Monthly Archives: April 2013

clean eats is where it’s at!


I would say the last couple of years we have tried to be more intentional about eating “clean” or in other words, “whole foods”.  Trying to stay away from the processed stuff—although it is SO DARN EASY AND CONVENIENT!!  That’s right.  I am shouting that out loud.  Especially in a bind.  Especially when you are packing food for track meets.  Especially when you need an afternoon snack that the kids can get themselves.

I will admit, my pantry has a ton of granola and protein bars right now.  I went to Sam’s and just stocked up.  I even have the BEST granola bar recipe that I use.  But time, energy, and convenience got the best of me.  However, I found a pretty good protein cookie recipe the other day and I made them for the first time yesterday and packed them for the track meet.  My kids, the ultimate taste-testers (and Steve) gave them a big THUMBS UP!  And for those of you who like to know what kind of nutritional punch you are getting with a recipe, I went and plugged the recipe in.image

First of all, here is your ingredient list:


Peanut Butter (or I used almond butter)


Protein Powder (I use Sun Warrior Chocolate–the best!)

Egg White

Baking Powder


Cocoa Powder

Chocolate Chips of choice

And because I want to give credit where credit is due, click HERE or the recipe if you’re interested.

Still wanting the nutrtitional stats?  I think you’ll like what you see, at least I did.

Ingredients Calories Carbs Fat Protein Sodium Sugar
Oatmeal – Quick-1 Minute Oatmeal, 1 cup 300 30 6 10 0 2 Ico_delete
Egg White – 1 Egg Whites, 1/4 cup 25 1 0 6 95 0 Ico_delete
Deleted – Cacao Powder / Sunfood / Organic / Raw / 1 Tbsp, 2 TBSP 120 15 4 6 0 0 Ico_delete
Sun Warrior – Raw Vegan Protein Powder- Chocolate, 2 scoop 160 10 2 32 100 2 Ico_delete
American Spoon – Raw Honey, 4 tablespoon 240 68 0 0 0 68 Ico_delete
Baker’s Corner – 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Premium Baking Chips, 20 pcs 70 0 0 0 0 0 Ico_delete
Barney Butter – Almond Butter – Chunky, 2 Tb 180 7 16 6 80 3 Ico_delete
PER SERVING CALCULATIONS  91  11  2  5  23  6
Total: 1,095 131 28 60 275 75
Per Serving: 91 11 2 5 23 6

rockin’ the friendship virtue.


We just wrapped up a month at Journey Kids with the FRIENDSHIP virtue—and these two pretty much hit the mark on what it means to be a friend to one another…

These friends ACCEPT one another.  This friend of Landon’s opened his eyes to a whole new world of what it means to live on a farm.  We actually have found an inner farmer in Landon that we never knew existed!  And it’s quite funny, actually. image

After time spent together at Joseph’s house, Landon was ready to get cows.  So what did Steve do?  He got some cows.  And then we named those cows.  And they have since had babies.  And soon we will be eating one of those cows.  (this did not go over well with Kourtney as she had to tell that cow good-bye—seriously miserable!)


R.I.P. Big Mac

Landon was also ready to move back to the farm where we came from.  So what did Steve do?  No, he didn’t move us back to the farm, although he could have because it is up for sale again.  But we all kind of nixed that one.  Landon believes that when you go do anything on the farm, you have to wear boots and these special kind of jeans with a tape measure attached, hat, and anything camo.

So when he has this stuff out?  You know he’s been farming—or planning to.  And for this?  We can thank his friend Joseph. Or perhaps, Duck Dynasty too.  Steve thought he may never have a famer in his only son.

These friends ENCOURAGE one another.  I have the privilege every once in awhile to drive them to basketball practice.  You learn A LOT from listening to backseat conversations, let me tell you.  But, just another area they spend much time together.  And I have definitely heard and seen encouragement from them both.  Something I hope carries out all the way through their years of playing basketball, football, and baseball together.


