Tuesday, October 6, 2015


There have been so many days the past few months where the devotional I read through each morning has said exactly what my heart needed on that particular day. It's uncanny to me (and, at the same time, so very like God) that it can be so impeccably timed. So many mornings it brings me exactly what I need in my life for that day. Some days it is so specific to certain circumstances in my life that I can hardly believe it.

Anyway, the other day I read these words ::

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hand. {Psalm 19.1}
Right now all the leaves are falling, and there's no reason that they have to turn electric bright red before they fall, but they do and I want to live like that. I want to say, "What can I do today that brings more beauty, more energy, more hope?" Because it seems like that's what God is saying to us, over and over. "What can I do to remind you again how good this life is? You think the color of the sky is good now, wait till sunset. You think oranges are good? Try a tangerine." He's a crazy delightful mad scientist and keeps coming back from the lab with unbelievable new things, and it's a gift to be a part of it.
. . . I want my every day to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift. {Savor, by Shauna Niequist. Entry for October 5th}

I love fall! I try to savor it each year. Spend as much time as I can outside. Looking around. Smelling the smell of it. Listening to the leaves crunching underfoot. Absorbing the beauty.

I also try to live this way. Loving the gift of this life. In the big things -- and, much more importantly, in the little, day-to-day things.

Here are some of the blessings from this past week. Keep track of your own "gifts". The things you are grateful for. The little things and the big things. See if it makes a difference in your life the way it has in mine ::

5029. a walk with Kirbs on a beautiful fall evening
5030. the smell of fall
5032. finishing up a big project
5033. a clean house (even if it only lasts 5 minutes)
5035. carpooling
5036. perspective
5039. the little girls playing dress up
5040. finding the lid to my travel coffee mug (that I use nearly every day) that I lost while walking the kids to school
5041. crisp fall air coupled with sunshine
5042. wearing socks
5044. Jacob's first ever varsity playing time (go #19!)
5048. Friday morning date with my mom
5049. the boys both asking for pink football socks to wear in October in honor of their Ama
5050. Joe and Anna snuggled up together in Joe's bed, fast asleep
5051. an eagle flying low overhead as I was running
5053. Joe's great catch for the extra point in his football game
5054. a great Homecoming week at UNW
5058. the 3 little kids giddy with excitement over new episodes of their very favorite show
5060. while mowing our neighbors lawn for them while they were out of town, Jacob noticed that their mower blade was dull and sharpened it for them.
5062. the 3 littles having a sleepover on the living room floor
5066. cheering on friends at the Twin Cities Marathon events

Friday, October 2, 2015

Flashback Friday

Five years ago this week, this was my view when I looked down ::

I'm so thankful to not have that view any longer and for the sweet girl who was hanging out in there waiting to be born. What a blessing she is!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


The weather today was pretty much perfection in my book. The morning air was crisp and cool. The sun came out and warmed it up a bit, but I still wore long sleeves, long pants and socks. Socks are my favorite! I got two walks in. The trees are turning such beautiful colors. It was glorious. I hope you got the chance to be outside and enjoy it a bit too!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Years ago (whenever it first came out) I read Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts and have read it a few more times since then. I think, the Bible excepted, it has had more impact on me and my life than has any other book I've ever read. If you haven't read it, you really should get your hands on a copy. It's a wonderful book. Ann's writing is unique and poetic. She is one gifted lady!

Shortly after finishing the book, I started to keep track of my "gifts" in effort to reach one thousand. Call it a gratitude journal, counting your blessings . . . whatever. It is something that I am thankful to have started and kept up for years now. I enjoy looking back on the blessings in life. Especially when the days are tough, it's good to be reminded of all that God has done and all the good things in your life.

So, here are a few of my recent "gifts".

4991. great tackle for Joe
4992. laundry on the line
4995. Kirbs studying so hard
4998. anniversary morning coffee
4999. good friends
5000. 19 years of marriage
5001. Kirb stepping in to run the show when I was hit with a massive headache
5003. my kids
5004. being available to help out a friend in the middle of a crisis
5006. working on spelling words with Joe
5009. fun mail
5010. book club night -- friends. laughter.
5018. glorious weather
5020. watching the lunar eclipse with our neighbors
5021. September race accomplished
2026. walking the kids to school
2028. Monday morning walk in the rain with a friend

Monday, September 28, 2015

An active weekend

With a football game Friday night, two football games on Saturday and a 10-mile race on Sunday morning it was a pretty active weekend for our family.

Roseville had a heart-breaking Homecoming game on Friday night. They had a 6 point lead with less than 3 seconds to go in the game. Then there was a touchdown and extra point scored and before you knew it our players were laying heartbroken in the end zone and, from the other side of the field, the stands erupted with excitement and cheers! Bummer. BIG bummer! We were so close . . .

