Saturday, July 31, 2010


I had a good day yesterday.

I was able to spend some much needed time with friends processing all that I am working through.

There is something about just laying it all out there with those that "get it."

They don't have to be experiencing the same things, but in the midst of shared emotions over our various struggles/burdens there is community.

It is beautiful and refreshing to the soul. It is what God intended for His people.

This morning was spent with a group of women in celebration of a new birth! Experiencing the joy of mother as she shares her new little one is also refreshing.

This is my friend's 4th child, first girl. She was so cute as she opened all the "girly" gifts. It is a whole new world for her, and it was fun to share in that joy!

I dropped Cody off at church this morning to go with the youth group to Heavenfest. He is entering into a whole new realm of his own of youth activities.

He will be gone all day. That feels really weird.

Tonight, I am cooking dinner. Yes, you read that right, a real meal.

Our neighbors gave us some corn so I made this with it. It is delicious. I did make a few adjustments. I used red and green bell peppers instead of those mentioned in the recipe. I also added garlic. It is really good.

On the menu for tonight: Parmesan Chicken, Squash, Corn Salsa and Chips, and Watermelon.

My kids' bodies might go into shock from the "real" food that I am making them tonight!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Reclaiming My House

Six months ago, we began the process of putting our house on the market.

It has been a long six months.

The process of getting it ready was exhausting.

Having it on the market has been even more exhausting.

We had quite a few showings in March and April.

Things really slowed down beginning in May.

We have only had 2 showings in June and July(the time when the market was supposed to really pick up).

About 2 months into showings, Rick and I decided to set a deadline. Mentally, I needed an end date in sight, a goal to work towards.

That end date is tomorrow. Our house hasn't sold. God has different plans for us.

It has been discouraging to put myself through all of this work and aggravation to end up back to square one.

This house is not impossible for us to live in, just inconvenient in its layout for a family of 8.

I am ready to be done. I am ready to put back up the pictures of my family and Africa. I am ready to live in my house again.

I believe God has purpose in this. I just don't know right now what it is.

We could possibly rent out this house and rent a different one for ourselves.

We have to recover from the last 6 months for deciding on that one.

For now, I don't have to constantly think about keeping my house within 2 hours of being show ready.

I don't have to cringe every time my phone rings wondering if my the course of my whole day will change because of a showing.

I don't have to work myself and my kids to death for a showing that never happens.

I am choosing to be thankful for the relief even if the end result is not what I had hoped.

Why I Share

I cannot tell you how many responses I have received over my last two posts.

Many are encouraged, and many have encouraged me.

I share because I want to be open and honest.

I share because I want my life and journey to minister to others.

I think so often in the Christian community we try to create these plastic images of ourselves and what our lives are like.

They aren't real and in the process we rob ourselves and others of the joy and community of walking together through these struggles.

I am not a writer and have never really claimed to be.

Some blogs are very eloquently written.

Some blogs present this imaginary world that no one could ever possibly live.

When you read my blog, what you see is what you get.

Sharing in this way is therapeutic for me.

Hopefully along the way, someone will be impacted.

Hopefully, it will serve as a record for my children and give them a glimpse into my heart that they would not have otherwise.

So, I plan to keep sharing. I love it when you share with me.

Let's do this together as the body of Christ, the church!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Heart Surgery Part 2

So, the surgery is pretty painful today.

I should have expected it after such a great couple of days.

Satan is not happy when we experience victory and freedom over the schemes and lies that he feeds us.

Recognizing it is from him helps.

But it is still sooo painful.

I did not sleep hardly at all last night. I felt oppressed, overwhelmed, and consumed by anxiety.

Then, I was greeted by an attack on our family this morning. It was ugly. It was brutal. It was all lies.

It is in those moments that I have to turn to God as our defender.

Sometimes no amount of reasoning or explanation will make a difference.

Hurt people, hurt people. That is how I have to view this situation.

Satan does not like what God is doing in my heart. He does not like what God is doing in our ministry.

He knows we are not his so he tries with all of his might to steal, kill, and destroy.

Heart Surgery is painful, but I will not pull back. I will not stop fighting this fight.

