November 30, 2010

Pictures and Goings-On

I realize that we haven't posted many pictures lately... we haven't done much of anything lately, blog-wise. So, here are some fun ones...
Heidi - Licking the beater after our first attempt at making
ganache for Jenn's birthday cake.  She liked it.
Latest activity - building a tent in Heidi's room
with blankets.

Thanksgiving - Curious George x 2.

Thanksgiving - Literally, mid-stride in Dusty's lap, Izzy face
plants and falls dead asleep in his lap... face first in the couch.

New Baby's Room - I ordered these green cushions for our wooden rocking chair
when Heidi was born, for those middle of the night feedings.  They were cute and
fuzzy but very flat.  Cue fluffy old khaki pillow that doesn't match anything... steal his stuffing,
re-stuff baby rocker pillows.  One of the reasons Matt loves me, I think.  Thrifty.

November 23, 2010

Busy... and Thankful

So, it's been almost a month since our last post.  It has been one of the busiest months of the year, so that would explain it.  Matt had 2+ Forge-related trips, and I attempted a trip with my mom which, at the last minute, fell through so we have been gone a lot, and our times at home are playing catch up on housework, laundry, and Heidi-settling-back-in-at-home.

We've had 2 birthday parties, 1 Forge movie night, dinner at my parents' house in Fort Worth, a trip to Billy Bob's, 3 doctor's appointments and a little toddler who has been very much a 2-year old along the way!  To her credit, we've dragged Heidi back and forth between FW, Plano and Tyler quite a bit... and it's not even the holidays yet!

Here are a few of the things that I'm thankful for, as we approach this season:
1. My fantastic husband - Matt.  He has taken care of me during the tired, grumpy, morning-sickness-filled, lazy, wiped out, and too busy times.  I'm always thankful for him, but he has really shown me how much he loves me by how he has cared for me, our daughter, our house and in providing for our needs.

2. A sweet little girl named Heidi, who keeps me smiling every day.  Amidst the temper tantrums of 2-ness, the disobedience, and the messes, she has the cutest flirty smile, the prettiest blue eyes you'll ever see, and the cutest singing voice you ever hear.  I'm so thankful that God has given her to us.  The joy supersedes the trials!
Hoping her ambitions reach a little higher than
McDonald's, but for now, it's cute!
Playing at DeeDee's house

3. A healthy Baby #2.  It's been a trying 14+ weeks - I don't remember being this tired last time... but I didn't have a 2-year old last time I was pregnant!  Children are a blessing from the Lord, and I'm trying to remember that daily even when I'm tired.  Baby #2 is another sign of God's blessing to us, and we are so grateful.
Now the size of a lemon!

4. For a wonderful family (and in-laws).  I love my family.  I have 3 brothers - we all get along, we all love to spend time together, and my parents make their house a wonderful place for us all to gather for the holidays.  My folks are a great example of a faithful godly couple that is still married after almost 39 years.  My in-laws are the best too!  Not only can my mother-in-law make the best apple pies in the world (seriously), but they are overly generous... with their time and their money.  They have taken care of Heidi during some fun and some hard times lately, and are always willing to accommodate Matt and I to make our lives easier with a little kid and one on the way.  My sister-in-law, Jodie, is wonderful too.  She helped teach our Forge students about leadership in the medical field, babysits Heidi for me, and is a great best friend too (just like my other sister-in-laws!)

5. My friends here at Pine Cove and in Tyler... couldn't ask for a better community:  Jenn, Jenny, Hannah and Amanda next door, Jeff & Charis on the other side next door, Ginger, Steph, Amanda, Christina, Brooke, Lori, Emily, Lauren, "other" Jenny, Forge students, media team, freelance friend Linda... and I'm just getting started!

6. I am most of all grateful that I don't have to pay the penalty for my own sin.  Couldn't do it even if I wanted to.  And who would want to?  But Christ.

Grateful.  Happy Thanksgiving!

October 26, 2010

Two are better than one... right?

We think so, but Heidi might not be ready to share her kingdom (and her grandparents) with a brother or sister.  In any case, we're excited about adding another one to our family and we look forward to seeing our baby in May 2011!

