Archive | July, 2008

Karis & her dolly

Karis received her first baby doll this week, and she absolutely loves it! I was on a hunt to try to avoid a plastic doll, if possible. I wanted to find something that would be more safe (to the best of my understanding) for her to play with, and chew on, if desired. I knew it would get a lot of love! A few options out there include Waldorf dolls and cloth dolls. I decided to go with the cloth version and found an adorable one (North American Bear Company doll) at a local children’s boutique. Although not incredibly cheap at $25, it is good quality company (should last, Lord willing), and I figured this will be her only one, as we try to keep the toy purchases to a real minimum. It also has cute little outfits that you can purchase separately, which will be fun for Karis in the future.

She added “baby” to her vocabulary as a result. Another great feature is it is so soft and cuddly – making it great to snuggle and sleep with, which she is enjoying greatly. She also loves giving baby doll kisses! I love to see her start to radiate those nurturing qualities. Better to learn now, especially with our second little one on the way. We are learning how to be gentle with the baby and love the baby. So fun!

Another cute one I saw was the Baby Stella doll. Alas, it was a battle of indecisiveness!

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Speaking His Name

A few months back I shared a little bit about the importance of reaching out to new neighbors as a means of bringing the gospel to our communities, but since this post a godly sister in my church challenged me on one point…am I actually speaking His name or is this just a nice gesture? Did I include the truth in those baskets in any shape or form?

By God’s grace, we are seeking to be creative in reaching out in our neighborhood this summer. The Lord has been challenging me to speak of Him in all that I do. I don’t want to just be know as a nice family in our community, but rather a godly family! A few weeks back, the overabundance of whole wheat cinnamon rolls (thanks to Laura’s recipe!) I made gave amble opportunity to distribute some to our neighbors.

Rather than just giving them the plate of goodies, the Lord challenged me to include a note together with the goodies including Scripture verses. I was nervous and scared, but was inspired to step out in faith. I wrote a note saying, “May the sweetness of this treat speak of the precious Ultimate Gift of Christ Jesus who gave Himself for us!” Karis did a little scribbling and I wrote a Bible verse. My friend encouraged me to include Karis in the project now even when she is young, and allow the Lord to work through all of us. When she gets older, I will have her write out Scripture verses and more creative drawings for others and pray the Lord would use her sweet gifts to bless those around us.

Don’t they look yummy?

I am so thankful for the good work He is doing in my life. It’s not about me, but all about Him! Why should I be ashamed to speak His name in all that I do?

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Q & A: Our Exercise Routine

Taking a pause from the simplifying series this week to address this question that Abbi presented several weeks ago…finally getting around to sharing our exercise routine. Come back next Wednesday for simplifying tips for the bedroom!

Abbi asked: I would love to hear more about what you do for exercise in the mornings. What has worked for you?


Aaron and I have found the most successful way to be consistent in exercising is to keep each other accountable. We wake up together around 6:30am and work out together before the little one wakes up. This has worked very well for us. I am not motivated to exercise without his help and the same goes for him. We exercise twice a week currently, Tuesday & Thursday mornings, as we normally take a family walk at least once a week to give us three exercise sessions each week (which I believe is the standard recommendation).

Exercise Bike

The Lord provided a nice exercise bike for Aaron’s use which he will work out on for about 30 minutes (neighbors moved away and gave it to us for $10), while I use an exercise aerobic video (around 25 min. in length). Due to the limited space in our bedroom, we actually store the bike in our closet and he exercises in there. We do have a large closet, so it works well. I use the video on my laptop, propped on the bed, and work out in our bedroom space. We enjoy this routine because it works well for all seasons! We are not dependent upon nice weather to get some good exercise in. Exercising in the morning also helps boost our energy levels for the day. It also works well to just take a shower right afterwards and be nicely prepared for the day.

Aaron actually reads his Bible while exercising, but I have to wait until afterward as my hands are active in my routine. I will spend time in the Word while nursing Karis as she normally wakes up around 7:30am, and by then we have completed our exercise, taken a shower, and have gotten dressed for the day.

