Archive for November 2011

Getting Ready……. for the day   Leave a comment

Today is going to be one of “those” kinds of days, non-stop busy with so much to accomplish.

Rick and I were up early as I made him his lunch pail and we had coffee together and then he headed out the door for his work in Sturgeon Bay.  I always say an urgent prayer for his safety in driving as the deer are moving during these early morning hours and then again at dusk or later when he eventually makes his way home.  We discussed Thanksgiving and went over the time to eat due to there being a Packer game at noon which interferes with Thanksgiving dinner, or Rick may say that the Thanksgiving dinner interferes with the Packer game!  Either way, we are eating munchies during the game and eating the big meal at 4 ish.  That will make for a fun day!

I will go and check a caretaking home in a moment but first I will get the girls up to do a little cleaning up.  It is not too bad, but since we are having our home check for foster care re-licensing there are a few things that need to be picked up and plugs that need to be put in outlets and smoke alarms checked.  I worked on the paper work for relicensing last night for two hours!  I understand the need for it all, I just under estimated the time it would take to get it all done.  Our Social worker comes at 9 and when she leaves we will finish school, and chores, one of which for me is getting some bills paid.  I also need to get the meal plans done for next week so that I can do our shopping as Thursday is market day for our home.  Kristi gave me lots of ideas so I just need to make sure that I have all the ingredients, mostly the meat is what I will need to buy.  This is going to be a feast week with Rick’s birthday being celebrated on Saturday and Sunday and then lots of gatherings for the following days and Thanksgiving besides!

Melody has a violin lesson which we will leave and head to Sturgeon Bay for the shopping when she is through.  It will be a mad dash around the town due to needing some insurance signatures to verify insurances for our foster care license, then getting groceries.  I need to decide whether we should grab a bite to eat in Sturgeon Bay at a drive through to eat on the way home, or try and have something in the crock pot.  We will have little time to eat a meal when we get home before we need to head to Bible study, if we are even able to make it on time for study!

It is going to be a wild day!

Hoping all of you are having a calmer day, and are enjoying these beautiful fall days!

Choosing joy,


Posted November 17, 2011 by joyfulhouse in Around the house, Door County Life, Foster Care

Email from Kristi   Leave a comment

Below is the email we received last week from Kristi.  It has been a number of years since we have had a college student so I had slightly forgotten the food cravings that our children develop while away from home.  So glad that we can feed her REAL food and give her the comforts of home while she is here for a WHOLE week!   WE are beside ourselves with joy!

Hey Mom,
I know you wanted my list of wants at the beginning of this week so I’ll list what I can think of.
Basically I’m starving, but I miss cooking so I want to do some of this myself 🙂

Cinnamon Rolls are a must. I have been dreaming about them recently I am so deprived.
Basil Pasta.
Quiche->preferably ham, onion, broccoli, and cheese.
Chicken Pot Pie 🙂
Steak/or chicken/or ribs/or pork chops/ basically any truly edible tasty meat
Jen’s Potato Fennel soup (this is one I would love to make for dinner one night like we did for your birthday)
Ham and Potato Soup or Sausage Corn Chowder
Aunt Laurel’s Garlic Bread
Matteo’s Pasta

Ok I think thats pretty much it. I am drooling just writing the list as I am about to leave to go eat at the Rot where they put laxatives in our food (true fact) 😦
We frequently torture each other at dinner in discussing what our favorite foods are that our Moms make so that we can somehow make it through eating
the so-called “food” we get served daily. Many of my friends are from the south so Fried Chicken is always at the top of the list along with Sweet Tea lol.
Well I had better get ready to go, but I’ll call you tomorrow.
I miss and love you all!

Posted November 17, 2011 by joyfulhouse in Around the house, Door County Life, Family