(Heidi + One = Two.  No, it's not twins. :)

August 28, 2010

A summer of creativity

This summer has been great. Relaxed, fun and full of projects - which I love. Some of them needed to be done (house chores) and some I created to have an outlet for my creativity. I get in project moods... you know? Where I want to create, or decorate, or paint or build, or revamp something. Matt is patient to let me do those things - he even bought me a table saw for our anniversary. (Yes, for me, not himself.) I love it. He knows my need to have that outlet. His is Playstation or reading or writing/blogging. Mine is crafting.

So, here are a few of the things we've been doing this summer.
1. My first attempt at a vegetable garden. Cucumbers and grape tomatoes were the easiest, along with herbs. From fresh picked in a bowl, to bruschetta with tomatoes and freshly picked basil, to chicken salad with fresh cucumbers and tomatoes, it's been a success. I'll try it again.

2. Chalkboard table. Got the table for $3 on clearance at BB&B. Don't know why it was, the box was opened, but the pieces were all there. Bought chalkboard paint for $4 and voila. A $7 table for Heidi and her friends to color on. So far, impressed with the chalkboard paint...

3. After 8 years of marriage and 3 hand-me-down dining room tables, we though we'd bite the bullet and get one we like. Tried long and hard to make an old antique door work for a table. Still have the door, still have the dream of using it. Maybe later. In the meantime, here's what we got. Seats 8. Glad to have it now that 25 (!) new Forge students are coming next Saturday. Thanks to Freelantz Design for the new table and even new settings and centerpiece!

A friend decorated a hutch in her house. That inspired me to deco our shelves. The shelves inspired the desk area. The desk, the kitchen area... what's next? Any votes on what the next craft should be? 2 months to make a Halloween costume for Heidi...

August 17, 2010

My 30-while-30 List

I discovered this idea on one of my favorite "mom blogs," and thought I'd create one of my own.

I like having goals. I don't actually check the list often enough to remind myself of all of them, but they're in the back of my head - much more concrete than if I hadn't written them down. The list gives me projects to do that I feel are worthwhile, so I'm not just spinning my wheels on "whatever" and wishing at the end of the year that I'd done something more meaningful.

Try it. I think coming up with the list was one of the most fun things... I should have put "make a list" on my list!

August 13, 2010

Our Military...

We went to Kansas last weekend for a wedding. I have to say that the wedding was great. The bride was lovely and Matt and I can't be more excited for them as a couple.

However, I was reminded of something just as impactful as we sat in the Wichita airport, waiting to fly back to Dallas. I guess Wichita is a small enough town that they still let loved ones come to the gate with you to see you off on your plane. I watched as a middle-aged man dressed in U.S. Army fatigues talked with his family - wife and two kids, probably ages 7 and 4. He carried a large backpack/duffle, the standard issue I assume. He hugged each of their necks, said a few words. When the time came, he boarded the plane early so I sat and watched his departure. He looked back at his wife and smiled. She picked up their 4-year old son and held him close. The 7-year old girl stood close at her side. The kids waved - Mommy probably told them to say goodbye. Then he disappeared into the tunnel to board the plane.

I watched the wife as he rounded the corner, out of sight. She closed her eyes for a brief second, gathered her thoughts, gathered her children and headed out of the airport. I don't know if she was making a mental picture of him leaving, memorizing his face as he looked back at her, I don't know where he was going - to field training in Texas or Alabama, or to Iraq or Afghanistan. I don't know if he'll be in harm's way, or immediately anyway. I don't know if he'll come back or see his family again. I don't know his rank, I wish I did. I'll have to have my brothers teach me how to recognize it on a uniform.

I do know his last name is Rogers (on his uniform), and he's serving our country in some capacity, and he had to leave his family for some amount of time to do it.

So, I write this because I am thankful. And I want to remember to pray for officer Rogers, whatever his title may be. And his wife and two kids. And for his safe return. And for the Lord to strengthen them all. I'll add my cousin Doug Jones in there too, in Afghanistan. And my brothers as they serve in the Air Force.

