Sunday, July 29, 2012

Morning After...

We had a great time this weekend at National Conference - meeting people, researching residencies, eating food, trying to avoid picking up the free stuff.

Late yesterday afternoon we got to the hotel after being dropped off by a first year intern at a program we are very interested in after eating lunch with the program director, a bunch of residents and attendings. (SO thankful for the ride she gave us up to our hotel by the airport for the night.) I was exhausted but couldn't get to sleep so I went to the bathroom to read my Bible. I read Proverbs 30 as part of my "through the Bible in a year" and really appreciated verses 1-9:
The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh contain this message.
I am weary, O God; I am weary and worn out, O God. I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense. I have not mastered human wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One.
Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down?
Who holds the wind in his fists?
Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak?
Who has created the whole wide world?
What is his name—and his son's name?
Tell me if you know! Every word of God proves true.
He is a shield to all who come to him for protection. Do not add to his words, or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar.
O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die.
First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, "Who is the Lord?" And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God's holy name. (Proverbs 30:1-9 NLT)

I love that Auger spoke just what I felt: weary, overwhelmed, inadequate. He then pointed me again to the One who I was looking for, the One who controls all things, who holds everything in His fist, who is The Truth, and my Shield. So thankful!! Then there is that prayer. I love that prayer and reading it every month when I come to this Proverb. It is so true: I want just enough - not too much so I don't think I need Him or too little so I'm tempted to do wrong to have what I need. God has been so faithful to do just that for us all along and I know He will continue to.

This morning the song on my heart was...
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.
His mercies never come to an end.
They are new every morning, new every morning, great is Thy
faithfulness, oh Lord, great is Thy faithfulness."
I'm so thankful for His great faithfulness. I have, in my head, plans of what I think would be the best plan for what to do summer of 2013 - summer of 2016 or 2017 but my faithful God will put us where He will best use us and train us and His plans are not always our plans (if you've known us long, you may have noticed that). Thankful that I can trust Him and His plan.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Beyond

Taking a 5 this morning to link up with LisaJo and write about:


These prompts often cause me to think of a verse or a song. Today it was both. First, the verse:

Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]-- (Ephesians 3:20 AMP)

This week we are at the AAFP National Conference talking to various residency programs and trying to figure out where Glenn can get the best training and where we should apply to. I loved reading this verse from the Amplified Bible this morning. We serve such a great, amazing God and so often we put Him in such a tiny box and expect so little and ask so little from Him. So often He does this though for us, this "superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams."

It is stressful being here. We know that where ever we land next God is going to use our time and training there for His honor and glory and to further prepare us and use us for His purposes both there and beyond. Still the questions come, "What programs should we apply to? Where should we live? What programs will best prepare us for our future?"

It's often scary stepping out into the unknown but I am so glad that I don't walk this path alone. I'm thankful that we will be together as a family where ever we move and that, most importantly, our faithful Guide, Provider, and Friend will be there to "do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams."

The song I thought of when I saw the word "beyond" took me way back to Petra's Beyond Belief. The lyrics were helpful and seemed applicable for me to read this morning.

"We're content to pitch our tent when the glory's evident
Seldom do we know the glory came and went
Moving can seem dangerous in this stranger's pilgrimage
Knowing that you can't stand still, you cross the bridge

"There's a higher place to go
Beyond belief, beyond belief
Where we reach the next plateau
Beyond belief, beyond belief

"And from faith to faith we grow
Towards the center of the flow
Where He beckons us to go
Beyond belief, beyond belief

"Leap of faith without a net makes us want to hedge our bet
Water's never part until our feet get wet
There's a deeper place to go where the road seems hard to hoe
He who has begun this work won't let it go
(Let it go)

"There's a higher place to go
Beyond belief, beyond belief
Where we reach the next plateau
Beyond belief, beyond belief

"And from faith to faith we grow
Towards the center of the flow
Where He beckons us to go
Beyond belief, beyond belief

"And it takes so long to see the change
But we look around and it seems so strange
We have come so far but the journey's long
And we once were weak but now we're strong

"There's a higher place to go
Beyond belief, beyond belief
Where we reach the next plateau
Beyond belief, beyond belief

"And from faith to faith we grow
Towards the center of the flow
Where he beckons us to go
Beyond belief, beyond belief

"Beyond belief
There's a higher place to go
Beyond belief, beyond belief
Where we reach the next plateau
Beyond belief, beyond belief"