These friends SERVE with one another.  These are perhaps my favorite pictures of these boys.  They served together at a relief sale a few weeks ago.  I pity the poor gal in charge, because they do like to have fun together, if you know what I mean.  Definitely fun to see them together doing something that did not involve some kind of ball.  HA!


And every Sunday, these boys get to WORSHIP with one another.  Their form of worship?  Shooting baskets in the gym up until the second Sunday school begins.  Then grabbing hot chocolate and orange juice to re-fuel, and sitting side by side during praise and singing, and I have no idea what they may do to Steve during the small group time?  The morning will end with tearing everything down and a few more basketball shots made.  But hey…it’s worship.

Friendship:  spending time with someone you trust and enjoy.  Like I said…I think they hit the mark on this virtue, anyway.  Now the PATIENCE virtue for May?  I am a bit worried about Landon on this one.

a worthwhile investment.


I have realized as I have made my way back into my laundry-filled life, that going to conferences like the one I just attended, always do a great job of sparking the fire and passion within you.  It’s exactly what they are supposed to do. It fills you.  It fulfills you.  And it gets down to the core of who you are and why you do what you do.  I also realize, that the unbelievable communicators can say just about anything they want.  Because, well…they don’t actually pastor you.  They inspire.  They rock.  And they can get by with saying things leaders in our own respective churches just can’t do, for obvious reasons.  I have wrapped my mind around it.  However, I still wonder when you think about children’s and students ministry…image



How does this sound to you?  What does this make you feel like when you hear it?  Wondering if it made the same impact on you when you hear it as it does me…

If your church, or ministry is REALLY invested in kids, there would never be another carwash or bake sale.”—-Perry Noble  {click on his name or click HERE to know more about him}

I am about ready to suggest South Carolina as our vacation destination so we can visit Perry Noble’s church.  No, really.  I am serious.  Guess that tells you what I felt and how I was impacted by that quote, huh.  In fact, I think I may have shouted a VERY LOUD AMEN when I heard that.

gearing up…


If you know me at all, the fact that I jumped on buying these Orange TOMS at the Orange Conference probably will not surprise you…at all.  In fact, I know it will not surprise Steve.  Still, I think I will break the news to him via this blog post.  Thanks Steve for your credit card!!  {smile, honey—all of the girls will be able to wear them too}. I have a mild obsession with TOMS right now, sorry.<



I have gained so much from this conference already (besides the adorable TOMS!). In fact, I am almost on information overload.  All so good!  I’ve even learned to take notes on the iPad.  And that is huge for this paper and pen type of gal!  Today will be a big day.  Our last here and we are gearing up for some incredible worship and challenging inspiration, I am sure.  I wish Steve was here.  Besides children and youth ministry, there is so much centered on the family.  In fact, that is what the significance of the color ORANGE is.  That red and yellow representing church/ministry and family.  It takes both combined together in raising a child up in the Lord.  Cool, huh?

My friend, mentor, and children’s pastor at Journey went to different breakout sessions than I yesterday.  It has made for some great conversation when coming back together.  One thing she came back to me with was just one of those powerful nuggets.  It impressed on my heart because it is something Steve and I had already been doing with asking the kids around the dinner table about their high and their low for the day.  We tell them ours too.  There have been times I’ve used my low as a teaching moment where I would discuss their certain behavior that day that was my low.  Is that bad?  Ha!<



Anyway, as a Christian family this speaker challenged us to instead of using highs and lows, use how did you see God today? And what mistakes did you make today?  


Of course, that would be something all of us would answer. What an awesome way to weave faith into conversation! I can hardly wait for family dinner…

blown away…


There are some experiences that are unforgettable.  And some experiences you just can not describe or put into words. But these powerful words spoken tonight at the Orange Conference are impact full and life changing and I need to share.  If nothing more than to document for myself.  Also, to remember a night that will change how I parent and hopefully how I lead in children’s ministry.