This week   Leave a comment

What a wonderful and full week we have had. I would add pictures of it all but our internet is not doing pictures this morning!
On Monday we had our Foster Care training session which is now mandated for Wis. foster care parents. It is a three hour marathon of information, discussion and role playing over various scenarios that show up in foster care families. It was very interesting due to the fact that it makes us aware of actions expressed in children and the possible reasons. No home is a perfect home so it also was good for Rick and I to hear as we are still raising children and also mentoring young parents as well. I did have one moment of cringing when we were separated into groups and asked to role play a situation and I looked at my husband and his friend Zach, both strong Scandinavian types, and I wondered how they would handle it….. they were the strong silent part of that group! Glad we aren’t graded on participation!
Tuesday was little Andrew’s birthday party in Sister Bay. Lots of fun was had by us all. He even had his own little cake, which they call a “smash” cake. My children looked at me with an air of neglect as they announced to everyone that THEY had never had a smash cake! Most of the adults also said they had never had one so they were not alone. Andrew is a neat little boy and wasn’t sure what to do with sticky fingers but he quickly grabbed the whole cake and took a bite, so cute.
Thursday brought Gretel to our house to stay with us for four days while her mom is out of town. We did school, took Annie to the doctor for a finger that looked broken, and despite wrapping it, it was not getting better. Turned out to be a bad sprain and will hopefully get better in a few weeks. We ended up in Sturgeon Bay with a group from church to watch the movie Courageous. Our local theater was only keeping it a week and only showing it at five, how convenient! It was worth it and I can not say enough about the value and timeliness of this movie’s message. Yes, I cried, but I also laughed so hard and just rejoiced in the story of how God changes families.
Yesterday was an Andrew day. He comes mid morning so we try and get some school done before he arrives. We enjoyed watching the Elephant Room for some of our Bible time and it brought out some really good discussion about truth. Andrews being here changes the look of our home as he loves wooden spoons and buckets and all of my canning rings and the contents of my tupperware drawer! He also brings so many smiles to our faces as he goes from one to another of our family. I baked bread and spent time organizing photos and working on some memory albums which I am doing for each member of our family.
Today looks beautiful outside, the sun is shining brightly and I would love to take a walk if possible. That may happen, but first I have my list; dealing with school and cleaning up the school area, baking bread again, finishing applesauce and cleaning up a few areas. Friends are coming at two to visit and work on knitting, then Betty, Robyn, Tracey and Andrew are coming for supper and games. I am not sure about what to make for supper and so I need to nail that down soon. I made cinnamon rolls for breakfast, got Gretel up and off to work and will get our girls up in a moment. Maybe more than a moment as Rick and I like to have some time alone in the morning before everyone is up and going.
Loving these days,
Choosing joy

Posted November 12, 2011 by joyfulhouse in Around the house, Door County Life

Feeling Thankful   1 comment

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful  Col. 3:15

I am sitting by my huge window looking out into the back yard, the wind is roaring….. again!  There are golden and red leaves all over the yard despite Rick raking a few weeks ago and the white iron lawn furniture is still out there even though I know it is well past time to get that put away and secured behind the house. As I sit cozy here from the warmth of the fire I am contemplating this verse which keeps going over and over again in my mind.

Thankfulness so often flows from me when a need is met, prayed for or un-prayed for, like safety to the youth convention or a surprise of a bag of beef from dear friends in exchange for smoked fish.  One prayed for, the other not.  A sincere “praise the Lord” rolls of my tongue because I am indeed very thankful for these blessings.

What about thankfulness and the peace that the above scripture mentions?  Paul says to LET the peace of Christ rule in my heart.  The word LET gets me every time and so I went to Vines and this is what is said:



properly, “to act as an umpire” (brabeus), hence, generally, “to arbitrate, decide,” Col 3:15, “rule” (RV, marg., “arbitrate”), representing “the peace of Christ” (RV) as deciding all matters in the hearts of believers; some regard the meaning as that of simply directing, controlling, “ruling.” Cp. katabrabeuo; see ROB.


—- as deciding all matters in the hearts of believers —  That means that I am to let this powerful, mighty peace of Christ decide for me, control me and rule over my mind and all of my flesh.   This same peace that I rest in, because through Christ I am found in God’s favour and acceptance. This peace is to show up FIRST in my life in all situations as that would prove that it is in control of me.  Does it?  Well….. not always, but more and more.

This fall has provided ample opportunities to practice peace and thankfulness.  There have been some difficult relationships to deal with, the worst fishing in twenty years, our other businesses that have suffered in this economic low point of our country and friends who are suffering and need care.  Really, nothing new, as this has been life for Christians through the history of the world.  I am sure Peter in the Bible must have had off fishing, oh yes he did!  Remember how Christ came to the fishermen disciples and told them to out their nets out on the other side?  Must have been a less than perfect fishing moment for those men.  Christ gave them a miracle and I know that my sweet fishermen has often wanted Christ to tell him where to set the nets!

What I want to testify here for my family is that God has given peace.  I might still wonder how God is going to straighten out some relationships after love has been expressed to another with no response, or how He is going to supply our needs when our income is drastically changed, or how He will meet our friend’s needs…..  I wonder.   And then peace floods over me and I feel grounded in my faith that He is able, just as He was in the days of old, He is able and willing and faithful and the next thing out of my lips is thankfulness.

