We are moving away in just a little over a week.  Every move makes me think about the people God brings into our lives.  I think about the friendships that have been made while I was in a certain place.  In the past few days I have thought about how blessed I have been to have special friends in each place that God has allowed me to live.

This week I have thought about my childhood friends.  I only had a few.  That was over 30 years ago; and typing that number just brought a little bit of pain to my heart.  30!   I had my girl friend Eden who was the exact opposite of me.  (Quiet, reserved and with a logical head on her shoulders).  What fun we had growing up together.  We sewed doll clothes together, played house and rode our wagons down the hill outside her house.  Building a friendship and memories every step of the way.   I had my girlfriend Anna.  I think that in all my days since graduation I have not talked to anyone as much and as long as Anna and I talked.  We shared elementary days together - gym, homework and recess.  We had sleepovers and quiz team that brought us closer and allowed us to talk and dream about the future.  Our lives.  We talked about what we wanted to do with our lives.  It is funny to look back and to realize that a lot of the things we wanted to do when we were 'grown up' we are doing right now.  We are living the lives we dreamed about in junior high. 

I had a special friends with whom I shared my life in Fargo.  We laughed together, cried together and wondered how we were going to navigate through the waters of motherhood.  There were Sunday nights after church when we went to the Mexican restaurant and talked and talked.   There were the hard times.  My friendships deepened after Ally died.  My friends were there for me when I cried, questioned and felt that there was no way I could go on.  I did.  My friends helped me. Sisters in Christ.  Living life had brought us together.  That was over 10 years ago.

Then God moved us to Kaukauna.  In time, God changed our life a bit and I was suddenly the Pastor's wife.  A role that while I took seriously, I was terrified of.  I wanted to be friends with the ladies in our church - not their pastor's wife.  During our years there God showed me that the pastoring was my husband's God given responsibility, being a wife and mother and friend to others was mine.  So, in the years we were there God gave me many friends.  More than I ever thought possible.  There were ladies Bible studies, coffee dates, laughing with a girlfriend until late in the evening.  There were tears as funerals were planned and held.  Friendships deepen then.  I found that I did not have one special friend - I had been blessed with lots of friends.  That was wonderful!  I will cherish my friendships made there.

Then God moved us to Mayville.  My circle of influence has been smaller; but I have been blessed with deep friendships.  Friends who made trips to the hospital late at night to sit with me when Rachel was sick.  Friends who cared enough about me to make the drive out to the country to share a meal, a holiday or just a cup of coffee.  I have friends here that while I don't think I can adequately put it into words - I am going to miss so very very much. 

So, I have been thinking a lot about friendships.  The ones I have been blessed with through the years.  Each place God has taken me.  My life is richer, deeper and more sane because of the friendships I have had in each place.  And, as I pack the boxes of my house I have thought of each of you.  My childhood friends, my Fargo friends, my Kaukauna friends my Mayville friends - and I have missed all of you all over again.  But - I have been thankful for each of you.  You all have been in my thoughts this week. 

Thanks for the memories.
Thanks for the laughs.
Thanks for the sacrifices you have made for me.
Thanks for challenging me when I have been thinking incorrectly and for caring enough to give me truth.
Thanks for investing in my life.  I am so blessed to know each and everyone of you.

So, as I pack and remember and think about all of you - I am challenged anew to put relationships as a top priority in my life.  Because locations change.  Ministries change.  But in the end, relationships last forever.  We take them with us wherever we go.  I am the person I am today because of the relationships I have had in my entire lifetime.  

The Last Week's Menu

The last full weeks of menu's while we are in Wisconsin.  This is the week that we go to freezer meals.  I am hoping that the weather helps us out in reheating the freezer meals without having to turn on the AC.  We will see. 

Monday:  Leftovers (time to clean out the fridge and eat up whatever is left in there - Zak??)

Tuesday:  Sandwich Bar (this will be our evening meal as we are going to Appleton to celebrate two of the kids' birthdays)

Wednesday:  Burritos (Freezer)

Thursday:  Farmhouse Chicken (Freezer)

Friday:  Frozen Homemade Pizza

Saturday:  Scalloped Potatoes and Ham (Freezer)

Sunday:  Baked Chicken

The kitchen is due to be all packed by Tuesday night.  We move to paper plates and cups and everything is frozen in disposable cooking trays.  I am leaving out one sharp knife.  One serving spoon and 3 dish clothes and 2 dish towels.  We will see how this all goes. 

