29 January 2010


...ever since we started budgeting, we rely mainly on cash. If you've seen my wallet, you've seen my envelopes. We don't use credit cards, and we only use our debit cards for gas. And since Brad is home, I hardly ever have to get gas. He keeps me squared away. And I am out of practice when it comes to swiping cards! This makes for some awkward moments when I use my Visa gift card that I got for Christmas. I know there is money on it, I am just so clumsy when using it! The thing says "DEBIT CARD" right on the front, but of course, there isn't a pin number, so I have to use it as a "CREDIT CARD." I've used it numerous times since Christmas, and yet I am still so uncertain. I mumble to the cashier in a higher-pitch-than-normal about it being a gift card. Sometimes I add a really strange giggle at the end of my mumbling. The cashier always looks unimpressed when she nods back at me. I hold the card to the machine and inevitably she has to tell me to "No, turn it the other way." Then after I swipe it I have to wait for


...which starts me wondering if I did it right. I second-guess myself a bit and wonder if I shouldn't just get some cash out of one of my envelopes and sort it all out later; but then I would miss out on using the gift. I try to make eye-contact with the clerk to see if she can reassure me any. Its only a few seconds, but I am so relieved when its approved. And it has been each time, without any problems, but I bet the same nervous smile will reappear, while I twist my wedding band and wait the next time for


Right now, I feel like my heart is in the processing mode. I am beginning to see clearly the ways God has prepared my heart for this time... maybe the deposits on my gift card. A verse* that He gave me to anchor my life, my husband returning safely from deployment, a lovely summer, a Bible study on the book of James, a farewell to good friends, reading two great books - Sacred Marriage and Crazy Love, a new home, a new year full of hopeful wishes... the list is longer, these are just the highlights of how He has been moving in my heart. He has been faithfully challenging me, and filling me up. And finally, I feel like my heart's gift card was swiped when the earthquake hit Haiti. And here I am


I don't have answers as I awkwardly wait. I have shed tears for people I don't know, and mourned for children I'll never hold. I squirm, wondering if I should just figure something out, so I can avoid this awkward waiting. Perhaps I can just run with my own idea and sort it out later. But my heart knows I will miss out. In the scheme of things, I know its only a few seconds, a brief moment in time. I know the One that I am waiting for; He has proved time and again that He is faithful. So I will wait. Awkwardly, perhaps, but whole-heartedly too.

*Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

27 January 2010

not for the faint of heart...

seriously. if that is not a black widow, then I don't know what is...

this beast is right outside our patio door as I type. Thankfully I was able to muster up the strength to knock it off the siding and trap it under a jar. Barbie was fortunate enough to be the one on the other end of the phone walking me through the process. And sadly, I think it was after she turned up the volume on her phone (because I normally have such a dainty phone voice).

I texted my hero, and he will take care of the situation when he arrives home. I just didn't have it in me to try and crush that thing.

21 January 2010

another finished project...

remember I painted these last week? here's the finished project in our bedroom... (I have the K-mart Thanksgiving day sale to thank for the new bedding, and the little bedside lamps were from steinmart with some Christmas money) 1 Corinthians 13:8a... love never fails.

another angle... you can see a glimpse of the super-bright-turquoise on the edge of the first one... it took me a couple coats, and finally a mix to get the right shade... I adore it.

here is how they looked in our last master bedroom... (similar theme - 1 Corinthians 13 was the backdrop).

love never fails. A simple truth that we sometimes neglect. I thought we could use a reminder right up there on the wall. Of course, our love fails. But God's love doesn't. I fail often. But God doesn't. Ever. What a reassuring confidence boost.

19 January 2010

auction for Haiti...

my friend Amy wrote a BEAUTIFUL post about Haiti and is also offering one of her creations for auction. All proceeds to go to Heartline Ministry.

at the very least, read her post.

if you can, bid on her lovely jewelry creation...

click *here*

family cook-out

We christened our fire-pit yesterday. I wish I would've had Brad take a picture of me breaking the champagne bottle on the side of it. Oh well. Here is the man building the fire, while the faithful beast surveys the perimeter...
the boys practiced their basketball skills for awhile...

and after hot-dogs they roasted some marshmallows - naturally.

