Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What are you doing? What are you doing? What are you doing?

Areyna is into this phase where she asks the same question over and over.  I can only be the sweet mommy for so many rounds of the same question=)  I hear this is very common.  In fact we had a girl in our youth group a few years ago that was going through the same phase.  I know, she was quite a bit older, but it's true.  We are handling the situation pretty much the same.  Like yesterday Areyna said, "Hey mom, what are you doing?" I replied by telling her exactly what I was doing.  Not 1 minute later she asked the exact same question.  (Why is it that my children are doing the exact same things to me that I used to do to my parents?)  My reply was, "Areyna look at mommy.  What did I just tell you I was doing?".   She repeated back exactly what I told her.  This is the catcher though.  I followed up with, "Areyna, you know what I'm doing so you are not allowed to ask that question anymore."  Josh laughed at me until Rainy started asking "Are we there yet?" in the car only 15 min. into a 4-hour trip.  After I told her that we still had a long trip ahead of us she said "Okay mom, I am not allowed to ask that question again."  I think she gets the concept.  Either that or she is trying to prevent the mommy who "chooses to have a bad attitude" from coming out=)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Responsibility and Ministry

Rainy actually sat at her table for over an hour helping with the inserts and Zeke handed the newsletters to daddy after trying to pick them all up and then sitting on them=)

I have had such a good morning. Josh is leading at our home church, Southbrook Church, this weekend and he let me have the weekend off=) The kids and I were in desperate need of a break. After I gave the kids dinner last night we headed over to church for the Saturday night service and guess what we've been doing this morning...well, we slept in, had a nice breakfast and have been playing outside ever since. It's also newsletter time. Josh's mom and I always joke around that as soon as we finish a newsletter and mail it off it's newsletter time AGAIN. Ha! For those of you who don't know, we send out a free monthly newsletter at the beginning of every month to recap the last month and to let you know of other opportunities coming up for us. Shoot me an e-mail with your contact information and we'll set you up on our mailing list if you don't already get it. We have over 400 people on our mailing list right now and as you can imagine it takes a little time to fold and stuff the newsletter every month. I decided to take the newsletters outside and work on them while the kids were playing so sweet together this morning. After about 10 min. Areyna came over and wanted to "help". Her job was to put the folded letters into the basket. A few minutes went by and Zeke decided to join the fun. I'd hand him the newsletters, he'd open it up to inspect it shout out "I wuv you!!!" and hand it to Rainy who would finish the job by putting it in the basket. I've never had so much fun doing a newsletter=). I've always known that kids want to be "helpers" but I've really seen how our kids are beginning to help us with our ministry even at such a young age. Right now Areyna's job that she really enjoys is helping me set up our merchandise table. She puts all the CD's in the display cases and sets out the newsletter sign up. Zeke's job is to dance around and play air guitar while we set up the merchandise table. Areyna's other job is to help her daddy set up his guitars. She puts the cases flat on the floor, unlatches all the locks and opens them up so we can just pull them out. Then she closes them, latches them and sets the cases up straight. She does this while we pack up too. Zeke's job is to dance around and play air guitar while we set up and tear down. He does like to help carry the drum sticks to and from the car if we have a drummer with us=). So, even though I feel guilty sometimes that we can't be home all the time with a "normal" routine we do have some type of structure and routine on the road that I think will teach them responsibility and give them a love for ministry at the same time.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

