No Harm Done

Saturday, May 31, 2008


Here's a great moment from last night's Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Sameer Mishra (13) went on to win the Bee. Even at the end, he showed such presence, and calmness under a tremendous amount of stress.

Here he is in an earlier round.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Yay! We're Back!

We've taken a few months off of swimming over the winter, and May 1st we started back at the pool.

I've missed it. I didn't realize until after we stopped going how much the boys needed that physical outlet. Swimming laps 7.5 hours a week burns a lot of pre-adolescent energy!!

Brogan's back in lessons, and he's almost ready for swim team. He can swim the freestyle and backstroke, has mastered the breaststroke kick, ad is learning the dolphin kick. (You use that during the butterfly.)

I was worried that Braden's first day back would be hard, but he didn't complain. His level swims for an hour and a half, and swims hundreds of yards over the course of one practice. At the end of his first practice, he came out of the locker room with his hair uncombed.

Me: "Why didn't you comb your hair?"

Braden: "I can't lift my arms."

But he was smiling. So it's good. :)

In these photos the kids are swimming the breaststroke. I just love the angle of Braden's mouth in the photo below.

To me, it says, "OXYGEN!!!"

Sunday, May 25, 2008

This week my project was to (gently) encourage families at church to pre-register for Vacation Bible School.

Without nagging them.

Encouraging a group of people (gently) without nagging is a challenge! So I gathered a couple of families and from church and recruited them (not-so-gently) to participate in this video.

I was going for subtlety. And gentleness.

But absolutely no nagging.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Look What We Did Today!

Yes, our trio took the plunge and recorded a real, live, professionally-mixed CD.

S., K., and I have sung together for nearly a year, and since my family is moving away (so I can pursue a solo career??) we wanted to record the songs that we've worked on so that we could remember them.

Along the way, we decided to change the focus of our CD from one that simply recorded the songs on which we've worked, to a CD that discusses our faith and the God for whom we sing. Pastor H. graciously agreed to write and record some devotional thoughts to be interspersed throughout the CD.

We recorded nine songs, seven of them we have sung for the congregation on Sundays. The other two we are saving for our "reunion tour."

You think I'm joking???

Here's the studio. It was very intimidating walking into this room. The first few songs were hard to do, I thought, because I was so nervous. The microphones used pick up every little thing, and on the playback I heard quavers and breaks that I never picked up on in "real life."

K. is the "pro" in our group. She's done this before, and she had a very calming presence.

S. was just as nervous as I, but hid it much better!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Happy Birthday!

How is it that Colson is 5? Each child seems to grow up faster than the last.

It was harder to fit all the pictures I wanted into the song this year. There are just too many! You'll have to watch closely, some of the pictures fly by.

But then, so do the years, don't they?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Conversations in the Car

Colson: Mom, I need to learn karate so I can protect myself.

Me: Really? From whom do you need to protect yourself?

Colson: From people who are trying to kill me.

Me: Who's trying to kill you?

Colson: Mo-ooooom! I don't know! People don't tell you when they want to kill you.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

"Movin' Right Along Dugga-dum, dugga-dum"

Quick! Who knows what movie that's from?

There have been a few years in our family's life where we joked that we needed to post Genesis 12:1 in our home.

"Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you;"

During those years we seemed to move every 12 months or so, and several friends and family members lost track of our current address and phone number. Indeed, our frequent moves were, in large part, the reason for starting this blog. We wanted a place where family and friends we know around the world would be able to find us.

After three and a half wonderful years in our fair city, the Lord is moving us again. M. has accepted a job as Plant Manager for a company in a teeny town (pop. 3,600....gulp) in Nebraska. I am a little bit nervous about this move, but every time the Lord has moved us in the past it has been toward something better. We have no doubts that He will do the same here.

We are also a little excited about the move (happening in June- fingers crossed), but are saddened about leaving our friends and our church home here. Even though we joked about moving to Kansas 4 years ago, we are so very, very thankful that God brought us here.

We took a trip up to visit this little town a couple of weeks ago. It's a cute little town, once you leave the highway. During our trip we heard that there's a plan to have the highway run around the outskirts of town, instead of straight down the middle, as it does now. I'm looking forward to that, though I doubt the merchants along that stretch are.

So, here are some photos of the area we're moving. If you're curious as to the exact location, and I know who you are, I'll be happy to tell you if you e-mail me. But it won't be posted here. :)

Cows. There are lots of cows here. I think. We didn't really see any, but we could sure smell them! The locals told us that they usually don't notice the cow smell, but there was something about the wind..... Brogan wants to be a farmer when he grows up, though, so there'll be plenty of opportunity for him to learn.

There are trees and woods. It's not all flat.

Here's a picture from an area website. It's one of the churches in town. There are a couple of beautiful churches that we saw. It's a very religiously ethnic area. Does that make sense? Is there a term for this? Lots of Catholics and Lutherans there, as in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

More cows. They were cute.

Here's the picture of downtown from the town website.

I think that half of the town's population was called to come downtown for that photo, because when we were there it looked like this:

People were very friendly, and the downtown area was clean and well-kept. I loved the brick streets!

This is a view of downtown to the east, now. Do you see the store windows in the big building to the left? We wondered what sort of merchandise they sold, and got the biggest kick out of the advertising in the windows.

Here's a close-up:

I love a store that meets all my needs! Yes sir! That's one-stop shopping for you!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

It's a Major Award!

Last night was awards night at our local AWANA program. The boys worked very hard this year on their books!

Colson finished his 2nd Cubbie book. (Cubbies are children 3-5, before kindergarten) The Cubbies say one verse per week, all year long. Colson longed to be a Cubbie and has loved the past two years. He's sad he'll no longer be a Cubbie, but he's excited to move on to Sparks next year with Brogan.

It was hard to get a photo of him because he was in the back row the entire time they sang their songs. But here he is bounding down the steps to get his goody bag and Book 2 ribbon.

Brogan worked terribly hard this year and exceeded everyone's expectations, even his own! Brogan earned his Book 2 award in Sparks. He said all the sections in that book, and then he went back and said them all again. After reciting the book a second time, he said 7 extra sections to complete the criteria for his book review patch. On his vest, the green patch is the review patch and the bejeweled crown is his book award.

Brogan said all year that he didn't think he could do it. But we just worked a few minutes a day, every day, and he surprised himself!

This picture is kind of funky. Brogan was standing in a crowd of Sparks, and I don't know who any of them are. I didn't want to put their photos on the blog unless I knew them, do I had to disguise them.

Here are Braden and his friend S. receiving their awards. Braden finished his 4th T&T book this year. (T&T is for grades 3-6) He earned his Timothy award for having completed all 4 books. This is significant to Braden and M. , because M. earned a Timothy award way back in the dark ages when he was in AWANA.

Braden and S. also completed their book reviews, called "Silvers" and "Golds." There are 32 Silver and Gold sections, which consist mostly of service projects, research projects, or extra memory work related to the theme of that year. The very last Gold section requires the child to review ALL of the material and verses from all 4 books! It took Braden 2 thirty-minute sessions to say it all! But he did it!
Braden has completed the Silvers and Golds for each book, and he says he's proud he did it. But he doesn't think he'll do them in the future. "They're too much work!" he says.

Look at them! Aren't they adorable? S. looks so happy and proud. (Rightly so!) Braden looks so serious. I think that's relief I see on his face.