Hope you have a great week. 


Father's Day

I have been blessed; and it is on days like today that I am able to take the time to reflect on just how blessed. 

Father's day, of course, makes me think about my Dad.  Just the thought of him makes me know that God blessed me richly when He gave me my Father.

I was not a child that needed someone to step in and be a Dad to me because I did not have one; or because I had a father who was not committed to being a Dad.  My Dad took on the responsibility and counted it a privilege to be a Dad.  He worked hard and provided for my needs.  I had clothes on my back and warm (or cool in the summer) house to live in. 

It's funny to look back at my younger years and realize how much I missed seeing.  I missed seeing how hard my Dad worked to make sure my needs were met.  I missed seeing how busy he was and how much of a sacrifice it was for him to take the time to spend one on one time with me.  I never saw how much he went without so that I could have.

Dad I missed seeing your sacrifice for me when I was younger.  I hope it's not too late to notice it now.  Thanks for everything you did for me.  I am most blessed to call you Dad.

Father's Day also makes me think of my husband.  The man who shares life with me and makes those same sacrifices for his children.  The nights he has given up sleep to be with Zak.  The hours he puts in to make sure that our family's needs are met.  It means so much to me that I am married to a man who hold in a high priority his children's physical, emotional and spiritual well being.    To know that my children are being cared for because of his commitment to them and me is a blessing that is worth more than all the money on earth could pay for.

These are the two men in my life that have blessed me more than any others.  This Father's day I celebrate each of you and count my blessings; because of both of you I am rich and blessed woman. 

Thanks Dad and Rob for making Father's Day worth celebrating.  I love you both.


The Photo Shoot

Rachel and Abbey had been planning for a photo shoot since Abbey's birthday this spring.  Yesterday, they finally made it happen.  I loved the results. 

Most of all, I loved that my girls spent the day with each other.  They built memories with each other that can not be even shown in a picture and will last long after these pictures have come and gone.  They deepened their bonds and loved grew yesterday afternoon.  As they get older, I realize that we have a small window of time to strengthen a relationship that will last a lifetime.

Hope you are having a great day.  Thanks for stopping by.  I am so glad you did.


Southern Move Take Two

We are looking at the move down south as an adventure.

We have made the game plan; and so far, things are going as planned at the Spurgeon household. I am loving having everything charted out and planned. It has allowed for more time to allow us to visit and see friends that we want to get together with before we move away from here. I am becoming more and more convinced that I do not do enough to make sure that relationships are a top priority. It seems in the busy lives we live that relationships sometimes take a back seat. Having this game plan has allowed me to be able to schedule in time for lunch visits and get together with girl friends I am going to miss when I am gone.

As with any adventure, there have been challenges. On Friday Zak broke his finger playing soccer. I was hoping that it was just jammed or sprained; but when he got up on Saturday I was greeted with a very swollen black and blue finger. I spent the entire morning at the doctor’s office. It was not until yesterday that we were able to finally get it completely immobile and set correctly.

We also have had the challenge of a little one that is sick. Anna spent Sunday afternoon throwing up and fighting a very high fever. She has been spiking fevers throughout the week and has not felt very well at all. It is so hard for me when they get fevers. I can tell myself a hundred times a day that a fever is good – the body’s natural way to fight infections. However, this does not calm my heart and I find myself prone to fear and anxiety. So, there have been quite a few sleepless nights this week checking on her and making sure that she is doing OK through the night. Thankfully, she has been up and around more today. I think the worse is behind us.

So, as I was thinking this morning that we are looking at this as an adventure. Then I thought about the good adventure movies I have seen in my lifetime. Every really really good adventure movie has some sort of challenge and set back. (Like broken bones or illness or snow storms or… you get my drift!) So our life is like a really good action/adventure movie right now. And you know what? I am fine with that. I can handle action adventure pretty well. I just don’t want it to change to a sci-fi movie or a thriller or a horror movie. I have decided that as long as it stays in the action adventure category I will be fine. I have also resolved myself to knowing that our life has moved past the romantic drama. Perhaps, when the kids are all grown and gone we can have that label again. Although, our life movie has romance in it – it is only an occasional scene that comes every once in a great while. After the doctor’s visits or when we are done cleaning up the vomit from the floor. LOL

These days we are living through right now are our life. The days we will remember LONG after the kids have grown and gone. These are the days we will wish we could live over again. So, while I am in the middle of them, I will choose to enjoy them and to remind myself that the really good adventures come with the challenges and the breathtaking peril that makes it worth the watching. I think, years from now we will figure it made for a life that was interesting and that we enjoyed living.