The stakes are way too high to back out now. I will stand strong.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Heart Surgery

This has been an interesting year for me.

We have seen a lot of people in our church deal with some major life situations. Walking alongside them has been painful.

I have shared before that I feel really unsettled this year. It has been hard to know what God is doing.

I have been battling some issues of my own as well.

I struggle with things like perfectionism, comparing myself, and seeking the approval of others.

These are all thought processes that are so ingrained in me. They have become a part of who I am.

After 38 years, I have decided I am not really cool with that and want to experience some freedom in these areas.

One way that I have begun working towards that freedom is by letting go of some ministry opportunities that I am good at, and really enjoy, but that have taken me away from my calling as a mom and wife.

I am learning to say "no" and be okay with it upsetting some people or even causing them to question my commitments.

I am seeking to serve my family more. My kids need A LOT from me right now. I feel I have failed them in some ways by choosing ministry over them.

I am working through the thoughts and voices that I listen to on a daily basis and really trying to examine them in a new way . Why do I believe the lies? Why do I allow them to control me?

It feels at times like heart surgery. Some times I find myself resisting and thinking that the old way is just easier.

But, when I really take the time to allow the surgery that God wants to do in my heart, I come out on the other side feeling a little more free, a little less burdened.

I have had some really low points in this process, but it is those low points that really lead me to God, and for that I am thankful.

I have experienced a few victories over the last couple of weeks. It helps me see that I can be a new person on the other side. I will be better for it, my kids will be better for it, and my marriage will be better for it.

I feel a little broken and needy right now. Heart surgery will do that to you, I guess.

It is the healing and new growth that I desire and seek. It is for those results that I will endure the surgery and the pain and the healing process.

I have been given a glimpse of what that freedom feels like, and I don't ever want to go back.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Fun at Walmart - Is that really possible?

I set very few goals for myself this summer. I needed a break. I needed to not have the pressure of reaching goals hanging over me. I also needed to focus on my kids.

We need to have fun together. The things that we did have scheduled were VBB, vacation, birthdays for 4 of the kids, and trying to survive while Rick travels. All we have left is one more bday(Cody's bday is in August), and Rick has one more week of travel coming in August.

There were a couple of things that I wanted to do for the kids that I thought would be fun. They were:
1. Skate City
2. Dollar Movie Theater
3. Parks(specifically America the Beautiful Park and the Splash Park)
4. Cook with each child(letting them choose what we cook).
5. Go to Walmart and let them pick out a food item.

Let me just say, I have not told them about any of these plans because I would never hear the end of it until each one is accomplished. We are planning to do the dollar theater today(it is half price day), we did the splash park last week, I have plans to do Skate City next week, and the kids are in the process of deciding what they want to learn how to cook. We did our Walmart adventure yesterday. It was fun.

When there are 8 people in a house, food doesn't last long around here. My kids are constantly frustrated because they didn't get some of a special food that was bought. So, my solution, take them to Walmart and let them each pick one food item under $5 that would be only theirs. No one else could eat any of it.

I realized once we were walking around that I needed to make a few more guidelines or we were going to walk out of Walmart with 4-12 packs of soda, 2 large bags of candy, 3 packages of cookies and 5 bags of marshmallows. So, I decided they could not get sweet drinks or candy and that they could only get one item each. They were thinking they had $5 so they should just spend it all. I did not eliminate sweets totally, but told them they would not be allowed to get sweets the next time we do it.

Here are their choices:
Lauren - Lemonade Fruit Bars
Abby - a roll of cookie dough(now where did she learn that?)
Sam - Snack Pack Jello Cups
Isaiah - Chester's Puffcorn
Laila - Pringles(this chick loves her chips)
You may be wondering where Cody is. Well, he decided there wasn't anything he really wanted that badly. Maybe he will change his mind next time. I think the guidelines I set were too stressful for him.