When you see the time you have left—you get more serious about the time you have now.

Really take some time to let that soak in.  As it relates to your own life as a parent.  Or your own life as it relates to your faith.  Or your work in the church.  Or children’s lives.  I need to let it soak in.  And there is just so, so much more.  But I thought this was a nugget worth sharing.

And that darn lump?  Yeah, it went away.  Until sharing communion with 6000 other people tonight.  Powerful.

and the lump is there.


I will let you in on a BIG secret.  I am a self-proclaimed HOMEBODY.  No, seriously.  I bet you are thinking, um yeah, that’s weird because your are NEVER HOME with the schedule you keep.  I don’t blame you.  I would think that too.

You know how staying in a hotel is almost vacation enough for kiddos?  You can plan and plan your vacations, but when it comes down to it, if we had just reserved a room in a hotel down the road, it would probably be just as well.  Well, I am NOT a hotel person.  I am not sure if all of the documentary shows have done me in or what.  But, I can not stand walking aross the floors in a hotel room without shoes on.  That’s the first quirk.  And then the bedspread?  Oh my gosh.  I will yank that off and my kids know to yank theirs off too as soon as we get into the room.  And a little side note story…two years ago we had a HUGE road trip of a vacation which included Ohio, Pennsylvania, Ocean City, and states in between.  Our first destination was Ohio for a John Deere conference.  We had just made it to the hotel, and it happened to be a hotel with the coolest workout room overlooking the swimming pool.  Steve had to be at a big dinner thingy, so the kids and I took an opportunity to swim and work out.  Loved it!  That is, until I saw on the TV I was watching the big news story of the day was about the infestation of BED BUGS that had spread across the U.S.  And guess where one of the most affected cities were?  Cincinatti, Ohio.  Seriously?!  Right in the heart of where we were staying for our first three nights.  Needless to say, we could not get out of that hotel fast enough for me.  And to my knowledge, we escaped bed bugs…or so I think.

In all seriousess, I am very, very excited for my next couple of days.  Excited because I get to spend it with one of my mentors in children’s ministry.  Excited because I believe so whole-heartedly in our children’s ministry, Journey Kids.  Excited because I believe I may even learn a bit about how to parent my own kids.  And excited, because I will be among leaders and creators of some of the most impressive content as related to children’s ministry that I have ever been involved with.  I know it’s going to be life changing.


However, the lump has taken up residence in the back of my throat.  You know the one…the one that makes you feel like you could cry at any moment.  It does not matter what excitment is upon me, when I make plans to leave my family, it is there.  Sometimes, I am crazy enough to think that my family can not handle a couple of days without me.  How self-centered is that?  I think that is what God is showing me through this.  They are going to be fine.  In fact, they are probably due for a break from mom.  And Steve is probably due for a break from Steph.  And if truth be told?  I am probably due for a break from them also.  HA HA!!  Oh my gosh…I bet YOU are all ready for a break from me!!  Still, I wrestle with the lump and all of the worries that come along with it.

Since I made the decision to attend the conference, which really wasn’t a hard one to make, the schedule was clear at the time.  Steve’s schedule was clear at the time.  There was nothing holding me back and the decision was easy.  Now for one reason or another, the next three days have become some of the busiest for the kids and Steve.  It is going to require help.  It is going to require significant coordinating and cooperation.  And as always, requires planning.  I know that if all of this had been on the table when I was deciding on the conference?  Well, I would have most likely made a decision to stay home.

What this tells me is this…I am supposed to be at that conference.  God has plans for me there.  Plans that are going to hopefully grow me and help to grow our children’s ministry and how we do ministry.  Plans to further strengthen a relationship with a mentor and friend.  He made my schedule clear enough that there was no question in whether or not I should go–probably knowing it would get full—because that is just how life with our kids and Steve’s job goes.  And I am also learning through this, that they are going to be just fine.  I just may need someone else to cheer on my girls at a track meet.  I won’t get to be the mom that goes on the field trip this time.  And the kids may have to help out a little bit more than we once thought because Dad has responsibilities we didn’t think he had.  It’s going to be OK here.  They are not going to need me, they will obviously do just fine.  And for me?  I can’t wait to land in Atlanta where that pesky lump will go away.  Because lumps DO go away when you realize that there is no cooking or cleaning the next 3 days…

the love runs deep, nat.


