Monday, June 27, 2016

Summer days...


Summer is moving by at a rapid pace... Please slow down!!!  We have had gorgeous weather and the list of things that I want to do with the kids is slowly being chipped away at:) 

Walking to the farmer's market...
Walking to the Golf course on Wednesday night for $5 burgers...
Hitting the pool... 
Seeing the baby geese at the pond close by...
Catching fireflies...
Picking strawberries...
Shaking the mulberry trees on campus...
Having a hot dog roast and making smores:)
Hammocking...
We are loving the more relaxed pace of summer!  What a gift to my TIRED heart!



Picking strawberries... They definitely ate WAY more than they picked!


Our brave FMSC friend Julie had our crew over for a cook out... What a treat to have a delicious meal cooked for us all!  Such a gift!  Seriously, she didn't bat an eye at having our crew over! I was so grateful!


Frog catching at the pond!  There were many tears shed by Isaiah when it was time to release that frog back into the pond!  Goodness, that little guy creates a whole lot of noise... but thankfully is easily talked down!


Spiderman went mulberry picking with us!  He TOTALLY cracks me up... every... single... day!


Just a bit later I went out to the jeep to run errands with Anna and this was how I was greeted... What a goof!  She and Louis sang in church today!  They did so good... It was Anna's first time and she was nervous, but wow, I was really proud of them! 


We were very thankful to have Greg's parents come up to visit.  It had been too long since they have seen the kids and we were very glad to have them here... The time went by quickly, but was a treat for sure!  You can tell by the kids faces that they enjoyed spending time with them!

I am hoping to be able to blog a bit more... working those two jobs for a couple of months challenged me and the whole crew greatly... I am so thankful that they pulled together to help keep us afloat and now mama is back home for the most part!  What a gift I really do treasure!  We are so very thankful for all of the extra bits of time together as family!


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Wedding time...

This is a bit overdue... but with the busyness of life these days, I am finally getting around to posting this... 


Can you believe the handsomeness in this picture??? So sweet!!!


Beautiful wedding bouquets!


My people!!!  They amaze me!!! 

When you have a wedding reception for 200 in your backyard there are last minute jobs upon jobs to take care of and they literally went from one task to the next willingly and with a joyful heart! And truth be told we still have a few jobs to take care of from the take down of the wedding:)

They amaze me!!



Finally at the wedding...


Louis and the bride, my sweet friend Katie and Anna at the reception under the big tent...

(Katie and I share a special bond of each having a baby in heaven and hence my kids share a bond with her as you can see in the picture). We all love her!!!

I am so happy for her that she has found someone to share her life with...


Ending the night with snuggles with this sweet boy!!!


Monday, May 30, 2016

Soccer family...



All the Hoffman United teams at the tournament this past weekend in beautiful Lake Geneva!!!

God blessed us with perfect weather!!

Main Street had some of the cutest shops... We had fun walking the quaint downtown between games:)


There is the most charming walkway right on the waters edge all along the lake... The lake is beautiful... And the houses??? 
Well, take a look for yourself... Crazy amazing!!  It was a beautiful walk...



He hotel had a perfect little water park to keep everyone busy and tire out he littles between games! 

Levi and Isaiah had a blast in the little kiddie area... 
Levi tentative and careful... 
Isaiah the bulldozer with no fear...

The kids enjoying the watermark... 

We were so blessed to have our friends the miltzes at the tournament with us...
They have 5 beautiful kids with number 6 due anyday...

From Anna on down their kids match ours pretty close in age and the kids have a blast together.  

It is really fun hanging with people that can relate to the large family life... We are so grateful for their friendship!!!


The whole crew!!



What a fun soccer weekend with lots of protection and special times together!



Tuesday, May 17, 2016

And just like that...




And just like that,  this little guy turned 17... 
Still as mischievous and funny as this day more than 15 years ago...



And just like that, he has the ladies... The lady cousins that is, fawning over him!!

In all seriousness, it is a joy to watch him and his cousins enjoy life together... They have such a special bond... They have grown up together... Cousins make great friends!