I was hoping they would use this opportunity to buy one of those items they are always asking for that I usually say no to. They didn't really, but I think they enjoyed being able to pick something out. We will do it again some time.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Abby's 8th Bday - Monkey Mania

8 years ago, Sat., July 24th Abigail Elizabeth Clapp entered our world. We did not find out what we were having, but I just knew I was having a boy. While I was pregnant, I had a dream that she was a girl, but I didn't believe it. Boy was I surprised when my little girl was born. Because of this story, Abby's special song is called, "Dream Come True." The chorus says, "I don't know what your dreaming, but you're my dream come true. I can't believe I'm standing here looking down at you. I see your peaceful slumber smile and wonder if I'm dreaming, too. I don't know what your dreaming, but you're my dream come true, Abby, I love you."

Abby is CrAzY about monkeys!! This was her year to have a friend party, so for months we have been brainstorming about her big day.
We started the day with a family breakfast.
We had monkey bread and coffee Rick brought home from Africa.
The Birthday Girl in her Birthday Chair!
Proud Mom and Dad with their little Monkey
(I don't know if you can tell by the picture, but she is
wearing monkey earrings, a monkey necklace, and a monkey shirt)
We planned a few activities for the party. The first one was a hunt for "fruit" in the back yard. By "fruit" I mean those plastic fruits full of flavored powder. Whoever found the hidden wooden banana got a special prize.
Abby spotted a piece of "fruit."
The crew of monkeys at Abby's party.
Abby did most of the decorating herself(yeah, kind of funny to decorate for your own party. This girl knows what she wants and then goes for it.) She worked for days preparing. She made signs, had Rick print out pictures of monkeys from his trip, and put up banners and streamers.
This was her favorite creation.
For the menu, we had bananas,(Abby doesn't like bananas, but she didn't think it would be a true monkey party without them.) funyons,(because if you bite them just right, they look like a banana.) monkey munch, lemonade, and ice cream cake with monkeys on it. She also had little pink chinese take out boxes for the goody bags. They each had a bean bag monkey, some candy from Africa, and some other girly stuff.
The girls also painted little ceramic monkeys.
Abby created a game. She made a tree on a box with a hole in it. The girls had to throw bean bag monkeys into the tree.
Poor monkeys
Abby and her monkey cake
She had a great time with her friends. She got lots of fun gifts. Some of them were fun monkey things like a watch, lunch box, slippers, flashlight, and puzzle.

That night we went to Red Robin as a family. That is a rare event for us. We get so many looks when we are out in public. As we parade through the restaurant to our seats, it seems our little caravan of people never ends. It is quite the spectacle.
The kids really enjoyed dinner.
They sang to Abby, but I didn't get a picture because Laila was grabbing for my drink the whole time and I couldn't keep her contained and get the camera out all at the same time!!
Abby has such a servant's heart. She really is a HUGE help to me. She loves taking care of Isaiah and Laila. Sometimes, I even have to tell her to go play and let me take care of them. She takes on more responsibility than I even ask of her. She loves to clean and organize and does a really good job.

Rick's recent trip to Africa has really impacted her. I think hearing the stories and seeing the pictures has stirred something in her heart. She has decided to raise money for Swaziland. She is doing art work and giving massages.
Here is her sign at the bottom of the stairs:
She is only charging $1.00 for a massage so you better hurry over and get in line. I hear her schedule is filling up really fast. She has already raised $2.00.

I am so thankful you are my daughter. You are a true example of a servant. I pray that God continues to stir in your heart the desire to help others and that through following that calling you will experience blessing and fulfillment. You add so much to our family. You make me laugh. You help me out. You follow your heart even when it leads you in a different path than those around you. I admire your independent spirit, and believe God will use that to call you to something really extraordinary. I love you, Abba dabba doo!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Rick brought some Swazi clothes back for Isaiah and Laila. Here is a quick preview of one of the outfits.
Can you even believe how cute she is?
I love me some Laila belly!!

He's Home

All is happy in my little world.

Must go spend time with him!!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

18 Hours and Counting!

Rick called this morning from the Joburg Airport. The team all made it through check-in and were awaiting their 18-hour flight.

As I type, they are flying over the ocean headed home.

We are so excited and ready to have him back.

It sounds like the team had a great trip.

The kids and I spent the morning at the neighborhood splash park with Ellen and her girls. It was fun!! I meant to take pictures and remembered as we were leaving that I didn't. Oh, well, I guess we will have to go back!!