A friend posted the link below on Facebook, which reminded me to write. You don't have to watch the whole thing, but you'll get the idea after a couple of minutes. Fathers really are special.

(disclaimer: I have no idea what the "verse" reference is at the end of the video, if you get that far. :-)

July 24, 2010

Heidi Sing-a-Long

We'd love it if Heidi would sing for everyone on command, but she typically gets pretty shy.  Luckily we caught her singing in the back seat while we were driving into town and thought you guys might need a listen.  We were bummed we didn't have our video camera, but thankful for the voice recorder on Matt's phone!  Enjoy Heidi's rendition of the ABC's, the Itsy Bitsy Spider and God Made Me.

July 20, 2010

Ahhhh.... summer time.

Just a quick note. I'm enjoying our summer a lot. A friend and I talked last night about how summer just feels different even though she still works all day and I still work at home and take care of Heidi full time. You just feel like it's vacation time even though everything else is pretty much the same.

Case in point - we went to Braum's for ice cream tonight: Matt, Heidi, Jenn and I. We came home and Matt started the sprinkler to watering the lawn in the front. Heidi decided to play in it a little bit (she's been scared before)... she liked it this time so we let her play til her clothes were soaked and it was 30 minutes past her bedtime. She had a blast.

Ice cream cones and playing in the sprinkler. That's summertime for ya'. Love it.

June 21, 2010

Just a quick video for dad... Heidi the Hairdresser

Hey there! I know we just got to chat with you today (yay!) but here's a video for you for tomorrow. We love you!

June 18, 2010

Look Dad, no crying!

I guess the two trips to the pool have cured Heidi of her fear of having water poured on her head... at least temporarily. We love you!

June 16, 2010

Bunny bunny

A quick video for the daddy and other viewers. :-)

We went to the White's house this morning to see their prize-winning bunnies. Wow! They are beautiful, so soft, and we learned a lot about what it takes for a bunny to be "just right" for showing them at the Stock Show or other places. Very cool! Heidi loved poking her fingers in the cages and petting them (sometimes it looks more like hitting).

Enjoy! Thank you to Debbie and Parker for standing out in the heat to show them to us and tour us around, and for wrangling bunnies so Heidi could pet them. You guys are great! For those of you who don't know, Matt and I got engaged at the White's back when their hobby was horses instead of rabbits. We went horseback riding there and got engaged in the woods near their home. Love you guys! Thanks for the fun memories.

Little Theologian

Didn't have a chance to put up all the pics or try the video - maybe later this afternoon. In the meantime, I thought I'd share this one for daddy. :-)

DeeDee and I were working in the kitchen while Heidi played in the living room. We kept hearing a little rustle-rustle, so I figured she must be getting into some kind of trouble, tearing papers or something. Nope... this is what I found instead.


June 14, 2010

Starting out our week... Hi Daddy!

Let's see... since the other day, we've crammed in lots of fun with DeeDee and Papa. Sunday we went to church and Heidi had such a blast in the nursery that she didn't want to leave! A good sign. :-) We all came home and had lunch and then we ALL took a nap. What a great vacation for us! We keep staying up until midnight chatting and watching movies, so the naps have been good.

After naptime, we headed over to the Goodrich's house for a pool party and dinner. They have a great huge house and a fun pool for the kids, and lots of toys. Heidi got to play with their little girl, Helena, in the nursery at church in the morning, so they were instant buddies when we go to their house. They played inside with the play kitchen and everybody had a blast in the pool. Heidi doesn't like to sit in the floaties, but she loves being held and "swimming" around as you hold her on her tummy. She's learning to wiggle her legs and arms just a little bit, and can even cling to the side of the pool for a little while too.

When we got home, DeeDee and Heidi played play-dough a little bit before bed, and we actually got her down at 7:30! Not bad for one day... we packed it in. Today (Monday) we have been at home most of the morning playing and coloring, and we're going grocery shopping to cook stuff for the family reunion. Then I may sneak out and go shopping myself or go up to Stampede tonight to see friends.

