weeks so some variety would be nice. If we pack things right we’ll have access to the stove in the camper trailer.

In the nursery… Elaina is cruising rapidly around the furniture and has figured out how to crawl under and over things to get around our makeshift baby gates.  Of course it’s much easier when Thomas just moves things aside to get past and leaves it open for her to get through.

I am hearing… a blessedly quiet house.  The last few nights Elaina chose to talk/cry until late despite obvious exhaustion, but tonight she went down without a problem.


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Looking out my window…  a cloudy, kind of muggy day after a nice rainstorm last night. I don’t mind AT ALL having a high of 97 today instead of the 108-115 that we’ve been getting this last week.

I am thankful… for God’s provision and the little or not so little things he does to encourage us… supporters who increased their monthly giving putting us at 70%, a church who gave a special gift to pay off Thomas’ ER bill, being able to buy groceries today because the guy we bought Elaina’s pack-n-play from said God laid it on his heart to refund our money, Elaina ‘sleeping in’ and not waking at 5am to eat the last couple days.

In the schoolroom… we’ve finished off the official school year; although we are still doing some schoolwork every afternoon during ‘quiet time’ to keep the older ones occupied (mostly school computer – Khan Academy and ReadTheory) I’m looking at doing a few things differently this fall just to give us a break from the norm. I read recently about the need to take a gap year not just being an end of high school thing, but sometimes needed before then.  I don’t think taking a year off from doing school would be the right thing, but maybe a gap year from doing our usual curriculum would be a benefit, especially with all the transition in our lives right now.

In the nursery… a blessing to staying in this house the last few weeks has been Thomas learning to go up and down stairs by himself. Of course Elaina is watching this intently and although she hasn’t yet figured out how to climb, it won’t be long.  At 8 months old today she’s in full on crawling mode, pulling up on everything and starting to cruise around the furniture.

I am hearing… 1:45pm – boys playing with Legos, Elaina playing in the playpen, the AC running


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The Desperate Plea of a Missionary Mom (Being real about raising a family while raising support)

As we travel around visiting friends and raising support we talk a lot about why we need your support to get to the field (in our case Alaska) sooner rather than later. We mention the growing engineering ‘to do’ list that awaits Scott’s arrival there and his limited ability to fix things over the phone/internet despite the amazing technology we have today that can allow remote access to equipment.  However, there’s another side to our need to get to Alaska.  Our family needs a place to call our own.

School: I mentioned briefly last week about my struggles in planning for school this next year when a lot of the curriculum that we would normally be using this next year are packed in boxes and waiting for us in Alaska. (The teacher’s books for Kara’s and Ben’s next levels in math, the history book for Matthew, etc.) The uncertainty of where we will be next month, much less 2 or 3 months from now adds to the struggle of planning. When we set off on this support raising adventure last year I did my best to make our homeschool portable, but this has meant not doing a lot of the ‘fun’ stuff like history projects and science experiments because we just can’t haul all those supplies around with us. Never mind the awkwardness of trying to do a science experiment in someone else’s kitchen or not having a place to display that history project.

Matthew doing schoolwork on his bed.

Babies: I have a 2-year old little boy who is constantly getting into everything.  Pretty typical, but how many of you have dealt with that in other people’s non-childproofed homes? I don’t mean for a few hours or even a weekend, but for months on end. His favorite activity right now is getting into bathroom cabinets and playing in the toilet.  Normal interests for a 2-year old.  You’ve probably dealt with this in the past or are currently depending on the ages of your children.  I’m sure you employed such methods as child locks on cabinets and baby gates to guard certain areas of the house.  That doesn’t work when you are living temporarily with someone else.  I can’t install child locks on other people’s cabinets and we don’t have the room to add baby gates to our luggage. He ends up spending far more time in the playpen (which is getting smaller as he gets bigger) then I would like for him. Plus just as he gets used to a new place with its unique set of things he can or can’t touch we move on and the battlefield changes. He is also leaving behind the world of baby toys and looking for things that do more than just rattle and squeak.  We have plenty of Duplo’s, sorters, and other toddler toys, but of course they’re all packed in boxes waiting for us to get to Alaska.

Thomas really wants to play with Legos like the big kids.

I also have a very active 7-month old little girl who started crawling and pulling up on the furniture this last week. This morning she pulled the box of school supplies off the shelf spilling it and dumped the kitchen trash over on herself.  Again, par for the course with a little one; but I can’t rearrange your house or replace your furniture to make it more baby proof. Adding her to the playpen makes it even smaller. Another struggle with a fast growing baby is sleeping arrangements. She has no more growing room in the travel bassinet and can climb out of it if I don’t get to her as soon as she wakes up. We have a nice crib – packed and waiting for us in Alaska. She is also starting to eat solid foods.  Making your own baby food is much cheaper and healthier, but not an option when you are traveling.  I have a little baby food grinder to use to turn whatever meal we are having into baby food.  Can you guess where it is?  Yup, packed in a box waiting for us in Alaska.

Morning wiggles

There are so many other things I could talk about: trying to satisfy my engineering-minded 10 year old’s need to create/invent things without being able to collect cardboard or other random items for him to use, helping my 15 year old deal with the difficulties of leaving behind friends and not being able to do normal teen stuff like get a job or learn to drive, my 13 year old’s need for physical therapy to help with her severe scoliosis, or my desire to ‘nest’ and make a home for my family.

Words of Life, words of Hope
Give us strength, help us cope
In this world, where e’er we roam
Ancient words will guide us Home.

-Ancient Words by Michael W. Smith

These lyrics have been in my thoughts a lot lately since they do a good job of summarizing how I’m dealing with where God has put us right now.  He is teaching me a lot about relying on Him and being content in all circumstances. I count my blessings and am thankful that He is meeting our needs each day.  Yet, just like finding joy in all things doesn’t mean that life is always great and you’re happy all the time, learning to be content and thankful doesn’t mean circumstances are not difficult. Yes, it’s possible to live out of a suitcase for an indefinite period of time, but the mental wear and tear over time is significant.

So I ask that you take some time this week to really appreciate the home God has given you and to ask yourselves is $20 a month too much to ask to help get us to the field?  100 people giving $20 a month would have us fully supported and heading to Alaska. I could make comparisons like it being the equivalent to one coffee each week at Starbucks or a trip to the movies; or point out that it’s only 65 cents a day. Our ministry may not be as glamorous and providing children in Africa with clean water, but the need to provide people in rural Alaska with Living Water is just as real. We can’t get to Alaska, we can’t fully engage in the ministry to which God has called us without your financial partnership.

Hanging out where they can’t get into trouble.

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