The Rehearsal and Groom's Dinner

Travis and some of the guys, on the tee-box at Minnesota Valley Golf Club

Two of my sweet friends, and Kristian's sisters, Kasey and Karlyne, and me!

They call him the "best man" for a reason!! He's my best (and only) man too!

The guys with the groom-to-be, Kristian (in black). They were all a little tired from a late night on Friday night in downtown Minneapolis, followed by a 6:00am tee-time on Saturday morning!

The bride-to-be, Emily, and her sister and the minnie mouse bride ears!

Practicing the most important part...the vows! I'm a little worried about Travis and Kristian standing so close together...they tend to distract each other when they're side by side!!

Emily and her Dad, doing the "walk" all dads always makes me a little sad!

The wedding party in Wooddale Church...quite a traditional looking church, check out the HUGE organ pipes in the background!


Wedding Fever

We are officially in the middle of another wedding this weekend, so I thought it would be fitting to share this highlight video with you from my sister Jennie's wedding. The link will take you to a portfolio page and you'll just need to click on "highlight video" to watch it. There are also some short videos from the day, that are under "jennie and dave," and they are great too! My Mom called this week to tell me about it and I forgot to watch it until this afternoon. I am totally and completely biased, but it is beautiful!! The videographer did a wonderful job, and this is just the highlight video!! Anyway, hope you love it as much as we do!!

We are headed to the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner tonight for Emily and Kristian. Travis and Kristian have been great friends for years, so Travis will be standing up for him this weekend as his best man. We were thrilled when Emily entered the picture and we are very excited for them this weekend, as they take this important step into marriage. I'll take some pictures tonight and tomorrow to show you, but in case it takes awhile for me to get to it, you'll know why! We are in full-tilt wedding mode right now and we leave for Family Camp on Monday, so it's going to be another one of those crazy weeks! Hope your weekend is going well. Enjoy the video!!!


Smiling Again!

Thanks for praying for Travis yesterday. His root canal went well, although I'm not sure he'd like to have another! It was scheduled for 7:30 am yesterday, but after only getting about 1-2 hours of sleep the night before, he went in early, just hoping they could get started and relieve the pain. The dentist asked how he was doing and he told her, "I've never liked to go to the dentist in my whole life, but today I'm here early...what does that tell you??" He is doing much better and going back to work today, but I was proud of him last night, because for once in the last 2.5 years, he took a Wednesday night OFF!!! We didn't go! Now that he has a full-time associate in junior high, we could just leave it in her hands...that is a beautiful thing!! I'm also sure it's partly due to the fact that he was still on strong pain meds and therefore not totally Biblically sound! But whatever, we got to stay home and just rest. I catered to him, which of course he ate up, and then we watched a little TV and took a walk with Ryley. It was one of those beautiful nights and we just thoroughly enjoyed it. So, I think we're good to go now for this busy weekend and with family camp approaching...I've got some catching up to do with you, but I'm waiting for a chunk of time to do it!! Hope this week has been a good one for all of you!


Root Canal in Progress...

After another horrible night of NO sleep and lots of pacing due to the pain, my poor Travis is getting his root canal done and finally getting some relief...I hope! I felt so badly for him last night. The pain was so constant, even the vicodin wasn't cutting it anymore. You know that's bad. I'm hoping this makes a huge difference for him, although I know he's probably not enjoying the procedure right now. I also feel sad for him because today is supposed to be a "fun day" with his youth staff. They all have tickets to go to Valley Fair (an amusement park here that my husband LOVES!) and sadly, he won't be able to join him. So, if you happen to read this blog early in the morning, please say a little prayer for Trav's procedure, and if you're reading this later in the day, say a little prayer for his recovery time. Thanks! I'm asking because I know my faithful blog friends will pray. We love you!


My Poor Travy....

