Bible Reading 2013

I have gone back and fourth this past year on reading a digital Bible and reading a paper Bible. I like both for different reasons. I also became frustrated at my Bible reading plan on YouVersion. I like it, it works great, but it felt like something to keep up with and I found I rushed through reading to make sure I got it done.

Then at Thanksgiving I began just picking a book and reading it slow enough to meditate on. Read a little, follow cross-references, read the notes, write about it, share it with family, etc. I like this, I really, really, really like this because I’m soaking in Scripture more than skimming across the top of it. I get excited to share about it with others because it is changing me and challenging me.

This year I’m just going to pick a book and read through it and then pick another one.

One tool I found that is helpful for this concept is an iPhone App called BibleSchedule. You just check off chapter that you’ve read and it keeps up with percents and what you still need to read to complete the whole Bible. No due dates, just read, soak it up. Plus it is free. If you read a paper Bible exclusively then just mark a check mark next to the book in the table of contents when you are done.


That’s what I’m planning to do. If you prefer other methods though, try (or the free app on every device).

Life on the Bicycle, 2012 Miles and Memories

Chris Earnshaw and Rudy Prins found me on this white trash journey home after some guy gave me this big wheel. #whitetrash #surly #crosscheck

On January 1st 2009, I got on a terribly heavy bike and rode 5 miles on the Indian Creek Trail. It was such an amazing time I rode again soon after. I bought a better bike from Bob Albright and continued to ride. Riding a bike (not cycling which requires spandex and tempting drivers to make you a target) has been one of the most fulfilling adventures of my life.

On a bike I travel further than I ever could on foot, and I travel slower and to better locations than a car could ever take me. It is in my opinion one of the most underrated and sadly neglected devices of our time. This year was one of the strangest years of bicycling I’ve had yet. It started late (as a self-professed dork I did provide graphs below to show this) as I just didn’t have the bug early on. After riding the Katy Trail (maybe my favorite tradition since coming to Redeemer) I became obsessed and that last until HCA and Soccer began making riding time difficult to find (Again charts that Jon Meyers would be proud of).

As the year comes to an end I managed to ride more miles in 2012 than in any other year of my life. 1,511 miles. I spent 115 hours on that thing. That comes to 4 full days and 19 hours on a bike this year. On a bike riding alone, riding with family or riding with great friends. That brings my four year total to 5,355 Miles. I’ve gone on 341 rides. Nearly 18 full days on a bike in total time.

Below are a few charts and the photos I could find taken during some of these great memories.

The photo above comes from a ride from Redeemer to home one day when I passed the home of a family moving and tossing out all sorts of great stuff. They helped me bungie this big wheel to my bike which I then rode with six miles home hoping I wouldn’t see anyone I know. I saw Chris and Cam and Rudy and Sam Sipp and everyone of them was laughing, more at me than with me. I’m glad though cause otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten that great and ridiculous photo.

This first chart is simply how many total miles I’ve ridden each year. I bet my all time record by 11 miles.

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This second chart divides the year into three equal segments then compares the miles ridden in each third by year. 2012 is the orange, you can see how pathetic the first third of the year was, only 135 miles in four months. Then May through August was a crazy ton of miles.

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We took a ton of family bike rides this year. Once Laura got a new bike she was able to pull Beckham on the tag along while I pulled the non-contributing daughters. Although, I must say I do appreciate their cheers when I struggle up hills.
Hot, popped a tire today, thought it was gunshots and took off

This year they all loved riding their bikes and so we took them to Heritage Park to get some open room in the parking lot. The girls insisted on their shade umbrellas even while riding. Southern Belles?

Heritage Park Bike Ride

Andria rode Laura’s old bike on a few Sunday Night Church trips. It’s amazing these two don’t crash into more things with the lack of attention they show to where they are going.

They ride bike

In March Connor Lutz and I rode to the Kansas River and back. I gave him a less helpful bike and he still kicked my butt, it was a great time together though. Check out the whole adventure here.

Nathan Bailey and I rode to the Kansas River in July and again I got my butt kicked. Nathan is nuts, he rode a horse we found along the way, great day of talking and adventure. You can read/see it here. 

40 miles, Bailey never gets tired.

Laura looks so cute here. We were in Houston out on a date without kids and I had her try out a few bikes. She loved this one enough to bring it home. It’s a Trek FX which is little more sporty than her Trek Navigator, but still gives her an upright ride and a big fat seat.
More bike testing

This is my mom riding a bike in downtown Houston at the strangest bike shop I’ve ever been to.

Becks and I rode this tandem we found at the weird shop

Daisy, Daisy give me your answer do...

This thing is designed for snow or, in the case of Texas, sand. Felt like riding in Batman’s Tumbler Car.

Texas bike wheels, actually for riding on sand.

Took Laura on a crazy long trip dragging kids one day. Check out the whole trip here.

