Vacation Bible School

This week has been busy with our Vacation Bible School.  What fun we have had; and how tired we are now that we are near the end of the week.  Even the little ones are sleeping in later than their normal early morning rising time!

Anna has been terrified of VBS since a couple of years ago when a clown came up behind her and scared her unintentionally.  She has not lost the phobia of dressed up VBS characters and has had a bit of a tumultuous week.  The first night her little body was literally shaking when she saw the costumed characters.  Since then, we have discovered that she has found that babies are safe from these "bad" people.  She willingly stays in the nursery till the skit time is done and over.  Then, she goes about the normal VBS time of snacks, games, Bible time and crafts.

Zak has taken the VBS week with gusto!  He LOVES every.single.part. of the evening.  He comes to the skit time with the same energy he finishes the game time.  I am amazed at his stamina and energy.  His favortie part about VBS is the game time. 

Rob and I have been in charge of game time for the little VBS'ers.  It has been fun trying to keep them all in focus of what we were doing next.  It was amusing for me to see a former youth pastor try to coordinate games for K4-second graders. Rob also played a part in the skit time.  Here he is in fine form.  LOL

The older kids have enjoyed helping out with different parts of the VBS.  Abbey had the opportunity to lead a little girl to the Lord.  This was a highlight of her week!

It has been wonderful to be involved in ministry again.  Working with people and seeing God do a work throughout the week. 

Bats our Lot in Life

When we moved from our house in Mayville we warned the people renting the house that we have had bats before.  We have!  I hate bats.

When we looked at the farmhouse that we have rented here in North Carolina one of our first questions was, "Have you had a problem with bats?"  That was asked more than once; actually several times.  We wanted to make sure that we were leaving our bat stories in Mayville.  Well, and Kaukauna - for that matter. 

So, we moved in with confidence that our bat stories were over.  Imagine our surprise when early this morning (2:36am to be exact how early!) we heard Zak say this phrase, "Dad, there is something flying around in the kitchen and I thought you might want to know."

This jumped us into action.  At roughly 2:37am this morning you could hear Rob say in a military tone of voice, "Everyone close your door s!" Now, this is a phrase that he has said many times before; but we were hoping that would be a phrase only used when we lived in the North - not the South! 

Everyone obeyed the command and you could hear their obedience with the slam of the bedroom door.  Then we heard the sounds that accompany a bat being found in the house.  (It sounds like warfare and hand to hand combat.) 

While the clock still read 2:37 we heard the welcomed report, "Coast is clear!" and the doors opened and details were being craved from everyone. 

Our first bat experience lasted about 4 hours.  This one:  45-50 seconds.  I think that we are getting the hang of taking care of flying intruders. 

I got back into bed wondering if God is getting us ready for something.  A mission field?  A foreign county?  A child who will be living in jungles with flying creatures that make me scream?  Not sure what; but I am thankful to be in His will - even it that means a flying bat from time to time! 

Thanks for stopping by.  I trust your nights rest this evening will be uninterrupted.


Learning the Language

Zak is an imitator of sound.  He can hear a sound and make the sound all over again with only his mouth and vocal chords.  There has been more than one time when I have reprimanded him for belching only to find that he was just pretending with that hideous noise.
Well, Zak likes to play outside and the cows seem to be fixated on him when he is out.  I am almost certain that they perceive him as some sort of threat ( I have told them that I understand that feeling; but while he is fast and impulsive - he is almost completely harmless!)  When Zak was out I was amazed at how much mooing was going on in the yard.  Then I realized it was not just the cows it was Zak himself.  He sounded just like a cow.  They seemed to answer him back and we had quite the conversation going! 
After a bit of chit chat back and forth Rachel asked Zak to make a dinosaur sound.  He did.  The cows just stood in awe and looked at him.  He looked at Rachel and said, “I have to just do the cow sounds, otherwise they don’t understand my language!”
We laughed – their silence seemed to prove him correct.  I am thankful to have a multi-animal linguist.  Some talents are hidden till a child is put in a climate where he is allowed to thrive – or in this case – moo.
Zak never keeps me with a straight face for too long.
Thanks for stopping by – I am so glad you did.