Well, my sweet husband has had a rough couple of days. On Sunday, he complained about his teeth hurting a little bit, but we both thought little of it and I thought it might be due to a sinus infection, because he's still congested from his camping trip. I told him to go to the doctor the next day and find out if that was it. Turns out that wasn't it, because on Monday morning he called me from work and said, "I'm pretty sure this is all coming from one tooth" so, I switched plans and I gave him the number to the dentist. I always know he's really sick when he's willing to call and make an appointment for himself, without me bugging him about it! That was the case with the dentist. He got right in and she discovered a cracked molar, but she couldn't get him in until Wednesday to fix it. However, last night, I realized he was still in an incredible amount of pain, complaining and moaning all night and getting very little sleep, and I knew something must be really wrong!! So, this morning I called the dentist myself and talked to her about how badly he was feeling and how hard it was for him to sleep last night. Apparently that worked and she felt sorry for him too because now he's on Vicodin and he's flying high! Unfortunately, it will all end in the morning, when he's scheduled for a root canal at 7:30 am. Poor guy! He went from just a little toothache to an ache that warrants a root canal! I'm really hoping for a smooth and easy recovery tomorrow because of course, we don't have a low key weekend ahead...Trav is a the best man in his friend's wedding on Sunday, and then we leave Monday for a week of Family Camp with our church! We don't have time for being sick in our summer please pray for Travy to feel better and for his tooth to be fixed soon!! In the meantime he's got me for a nurse and Ryley for a napping could be a long couple of days for everybody...


10 Hours

Yep, that's right. We just woke up after sleeping 10 hours last night. It was heavenly. We have been running on empty all week, desperately needing some refreshment but unable to get any! In addition to VBS this week, we've also had some exciting things going on at Church in relation to our search for our Senior Pastor. We have a candidate and his family visiting this weekend, so the last few days have been peppered with meetings, Q&A's, and events. We're very excited about it, but almost too tired to attend! We've both gone home several times in the middle of the day this week, to get in a short nap, just so we could make it through the evening! This morning is the first morning we've been able to sleep in, un-interrupted, since before the wedding!! We are extremely thrilled to have NOTHING on our schedule today and we're doing everything we can to keep it that way!! I'm about to make us some pancakes and Travis is getting the coffee ready. Poor Ryley is beside himself, realizing we're not getting ready to go anywhere, he may actually get some genuine attention today! Hope you're able to catch up on some rest or sleep today too. As fun as it is to be busy, it's wonderful to not be too!


I Don't Know How I Missed This....

I was just on my husband's ministry website, when I discovered a promo, for the event I led, that I didn't know about and never saw! And I thought it was hilarious! So, perhaps I should have shown you this, before I blogged about the aftermath...although I never knew it existed until now!! What makes me laugh is how true this is for our student generation...



So I just have to tell you, that today at VBS, one of my new seventh graders found me at my registration post and made my day. She came running over to me and quickly dropped a large, bright thing on the table in front of me, and then quickly darted off. You never know what that could be when it's coming from a 12 year old, but I picked it up and managed to shout a "thank you!" her way as she ran down the hall.

I told you yesterday, that this girls' weekend was kind of a thorn in my side, but that God had really spoken to me months ago about it and I knew it was an act of obedience that I needed to demonstrate. It's funny because, sometimes God asks us to do things, that we don't want to do, and sometimes we do them anyway, but often our "obedience" seems to go unnoticed or unrewarded. And yet other times, He chooses to bless our obedience and He lets us taste a little earthly reward to let us know that He's pleased with us and that our work wasn't in vain.