Thanks, Mom & Dad for the thoughtful gift, I am sure we will spend many hours around it in the weeks & months to come!

one project done.

so remember our artwork display at our old house? We don't have an open wall in our dining room here, so I felt they needed to be dressed up a bit for our living room (you know, since we are such formal people?!) here's a reminder of the before... last week, I painted the frames a darker shade of brown... I decided I wanted to do magnetic frames. I did a little online research to figure out how to do it. (How I adore all these insanely crafty bloggers that share their tips!) I had to track down some metal and you see I recycled some of our boxes from the move. I had to buy some metal snips, and I used my handy TomBoy Tools gloves to protect my hands (although somehow Santa gave me two right hands, so I wore one backwards, because I am just that dorky, and I really didn't want to cut my hand). Oh, and a sharpie to trace around the pre-cut cardboard...

I already had the fabric on hand... and tada!!! (P.S. I haven't decided yet what I am going to do with the oval frame... but I did know that I wanted to include it, I got it from my grandma this summer... possibly another family silhouette???)

You know Brad's been working 24 hour shifts... so I do my project work on the nights that he is working. It helps keep me sane. And probably him too, so he's not having to step around the project-in-process-all-over-the-living-room-floor {or dining room table - depending on the project}.
Also, the project work provides a good process for me. I know I am not the only one that is constantly thinking about all the things happening in Haiti. God and I just chat through it while I am working. I try to be quiet so I can hear His Spirit reassure me that He has not changed. That He is working in this. I believe Him.
I have another project that I hope to show you tomorrow.

15 January 2010


So I guess its about time I tell you my New Year's Resolution... except I am not really a resolution-maker. Last year, I made a good one and stuck to it... "to kiss my husband more than the year before." Easy to do when he was deployed 4 months longer in the prior year =)

2009 was a pretty great year for our family. And a really difficult year for many of our family members and friends. I trust that God will do great things in this year ahead for those that have been patiently waiting for His hand to move in their circumstances. I pray that as they continue to watch for Him, that their hearts will be filled with confidence and hope in the One that has great plans. I know He is good, and I know He never fails.

As for me, personally, I ended 2009 with a lot of contentment. We are settled into a new home and new town. Our family is healthy (with the exception of that pesky-strep virus). I am confident of God's faithfulness in our lives, and certain of His promises. And surely contentment is a good thing; but not a destination. In this peaceful place of contentment, I've been seeking God for direction. I've been wondering what God has in store. So many questions of where to plug in... (I was going to list the areas I am considering, but these are just private ponderings for the time being...)

Recently He has led me to a crazy journey through 1 Chronicles... really, a strange place I thought. And perhaps I was even a little disappointed when I began reading there a week or so ago. But His lessons have been rich and spot-on. One particular event in Chronicles centered on David bringing the Ark back to Jerusalem. He asked many people about their opinion, and everyone agreed that, "Yes, it should be done!" So joyfully, they began transporting the Ark. They did it quickly and with excitement, once, when it was slipping a man reached out and touched it to keep it from falling. That man's name was Uzza and when he touched the Ark he broke the law. Therefore, he died. David was angry with God about this. And left the Ark with another family for awhile (I Chronicles 13). The problem was David had a really good idea and jumped on it. But he did it quickly and his own way, rather than asking God how or when... and a man died.

I am waiting to see where God wants me to jump in... if he wants me to jump in at all. And while I am waiting, I will still be doing the daily things I am commanded to do. And hopefully, doing them a little bit better everyday. I will begin researching some of the necessary information for pursuing some of the above ideas (that I decided not to list), but I won't be gathering opinions from anyone but God and my husband. And I will wait. He has good plans for me, but I need to listen for them.

We sang this song Thursday at PWOC. I don't think I've ever heard it before, it blessed my heart and filled my eyes with tears. I hope you can find a quiet moment to listen to it. And that it will bless you as well...

13 January 2010


it's hard to wrap your head around it.

and harder yet when your heart gets involved.

I don't have any wise words, or even coherent reflections tonight. All I can say is that when I start thinking about it, watching the news or reading online; I become queasy. I feel guilty that the poorest nation in our hemisphere never really weighed on my heart until today. I feel sorrow for those that are walking through the devastation. I keep praying, but its more or less just a quiet heart before God, because I don't even know where to begin asking... He knows though.