Saturday morning was sunny and warm. A great day to be watching football, but a bit warm to be a player! Both boys had games. Jacob's team lost, but Joe's team won. Jacob is #19 in the black jerseys.

I'm sure Jacob had more fan support than any other Raider, hands down! I think he had an 11-person fan club (not including anyone in our immediate family) cheering him on Saturday morning. We appreciate so much the people who love on our kids and care enough about them to come watch them doing their thing, whatever it might be (football, tennis, track, theater, band, choir . . . )! What an encouragement that is to us and to the kids. And what a good example of a way to make someone feel valued. We have such wonderful people in our lives! We are so very blessed.

some of the #19 fan club

an adorable toothless fan who came to watch his cousin

the Stoll super fan himself!

Most of the fan base from Jacob's game journeyed a mile or so down the road to Joe's game after Jacob's wrapped up, which was fun. Plus, it's always more fun to watch a team win, and Joe got an interception for his team. Go #11!

Jacob has helped coach Joe's team a little and enjoys standing with the coaches on the sidelines when he is able to be at the games.

Then Sunday morning I left the house before 7 for my September race. I made it my resolution/goal for 2015 to run a race each month (3 more races and I will have accomplished it!). I haven't missed a month yet. Anyway, September was my big race. 10 miles. The biggest race I'd run earlier in the year was a 10k (6.2 miles). This is the 3rd year in a row I've run the Women Run the Cities 10 mile race. It's such a great race. I really enjoy the feel of an all-women race. The spirit in the air is so much fun and feels different than any other race I've done. The course is beautiful and goes past where we had our wedding reception (which is extra fun since the race is always within a few days of our anniversary). Plus, it's fall and I adore fall! Anyway, the past year has been a tough one. Tough for me. Tough for our family. It has had ill effects on my health, my emotions and my fitness. I was completely undertrained (I could count on my hands the number of runs I've done in the past 12 months that were more than 5 miles long) and wasn't feeling great anyway. But, I did it! I was slower, by far, than the past 2 years, but I finished!


Then we sat out in the yard watching the beauty and majesty of God in the moon. What an awe-some experience. So much beauty! It makes you feel so small and makes you thankful for the bigness of our God. Our neighbors had a telescope, so we got to watch the action close up. It was wonderful!

I hope you got to enjoy some outside time this weekend too. If you live near me, it was an amazingly beautiful weekend for late September (although I would have been happy if it was 10 degrees cooler while I was running in the morning). Sunshine, a glorious breeze, changing leaves. Perfection!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Flashback Friday

I know #tbt is a thing, but Friday, for me, is the day when I seem to get a bit nostalgic and enjoy looking back at old pictures. Anyway, here's a favorite of mine of Jacob and his buddy, Jack, at a football game of theirs in 8th grade. Jack goes to high school at Cretin, not RAHS, and tonight is Roseville's homecoming (Jacob is pretty pumped!). Guess who we are playing? Yup, Cretin! So, 3 years later, these two will be playing football on the same field once again . . . they'll just be wearing different colored jerseys.

And I love that they are still friends! They are both such fabulous young men! I'm proud of them both. And since both teams are "Raiders", I can safely yell "Go Raiders!" all night long and be cheering for them both . . . but, as much as I love Jack, I'm hoping the Roseville Raiders come out on top tonight. It hasn't been our best season and a win would be good for our souls! Bring on the Friday night lights!

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Just in case you think football is the only sport that anyone plays around here, a bit of tennis goes on too (and a few others too!). Here are a few pictures from a match on a glorious fall afternoon this week.

Pictures can be a bit tricky to get when it's a bit frowned upon to actually enter the courts. Most of them have a bit of chain link in the foreground. You get used to watching through the fence, but it makes taking pictures a little more challenging than usual.

She's got some serious power!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


The football season is just flying by. Both boys are playing again this year and are enjoying it. They both play wide receiver, mainly. It's fun to have them playing the same position. If you drive by our house, there is a good chance you will witness a game of football of some sort going on in the front yard. Be it a game of catch, some full-on pads for all out tackling (often involving a tough 7-year-old sister, also in full pads) or a game of touch. The boys sure love their football.

Both boys teams are a bit on the wrong side of a winning record for the season so far, but are enjoying themselves anyway . . . thankfully! We have had some great family and friend fan support, which means so much to the boys (and their parents!).

It's so fun to watch your kids do something that they love . . . and our boys love their football!

The elementary school kids get to have one night game under the lights on the turf at the high school each season (all their other games are at a grass field at a local park on Saturday mornings). They are SO pumped for their night game. Our 5/6 team (the Raiders!) plays tonight and we are excited to cheer loudly for #11 and his teammates! Hopefully the weather holds out and the game will go on and we won't get too wet in the process!