I am not going to lie to anyone.  I am nervous driving with my girl behind the wheel.  Much too nervous to brave anything right now besides a twirl around the metropolis (ha!) where we live and the couple of miles between the two interstate exits.  Both Steve and I realized, that we could really knock out some significant required hours of driving by putting her as our chaueffuer to Lawrence.  Both Steve and I realized this probably would not be an ideal time for her to drive our family of 6 in a humongous suburban.  We are at 48 hours and counting.  Which means…48 more hours are required with a parent in her passenger seat.  Or…grandparent I should say.

Thank you to Grandma Debbie for risking damage to your car.  For cramped up hands and fingers from white knuckling anything you could find.  For being brave enough to take a sweet 14 year old girl for a spin around the city of Lawrence.  In the dark.  For the explicit teaching on turning lanes.  For smiling through literal burnt rubber on the hill by the KU football field (there had to have been tire skid marks, no lie).  For sweetly directing your grandchild OFF of the curb and back to the street.  And for withholding a scream as your car is parked inches—no— CENTIMETERS away from the fridge in the garage.


We never doubted your love.  We just never knew how deep it really was.

How much are we going to owe for tires?

and he is BACK.


The last year, at least, has been a challenge for us in a very particular area of our life.  It has rocked our world.  Now, let me just say—among everything it could be, this really isn’t that significant.  However, a life change for Steve and I, it has been. We all hear how important it is to spend quality time together with your spouse.  And especially important once you have kids.  Steve and I do have a very hard time carving out time for just the two of us.  Having kids changes things.  You have to be very intentional in making your relationship a priority.  No, we weren’t getting a “date night” once a month or even once a quarter.  Many times, it seemed that by the weekend we were just begging for a bit of down time.  Or even time together as a family.  The whole husband/wife building kind of takes a backseat.  HOWEVER, we found a way to have “our” time.  Unfortunately, it took getting up at 5:00 am to do so, but nevertheless, we found it.  A time to workout together—a time to talk, dream, and solve all of life’s problems.  It was a time we both cherished greatly.  That is, unless we starting talking budget.  I think Steve secretly knew that was one way to get me to work out a bit harder—because I get a tad irritated talking budget.  You know that whole play angry thing?  Yeah, I took that to a new level…Anyway, life as we knew it changed with Steve’s knee injury.  It shook things up—and besides the obvious of him being injured, it took away an important aspect of our life.  And of our relationship.

It’s been almost 2 months since I posted about Steve’s minor knee surgery.  He is doing amazing!  He has been easing himself back into exercising and working out.  And as wonderful as it is that he is where he’s at, it is a bit bittersweet for me.  You see, being the supportive wife that I was, I did not want him to feel like I was leaving him out the past few months.  I did not feel it was right of me to work out when I knew he couldn’t.  It’s all part of that supportive and loving wife thing, you know?  I whole-heartedly believed that my hiatus from exercise was deep and heart felt.  Right?  HA!


I guess my whole point to this is that I am very thankful.  Very thankful that HE IS BACK.  He is back and as thankful as I am?  I am equally as scared.  Scared because I know what is in my future.  I know that a walk a couple of times around the neighborhood to ease him back into working out is not going to cut it anymore.  I know this because I am experiencing my hard nosed husband trying to get us back into shape.

Pray for me.

what comes around goes around…


Driving through Lawrence brings back so many memories for both Steve and I and it is always a blast to go back. Then add to that the family there, it is a mini vacay and a welcome get away from the everyday grind.