And just like that, he has grown into such a helpful and loving brother...
He is a HUGE help in our home and to so many others...




He is an extremely hard worker... dedicated... loyal... willing to do hard things...  He is very generous and  lovingly reaches out to even those that others may have a hard time reaching out to... 

I have loved watching him on missions trips to Uganda... It has been one of the biggest blessings of my life to serve alongside he and Louis...


The Lord knows exactly what and who we need... And He broke the mold when He made our Caleb for our family!  

Happy 17th Birthday Caleb... So very proud of the wonderful Christian young man you are growing into!  You are a gift each and every single day!

Friday, April 29, 2016

His very name... my every breath...

The other week I was attending a devotion at Feed My Starving Children and my boss shared the neatest thing...

I don't know if sometimes I think differently about things because I know I have a son waiting in Heaven... (actually, I know he isn't waiting... he is having the time of his life... because I do believe fully he is very much fully alive:)

 But I think that  sometimes I view things in light of all I have gone through and for sure living through the death of my son has changed my perspective a bit at times...

I am sure I won't get this exactly right, but I have been wanting to share this beautiful message I heard that day with you...

My boss was sharing about experiencing the presence of God in our lives... Do we really recognize His presence with us daily in all we do... in the small mundane things... in the BIG things?

He mentioned when Moses was in the wilderness and experienced the encounter with the Lord in the burning bush...
The Lord told Moses that He was indeed standing on Holy Ground and told him all that He wanted Moses to do in helping to free His people from slavery in Egypt...

He was truly experiencing a very real and obvious presence of God with him... The bush was on FIRE!!  With the very POWER OF GOD!!!
Here is the response Moses had...

  • Exodus 3:13-15, “Then Moses said to God, ‘Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I shall say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you.” Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” 14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM” [YHWH]; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM [YHWH] has sent me to you.’ 

Now here is where it gets really cool and I have done some more research on what my boss shared... God's name in the original Hebrew is unpronounceable.  It was only made up of consonants and not any vowels therefore making it a word that couldn't be pronounced...  not because we are forbidden to pronounce it — but because if one tries to do so, pronouncing these four strange letters (semi-vowels, semi-consonants; linguists actually call them aspirate consonants) WITHOUT any vowels, 
one simply breathes.
You might pause to try this yourself: try to say "YHWH" with no vowels. Not "Yahweh"  but with no vowels at all.
 Almost everyone who tries to pronounce the Lord's name like this "YHWH"  experiences it coming out as a breath...

The very name of our great God is like a breath... How often do we breath every day?
The average person breathes between 20-30 breathes a minute or between 17,000-30,000 breathes a day...

That means that with every single breath out of our mouth it is almost like we are saying the very name of our great God with each exhale we let go from our body... Just think about it... every few seconds it could be as if we are saying or calling out the name of our Savior... God...

 What could this all mean? if we took more time to think a bit deeper about it and all that our breath means to us in different stages of life, how might we think differently about each breath we take? 
When a baby is born... is he taking his first breath or is he uttering the Lord's name with his very first action here on earth?

When we are panting in exhaustion are we repeatedly calling out to our father God... Yahweh... LORD...?

When  we are in deep sorrow or grief and all we can do is sob and gasp for each breath... are we really calling out in anguish for our God to comfort us and be right beside us in our pain?

When we consciously take that first breath after we open our eyes in the morning... are we recognizing the Lord, saying His name and, acknowledging His great gift in giving us another day of life?

When we sigh in a moment of relief or awe, could it be that we are calling His name in praise  for his comfort, guidance, or the beauty in this life?

When someone dies... that final breath... is that him calling out to his creator one last time before he is in his arms in heaven?

So amazingly beautiful!

That is the kind of presence of our God that is truly accessible to us... He IS with us... He is omnipresent... ALL PRESENT... every single second of every single day... Do we live with that in mind?

I truly want to... Oh how we can take our very breath for granted... Most of us just do it and don't even consciously think about it for the most part...

But with each and every breath... it can be... and IS as if we are saying His very real true name... Yahweh... LORD... Adonai...