And their football playing keeps our laundry room busy as well . . . here is an entire load of football stuff drying on the line after particularly muddy games for both boys last weekend. One game in the rain and two games in the mud after a whole lotta rain the previous day!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


Yesterday was our 19th wedding anniversary. 19 years. That's nearly half my life at this point. It seems, simultaneously, that we have always been married and that it was just the other day that we were walking down the isle. Time is strange like that so much of the time! I can't imagine a person I would rather travel the journey of life with that my husband. We are a great team! We have a great time together and compliment each other well. He loves me way better than I deserve and is so patient. I am constantly grateful for the immense blessing he is in my life and in the life of our family. He rocks! (also, I think he's pretty darn cute!)

This particular anniversary, as it turns out, we were face to face with a few of the less favorable phrases from our nearly two-decade-old vows :: "in sickness" and "for worse". I have probably, in retrospect, not felt great for a few weeks now, but life is pretty busy in September so I just kept moving forward. Well, life also has a way of stopping you in your tracks when you've gotten to a certain point. Early yesterday afternoon I developed a headache. Not totally uncommon for me, although not normal either. I did my normal "headache stuff" and nothing seemed to help at all -- in fact it kept getting worse. Then I took a couple ibuprofen (which I don't normally do or need to do, but this was quite a headache!) and still it just kept getting worse. Monday nights, as it turns out, all 6 kids have activities. 3 with gymnastics, 2 with  football and 1 at tennis. It is the one night of the week that is always crazy. Well, by the time we needed to start shuttling kids to and from stuff, I didn't feel like I could safely operate a motorized vehicle. I had extreme pain and was feeling dizzy/weird. So I crawled in our bed about 5 pm. I got up to eat a little something at some point and finally to brush my teeth and change out of my clothes before going to bed "for real" for the night. I woke up this morning after more than 12 hours of sleep (I slept pretty well, thankfully), but still had some pretty serious pain in my head. The dizziness was gone, but had been replaced by a weird fuzzy/out-of-body feeling that was so strange -- similar to the feeling you have when you arrive home from somewhere in your car and can't exactly remember how you got home; you can't remember the streets you drove on, or the route you took, or the time in between when you left point A to drive to point B. I think most people have experienced that and know what I'm talking about. I knew that I had walked the kids to school and had conversations with a few people, but didn't really remember or register fully any of the morning. So, I called my chiropractor and scheduled an appointment for late morning. I went and he worked on my and said my neck and upper back were a really big mess of tension and misalignment. He said that he thought I should start to feel better soon and that if I woke up tomorrow still in pain, I should come back. He's a great guy and I'm thankful for him. The pain has lessened already, but the other weird feelings are still sticking around. I'm hoping to be clear-headed before the kids get home from school.

This 19th year of marriage has probably been the toughest one we've had, not on the marriage front particularly, just the general life kind of stuff has been stretching, to put it mildly. It's also been wonderful, with lots of blessings and laughter and fun. But it hasn't been easy! I'm hoping for a re-do on anniversary celebrating later this week, headache-free and am also hopeful that one of these days (weeks, months . . .) things will take a turn for us and we can quit holding our breath and finally breathe a little easier around here.

Here's to a great 20th year of marriage. I would be a disaster without this guy by my side! I am so thankful for him and that he loves me! What a blessing.

Hello. Hello.

I miss writing! I'm not sure if there are any readers left out there, but I'm going to try and get back at it. So, if you are still there, thanks . . .

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Happy 9th birthday to our sports-loving, glasses-wearing 3rd grader! We love you, Joe!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"Spring" running

I went for a run today. It is April 16th. It snowed the entire time I was running. When I was running north it was coming down pretty hard and was blowing right into my face and I could barely see. 

When I turned east I could see better and I saw so much beauty :: A beaver. Lots of mallards. A pair of geese. A snow globe of swirling white over the lake. Trees. A squirrel (or twelve). Thick woods.

It was 4.46 dreamy miles following 2 not-so-dreamy ones. (Those first couple miles always seem to be a bit like torture, no matter how much I run. Can I get an "Amen"?). The snow that made me angry this morning was beautiful to run in this afternoon. I did some major hill work in the woods near my house. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

10 days from now I'll be running my first race of 2014. A local 10k. Bring it!

Also, I hadn't realized how worn out and broken down my old shoes were. I got a new pair of "kicks" over the weekend and my run today felt so good! I had temporarily forgotten how fabulous new shoes feel. My entire body is grateful, I think! Ahhhhh. 

Dirty already, you see!

It's still coming down like crazy out there. Despite how beautiful it is, I really hope it lets up soon!