My next goal: get the kids fed and to bed(I do better if I work towards small goals!!)

How can time go so slowly when you are waiting on something and so quickly when you are having fun????

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"Jammin'" Dance Party

What do I do to pass the time when there are less than 48 hours before Rick returns from Africa?
Make 19 jars of strawberry jam and...
...have a dance party in the kitchen to Toby Mac with Isaiah and Laila!!
Here are their dance outfits.
When we started dancing, Isaiah ran to get his hat and put it over to the side,
and Laila got Cody's shoes to put on.
If you can see him in the background, Isaiah's expression cracks me up in this picture!
He is jammin' while I am making jam.
It is all about the facial expressions when Isaiah dances.
This chick has got moves you wouldn't believe!
Work it, girl!
If a slower song would come on, Isaiah would say, "Mom, this is a sad song. Pick anudda(another)one." When a song would end, Laila would say, "Mo' song, Mama." It was so cute. She tried to do every move she saw me doing. They are both quite the little singers and dancers. It was a good way to relieve some of the stress we are experiencing in this house.

Stayin' Alive

We are still alive.

Rick is now sleeping and will wake up in about 6 hours to begin the trek home.

The team will have to drive the 4-6 hours from Swaziland to Johannesburg.

They will then leave Africa at 5:00 PM Africa time.

They will fly for 18 hours and arrive in D.C. around 5:30AM Eastern time.

When I wake up Thursday morning, I should be able to talk to him!!! I can't wait to hear that they have returned to the U.S.

If everything goes as scheduled, the team should arrive in Denver around 10:00 AM!!!

I can see the end in sight. We are on the homestretch.

If the past proves to be any indicator, the next 43 hours will be emotional, exhausting, and chaotic. Rick will be tired, too! : )

It will all be worth it when we have him home with us and get to hear all about what God did on this trip.

We all cannot wait to have him home and give him big hugs and kisses!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I am being challenged by a book that I am reading. It is called "Radical" by David Platt.

Here are a few quotes that really jumped out at me this morning as I read in my room before anyone knew I was awake.(I am kind of sneaky like that sometimes.)

"This is how God works. He puts His people in positions where they are desperate for His power, and then He shows His provision in ways that display His greatness."

"This is the design of God among His people. He is giving unlikely people his power so it is clear who deserves the glory for the success that takes place."

Both of these quotes are good reminders to me that this thing is all about God, not me. It is about His glory and His greatness.

"God delights in using ordinary Christians who come to the end of themselves and choose to trust in His extraordinary provision. He stands ready to allocate His power to all who are radically dependent on Him and radically devoted to making much of Him."

"Why would we ever want to settle for Christianity according to our ability or settle for church according to our resources? The power of the one who raised Jesus from the dead is living in us, and as a result, we have no need to muster up our own might. Our great need is to fall before an Almighty Father day and night and to plead for Him to show His radical power in and through us, enabling us to accomplish for His glory what we could never imagine in our own strength. And when we do this, we will discover that we were created for a purpose much greater than ourselves, the kind of purpose that can only be accomplished in the power of His Spirit."

I am chewing on it. I am processing it. I am relieved to know it is not up to me. God is in control. I am at the end of myself and now choose to trust His extraordinary provision.

Now if I could just find a stinkin' highlighter in this house, maybe I can highlight these passages in my book!! (Yes, Rick, I am actually going to use a highlighter in a book!)


McDonalds.(to get caramel Frappes for the girls. Have you tried them, they are really good.)


Papa Murphys.(to get supper for tonight)

McDonalds.(to get caramel Frappes for the boys.)



Walgreens.(to pick a redbox movie up for "movie night" tonight.)



King Soopers.




Walgreens.(the movie had a scratch so we had to return it for another.)


Little Kids to bed.

Movie Night with big kids.

One really exhausted mom who can't seem to keep her eyes open.

4 more days.

4 more days, people.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Is it normal to have to regroup every day?

This is becoming a pattern with my children.

I instituted Quiet Time around here for the afternoon. It is something I do every day during the school year, but we relax a lot of things during the summer.