Sometimes the sidewalk ends and this is when I’m thankful to be on a Cyclocross bike instead of a road bike cause I just keep going. Love my bike which is a Surly CrossCheck named Bumpkin. It only comes in black or green now. Great bike though.

Found the new end of Indian Creek Trail this morning, it goes al little further every time. #surly #crosscheck #cyclocross #I❤

Laura and Becks. Laura looks so cute in her bicycling outfits. Here she is on my used 29er, it’s like a mountain bike with giant wheels.

She filled her buggy up with library booked and then traded me bikes. #girlsbecrazy

One of the best adventures of the year was taking my poor intern on a bike ride. I told him to bring his bike in to church and then I told him we would be riding to the Plaza and back. It was just a crazy adventure and a fantastic memory riding those 56 miles across the city. You can read and see the whole thing here. 

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This is Chris and I in front of the South Building after the 56 miles.

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One of the great things this year was teaching Beckham to ride a bike. The key is in the balance not the pedaling, so we took him to hill near Redeemer and had him learn to balance coasting down hill, then when comfortable we told him to pedal and he took to it like a fish to water. Little dude is now riding sans training wheels.

Sadie Piper was so proud of Beckham learning to ride.

I ride bike

Sadie Piper may be the most determined little girl I’ve ever met. After Beckham learned to ride without training wheels she wanted to learn as well. So she asked me to take the training wheels off and she rode down the hill in our neighbors’ yard a 100 times, mostly falling and crying, but never quitting (even when I wished she would cause she seemed too miserable). But the girl did it, she learned to ride a bike the same year as her big brother. Look at that face, such determination as Becks cheered her on.

This was the fourth straight year that Tony and I have ridden across Missouri on the Katy Trail. It’s a great adventure meeting new people and just unplugging from our normal lives for a few days. This year was really cool cause Laura and Shari joined us for the last leg of the ride, where we spent a night in St. Charles before riding back to Augusta in the morning to get our car. Just a fantastic trip. Check out the whole trip here. 

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We are mocking our wives here, but I love this picture.

Katy Trail 2012

Laura and Shari chatting away.

Katy Trail 2012

Katy Trail 2012

Katy Trail 2012

Katy Trail 2012

Random rock in middle of nowhere

Sink holes just sneak up on you


There is no telling what 2013 will bring in our life, but my prayer is for more adventures and more time rolling along with family and covenant family.

Funny Book

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Berkley screamed after she tumbled down stairs. After crying a while
I told her to stop, she stopped right away and said, “Cause I will wake up the owls, right?”


All three kids played so quietly one day. Then we overheard: “We are playing kingdom. Berkley you are the servant. We are the king and queen.”

Batgirl! #batman #batgirl

Sadie Piper calls The Great wolf lodge “camouflage”
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Berkley was on the toilet sitting a while without going. I impatiently asked, “Do you need to go?”
She calmly looked at me and said, “When the king pee marches, that means the other ones are gonna come”

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Beckham asked, “We adopted Sadie, right?”

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I can’t remember what Berkley did, but it was something new that her siblings can do too. She told us, “I’m like a real person!!

Four ones we love. All in laundry baskets. @harrietreymond

Berkley: I saw Isaac’s bottom. Girls don’t have a horn.

Laura: Ummm, Berkley, where are boys’ horns?

Yep, right where you guessed!

Becks made them crowns

During communion one day we were explaining to Beckham how Jesus’ death on the cross paid for all our sins, and that he put an end to sacrifices. That before Jesus people lined up so the priests could sacrifice animals the people brought to atone for their sins, but that it was never finished like it is with Jesus cause they just sinned more and daily.
Beckham definitely understands this concept cause he told us, “If I lived then, I would never get to play, I’d have to get right back in the line!!”
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When we were in Houston and Andria went to see the Mormon temple, Beckham looked at her and said, “It’s like she locked us in jail and she’s the queen in her beautiful palace.”
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“I look so cute in the mirror mommy!” – Berks on Halloween.

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Berkley: hey mom, did you know I’m so expensive?
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Note to self. If you leave Brian near your child, be prepared to be thrown under the bus with a posed picture!
Seems clear the case workers are no longer involved.
Beckham sat next to Mr B (one of the teachers) at chapel one day and told us that. Sadie Piper asked, “Who is Mr B? Howdy?” (we call Carmen “B”, so this was actually really smart logic on her part!)
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SP: My air smells bad
Laura: did you toot?
No, I forgot to brush my teeth
So sweet...most of the time.
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Thankful for washable paint.
The rumor is when you play Apples to Apples any cards you win describe you. Hmmm, here are mine…
Laura is Filthy, addictive, feminine, dirty and expensive.

Adios Texas!

 We got to hang in Texas a few more days after Thanksgiving with my brothers. So we did what any normal Texas family would do. We played in the drainage sewer (a la NINJA TURTLES!)