The Neighbors

I love our neighbors.  I have never been around cattle much.  Oh sure, I have seen them from my car window as we pass through the country going 70 miles an hour; but up close – well, this is a first for me.

The cows in the field are my nearest neighbors; and I must say I am quite taken by them.  I stand at the window and just watch them in wonder.  I am so impressed with their built in pest control system.  A cow’s tail is an amazing piece of machinery.
They watch me as I hang up my clothes on the lines.  I find myself talking to them and telling them about what I am doing and how my day is going.  To most of you right now, you are questioning my sanity or my lack of social interaction; but when someone (or in this case, something) is standing there just looking at me – staring at me – I find myself with an overwhelming need to explain what I am doing or tell them a little bit about my day.  They don’t seem to mind – they just look on in wonder as their tails shew away the flies and their mouths chew the cud.

I wonder to myself what they are thinking about and whether or not they are hot in the sunshine.  They look hot; and they look big.  Huge actually.  During one of my staring sessions at them I found myself quite taken by their size.  Their size is quite impressive!  Their coats are shiny and they look absolutely beautiful.  

They did not like it when James was out watering the garden.  The mooed and mooed at him.  One snorted and raised her head up and down in protest.  This only made us think that they were all the more wonderful and cute.  I wondered if they felt like we were laughing at them as we looked on and smiled as they made their protests. 
I wondered if they felt the rain on their back when the droplet started from the sky; and I wondered if they had a leader of the pack from whom they followed orders.  One of them seemed to be busy telling all the others what to do and they all seemed to obey whatever it was that she was saying.  (I could tell that she was a 'she' by the size of her utters and the baby that stayed ever so close to her as they grazed.)

So, it is like anywhere else that we have lived.  We have neighbors that we do not quite know or understand; but this time it is a little bit different.  These neighbors don’t talk too much - they just stand there and listen.  They know the day we  but they know we celebrated my husband’s birthday. The were told the day I let the kids sleep the morning I hung the clothes on the line by myself;  and I did share with them that if I lost some weight I would have a lot more clotheslines space wherein to hang my clothes.  (I am also sure that the last piece of information is safe with them – they don’t seem the gossiping type.)

Enjoying country life in the south. Trust you are enjoying your neighbors too.  Thanks for stopping by – I am so glad you did.

Weekly Menu Plan

I will attempt to post our weekly menu plan. I must remind you that we are doing our best to get by with as much as possible for as little as possible. With that in mind, the only people that will find these next few menu posts valuable are missionaries in the heart of Africa that have not gotten their support from several of their churches, or people in the USA whore looking and praying for a job. All the rest of you can kindly disregard these menus – as they do not pertain to you at this time.

Monday: Biscuits and Gravy / Green Beans (made with Ground turkey and lots of seasonings)

Tuesday: Baked Chicken (I will attempt to get enough meat from the chicken to use in 2 other meals)

Wednesday: Tuna Noodle Casserole ( Scratch the tuna – I was NOT paying 70 cents a can for that little of fish – I will use the left over chicken meat from Tuesday for the casserole!)

Thursday: Hamburger Helper Meal ( the kids were so excited to get Hamburger Helper meals as a gift. We will use ground turkey and forget that we ever saw Food Inc. until Rob gets a job.)

Friday: Chili Dip and Corn Chips ( This will be a fun family night food. )

Saturday: Hamburger Helper Meal / Veggies

Sunday: Egg Salad Sandwiches / Popcorn veggie sticks

I have made this a little funny; but I can not tell you how much I am loving the challenge of using what we have and making the most of it. I am so thankful that God has provided for us. As I mentioned in a previous post, we have had fresh vegetables given to us - and that is a HUGE blessing. I also have found how many carrot and celery sticks you can get from a bag of each. Popcorn (without butter) and Apples have been a satisfying snack.

The challenge is on and we are enjoying each and every day! Thanks God, for providing for us.

Trust you menu allows you to reflect on God's provision for you and your family.

Thanks for stopping by - I trust you have a wonderful week.

The Game

Zak learned how to play UNO when he was in school last year. He was so surprised when he found UNO cards while we were unpacking our things here.