Today, Quiet Time was enforced.

I needed it.

They needed it.

We were all better for it.

Cody has been doing a really good job of being the "man of the house" while Rick is gone.

Today, he mowed the yard for the first time completely by himself.
He did a great job!
He also enjoyed having the responsibility.
I am having issues with my sprinkler system that I can't get resolved so Cody even watered the yard for me with the hose sprinkler. I am determined for Rick to come home to a green lawn!!

I did something I don't usually do. I grilled. Now, it was just hot dogs, but Rick is the grill master around here so I don't ever have to grill.
My grilling skills
The kids raved about the hot dogs. I think they were trying to make me feel good about my work. I appreciated it. Can you really go wrong with Nathan's hot dogs?
I am finding my patience level to be decreasing. When it is bedtime, I feel "done" for the day. My frustration is that inevitably at bedtime, some kind of issue arises with one of the children. If Rick was here, he would step in and take care of it for me. I am trying so hard to be patient and handle it well. I just need that break.

They are finally all in bed. Now, I plan to read and relax.

Another day in the life.

It has been a hard morning.

I started the day doing some reading and don't know how to process what I read.

My kids are very demanding today.

I was trying to do some special things for them, and it seems to be backfiring.

Don't you hate it when they don't get it? The sacrifices you make, the effort you put forth.

Instead of thank yous and gratitude you get statements like, "You don't care about me," and "Why can't I do this instead?"

Laila breaks down emotionally when she is hungry. I am starting to recognize it, but I forgot today. She had this total meltdown. After a long fit, I finally got her calmed down. The only word she could say was "snack."

Today, they are getting the best of me.

I am quite outnumbered.

If I don't blog for more than 2 days, send a rescue team.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Battles Abound

I am surrounded by battles.

Spiritual battles.

Battles with my house. I am still having problems with my window well leaking. This ONLY happens when Rick is gone. I am not joking!!

Battles between my children.

Battles with my children.

Battles in my own head as I try to figure out what God is doing.

Life is like this when Rick is gone.

Today was a busy day.

It started out with a great visit catching up with a friend and her daughter.

On the way home, I got a call that we had a showing on our house from 4:00-6:00.

First of all, can anyone tell me why someone would need a 2 hour window to look at this house? Really? It is a great house, but it is not that big!!

Secondly, do we really have to always have showings during meal times?

We haven't had a showing since we were on vacation. Let's just say, I have kind of let it go.

We swung by the library really quick to get some summer reading prizes. Laila had a couple of fits while we were there. That was lovely.

The really good part is that the kids all got Free Chicken-fil-a (that is what Isaiah calls it) coupons. So, dinner was taken care of!!

I called home to let Cody know that we had a showing just to prepare him. He handles unexpected things better if I give him a heads up.

He totally shocked me. When I got home, he had been working on the house already. Wow!! I was not expecting that.

My kids are like that. They will have these bright moments in the midst of such frustrating times with them. It is in those moments I feel a small bit of satisfaction and reward for all of my parenting efforts.

I fed the kids really quick, got the little ones down for nap, and we kicked it into high gear.

We got the house ready and the showing actually happened. Please pray that these people will make an offer on our house!!! I want them to not be able to forget about it and for our house to continue to come to their minds over and over until they act.

I got to talk to Rick today. That is always a blessing. It is rare to have that opportunity when he is in Swaziland. It sounds like the trip is going great and God is doing some BIG things.

Battles abound.

BUT, I will fight them over and over if it means making the difference in the lives of the Swazi people.

Following this calling as a family is something we ALL sacrifice for. I am so thankful when God gives us a glimpse of what He is doing.

We are praying for you, Vanguard Team!!!

If you want to see Rick's updates from the trip, join "Beyond Survival" on Facebook. I am sending out updates to the members as I receive them.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Our Evening

It is amazing how much difference having a break can make. After coming home this afternoon, I felt ready to face the night head on, engaging and enjoying my kids.

