Tuesday, November 30, 2010


All Wrapped Up Christmas Card
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View the entire collection of cards.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010


Visiting Family!

Cora's Birth Story

The story of our baby’s birth begins on the afternoon of Wednesday, June 9th. At my 40-week appointment, Dr. Giovannina Anthony told me that I was 3cm dilated. I scheduled an appointment for Friday at which we hoped I would be at least 6cm dilated (I wanted to avoid the complications of needing an induction). Once I got to my car I prayed that my body would meet this goal.

God answered my prayers. Wednesday night I started having contractions around bedtime. The contractions were too painful to sleep through, but not close enough to make a trip to the hospital. Meanwhile, Dale couldn’t sleep because of the laryngitis/bronchitis that he had been battling for the past couple weeks. We laughed at the absurdity of our situation while we held hands and watched cable’s quality programming at three in the morning.

On Thursday, I unsuccessfully tried to sleep since the intervals between contractions widened. I went to our weekly Bible Study that night and around the time that we were going to sleep my contractions intensified. Another sleepless night ensued.

Feeling weary, Dale and I went to my Friday afternoon appointment. Much to my relief, I was 7cm dilated. My sleepless night hadn’t been in vain! As we made our way to the hospital, we went for a walk along the Elk Refuge. Knowing that a little one would accompany us on our next walk felt very surreal.

Around 7:00 pm Dr. Anthony broke my water. The contractions quickly intensified. Ignoring the advice of trusted friends, we decided not to hire a doula. Instead, Dale assumed the role of “dude-la.” He was the perfect labor coach. He gave me water, encouraged me to change positions, helped me get in the hydrotherapy tub, sang to me (I requested it), and numerous time he read to me the day’s devotion from the book Jesus Calling:
Trust Me and don’t be afraid, for I am your Strength and Song. Do not let fear dissipate your energy. Instead, invest your energy in trusting Me and singing My Song. The battle for control of your mind is fierce, and years of worrying have made you vulnerable to the enemy. Therefore, you need to be vigilant in guarding your thoughts. Do not despise this weakness in yourself, since I am using it to draw you closer to Me. Your constant need for Me creates an intimacy that is well worth all the effort. You are not alone in this struggle for your mind. My Spirit living within you is ever ready to help in this striving. Ask Him to control your mind; He will bless you with Life and Peace.

Every line of the devotion spoke so clearly to the struggles we were experiencing. While I knew that the “life” being referred to was eternal life, during labor the “life” spoken about applied so clearly to our baby and how the experience was drawing us closer to God. Also, Dale’s partnership during our natural labor and delivery intensified, widened and deepened my love for Dale to a degree I never imagined.

After midnight, the time for pushing arrived. Five or six pushes later, our baby emerged from my womb and into the world at 12:55 AM. She landed in Dale’s eager arms and he joyfully proclaimed, “It’s a girl!” After marveling at her for a few seconds, he placed Cora on my chest. The swell of love I felt (and continue to feel when I look at her) is utterly indescribable.

The story ends with us in a dark hospital room-- holding our precious baby girl and smiling.

God is so good. We feel immeasurably blessed by the opportunity we have had to partner with our Creator and welcome Cora into our lives.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Getting closer

I'm at about 38.5 weeks right now. There's a lot of suspense about when this little baby is going to arrive! I really enjoy being pregnant and it's hard to imagine what our lives will be like once this precious little life emerges.

Specific prayer requests:
- the baby arrives within the doctor's definition of "on time" (I would like to avoid all interventions.)
- safe and uncomplicated delivery
- strong heart
- that Dale and I will be infused with new love for one another and our child
- that I remember that my strength comes from the Lord

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Book List 2009-2010

As far as I can remember, these are the books that I have read in the past year or so.
In no particular order...
The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison
Ordinary Women Extraordinary God, Noel Piper
The Reason for God, Timothy Keller
Daughter of Fortune, Isabel Allende
The Mission of Motherhood, Sally Clarkson
Feminine Appeal, Carolyn Mahaney
The Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges
Holiness, the Heart God Purifies, Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Jesus Calling, Sarah Young
Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson
Created for a Purpose, Darlene Sala
Forgotten God, Francis Chan
The Christ of Christmas, James Montgomery Boice
Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
Birthing from Within, Pam England
Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, Tracy Hogg
Baby Wise, Gary Ezzo & Dr. Bucknam
Spanish for Educators, McGraw Hill book
Blue Like Jazz, Don Miller
Coaching Principles, ASEP
In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan
The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan
The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver
Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser
Twilight, Stephenie Meyer
New Moon, Stephenie Meyer
Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer
Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer
Crazy Love, Francis Chan
What to Expect When You're Expecting, Heidi Murdoff
Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell
Born to Run, Christopher McDougall
Blink, Malcolm Gladwell
The Red Tent, Anita Diamant
A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson
The Lost Continent, Bill Bryson

Friday, May 7, 2010

Preparing for Birth & Ze Bebe

Things I like about being pregnant:

- Fun maternity clothes that accommodate my growing belly

- Feeling strong and capable even though people view me as being fragile

- Feeling the baby move (even the rib shots)!

