Thursday, March 8, 2018

February 2018

The first weekend of February Josh and Duncan and a bunch of other dads and sons went to the No Regrets conference in Milwaukee, so that left Kate and I home alone! We seriously love these weekends! Friday night Kate ordered papa johns pizza, breadsticks and soda so we sat on the couch all night eating pizza, watching Chopped and Grey's anatomy. Loved just snuggling up on the couch together and hanging out. Saturday morning we headed to the gym at church for a little exercise. Kate has taken an interest in stretgth training and healthy nutrition, talking about being a dietician some day. We had planned to go out for breakfast but every place ended breakfast at 11 and after working out and showering we were not going to make it by 11 so we dedided to go out for lunch instead. Headed to one of our favorites Panera. We had a good chat over lunch, talking about dating and being a christian. Love how we can do this! Then we hit the stores, Old Navy, Kohls, Hobby Lobby, and the mall. Found a couple good deals but it was just good to be together.



We also had our annual small group super bowl party at our house this past sunday. Lots of good conversation not even about the game, Josh started a campfire, kids played outside and inside, and plenty of food, oh my!

2/11 and 2/18 we had gotten away from cell phone free time, we had previously been doing the majority of the day sunday and various times during the week where there was no cell phone, laptop, xbox and have now decided we need to get back to doing that. As the kids have gotten busier especially Duncan (school, sports, job, hanging out with friends) we don't see him as often and he is busy with other things than his phone, it had not become as necessary to enforce the screen free time. But! Man has it been a couple of fun Sunday's! We had about 5-6 hours this past sunday with no phones, etc. all of us took naps both days, we played games, good old sorry and the train game, we went ice skating on the pond by our house this past sunday, we had a long lunch both times just sitting at the table talking with each other for at least an hour. So glad that they like to talk to us :)
It was just nice, they are both great kids but having the phones put away brings out their personalities, attentiveness, and just a lot of fun.

2/16-2/18 I traveled to our churches annual womens retreat this weekend with my good friend Anna. It was titled living as a wise woman and followed 2 Timothy 3:6-7 7 observations of what makes women weak. She talked about watching out for "creeps" in our lives, any negative influence that slowly creeps into our lives. Sin does not advance by leaps it advances by creeps one tiny compromise at a time. It was a good message. I was also able to volunteer as a prayer partner in the prayer room for women who wanted to pray with someone. Honestly, I was quite nervous about doing this, what if I said the wrong thing, what if I didn't pray well??? However, I did know in my heart that the Lord would bring me the words and it ended up being quite a blessing! When we walk in the prayer room we can grab a cute little sachet with a rock in it that has a word painted on it, I grabbed a random bag and looked at the rock, it said hope. I wondered who would be coming to me needing hope? The lady described her story to me much like mine was 7+ years ago, a story of moving from a beloved place leaving good friends and "home" behind. She was needing hope for your and her families future. After praying I gave her the rock and she read the work, we both started crying. It was just what she needed.

I ended the month with a sweet moment with Duncan. He now is almost 17 and 6'2" tall. I have been wanting to spend more time praying with the kids, more in depth not just the thank you for our food and protect us while we travel. So the other evening he was in his room and I sat down on his bed and we talked for a few mins and then I told him the above thoughts, and we prayed together. He held my hand and put his head on my shoulder and it warmed my heart!!!
The other thing we have been working on diligently is finishing our basement. Josh has been the general contractor and it is going well! Here is his right hand man :)



Thursday, February 8, 2018

January 2018

I'm going to try my best to keep up to speed this year :)
January happenings:

-Have begun the search for Duncan's college, will be visiting Northwestern and Bethel next week
-As they get older the snuggles get a bit less soooo Kate came over and crawled under a blanket with me one day and Duncan did just a few days later, warms my heart and I soak it up.
-Kate french braided my hair the other day
-I bought a new chair for our bedroom for the purpose of somewhere to sit to read and do devotions, I love it
-Josh has started finishing our basement, so far the walls are framed and he and a friend have begun the electrical, we have had the plumber and HVAC guy come for estimates at 6 and 6:30am, Josh enjoys working down there and always wants the rest of us to help him. We have had LOTS of conversations on how we want the basement to look, have gone from 2 bedrooms to 1 bedroom and two murphy beds in another room, have moved around the counter space in the kitchenette
-I am co coordinating the wednesday womens studies and this is going well, lots of logistics
-Duncan has a girlfriend and Kate has a boyfriend?!?!?!
-Josh and I went with the other elders from the church board to Door county to the white lace inn bed and breakfast, quite a lacy place, right up Josh's alley :) They have some amazing oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies! We are staying one extra night for our anniversary. Josh's mom came over from mn to stay with the kiddos. Love her!
-1/20/18 we are just heading home from visiting Northwestern and Bethel Colleges. I think if duncan had to choose right now he would pick Bethel. Their campus was really impressive! We had a few connections with Northwestern with friends and friends kids who go there. We met with the baseball coach who is also the head LAT there, had a tour, met with admissions, and financial aid. Wow! lots to think about. Everyone was very nice and helpful, sounds like the christian life is lived out well here. At Bethel we had a tour given by a current football player, nice guy, we met with a former prof of ours Neal, how crazy that he could be one of Duncan's prof's?? talked quickly with a former FB coach, the freshman dorms are a bit better at NW as they have bathrooms in each room but have 3 to a room instead of only two at Bethel. Also seemed to be living out their faith at Bethel, met with admissions there as well. Duncan mentioned that the more he thinks about it he is leaning towards nursing as a major.
-We stayed with some old friends of ours the Squires for the two nights we were in the cities. It was so good to see them!! I love it that we can just pick up our conversations as if it really hasn't been 10 years since we last got together. We had lots of laughs, Lucinda and Chad cooked some great food, we played a game called eye to eye, and the kids sat in the hot tub.
1/27/18-Josh and I decided to go back to our yournger days and do a date night and not come home until almost midnight! This really no longer happens until today. We went out for dinner with Paige's parents, Mark and Erin to a place in downtown and i can't remember the name of it?? Fancy place and the food was good! After this they needed to head home and then Josh and I headed to the cup of joy to see comedian Jeff Allen with the Gresenz, he was funny and had a good life story to tell as well. Following the show we decided to go out to Krolls for a late night snack. Conversation with them is always easy, we can talk about life, God, parenting, etc always a great time. On our way home we realized that is was close to 11:45 and had to chuckle because we have not stayed out on a date night this late for years!!!

                                            We went to this snow sculpture with Squires.
 Lucinda, Chad, Josh and I

Us! Post college visits 

Duncan just before leaving to go to Paige's winter homecoming dance. Such a handsome fella!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

WI Deer Hunting opener 2017

As has been the tradition the last few years, Josh and Duncan head off to western wi for the opening of deer hunting weekend and Kate and I get some time just to ourselves! The boys left Friday early afternoon and that night we made tacos and hung out at home. Saturday am we headed to the gym at church and too a total body conditioning class, good workout! Then Kate went to babysit at some friends of ours as the mom had a few things to do and needed a little time to herself while her husband was away hunting and I did some grocery shopping. From there we came home, showered, and headed out for lunch at one of our favorite places Panera! Can't beat good food and great company :)  We went to old navy next to look for Christmas PJ's and each found a pair of pants and shirt. They actually had some pretty good deals going on, was hard to not spend more! The next stop was hobby lobby and we looked around for decorations for the house and even ventured to the Christmas aisles. We only had one thing in our hands and the lines were super long so we decided we would come back during the week. After this stop we went to the mall, crazy right?!?!? We weren't after much, Kate wanted a sweater. We did walk most of the halls and ended up with white chocolate peppermint tea from Teavana, wonderful by the way! and some fizzy fruit drink to have with our pizza that night. We picked up pizza next and headed home to put on our Christmas jams and watch the movie A Christmas Story, along with a Hallmark movie :) We both fell asleep on the couch! Sunday was church and then lunch at Atlanta Bread, another of our favorite places. Who needs to cook when the boys are gone?!?! It is so much fun to be able to hang out with each other.

Kate also turned 15 this past week! Seriously where has the time gone! She wanted crockpot mac and cheese for supper so that is what we made :) She got some earrings and a sampler pack of mascaras and a winter jacket from us. We were able to celebrate with our MN families a couple weekends ago.
                                                                 MN birthday parties!

Kate snuggling with our dog Emmy :)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Meeting Dani--Compassion Child

While I was in Africa I had the awesome opportunity to meet Dani.  Dani is the child that we sponsor through Compassion International.  We have been sponsoring Dani for 4 years and it has been a blessing to get to know him over the years.  Monthly we write letters, send him Birthday/Christmas presents and pray for him.  When I said yes to go to Africa on our well drilling trip and did a little research that Dani lived in Burkina I started asking the questions to see if we could meet.  After a couple emails it was all lined up and planned for the end of our trip to Africa.  Below are a couple pics of our meeting and what a great time that we got to spend together.  My hope and wish is that Kim/Duncan/Kate are able to get to Africa to meet Dani soon.

I suggest that you check out Compassion International and sponsor a child.  It is life changing and the need is great across the world.