If You Post It They Will Come

Well, we made it home this afternoon at about 4pm after a great week at Living Stones in Clifton Forge, VA.  It was awesome to be able to work alongside Josh's dad as he preached the gospel.  The trip today was a bit interesting.  Let's just say we are comparing prices on the book "The Strong-Willed Child".  Zeke is such a sweet little boy...until you ask him to do something!  (more about that in a future post)  Anyway, we got home and I went straight to work on cleaning the bathroom.  Why?  Not only is a potty-training bathroom nasty and ...well, just nasty, but my parents were on their way to our house for a visit!!  That's right.  They live in Colorado Springs and we were just trying to figure out the last time they both came for a visit.  ANSWER...the beginning of last November.  Way too long.  They have some meetings in SC and are visiting us because they are so close.  The funny thing is that we were all sitting here and I couldn't remember exactly when the last time my mom had been here.  I just KNEW she'd been here one other time than when we first moved in almost 2 years ago but couldn't put my finger on when.  My mom felt the same way.  After discussing this for about 5 minutes my mom jumped up and said "oh yeah honey, the last time we came was in Nov.  I remember because you got those awful bruises from the old futon."  Sorry dad=(  I can't help but laugh, especially since I just wrote about it in THIS BLOG.  Ha! Well, I'm so glad they are here and so are the kids!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Real Simple

I'm not a huge magazine reader, actually not much of a reader at all for that matter, but I must say that I can't resist the organizational advice and ideas in Real Simple magazine.  Now, I'm not necessarily advocating every article written in that magazine but I love the idea of having a simplistic lifestyle and using what I've already got to make something better.  I used some of my birthday money to buy a subscription and have been waiting anxiously for the first arrival, which came just in time for our trip to Virginia this week.  It sure made the trip go quicker today=)   Since Josh and I started our ministry we have truly seen it all...small buildings, contemporary buildings, "portable" churches, power point, overhead projectors, hymnals, traditional, contemporary, ties, jeans, name it.  I've come to truly believe that there is not just ONE WAY OF DOING CHURCH.  God is at work in MANY ways!  We've talked to people who have left churches with big screens, fancy lighting, fool-proof transitions and rock-n-roll type music for the small country church up the road with no child care and people walking around all throughout the preaching.  We've talked to others who prefer the liturgical worship style while others prefer the intentional and planned out contemporary style over the strict traditional style.  Tonight we lead worship for Living Stones Ministries in Clifton Forge, VA.  Oh, you've never heard of Clifton Forge?  I hadn't either.  It was a beautiful drive on the way out their though.  We walked into the church and they really didn't have much of anything.  No lights, just 2 TV monitors for screens and that was about it, but that isn't what I noticed most of all.  I noticed people hugging each other, not just smiling and shaking hands, but sincerely engaging with other people.  It didn't stop there.  After the choir finished we got up to do our stuff and there was no inviting them into worship, they were already there!  Standing up, clapping, singing out so loud I couldn't even hold my own tears back.  Wow.  A couple came forward tonight to recommit their marriage to the Lord.  Praise The Lord for meeting His people wherever they are.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Come For A Visit?

Imagine a long lost futon in the room of a teenager later passed on to the younger brother in college who later got married and moved it into their guest bedroom, who then donated it to the young sister-in-law with not a single bit of furniture so she could have it as a couch.  Then, she ran out of room for it and gave it to her parents who donated it to some people in their church who then passed it down to another couple in the church.  Then the young sister-in-law got married and moved into seminary and they needed a guest bed so the parents confiscated the futon back and that was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.  The futon became one with the family as they traveled around the southeast until they landed in Charlotte, NC.  This is an Asian style wood futon that lays on the floor and folds up to be a couch, sort of.  The feather mattress/cushion  had been slept on and worn so flat that you could feel the boards underneath...our poor visitors!  Oh the lies they told every morning over breakfast.  "Yeah, my back always hurts", and "No, I always walk slouched over in pain".  I slowly began to get embarrassed about our poor little guest bed UNTIL TODAY.  The old has gone, actually has been dumped, and the new has come, well new for us...isn't Craig's List the BEST!!  So, is anybody up for a visit?