The last two days, He's graciously chosen to reward me by letting me know that this weekend meant a lot to several girls. Their Moms have thanked me, their girls have hugged me and today, this sweet seventh grader made my day by handing me the kindest card that she worked very hard to make. You know, the kind of card with glitter and cut-out bubble letters, Bible verses and thoughtful words. She said I "greatly impacted her life with my words and by talking honestly about my personal life...she will never forget that weekend!" Now I know that she's just a seventh grader, and these weekends will come and go in her life, but for now, I'm very grateful for her simple encouragement. I'm grateful that I didn't miss the blessings God has given me as a result of this and I'm grateful for a hot pink card with lime green letters, to remind me of it! She's a sweet little girl, who's already tasted the pain of some grown-up issues. To know that the Lord touched her heart this weekend, is more reward than I need or deserve. I can't wait to see her tomorrow so I can give her a big hug and tell her how much she impacted me too. These are the times that keep me smiling in Junior High Ministry!


Can You Say, EXHAUSTED??

I wanted to say a quick hello to all of my blog friends again! Travis and I are both home now, officially done with two long, busy, and full weekends! Travis was camping with junior high boys and I was hosting a weekend slumber party with junior high girls... that means we are both drained! I finished Sunday morning with my girls and spent most of Sunday afternoon, on the couch, with a sore throat, watching movie after movie. I didn't actually watch most of them, I really just laid there and stared at the tv. In fact, I was so tired, I didn't know what to do with myself. And my throat hurt, did I mention that?

Travis came home around 9:00 PM and immediately got in the shower. I believe a cloud of dirt and odor followed him down the hall! When he walked in the front door, I immediately noticed a scab on the bottom of his lip. I asked him what happened, and his answer was a classic one... he got shot in the mouth by one of the kids during their air-soft gun battle! Sometimes I can't believe the life we have. I'll be filing that injury under, "Things that only happen when you're a junior high Pastor!" Of course that wound was only one of several, but the boys had a great time and so did he. They literally canoed from a lodge out to three islands and they spent three days there. They were totally unreachable, which was a bummer for me, because I desperately wanted to reach him on Thursday night. After hearing about the horrible tornado and boy-scout incident in Iowa, I was watching the news Thursday night before I went to bed, and much to my horror, I discovered there were terrible thunderstorm warnings all over the area where they were camping. The kind of warnings that tell you to, "immediately seek shelter in a sturdy indoor building, away from doors and windows, due to the threat of large hail and cloud to ground lightening." Not good when you're sleeping in tents on an island! But, God was good and the storm ended up really going around them. They didn't get much more than rain and most of the boys slept through it, but for all the parents and I who were worried sick, we didn't know that until they rolled in Sunday night. Ahh, the joys of being a youth Pastor's wife! If I'm not worried about one trip, I'm worried about another. Anyway, Travis said it was a great weekend and I heard from lots of moms today that their sons had a blast! So, despite a sleep-deprived husband, who also has a sore throat, it was a weekend well spent!

My girls weekend was equally fun, although we didn't do any canoeing to islands! We did lots of fun girls stuff around town; movies, the pool, mini-golf, etc. We also made t-shirts and necklaces and spent lots of time just talking and laughing. I led a few sessions on topics like self-worth; conformity; friendship; modesty; and girl politics. That was fun for me and the girls seemed to soak it all in. I'm always amazed when we break up into groups, and share what's on our hearts, that so many of our "church girls" are struggling in some pretty big ways. This world is not the world I grew up in when I was in junior high. So many temptations out there, so much media bombarding our girls with lies... it's sad to see girls taken captive by that stuff at such a young age. Looking those girls in the eyes and telling them what Jesus thinks of them and what His word says about them is what makes these kind of weekends worth it too. I have to admit, I was dragging my feet about this weekend, especially after the wedding... I just didn't know if I had it in me to lead a big event and do it with no sleep, but I'm glad the Lord convicted me about it long ago. He made up for all the areas I was lacking and He worked in spite of me. Our leaders were fantastic and I've heard lots of good feedback, but even more than that, I know I obeyed the Lord by doing this and I honored my husband's request for my help. I looked around Saturday night, at all the girls having a great time, singing and dancing and I knew that all the stress and the lack of sleep didn't matter. It was sweet to see our girls having fun together and knowing that we were building valuable relationships in the process, eternal relationships. I did have to apologize to the Lord for lots of my complaining however!