I know these details may seem boring, but this is a way for us to share with Rick what is going on while he is gone, too. I also want to share about our average evenings, too, not just the big events we live. So, this was our evening:

Recently, we bought 2 bags of lemons with the intention of making homemade lemonade. I have borrowed a friend's juicer so this was the perfect time.
We peeled all the lemons, 21 to be exact.
(My thumbs are sore!)
Loaded them into the juicer.
I have two go-to girls when it comes to recipes. The two sources I check first are Paula Deen and The Pioneer Woman. They do down-home southern cooking. I don't make homemade lemonade very often, so when I do, I want it to be good. I didn't find a recipe on The Pioneer Woman's website so Paula supplied this recipe. You can go here to see it for yourself. We had more than 2 cups of lemon juice so we increased everything a bit.
Here it is:
Doesn't that look delicious. The kids thought it was a little bit sour, but not enough to keep them from drinking it and asking for more.

Lauren is really getting into cooking lately so she helped me prepare our dinner: tacos, spanish rice, and black beans. She cooked most of it. Sometimes, I just want to cook alone to get it over with, but tonight, it was fun for us to cook together. She was very proud of her work. She did a really good job following the instructions.

The night ended with some chocolate popcorn and a family(minus Rick) movie night. I even had the energy to clean the kitchen!! It will be nice to wake up to a clean kitchen in the morning.
Chocolate Popcorn
This might gross you out, but I have to share a funny story about the popcorn. Isaiah ate about half of his. At the beginning, he said he loved it. Then at the end, he said, "I don't like it anymore." So, I got it and started eating what was left in his cup. After eating about 5 bites, I began to wonder why it was so mushy. Then, I realized that he had chewed on it and spit it back in his cup. YUCK!! I was eating chewed up, slobber covered popcorn. You gotta love being a mom sometimes.

Better Day

Today has been a much better day.

Actually this afternoon was refreshing, relaxing, and enjoyable.

I am still having some basement issues. Made a call today and a friend is coming to check that out.

The kids still don't know what it means to get along.

Lauren and Laila had well checkups at the dr. today.

Laila got some shots. Poor baby.

When the dr. asked me if I she had shown any interest in the potty, Laila shook her head with an adamant "no." It cracked us both up. Laila knew exactly what the dr. said. She got some Princess Tianna underwear for her bday. The minute she saw them she threw them on the ground. I am not going to attempt adding that to my life right now. At least she cheers for us when we go potty.

I packed 4-50lb. bags of supplies to go with another team to Swaziland.

And then, I was blessed with a break!!

My precious friend, Andrea, took me out to lunch at my favorite, Chipotle. She wanted to take me out for my bday. It took us a while to schedule it, but the timing was so perfect.

Then, after lunch, she surprised me by taking me to get a back and foot massage!!! Oh, my goodness. It was relaxing and refreshing.

I could have gone to sleep right at that moment. It could not have come at a better time.

Thank you, Andrea, for loving me so well!! You blessed me and encouraged me. It was just what I needed.

Now, cooking supper for the kids doesn't seem quite so overwhelming. It is amazing what a couple of hours away can do!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Savoring the Silence

Things have settled down around here for the night.

This is the time that gives me refreshment so that I can face the next day.

I just have to say how much I admire all the women who do this alone whether they are single moms, their husbands travel a lot, or their husbands are gone for extended periods of time for military service. You ladies really pay the price.

When Rick is home, I have a person to vent to about the frustrations of my day.

Since he is not here, my blog became that today.

I can't even tell how you good it felt just to type it out. It was a relief.

I got some really sweet responses. That really brought comfort to me knowing that if I am truly in need, there are people in my life that will step up and meet that need for him.

I know that is comforting to Rick as well.

God is in control, and He uses days like today in my life to teach me about who I am and to draw me closer to Him.

Little Glimpses

So, God provided a ride home for Cody tonight.

This means that I can put the little ones down for an early bedtime since they decided not to take their nap today.

Just when I feel like I am at the end of my rope, God gives me a little glimpse of His care.

Thank you, Lord and thank you, Laura S. and Joe!!

A Doozy of a Day!