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I know this is completely disgusting but as a mother of 2 young children I feel the need to share all the grossness that goes on here. I mean, isn't that what we are supposed to do? We have to let everyone know the realistic goings on of a mother. So yesterday I got the kids up from their nap and we were just waking up in the living room and I noticed something dark on the tip of Zeke's nose so I go to investigate and low and behold I pull out a stick that is well over an inch long. How in the world did that get there? That would explain his awful attitude before his nap! He probably went to bed with it in there.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

28 Things - Part 5 - THE END

21- Josh loves making cookies at night after the kids go to bed

22- He can sleep completely comfortably with all his clothes on (including shoes and socks). That's just weird!

23- He tells great bed time stories to the kids. Most of them include Maurey the Muskrat and Sherman the Squirrel. (Just ask Areyna about them. Apparently they are some of her "favorite friends")

24- He loves to work out and play basketball with his brothers and dad. We fell in love jogging together...awwww! In fact, when we were first married we'd wake up at 5am every morning to get our workout in at the "Y" before we'd head out to work. How in the world did we do that!!!

25- He was a youth pastor for 4 years before we moved here. Living Stones...we still love you guys!

26- His first job in seminary was being a security guard. He was pretty hot in his uniform=)

27- He is a great haiku writer...HERE's an example of his finest!

Okay, 1 more...
28- He is extremely allergic to poison oak and poison ivy

Man, I think I'll do something else for him on his 29th birthday=)

28 Things - Part 4

16- When Josh plays the game, Monopoly, there are no nice stacks of money.  He piles it all up in a big pile of disarray and he never really knows how much money he actually has=)
17- Josh is a very hard worker and a quick learner.  For example, Josh's first bookshelf that he made slightly resembled, well, I'm not sure, but let's just say that everything slid to one side.  Then he started working construction while we were in seminary.  He learned soooo much.  Check out the picture from this post of Areyna and look at the deck he built by himself (Geoffrey Janes came to give him a hand too).  He is the same with everything he does.  Pretty self-motivated and willing to learn=)  (Just one of the many reasons why I love him!)

18- A hopeless romantic.  Shhh, don't tell him I said that.  When we were in College he took a big poster and wrote "I like you, Tasha Litke" (we didn't say we loved each other until we were engaged) and taped it to the wall across the hall from my class so that EVERYONE in my class, including my professor and all the other classes on that side of the hall, could see it.  I on the other hand don't like to draw attention to myself and was a bit embarrassed and I turned bright red and started sweating pretty bad.  Pretty sweet guy though=)

19- He analyzes and prays about each decision he makes, weighing every option.  (works good for the both of us since I'm like...ok, let's do it, right now!!)

20- He makes up cool, random games with the kids, i.e. "Gotcha" - a game played with young toddlers with which have a little vocabulary but like to be chased by grown-ups 10X's bigger than themselves.  The child must be able to approach the adult and say "gotcha" and then turn to run as hard and as fast as their little legs can carry them until either the adult catches them or they run head on into a wall or piece of furniture, inevitably bringing on a fountain of tears, and then a little shaky "gotcha" to start the game over again!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

28 Things - Part 3

11- Josh is the oldest of 5 kids and ALL of their initials are JDV.  (4 boys and 1 girl)
12- Starting in middle school (I think) he was home-schooled.
13- He used to scrape his toenails down his brother, Jonathan's, leg under the dinner table when they were young.  Apparently this made him a good big brother=)
14- I always know he is asleep after a quick jerk followed by a whimpering sigh.
15- He is obsessed with clean teeth.  He'll go grab his toothbrush and watch a whole TV show before he's done brushing.  (that is only a little exaggerated)!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Finally Getting It

Several months ago we started giving the kids "book time" at night to wind them down before they go to sleep.  We set the timer for a certain amount of time (depending on how late it is) and give the kids a basket of books to read while they sit on Areyna's bed.  Zeke was awful at first.  By the time we'd close the door and head down the hallway he'd be off the bed and we'd hear a yell from Areyna, "Zeke got out of Rainy's bed!!!"  We'd give him one chance before putting him in his own bed with some books until the timer went off.  I figured this would be a perfect way to train him to stay in bed before we got him a "big boy bed".  Well, needless to say, Zeke is a religious "book time" reader, now!  As soon as he's done brushing his teeth every night he goes in their room, grabs a book, hops on Rainy's bed and says "boot ime".  He even puts his own books away when the timer goes off.  I guess it's time to get serious about our plans for finding some bunk beds or some other "big boy bed"!