I have seen numerous used exercise bikes and equipment on craigslist for anyone interested.

Workout Videos

Currently I am using Denise Austin’s Power Zone DVD. (Warning: on the front cover Denise is not in very modest attire, but in the video they wear decent sports bras or tank tops with shorts or capris. Front cover must just be for sales, sadly enough). This is an excellent, thorough, fairly intense workout, including an aerobic workout, and two other toning segments. I normally stick to the aerobic workout, as time does not permit further toning. You have to have a power resistance band for this workout, but these are very cheap in the exercise section at Target or a similar store.

I am still using this video into the beginning of my pregnancy, but in another month or so, I will mellow down a bit to using Denise Austen’s Fit & Firm Pregnancy DVD. I used this with the first pregnancy, and it was very helpful for keeping me healthy up till the birth. It is definitely not as intense as the Power Zone video, but it also includes a post-pardum workout to ease back down to your original weight.

That’s what works for us!

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Reflections on Our Week of Service

I rejoice at the good work the Lord accomplished through us this past week! Praise the Lord for all that He has done! I am so thankful for the friendships made, the ministries we served, and the team that came together to do it. To hear one of our daily reports read here.

Looking back over this past week and our local service here in our city, the Lord really impressed me with a few lessons:

There are so many needs in our backyard!

I am amazed how easily deceived I have been into thinking that frontier missions is where we need to send the laborers. The Great Commission is a call for one and all to go forth and share the love of the Christ. Not all are called to a foreign field, but all are called to serve where you are. The gospel can be so clearly communicated through the demonstration of Christ’s love in service. Serving others opens the doors for the gospel! There were widows that needed the love of Christ and why not demonstrate and communicate it through cleaning their backyards? There were homeless men and women whose hearts were touched and more receptive to the gospel because we gave them a pair of flipflops! How simple is that?

Families serving together is a powerful witness to the world – including the little ones!

The family model in our day and age is disintegrating. We need the witness of families (small and large, father, mother & children) out there serving and showing others a picture of godly families. I was blessed by how the Lord impacted two of my younger siblings  (Brandon & Brooke, age 10), throughout the week. In our debriefing gathering on Saturday evening, you could see how their hearts were powerfully touched by serving others. They opened up in prayer several times for those we met, and they shared how they had such a fun time serving others as a family. They had worked really hard throughout the week.

One of the days, a gentleman that was heading up the project, Chuck, was so impressed by Brandon’s diligence, he commented, “He gets two stars, he is such a hard worker”. That is a testimony! Why leave the children behind? This is an opportunity to serve together and implant seeds of compassion in their hearts as they see the needs around them. IT was beautiful to behold! Young Anna, age 3, joined our team for four of the six days along with her mother and brothers. She worked hard, and although she may not been able to accomplish much, she was serving together with her family and learning much about working, serving, and loving others I am sure.

Don’t waste your life

After witnessing the needs in my community, and realizing the great love that Christ has poured out for me, I was filled with a renewed passion to want nothing else but Jesus and Him alone! Nothing else matters eternally- the pursuit of materialism, money, a nice home, comfort in this life – oh that all these temptations the world presents us would fall away from my view! I want Jesus and I want to serve Him alongside my husband and children in complete abandon for the building up of Christ’s Kingdom! From this moment, I am able to see that I have no excuse. Whether I have one or ten children, we can serve together in the cause of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

For a powerful call in this direction, read Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper & Ministries of Mercy by Tim Keller.

We are eagerly looking forward to further service in our community! We desire for this not to happen just once a year, but on a regular basis! We are going forth from here with eyes opened to see the needs. Where can we serve others and share the love of Christ today, tomorrow and for the rest of our lives?

