My Sister's Wedding Shower

My Dad and I

My Mom and I

My sisters and I

The Ferguson Girls...

Stacie and my Mom

My Dad and His girls...

Stacie and I, at our parents house, for her shower.

Some of Stacie's friends...

Stacie and Jennie, my sisters

Wedding Planning...

I'm in Iowa now and have been since Sunday night. It's been a great week so far, but I already can't believe how fast time is flying! Weddings seem to speed time up, I'm convinced. We have been running all over town, dropping stuff off, picking stuff up and realizing we forgot to do something! But, no major setbacks or meltdowns yet, so I would consider that a good thing. It's late and I'm up waiting for Travis to get here. He did Church tonight and then drove down afterwards, so I'm expecting him at about 1:00am! I've missed him though, so I'm anxious to finally see him. Ryley came down with me on Sunday, and he is exhausted! I think he loves to come to my parents house because they have such a great yard and he gets constant attention and someone to play with him! He is passed out right now, trying to recover for another day, and I'm wishing I could pass out with him.

Tonight my sister Jennie and I threw a shower for Stacie and her close friends. It was very fun and we all had a nice time. I will post pictures as soon as I can...we took a million, of course. Tomorrow is rehearsal day already, which I cannot believe! The guys are golfing in the morning while the girls continue doing all the true that is! Tomorrow night I'm sure the emotions will hit us, as the rehearsal has a funny way of making reality hit home. We watched the newly completed video tonight of pictures and video footage of their 6 year was cute and somehow I managed not to cry!

We have lots of family and friends coming in tomorrow and on Friday...that is always the best part of a wedding! We're all looking forward to seeing everybody and catching up again, it seems major events like this are the only things that make us connect these days. Travis and I had lots of family and friends come to our wedding in Florida, and it meant so much to us. We missed the people who couldn't come, but we loved having everyone was the best party. Looking back on our wedding, in light of planning this one, there is still nothing I would change about ours! We had the best night and we have great memories of all of it. I LOVE watching our video and "re-living" that as much as I can. I think STacie is doing a good job of soaking this all up and taking it's all over before you know it.

Well, I better check in with Trav...Here's hoping for a sunny couple of days with no rain in the forcast!


A sleepless night!

Travis and I had our first attempt at a sleepness night with a newborn last night. We had our student and her baby over, to spend some time with them and to give our student a "night off" from middle of the night feedings (see previous blog below for an explanation of situation). We put the baby in our room with us, and we quickly got on her every 2 hour feeding schedule! Amazingly, we made it through the night without any problems or prolonged bouts of crying...we actually kind of enjoyed it. Of course we enjoyed it because we knew it was just for one night! We did discuss what it was going to be like when that was our reality, night after night, and we decided we could understand why sleep deprivation was the number one complaint of new parents. I was so wiped out this morning, it took me most of the day to recover! But, she is one cute baby and we looked at her many times, looking forward to the day when we're dragging through the night with our own.

We have finally had a great Saturday, with nothing scheduled!! I seriously don't remember the last time we had that. We've laid around, watched TV, and been online, waiting for some friends of ours to have their baby! They have an online blog that they've been updating all day, so we're still waiting to find out if it's a boy or a girl...exciting! We did watch an excellent movie today that you should rent if you haven't seen was The Queen with Helen Mirren. I didn't expect Travis to agree to watch it, but he did and we both really enjoyed it. It's all about the events surrounding the death of Princess Diana and the royal family's reaction, namely the Queen's. So fascinating to imagine that kind of life. I can't say that I would ever want that. Seems so lonely and empty. But, a great movie!

I am headed to Iowa tomorrow to help my family with the wedding...we're less than a week out now, so the pressure is on! I will try to update as the week unfolds, with some pictures of course for my girlfriends! I can't's going to be a fun week! Hope you have a great Memorial Day weekend! We are!!


American Idol and Dancing with the Stars...