Well, best go. I have yet another scene to do – and by the way, I do all of my own stunts. 

Weekly Menu - A little late

A little late; but I wanted to get the menu posted for this week. 

Monday:  Deanna's Chicken Enchiladas

Tuesday:  Tuna Noodle Casserole

Wednesday:  Chicken Noodle Soup

Thursday:  Spaghetti / Salad

Friday:  Pizza / Salad

Saturday:  Popcorn / Apple Slices / Cheese

Sunday:  Sandwiches

A little odd to see soups in June on our menu; but we are busy getting the food we have eaten and the freezer empty for the move. 

Hope you have a great week. 


Floating with Family

Our summer break has officially begun. Zak finished his last day at school on Wednesday and we wasted no time getting into doing fun summer stuff.

With only a little over four weeks before we move, we have a list of places in Wisconsin that we want to visit one more time before we leave.

The Horicon Marsh was the first thing on our “Wisconsin Places to See before We Leave” list.

It was a beautiful day to see the creation that really is just right outside our back yard. We have visited the Marsh before; but we had not taken on the Boardwalk. The Boardwalk is a floating bridge that takes you through the Marsh and right next to nature. (birds, frogs, muskrats and all!)

Getting ready to enter the boardwalk.  It was interesting to me that Zak seemed more 'autistic' acting today.  Not sure if it is because he is out of school and on a different routine; or if I am not used to being with him for a full day.  He definitely had some 'issues' today.  We still had a great time!

Zak was quite afraid to get onto the boardwalk.  It is a floating bridge - so it felt different to him to be walking on it.  There was quite a lot of anxiety at first.

Anna trying out a telescope.  She said it "didn't work". She just could not figure out how to close one eye to see out.  LOL

Sisters in the Sun.

Our staircase.  Not in order of age anymore. 

This is who Rob refers to as:  'The Man Child"

Brother and Sister.  Love Abbey's smile.

Hikes are always better with a big brother.

Anna had been holding her hands on her hips.  The others decided to follow her lead.  She then got mad that people were 'copying' her. 

We just had a wonderful time.  Thanks for stopping by.  Trust you are enjoying a great start to your summer. 


There's an App for That

I never knew all that goes into answering a child’s question. One question by my child and it causes me to have to start down a path in my brain that is quite wooded and hard to navigate. I cringe now as an adult when I think of all the questions I asked my Mother. Now, I know what happens in a Mother’s brain when a ‘simple’question is asked. Here is how it plays out:

Child: "Mom, can I have a glass of juice?"

In the Mother’s brain: "Where did I read that juice plays huge part of tooth decay? Has she eaten a lot of sugar today? What dress does she have one? Is is one that can get a juice stain on it? Will that new stain remover work on a juice stain? Are there any other kids around that will want a glass of juice too? Do I have enough juice? I never drank much juice when I was a kid.  Why?   Have other Mom’s read that article about juice being bad for kids? Do any of those Mothers live in  our neighborhood? What would the neighbors think? Should I keep the kids in to have their juice? If I make them take it outside will they spill it and cause an ant problem right by the back door? Perhaps if I put it in a sippy cup it would not spill. Do I have a sippy cup thingy that will make the juice spill proof? When will I stop using sippy cups? Is four too old for a sippy cup? I probably should get rid of those sippy cups in the cabinet. What if we adopt another baby? Should we adopt another baby? I think we have our hands full as it is?"

Any way, you get my drift. This is what happens to each and every question I get asked; and I am pretty sure I get asked hundreds of questions a day.

“Can I go outside?”
“Can I wear this outfit?”
“Can I stay up later?”
“Can I go to the park?”
“Can we go for a walk?”
“What did you let him/ her do that?”

That last question causes a considerable amount of guilt and self examinations. Perhaps more self examination than is done before we gather for the Lord’s Table once a month at church. Cause that question to come up and deep introspection comes into play.    