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Caught some minnows with Uncle Scott

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And we had a chin-up contest…

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That made us hungry so we hit Wings N More (the BEST chicken fingers on the planet)

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 And then went bowling!

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We were a little weary of how the kids would do.

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Our fears were silly. Look at SP being a pro…

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And Berkley being super excited about something?

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Teamwork at its best! 

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Never have we seen a ball travel sooooo slowly down the lane!

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Sadie Piper doing some experimenting as to how best to do this bowling thing…

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Scott and Laura. (Laura married up…:) )

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Yeppers, that’s her smile…

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Brian had breakfast with his dad the next morning

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Hanging out!

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Hugs from Aunt Ashley and kisses from Butters!

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Did a little more swimming. Sans clothes this time!

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Tricki Vicki came back from visiting Greg the day before we left, so we got to hang out with her some too!

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Then back to Kansas! Adios Texas!

Becks vs a Baseball

Becks found a loose string and decided to take a baseball all the way apart awhile back. I thought I would share the process here.

It interested me so much I checked out a book from the library called The Baseball. It tells the history and current process for making a major league baseball. Originally they were made with horse hide. Now it’s cow.

In the early 1900s a baseball was expected to last an entire game and sometimes fans would steal a ball that was hit into the stands. Today a ball last on average 6 pitches and fans are allowed to keep the ball.

Home run recipes

A few weeks ago I hit a lot of home runs with new recipes. (This past week, I didn’t even get one that was a single. I actually got hit by the ball a lot…it was a bit discouraging…) But I like to focus on last week. Here are some we tried that we loooooved!

This one is Pioneer Woman. Easy and fun and yummy!

Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Salad

Prep Time: 10 Minutes  |  Cook Time: 10 Minutes  |  Difficulty: Easy  |  Servings: 2



  • 1 whole Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1/2 cup Louisiana Hot Sauce (Frank’s, Etc.)
  • Salad Greens: Iceberg, Romaine, Mixed Greens
  • 1/2 cup Blue Cheese Dressing
  • Extra Blue Cheese Crumbles
  • Celery Hearts, Leaves Intact

Preparation Instructions

With a sharp knife, carefully slice the chicken breast in half from top to bottom—meaning you’ll have two similarly-sized chicken breasts that are much thinner. Heat olive oil and butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breast pieces and pan fry them on both sides until they’re done. Get as much golden brown color on the chicken as you can. When it’s done, remove the chicken from the skillet and pour off any excess fat/oil (but don’t clean the pan.)

Return the chicken to the skillet and pour over the hot sauce. Turn the chicken to coat it on both sides and let it sit in the sauce while you prepare the other ingredients. (Heat should not be on under the skillet.)

Toss the lettuce in a large bowl with just enough salad dressing to lightly coat it (thin the dressing with a little milk if it’s too gloopy.) Heap tossed salad into two individual bowls. Sprinkle blue cheese crumbles over the top. Slice the chicken into thin slices (on the bias) and arrange them over the top of each salad. (Dip the slices back into the sauce if necessary to really coat them.)

Top the whole thing with more blue cheese crumbles and serve with celery hearts.

This one is Mel’s. That’s code for “it’s gonna be good!”


Spaghetti Pie

*Note: If you aren’t a cottage cheese fan, ricotta makes a great substitution and believe it or not, so does sour cream in this dish. A deep dish pie plate is necessary here. If you only have a standard, shallow pie plate, increase the size of the baking dish (even if it means using a square or rectangle dish).

*Serves 6

12 ounces thin spaghetti or vermicelli noodles
1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 small white or yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely minced (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
16-ounces tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 ounces light cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, divided

Lightly coat a deep 9 or 10-inch pie plate with cooking spray and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the noodles until al dente according to package directions. While the noodles boil, heat a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and add the ground beef or turkey, breaking it into pieces with a wooden spoon. Add the onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally and continuing to break up the meat, until the meat is cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and drain the excess grease, if any. Return the skillet to medium heat and stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, dried basil and oregano. Simmer the sauce over medium or medium-low heat for 10 minutes.

When the noodles are done cooking, drain and return to the pot. Immediately stir in the cream cheese and toss the noodles by lightly lifting them up and over with tongs until the cream cheese is mostly melted. Stir in the cottage cheese, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Toss until the noodles are evenly coated. Stir in 2 cups of the red sauce. Keep the remainder of the red sauce warm on the stove.

Scrape the noodles into the prepared pie plate and using a flat spatula, press the noodles evenly into the dish so they are tightly pressed together and evenly flat across the top. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese across the top.

Bake the spaghetti pie for 20-22 minutes, until it is hot and bubbly and the cheese is golden on top. Let the dish rest for 10 minutes. Cut into slices and serve with remaining red sauce.

Again, this one’s Mel’s. I just love her. And her food!!