“I know how to play this game!” He shouted with more enthusiasm than can adequately be typed on a blog post. “I learned this game at school!”

 So, you will regularly find Zak with a stack of UNO cards in one hand and a pleading look on his face as he walks through the house in the evening. He has found siblings that say yes; but he most enjoys it when Daddy says yes to a game.

Rest assured if you come to our house on a weeknight you will hear squeals of delight as he ‘catches’ Dad ‘forgetting’ to say UNO. It seems nothing makes him get ready for bed as quickly as the promise of three games of UNO as soon as his pajamas are on and teeth are brushed.

It has been really neat for us to find something we can do with Zak as a family; an activity that we can include him in and still have fun.

It will be UNO tonight before bed; and if Zak is lucky tomorrow afternoon when he gets up from a nap he will find a brother or a sister willing to play a quick game; and you will find me in another room with my eyes closed taking in the sound of togetherness. Sometimes being a Mom is the greatest sound in the whole wide world.

Making Do and Having Fun

Our new house does not have a bathtub - only a shower. 

This little girl seems to like her new bathing station. 

Trying to stay cool and happy here in the South.  Trust you are having a wonderful summer.

Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did.


We have officially been in North Carolina for a little over three weeks. Rob has been looking for a job as soon as we had everything settled into the house. That means has been looking for work foldr almost three weeks. That calculates into hours and hours of job searching. Line upon line of paperwork to fill out and applications to hand in. However, the job market is so slow here that we have not had the response to his applications that we had anticipated. The phone has been silent even though the car has a lot more miles on it in quest of the job – any job.

With the silence, there has been a level of concern rising from our hearts. Our prayers have become more fervent and even the little ones can be heard praying that “God give Daddy a job.” (At this point, any job will be a blessing!) It has been a bit of a trial; but a trial I am thankful that God has allowed us to go through. We have never been out weeks looking for a job – most of the time we have had a job waiting when one ends. We know understand the stress that happens in a family when the financial income is uncertain.

The grocery budget has taken a hit. I have asked God to give me wisdom to know what to purchase and what to do without. (It occurred to me this morning that my childhood memories with my Mom in the kitchen to do include her using a spray can to oil the pans when she baked. Those did not exist way back then! We used our hands to grease the pans and washed when soap when we were finished with the jobs. So, if my Mom made it without spray cans of oils – I think I can cross that off my list for a little while. )

I have been amazed at how God has provided for us. Walking into a gas station to pick up a gallon of milk and a farmer met me with a box full of squash. Seemed he had too much and needed to find someone that could use it. Then there was the elderly lady at the Dollar General who came in and told me she had something for me. I begged her pardon to make sure I had heard her correctly. She told me she had tomatoes that she wondered if I could use. I left with a bag full of tomatoes and a heart that made me wonder if God had sent an angel to give me a bunch of tomatoes. (You see, she came in the store, found me, loaded me up with the vegetables and then got in her car and drove away.) Regardless of who she was, she was used by God to show me that He will always provide. He will always take care of us. She blessed me with more than vitamin C and tomatoes that taste better than anything I have ever tasted!

There was the corn given to us at church that completed a meal and tasted sweeter than sweet. There was the boxes of food that caused such excitement when we unloaded them and planned what we could use the food for in the weeks to come. God has given blessing upon blessing. Money for gas and wisdom for items we knew not how to use. I am thankful that my kids are learning how to be thankful for what we have. How to pray like they have never prayed and I am thankful that we are finding God faithful over and over again.

It is interesting to me how much God uses other people to meet needs. May I never close my eyes again to the needs of others. May I always be tender to the leading of the Holy Spirit when He prompts me to meet a need of someone that he brings to my attention. May I never forget the sweetness of knowing that God is my Provider and Sufficiency.

Thank you God for this trial. I am able to see you so much more clearly when life is uncertain. You only are my Rock and My expectation is in You. Trust you are finding in Him all you need. For, He is All in All. Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did. Blessings, ~Martie


Vacation Bible School is just around the corner at our church.  We have spent a little bit of the day prepping for a craft we will use in during the VBS week.  Craft paint has been open on a table and our afternoon busy with getting Popsicle sticks painted and foam decorations divided.  It has been a lot of fun!