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Catching up…

I will be back on the roll with blogging here shortly, providing a final recap from our week of service and all that the Lord taught us, and other things. Menu hasn’t been planned yet for the week, as food is not on my top priority right now. ;) I am finally getting caught up on responding to e-mails and comments from this past week, so I appreciate your patience with me. For now, I need to take a little nap as this blueberry in my womb (the size of my baby now at 7 weeks) is making me tired…How in the world can a blueberry zap all my energy?

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Portland Mission Outreach: Day 5 Recap

Wow! What a day! You wouldn’t believe how much work the team triumphantly accomplished today. We served at four different widow/widowers homes today with an abundance of yard work. One gentleman, Les, had an entirely overgrown backyard with piles of junk and debris everywhere.


And this is only the front half of the yard! The back half was all cleared out of blackberries and overgrown bushes as well. Praise the Lord!

The team took on this significant challenge and came through successfully, but it was definitely the hardest day of work yet – cutting back blackberry bushes, serious pruning, and hauling, here we come! Thank you for your prayers of perseverance and extra strength! It has been greatly needed. You can actually walk through Less’ back yard now. Hallelujah!

Serveral ladies from the team had prepared gift baskets in advance including fresh fruit, cookies, treats, a gospel tract, gospel booklet and notes. These were distributed to each widow that we served.

The Lord opened the doors for some neat conversations with these folks as well, as Les even joined us for lunch and was definitely warming up as the day progressed.

We will continue to serve at a few other widows’ homes tomorrow, so please pray for the Lord to bless the labors of our hands!

Would you also join us in praying specifically for Les’ salvation?

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Portland Mission Outreach: Day 4 Recap

As you may have noticed I didn’t post anything in regards to day 3…well, Aaron was down and out for the day with a bad cold so we stayed home and I made some marionberry jam with my SIL Autumn. But the team did have a wonderful time of outreach in downtown Portland distributing care bags and flip flops to the homeless. It was a huge success, so I have heard.

Today, day 4, we served at four different Pregnancy Resource Centers around Portland.

We completed various projects from cleaning carpets, floors, dusting, mopping, to sorting and organizing baby clothes and cleaning baby furniture donations. We had a blast! I have been so blessed at how well Karis has been doing this week. What a joy it has been to serve others together as a family, even with little ones…it is possible!

My family served at the headquarters location and packaged baby bottles for their baby bottle drives. These bottles get distributed and people are encouraged to collect loose change around the house to store in the bottle and donate. They informed me that it was quite fun and the staff there was greatly blessed by their service.

Just so you know…PRC are always in need of diapers! So if you happen upon a sale, consider donating them to your local PRC for the needy mothers that come through. They also accept good condition clothing and baby furniture. A great way to pass on your baby’s used goods and serve someone in need. Pregnancy Resource Centers are doing a great work that is worth getting behind. Another powerful way to serve this ministry is through prayer!

Thank you for your prayers! We are having a wonderful time! It is a true joy getting behind ministries that are living out the gospel in practical ways. This will not be the end of the needs…volunteering as a family is a wonderful opportunity to learn how to serve together and further the gospel in a simple and yet powerful way.

Anna, age 3, has been faithfully serving alongside her mother all week! It can be done…even with toddlers! This has been such a blessing to see.

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Portland Mission Outreach: Day 2 Recap

God has been blessing and multiplying the labors of our hands and we are exceeding the expectations of those we are serving. Praise the Lord! Today we were serving at a local park in Wood Village on the outskirts of Portland. This was an extensive project of pulling up grass and weeds that were growing alongside and overcoming a bark trail around the park.

It wasn’t an easy task, but the Lord supplied the grace and gave the team the extra strength and energy for the work.  We had another part of our group laying down new bark chips in the playground area to protect the children while they play. The man (Chuck) who was directing the project was extremely impressed by the hard work the team put it. He kept saying again and again what a huge help it was and that we were serving in a much needed way in our city.