So today, when we would have liked to sleep in, we were back at church, bright and early, for VBS. 700 kids came today, and we'll be there all week, all morning long. Travis is leading games outside and I'm helping with registration. Today I came home and went right to bed. I read some magazines and watched a little TV. Travis came home early and found me in bed... and he climbed in too! We got a great, and much needed, nap in and we were good to go... to another meeting tonight. Oh, the summer schedule is officially in full swing! We'll be busy every day and every night this week. I hope you are having a great week and a great start to your summer, no matter what your schedule is! Ours is off to a great start, but can you say, we're EXHAUSTED????


For My Dad...

"Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."
Ephesians 6:4

Once again I find myself writing, in honor of one, whom God has graciously blessed me with, my Dad. I will tell you up front that I love my Dad. There isn't anything I wouldn't do for Him. He is a source of constant encouragement and wisdom in my life and I am incredibly grateful for his unconditional love for me. From the time I was a little girl, my earliest memories of my Dad are of two things; golf and time. I imagine that sounds odd for me to say, and Dad you're probably wondering why on earth I would say that, but some of my very best memories seem to always involve these two things.

From very early on, I remember my Dad watching golf on TV and trying to explain to the three of us what the players were doing. We listened (sort of) and tried to love it, but it just wasn't happening. So, in order to really show us what golf was all about, he tried a different method. He took us with him. To the driving range first, and then to the course. We rode for hours in his cart, round after round, watching him play. He sometimes played with his friends, sometimes just by himself, but he always let us come with, if we wanted to. I think about that today and I marvel at that. He could have used that time to just relax, to get away from work, home, us... but he didn't. He not only "let" us come with him, he loved it when we came.

He taught us much about the game of golf, always patiently explaining why he was doing what he was doing and laughing when we didn't get it (for the hundredth time)! Eventually he let us start playing with him, putting on every hole, hitting a few iron shots, even teeing off on the short holes. We laughed at how far we didn't hit it and were amazed at how far he did. We begged him to let us drive the cart, and most of the time he let us. We all have hilarious memories of when we ran into things, fell off, and avoided near-accidents! Our Mom would have freaked out if she knew the craziness that went on in those carts, but our Dad always laughed it off, and said "Don't tell your Mother when we get home!" I can close my eyes to this day and still remember certain holes we played or rode with him on. He was so gracious to us when we got the giggles and erupted into laughter, right in the middle of his back-swing. We knew we were breaking a precious rule of golf, and also probably costing him a stroke, but we couldn't help it... we were three little girls, giggling with our Dad. He usually put his head down, knowing he hit a bad shot, and then looked at all three of us. We always held our breath, ready to blame whoever started it, but he always broke out into a smile and laughed, saying "You girls are killing me!" We gave him our best "Sorry Dad, we just couldn't help it" and he believed us... then he walked to his ball and played on, as if it just didn't matter. He valued us more than his game and I have a feeling that the sound of his girls laughing meant more to him than a great shot. And while we may have missed that lesson then, we certainly appreciate it today.

Soon our Dad's love for the game of golf turned into our own love for the game and we all three went on to play with him and then eventually for him. I cherish the lessons golf taught me. Lessons about character, honesty, integrity, perseverence, patience, etc. and I credit my Dad for being the one to show me that. He modeled all those things to us both on and off the course and I still smile today whenever I have the chance to play. I also think it's fitting that golf would help me fall in love with my future husband. My first date with Travis was a golf date. He asked me to play when he found out that I knew how. Never was I more grateful for all those hours on the course with my Dad than when Travis asked me to go on a golf date. And now, today, I love two golfers with all my heart. One who taught me everything I know and the other who I can grow old with. That is a gift that only my Dad could have given me and I am very, very grateful.

