May Snapshots

 These two play chess a lot. It’s a game called “No Stress Chess” the Durretts introduced us to. Berkley can even beat me.

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It’s bike riding to school season again, which means snack time in the cemetery!

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Cemetary weather is back. #mhk #bicycle

It’s also baseball season!! A train went by during Beckham’s practice…it was like Olsen Field!

Trains and Baseball reminds me of the #Astros and #mmp

A neighbor was moving and throwing away these bikes. She said we could have them!! IT’S A BANANA SEAT!!! Brian fixed them both right up!! Beckham likes this one cause he says it’s like riding a motorcycle. (also, he’s wearing a baseball helmet…)

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We got to introduce our kids to being pumped on a bike!!

Or mom on a banana seat from the 70s? #schwin #Pegasus Both working dumpster dive finds #bicycle

Brian said this is a classic 1980s bike. Becks digs this one too! He’s an old soul.

What's cooler? Mom on a diamondback from 80s? #bmx #bicycle

We didn’t want to be left out of the Field Day fun! Our strategy was going to be that I carry Berkley in her bag. Cause I don’t think she was gonna win any metals in that bag bigger than her…

 Field Day Sack racers

It’s also Pillsbury Crossing time again too!!

Pillsbury Crossing, Bigfoot in background #mhk

Really blessed to be able to spend my life with this girl. Moving with a friend is the stuff dreams are made of. @shanaclan23

And backyard hammock time!!

"Relaxing all cool" - Fresh Prince

Brian taught the kids “If you ever need to poop in the woods, wipe with these kinds of leaves.”

Berkley hiking. In a dress.

Dresses & Hiking #kansas #mhk

We had to have our yard graded (the house was the lowest point on our lot…that’s apparently not good) and since it had to be torn up before we moved in to replace a sewer line, we also had no grass left.

(Remember the yard??)

So we had it seeded too. (Master Landscape did it and they have been amazing! We honestly weren’t expecting much, cause let’s be honest, the most we grow is mint…and that’s just cause we can’t kill it, but we have an entire yard of GRASS now! There were a few places that didn’t take the first time for some reason, but they gladly came back and re-did them.)

There was an extra line item on our bill for “Letting Customer play with equipment…”

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There wasn’t, but I wouldn’t have blamed them!!

Brian finished the patio. We knew it would have many functions, we didn’t anticipate “race track” as one, but hey!

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KSU had their Spring Game, so we got one tailgate this semester! Heidi and me!

K-State Spring Game Tailgating #kstate #ksu

Found a real tire horse on the way home

Found a horse on way home. #mhk #ksu #kstate

How Berkley spends her free time home alone:

Berkley crayons feet

We found her like this. We are pretty sure this is Junie B’s revenge on Berkley.

I found her like this, pretty sure Junie B is finally fighting back #catsrevenge

In The End

JJ Heller has a song called In the End with lyrics that are amazing for sitting and listening to while you think about the life you live. Read them below, listen here. Then go read Ecclesiastes in your Bible (right after Psalms and Proverbs).

“In The End”

Oh this silly heart of mine
Looking for new things to buy
Nothing really satisfies
In the end, in the end
Greed is making fools of us
Waging war betraying trust
Empires only fade to dust
In the end, in the end

Safety is not for sale.
(You can not buy peace of mind)
Earthly defenses fail
(There’s nothing new under the sky)
Build your kingdom all your life
And say goodbye
In the end, in the end

Have I forgotten how to wait
Providence won’t hesitate
Seldom early never late
In the end, in the end

Safety is not for sale.
(You can not buy peace of mind)
Earthly defenses fail
(There’s nothing new under the sky)
Build your kingdom all your life
And say goodbye
In the end

Vanity, vanity
Don’t lie to me
Vanity, vanity
You’re not fooling me

Safety is not for sale.
(You can not buy peace of mind)
Earthly defenses fail
(There’s nothing new under the sky)
Build your kingdom all your life
And say goodbye
Build your kingdom all your life
And say goodbye
In the end

Sadie Piper Interview

SP lost her two front teeth this week, and there’s nothing cuter than a kid without any teeth, so we interviewed her to hear her thoughts on life…with that cute lisp!