Thankfulness for:

Lots of wood for our woodstove, and that Annie did a huge haul the other days so we have not had to go out in this rainy cold weather for more supply.

Thankful that Rick was hired by a friend to work on fish that this dealer is bringing in from Lake Superior and for another friend to share the driving expenses with.  God loves to care about the details too!

Thankful for this time of LETTING the peace of Christ reign in me, over and over again.

For the winds, which can greatly affect a fisherman’s family, but also make my wind chimes sing beautifully which reminds me that God is near.

For a pantry full of canning

For friends to pray with on Tuesday and Wed. mornings where we gather in the early morning to lift our praises and requests up to our heavenly Father.

For Wednesdays with Sammy when I get to play with him and talk with him and feed him before taking him up to kids club at church

For music in our home and daughters who find great new worship songs to fill our homes with love for the Lord

Thankful for a young couple that came into our lives this summer and reminded me of newlywed love, enriched our home with their love of God and enhanced our worship with their gift in leading worship, taught us to love some Japanese food and how to play the piano with different and soothing sound, what a blessing!

Thankful for the fish that we did catch and for another season of safety for our precious men and also that the loss of nets due to gale winds was less than it could have been.

For children seeking the Lord and choosing to trust Him and go to His Word for their answers to life’s issues

Thankful for God’s Word which NEVER fails to uplift and encourage me every time I open it.

Thankful for the internet, and the great preaching we can watch together and learn from every week.

Thankful for skype which allows me to see my precious children when they are far away.

For the book of Colossians where God has me camping for these weeks, and for Paul who suffered much to bring me God’s Word.

For joy in the beauty of the fall leaves

For walks in the cool fresh air

For pink and blue fall sunsets

For work and the ability to do bookkeeping and cleaning jobs and have my children work with me.

For candles which make our homes glow when lit.

The list could go on and on.


I told my family recently that you can not complain if your heart is full of thanksgiving.

Choose to LET peace reign and control and then watch the thanks pour out!

Choosing peace and thankfulness today






Posted November 10, 2011 by joyfulhouse in Commercial Fishing Life, Family, Spiritual Life

End of the Harvest….. Finally!   Leave a comment

Today will be the end of the harvesting and I am ready for this year to be done.  I have carrots to dig and the last of the broccoli to cut and thenI will put the garden to bed for the winter.  I would be happy if I could get all of the perennials cut back as well today, but that might be more than this day will give me!

These are the carrots that we picked from our friend’s garden a week ago.  He said to go take what ever I wanted so I roped Melody and her friend Collin to help me and this was the reward for thirty minutes of work!  I have enjoyed using this table for cleaning vegetables as I can power wash from above and below and then they air-dry quickly afterward.

I may pressure can some of these carrots in the coming week, so I can make the harvest last longer.

We will can our applesauce next week as well.  I want to do it on Monday or Tuesday so that I can give some pints of sauce as a birthday present to a little one year old who’s birthday party is on Tuesday.  He likes my applesauce and his mother does not can so I thought this would be a neat idea for some of his present.

So far this week we have had Andrew for a day and Mia for a day as well as Robyn for supper.  It has gone well with these little folks and we enjoy loving them in our home.

We also had our Foster Care appreciation dinner on Tuesday night.  Rick was not able to attend but I picked up another mom and her two sons and we drove together to a very nice lodge in southern Door County where we enjoyed a fun evening.  There were door prizes and I won a dinner for two at a fancy eatery.  We also had an exchange where everyone brought items that were home made from our homes.  We brought a beaded bookmark, some grape jelly and one of Melody’s hair flowers that she makes.  We won a set of red-neck wine glasses as the lady who made them called them.  They are pint canning jars glued to glass candle sticks.  They come with lids so that you can fill the jar with wine and then put the lids on when you are walking around with them, cuz, you know how I spill my wine when I am drinking!  🙂   That’s a joke folks!  They are very pretty and I will use them for candles and especially for outdoors when the wind is blowing, they will work perfectly.

We are starting school a little late due to Rick being off the lake. I wanted to make him a nice breakfast of eggs and bacon to celebrate being done with this season.  They pulled all the nets out of the water and will spend today and tomorrow cleaning them and sorting them to be repaired.  Although I still woke up at five this morning I was glad that Rick got to sleep in until a little after six.  He is exhausted and told me this morning that every muscle aches from all the pulling of these huge nets.  I wish he would take a hot soak to ease his muscles but that doesn’t fit his image of being a manly Scandinavian!   He will feel much better in a few days.