I guess volunteers are becoming harder and harder to come by. This is unfortunate…what better way to be a light than being willing to get dirty and serve our community in this simple way? Chuck was passionate about taking care of the earth, and although our worldview may be different, there is a lesson to be learned that God has called us as believers to lead the way in being good stewards of the earth He has entrusted to our care.We were able to give this man a basket of goodies, a gospel tract, and to explain the reason why we were here was because we were Christians. Please pray for Chuck’s salvation. Along the way others walking the path also asked what we were doing and we were able to share why we were serving.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) the team is off to serve the homeless in downtown Portland! Pray the Lord would really direct them to the right people and open the hearts of the lost to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. Please also pray for my husband Aaron who has come down with a sinus infection today and it is taking him down. Thanks so much!

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Portland Mission Outreach: Day 1 Recap

What a full and yet productive day we had on Monday at Shepherd’s Door, a ministry dedicated to serving homeless women and children by providing basic needs, housing, food, training in life skills and schooling to help get them off the streets.

This is a Christian organization and they have a wonderful vision of imparting the gospel through meeting these practical needs but also in meeting the ultimate need of the gospel of Jesus Christ. IT was a great delight to tour their facility and see the good work that is going on. They house forty women at a time and provide children’s programs at the same time to enable the mother’s to attend school, get their GED, etc. while their children are also learning and such.

As a team, we were able to do some serious weeding throughout the grounds of their facility (and trust me, there was alot!). We cleaned gutters and sprayed moss on the roof, in addition to sanitizing and wiping down all their playground equipment. We had a great team for the first day!

My mother & mother-in-law with Karis – everyone is helping!

Please continue to pray for perseverance among the team…especially for all the younger folks. May we all continue to give our very best and not grow weary in well doing! We are off today to serve in cleaning up a local park!

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Menu Plan – July 21-27

I honestly have been having a hard time with meal planning lately…it has been getting me sick to my stomach to figure out what to eat. It’s not helping that I am getting tired of all my healthy recipes (which specifically frugal to stay in budget), and tired of my CSA (too much greens and nothing else, and bitter greens at that!). Maybe I can blame it on my pregnancy? That probably won’t work. What’s a girl to do? I am thankful for all the other menu ideas posted on Organizing Junkie…maybe doing some excavating will help me out! ;) Just want you to know that I am not perfect in this whole natural eating pursuit…I have my breakdowns.

We are busy all week serving in local mission & service opportunities which we are really excited about, so we will have picnic lunches each day. I don’t have lunch meat, so I am trying to think of packable cold foods. Love any suggestions! Other than that, our menu is pretty simple.

Prep: soak bread, soak oatmeal, cook black beans for dinner, thaw chicken, make egg salad mix Mon night for Tues lunch

Breakfast: Kefir Smoothie, toast
Lunch: Leftover pizza
Dinner: Southwest Chicken Salad

Prep: bake homemade bread

Breakfast: Oatmeal, raisins, coconut flakes, almonds
Lunch:  Egg Salad Sandwiches, fruit
Dinner: Nachos (chili, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, etc)

Wednesday (we are home this day for a rest)
Prep: soak bulgur, soak lentils for Thursday, thaw cod, thaw chicken for Thurs lunch (make Wed night)

Breakfast: Smoothie, muffin or toast
Lunch: Tomato Soup, grilled cheese sandwiches
Dinner: Cod with Italian Crumb Topping, brown rice, Salad

cook lentils

Breakfast: Breakfast Bulgur
Lunch: Honey Mustard Chicken Sandwiches
Dinner: Sweet & Sour Lentils

Prep: soak pancake batter for Sat

Breakfast: Fruit Salad, yogurt, homemade granola
Lunch:  Peanut Butter & Jelly, celery & carrot sticks
Dinner: Homemade Pizza, Salad


Breakfast: Pancakes, oranges (this is our standard Saturday breakfast! It’s so good!)
Lunch:  ?
Dinner: Final dinner together with team from our outreach


Breakfast: Homemade Granola(quick and easy breakfast on the run to church!)

For more menu ideas, visit Organizing Junkie.
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