We miss you daddy! We are having lots of fun and hope you are too. I bet it is incredible! Hopefully we'll talk to you this afternoon as you get ready to rest up for Mt. Sinai. Wow! We love you.

~Mommy and Heidi (the pictures aren't the highest quality, but hey, they capture the moments well enough!)

June 12, 2010

While you were out

Well Daddy, we promised you pictures while you are in Egypt, so here they are! We've packed a lot of fun into the first day here. Popsicles, swimming in the baby pool (maybe go to the Ulshes Monday), playing in the playhouse, upstairs and downstairs, lots of "bees", and reading books with DeeDee and Papa. The triumph of the day is playing in the baby pool in the front yard, Papa got in the little pool with her, and when he left to go to the garage, she got out and said, "Papa? Where go? Papa." So, after 2 years Grandpa is officially in the club of people that Heidi likes. :-) He even read her a story and tucked her in tonight and she didn't make a peep.

We're missing you and hoping you got some good rest last night so you could have a good first day! If we don't talk to you Sunday afternoon our time, we'll see you on Monday. We love you! It's only Day One but we miss you already. Excited to hear about your journeys from the day!

May 26, 2010

Green thumb... or zucchini

Well, if you haven't noticed lately, there haven't been many pictures on our blog. This is because our little sweetie dropped our camera a while back so it doesn't work anymore. However, for blog purposes, I have figured out how to take photos with our web cam, so these will have to do for our updates until we get a new camera.

The latest? Well, I can't show you a photo of our fun vegetable garden (on account of our web cam being built into our iMac and not being able to carry the computer outside to take a photo), but I can show you some of the products of our little gardening experiment.

I started this experiment with the hopes that it would be a fun venture, and we would maybe get something out of it too. With a lot of work, Lowe's gift cards, and lots of weed-pulling and watering, I wasn't sure if it would be worth all the money and effort. I mean, $60 of materials better mean that we're getting at least $60 of vegetables back, right? I have hopes for what the little garden will produce, but keep telling myself I'll be happy with anything small now, and we'll improve and learn for next season.

Anyway, at long last, we have a little something to show for it. Probably one of the biggest zucchinis I've seen in a long time. Success! And the plant is huge - the leaves are probably 12" in diameter. The radishes - a little small, but I attribute this to the fact that I planted them too close together, so most of them are growing as long skinny veggies rather than round. Lesson #1 for next time, so still a success. (sorry, straight out of the garden, dirty fingers and all)

I know that these 3 veggies are not actually worth $60, several hours, a slightly higher water bill and the extra time out in the sun, but hey, I didn't get into gardening for that reason alone. I think it's neat to put hard work into something and see the fruits (or vegetables) of your labor. :-) I guess it's more of a hobby, and you happen to get food out of it too! So, where I could spend $60 going to the movies a few times or going bowling or buying/reading a new book, this is one of my hobbies now.

I am a gardener. Not the best, we don't have the largest "field," but it sure is fun. I think I'll try it again next season. My goal? I wanna take one of those photos like in Little House on the Prairie where they go to the garden and come back with a basketful of fresh colorful produce. Maybe if the timing is right I can do that soon.

So far, I figure I've made back about $2. :-)

In the meantime, fried zucchini anyone?

April 12, 2010


Can I take just a moment to brag about how wonderful my neighborhood is (in particular, the neighbors on either side of us), and how much I love living where I do? I'll walk you through the last month or so, so you can get a good picture of it. Granted, all of us happen to work at the same ministry, so we would expect to be friendly with one another... but check this out.

March 12th - We go to Israel for 12 days. Our neighbors on the left take care of our dog for 7 of those days - and just about any other time we need it. And our dogs play together in the yard on a regular basis.
March 25th - Our neighbors on the left have a difficult season in their lives, so I take dinner over and put flowers in their kitchen while they're out of town so they don't have to cook when they get back.