 

 

What I Learned From Dance

BatesDanceStudio

“Dance, Shine” was the name of the Bate’s Dance Studio end of the year performance last weekend. It was truly amazing. I’ve seen dance before, but last Friday night dance challenged my thinking in new ways. Ways that make me want to live different. Better.

I’ll start with the biggest thing that stood out. There three types of dancers.

1. Those who know the steps and do them. They seem worried about falling out of step or making a mistake. Maybe just a little too aware of the audience watching them.

2. Those who feel the music. They move with the beat and rhythm and seem absolutely unconcerned with a huge theatre of watching eyes. These are the dancers that make me want to dance.

3. The third group, which the majority seem to be, are those who are in and out of the music, there are parts of the dance that they know and do and there are parts of the dance that they know so well that they let go and just embrace the dance for awhile.

I see this as analogous to our spiritual walks.

1. There are those who know the steps of Christianity: what words to use and not use, what behaviors to abstain from, they know words that sound like prayer and watching from the outside they are in step enough to be a part of the chorus. The effort is appreciated, but the dance of Christianity looks difficult and taxing.

2. Then there are those whose walk with Christ is like the dancer who feels the music. They flow with Scripture and prayer pours out naturally, they aren’t struggling to grow in grace, it’s a simple rhythm of their life and these are the Christians that make me want to dance.

3. Most of us are the third group, there are times and aspects of our Christian life that we feel the music and those times are the greatest times of our life, but we also find ourselves in a dance we don’t know that well and we’re much too aware of the eyes watching us. We want only to fit in and not screw up.

These ideas and many others blew my mind Friday night, but then we went back on Saturday night to watch the younger children perform. This added a new layer, because I realized none of these little children felt the music. They were funny, they were cute, they did a fantastic job, but they didn’t feel the music. I realized that it took people like Heidi teaching them over many years to get to them to the point that these older girls were at where they begin to feel the music. It’s real life discipleship.

This reminded me in a  visual way how beautiful the fruit of discipleship can be. I feel encouraged to teach our children to feel the music; to not just know the steps of what it means to follow Christ, but to go after Him with joy and real knowledge, that there is grace in missteps. I am thankful for dance today and my prayer is that God would free me from fear of failure so that I might not not simply know the steps of Christianity but feel the music that is His grace and dance the dance of faith.

Other things I learned. 

A. The opening number was an amazing Gospel Choir version of This Little Light of Me. It was awesome. Glorifying God in the arts doesn’t have to be cheesy or in a Christian venue, in fact I think it was better outside of a “Christian” venue.

B. There was a song (The Bridge by Cloverton) that included a real bridge . I wish you all could see this dance, may be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. The second night the first thing I did when we got the program was look to see if it would happen again. I was disappointed that it was not begin redone. The images of salvation and rescue challenged my mind to to try to understand it. It just seemed to have layers of meaning and I didn’t know that existed in dance.

C. I’ve always been surprised how the Church in history has at times looked at dance as evil. Footloose comes to mind. I went one semester to a Baptist college where in 1999 dance was still forbidden. Square Dance, Two Step, Swing Dance, Line Dance, all dance. Yet we see in Scripture dance spoken of in wonderful ways. Just like most things dance can be put into practice in shameful ways, but that should not result in the good gift of God being shamed outright.

In Psalm 30:11 we learn that God has turned the sadness of mourning into the the joy of dancing.  “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,”

In Psalm 149:3 their praise of God included dancing of some sort.  “Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!”

When I did a search on dance the most surprising discovery was Luke 15:25. This is the well known story of the prodigal son. The son leaves home, wastes his inheritance on pleasure and finds himself eating with pigs. He eventually goes back to his father’s house and confessing his unworthiness to be included asks for a place among the servants. Instead the father welcomes him and throws a celebration at his return. We read in the following verse, “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.” There was dancing at the celebration of the returning child. There was dancing because there was joy, because the father showed grace the people danced. Except the jealous older brother who hated that grace was poured out on the younger brother. I think maybe we dance too little and I am a bit concerned that it might be because we don’t celebrate the grace of God enough. Let us feel the music and dance.