"Why would she feel that way?"
"Am I doing something that makes it seem like I have favorites?"
"Do I have favorites?"
"Why did I let that her do that?"
"Do I say no to one and not to the other?"
"Am I being fair?"
"What is fair?"
"Why isn’t life fair?"

 With that all said, I will say that it is easier to go into default mode than to have to tread down all these paths of questions to get to an answer. (Because almost always when you do get to an answer you are pretty sure that for some reason or another you choose the wrong one.)

The juice spills.
The whole neighborhood comes over and wants a drink. 
The spot remover does not take out the spot on the shirt.

Default mode is this:  Answer ‘no’ to every question.  It is easy, it is fast and the scenario is done in a matter of seconds. There can be an element of guilt involved; but my life I'm busy enough that I don't have time at the moment to think about  any other factors after default mode has been used.  Just say 'no' and get back to whatever I am doing. 

Default mode is great! Until you get to bed at night. Default mode has a way to come back to haunt you. It only happens at night when the kids are asleep and the husband is asleep and you hear snoring and the clock ticking in the kitchen. That is when you the 'default guilt rears it's head. That is when you see the look in your child’s eyes after you got done saying no for the sixth time that day. In those early hours of the morning that is when you realize that your day to day is not filled with fun.  Just business as usual. 

Well, late at night the other night, when I was in deep question of my default mode method I decided that I was going to change my computer programming to including more “yes” answers. Install a new program, so to speak.   Along with that upgrade I was going to not allow there to be a slew of questioning and self examination at my new answer. I was going to say “yes” and allow the kids to enjoy more things.  I was going to be parenting on purpose. To realize that there are spills and accidents. There are times when it is easier to say no; but that way tends to make all those involved feel like they are in a rut. There are also other parents and neighbors who will question my “yes” and even think that I should have said “no”. (Seems there is always a parent somewhere who would have done it different than me.) That night in bed I decided to enjoy my kids. To say 'yes' and to let the chips fall where they may.

The next day I was given the opportunity to use the new program that had been installed. Zak and I were at home by ourselves. The house was empty except for him and me. I had cleaning to do, laundry to fold and dinner to start. Zak was out playing in the back yard. I had noticed him throwing the football into the air and catching it himself. He must have seen me by the window with a basket of clothes screaming to be folded and put away. That is when he ran in the back door. “Hey, Mom. You want to play with me?”

There was the question and my computer brain almost went into default mode. "Play? I don’t have time to play."   Then I remembered the night before and the new computer program I had uploaded into the system.

“I think I could play. What do you want to play?”

“You want to play *Football*?” He said the word 'football' like it was the most awesome thought he had ever had. He then went and picked up the football that he had been throwing to himself. “This Mom, is called a football.”

I shook my head like I understood his language and was learning something totally new. “The game goes like this…” Now, excitement was causing his words to knock into each other as they exited his mouth. “I throw this to you and then you grab it and throw it back to me. Then I throw it to you and you grab it and then you throw it to me and I grab it. Then I throw it to you…”

I interrupted, “So we throw it back and forth to each other.” He was thrilled. In his mind he was teaching me a new game and I was getting it!  Life could not be better!

“That’s it, Mom! Except I know that you are really really old and so I will throw it really gently to you. Then I won’t hurt you.”

I suppressed the smile that was coming up to my lips and wondered just how old and feeble he must think that I am.  I shook my head like I think I had it and was willing to try the 'new'game. So we tossed the football back and forth. Smiles, giggles and all.  The clothes were there when I got back, dinner was ready on time and I got to have a little fun during all my housework. The new computer program was a success.

So if you need to have more fun with your kids – there’s and app for that.

It’s called “Yes!”


I had made a decision in my heart. I had kept the decision quiet and had a silent purpose between God and me to change something He has showed me needed adjustment. I had decided that I need to smile more. I purposed to smile as I make my bed. Smile as I put in a load of laundry. Smile while I make breakfast, and lunch and even dinner. I purposed that I would smile when I told them, “Rise and Shine” even though the majority of my children still have their eyes closed when those words leave my lips. I figured that perhaps even in their tired state they would ‘hear’ my smile even if they could not see it.

 That was the decision. I told God. I asked God to help me. Help me to be joyful and happy and to remind me to let it show on my face. Sometimes God has funny ways of answering prayers. He answered mine this morning.