28 Things - Part 2

6- Josh used to be in this band called Good Friday when he was in High School and the first year of college. Check out their WEB PAGE...good stuff, good stuff
7- He cannot multi-task...he leaves that to me=)
8- If I ask Josh a question when he is doing something he'll make up an answer, unaware that I've even been talking to him and completely oblivious to the fact that he even gave me an answer. Thus the reason I say...JOSH (wait for a reply and eye contact) and then carry on with the conversation.
9- One of his favorite TV shows is THE OFFICE
10 - He only likes to chew a half a piece of gum at a time

Hmmm, more to you later...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

28 Things

Tomorrow is Josh's 28th birthday and I am going to attempt to tell you 28 random things about him. Don't worry, not all tonight but this whole week. This is for you baby=)
1- His nickname is Fro. Let's just say this is why his hair is either in dreads or short=)
2- He makes this weird noise with his throat when his inner ear itches. (pretty funny when the kids try to mimic him)
3- He used to have earings and I LOVED them
4- The only thing he ever asks for is books
Okay, 1 more...
5- He has this horrible habit of biting his finger nails and then wants my sympathy when his fingers hurt. Nope, sorry baby.
Come back tomorrow and I'll have a few more=)

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Visit With Flat Stanley

My sister's oldest boy, Alex, is in first grade and they have been reading through the book "Flat Stanley". If you aren't familiar with it it's a super cute book about a little boy who gets flattened by a bulletin board and ends up getting mailed to go see a friend and then mailed back home. They talk about all the adventures he got to go on. I remember reading it when I was little and loving the idea. When Deedee, my sister, called to see if we would like Flat Stanley to come and visit I was so excited. I knew the kids would think that he was so cool. Well, he definitely made his rounds. First he went to visit my parents in CO and visited the Garden Of The Gods and then made his way down south to Orlando Florida to visit my brother and his wife and they took a trip to Disney World and the Lego store so when Stanley got here with all the cool stuff from those places you can imagine what I was thinking, "how can we top that?" So I contemplated sticking in a bunch of bulletin's from churches we'd visited with him since that seems to be the most exciting thing we do around here but then realized that Stanley might just want to hang out with Alex's cousins whom Alex never gets to see. So, we ate our meals together, painted some pictures, which we mailed to Alex's class today, and played outside. Areyna and Zeke were sad to see him go today but they had a good time while he was here.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Oh No, I'm Not A Princess Today?!

Today, shortly after Areyna woke up we were hanging out in the living room and she looked at me in horror and said "Oh no, I'm not a princess today!" I told her, "You can go get a princess dress on now if you want" with which she jumped up with the biggest smile on her face and ran in her play room to change out of her jammies into one of her favorite princess outfits. Shew, that was close. I'm a little bias and do think that I have the most beautiful little girl on the planet (no offense to you other moms with equally beautiful little girls=)) but I wonder how many times I tell her that she is so pretty and so beautiful without her princess dresses on or even when she is so messy from a spaghetti dinner or playing out in the endless sand pits in our backyard (Zeke is still learning the concept of keeping the sand in the sandbox). I want my beautiful little girl to realize that true beauty comes from an attitude of the heart and not from the fancy things that we are so often blessed with in this world. Maybe that should be #2 on my list...