Abbey has a way with cookies.  Watching Abbey bake cookies is like watching an artist paint.  She loves to bake and she loves to bake just so.  It is easy to answer her question of “Can I bake some…?” with a yes; because I know that the delicacy that she bakes will turn out right, the kitchen will be cleaned up afterwards and we will have lots of whatever it is that she has created.  Abbey loves to bake.
That is why she has earned an honorary title of baker in our home.  That is why when we have company over I ask Abbey what it is that she wants to bake.  That is why when we have church fellowships I allow Abbey kitchen time; and that is why wherever we have lived Abbey knows that VBS cookies will be her assignment.

Her assignment has been completed and we are just about ready for VBS to start.  Zak and Anna can hardly wait and I am hoping that I come up with enough games to keep kids active and enthralled before their parents pick them up. 
If you are in the area next week join us for VBS.  You’ll be glad you did!

Country Life For Me

Have I mentioned before that I love living out in the county? Well, I love living out in the county. I feel like I am living in a dream come true. I love the wide open spaces. The ability to have the little ones go out and play and not have to worry about a neighbor coming and complaining about the noise. I think God made me to live in the country.

One thing I grew tired of when we lived in the city was the constant “Can we do…?” or “Can we go…?” questions. Out in the country there are fewer decisions that I have to make because everyone automatically knows that they cannot go into town until town day so location alone has caused those questions to leave their lips.

I cannot tell you how much I enjoy watching my kids ‘find’ things to do here at the farm. We are falling into a routine now, starting to feel at home. We do our morning routine and then after lunch the little ones lay down for their quiet time. During their rest time the older kids can be found in the yard playing catch, or at the kitchen table playing a card game. Monopoly has seen more table time in the past three weeks than it had in the past 3 years. I love listening as the kids interact and play together; something life so easily pulled them away from.

I stand at the window mesmerized watching Zak as he takes his daily bug hunt walk. With a plastic container in one hand and an old ladle in the other he is armed and ready for a new adventure every day. A world is waiting to be discovered and new creatures waiting to be found, caught and shown to his as he opens the plastic bowl that Anna has named “the bug tank”.

I love that the nearest Red Box is almost a half hour away. I love the fact that most garage sales have a bigger movie selection than our local library. I love that the TV has a place tucked away in a small closet off the living room and that one of my little ones has said that watching a movie “used to be fun, but it’s boring now that we live in the new house.” Now, I am not against watching movies or finding things to do in town; but I have found a wonderful satisfaction in watching my children play with nature and explore the world right outside their bedroom window.

There also is more work to be done in the county. A bigger yard to mow, a big garden to weed. There is a clothes line that is being used daily and hardwood floors that are never too clean to be swept again. There are friendly neighbors who have blessed us with a visit and will be repaid their kindness by a homemade treat made from our kitchen. There is never time to be bored in the country; but always time to relax from your work.

So, I am here – in the country taking in every single moment I can and living it to it’s fullest. I am making my plan of what I will do if there is a snake. I am preparing myself for seeing a small little mouse running from here to there as it makes it’s pillage for food come fall. I am making plans to treat these circumstances when they come like a farm girl – not a city girl; and I hope beyond hope that I am successful in my venture.

Trust you are living your life to the fullest whether in the city or in the country. Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did.


The New View

We started talking about moving south several months ago.  There was an element of excitement in the thought of such a big move; but overall there was quite a lot of dread in my heart at making that big of a move with our family.

I would go throughout my days and think of all of the things I was going to miss about our life there in Wisconsin.  I would miss our house.  I would talk with one of our neighbors and think of how much I would miss them.  So throughout the day I would have this sad feeling of all of the things that were going to change.

One of the biggest things that I felt I would miss the most was the special spot that Rob and I had found in Mayville.  There is a big hill on the edge of the cemetery that we found was a wonderful spot to go and spend some time together.  So, when we wanted to be alone to talk, or at the end of a date night we would drive the car up the hill and sit at the top and look out over the scenery below us.  We could see a long way off and it was a beautiful view.