 It came in the forward words of Zak. He was in the car, ready for school, waiting to do our ‘race’. (Our race is a game we play when we see who can get buckled first.) I was walking out to the car. It had been a good morning; and had gone off without a hitch. I was happy to be taking him to school and walked out the door taking in the sunshine, and the beautiful morning that was greeting my exit from the house. (In other words, in my opinion, I was happy.)

I open the door to the car and hear Zak. “Come on, Mom. Smile! It’s a wonderful day.” You must picture these words being said by someone who had just consumed 10 cups of coffee because that is the manner in which he said them. “You need to smile, Mom! Are you mad about something?”

I suppressed the emotion that rose up from within me. “Of course I’m not mad! I am having a great day. Why does he think I am mad?” Instead I asked him, “Does it look like I’m mad?”

“Yeah, because you’re not smiling. You need to smile. It’s a beautiful day!” I was getting that he was completely happy about this ‘beautiful’ day we were having at 7:30 in the morning. His smile absolutely washed over his entire face.

I quizzed again, “So, I looked mad?”

About as quickly as the words left my lips he jumped out of the car, backpack and all in tow and walked up to the door I had just exited. “This is how you looked Mom.” He then proceeded to walk towards the car with the biggest, gloomiest growl on his face. When he got to the car door he said, “That’s you Mom.”

It was becoming quite clear that this was not entirely Zak talking to me. It was God; answering my prayer to help me to smile more. It could not have been clearer. I asked, “How do you want me to look, Zak?”

Zak ran back to the front door and headed back to the car. However, this time he had the biggest grin on his face. He was walking, OK – almost skipping towards the car and saying, “It’s a beautiful day!” He then got into the car shutting the door with way too much energy. “That’s how you should look, Mom. Like you’re not mad.”

“I will work on that Zak.” His smile, surprisingly, got bigger and his eyes glittered with excitement. “I would like that, Mom!” He then got back into our normal routine grabbing the seat belt and holding it over his shoulder. “Want to race?” I shook my head and grabbed my belt. He then said in a voice as loud as my ears could handle, “On your marks…get set…go.”

He won – and I smiled.

It was a beautiful day!

This Weeks Menu

Here is our menu plan for the upcoming week.

Monday:  Chili / Cornbread

Tuesday:  Mom's Cream of Broccoli Soup / Salad

Wednesday:  Broiled Salmon / Garden Salad

Thursday:  Baked Chicken / Garden Salad

Friday:  Homemade Pizza Night / Salad

Saturday:  Popcorn / Cheese Slices / Apple Slices

Sunday:  Sandwiches / Cut Veggies and Fruit

I think it is relatively odd to see soup on a June menu; however, I am finishing up my goal of getting the freezer emptied out before we move.  We have a few things that just worked best to get made up in soup. 

Our Saturday plan has become a weekly staple.  I really like having an easy dinner and in the summer months - I must say that this is one of my favorite meals.  (Zak does not agree with me on this one - and mentions it each week.  LOL)

I also am spending my Kitchen Day (Thursday) getting three meals made for the freezer.  The plan there is to have those meals made up and ready so I can pack all of the kitchen up a week before we move.  Our kitchen will be a busy place on Thursday morning; but I think that in a couple weeks we are going to really like having the meals ready and the entire house packed and ready before the truck arrives. 

Hope you have a great week and enjoy - not just what is for dinner; but the people with which you are able to share you meal.  Family is so important. 

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



Today is the day our journey started out – together. Twenty –two years have passed. In some ways it seems like just yesterday since we stood before our family and friends and promised our love and commitment to one another; but mostly it seems like an eternity ago. I almost cannot remember what it was like to not be married; and I have been married longer than I was single.

I love to see older couples together walking down the street hand in hand. It is unfortunate that you do not see that as much as you used to. When I was first married and would see this sight I would think to myself, “That is how I want us to be…” Now, after years of marriage, when I see an elderly couple walking hand in hand my thoughts are different. I ask myself questions. “What hard times have they gone through?” “Did they ever have times when the stress of life almost pulled them apart?” “Why have they stayed together?” Let’s face it, just because a couple has been together for years and years does not mean that every year has been perfect and happy and wonderful. It means that they honored their commitments and they weathered the storms that came. They went through the storms and they chose not bail out.

