Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year

As I sit here in a comfy chair, snug in a throw blanket with my laptop and a cup of hot tea with honey, close to midnight on New Year's Eve, I think back on 2010. For some, it was a year of gain, but, for others, it was a year of loss.

In thinking about the loss of my husband and best friend, my sons' father, leader of my marriage, parenting and home, provider of my family and, ultimately, my future, I hold close to my heart Isaiah 30:18 which is "Yes, the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion." This verse carries a lot of truth in my life, because, on this continuous road of unknowns, the Lord, out of his infinite love, so graciously and compassionately carries us through the trying times of our lives whether it's challenges in our relationship with our God, spouse, children, parents, in-laws, friends, stewardship of time and money, things that hold us in bondage to sin or even grief from loss.

While we're familiar with the challenges of this life, God is faithful to sustain and bless us along the way. So, regardless of what 2011 brings us, I trust His all-sufficient grace to carry us through it to find contentment and joy as we move forward in this journey on Earth.

Happy New Year, friends!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! God's gift is still the greatest which is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23). Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, was born on this day many years ago. He came to Earth in the flesh of a baby, lived a sinless life for 33 years and died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins so we can have eternal life. God's great love for us through the gift of His only Son paved the way for us to be forgiven, reconciled and made righteous. What an incredible gift!

We enjoyed food, fellowship and fun with family and friends in Indiana today.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Cookies


We've been busy baking. We made the traditional Eloe cookies of chocolate towne, ginger, molasses sugar and sour cream sugar as well as oatmeal raisin and peanut butter. The boys' favorite kind, though, is roll-out sugar. They like to make cut-out cookies with cookie cutters and decorate them. It's been fun and the deep freeze is stocked!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm very excited to be hosting Thanksgiving dinner for my family and some of my in-laws.

According to the dictionary, thanksgiving in an act of giving thanks or an expression of gratitude especially to God. So aside from a day filled with family and food, I pray that hearts and homes are filled with thankfulness for His blessings.

Give thanks in everything, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Getaway with Girlfriends

I had fun in Iowa this weekend catching up with longtime girlfriends. As a woman, we have a God-given longing for friendships with other women. For over 21 years, these women - who were once my high school classmates - have fulfilled this longing. These friendships, though we are all different, have been strong and rewarding even through our seasons of change. We know everything about each other and still love each other anyway. I'm very thankful for the blessing of these women in my life and the rare longevity of our friendship.

A friend loves at all times.
Proverbs 17:17

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My 37th Birthday

Today was my 37th birthday. To celebrate, we went to Skeeter Barnes for supper. Afterward, we went home and enjoyed an ice cream cake from Coldstone Creamery.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


The boys had fun trick-or-treating in town tonight. J was a Nebraska Husker football player, E was a pirate and N was an indian.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

It's harvest time!

The boys had fun taking turns riding in the combine to harvest corn on their grandpa's farm today.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Carving Pumpkins

The boys carved their pumpkins tonight.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stand up and do your best!

Stand up in the place where [God] has put you, and there do your best. The grandest character is grown in hardship, from LB Cowman's Streams in the Desert.

I can get overwhelmed and frustrated by my lot in life, so this quote is very encouraging!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Remembering 10/21/00

[B]etter to have loved and lost [t]han never to have loved at all, Alfred Lord Tennyson. 

Today would've been my and Kent's 10th wedding anniversary. We had a healthy Christ-centered marriage, but it wasn't perfect. The beauty of our love, though, was that we loved each other in our imperfections . . . just like Jesus loves us. I miss him and our life, but I'm thankful for the eight years we were married.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gettin' Rid of Dirt

As I was power washing our deck today, I couldn't help but think it'd be nice if the dirt in my heart and life would disappear as easily as it did from the deck.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Gifts of Sorrow

This is another quote from LB Cowman's devotional, Consolation, that spoke straight to my heart:

Take care that you don't waste your sorrows; that you don't let the precious gifts of disappointment, pain, loss, loneliness, or similar afflictions that come into your daily life mar you instead of mend you. See that they send you nearer to God, and not that they drive you farther from Him

This classic devotional continues to be a great source of comfort and encouragement to me as we continue to heal from our loss. It's out of print but if you can find it on Amazon or even eBay, I trust it'll bless you as much as it has me.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New Robes

The boys' new robes arrived in the mail a few days ago. They're supposed to wear them as an alternative to bringing blankets to the kitchen table every morning. So far, so good!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Journey & Gateway

This is a quote from today's entry in LB Cowman's classic devotional, Consolation:

What we call life is a journey to death. What we call death is the gateway to life.