I found this old school music video of it on Youtube. It's a stroll down memory lane for me and made me laugh:

Note: posting from my phone so sorry for the funny formatting

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What's Working Wednesday: Keens

Back in the summer of 2008 we were busy researching life in the Caribbean because we thought we were moving there for the first 18 months of Glenn's medical school education. One thing that we wondered about was, "What kind of shoes should we get?" We would be travelling mostly by foot and the roads on the island we would be moving to were pretty rough. From our research we found out that a pair of Crocs would last about a month but Keens would last the whole time we were there (provided they weren't outgrown by the kids). We got a coupon code and put in an order for 6 pairs from EMS. 
Our shiny new Keens July 2008
We didn't end up moving to the Caribbean but we did use those Keens almost that whole summer and fell in love with them. I love how well they protect our feet. You can wear them on any terrain - wet, dry, rocky, steep, full of roots - and your feet stay safe. I especially appreciate the toe protection. We wear them for general everyday wear, for water fun, and for hiking and they hold up great and are comfortable.

We loved our Keens so much that, when the kids' feet grew, we bought them new ones. We keep an eye out for clearance sales to buy sizes that the kids will be growing into. We have also been fortunate to buy a couple pairs of almost new kids Keens at thrift stores.

Do you wonder how they hold up? The kids are each on pair #2-4 and they've only stopped wearing previous pairs because their feet have grown. Glenn & I, on the other hand, are still on our first pair. That's almost 5 complete summers of almost constant wear (by me at least). Even at full price, that is less than $20/yr for great sandals. Which reminds me of a conversation that they came up in back in April 2011.
Glenn's and my Keens July 2012 summer #5 of almost constant use April to October. (I should probably wash them after camping on an island last weekend.)

The bottoms are showing some wear but not too bad :)

I'm so glad that, even though we didn't use them in the Caribbean, Keens were suggested to us. I'm on the look out for a new pair because mine are starting to show wear. I've decided that my next pair needs to be a darker though so they don't show dirt as badly. Glenn's still look good, mine are pretty dingy.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Giveaway and Review: Cut It Out! How I Feed My Family of 10 for $500 a Month Without Coupons

I was privileged to get an advanced copy from fellow blogger Kate Megill of her new e-book, Cut it Out! How I Feed My Family of 10 for $500 a Month Without Coupons, that is coming out July 30, 2012 to review and giveaway.

We are pretty frugal so I wasn't really expecting a lot when I started to read this book but I figured it's always good to pick up some tips so I thought I'd check it out. Boy, am I glad I did!

Kate gives some great advice in this book and also some very helpful tools. The thing that stuck out the most to me from this book was "Measure Twice, Cut Once." I'd always heard this phrase in regards to carpentry and craft projects but I'd never applied it to something I do all the time - feeding my family. "Measure twice, cut once" means that you have a limited amount of expensive materials so be sure that you use them well so that you don't waste them. In this ebook Kate gives us advice and tools on how to apply measure twice, cut once to feeding our family with the limited amount of money that we have been given to steward.

I'd always heard of the benefit of having a price book. In this ebook Kate not only tells us how to do it but gives a great template in Excel so we don't have to make one up on our own. She also explains how to figure out how much each meal actually costs. I haven't yet taken the time to go through and "measure twice" our food plan and I know that it is going to take some time to get there but I know that with the resources that Kate gives in her book I am going to be able to reduce our food budget (or at least actually live within the budget that we have which I have rarely been able to do).

I really love all the ideas, recipes, helpful hints, storage ideas, and tools to help feed my family for less without using coupons and I am looking forward to putting them into practice to help cut our food budget. I am sure that you will too.

You can learn more about the book at or Kate's blog:

Cut it Out! will be available for sale July 30 and I really think that it is worth the money you'd spend on it. The cost of the e-book is $3.99 but for the first 4 days of the launch (July 30-Aug3) it will be available for half price - only $1.99!

How about even better? Get it FREE! Enter my giveaway to win a free copy! To enter simply leave a comment below and share your biggest struggle with feeding your family on a budget. The giveaway closes at 9am EST on Monday, July 30, 2012. (Note: Kate is also giving away 5 free copies on her blog at this link so enter there as well.)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Enough

It's Friday. A day to write unrehearsed and unedited for 5 minutes. The word for today is:


 These prompts always make me think of songs. As soon as I read "Enough" my mind automatically went to the song with that title by Chris Tomlin. It talks about how God is more than enough for my every need and desire. 