This is not the way that I normally start an anniversary post; but this past year has not been a ‘normal’ year for us as a married couple. It has been difficult. How’s that for being transparent? Our life has been a bit stressful. We have set out to do some things that caused us to have to make changes that took us out of our comfort zone. I had two major surgeries within 10 days of each other that caused quite a lengthy recovery. We attempted something with Zak, which while it has been a wonderful decision, actually making it was very difficult. To add to all of that, we live almost an hour from our church and are not able to fellowship with other’s the way that we always have. The latter of this list is perhaps the one thing that has caused the most grief.

It has been hard. Yet, it has been good for us. Good for us to realize that we have things we need to work on. We have also been put in a position where it feels like we are almost completely alone. Sometimes God takes you to the wilderness. That is how it has felt to me.

You learn a lot in the wilderness. You learn how you respond when the heat is great and you are tired of just surviving; and you find your response can be far from how Christ would respond. You find that when you are in the wilderness you get hurt. There are stimuli in the wilderness that inflict pain. It does not take too long in the wilderness before you find that you are walking around hurt. You learn then what it means when they say ‘hurting people hurt people’; because you find yourself hurting those to whom you wish never to hurt. Wilderness’ do that to people.

Wilderness Journeys reveal who you are.
This wilderness has showed me – me.

The wilderness has showed me others. Others do not take too kindly to those in the wilderness. Figuratively speaking people in the wilderness smell, they are emotionally bankrupt, physically drained and this depletion causes them to be needy. Needy people usually are not profitable to the greater good. Those in the wilderness require a precious resource many find too precious to spend on someone who will not profit them or their own personal agenda. Time is a precious commodity. Once spent time cannot be remade. Most people chose to spend time in ways that profit themselves. Thus, wilderness people rarely find those who are willing to spend the precious resource on them. If ministry requires more than a weekly phone call telling the person they are looking forward to seeing them at church, or more than taking over one (or at the most two) meals to ‘bless’ the person in their need – people find they can quickly dismiss the needy wilderness person as ‘in sin’ or ‘beyond help’. I know, I have felt that way – before the wilderness journey.

The wilderness is lonely.

The wilderness is dark. Darkness causes shadows to appear. Shadows are always bigger than reality and in the wilderness the shadows seem to envelope each and every inch. The shadow of despair completely covers the doorway of hope making it almost impossible to see. The shadow of doubt completely hides the path of faith and in the wilderness it seems that there are no paths. The ground has no path cut through, just dusty, parched ground that cracks and seems to go on forever – on either side as far as the eye can see ahead or behind.

The wilderness is full of inaccurate illusions.
The wilderness is confusing.

How thankful I am that God is not a God of the fertile plains. He does not just dwell in the ‘green pastures’. He also is a God that goes with us in the “valley of the shadows of death”. I found Him in my wilderness. I have found in Him a refuge and a hiding place. I have found in Him the power to forgive the hurts that have paralyzed me from love. I have found in Him everything. He is here - In the wilderness; and while there are no green pastures in sight, no still waters to refresh my thirsty soul I know He is with me. I found that I can cling to Him and in the clinging I have found in Him that He is all together lovely. In His embrace there is no wilderness, no loneliness, no darkness and no confusion.

He is the way out of the wilderness.

In Him dwells all the power needed to make me all that I need to be. Every aspect of my life is complete in Him. In Him I find the power to walk in the wilderness and not faint.

So, tomorrow, we start on our 23 year of marriage. We walk it figuratively hand in hand. I believe we have come to the end of our wilderness. We have walked through the valley and He has been with us. We have walked, struggled and even at times despaired. He has been with us. It has been hard; but it has drawn us closer to Him; and the closer we have come to Him the deeper our relationship to one another.

There is a seasoned maturity that has been added to our marriage in this past year. It has not come easily. Maturity never does. We are walking into the next year closer to Him. We have sought after Him; He has heard our cry and has brought us up. He has strengthened us and we will never be the same.

Happy Anniversary, Rob. I am so glad I get to walk through life with you – even the wilderness times are better together. Looking forward to what He has in store for us this next year. I vow to pray for you more this year than I have ever prayed for you before in our married life. I am glad we get to travel this path together.

 I love you.