Ok, so my 2 favorite shows (besides The Office) are wrapping up...dancing, last night and idol tonight. Travis and I watched Dancing with the Stars all season long and we were happy that Apollo won, although I was actually pulling for Joey...We have totally loved that show! Maybe because we like to dance, but also because we like the celebrities that have been on the show. It's one of the few shows left that is not offensive or ridiculous...although, sometimes those outfits are just about scandalous! We've both decided that we would NEVER EVER let one another dance that closely with another person! NEVER!

American Idol is still holding our interest until tonight, when the winner is revealed. Travis is a big Blake fan...I thought he was going to freak out when it was Bon Jovi night! I think I also like Blake more than Jordin. She's totally talented, but I like Blake because he's different. He's fun to watch and he's not your typical idol contestant. So, there you have it...our opinion. Go Blake! Sorry, Mike and Holly...we'll still be happy if Jordin wins! At this point, they all win, right?

Have a happy Wednesday night! I'm off to Church...


Sometimes it's hard to be in Ministry...

I wanted to post pictures of a new little baby, who the Lord has brought into our lives. I can't share details on a blog, but I can tell you that this little one was born to a student in our junior high ministry recently. As delicate a situation as this has been, the Lord has clearly put me in a position to minister there, no matter how hard I tried to avoid it. I'm sure you can imagine the wide range of emotions involved, none more elevated than my own. As circumstances played out recently, I found myself in the delivery room, watching this little life enter the world...a world not chosen by someone so innocent. What a day it was, on one hand full of feelings of resentment, wishing it was me delivering that baby and on the other, a day of obedience. I did not choose to be there, but the Lord has made it very clear that He put me there for a reason. I'm privilged to have witnessed that, humbled by the calling that is Travis' and mine. And yet, I'm human and I feel so inadaquate, like I have nothing to bring to the table, no wisdom of my own. But the Lord doesn't called the equipped, instead he promises to equip the called. So, in this season, it's clear I've been called. Please pray...not for me, the Lord has tenderly walked me through this without bitterness or regret. Pray for this precious little one, born into such brokeness and disorder...doesn't that just describe the world we're living in today? God is so faithful, our Protector and Provider, and we are trusting Him today to make a way where there seems to be no way. Life isn't easy, but God is good...

Ryley's Birthday!

Ryley turned the big "3" this year, on May 15th, to be exact. So, naturally, I made Travis celebrate it with me! My little guys and I made cupcakes that morning, in honor of Ryley's birthday. They got a big kick out of celebrating and were quite excited to hear about Ryley having his own cupcake! One of them, Finn, is also going to be 3 next week, so he was amazed to imagine that a huge dog could be the same age as he is! So funny. Travis and I put a cupcake in front of Ryley, on a plate, and it took him all of 2 seconds to inhale it!! He then licked his lips for the rest of the night, enjoying that frosting over and over...he's definately my dog!
So, here he is, our 3 year old! Even though he's just a dog, I really am so thankful we got him 3 years ago. Many times when Travis is gone or out of town, I really don't know how I'd do without his company. He's such a typical golden retriever, so much energy and HAIR, but such a people-pleaser, always trying to get next to us or on our laps...all 80lbs of him! I really think dogs are just the best...or at least mine is!

We're too busy!'s been a long time since I've updated this blog. That is a sure sign that we are too busy right now! I don't know what it is about this time of year, but it seems like our schedule has gone from busy to crazy busy in a matter of days. I guess it's the end of the school year rush/my sister is getting married next week that has me spinning my wheels! Amazingly, we're keeping up, but we are hitting the pillow hard every night. I am home today, on my day off, cleaning and organizing and finally catching up on our feels very good! I have such a complex about feeling overwhelmed and out of control when I get behind at home. Nothing warms my heart more like a clean house! I'm the cleaner who lights candles and puts on my favorite music...I like the whole experience! So, I'm looking around now and finally feeling caught up. Therefore, now I have some time to fill you in...