I was planning to post pictures today from Laila's little bday photo session. Well, not so. Let me explain what this day has been like:

I got the kids up and ready this morning(including baths for Isaiah and Laila which are very time consuming when I am doing Laila's hair). About 10 minutes before we were supposed to leave for the picture appt., Abby comes running upstairs saying that water is coming in the basement. I run down to find the window well with water standing in it and the floor wet into the carpet a little. So, I run and grab towels to be a temporary fix.

We leave and at the picture place, Laila refuses to cooperate. She won't smile, she won't stay in her spot, nothing. So, 30 minutes later we leave without a picture. As I am loading her into her seat, she says,"cheese" and smiles several times like she is having her picture taken . I wanted to scream.

I ran errands to 3 different stores loading and unloading kids at each stop. Then, I took Abby by Baskin Robbins to order her cake. The minute we walked in, Laila started saying, "Ice cream, Ice cream, Yummy, yummy." When we started to leave without ice cream she started screaming, "hungry, hungry, ice cream." I had to wrestle her into her seat at the truck with her screaming and pulling my hair the whole time. It was lovely, really.

Laila and Isaiah did not take a nap today. That would be great if I could put them to bed early tonight, but I can't because I have to pick Cody up from his middle school boys' group tonight making it a long night ahead for me.

The kids are continuing to battle with each other over really silly things.

Abby got her earrings caught in her bike helmet and almost ripped a bigger hole in her ear. Cody had a bike wreck, scraped his knee pretty bad and is convinced his thumb is broken. I haven't eaten a meal today, just a couple of small snacks. I am starving and gearing up to prepare dinner for the kids. Not looking forward to that!!

I also got my feelings hurt over a situation, and I honestly don't know if the hurt feelings are valid or not.

So, there you have it. That is my day. It has been a hard one. Not the post I wanted to make, but let's be real here. If I am going to post the good days, I should be willing to post the bad days, too.

It is hard when Rick is gone. It seems like many things start to fall apart. It is part of the sacrifice we make for ministry. Living out God's calling is not easy. Some might idealize the work that is done in orphan care and Africa. It is good and right and I wouldn't change it for anything, but with obedience to God's call also comes spiritual attack.

This attack is something very real that we deal with in this household, especially when Rick travels. I can feel it in the air. Emotions run high, kids and mom don't sleep as well, that makes everyone more grumpy, you get the cycle! Then, there are those freakish things that happen, like windows leaking, cars breaking down, etc. These are things out of my control, but the timing doesn't seem random.

So, we pray a lot and ask others to pray. Even last night I had a little "meeting" with the older kids and told them that God might want to speak to them during this time that Daddy is gone and challenged them to be seeking Him. I don't believe any of these events are random. So, I pray a little more, try to breathe a little deeper, and ask God to give me the eyes to see Him and His work.

Lauren's Big Day

On Monday, after taking Rick to the airport, we decided to take advantage of being in Denver. We started off our time at Krispy Kreme. Cody even decided he was going to risk the potential after effects of the gluten and ate 2 doughnuts himself.
The kids watching the doughnuts being made.
Isaiah and his doughnut.
Isaiah attacking his doughnut.
Cody hasn't had anything like this in over 2 years. Surprisingly, he didn't get sick. I don't know what that means. He enjoyed every bite.
He kept saying, "Just smelling them makes me smile."
Laila looks way more excited than she really was.
She only ate one bite of her doughnut.
Sam enjoyed his doughnut.
Next, we went to the American Girl store. Lauren received enough money for her bday to buy a doll. She decided to get a "Just Like You" doll. Abby has been saving up for outfits for her bitty twins. She was pretty excited, too.
Outside the store.
Lauren and her doll, Grace(Lauren's middle name).
The area outside the store is so pretty with water and stones and waterfalls. We decided to walk around a little and took a few pictures.
Sam and one of his many poses.
Lauren and Grace both wearing their glasses.
There was a patch of fake grass and chairs that we parked at for a while. The kids were able to run around and play, and I enjoyed being outside for a while.
Laila lounging.
Welcome to the gun show! Pow! Pow!
Cody, delirious from gluten intake.
Abby, Caleb, and Sarah in their new safari outfits.
The girls and their babies.