Sunday, August 31, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

It has been a long time since I posted a menu plan and well if I am honest it has been a long time since I planned a menu. Other than for the week we spent in a cabin on vacation, I haven't planned one meal all summer. We ate light and easy, or maybe it was just easy. Please don't ask my family.

Tonight while eating dinner together, my oldest daughter shared how one of her teachers asked the students how many of them eat dinner with their families at the table two to three times during the week. She said her and another boy were the only ones who raised their hands. She went on to say that most of the students responded that they were just too busy to sit down together and or a meal wasn't prepared when they needed to eat. My eight year old then added his opinion of that information in a very serious tone, "if we never sat down to eat together, than when would I see everyone together and be able to talk to them?" My thoughts exactly, Hunter!

Well, I have spent the last several weeks collecting and organizing recipes. I needed a recipe boost. So, here are a few of my finds and some old favorites.

Monday: Barbecue Beef Sandwiches (using leftover roast from Sunday) Roasted Red Potatoes and Fresh Fruit

Tuesday: Oriental Chicken Wraps

Wednesday: Macaroni and Cheese and Salad

Thursday: Green Chili Flautas Beans and Rice

Friday: Slow Cooked Chili with cornbread

Saturday: Dinner out with my husband and some friends and these for the kids

Sunday: Crock Pot Apple Bacon Pork Chops with white rice and salad

Laura has helped me with my new surge of recipe ideas. For more menus or some new recipes go here.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Summer, defined

I'm Finished

I finished reading through the Psalms. Back on Memorial Day Weekend I felt the Lord nudging me to spend the summer months reading through this beloved book. I hesitated for a moment, after all it is the largest book in the bible and my past record of summer reading and studying of scripture was very dismal. But I decided to take the challenge. And I am so glad I did.

My goal was to finish by Labor Day Weekend. And today I read through the last few on my list. I did not go in any particular order, but kept track as I finished each one. I kept a journal of my reading and found myself keeping track of certain themes that the Lord was revealing over and over.

At first it was a challenge, the busy days of kids being home, the flood, and all that life brings during the summer months, but as the weeks rolled by I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. I found myself excited to get up in the morning and longing to spend time reading through the next group of Psalms on my list.

It was truly what sustained me throughout the fifteen days my husband was in Bulgaria. I never missed a day while he was away.

Some days I felt as though I was on a roller coaster. One minute I was rejoicing, the next I was weeping. I have a new reverence for His majesty. The word "righteousness" is all over the place and I prayed for a deeper understanding of what the Lord requires for those who seek Him.

He speaks of His great love for us and reminds us that He hates evil. He calls us to rejoice with Him and yet understands our deepest sorrow.

Labor Day weekend is always the close of summer. This particular summer it is the close of a journey for me, one of which I am so thankful for the Lord's nudging.

The kids have finished seven days of school. I have signed more forms, written more checks, and attended more orientation meetings in the past week than anyone should ever be required too. But this is the year with one in high school, one in junior high, one in middle school, a second grader and a caboose of a three year old. It should be fun!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It's the first day of a new school year...

and the new Jr. High student in the home has stated already this morning, "I am so glad we had an orientation yesterday, otherwise I would have died this morning."

Thank you Jr. High principal and faculty for saving my daughter's life.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

He's HOME!

AND I have...
one very relieved sixteen year old
one very overjoyed thirteen year old
one very proud eleven year old
one very smiley eight year old
one very very happy three year old

AND one very grateful wife!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Baptize me!

The last time I spoke with my husband was on Tuesday morning. Our conversation was quick and a bit rushed, but he couldn't wait to tell me that they had spontaneously baptized several people in the Black Sea.
How cool is that!

This photo is so precious. Three of the men are Bulgarians and the other three are from the American team. (My husband is wearing the cap)

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
Matthew 28:19


Just look at his smile...

Friday, August 08, 2008

Bulgaria Update

As we sleep tonight (central time) the team will be leaving early in the morning (Bulgarian time) for a three hour trip to the Black Sea. This is where they will spend the remainder of their mission.