I stopped to think: Is that really true? Is God enough? So often I try to fill myself with other things. I don't always live out the truth that God is enough. Am I truly satisfied with Him? Which makes me think of that Piper quote: "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." 

I long to glorify God. I long for this song to be the cry of my heart. God, You are more than enough.
All of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough

You are my supply
My breath of life
And still more awesome than I know
You are my reward worth living for
And still more awesome than I know

All of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough

You’re my sacrifice
Of greatest price
And still more awesome than I know
You’re the coming King
You are everything
And still more awesome than I know

More than all I want
More than all I need
You are more than enough for me
More than all I know
More than all I can say
You are more than enough for me

What does the word "Enough" make you think? Write about it for 5 minutes and link up at:

Five Minute Friday

Friday, July 13, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Caleb

Lisa-Jo, the Gypsy Mama, is on vacation this week so there's no Five Minute Friday word prompt for this week. I decided I wanted to write anyway, the word I chose was...


Caleb. 12 years ago I was very pregnant with a child that my Korean friends were convinced was a boy. They could somehow tell by looking at my back side.

On July 15th I gave birth to a little boy and we named him Caleb. We didn't know anyone by that name at the time but that year Caleb ended up being in the top 10 of baby names.

We named him Caleb because we wanted our son's name to inspire him to faithfulness, greatness, and faith. Caleb, in the Bible, was a brave spy who believed that God could and would help the people of Israel to defeat the inhabitants of the land that God had promised them. As a result of his faith he was one of only 2 men who were to live through the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness that Israelites had to do because of their disobedience and lack of faith. At the age of 85 he asked for a hill country to go out and defeat the people there and take the land as his.
And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old. Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the Lord spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lord said." (Joshua 14:10, 12 NKJV)

I long for our Caleb to be faithful, courageous, to work hard, and to have a big faith in God who can use him to do the impossible.

I love you, Caleb. Enjoy your birthday weekend. Keep on seeking God first and He will use you for His honor and glory.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

What's Working Wednesday: Community Potluck

I know that it's Thursday but we didn't get home until almost midnight last night so What's Working Wednesday is a day late.

This is an idea that I can take no credit for but we think it's really great and want to implement it at every place we live in the future. At one of the last AWANA events of the year a mom that
volunteers there announced that they host a community picnic at the Croghan Town Park on Tuesday nights at 6pm. They told us to bring a dish to pass, and our own plates, silverware, cups, and drinks and to invite anyone we wanted. We weren't sure where Croghan Town Park was but it sounded like fun.

We've made it to the community picnic 3 times (it's been rained out a couple of times - why does it have to rain on Tuesdays?? and we haven't been available to make a couple of others). When we've attended there have been anywhere from 3-7 families with anywhere between 11 and 25 kids (yay for living in Lewis County where my family is average size, not big!) It has been so much fun meeting and getting to know people, sharing yummy foods that aren't normal fare at our house, and the best part? None of us have to clean our houses to do it! Hurray! We need to eat on Tuesdays anyway, why not eat with friends?

What do you need to do to start your own community pot luck?

1. Find a location
Any park would do but I recommend the one you choose should have: a bunch of picnic tables close together, a pavilion (in case of rain or to shade from the sun), a playground, and a bathroom.

2. Pick a night and time
Mid-week at 6 works well as most people are done with work by then and weeknights aren't as likely to be as busy as weekends (for people or pavilions).

3. Invite People
Invite a few friends and tell them to invite their friends.

4. Go and enjoy the fun, food and friendship

These community potlucks have been very fun. Since it's a pot luck you never know what kind of food will be there (for example, one week only 2 families made it and one of them brought meatballs and the other brought stuff for homemade ice cream) but we always have a great time and my family looks forward to it every week.

If you live in Lewis County come join us any Tuesday night at Croghan Town Park at 6pm. If you don't start one in a park near you. You'll be glad you did!

Thanks Craig and Mary Anne for inviting us! Hope you don't mind that I have stolen and shared your great idea :)

My Very Favorite and Very Least Favorite Part of Moving so Often

We move. Often. I have been thinking today about my very favorite and very least favorite part of moving so often. It turns out it is the same thing: PEOPLE!

There so many fabulous, inspiring, life-changing people that we have met in the many places that we have lived. These people have taught me so much and have blessed me far beyond what I could ever deserve in my relationships with them. I could go on forever about people I never would have met if I had we not moved. My life is forever changed as a result of people I have met and relationships I have formed in the short time I have lived various places. For that reason I am glad for all the places that we have lived and all the people that I have met in them. Meeting new people and forming relationships with them is something I love about moving.