I told Walker about the earthquake at lunch, he said, "God will take care of them, just like when the bad guy came." I tried to explain that there wasn't a bad guy... he doesn't quite understand. Can I blame him? I don't quite understand either. At least He knows God will take care of them.

Keep praying.

Man, I Feel Like a Reader*

here is a picture of Walker's treasured "Leaf Book" that he got from Santa. I think he said something like, "this is exactly what I wanted!" As he was showing me his Leaf Book when I took this picture, he explained that there were leaves in the front so he can put leaves in this book (and I quote), "If I want worms, then I can get a worm book." WHAT???? I did a little painting today... trying these canvases out for a third time... will post a picture of them in their new home when they are finished.

and I repainted the artwork frames... just a darker brown. we are so risky with our color choices! I'll post a picture of these when they are all done too... you can see how Muskoka kept herself busy while I was painting...
Walker mostly watched me paint or narrated my painting efforts. He did take a break to 'read' some books. He was so cute digging through the basket that I had to snap his picture.

and here is a video of Wilson practicing his first book report... Real sentences and everything. How is my baby old enough for a book report already????

*The title of this post is actually from Literacy night at Wilson's school. The choir sang the song "Man, I Feel Like a Reader" to the tune of... "Man, I Feel Like a Woman" It was humorous to say the least...

p.s. did I ever tell you that Wilson's school kicks off every. single. morning. with this song? Wow. Those teachers had better drink their coffee before the bell rings. I think it's kinda fun!

11 January 2010

January gingerbread!

So, as you know we headed to the far north for Christmas, and some things were neglected before we left town. When we took down the Christmas decorations last week, I remembered that our little gingerbread kit was still under the tree. Not one to want a gift to go to waste, we decided to decorate our men yesterday while Daddy was at work. You can see Walker was pretty fired up about getting that frosting ready! It was pretty serious work, really.

Until someone had to cross the line.... poor Mr. Gingerbread man! Walker ate quite few bites out of his man... Wilson decided to nibble a little off the toe- he wasn't impressed. I didn't dare taste it. Eew.

Here are Mr. & Mrs. Lutz-Gingerbread. I especially like the unit patch on the beret and the flag on the arm. What do you mean you can't see the flag??? Surely you can see the little ballet flats on the Mrs., right?
Wilson's final man - with a matching red shirt!

And Walker's final man, minus part of his head....and a leg.

And here's our winter wreath on the front door... Jenn, have I ever posted a picture of our "welcome" on the door??? I sure hope so, but if not, now you can see it...

07 January 2010

oh Walker!

so, Walker decided to spice things up tonight, since Daddy is away at work. I asked him to take his drum up to his bedroom and to put his toys away before bath time. Wilson and I were snuggled up on the couch... he doesn't get much snuggle time on school days. It was taking Walker quite awhile, and there was some banging, but I had faith that he was doing the right thing. Until he came downstairs and said, "I locked my door so you wouldn't see my toys on the floor." Seriously, I kinda thought he was kidding. He's been busted for locking the door while he is INSIDE his room, but I didn't realize he could lock the door and then walk OUT of his room and shut the door! Smarty pants! I put a plea out on FB and did a little googling. Thankfully eHow had the answer I needed, a small flathead screwdriver...insert then turn. No clicking or anything. Different than the other doors I have unlocked. Anyway, this is what awaited us when we opened the door.... Nice. This is way worse than it was when I asked him to put his drum away! Oh well, its all put away now...*******

And thankfully we had a wonderful afternoon together. He got this little paint set as a non-stocking stuffer from Great Grandpa & Grandma Lewis.

He totally LOVED it!
well, you can see for yourself...

seriously, if he had busted out with the "orange and blue" song after telling me he locked his door, he probably wouldn't have even had to sit on the naughty chair!


...Brad sent me this picture with this text "we finally got some heat. it was a crazy night around here." looks like that meets safety standards adequately. or something. he's going to be working until 5:30 tomorrow am. if we do get the predicted half-inch of snow overnight, then he may be at work longer. at least he'll be warm =)

06 January 2010

Christmas recap with lots of words and pictures...

Oh how I adore Christmas morning pictures... everyone looks so fantastic, or something. This is the post in which I try to tell you all about our wonderful trip North with a hodge-podge-collection of photos in a random order. In a nutshell, we had an awesome trip! Truly a blessed time that we will treasure for a long while to come...