I most dreaded our move because I would miss our view.  I loved being able to look out for miles.  I told Rob one of the last times we were there how much I was going to miss that spot on top of the hill and being able to see out for miles.  He agreed and during our time there that time that indeed we would miss such a beautiful view during our date nights.

Then, we moved here: 

I laugh now when I head home.  There is no hill to find to see for miles; for we can see for miles each and every time we go home.  We live on top of the hill.   We can literally see for miles -  and miles - from our back yard.  I reminded Rob of my regrets of having to leave Mayville's picturesque spot.  We laughed as we looked out of the car windows at the breathtaking view on either side of us. The mountain that we live on makes Mayville's spot look like a tiny little hill.

Then, I thought of how that is a lot like the Christian life.  We are so afraid sometimes of doing something that God wants us to do.  So afraid to leave the comforts that we have and are familiar with.  Just like I was feeling about our little hill there in Wisconsin.  How God must chuckle at our thoughts and fears of the unknown.  He sees what we don't.  He heard every conversation I had with Rob about our view and our hill and He must have smiled - just a little- as I was talking because He knew what the view was going to be like here in North Carolina. 

So thankful that I can trust Him - and know that when He leads me somewhere else I can trust Him.  Fear and regret of leaving that with which I was familiar would have caused me to miss an even more spectacular view.  Fear will keep me from experiencing all that God has for me.

Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did. 

Being Little

Do you remember what it was like to be little? 

When everything was new and exciting?  When life lay before you as an unread book?  When everyday things were an adventure and every morning there was energy and excitement to get up and discover something new? 


I do.

I remember when I hold a little girl's hand in mine as we walk out to the mailbox and see if we have any letters.  I remember as we stand in awe and watch a robin as it hops it's way on the branch in front of us.  I remember when I see her laying on her tummy and trying to find just the right page to color in her coloring book.

Anna makes me remember what it was like to be a little girl.  She does it each and every day.

Perhaps the thing that helps me remember is when I watch her swing on her swing.

I loved to swing on our backyard swing.  I would swing and swing. To me, it was the biggest swing in the whole world and it took me places that were far away and beautiful. 

The farmhouse came with an old swing set.  I am thinking that the swing set is almost as old as I am; but it still works.  Anna has found it and she spends as much time on it as she possibly can. 

She gets up in the mornings and asks me if she can go out and swing as soon as her Sunshine Chores are done.  I tell her she can; and she goes right to work to get dressed and get her bed made.  She slips on her shoes and heads for her swing.

She pumps her feet and pushes herself higher and higher.  To her, she is swinging as high as the clouds.  (That is as high as I would swing when I was a little girl - till my feet *almost* touched the clouds).  She swings as she watches James water his garden.  She swings as Zak finds as stick and starts on his quest to look for bugs.  She swings as I wash dishes; and as Rachel heads up to work on another college class.  She swings as the sun rises farther in the sky and as Abbey prepares her lunch. 

As of right now, her longest swinging stretch has been two hours.  Two hours of swinging and dreaming and breathing in fresh country air.  Two hours reminding me what it is like to be a little girl.

I am not sure; but I think if you are wanting to see what true happiness looks like you need to come over and just stand in front of the kitchen window.  Then you will see the look on her face as she goes back and forth over and over again.  You will see what it is like to have the world before you waiting to be discovered.  You will look and you will remember what it was like to be little; and for just a little bit the look on her face will take you back there where you will remember and wish that just for a little while you wish you could be little once more.

The Tresspasser

The agreement when we moved into the farm house is that we would take responsibility to feed the cat.  The cat is a stray that showed up on the farm awhile back.  The stray cat was severely abused before it was dumped onto the farm.  Consequently, she is afraid of people; but willing to come to the deck for her nightly feeding.

James has taken on the responsibility of making sure the cat gets fed each night.  He has made it his challenge to see if someday she will allow him to hold her and pet her.  He is hoping that she will be able to get comfortable with him and to realize that not everyone is mean. 

The cat comes to the call of - "here kitty,kitty."  James has been feeding and sitting out there with her until she is done eating.  We are seeing progress in her fearfulness; because James has even been able to pet her a little while she is eating her food. 