Today will be filled with finishing up paper work for the fishing licenses, school, violin lessons and preparing a meal for our dear friend Betty and her husband.  I received opinions from everyone on what I should make as we are one very opinionated family!   I will finish the garden and do some cleaning around the house later so that we will have less to clean tomorrow.  I have already heard from Mandy and Jeni and will talk to Kristi later, I do love that our family keeps in touch! The sun is shining and it looks lovely outside, a beautiful day for some outside work!

Choosing joy


Romans 5   Leave a comment

I am missing my dad.  I miss him very much, not all the time but in moments that surprise me.  There were three moments that overwhelmed my this past weekend.  One was when the suburban was full and we were heading down the road.  Why?, because my dad would fill our old station wagon with my friends and my sisters ( that was before all the insurance regulations about seat belts!)  and off we would go to Bill Gothard seminars, Kieth Green Concerts etc..  Much of the way my dad ministered has turned up in my life, over and over again, and driving down the road I remembered how my precious Dad blessed my life with trips like the one I was on.  The second was when Reggie Dabbs brought out his soprano sax and just about brought the house down with his playing, it was powerful, beautiful and worshipful.  It reminded me of my dad who loved a good sax.  I wonder if he is playing the sax in heaven, in the band where we all play perfectly to worship our King.  I kind of doubt my dad is off his knees yet…. he is probably still worshipping before the throne, seeing face to face what I long to see with all of my heart.  The third time was when the band was leading us in a song that I had never hear before, about how beautiful God is.  The last verse talks about when the wedding bells ring in heaven for when we are raptured to our God.  My chest tightened and my eyes filled with tears to think of my Father, already there enjoying his reward.  Beautiful thoughts and memories.

Two weeks ago Pastor preached on Romans 5 and these verses really struck me as something that my dad embodied in his life daily.

V.3 – 5 And not only that but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character, and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

My Dad’s tribulation was a disease called MS.  It hit him in the prime of life and for the last twenty years he was unable to walk and needed my mother’s constant care, in a way, these verses speak for both my parents as the disease greatly affected both of their lives.  My dad could have given up and not sought other treatments, therapy, you name it.. but he chose to persevere, every day!   This perseverance produced character in my Dad.  I do not know who my Dad was before the disease because I was young and not so aware of noticing the qualities in peoples characters.  But, the Word of God is true so I know that there were good qualities that showed up in my dad because of the disease.  I do know of a few — thankfulness, despite being wheel chair bound, he was thankful and he showed that to all who came in contact with him.  Joy, my Dad had a joyous way about him despite the daily tribulation that he dealt with, he was able to laugh and joke and smile because God was with him in this trial and that also was a great testimony to those around him.  Great faith,  my Dad had great faith and he went for healing prayers many times and although God saw that my Dad’s life would better serve him without the healing ( and my Dad did serve God well) my Dad never lost faith.  He loved the Word and spoke the Word and showed us all what true faith looked like in the good and difficult times of life.  My dad was a man of godly character, produced and refined by the trial of MS.  His godly character was most defined by his hope.  He knew that any day, at any time God could heal him and he kept his hope in that while at the same time clinging to the most beautiful of hopes which is “he that  overcomes shall be clothed in white garments and I will not blot out his name from the book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels Rev. 3:5”  His hope was sure His God who would meet him in the eternal life beyond the river.  Dad also put his hope strongly in another verse,

Titus 1:2 — In hope of eternal life, which God, Who CANNOT lie promised before time began

I know that there are more verses than just these as he loved to discuss the scriptures that he loved so much, but  what he clearly exemplified was hope, in His God and in God’s Word.

In this life we live away from face to face walking with Jesus, there are trials, every day and of every sort.  The choice we have is whether or not we allow these trials to do the work that God wants to produce in us through them.  James 1 makes it clear that there is a beautiful work that God wants to do in us through trials, and that each and every one serves a wonderful purpose in His plan to grow our faith in Him and ability to allow the fruits of the Spirit to work in us and the graces of God to be manifested in us.  The “perfect life” does not do any of this for us.  I love Acts 14:22.  These words show the work of every disciple, … strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue on the faith and saying ” we must through many tribulations  enter the Kingdom of God.  Matthew Henry says it this way —  That which they insisted most upon was that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. Not only they must, but we must; it must be counted upon that all who will go to heaven must expect tribulation and persecution in their way thither.