Cheesy Chicken Quesadilla Pie


*Note: This dish is extremely mild in spiciness. If you want to kick it up a notch, consider adding a can of green chiles or chopped, jarred pickled jalapenos.

*Serves 6

3 (10-inch) flour tortillas, white or wheat
Vegetable or canola oil cooking spray
3 cups cooked, shredded chicken (I used about 1 1/2 pounds chicken and cooked it with this method)
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, making sure an oven rack is in the middle position. Grease a 9-inch deep dish pie plate with cooking spray. Overlap and layer the three tortillas (kind of in a cloverleaf pattern), pressing them into the dish, so that the bottom and sides of the pie plate are evenly covered with tortilla. In a medium bowl, toss the shredded chicken with 1 cup of the cheese, cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Spread the mixture into the pie plate.

In the same bowl that the chicken mixture was in (no need to wash it), whisk together the eggs, milk, flour, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt until smooth. Slowly pour this liquid mixture into the pie plate covering the chicken evenly. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for 25 minutes, until the surface is golden brown. Let the casserole rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

Chicken Tamale Pie, Version 2


Author: Pinch of Yum

Prep time:  15 mins

Cook time:  45 mins

Total time:  1 hour



  • ⅔ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons  cooking oil
  • ⅓ cup low fat milk
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1½ tablespoon taco seasoning, divided
  • 1 – 14 ounce can cream-style corn
  • 1 – 4 ounce can chopped green chiles, drained
  • 1 – 10 ounce can red enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast
  • 1 cup shredded white cheese such as Jack or Pepperjack
  • cilantro and crumbled Cotija cheese for topping


  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, ½ tablespoons taco seasoning, and oil in a large bowl until soft and crumbly. Whisk in the milk, egg, green chiles, and cream-style corn. Pour mixture into a round 10-inch pie plate. Bake at 400° for 20-30 minutes.
  3. While corn is baking, toss the chicken in the remaining 1 tablespoon taco seasoning. When corn is done, pierce entire surface with a fork. Pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts and sauce is bubbling. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with cilantro and Cotija cheese.


Since it’s a tamale-like base, it won’t be completely set like a cornbread. It should stick to the fork a little bit when you poke holes in the crust.


5 Things


Today I was sitting on the couch explaining to Laura why I love that the Wiffle Ball exists. The perfect weight to throw and it will go a distance. but not too far. It curves when you want it to, it won’t break windows and allows for a game of baseball to pop up just about anywhere on the planet (which is a totally separate theory that Sam Basham and I are working on proving).

Anyway, as I rambled and she halfway listened, it turned into a conversation of what things we are glad exist. Yes, God and forgiveness and family and health and all those things which are legitimately important. But also silly little things that we really are excited God gave us also.

So we decided to ask people we know the same question and the results were so fun we kept asking more people. Here are the results of our texting out the this statement, “Going to do a fun blog post on things we are loving, and want to include you in this “we”. What are the top five things you are loving these days? (Not over-spiritualized, can be dumb things) Tangible and otherwise.”

Jon Dunning

  1. Reading Calvin’s institutes (He’s a stud, AND he uses the word ‘stupid’ a lot).
  2. Sugar Christmas cookies with frosting
  3. The NFL season
  4. The soundtrack for Les Miserables
  5. Watching my 3rd-born walk.

Elle Hershberger

  1. Batman
  2. Volleyball
  3. Food
  4. Attention
  5. Body Image

Sam Basham

  1. The Hobbit
  2. Wiffleball
  3. Fantasy Football Playoffs
  4. Christmas Cheer
  5. Reach Records (Lecrae’s record company)

Teresa Turner

  1. Chocolate
  2. My Car
  3. Flannel Sheets
  4. Christmas break
  5. My Family
  6. My phone
  7. Mexican Food
  8. Orange Juice
  9. Mornings that don’t need an alarm clock
  10. Hot tea on a chilly day

Tim Smale

  1. Puppies
  2. Ponies
  3. Rainbows
  4. Kittens
  5. Christmas

Brandon Barr

  1. That I only have one semester of school left.
  2. I’m thankful for how the holidays are really bringing my family together.
  3. I love the spiritual growth I feel like I’m having in my life right now.
  4. I am loving the new shows I got as an early present. Asics.
  5. I am loving my best friend in town.

Chris Schulte   

  1. Trader Joes Kettle Corn Popcorn
  2. Fires in the fireplace
  3. Reading good news of great joy advent book every morning.
  4. Singing Christmas Carols and gift sermons
  5. Flannel sheets.

James Bahn

  1. Taking photographs of cool/beautiful things.
  2. The ability to create new worlds and characters through writing
  3. Hanging out with great friends
  4. Experiencing new stories in movies and books.
  5. The great feeling of wrapping up the school semester.