So when months ago the opportunity for Landon to play in a tourney there came up, needless to say we jumped on it! We walked into the gym and I said to Steve “wouldn’t it be so awesome if Landon played against kids of your friends you went to school with?” And wouldn’t you know…one of Steve’s college basketball teammates was there. And Landon guarded and played against his son in the first game. Too cool!!! I’m not sure who had more fun–the boys or their dads?

One of these guys was an All-American. The other said he helped him attain that honor…I’ll let you figure that one out.

This may not be the only time the little boys meet up? In fact, maybe they’ll play together some day?

Did you notice the height difference? I didn’t think so.

because I could never make this stuff up…


I am blessed.  Blessed to have a job that enables me to have the ability to be at most of my kids’ activities and things that are happening during the day at school.  And I realize that not every person has the opportunity to be there.  I realize that when I have kids hug on me and so happy to see another adult—even if it isn’t there own mom and dad.  I pray that I can be the light for that child that’s mom has a job during the day that she can’t get away from.  Or a dad who’s job is not flexible to let him off for a few hours.  Or a dad or mom who works the night shift and has to sleep during the day.  Or the mom who has little babies at home and no one to babysit—and it’s naptime—and there’s no way she can make it to the school.  These kids are precious–each and every one.


So, these last couple of weeks they have been doing the roller skating unit at the Elementary school.  So fun!  I absolutely love roller skating as a kid.  And as soon as our kiddos were walking, we got them skates.  We have had many a Sunday afternoon at the skating rink when they were smaller.  And every once in awhile we make it a priority to get there still.  Although it’s been about a year…hmmm.  With this weather we’re having, that’s not a bad idea!!!

I have tried to come and be a parent participant each year.  And each year, it’s pretty fun…kind of.  Kourtney’s class is one of the older of the classes at the school and they’ve been skating for a long time.  And they have improved!  And getting very fast and good on their skates.  Kourtney is the child, who at even 10 years old, still wants me to hold her hand and skate around.  Which I did, until I realized they were trying to swing me around the corners.  SCARY!


And then?  There’s Landon.  I honestly feel as though I am risking my life as I take my first roll onto the gym floor.  Landon has no doubt made it around the gym multiple times as I just get started—and honestly?  I’m not even sure he knows I am there.  He is one that wears wrist pads or whatever they are called.  And I understand why.  The boy is crazy.  Plain and simple.  And then I saw an attempt at jumping to touch the basketball net as he skated on by.  This mama was in discipline mode.  I am SO THANKFUL I do not have to watch him skate every day…

And because I know I am ready for some comic relief in my life, and I’m betting you may get a chuckle out of this as well, I am going to share.  I have debated about sharing this, but I really don’t want to forget.  Pretty sure I won’t.

The kiddos in the 2nd grade class have been anxiously awaiting their chicks to hatch.  It is the coolest thing, and has provided them with tons of entertainment and learning.  Landon came home talking about “candling” and asking me how to spell it.  I have never even heard of that before!?  Am I living in the dark ages or what?  Or maybe it is that I am not a chicken farmer.  Either way, I have even learned something during this chick thing.

Here is my sweet niece.  Her mom told me today that there is a little chick they named “Red Hed” and Reese, my niece, believes that she is the mom to this chick.  Naturally, because she has red hair.  Makes sense!

And Landon was very excited to tell me about all of the chicks that have hatched and that he and a friend even got to name one!  He was pumped.  And so was I.  And then he told me what he named the chick.  I was so very, very thankful for my little boy’s innocence.  And then…I had a good belly laugh.  Yes, I am a juvenile.  Yes, I am immature.  But you know?  Sometimes you just need to have one of those.  And yesterday was the day.

In no particular order, here are the names of the chicks that I know of as of today…

Early Bird—you know, this one came first.  Isn’t that just the cutest?!

Fluffy—I assume he is kind of fluffy?

Red Head—Obviously, a red head.

Lil Pecker—-Because, you know…he pecks a lot.

Read the rest of this entry