April 3rd - One of the neighbors on our right side (in our rent house) comes over for dinner. I don't have any sugar for sweet tea, so she brings some.
April 4th - Several of the girls from the rent house come over for a potluck dinner.
April 5th - I go over to the girls' house to watch TV with them.
April 6th - Matt and I both go over to the girls' house to watch LOST together because we don't get ABC on our TV.
April 9th - Our neighbor on the left comes over to do maintenance on our riding lawnmower to prepare it for summer. He borrows it to mow his lawn, and in return keeps it in tip-top shape for us and shares the cost.
April 10th-11th - We go out of town, so one of the girls watches our dog for us... again.
April 12th - Heidi and I go outside in the front yard. The girls are having a picnic dinner on the lawn, so we stop in for a moment. Our other neighbor texts to see if she can borrow some vegetable oil. Sure. I tell the picnic girls to come over when they're done and we'll watch a movie. I want to make banana bread, but don't have any sugar. They'll bring some, no problem. (update - and some extra flour)

We have learned about hospitality on our trips to Israel - how you can't survive in the desert alone, how accustomed they are to serving one another out of necessity, how a woman and her family (daughters, grandkids) will make homemade bread and sweet tea (syrup!) for 50 people in a matter of minutes, because it's what they DO. They just do. No questions asked.

I'm also reminded of how the first church functioned this way. They had all things in common and shared their possessions as if nothing were their own, but belonged to the group. I recently read an article in one of the (pretty liberally-minded) magazines that I subscribe to about doing this very thing - offering up your possessions and services to those around you. It really is a neat idea, but one that is ancient, Biblically-based and the way it's supposed to be.

I know that they way we live with our neighbors is just a taste of what the Bedouins in Israel or the first church in Acts experience(d) on a daily basis, but I'll say this: if we ever move to another house, city or state, I will want to find a community like this one.

March 23, 2010

Nothing says home like...

Chic fil a! We are safely back in Texas and stopped for lunch on the way home! Thanks for watching our trip! The End! :)

Almost Home!

We made the first leg to Newark with no problems! Now just one more flight and then we are home! We are so excited to see everyone!

March 22, 2010

Last Day in Israel!

Just a quick note to let you know that we had a fantastic last day in Israel today. We made it on to the Temple Mount first thing this morning! For those of you who were praying, thank you! It was an outside shot and we made it! After the Temple Mount we spent the rest of the morning in Bethlehem to see the Church of the Nativity and the Herodian. After some shopping at Johnny's, we walked the ramparts of the Old City one last time before heading back to the hotel to shower, change and head to dinner and then to the airport!

Next time you hear from us, we should be in the States! Please pray for our travel - we certainly would not like to have a repeat of our adventure over here. :)

Looking forward to seeing all of you very soon!


Marty teaching our group on the Temple Mount:

March 21, 2010


It was a BIG day today as we spent our entire day hiking through the Old City of Jerusalem. We began at the Mount of Olives and followed the chronology of Jesus' last week from there down to Gethsemene and then up into the city (with a quick stop at the pool of Bethesda), down the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher where Jesus was crucified and buried. After a lunch of Jewish bagels, we studied on the Southern Steps of the Temple (beneath the Huldah gates) and then walked down into the City of David where we got to walk through Hezekiah's Tunnel and see the recently excavated Pool of Siloam. As if that wasn't big enough, we finished the day with a visit to the Western Wall before heading back for our last night here in Israel!

Such a BIG day it's hard to believe that we have one more left! We are all doing well and we are eager to see each of you. We had fun celebrating Michael's birthday today and look forward to celebrating Lindsey's tomorrow (how cool to have your birthday in Israel!).

This might be our last post until we hit the airport in Newark on Tuesday morning, but I hope to be able to post one more time before we leave tomorrow evening - we'll see. Until then...

1. Forgies on the Mount of Olives (Temple Mount in background) 2. Ross leading us in communion in Gethsemene 3. Marty teaching us on the Southern Steps (Mt. of Olives in the background) 4. Finishing our day at the Western Wall


March 20, 2010

Another BIG Day!

Shalom from Jerusalem! We've made it to "the House," as Marty likes to say. It's exciting to be here and we are looking forward to our time tomorrow.