Now on with the randomness... Here are the guys playing Rummikub at great grandpa & grandma rose's house the morning we rolled out of F-town. Carl, Nathan, Great Grandpa and Wils. Four generations. Love it.
Opening Christmas presents with cousin Jack at grandpa & meme's house. Walker gets the award for Best-Gift-Opening-Facial-Expression. He sure had been wantin' a drum.

The Great Crash of '09. The poor old lady is still saying, "I don't know what I hit, I don't think I hit anything..." Technically, The Great Crash is an overstatement and we might begin referring to it as The Big Scratch of '09... Nissa is in the shop for at least a week... (I learned a few lessons from the crash night, one of the most-meaningless things I learned is that I felt bad for not naming the van prior to the accident, therefore I will now refer to her as Nissa, and the ol' Az will remain the ol' Az....or ol' Azteca on fancy days)

I am not sure if Jack was more freaked out by Yaya or the movie in the background... hmmm...

I do believe great Grandma Rose. enjoyed sharing Christmas morning with the boys....and Muskoka. We sure enjoyed being with her!

Walker giving great Grandma K some super snuggles after opening his new sweater (that he insisted on putting on immediately after hugging her).

I am so bad about taking the right pictures these days. But thankfully, I did remember to snap one of the boys with their Uncle David & Aunt Casey who live in North Carolina.

And Uncle Dan and Aunt Elizabeth who live in North Dakota.

And their Uncle Bryan who lives in Colorado.

Opening presents at Grandpa & Grandma's Christmas morning with Uncle Colson and Aunt Jacqueline.

The evening of Christmas... is it just me or does it look like its been a rather long day? This may be the only picture I have of Rene & Bob with Brad & I... so very thankful Aaron could sneak into the background.
Walker + Aunt Jacqueline = Christmas morning cuties!

Brad took the boys, along with Uncle Brennan and Uncle Colson, to the train depot while the girls were baking. They watched model trains, and I think they had a pretty good time.

We really had a fantastic trip. It was hard to leave, as always. We are so blessed by tremendous family. Brad and I have all of our grandparents living...our kids have FOUR sets of Greats! How uncommon is that?! What a heritage we have! It was wonderful to get to spend a bit of time with nearly everyone on our 'wish list,' too. Many memories and treasured moments.
We are pretty much settled in and back on track. So far, I am the only one with the strep. The antibiotic kicked in rather quickly, and I am feeling quite well this evening. I am on amox. for 14 days this time, and they should call me by the end of the week to let me know about the results of the throat culture. A total bonus to getting strep this time and on a holiday weekend is that I read an entire book while in the waiting room at the ready-care clinic. "Crazy Love." And it was good, I am still processing it, each day that I feel better I process a little more ;)
Wilson is back to school and enjoying it. He came home Tuesday with a giant stocking full of goodies from his teacher. Today he got off the bus holding a Diego Candy Cane. No wonder Walker wants "to get bigger and go to school like my brother." Walker crushed me in a game of Memory today. No big surprise there!
Brad's back to work too... crazy schedule and all. Its a bit of a challenge being down to one car again, but thankfully someone he works with lives in our neighborhood so he can catch a ride.
I'll try to get better at blogging again. But its not my resolution, so I can't make any promises... more on my resolution tomorrow... or whenever I get around to blogging again...

03 January 2010

oops, I got strep again...

Seriously. And this time I have the lovely scarlet fever to go with it. Awesome.

How many of you think I am kidding?

And how many of you think I must be some kind of sick-freak-germ-collector?

I know I am not kidding; so I am leaning toward the latter. I went to an urgent-care clinic yesterday, because after you've had strep three times in 7 months, you pretty much know right away what it is that is hurting your ears and throat. The doc did a quick-strep-test and confirmed it to be positive. He also sent away a throat culture to see if I have a resistant strain. We'll see...

Praying again that the boys don't get it; and especially that Brad doesn't. Brad is back to work today, and Wilson starts school on Tuesday.

I am hoping to put some pics up soon of our wonderful trip to the North. We had such a great time, truth is, it never seems to be enough time with family; but its always better to leave wishing you didn't have to, rather than wishing you hadn't stayed so long. We are truly blessed... I'll expand on that when I add the pictures....