Steve Adams

  1. Grandkids
  2. Jayhawk Basketball
  3. New iPhone
  4. Dark Chocolate M&Ms
  5. My beautiful wife

Katie Thomas

  1. Flannel Shirts
  2. Sinus Medicine
  3. Food
  4. Quilts
  5. Prayer

Rachel Hutson

  1. Macarons
  2. Getting ready for foster baby
  3. Christmas lights
  4. Lila trying to make a kissing face, but she just looks like she’s chewing
  5. The movie Elf

Zach Hershberger

  1. Great new friends
  2. Fake Moustaches
  3. Three Weeks of being home in Kansas
  4. This cough drop in my mouth
  5. Proverbs

Carolyn Conrad

  1. Self-Confidence, It took time to get it, and I’m appreciative I have it.
  2. Manolo Blahnik. I’m really glad he isn’t making soes with massive platforms.
  3. True Friends. They’re hard to find, and I feel lucky and blessed to have some in my life
  4. Lululemon. Their clothes last forever and are universally flattering
  5. Honey Boo Boo. It’s guilty pleasure television.

Tammy Schumann

  1. Not gift giving but spending individual time (game night, dinner out, coffee date) with my close friends and some family this Christmas season.
  2. Starbucks peppermint mocha latte’s with whip
  3. Classical Christmas station on pandora.
  4. The sermons this month on gifts and special music events
  5. Peppermint JoJo’s from Trader Joes

Mich Hotz

  1. Sunshine
  2. Fruit and all their products
  3. How God made the universe crazy complicated yet still understandable
  4. Humans, y cool?
  5. Christmas Break, home, family, birthday and the Hobbit

Connor Lutz

  1. Hanging out with friends
  2. Watching movies
  3. Listening to music
  4. Going to Church/ Reading Bible
  5. Being with family

Robbie Hotz

  1. Comfy sweaters
  2. Laughter
  3. Important work that needs to be done
  4. Sleep
  5. Warm breezes

Sterling Knight

  1. God
  2. Xbox
  3. Basketball
  4. My Friends
  5. Life in general

Joe Bartu

  1. Playing Soccer
  2. Pandora Radio
  3. My Gym
  4. Mountain Dew
  5. The Single Life

Jon Meyers

  1. Warm December
  2. Google Voice
  3. Freedom to publicly worship the true God
  4. The color blue (Dodger fan aka West Coast Yankees)
  5. The ability to eat meat without killing or butchering it

Jacob Vos

  1. Emily
  2. Emily
  3. Emily
  4. Emily
  5. Emily

Zach Lutz

  1. My fiance
  2. Applying for “real” jobs
  3. Friends in Chicago
  4. Reflecting on my time at Moody Bible Institute.
  5. Chicago

Scott Creecy

  1. Christ
  2. My Wife
  3. New Technology
  4. Tomato-Basil Soup
  5. Hunting weather, especially cold mornings.

Chris Earnshaw

  1. Reading (Bible)
  2. Writing
  3. Freedom
  4. Community
  5. Serving

Matt Austin

  1. Parks and Rec (TV Show)
  2. Christmas Lights
  3. Freebirds Burritos (now in Kansas City)
  4. Charlie Brown Christmas
  5. Bow Ties

April Cervinka 

  1. Graduating
  2. Peter
  3. Marriage
  4. Moving to New England
  5. Honeymoon in Caribbean Cruise

Brookie Reymond

  1. Peanut Butter
  2. Hair
  3. Twinkle Lights
  4. Color
  5. Down Quilt

Tony Felich

  1. Boiling deer heads and making skull mounts
  2. p90X2
  3. Special Christmas gatherings with family and friends
  4. Advent/Christmas liturgy planning
  5. Egg nog

Christina Lutz

  1. Quiet Time
  2. Peanut Clusters
  3. Christmas Lights
  4. College kids being home

Annie Prins

  1. Cute Cheer uniforms
  2. Good hair days
  3. White chocolate mochas from Starbucks
  4. When the light is green
  5. Christmas movies

Sam Preston

  1. The Chiefs
  2. Kansas State Wildcats
  3. Baseball
  4. God (had to throw one spiritual thing in)
  5. Christian rap

Brian Hough

  1. Tea: Specifically Tazo Awake and Calm teas even though they changed their logo to something dumb. Adagio loose leaf tea and Harney & Sons.
  2. Wiffleball because you can play baseball nearly anywhere with them, only wish that bats came in orange.
  3. R.A. Dickey and his amazing Knuckleball
  4. The Astros – They stink, but I love their new uniforms and that they went back to old orange and navy logo. This includes my hat and sweet Sunday Jersey.
  5. Instagram & Scripture Typer App on iPhone
  6. The slow death of Facebook
  7. iPad is pretty fantastic.
  8. Gringos and Pappasitos
  9. The giant Bean Bag in my office from the Schaitels
  10. Stories Mason tells at Breakaway
  11. Community and Fellowship
  12. Hoodies of all sorts
  13. Hulu for recording TV shows for me for free.
  14. Power Sandpaper machine
  15. Truvia 
  16. My bike, Bumpkin
  17. Oscar Mayer’s Cheddar Jalapeño hot dog