We spent today making our way out of Galilee westward towards the Mediterranean, making some BIG stops along the way. First, we visited Megiddo - one of the world's most ancient and prominent cities. Next, we rode up to Mt. Carmel and re-lived the story of Elijah vs. the prophets of Baal - on the same mountain where it happened! Then a big hike down! We ended our day by visiting Caesarea. There we began to learn of Harod's audacity and what it means to build something that lasts.

We're now in Jerusalem where we'll finish out our trip. Everyone is feeling well and in good spirits - thanks for praying! Our hotel is right inside the Old City walls, and we are looking forward to another BIG DAY tomorrow as we explore the city - with the Text in hand - and see what God has for us.

Until tomorrow!

1. At the pagan altar in Megiddo. 2. At the top of Mt. Carmel. 3. Forge girls on the way down from Carmel. 4. Mt. Carmel from the bottom - quite a hike! 5. Caesarea. 6. Whole group on the Mediterranean Sea at Caesarea. 7. All of us! 8. Forge guys atop the aqeuduct.

March 19, 2010

A Day in the Decapolis

Shabat Shalom! It's Friday here, which means that this evening begins the Shabat, or Sabbath.

Today we began our day at Mt. Gilboa. We read the story of King Saul going up against the Philistines and his lack of faith in going to see a medium in Endor. (on the next mountain over) We learned about what it means to inquire of the Lord rather than seek wisdom elsewhere. We hiked down to the stream below where it is believed that Gideon led the army against the Philistines, and where God dwindled his troops down from 22,000 to just 300 so the glory could only be given to God for the victory.

After Gilboa, we took a quick trip east to Beth-Shean - a Decapolis city on the west side of the Jordan. There we were confronted with the dilemma of how you offer the Gospel to someone who lives in such luxury that they see no need for it.

Then, after lunch, we visited Susita, another Decaplios city, close to where Jesus cast Legion into a herd of pigs. We found resolution to the question posed at Beth-Shean, concluding that the blood of Jesus and our testimony are the most effective things we have to offer the world.

We finished our day at the mighty Jordan river to reflect on our trip thus far, have a time of prayer & repentance, and baptize 4 people in our group!

That wraps up our time in the Galilee. Tomorrow we visit Megiddo, Mt. Carmel & Caesarea before heading up to Jerusalem!

On to the pictures!

1. At the top of Mt. Gilboa. 2. Marty teaching in Beth-Shean in the ancient lavitory. :) 3. Walking down the Cardo in Beth-Shean. 4. Atop Susita. 5. Hiking down from Susita. 6. Matt teaching at the Jordan River. 7. Matt's baptism. 8. Jason's baptism. 9. Singing hymns and saying the Sh'ma at the Jordan River.

March 18, 2010

A Day in the North of Galilee


We had another great day in the Galilee today. Our morning started with a devotional on the Golan Heights looking down upon the Sea of Galilee - a great way to start our day! We then made our way north and made our first stop at Gamla where we learned what happenend at the site as well as got to sit in a 1st century synagogue that Jesus likely would have been in. On the way to our second stop we had lunch. Since it was Jon Quick's birthday today, we thought it might be fun to do a Birthday Rap in Israel! It was great fun - especially for our guides who thought we were crazy. :) Our second stop of the day was Caesarea Phillipi where Marty introduced the importance of the site to Jesus' question to his disciples, "Who do you say that I am." This site is also one of the sources of the Jordan River, so we hiked down and were able to find the beautiful and famous waterfall. We finished up our day at the ruins of Omrit - a city attributed to Harrod which was possibly a stop on the Damascus road.

All in all - it was, of course, another BIG day! Your comments are so encouraging! I'll pass those along to everyone. As always your prayers are much appreciated. Everyone is healthy, but we have aches and pains and a few minor injuries developing (nothing serious). Please pray for health, rest, and for our hearts to be open to all that God has for us each day! Thanks!

Here are some pictures:
1. Marty teaching at Gamla 2. Marty teaching at synagoge in Gamla, 3. Our group at Caesarea Phillipi 4. Doing the Birthday rap for Jon! 5. Kimberly, Emily & Patoya at the waterfall 6. Grant showing you that we are often-times off the beaten path 7. Ruins at Omrit 8. Standing on the Damascus road?