- Knowing that I’m carrying a little life inside of me (and our baby could be as cute as Dale!)

- When the kids at school listen to hear if the baby is sleeping or swimming (their 5- 6- 7- & 8- year old heads are at the perfect height)

On Monday nights Dale and I have been taking the baby classes at the hospital and on Wednesday nights we've been going to "Parenting with Purpose" classes at our church. One of the “big ideas” of the parenting classes is that we should develop a family mission statement. I like this idea because I consider myself a very goal oriented person and it brings intentionality to my upcoming role as a mother.

After much consideration and discussion, we selected Ephesians 5:2a:

Life a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave up His life for us.

I want people to know and feel the love that I/my family have for them. I desire for our thoughts, actions and words to point to God.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Nesting & Our New Home

As I stand on the Jackson Hole High/Middle School track during our daily practices, the osprey quest to build their nests atop the football lights. This is much to the chagrin of the school personnel who have placed orange cones and flags in order to deter the determined birds. Like the birds, my maternal instincts instill within me a desire to ready a nest for my baby, but the location isn't quite right. Our true nest is 1118.22 miles away (according to MapQuest) from our current location. Beyond the logistical issues of locking into mortgage interest rates, making roofing decisions, signing millions upon millions of papers and contemplating how we're going to meet our expanding furniture needs, I have thought more about the purpose of our new home.

Below I have copy/pasted an entry from the passionatehomemaking.com blog. Great blog, if you ask me. I'd also like to add to her list that I want our home to be fun!

What is the significance of the home? What kind of place did God design it to be like? In this day and age, people invest thousands upon thousands of dollars in a home, and for what? Is it simply to provide temporary comfortable or to look good before our family and friends? Could there be more significance to the way God intends for us to live within our homes? These are questions that have been on my heart and mind lately. Without vision and purpose to our homemaking, we can loose sight of the eternal significance of this role.

As a result of these questions, I purposed to read every reference in the Bible to the words “home” or “house” or “hospitality”, and I was blown away by what I found. My perspective of the use of my home was far too small. God has such amazing potential for your home! You have a glorious opportunity to adopt these holy purposes:

1. The home as a place of rest.

My home, first and foremost, should be a place of rest from labor (1 Kings 8:66, 12:24, 13:7; Psalms 126:6), refuge (Josh. 20:6; 2 Kings 14:12; 2 Sam. 18:17; Zech 10:10), and refreshment for my husband and children. This is most common purpose indicated through the Bible. It was intended to be a place of joy (2 Chron. 7:10; Psalms 126:6), a place to make happy with your spouse (Deut. 24:5). Can my family find rest in my home? Or is there constant tension or turmoil? Is there too much clutter that the body cannot rest?

My home should be a place to welcome home my husband in celebration style. The women of old welcomed back their men in joyful celebration from the battlefield (1 Sam. 18:6). Our husbands face many battles at work throughout their day, conquering challenges, guarding against temptation, and have successfully brought home the bacon! Therefore; he deserves a joyful welcoming. Do I welcome my hubby home with a shout and joyful excitement? Does he eagerly look forward to coming home?

2. The home as a place to cultivate learning.

It should have a continual atmosphere of learning and teaching of both knowledge and Biblical truth. “And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up…Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deut. 6:6-9) Is truth being taught and cultivated daily in my home? Am I seeking to train and teach my children in everything we do? What kind of lessons can I teach while we clean together, prepare meals, and cultivate the home?

3. The home as a holy place.

It should be guarded from all things that might taint the holy dwelling. It is designed to be a place of protection for sinful temptation. A place where nothing abominable might dwell (Deut. 7:26). Are there any destructive influences coming into my home through books, technology, internet, or television?