Wow! I'm so thankful for the hope of eternal life through knowing Jesus!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pumpkin Picking

We went to Helgoth's Pumpkin Patch today where the boys had fun going on a hayride to pick their own pumpkins.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Good Reports

I went to parent-teacher conferences tonight and all three of the boys are doing great in school. I really like the Accelerated Reader program that supplements their reading curriculum. They want to read all the time to reach their monthly goals. It's awesome!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

E turns 7!

My middle son, E, turned seven today! He had fun celebrating his birthday with some of his classmates, cousins and brothers at the Big Apple's Ballocity.

Later in the evening, he lost his first tooth!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Lot of Apples

We arrived at the apple orchard this afternoon too late to pick our own, so we bought pre-bagged ones instead. That's 50 pounds of Jonagold and Jonathan apples to peel, slice and bag to freeze for cobblers, crisps, pies and tarts!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A BIG Puppy

Belle is almost 8-months-old now. She sure is a BIG puppy!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


I read this poem at Widow's Christian Place and it really resonated with my heart:


Although things are not perfect

Because of trial or pain
Continue in thanksgiving
Do not begin to blame
Even when the times are hard
Fierce winds are bound to blow
GOD is forever able
Hold on to what you know

Imagine life without His love
Joy would cease to be
Keep thanking Him for all the things
Love imparts to thee

Move out of "Camp Complaining"
No weapon that is known
On earth can yield the power
Praise can do alone

Quit looking at the future
Redeem the time at hand
Start every day with worship
To "thank" is a command

Until we see Him coming
Victorious in the sky
We'll run the race with gratitude
Xalting God most high
Yes, there will be good times,
and yes, some will be bad, but...
Zion waits in glory...
where none are ever sad!

by Cindy Blackamore

What a comfort and encouragement for strength to get through each day!

Friday, September 17, 2010


Kent's vault containing his casket was disinterred yesterday morning from the cemetery in Indiana where he was buried after his funeral.

Then the vault company transported it about 700 miles to Nebraska where it was interred this afternoon to a cemetery close to our house.

I thought this was an odd thing to do, but the funeral homes on both ends that arranged this do a few month. We're just glad it's here, because it's where it belongs.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Muffins with Mom

It was Donuts with Dad & Muffins with Mom at the boys' school this morning. There was a similar event last year at their previous school, but it was just for dads. Thankfully, their grandpas went with them, but it wasn't the same as having a dad there. I was glad to be included this year, so they weren't excluded. I enjoyed eating breakfast with them (and even some of their friends and their parents) in the cafeteria before they started their school day.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

It's All About Him

Today was the annual "It's All About Him" Sunday at Bethel Church. It's all about Him all the time, but these annual Sundays are a special celebration of the supremacy of Jesus Christ in all things. This message always reminds me of the anthology of Jesus Christ through the entire Bible that the pastor shared a few years ago:

Genesis - He's the Ram at Abraham's altar.
Exodus - He's the Passover Lamb.
Leviticus - He's the faithful High Priest.
Numbers - He's the bronze snake that heals.
Deuteronomy - He's the city of our refuge.
Joshua - He's the scarlet thread in Rahab's window.
Judges - He's our Judge.
Ruth - He's our kinsman Redeemer.
Samuel - He's our trusted prophet.
Kings & Chronicles - He's our reigning King.
Ezra - He's the faithful scribe.
Nehemiah - He's the Rebuilder of everything that's broken.
Esther - He's Mordecal sitting faithful at the gate.
Job - He's our Redeemer that ever lives.
Psalms - He's our Shepherd.
Proverbs & Ecclesiastes - He's our wisdom.
Song of Songs - He's the beautiful Bridegroom.
Isaiah - He's the suffering servant.
Jeremiah & Lamentations - He's the weeping prophet.
Ezekiel - He's the wheel within a wheel.
Daniel - He's the fourth man in the fiery furnace.
Hosea - He's our lover forever faithful.
Joel - He baptizes us with the Holy Spirit.
Amos - He's our burden bearer.
Obadiah - He's our Savior.
Jonah - He's the Missionary to the entire world.
Micah - He's the Messenger with beautiful feet.
Nahum - He's the Avenger.
Habakkuk - He's the watchman praying for revival.
Zephaniah - He's the Lord mighty to save.
Haggai - He's the Restorer of our lost heritage.
Zachariah - He's our fountain.
Malachi - He's the Son of righteousness.
Matthew - He is Christ, Son of the living God.
Mark - He's the Miracle Worker.
Luke - He's the Son of Man.
John - He's the door through which we must enter.
Acts - He's the shining light on Saul.
Romans - He's our Justifier.
1 Corinthians - He's our resurrection.
2 Corinthians - He's our sin bearer.
Galatians - He redeems us from the curse of law.
Ephesians - He's our unsearchable riches.
Philippians - He supplies all of our needs.
Colossians - He's the fullness of Godhead in bodily form.
Thessalonians - He's the soon coming King.
Timothy - He's the mediator between God and Man.
Titus - He's our blessed hope.
Philemon - He's a friend closer than a brother.
Hebrews - He's the blood of the everlasting covenant.
James - He's the Lord who heals the sick.
Peter - He's our chief Shepherd.
John - He's the tenderness of love.
Jude - He's the Lord coming with 10,000 saints.
Revelation - He's the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back to School

I returned to college today. It's been years since I was in college and so much has changed! I don't usually feel old, but I sure did today . . . especially because most of the students in my classes are half my age. What a dose of humility!

Friday, August 20, 2010

From Hoosiers to Huskers

Yes, it's true, we moved. We're not Hoosiers anymore; we're Huskers now! Nebraska isn't a place a lot of people want to move to, but Kent was from here and it's captured my heart over the last decade.

Compared to NW Indiana, it's less populated and slower paced. It's a great place for me to focus on God and my boys. I like NW Indiana and my house there, but the bittersweet memories of the area and especially the house were a constant reminder that Kent's not here anymore.

A lot of pondering and praying went into this decision. We've wanted to move here for awhile now (even before Kent passed away) and God opened a door for it to happen. I trust God's leading here and believe a fresh start will be very healthy for us.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A New School Year

Today was the boys' first day of school. It's hard to believe they're in 3rd, 1st and kindergarten this year. Time sure does fly!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lake County Fair

After church today, I took the boys to the county fair for a few hours. They had fun riding the rides, walking through the livestock pavillions and eating corn dogs with lemonade shake-ups. Even though it was hot, we had a good time!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Oregon Coast

When we arrived in Portland, we rented a van and drove two hours to the Oregon Coast where we met family and enjoyed mild temperature, magnificent scenery and attractions along Pacific Coast Highway for the last week.

We learned about marine life at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.


We visited Newport's Historic Bayfront and toured Ripley's Believe it or Not!, Wax Works and the Underground Sea Garden at Mariner Square, shopped the quaint shops and, at the pier, watched sea lions and fishermen at work.

We flew kites at a windy Nye Beach.

We climbed the spiral staircase inside of Oregon's tallest lighthouse at Yaquina Head and walked on the nearby black cobble beach.

We visited Oregon's shortest lighthouse and Octopus Tree at Cape Meares.

We patiently waited for the high tide at the mysterious Devil's Punch Bowl.

We walked through the Tillamook Air Museum.

We toured the Tillamook Cheese Factory and enjoyed taste testing cheese and eating ice cream. 

We explored the sea life in the tide pools at Cannon Beach's Haystack Rock.

We savored fresh seafood every day and the boys swam in the hotels' pools a few times a day. It was too cold to swim in the ocean!

Aside from not being prepared for such cool weather, we had a great time!   

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

All aboard!

We left Chicago's Union Station for Portland on Amtrak's Empire Builder two days ago.

We stayed in a superliner bedroom suite in a sleeper car and had access to the snack, sightseer and dining cars.  