They are ministering at a camp that has been put together for both gypsies and Bulgarians ages 14-35. This is something that has never been done. (the gypsies are considered outcasts and generally not widely accepted) Please pray for their safety as they travel and that God's love would be poured out to all who attend the camp and that the missionary team would continue to be used in a powerful way to share the gospel message. I have been praying that a message of hope would come through their teachings, their touch, their smiles and to all that they come in contact with. Jeremiah 29:11

I was able to talk with my husband on Wednesday and today we tried to connect but was having trouble. I don't know if being able to see photos of him helps or makes it harder? Truly the pictures paint a beautiful picture of what God is doing. I tried a couple different times today to look through them, and found myself in tears each time. So, I refrained. But this is one of my personal favorites of my husband surrounded by children at one of the gypsy villages where they had ministered.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Summer Fun

It took me about three shots...but I finally got it!
I was sitting on the beach and she was about 50 feet out in front of me. I was just taking some fun shots of the kids going down the slide and then they started jumping off the back. It was as much fun for me to watch them as it was for them to be jumping into the river on a beautiful summer day.
5 minutes for mom is having a summer photo contest. To enter go here

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


We interrupt the mission trip updates to announce:

He finally lost his ONE front tooth!
Don't worry Dad already saw his new smile using Skype and loved it!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Bulgaria Update

This afternoon I spoke with my husband again using Skype. His voice is perfectly clear and there is not the usual delay between my speaking and him hearing what I just said as in years past. And it is truly remarkable and wonderful to be able to speak with him more than once. (In 2005, he went to Sri Lanka and I was so thankful for the one phone call he was able to make during his two week trip)

A large part of the ministry they are involved with is to both orphanages and the gypsies. Yesterday they ministered at an all boys orphanage. Today they ministered at a group home for orphans. He said the response has been amazing. Each night they are attending and ministering together at gypsy churches. Tonight they used a drama to share the gospel message and the people responded. He said it was powerful!

I have been praying that the work they are doing will plant seeds that will take root and grow. They are working with both a local foursquare church as well as a national youth leader in Bulgaria. I have been praying that God would establish strong leadership and provide the necessary resources for the work to continue long after this team comes home.

Saturday, August 02, 2008


Yesterday morning my husband boarded a plane in Minneapolis with seven other members of our church on their way to Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. The first leg of their trip took them to Chicago to meet up with five additional team members from another state including my husband's long time friend and fellow minister, Pastor Nick. About 4:30 pm central time they all boarded a flight for Vienna, Austria. The almost ten hour flight and seven hour time difference made for a very long night. The last leg of their trip took them from Austria to the capitol of Bulgaria, Sofia, with another hour time difference. The team was then transported to Stara Zagora where they will be ministering for the next thirteen days. They arrived this afternoon (Saturday), had a few hours rest and headed right out to do an outreach at 6 pm (10 am central time) where my husband would be preaching.
Technology is absolutely amazing and because of it my husband called my computer this afternoon using Skype and a web cam. For a few brief moments all six of us were huddled in front of my laptop trying to see and be seen and say hello. (just a side note ~ Coleman was trying to show daddy his green balloon that he just received from the lady at the hair cut place ~ you know the important stuff) It was after 11 pm in Bulgaria. He just wanted us to know they were all doing well, and that over 30 people made a decision for Christ at this first outreach.
I am often amazed at how the Lord puts things together. I saw first hand God's handiwork as I listened to each of the team members share their heart and passion for wanting to GO! As I helped finalize the plans for this mission's trip, I stood in awe of what God had laid out before us and what He was putting together. A young couple, a mother and daughter, an attorney, a single mom, an older woman who has been such a faithful servant in our church, and a pastor all packing a bag and going, just as Jesus commanded to "make disciples." Matthew 28:19-20 And we get to be a part of it through our giving and prayers. I stand in awe!
A few nights ago, as the team gathered one last time to finalize the packing of the gifts they had purchased for the orphans and children they would be ministering to, my heart became overwhelmed with what they would be seeing and doing. While the room was filled with chatter about flights, security, luggage, soccer balls, pumps, supplies, etc., I found my own mind wandering back to the emails I had exchanged with the mission team leader/the local church pastor in Bulgaria. He had shared in detail the needs of the people God has called him to minister to. I could hear through the written word the heart of a shepherd crying out for both the sheep in his pasture and those that weren't there yet. I could see God taking these eight people and using their lives to bring a message of hope and healing to a people in need.
The last few nights (and days) have been hard. Not in a bad way, but just like the last time my husband went on a mission's trip overseas, God was at work in ways we never imagined. There were changes ahead, unexpected turns, and yet GOING as he did then, was all part of God's plan. It seems the work isn't all done on the field, but it begins sometimes weeks and even months ahead of time right here at home. We could sense it the last time, we sense it again.
I would appreciate your prayers over the next two weeks. I will share more specifically about the people they are ministering to and some of the events they will be a part of in my next post. In the meantime, thank you for praying and listening.