4. The home as a place where thankfulness dwells.

It should be a place where we testify of the Lord’s goodness to our family, friends, and neighbors (Mark 5:19; Luke 15:6). We see the New Testament believers sharing meals, breaking bread, and celebrating together (Acts 2:46). Great generosity, sincerity, and thankfulness abounded in the home. Does an atmosphere of thankfulness pervade my home? How can I be more purposeful in cultivating a spirit of joy and gratitude in my home? Is the conversation around our dinner table one that encourages and blesses others, that acknowledges God’s work in our lives?

5. The home as a place to welcome strangers, refugees, the homeless, and hungry.

I was struck repeatedly by the numerous references to the home as a place to welcome strangers. The word ‘hospitality’ literally means: ‘welcoming strangers’. We see Lot looking around at the entrances of the city to welcome any stranger into his home (Gen. 24:23,31), and Abraham running up to strangers and welcoming them to his tent for a meal and refreshment (Gen. 19:2-3). If we feed the hungry and provide a home for the homeless, the promise is that ’salvation will come!’ (Isaiah 58:7). So not only is the home to be a place of rest for family, but also for strangers, foreigners, and refugees.

Feasts of generous proportion should be offered amongst an atmosphere of reflecting on God’s goodness (Prov. 23:6-8; Prov. 9:1-5; Gen 26:30; 1 Tim. 6:18). As soon as Levi becomes a follower of Jesus, we see him practicing hospitality by holding a mighty feast/banquet in his home and welcoming Jesus and all his friends (Luke 5:27-31). This was not natural for him. It took effort, preparation, and generosity.

The Israelites were called to remember that they were once foreigners and aliens, and therefore to love others as they loved themselves (Lev. 19:34). Offering hospitality was a moral imperative. We all were once strangers and refugees who were graciously taken in by God (Deut. 10:19). There ought to be no loneliness in the home, but rather comfort and joy should overflow. How often do I eagerly run like Abraham to welcome others into my home? How often do I extend generous hospitality to someone new, lonely, or homeless?

“Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!” (Hebrews 13:2)

6. A place to minister to the church, missionaries and evangelists.

“When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality” (Romans 12:13). Throughout the New Testament we see people opening their homes to missionaries to find rest and refreshment (Luke 10:38-42; Acts 16:15), as demonstrated by Martha & Mary, and Lydia.

7. The home as a place that reflects our eternal home.

Lastly, our home should always be viewed as a temporary dwelling and an image or reflection of our eternal home (Hebrew 11:14; 2 Cor. 5:1, 8-9). It should not be a place we store much treasure in. The way we offer hospitality should image the glorious celebration that will take place at the end of the age. When people come into my home, they should sense the presence of the Lord. They should sense the joy and celebration that comes from living for Jesus. It should be a taste of heaven.

Wow! The potential you have for the use of your home is incredible. Are you willing to join me in adopting this glorious purpose for cultivating the home?

If our view of our homes is shortsighted, there is no motivation to accomplish the menial tasks of maintaining it. If we don’t cultivate a high and holy design for our homes, it is easy to slip into thoughts of frustration, comparison, or purposelessness.

If we view our homes as a place of hospitality – to welcome our families and the hurting around us – there will be so much more strength and motivation to keep it clean, organized, and prepared.

I’ve heard that Edith Schaeffer, wife of the late Francis Schaeffer, led more students to Christ through her cinnamon rolls than her husband did through all his philosophical discussions.What will be said of you?

Has your vision for your home grown today?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Prepared for fun!

We know, we know, we can't put an infant in a chariot but we wanted to be ready for the future. Thanks to support from our families we are the prowd owners of a chariot and now we are prepared to push and pull this kid around in lots of different ways. Ann is at 34 weeks and is feeling great. Only six more weeks to go. We will keep you all updated.

Love - Dale

An update!?!

It's April 29th and it's a snowy day here in Wyoming. Even my middle school track team's meet has been canceled!

Here's a brief update about what has transpired in recent weeks:
- Dale was offered a job as a Professor of Biology at Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN. Starting in August, he will teach Environmental Science, Biology 3, Ornithology (birds) and Winter Ecology.
- We bought a house in Shoreview, MN and have been muddling through the real estate paperwork.
- My ability to see my toes has disappeared.

Thus far, I have really enjoyed being pregnant. I almost feel better than normal. What a huge blessing!

Answers to FAQs
No, we don't know if we're going to have a boy or a girl. I'd be thrilled with either!
We have a girl name that we like, but we haven't finalized a boy name. We plan to name our child after a place in Wyoming (Not Torrington, Chugwater, Big Piney, etc. :) )
We were never given a specific due date. However, we were given a couple dates that coincide with my last week of school.