Josh's Trip to Burkina Faso Africa

So I had some technical difficulties and had to go to plan B.  So hopefully you found this page and can get some insight to our trip.  Enjoy



Hello-

Thank you for joining me in my journey to Burkina Faso as we have arrived back and I believe I have gotten back into the swing of life back in the States.  First I want to apologize for the delay in getting this letter out to you, but it was a wild last month as we returned, got sick and the busy schedule consumed my time.  In the following letter along with a few pictures I hope to give you a glimpse of the trip and hopefully, in the near future, we can chat about the trip in more detail because it will be hard to fully communicate the experience in this letter but let me try….

Couple of take aways for me as I reflect on the trip: 
1.      The Burkina people are so warm and welcoming.  Even though we had a language barrier we all felt very welcomed from the local people.  The Burkina people are very sociable and relational.  It was such a blessing to interact with them in the capital city and in all the villages we visited.
2.     I have a new appreciation for full time missionaries.  We had an opportunity to work shoulder to shoulder with 5 full time missionaries during our trip and it gave me great insight into their world.  They are really committed to their work and calling to serve God in Africa with the Burkina people.  Pray for them as they are away from family, in foreign, and often dangerous lands. 

Once again thank you for your support both financially and in prayer.  If you remember in the last letter one of my prayer requests was that we would be 100% successful in digging wells.  God provided and we had 100% success in all our wells! We drilled 6 wells in 5 days.  God is good and it is hard to imagine the impact this will have on the people of the villages.  We did hear of a story of a young lady that traveled 8 hours for water, so to put this in perspective, we started drilling one well in a village around 9am and we finished in 8 hours, so 5pm we were finished with this well.  That will be the last time that young lady will spend 8 hours traveling for water.  Now it is in her village and she can get fresh water which will only be ~100 yards from her home.  I can’t imagine walking 8hrs for water. 
            The wells and work that we did were incredible! Just think about being in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of Africa.  I think we all have an idea where nowhere is and we actually were next to nowhere in the middle of Africa.  Rolling into a village, which had little means of transportation, in a huge caravan of heavy equipment, large trucks/trailer and land rovers with trailers full of supplies.  As we pulled into the village the people greeted us with warm smiles and friendly welcoming waving.  I think as awesome as it was for us to come into their village it had to be even more overwhelming for them as we came into their village with all our equipment.  We would take about 30 minutes when we arrived to talk to the local pastor and village leaders about where we were going to drill and place the well.  We didn’t do much talking as each village had their own language but most were pretty fluent in French and the local missionaries that we were with spoke French and did all the talking and communicating. 
            The next few pages will give you some insight on the trip, and remember this is a small snapshot of the trip.  Hope you enjoy them and can get a taste of Africa through the pictures.


Kids of Burkina


Women Carrying Water



Sleeping arrangement in the African bush


Well Drilling Rig




Drilling pipes—10’ sections and average well we drilled was 150’ deep.  At the end of each of these pipes were the other sections and drill bit.  If you look close you can see the others at the bottom of the rig with the yellow cap on the threads.


We hit water, usually we hit the first water around 80’ and would continue to drill 

   


Picture of the crew after finishing drilling at the first site—more work to complete the well.

Jetting the well.  We all had the opportunity to jet a well, this is a high pressure air hose down in the well and to clean it out.  The air pushed the water out and cycled the water, we would do this for about 20 minutes and then pump the well to get clean water.


After each well was complete we would pray over the location and that God would work in big ways for the people of the village and spreading the gospel within the village.


Coming back to the well site after the concrete was hard and installing the hand pump 
   

Village kids very excited to have fresh clean water.  Everyone was very excited to have the well.


Fresh clean water for the village. 

Map of where we were at in Africa
Teaming with the local pastors
Next steps-awareness and next teams going to dig wells for the African people


Hope that you enjoyed the pictures and letter.  I’m sure many of you have many more questions and I hope that we can chat at some point very soon about the trip.  I’d love to tell you the countless stories.  I’ll leave you with this note that we received a couple days ago about a close encounter with a viper snake at one of the locations. 

An email from the team from Minnesota
Chris shared a sweet thing with me at our debrief meeting. He said when we were gone, at 2am, Wednesday morning (CST), his dad woke up and God pressed hard on his heart to pray. He asked God what he was to pray about and God just told him to pray, so he did. Well, where we were, it was about 8am our time, and we would be packing up camp soon in Tora to drive up to Dakuy. Well, in about 1.5 hours, (9:28 Burkina time) Travis was to discover the viper under his suitcase.

Just wanted to share another amazing story of how God stirred someone to pray for us in the middle of the night, and not too much after that we needed it for protection.

We did kill the snake and nobody was harmed, what a great reminder of how we all need to be prayer warriors for those in harm’s way if it is in the bush of Africa or right here in the states.

Blessings,

Josh
Bonus video!