We assume that she wants to be around people; but fear keeps her from getting too close; for she sits by the deck and watches Rob as he reads at night in his chair.  Come dusk we find her sitting by the door watching us be a family inside her looking glass.  It is with smiles that we sit and watch the cat watch us.  We talk to her and tell her that she is a good kitty.

Such was the case the other night.  James had fed her and we had been watching as she sat on the deck and watched the family go through our evening together. She would watch us as we had our family time together.  As the night went on we turned off the deck light and left the cat sitting by the door contentedly looking in.  When the clock hit ten we told the kids that it was time for them to head to bed.

Rachel leaned down to kiss me good night and then looked over at the door.  In a sweet and nurturing tone she said, "Oh, is the cat out there?"  We both looked over at the window at the same time to lovingly look at the kitty.  I smiled and we looked into the dark at the movement we saw on the other side of the door.

"Yep, that's the ca..."  the words kind of hung in the air as we watched the form of something moving outside; but saw as the form moved a very long, thin, smooth tail followed slowly behind it. 

It was Rachel who said, this time the nurturing tone had turned to disdain, "that ain't no cat! Our cat does not have a tail!" 

That last statement is true.  The cat does not have a tail.  Her missing tail reminds us each time we see her that someone was not nice to her and she will forever have scars because of their cruelty.  So, as we watched what was clearly a tail moving on the deck we started recoiling from the window.  Rachel spoke again, "that's a rat out there.  That is the tail of a rat!"

I ran over to the door and quickly turned on the light.  The cat was out there; but she was sitting on top of the railing of the deck.  An opossum was claiming the deck as his and looking for food. The face of an opossum does not look like a rat; but I must say that the tail of an opossum and the tail of a rat share similar characteristics.  Now, I do not know if you have ever seen an opossum up close; but our whole family viewed him that night.  An opossum can be described as follows:  Fat body, cone shaped nose and a long, thin, hairless tail.  For the record, I want everyone to know that I think these creatures are UGLY.  The look like their Mama's beat them with an ugly stick. They're *that* ugly! 

After the rodent realized that the food was gone - he was gone too.  We thankfully watched him waddle away - carrying his tail behind him.  After he was good and gone the cat took up his watch at the door.  We kissed the kids and sent them to bed; then Rob and I pulled out our books and sat and read by the lamp light contented to let a cat take comfort in our presence.

We also have decided to name "the" cat - She is now called "Oreo" and we are hoping that someday soon we will have pictures of a cat that is being held and petted and realizing that she is loved.

I have decided that while life in the country is quiet - it is never boring.

Thanks for stopping by, I am so glad you did.

Our Move in Pictures

I wanted to outline our trip to North Carolina.  What an adventure we have been on! 

The date for our move got changed to the end of June.  The end of June is also the time for two of our children to celebrate their birthdays.  To simplify things, and also to make sure that we were able to celebrate as a family we took a morning and went to Appleton to enjoy a family lunch. 

James and Rachel wanted to go to HuHut before we left the state of Wisconsin - so it became a great place to celebrate their birthday's.

We also were able to visit Anna's foster parent's before we left.  I am still amazed at how connected Anna is to these wonderful people.  She just loves them.  How thankful I am that God put her in a home that loved and cared for her until we were able to have her.  We will always be thankful for them!

Packing day arrived and we were so thankful for the help that we had to load the truck.  The day was full of downright hard work; but the day went so smooth.  Thanks to all our friends who helped us move. 

We started our moving day out with a picture of the kids by our 26 foot moving truck.  We then headed out in a caravan.  I can not tell you how stressful this was for me to have Rachel driving in front of me and the big yellow truck in front of her.  The big cities were the hardest to maneuver; but God kept us all safe - and together and I am thankful.  Here are the pictures from the days on the road. 

We unpacked the truck in quick order with help from so many here at Tri-City Baptist Church.  Thank You!!  We also were visited by an injured buzzard during the first couple of hours at the new place.  Made me realize that I was in the country now! 

Overall, things are settling down to normal.  We joined the church on July 1st - (Ally's birthday).  We are getting to know the new area, new people and Rob is still looking for a job.  We are excited to see what God has in store for us here.  Thanks so much for all your prayers.  God is so good.

Thanks for stopping by - I am so glad you did.