Laura Hough

  1. Insulated Cups (I don’t like cup sweat getting on things)
  2. California
  3. Coffee, particularly Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf from California
  4. Lululemon pants I got as a gift from a fun friend
  5. YouVersion Bible App
  6. Aldi
  7. VW Minivan
  8. Really great neighbors
  9. Wisdom from older, wiser people
  10. Those tortillas from Costco that you make fresh at home
  11. My cowboy boots

Sadie Piper Hough

  1. Christmas Tree
  2. Dudley and Giant Bear
  3. My Bed
  4. Dancing
  5. Elle my Elephant
  6. Mac & Cheese

Beckham Hough

  1. Mom
  2. Dad
  3. Andria
  4. My sisters
  5. Making things out of duct tape

Berkley Hough

  1. Duckies
  2. Cows
  3. Lambs
  4. My big Bear
  5. Mac & Cheese

Morgan Casteel

  1. Coffee Maker
  2. Free time (woo Christmas Break!)
  3. My moccasins
  4. Instagram
  5. Afterglow App

Momo Bradford (previously known as Mallory Creecy)

  1. The way God reveals Himself through his creation during this time of year.
  2. Date nights with my husband.
  3. Bigfoot
  4. Christmas music
  5. Andy Capp’s Hot Fries (Don’t judge me!)

Gina Ochs

  1. Caramel Brule Lattes
  2. Gourmet Burgers
  3. The stage that my kids are currently at
  4. Corporate Worship on Sundays
  5. Making ordinary women feel glamorous by applying the right makeup

Emily Preston

  1. Coffee
  2. American Literature/books
  3. Sleep
  4. Music
  5. Running

Jenny Preston

  1. Mike Preston
  2. Sam & Emily
  3. My dog
  4. Pajama time
  5. Summer Time

Hat Reymond

  1. Modern Medicine
  2. My heater
  3. Starbucks salted caramel hot chocolate
  4. Sequins, sparkles, glimmer, shimmer, sheen and glitter
  5. Encouragement from friends and family

Avery Smith

  1. Gel Nail Polish
  2. Coffee
  3. Best Friends
  4. Anything with Rhinestones
  5. Cute Winter wear

Maggie Dean

  1. Hayes-man in his cowboy boots
  2. Lucy doing ballet to every song that comes on, including hip-hop
  3. Lululemon run swiftly racer tank and long sleeve tee
  4. Lululemon Wunder Unders
  5. Our house lit by the Christmas tree
  6. Benefit Posy Tint
  7. Johnny Football

Amy Shanahan

  1. Christmas Tres
  2. Comfy Bed
  3. Friends and family
  4. This time of year
  5. School vacations

Bethany McGuire

  1. Listening to my kids in hysterics when Jake is telling them stories about his childhood while tucking them into their beds in the tent outside in the freezing cold.
  2. Watching them dirt sled in backyard

Emily Vesper

  1. Christmas Music
  2. New Van
  3. Sparkley Shoes
  4. Tights and Tutu’s
  5. and my kids
  6. and my husband!

Jennifer Thomas

  1. Cool weather
  2. Watching kids play basketball
  3. Sweatshirts
  4. Watching Chritmas Classics like Rudolph and The Grinch
  5. Not having to shave my legs unless I’m wearing a skirt to church
  6. Also, licking the fudge pan!

Sarah Baxter

  1. My roommate Morgan
  2. Netflix
  3. Coffee
  4. Christmas
  5. our blue bean bag chair

Lydia Goldade

  1. Christmas music on Christian station.
  2. Advent season and sermons at church
  3. Spending Christmas with family in North Dakota
  4. Wishing for a white Christmas
  5. Kids only getting one gift this year.

Hannah DeWolf

  1. Christmas Music
  2. Baking cookies with friends
  3. Evening Bible time with family
  4. My Favorite books
  5. Doing school lately.

Michaela Dykstra

  1. Ice Skating
  2. The Outdoors
  3. Coffee
  4. Snow
  5. Photography

Andria Merrill

  1. Heated Blanket
  2. The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
  3. Kava Stress Relief Tea
  4. Cranberry Sierra Mist
  5. The New Girl (TV Show)

Kelly Thomas

  1. My friends
  2. Basketball
  3. Phones
  4. God
  5. My dogs

Gentry Smith

  1. End of Finals
  2. True Friends
  3. Quick Naps
  4. Exploring
  5. Long Boarding

Chip Prins

  1. Having breakfast with Doug in the mornings
  2. Morning Coffee
  3. Watching my kids do better than me in school
  4. Having all my kids home still
  5. Making my wife laugh

