What am I thinking!?

This quote from Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes by Alastair Humphreys describes much of my life.

“But whenever you think, ‘this is an exciting idea’ and immediately follow that by thinking, ‘this is a very stupid idea’ then you know you are on to a good thing and that you will regret it if you wimp out.”


We are going to put IKEA out of business

Some of you naysayers have said that we have no talent whatsoever with woodworking…and we proved you right trying to make this kitchen stand for Crystal. However, you cannot say that we lack ingenuity.

Sav (“I’m afraid of sharp power tools), Jon (aka – Bob the Builder)*, and I (“stop whining, Jon, and put a bandaid on it”) spent some time using up the scraps from Jon’s garage. In actuality, these are the scraps of the scraps, since Jon had scavenged them from old pallets and junk heaps. He had used up all the “nice” stuff before we got ahold of it. Selfish. I know.

Through much blood, sweat, and tears (mostly blood), we have a finished product with a top shelf to hold our coffee maker, a middle shelf to hold our microwave, and a bottom slanted shelf to hold our vegetables (one could say that all the shelves are slanted, but this one was actually meant to be. No. Really. I mean it.).

In trying to take over IKEA’s clientele base, I have decided to name our company, IK-E, pronounced “ICK-EE.” We will show those Scandinavians a thing or two.

Grandpa Jack would be so proud.


*If you are wondering why Jon does not appear in any of the photos, it is because we didn’t trust him with any tools except the camera.

Memories for sale!

There is a standing joke with one of our friends every year at their garage sale. We line up all our stuff on tables and shout, “Memories for Sale!”


That phrase gets to the heart of a battle between keeping and throwing, hoarding and giving. What should we keep?

It is a hard question to answer. About a year ago we went through a major move and eliminated a lot of stuff that we had been using or storing. We asked some difficult questions as we packed everything into bins, questions you can read here. But now we are entering into new territory. We have opened the “Bins of Memories” (cue Indiana Jones music).

Those sacred receptacles designated by the word “Keepsake” with the scrawling Sharpie marker are the target of our current focus. What do you keep that was from your childhood? What do you keep that has been past down to you?

We don’t have a perfect answer, and I am sure that at some point we will be disappointed for keeping, or failing to keep, something in particular. However, Crystal came up with two criteria which have been helping us to realistically evaluate what we think is important to us:

  • Will I display this?
  • Will I use this?

If it does not match either of those two, then it doesn’t have much significance for me. And if Tanzen doesn’t see us use it or display it, it won’t have much significance for her on the day she sorts through our possessions when we are gone. I have several things from my grandparents and parents that I will want displayed so they can become part of our daughter’s life as well, and can draw friends and visitors into our lives as we share the stories behind them.

I also have some memory laden everyday tools. I have a couple old butter knives from England, a coffee cup from my first official ultra marathon, a satchel from Perú. I use those knowing that I could accidentally break them, but that is a price I am willing to pay (There will be another post later to fill out this idea).

Disclaimer: There are some trophies, or projects, or horrid first attempts at sewing, or woodworking, that have great memories but would be embarrassing to put on your living room wall. One or two of those we may keep, but others we are taking pictures of and then “gently releasing them into the wild” (think trash can).

How do you determine what to keep and what to thrown?

Two years ago, today…

IMG_1018Today is “Celebration of Life” day. Maybe not on your calendar, but on ours. Today marks the 2nd anniversary of two very special lives. Our arms were first able to hold Tanzen, and Crystal was once again able to use hers.

We celebrate life today because, no matter how thorough your birth plan, it is God who gives life.

A car accident, a birth, and a stroke were all used to point us to our great God who holds us in his hands. He knew. He planned, He protected. We cried. We feared. We didn’t understand.

9E9A2005And we still don’t. We don’t understand why this happened, and neither does the incredible staff in hospitals around Minneapolis. We don’t understand the secret paths of the heart and brain, the sprawling stream of veins and nerves. And we do not understand the secret plans of our great God. And we don’t need to.

As Jon Bloom has said, “much of the Christian life is spent trusting Jesus now and understanding him later” (Bloom, Not by Sight, loc. 1496).

But in these moments of haunting fear and feelings we were able to keenly experience the giver of all strength. In the darkness of doubt the speaker of light shone brightly. I was not sufficient for her, but we rested on the one who is.

It was not easy but the significant times rarely are.

9E9A1994And for these reasons, we celebrate life today. Our days our numbered, and until we regularly remember that, we will squander them away.

So rejoice with us! Sing with us! Thank God with us! He has given us life today, let us live in light of him.

Final Edit - Project for Pastor Seth

Events from 2014: Montana Hiking

After all the transitions going on this year we decided to take an intentional break from it all. We were able to spend most of the month of August in Montana. We had two primary goals: 1) Read; and 2) Hike.

While in the Bozeman/Big Sky region, we used this book to help us find hikes we wanted to take:

Stone, Robert. Day Hikes Around Bozeman, Montana, 4th. Fourth. Day Hike Books, Inc., 2011.

It was very helpful, especially after we hiked for about 2.5 hours on a trail that was taking us nowhere near where we wanted to go!
Here are some of the pictures from our hikes:
IMG_2260 IMG_4127 IMG_4143 IMG_4179 IMG_4188 IMG_4210 IMG_2286 IMG_2294 IMG_4316

Events from 2014: Montana

After all the transitions going on this year we decided to take an intentional break from it all. We were able to spend most of the month of August in Montana. We had two primary goals: 1) Read; and 2) Hike.

IMG_4117For our first goal, we had plenty of time to read some of those books that we had always wanted to, but never took time to read. We added to the enjoyment by listening to them on our phones while sitting by the river or staring at the mountains.

Some of my favorites from our time were:

  • Paradise Lost by Milton
  • Treasure Principle by Alcorn
  • The Chronicles of Prydain by Alexander
  • Confessions by Augustine

Here were some of the views we had while listening to books:

IMG_4182 IMG_4298 IMG_4302 IMG_4322

Events from 2014: Dominican Republic – the Team

We traveled with a group from Liberty Baptist to the Dominican Republic on July 25-Aug 4. There were ten of us total and our goal was to Serve and Learn in the church. We were able to visit Pastor Ramon Castro in La Romana and see the ministries of the local church.


For some of the team this was their first time out of the country, so we are very thankful we came back with them all!
IMG_3917 Tanzen was a great traveler for this trip and she seems to connect with nearly everyone! We thank God for the teens who both were responsible and easy to lead.IMG_0744

Events from 2014: BMM Candidate Seminar

In July we spent 11 days in Cleveland, OH at the headquarters of BMM. There we had seminars, exams, classes, reviews, and a host of meetings. It was so beneficial to connect with the Home Office, learn the ins and outs of the organization, and hear from veteran missionaries.IMG_3875 One of the highlights was getting to know our field administrator and the others who are headed to Europe.IMG_3878 At the end of the week all the staff congregated and fielded questions from the newly appointed missionaries.IMG_3880