The second gift my Dad gave me, was his time. We loved it when my Dad came home from work each day, because we knew that meant he was ready to play. My Dad didn't bring work home with him, he always left that at the office. When he walked in the door, we knew he was all ours. He would play in the yard with us, take us on bike rides, shoot baskets, go for walks, wrestle with us, play games, or just make us laugh. We loved to play hide and seek with him and he always gave us 10 extra seconds to hide. I don't ever remember my Dad telling us that he couldn't play or that he didn't have time for us. In fact, it was quite the opposite. My Dad never missed any of my games while I was in middle school and high school. In fact, he usually came early and watched us warm-up. I loved that. His time spoke volumes to me about how much he loved me and you know what, it still does. Whenever Travis and I come home, He clears his schedule and takes time off. He makes it clear that I'm worth his time and he never complains about what it might cost him at work. In this culture today, it's rare to find Dads who are willing to sacrafice their time for their kids. I see it all the time in ministry. I know there are lots of demands on Dads today, lots of pressure at work, but it matters to kids to know that they are a priority and I'm thankful that I've never had to wonder about that with my Dad.

I could list many, many gifts my Dad has given me, none greater than his love for the Lord. He is truly a model of integrity and character, full of wisdom and knowledge that comes from walking with the Lord for many years. My Dad has seen his share of heart-ache, losing his own Dad at a young age, and caring for my Grandma many years until the Lord took her home as well. My heart broke for my Dad when we lost my aunt, his older sister, to cancer. My Dad loves deeply and tenderly and I know it hurt him to see her health failing and to know that his time with her on this side of Heaven was going to be shorter than any of us imagined. But he modeled to us, his deep trust in the Lord, regardless of how much it hurt and his leadership for our family has sustained us through many more difficult days.

I love you Dad and I hope you know how much I admire and respect you. I am humbled that God would choose me to be your daughter and I am grateful for all that you've done for me. I am also grateful for your love for Mom and for the three of us girls. I'm so glad that we were all able to be together last week, making memories and even re-living a few old ones... From one of your three giggling girls, Happy Father's Day Dad! I love you.



No Rest For The Weary!

Thank you for your praying yesterday for the people in Iowa who are experiencing record floods. We are heartbroken for the suffering many people are going through and we pray the Lord will see fit to move those storms and tornadoes out of there soon! We are also incredibly grateful for His timing, purely for selfish reasons. If Jennie's wedding would have been today and not last Friday, I doubt it would have one from out of town could have come, including us, because it is so difficult to even get in and out. All the highways are closed, except for one, and most of the vendors that we used are totally out of commission right now. The two bridal salons that we used are in downtown Waterloo and downtown Cedar Falls....both of which are flooded and evacuated. Can you imagine the poor brides who were planning their big day for today and tomorrow? I'm sad for those business owners too, who've had a horrible week, trying to save their inventory and having to stay closed, losing any opportunity for business. Again, we are thankful for the way the Lord truly BLESSED Jennie and Dave's day. He deserves our praise either way. On good days and bad ones, in storms and out of them. God is sovereign over all these days and He truly gave us a gift last Friday with a perfectly sunny, dry day. Thank you Jesus!!

Some of you asked me and emailed me about my parents. They did get water in their basement, again, but they are not complaining or worried one bit about it. So many people, just miles away, have lost their homes and everything they hold dear, so as my Mom told me yesterday, "Having a little water in the basement is nothing compared to having your whole house flooded." Thank you for caring about them.

I'm writing to tell you that in my exhausted, inadequate state, I am leading a junior high girls weekend today, aptly named "BFF Weekend" and Travis left yesterday for a junior high boys wilderness/camping trip. He is in northern Minnesota, near Canada, on three islands with 50 boys and leaders. I'm sure they are having a great time, getting all dirty and not showering!! We girls are doing things a little bit differently!! However, I will be tied up with this event for a few days, so it won't be until Sunday that I get a chance to catch my breath. I'm praying for a fun weekend for both groups and trusting that the weather forecast will stay dry for both of us... thank you Jesus! I have more wedding pictures, STILL, and other things to tell you, but no time!! Welcome to my world of summer student ministry... no time to rest! Happy weekend to you all!!