George Deines

  1. Dr Pepper
  2. Children’s Storybook Bible
  3. College Football
  4. Pizza
  5. Quiet Time after kids go to bed

Julaine “Mimi” Celinski

  1. Friends and Family
  2. My new friend Siri on the iPhone
  3. Wine Wednesdays
  4. Making new friends
  5. Dreaming of traveling again

Cameron Earnshaw

  1. The fact that school is almost out for the winter
  2. Worldview Class
  3. The book of Proverbs
  4. That Kacie B is on the Bachelor
  5. Black Ops

Roxie Vos

  1. My mommy
  2. Taco Bell
  3. My Bed
  4. Chocolate Cake
  5. Homemade Sugar Cookies

Carmen “B” Creecy

  1. Costco Fresh Tortillas
  2. My Cuisinart Griddler
  3. Little Hough hugs
  4. My immersion blender
  5. Little Dogs in Hoodies.

Shari Felich

  1. Pitter-patter of little feet following me everywhere
  2. Candles burning
  3. Bright white Christmas lights
  4. Loving on 4 great kids
  5. Hot chocolate with a dollop of whipped cream

Karyn Hatch

  1. Grapefruit and clementines
  2. The Polar Express movie
  3. Sleeping
  4. Christmas lights
  5. Eating out and not cooking

Renae Vos

  1. All the social outlets I have currently
  2. My dog Bella
  3. My amazing family
  4. Having confidence in myself
  5. My job
  6. K-State football

Josh Mullins

  1. Lionel Messi scoring record
  2. The Hobbit coming out
  3. A month off college
  4. Cold weather
  5. Seeing old friends over the break.

Nathan Currey

  1. Hunting

Kelli Schutte 

  1. Good coffee
  2. Quiet mornings
  3. Creative colleagues
  4. That weather is cold enough to start a fire
  5. Full house
  6. New Perspectives

Jo Prins

  1. Coffee in the mornings
  2. My kids at home in the evening around the table
  3. Getting to see two piano recitals, two Christmas pageants
  4. Scary ghost stories
  5. My “new to me” van
  6. Seeing kids a bunch.

Jeffie Mussman

  1. Pretzel bread
  2. Connecting with lots of people at holiday gatherings rather than shopping
  3. Did I say I’ve done almost no shopping this year? YES!
  4. Sharing devotion times with my husband
  5. The lights and music of the season

Missy Stephenson

  1. My boys being brothers
  2. Evening wrestling matches between Mark and the boys
  3. Snuggles with my boys
  4. Christmas traditions and parties
  5. Joyful anticipation

Lenin Guerra

  1. Kid’s Christmas school singing
  2. Kid’s nativity pageant at redeemer
  3. Flock Christmas party
  4. Soccer
  5. Above all worshiping God at redeemer

Janey Currey

  1. Tucking my kids into bed at night (it is a routine that I absolutely LOVE…those moments are priceless to me)
  2. Drinking hot chocolate by the fireplace
  3. Seeing how many recipes I can use peppermint or candy canes in…
  4. Listening to the music from Handel’s “Messiah”
  5. Seeing my daddy’s smile and hearing him say that he loves me…

 Clarissa Gillen

  1. The sunrise that comes through my window every morning
  2. Caramel frappachinos from McDonalds (gross, I know!)
  3. My wedding ring! I love being married to Levi!
  4. Sleeping in past 7:00
  5. Cinnamon rolls AND donuts

Joy Hillyer

  1. Eggnog Chai Lattes from Starbucks
  2. The Muppets (esp the Swedish Chef, I relate to his cooking ventures)
  3. There’s something I love about Colorado 😉
  4. My momma’s sweatshirt where Snoopy is hugging Woodstock
  5. God’s grace which overwhelms me and meets my every need, every day

Abbie Schutte

  1. The book of James
  2. Chunky sweaters
  3. Acoustic hymns
  4. Fuzzy socks
  5. Starbucks (always Starbucks)

Eat Thanksgiving meal. Repeat.

November in Texas.

Swimming weather!

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After a good morning swim, we went to Brian’s parents for Thanksgiving Part 1.

Oh, after Andria caught a fish.

From off of Hank’s wall.

But still…

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We got our own private backyard dog show!

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Our kids don’t get to see their cousins super often, but when they do, they love it!!

Beckham and Noah.

Funny story about Noah. Our kids have a hard time when they are little remembering his name. Since it’s biblical they get it confused with other names in the bible. Beckham used to call him Baby Jesus sometimes. This time Berkley said, “Mom, Moses is here!” Laura: “His name is Noah” Berkley: “But it’s ok if I call him Moses, right?”

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We got a good show from Brad, Matthew and Andria, all very talented!

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Wouldn’t be Thanksgiving in Texas without some good ol’ fashioned cousin wrestling!

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Or posing with camouflage guns apparently.