On the flip side, though, my very least favorite part of moving so often is people. When you move often you have to say "good bye." Often. I am not a very good long distance friend. I'll pray for you, try to follow you on facebook, and may occasionally shoot you an email or even more rarely (just saying - it probably won't happen) give you a phone call or come and visit. I hate saying good bye. I hate that there are so many people I wish were still in my daily, weekly, or even monthly life that aren't. I have come to accept that this is just a part of my life.

Since moving to Lowville we have been full disclosure. In your first conversation with us you will find out that we are only going to be here until the end of January. You will then ask where we are going after that and you will get an answer that people who have known us longer have come to expect, "We don't exactly know but God does." We have some ideas of what we may be doing in February to June of next year but we really don't know for sure.

Being honest about how long we'll be here helps to give people an out, a reason not to become friends with us. We also desperately want friends though so we may, selfishly, become friends with you even if you don't like the idea that becoming friends with us means saying good bye soon. I hope that you don't regret the time you have spent with us, no matter how long or short that time is. I have learned that relationships, no matter how long they last, are worth it.

Thank you for being my friend.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Story

It's Friday. Gotta write for 5 minutes quick before I head to bed. The word for today is:



If you would have given me a book of the story of my life 15 years ago I would have read the first part with interest thinking, "This is me," and "Oh, I remember that!" and "Oh, I'd forgotten all about that!!"

As I would have kept reading though I would have laughed. The things coming out of my mouth would have been more along the lines of:
"No way! That could never happen!"
"I'm going to have kids?? And homeschool them??"
"Mom is not going to die before dad. That will definitely not happen. She takes better care of herself than he does!"
"Of course, I know that this is not really a story about me but how many times is this girl going to end up homeless?? And is God really going to provide for them in those circumstances??"
"Why on earth would they do that??"

You see, the story of the last 15 years of my life are not how I would have imagined them. There have been many twists and turns that I never would have foreseen. I think that there is a reason why God doesn't give us a script what is going to happen in our life for us to preview. For one thing I am sure that we wouldn't believe it if we read it. For another thing I am sure that I would have cowered in fear and avoided a lot of things that God has used in my life for my good and His glory that I would never have allowed myself to go through had I known it was coming. He is good all the time and He knows what is best. I am thankful that He can see the big picture and I am also VERY thankful that I can not. He gives me what I need for the moment and I can trust Him that He will continue to do so, come what may.


Edited to add: If you want to read about some of the story of the last 15 years you can read the middle part of this really long blog post from a little over 2 years ago.

I encourage you to write about "Story" for 5 minutes then link up with the Gypsy Mama and read others thoughts on "story." You will be blessed and encouraged I am sure.

Five Minute Friday

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

What's Working Wednesday: Thank You Books

Today's "What's Working Wednesday" is a quick one but it has been incredibly helpful in our family.

At a shower before we got married all the ladies there were supposed to give me some advice. Some were silly, some were serious but one that stuck was from the principal of the school where my mom taught. She told me that we should get a journal and sit down together every night and write down things that we are thankful for from that day and pray and thank God together. We started doing this early in our marriage and have continued throughout our marriage, inviting the kids to join in as we had them. We have not "done thank yous" every night but we try to most nights and we now have almost 13 years worth of "Thank You Books" that are currently in the attic in a box. (In some places we've lived they've made it onto book shelves but we don't have enough book shelf space at the moment.) They are a treasure to us, a record of God's faithfulness and incredible generosity in big and little things over the years. They are fun to look back through to see what God has done and how the kids have changed. I think that having this as a regular practice has also helped the kids to be more grateful.

This is something easy to put into practice in your family even this week (as I am typing this, most likely, your kids are already in bed, at least mine are). All you have to do is grab a notebook (if you are like me you probably have several floating around unused) and gather as a family before bed and ask everyone what they are thankful for from the day. If we are out late we often ask the kids on the way home and scribble them on a piece of paper that we staple in our current book. Sometimes my kids do need a little coaxing to remember what we did during the day but each night we ask the kids to tell us at least 3 things they are thankful for from today. More often than not they have many more than that and their parents do too.

I am so thankful for this suggestion that has been such a wonderful part of who we are and what we do as a family. If you don't already do something like this I challenge you to start this week. Summer is a great time with so many fun experiences. You will be so glad you did!