I'll post some pictures from our recent escapades...first, of our cute porch! I finally got some cushions for our patio furniture and some flowers planted, so now I'm out there all the time. It's so nice to have an outside escape again. Our last townhouse had no yard, no patio, nothing. So, between Ryley, Travis and I, someone is always out there! We'll have to see how my pots of flowers do...we get mostly shade, so I'm hoping they flourish. Travis went with me to pick out the flowers this year, and all was well until he began questioning my choices! I quickly reminded him of my beginnings as a bedding plant specialist, 8 years ago! I can take criticism and opinions about most things except flowers. That is one subject I feel quite knowledgable about, so he grinned and vowed to lay off! A wise move...

So, here are some pictures!


What a beautiful day...

I'm sitting here with the sun streaming in our house and a wonderful breeze blowing in the windows...this is what makes us love Minnesota! We've entered the small but magnificent window of late spring. It's 65 and there isn't a cloud in the sky. Travis is riding his bike to work most days now and we are taking Ryley on long walks every night. What is it about spring that just makes me so happy? I feel very re-energized and movitated these days...I love it! I even love the great spring thunderstorms that have blown in. I forgot how terrible thunder and lightening can be! When you feel that rattle down to your bones, it leaves me in awe of our GREAT and POWERFUL God! Who is like Him?

"The Heavens are telling the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge..." Psalm 19:1-2

I have been so reminded lately of God's incredible power to change our lives. On Sunday we had the privilege of hosting the Minnesota Teen Challenge Choir at our church, for our spring Mission's Fesitival. We had no idea who they were or why we supported them as a church, so we were anxious to hear from them...however, we were not prepared for the overwhelming display of God's restorative power in the lives of some 400+ teens and adults. Unbelieveable. We heard testimonies of person after person telling us a similar story...their introduction to drugs or alcohol at a young age, mostly due to horrible living conditions and broken families, followed by their addictions to multiple things, their trouble with the law and their repeated failures in countless court-ordered rehabs. These kids were broken, without hope, physically devestated, emotionally distraught and raw from the continual cyle of pain in their lives and hearts. To make a long story short, they all were somehow introduced to Teen Challenge (which is a national program) where they were treated from the inside out, by learning about the Lord and what he did for each of them and what he offers them regardless of what they've done. They have accepted Jesus as their Savior, literally, and their lives have drastically changed. Some went through 8 and 9 previous rehabs with no success and then went through teen challenge and are currently walking miracles! It was amazing. At any given time there are 400-500 people enrolled in Minnesota Teen Challenge. The program is 12-18 months on average and the success rate is proven over and over.

We were speechless hearing individuals share where they've been and how a relationship with Jesus has changed their life. 400 men and women sang their hearts out, hands raised, and some with tears running down their faces.

One of the songs they sang was an old song by Phillips, Craig, and Dean, called "This is What it Means to Be Free"...I keep hearing that song on the radio this week and I am amazed by the meaning of it. These are the words:

There is a wall that has been standing
Since the day that Adam fell
Sin is where it started
And Sin is why it held
Speakin as a prisoner
Who was there and lived to tell
I remember how it fell

I can here the sound of freedom
Like a distant voice who called
And beckon me to follow
Where i had never gone
And though my heart is willin'
I just stood there at the wall
Prayin somehow it would fall

But in a cross i found a doorway
And a hand that held a key
And when the chains fell at my feet
For the first time i could see

This is how it feels to be free
This is what it means to know that
I am forgiven
This is how it feels to be free
To see that life can be more than i imagined
This is how it feels to be free
This is how it feels to be free

There are days when i'm reminded
Of the prison i was in
Like a livin nightmare
Burning from the viel
I can feel the voice of evil
I can hear the call of sin
But i wont go back again

See, once i tasted freedom
Then the walls could bind no more
Since mercy gave me wings to fly
Like an eagle i can sore

repeat chorus

Somewhere there's a prison
Where the chains still burn
If not for the grace of god
Those walls could still be mine
So far all the captives are saved

repeat chorus

We sing that song with such emotional disconnect, but to hear 400 people who have been freed from addictions sing can imagine the power of the Lord was on our church. His name was being praised and His glory fell on all who were there...what a Sunday. You can argue a lot of things in life, but it's hard to argue with a changed life. Truly our God is great!