Family pics

 As I post this, I’m reminded yet again how precious life is. And how we aren’t promised another day. Neither are our children. So we will treasure the moments, protect them with our lives and make it our goal in all things to point them to Christ. I’m beyond thankful for this family God has graciously given us. I’m even more thankful for the eternity He bought us to be with Him.

“O Lord, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!”

Psalm 39:5

Morgan so sweetly loaded up with us and took some super fun family pictures for us! Here are some of the best…and funniest!

Photo Shoot with Morgan Spring 2014

Photo Shoot with Morgan Spring 2014

 

Notice how Brian stealthily pulled up his jeans…cause they have Texas flags on them…also, why is Beckham making this face?? Maybe cause Brian pulled up his jeans?

Photo Shoot with Morgan Spring 2014

This one.

Photo Shoot with Morgan Spring 2014

This is Boo. She’s a light!!

Photo Shoot with Morgan Spring 2014

Boys!

Photo Shoot with Morgan Spring 2014

The girls wanted an all girls picture with Morgan in it too! Turned out so cute!!

Photo Shoot with Morgan Spring 2014

Photo Shoot with Morgan Spring 2014

Photo Shoot with Morgan Spring 2014

We found this old truck!! It begged for pictures on it!

Photo Shoot with Morgan Spring 2014

Photo Shoot with Morgan Spring 2014

Great Depression:

Photo Shoot with Morgan Spring 2014

These girls are ready to hit the Oregon Trail!

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Boys and sticks

Photo Shoot with Morgan Spring 2014

Photo Shoot with Morgan Spring 2014

Maggie has this picture of her sweet family…and I copied her!

Photo Shoot with Morgan Spring 2014

Photo Shoot with Morgan Spring 2014

She climbed up using a little nook in the wall. After this picture we all walked out of the barn and we hear “daaaaaaaddd. Help me! I’m stuck!”

A bumble bee rendered it impossible for SP to smile. Boo on the other hand, is clueless.

Ones afraid of the Bumble Bee, the other hasn't quite realized there is a Bumble Bee.

Boys at photo shoots be like…Boys on photo shoots be like... #mhk #photoshoot

Recipes I can’t get enough of

Here are a few new recipes I’ve been making…and making…and making. Hope you can enjoy too!

This granola was introduced to me about 2 years ago by Jessica. We were at the zoo and she let me finish off her bag of it! 🙂 I literally make it weekly. This is because Brian eats it daily with Greek yogurt (sometimes twice daily, the second time in milk). We have been known to each grab a spoon and eat it straight from the pan after it’s cooked and before bagging it up. So, basically, it’s our very favorite food as of late.

 

Alton Brown’s Granola

Ingredients

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup cashews (I blend these some in the food processor)
3/4 cup shredded sweet coconut
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins (I leave this out)

I also add 2 tablespoons flax seed. You can’t tell at all. But don’t put in 3T…cause you can tell if you do.

Directions

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar.

In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.

Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add raisins and mix until evenly distributed.

The World's Best Sugar Cookie Recipe EVER!![9]

I’ve made a lot of sugar cookies in my life. These are my favorite. At least today they are. I don’t even know what Swig cookies are. But I looooove them!

The only changes I made to these were to the icing. Cut the salt WAY down, and definitely half the icing recipe (not only did it was too much in relation to the cookies, they were also super yummy without icing, so we eat a lot sans icing anyways!)

Swig Sugar Cookies

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Maggie made these for me this summer and I sat in her kitchen telling her “this is the best cookie I’ve ever eaten.” She let me have TWO! Which is crazy cause they are huge and you really shouldn’t be willing to eat two!! That’s a friend who’s a keeper! 🙂 She also introduced me to the blog these are from “Annie’s Eats,” I recommend it!!

chocolate-chip-cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

  • Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions. Preheat oven 325°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl; set aside. With electric mixer, or by hand, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined. Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat at low-speed just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Roll a scant half-cup of dough into a ball. Holding dough ball in fingertips of both hands, pull apart into two equal halves. Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, place formed dough onto cookie sheet, leaving ample room between each ball. Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy (approximately 11-14 minutes). Do not overbake.
  • Cool cookies on sheets until able to lift without breaking. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.