What my Dad believed has greatly influenced my spiritual walk and many days the memory of my Father leaves me holding on to the scriptures that he loved, knowing that they too will produce in me these same attributes ending in glorious hope.

Romans 5 — reminding me of my Dad, reminding me of my Sovereign God



Posted November 3, 2011 by joyfulhouse in Family, Spiritual Life

Youth convention 2011   Leave a comment

Youth Convention 2011

God works in mysterious ways—

In August one of the youth at church was talking about the Assembly of God youth convention that I had taken the youth to for a number of years, we had not gone for two years so I thought that those conventions were done for our group.  We had started attending the EV Free conventions in Green Bay and they were ok and a lot closer than La Crosse.

Then  felt a little voice tell me that I should take the youth again.  I told the voice I did not want to drive that far.

The voice spoke to me again… you know how He does that!   Ok, I thought, I will try and get the information at least as I had not received any info in the mail which was usually sent in August. Searched the interned, even other churches websites for any info about the convention, found nothing.  Told voice that I had done my best but “oh well” couldn’t get any info.

The voice spoke to me again, I reminded voice I had done all I could do.

A week later, now mid- September, I received the whole packet about the convention with registration form in the mail.  That was when I knew that I was indeed going to that youth convention again!  Prayed about who to take and who to ask to chaperone the boys and within a couple days had our suburban full and all plans were made.

Since God told me to do His bidding, I went to Him for every detail and reminded Him a couple of times that I needed double the worth of every (few) hours of sleep I got, and walked in confidence the whole weekend that since God had asked me to do this then He would take care of the details, and strength and the clear mind that I would need.  God gave abundantly all of that to me and more.  We heard great teaching, heard God speak to all of us worshipped with 2000 other believers, and had FUN!  God is so good.

The speaker was Reggie Dabbs and that black brother can preach and he does not sugar coat the Gospel or the Christian walk.  He brought a coffin on stage each time he spoke and really addressed sin and hell and the Christian walk.  Our three jr. high boys who were along listened up well to this powerful man and the messages he gave.  What a blessing the whole weekend was to all of us.

Our Gang

Doing the Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews look!

Melody headed to the girls area and Jakob headed to the boys area–  cuz thats that way we like it!

Convention worship with the band Skyhook, they did a great job

That is Reggie in the striped shirt, teaching the boys to bring a little soul into the worship!  Love it, makes me anxious for heaven when we will worship with the beauty of all nations there!

An artist who painted while we worshipped drew that picture of Jesus and challenged the youth to re-paint Jesus to everyone they meet, meaning change the perception that the lost have of Jesus.  He then asked them to commit to witnessing to their lost friends and to put the name of at least one unsaved friend on the picture to remind them of their commitment.  It was beautiful to see the line of youth going up to the picture to write their friend’s name.

I was put on the boys team, my name was Jmony  which sounds kind of like a Chicago gangster kind of a name!  🙂

This was the girls team, Melody was Uni and Annie was Beam — love the names!

The girls team!  Good thing that they are so beautiful even when they strike these ‘tough-guy” poses!

Gretel is such a good sport as she really doesn’t like bowling but goes along and has fun and really was doing well on this day!

She looks a little dubious as to the instructions they were giving her —

I could say that Annie instructed Alyssa and so she is high-fiving Alyssa’s good score…… but that girl can bowl and does not need any instruction at all!  Sorry Annie

Since we were the only ones bowling toward the end of the afternoon, we loaded up the juke box with good songs and did a little line dancing on the bowling alley.  The older gentlemen who ran the place really enjoyed our group as we had so much fun and yet cleaned up after ourselves and did not act rude with what we said or did.  These youth shined-bright!

Jakob — one cool kid!  🙂

Playing a word game while waiting for pizza

It is clearly evident to Annie who had most of the covers all night!!!   Good thing she loves Gretel!

I do not know why Annie would accuse me of such a thing as stealing the covers — really!

The ride home —

You would think they would be tired — fall asleep, like other groups in other years of going to the convention —

Not this group!  There was not a dull moment as we drove the six hours homes.  Just lots of laughter, joking around, mid-seat wrestling and lots of music.

Great trip there and a great trip home.  God is SO good and most worthy of our praise!


Posted November 2, 2011 by joyfulhouse in Door County Life, Family, Photos, Spiritual Life