Along the way, we enjoyed the views of the Wisconsin Dells, Mississippi River, Rocky Mountains, Glacier National Park, Gateway to Mount Rainier, Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood.

After 2257 miles, 47 hours and three times zones, we finally made it to Portland's Union Station.

What an experience!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Should You Go First

L.B. Cowman's Consolation continues to be a tremendous source of encouragement for me. This poem is from today's entry:

Should You Go First
Should you go first and I remain
  To walk the road alone,
I'll live in memory's garden, dear,
  With happy days we've known.
In Spring, I'll wait for roses red,
  In Summer - lilacs blue;
In Autumn, when the brown leaves call
  I'll catch a breath of you.

Should you go first and I remain
  For battles to be fought,
Each thing you've touched along the way
  Will be a hallowed spot.
I'll hear your voice, I'll see your smile,
  Though blindly I may grope,
The memory of your helping hand
  Will buoy me on with hope.

Should you go first and I remain
  To finish with the scroll,
No length'ning shadows shall creep in
  To make this life seem droll.
We've known so much of happiness,
  We've had our cup of joy;
Ah, memory is one gift of God
  That death cannot destroy.

Should you go first and I remain
  One thing I'd have you do:
Walk slowly down the path of death,
  For soon I'll follow you.
I'll want to know each step you take,
  That I may walk the same,
For some day down that lonely road
  You'll hear me call your name.

by A.K. Rowswell

My heart needed courage to move forward alone and God used this poem to encourage me to do so. His timing is perfect!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Take Them A Meal

Have you been called to minister to a family in need with hot homemade meals? If so, Take Them A Meal is a quick and effective way to organize a meal schedule for someone and their family. Instead of the time consuming task of making phone calls to fill in names on a calendar, just create a meal schedule on their website and e-mail or even post on Facebook or a blog (such as a CaringBridge site) the link, person's last name and passcode to those that may be interested in ministering in the same way. It's easy! It's amazing how quickly a calendar fills up with very little effort. It's a great way to help someone that just had a baby or death in their family as well as someone that is recovering from surgery or going through treatment. Check it out!

Friday, July 23, 2010


It's been a busy week of Vacation Bible School at our church!

The boys and over 500 other kids had fun at Kidz BLAST where they learned to Believe, Love, Adore, Serve and Trust. This fun-filled week included worship, Bible stories, games, crafts, snacks and a missions project that raised over $3100 for Living Water International, an organization that helps poverty-stricken countries acquire clean water.

I served on the 5th and 6th grade crafts team which was a fun and enjoyable change of pace for me.

We had a blast!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dirty Dog

Belle was naughty today, but she had fun and made us laugh!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Grief Share

Do you know about Grief Share? It's a community of people that helps those who have lost a loved one heal from their loss by connecting them to support groups, seminars, personal studies and books. There's even a daily devotional, A Season of Grief, that is free via e-mail. I like starting my day with a hot cup of coffee and a comforting and encouraging e-mail from them in my in-box. Check it out!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

National Ice Cream Day

Do you know today is National Ice Cream Day? Back in 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day.

Kent liked ice cream a lot, so our freezer was (and still is) always stocked. The boys looked forward to eating some with him almost every night. Blue Bunny cookies & cream and mint chocolate chip as well as my mother-in-law's homemade graham cracker have always been favorites in our house, but we like plain chocolate and vanilla too. We recently made my paternal grandma's homemade strawberry and it was good too . . . even without fresh cream! Last but not least, we've always liked spur-of-the-moment drives on a hot, humid afternoon or evening to Dairy Queen for some soft serve.

Tonight we finished a quart of key lime pie which was last week's flavor of the week at Tastee Top, a revived classic right down the road from where I grew up.

So what's your favorite ice cream?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Our camper is home!

After being gone for a week, J and other 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th graders from our church came home today from Twin Lakes Camp where they kept busy with creek walks, a water zip line, swimming, boating, archery, crafts and, of course, chapel, devotions and prayer. One of J's favorite activities was the mud pit. He's such a boy! Aside from being cold at night and a little homesick, he had a great time in God's great outdoors. We're glad he's home though, because we missed him!