Monday, April 7, 2008

Nation-Wide Coffee Taste Test and Splurging

I was reading MoneySavingMom today and stumbled on this:  Starbucks Coffee is holding a nation-wide taste test tomorrow April 8th.  Check out all the details HERE to get your free 8oz. test.  Our time zone will be at noon.  Perfect timing for us.  We have always splurged to get Starbucks coffee at the grocery store, but since I've been finding ways to cut down on our weekly grocery bill (I just have to add that I've gotten our grocery's for under $70 3 weeks ago, last week was only $61 and this week was only $57 - I'm finally getting the hang of this) okay, that was just a little side note...we started getting Cafe Bustelo, which I think is fine and up until yesterday I thought Josh was okay with it too.  Most of you are well aware that Starbucks is almost $10 at regular price (unless it's on sale like it is at Target this week!)  and I can get Cafe Bustelo for about $3 at regular price.  So anyway, we were going to church yesterday afternoon and Josh randomly looked at me with a very depressed look and a saddened heart and said "Did you find any sales on Starbuck's Coffee this week" with which he later added "baby, can you get some Starbucks this week?"  Poor guy, the other just isn't cutting it.  Some things you just can't cut costs on.  What things do you JUST HAVE TO HAVE and you refuse to cut costs on?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Kids and Funerals

Josh's Great Uncle Gene passed away on Thursday morning and Josh and I had the privilege of playing for his funeral this morning.  He was more of a grandfather figure to Josh and we KNOW he is up in heaven with our Lord.  It has been nice to be here with the family and his wife, Velma.  I'm still trying to figure out what is appropriate for children at funerals and at the grave site though.  I couldn't help but laugh inside while Zeke kept trying to wave at Uncle Gene lying in the casket and his fascination with all the plastic flowers out at the cemetery. Areyna did really well the whole time and I only got one dirty look from an older lady while Zeke called out to his Poppie who was leading the service.  What can ya do, huh?  We are heading home in a little while after we catch some of the Final4 tonight so we can be ready for a full day at Parkwood(am) and Ridge(pm) tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


A couple days ago I gave the challenge to come up with a list of 5 things that you would change in your life if you knew you only had 30 days to live.  Our home church, Southbrook, is doing a series called 1 Month To Live and it has been life changing for Josh and I so far!  Last wed. we gave the assignment to our small group to make that list and Josh and I have really been struggling with it.  It's like a  completely different mindset that you have to get into.  I can't explain it.  Yesterday was an emotional day for me, for no reason at all really, just one of those days I guess.  One of the reasons is because I'm getting sick, but I really think it is maily because I've been pouring over this assignment and praying over it for a week now and didn't even have a single item on my list.  The list just didn't seem like it was going to be that hard.  All of a sudden the first one came to me.  SLOW DOWN.  My whole life I've been busy and going, going, going, and it is so hard to STOP!!  Especially when with Josh and I's ministry on the road so often and with 2 small children.  So often I feel like we are tempted into believing the lie that we are only as good as our worldly accomplishments, our to-do list that has to have a check beside each item.  I used to feel the need to list all the things that I'd accomplished all day for Josh when he'd get home for work, like he'd think I sat around all day and did nothing with a baby in the house.  I know, I know Josh would never think that but for some reason I felt like I had to prove myself to him...wait, not even him, myself.  How selfish of me, to put that expectation on myself.  It takes away from my joy in just being a mom and a provider for my family.  I want to slow down and think about the things that matter eternally.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Where Are We Going?

Usually I don't take a shower until around lunch time or so because I try to do some pilates or some kind of exercise during the kids room time and I hate taking more than one shower and having to get ready more than one time a day.  (Josh just doesn't understand why girls can't just hop in and out of the shower in 10 min. and be ready for the day=))  But Tuesdays are different.  I have to be at Bible Study by 9:30 am and get back for my first violin lesson at 1 then get ready for CharlotteONE (if we are leading that week) and then a couple more lessons that afternoon before leaving for CharlotteONE, not to mention getting the kids stuff packed up for a night with a sitter.  All that said to make the point that I was up and dressed before the kids got up.  I walked in to get the kids up this morning and Areyna said "Where are we going mom?"  It's pretty bad when the only time we get out of our jammies before lunch is because we have to be somewhere=)