Experience His very real presence right beside you today:)

I want to live with that in mind... with every breath I take...

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

New beginnings...

And so it is...
As Louis moves on from the FMSC site here to mobilepack... 
I actually took his place at the site...

and I LOVE IT!!!


(Here Louis and I were wrapping and strapping a pallet during a packing session last week... he was subbing at the site... I was trying to get him to wear matching T-shirts... he wouldn't go for it:)

It has been a blast... There is a lot to remember and there is definitely a learning curve for me... but the people are kind, we make a great team, and I love feeding God's kids who are in great need...

It is the perfect way for me to take my love of missions and serving the vulnerable children of the world... and make it a part of my every day life right here in my own back yard!


The kids were packing a few weeks ago when we had company... nice hair nets friends!


Louis in front of the huge semi parked right in the convention center last weekend for the FMSC gala and auction... What a special time... Seriously, I am so honored and privileged to work part time for such a great organization!  


Here is a part of our team here at the site with the CEO of Feed My Starving Children, Mark Crea... What a down to earth fella...

It was a great night and a WHOLE LOT OF CHILDREN are going to be fed because of the generosity of the People in the Chicagoland area!  Go GOD!!!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Our boy... Louie

Growing up and finding the path God has for you can be hard...
Especially when maybe you aren't following the typical path for a person your age...
(Let me tell you as a home school mom... I feel the pressure....and I am sure Louis has as well...)

But God is mapping out a wonderful path for our son Louis... at this point it isn't exactly typical...
But beautiful and inspiring none the less...

Louis began his job with Feed My Starving Children (AMAZING ORGANIZATION!!!) in their mobile pack division just a couple of weeks ago...

He is no longer just working at the Feed My Starving Children site, he is taking a gap year and working with their mobile pack division as a Team Leader traveling around the US helping at different mobile pack events.




Depending on the event, they may be packing anywhere from 100,000 meals to a 5.5 million meal packing event in May that will be in Virginia... 

Talk about amazing!  Can you imagine helping thousands of Volunteers pack over 5.5 million meals for starving children around the world?  

He works really hard when he is out of town and comes home exhausted... He comes home having made a difference in the lives of 1,000s of volunteers and 1,000's of kids around the world.  


We are so thankful that the Lord brought Louis to Feed My Starving Children... 
It is a perfect fit for him... 
He is able to use the gifts God has given him to serve, love, help kids in needs, share the love of Jesus with volunteers, and in turn to help heal kids all around the world who are struggling with malnutrition and starvation... All in the name of Jesus...


Above is Louis leading an orientation for volunteers at a FEED the NEED event in Indiana just last weekend...

And below... the team and volunteers are praying over the boxes that have been packed... Food packed with a lot of Love and Jesus...
Nothing better to heal God's precious kids in need...


Oh the journey of parenting the kids God gives you.... For me there are many moments I wonder, I worry, and I maybe even doubt that we have given them everything they will need for the journey God has ahead of them... There are so many different places, ideas, and people clamoring for the attention and devotion of our kids... 



While myself and every single one of my kids is so flawed... It has been so special to watch Louis find this niche... Never in a million years at his age would I have been comfortable getting up in front of hundreds of people to speak and share Feed My Starving Children's mission.  He does it boldly and does a GREAT JOB!  You can tell he is passionate about it and loves it! So often people are shocked that he is only 18... Put him in certain situations like wrestling with his brothers and he is like any other 18 year old...  (or 10 year old LOL!! ) 

But put him in at FMSC and leading and he shines.  I am really proud of him.  

It is a gift to watch the Lord open doors (maybe not even the ones you were expecting HIM to open) for your children...

And it is even more of a gift to watch your kids kick those doors open and walk right through with excitement in their heart... Right into the spot the Lord can use them with the gifts He has already equipped them with... 

We are thrilled for Louis and the exciting things that God will show him, teach him, and use him for in the coming year... 

We would love you to pray for him and all the other Mobile pack workers... There is much travel and many long days... Pray they will serve and lead with Joy and the light and love of Jesus shining through them each step of the way...