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Then to Julaine’s for left overs and Texas Hold ‘Em in one room…

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And Dr Mario on the other one!

Laura Celinski is wicked good at Dr Mario. Like really really good. You can see in this picture how she’s taking a walk in the park and I am fighting for every piece!! Beating her is a big deal!

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Berkley told me this was the way she washed her hands after dinner. “So they are clean now Mom.”

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Minute Maid Park Tour, Home of the Astros

I grew up cheering on the Astros when the played in the 8th Wonder of the World, The Houston Astrodome. After I went to college the team built a downtown stadium called Enron Field, yes THAT Enron. After that whole thing went down the stadium was renamed Minute Maid Park.

I love this stadium. It reminds me of when Laura and I would come home on visits from college and seminary and from Kansas. We always tried to catch a game even if I found the sport boring at the time. This is a great memory for Beckham and Sadie Piper as well as their Ompah would buy them every conceivable food while they somewhat watched the games.

I also love this place because it is a quirky stadium and fits the personality of Houston very well. There is a hill on the playing field that the center fielder must occasionally run up to catch a ball. To make things stranger there is a flag pole in play on that hill. I only wish the pole had the Texas flag on it instead of our neighboring country of the USA’s flag on it.

Anyway we took a tour of the stadium one day and everyone was tired and hungry and basically grumps, but it was still really fun. Below is Laura and Grumbalinia on the field.

Laura Bora at mmp

Here is Tal’s Hill, the hill and flag pole in play. The new owner has talked about removing it, I hope so bad that he leaves it, it makes this field truly unique.

In front of the greatest baseball stadium feature ever, Tal's Hill. A hill in play with a flag pole in play. #astros #talshill

Beckham brought his glove and ball. At one point he dropped the ball and it rolled onto the grass. The lady leading the tour got pretty upset which was disappointing considering it was just a baseball landing on a baseball field.

Becks taking in Minute Maid Park #astros

They allowed us to go in the dugouts, here Sadie Piper and planned a sacrifice bunt…or since we are in the American League now I guess we were planning who would hit the homerun.

These two strategizing in the Astros dugout...

The stadium was built starting at the old Houston Union Station Railroad thingy which now houses all sorts of museum like stuff from the team history. Here is a seat where Jimmy Wynn hit a homerun.

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Here Berkley Boo and Sadie Piper sit on one of the giant boots around the stadium. Camera Roll-923

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We got to go in some crazy expensive suite. If I ever get crazy rich I still won’t rent one of these out since the seats 15 feet above them cost $5 and these cost $150.

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This is a shot from where the media people sit.

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Andria is sitting where the Houston Chronicle sits, Laura is sitting where the Port Aransas (sp) Gazette sits, can’t believe they get a seat.

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There is the new uniform, I love it!

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This is as close the grass as the Tour Lady would let us get. Still very cool.

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This is bullpen where Astros pitchers start warming in up in like the 2nd inning to come in for the starter. They took Astro Turf from the Astrodome for it. Camera Roll-957

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I took this with the panoramic picture going up and down. Camera Roll-969Camera Roll-971

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I just love the New/Old Logo they are using now.

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The Astros had their killer B’s (Biggio, Bagwell, Berkman, Bell), we have Beckham and Berkley. In the background you can see the train the runs along a track after every home team homerun.

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All in All it was really fun to check out the stadium and I’m glad we took the tour. 

Ice Skating in Downtown Houston

After visiting the MLS Cup, we went ice skating downtown! Brian found a deal where we all skated for $5 each under the Houston skyscrapers!

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The fact that it was 70 degrees was bittersweet. It didn’t feel much like Christmas being that warm, but it was nice to be outside on ice and be perfectly comfortable in our shorts!

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We were worried about the girls being able to skate. They proved us very wrong!

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SP was a natural!

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Then Boo found the “baby rink.” She dug this!

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Sadie Piper came in to help her some too! Here Berkley starts to fall…

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Here SP catches her by her shirt…

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And sets her up again! Such a sweet big sister!

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Boo did come back on the ice to have Brian throw her around a little! She looooooved this! Since she has bird arms that pop out, she’s never gotten to do this before in her whole 3 years.

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Beckham really loved “couples skating!”

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Back to the baby rink!

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SP skating solo!

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Andria and the pretty lit up buildings!

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In our “post game” vacation talk, it was unanimous that this was our favorite thing we did in Texas!

Here’s a video showing all of us skating

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The park had these cool lit picture ball things. It was odd, but beautiful!

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Cowboy #2: He’s from NY, but Andria liked their height ratio!

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Cowboys #3 & 4: Brothers. She would have to choose…

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Cowboys #5, 6, 7, 8 & 9. All from Europe!

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Then we took Cowboy #1’s recommendation for food downtown and tried a hole in the wall Vietnamese! SP was not pleased by this point! Skating took the best of her!

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