All Or Nothing…


I love books.  I hate dust.  Our book shelves had become a total dust magnet.  With all the technology and information available on the Internet, space is more important than books.  We reduced our library by 85%!!!


Howling At The Moon…


Third Grade Art…Emme’s is bottom row, center.


School + Sleep-Over = Totally Happy Girl!!!


Emme packed her back for her after school sleep-over with her 2 {Missionary} Aunts.  She had 5 stuffed animals, a book and a toothbrush and toothpaste…but absolutely nothing else!  No pajamas or change of clothes!


Above are picture updates from the totally fun night!!!

Clarification:  Missionaries serving overseas often adopt fellow missionaries as substitute family in the absence of their real family. No, Aunt Kelli and Aunt Karen, you are not being replaced, just remembered with fabulous, fun fill-ins!!!



As the mom of this totally cute, clever boy tells him to get down, I say, “No!  Wait!  I must get a picture first!” 


OK, I will not win Mother {or in this case Mum} of the Year…not even Best Aunt or Friend…and most definitely not a Safety Patrol Award…but seriously, is this photo not worthy of an award?!?  And thankfully, no kids were harmed in the photographing of this picture!!!



Thankful Pizza Days are now only a memory…at least for this year!!! 

Mission: Joy!

Tears streamed down my face as I entered McDonalds just as the breakfast sign disappeared, replaced with lunch. It was 10:00 and 3 seconds. "I am sorry Ma’am, I can not serve you breakfast. No, no matter how much you want a Sausage Egg McMuffin. No, no matter how much you are willing to pay. No, not even if you are crying!" Consoling myself with a warm chocolate croissant and latte at Буше.


Searching for joy! I can exaggerate and joke about the totally insignificant injustices I am faced with when I am to late for a McMuffin and must "settle" for a fabulous croissant and latte, or the tragic morning with my son sits in a seat soaked in pee on our journey to school, or when I must wait 12 months to walk the isles of Target or treat myself to a Sonic drink, or simply when I must take the stairs when the elevator is not working, or I must use my fancy, fun phone's 3G when our Internet is out. But, the reality is...life is full of truly serious tragedies. Today, tears streamed down my friend’s face as she shared about a missionary family who in minutes lost a father, grandfather, the mother is fighting for her life, while sparing the grandmother who stayed at home caring for her grand-baby. Friends are dealing with serious, life threatening illnesses…others are starving, dealing with human trafficking, abuse, neglect, war.  No matter what injustice I experience today, how major it may feel, how minor it truly is...I want to count it all joy!!!


Lessons I am Learning…


This month I have spent studying Gideon...not my son, but the famous one in the Bible! I had reached a point in my life where change was the only option. I had become angry and bitter and it was impacting every area of my life. God used the life of Gideon, joined me in my anger and walked with me through it. Every morning was a new adventure, a new lesson, another opportunity to let go of the past, find joy in the day and trust Jesus with all the rest.

I love planning, contemplating options, weighing pros and cons, controlling and calendaring the future. In my anger, I stopped being able to find joy in the gifts God has given me. I began to think...12 years is a long time to serve God, to be away from family, to live in a tiny apartment, etc.. I wanted different, better, more, bigger. I dream of living in a yellow house, with a white swing on my wraparound porch. I want to dig in flower beds, mow the grass, watch the kids play in the yard, have coffee with the neighbors, and grow roots. I really wanted to make plans, live my dream and spend time doing what I want...while praying God would join me and bless it all.

One morning, I read Romans 1 and claimed verses 10-13 {when Paul wrote to the Romans rejoicing that soon he would be able to visit them!} as a personal word from the Lord. I immediately went to Keith with my “word from the Lord” and my new found “permission” to leave Russia, move back to the states, buy an RV and road-school {I had no idea there was even such a thing!} our kids. As I spent the next few days researching RV, road-schooling curriculum, fun destinations and travel routes across America, I am confident Keith was pleading with God to help show me the errors in my hermeneutics!!!

Through this journey with Gideon {the famous one}, I have identified stumbling blocks in my life, experienced God's mercy and forgiveness, been able to acknowledge who I am in Christ {a masterpiece!}, rejoiced in knowing he has already prepared a fabulous plan for me and rested in the fact that my weaknesses are actually my greatest assets thanks to God! I have been able to see anew the precious gift of life he has given me and can begin to relax and celebrate that he has me right where he wants me for today…and can trust him to make future plans clear to me.

Maybe some day we will buy a yellow house with a porch swing or an RV and travel across America, but today, I will simply rejoice that he died, so I can live...no matter where my address maybe!

Ocean Floor Science Project…


Easter Breakfast and Bouquets!!!


Homemade biscuits and gravy, eggs and ham for breakfast and Easter Bouquets is a fabulous way to begin Easter!!! After a totally busy week, I am so thankful to be spending this Easter contemplating all Jesus has done for me...saving me, loving me and best of all forgiving me!!! Life is a gift and I want to live loving every minute of it!!!


Team Easter Celebration!


Happy Easter!!!



Today, we celebrated the fast approaching days of summer at the only outdoor pool in Saint Pete where Masha and her mom work.  We spent the morning swimming, working on our tan, exercising and, of course, laughing!!!


Bridal Shower…


After 7 years as a teacher at IA, teaching Gideon’s 2nd and 3rd Grade Class and this year teaching Emme’s 3rd Grade Class, we must say good-bye to Miss Reutina.  We are so thankful she is getting married, becoming Mrs. Pithouse and moving to Australia.  We are thankful for the investment and tremendous impact she has made in Gideon and Emme and all the students she has taught.  We are thankful for all the hours she has spent making learning fun.  We are thankful for the way she has loved, nurtured and helped the kids strive to be and do their best.  Miss Reutina, soon to be Mrs Pithouse, you will be missed!!!