Please Pray....

I'm taking a minute, because that's all I have this morning, to break from the wedding pictures and ask you to pray for the people in Iowa, specifically Waterloo and Cedar Falls (where I'm from). After making it through the worst winter in hundreds of years, they are now experiencing record flooding and it is rapidly destroying bridges, roads, businesses and homes. If you remember, I blogged three weeks ago about the horrible F-5 tornado that went through northeastern Iowa, killing some and destroying homes for many. Those same people, who've already lost everything, are now having to evacuate their towns and try to prepare for more loss from the rising floods. My Mom has called me several times to tell me about all the road closures and the neighborhoods that are deeply affected, just a few miles from where my parents live. Will you please pray for the safety of so many people, but also for the incredible loss and depression that so many are just beginning to experience? This has been a horrible time of destruction in Iowa, especially in so many small towns, affecting people who do not have the resources of big citites. Homes aren't just being lost, but jobs and livelihoods too...especially for farmers. So, if you see it on the national news or think of Iowa today, will you ask the Lord to hold off the rain, that seems to be coming again, and provide ways for people to experience and know true hope, the hope of Jesus, amidst real suffering? Many, many people are going to need something to hold onto in the coming days and weeks...


"We're Goin to the Chapel and We're Gonna Get Married!"

Jennie, waiting to go down that aisle and become Mrs. Jennifer Knapp!

What a beautiful bride... Dave is one blessed man, if I do say so myself!

Jennie and her new mother-in-law, Wendy.

My Dad and Dave, waiting for people to arrive and getting a little caffeine to calm those nerves!

Jennie bracing herself in front of an air-conditioner! Those wedding dresses are hot on a summer day!

Travis wore several hats on this day; Groomsman, Brother-in-law, and Pastor.

The Wedding Party

Candids on the Veranda

The famous sister shot....this year I insisted we "lean in close" so I didn't look like a giant again, towering over both of my shorter sisters!!

My whole life my Dad has been stuck holding something for the four of us, usually a purse but on this day, someone's bouquet!

My Mom on her cell phone, solving yet another crisis! Nothing like being Mother-of-the-Bride!!

My parents, thrilled with how everything was turning out, and thinking, "we did it!"

My Dad, laughing about who know what?? At least he's laughing and not crying!

My sweet friend, Annette (Olivia's Mom) was with us all day, which was so great. I miss her a lot!

That sweet bride, taking this whole day in and loving it! Aren't her flowers amazing?

The cute little ring bearer, Jen and Dave's nephew...he and Olivia didn't have too much to do with each other!

One of my favorite pictures from the day, Stacie and I, finally sitting down!

Jennie with her stunning best friend, Cady. We love Cady, she's practically part of the family!!!

Jennie and Stacie, looking beautiful, especially in that light...

Two gorgeous brown-eyed, brunettes! Isn't this a sweet picture?

Pre-Wedding Shots

My handsome husband and I, bracing ourselves for a day of smiling!

My Mom and I... doesn't she look pretty in that brown dress?

Jennie with my parents.... their last little girl, all grown up!

My other sister, Stacie and her husband, Jesse.

Travy, with the handsome groom (and our new brother-in-law), Dave.

Little miss Olivia with Travis... at any given time during the day, you could find Olivia with either one of us! We LOVED it!!


Details, Details, Details...

The gorgeous bridesmaids' bouquets...we LOVED how these turned out.

A close-up of the bouquet...they looked so pretty with our dresses.

Olivia's sash and the pendant that came with it...we chose our sashes for the bridesmaids dresses because of how pretty this sash was.

Jennie's beautiful dress, that no one was allowed to touch for the previous 24 hours!!

The line-up of shoes!

Jennie's shoes...which were darling, but not comfortable! I believe she was complaining within hours about the way her feet hurt!