Runaway Peacock

One of our neighbors has lived here since she was a little girl and she told us the zoo used to be free, with no fences, so her and her siblings would walk through the field in our back yard straight to the zoo. And that the peacocks (they still aren’t caged inside the zoo) would come and sit outside her window (which sounds cool, until you hear the noise a peacock makes). But now that the zoo has admission, we don’t get peacocks. Until last week!


Berkley Boo at 5


Still the “little one” and wants to be little. Anything little in house is “Boo-sized”


Loves physical affection; she’s very lovey and touchy


Says “right mom?” A LOT

Plays Minecraft like a boss. And can hold her own at MarioKart. She’s a prodigy.

Wants to be a mommy when she grows up. And maybe a preschool teacher.


Plays Legos with Becks and Pollys and school with SP. She’s the most sought-after playmate.

Says “our-chother” instead of “each other” and “fort out” (a cross between fort and hide out), “han-zitizer” for hand sanitizer, “hu-normous” when anything is big, “bu-cept” (but and except).

Our most adventurous (will pick up any animal or bug) but is terrified of fire and loud noises.

Boo found a baby bunny

She’s looking like a true extrovert. She doesn’t get drained by…well, anything. Being around people gives her energy and she can out-talk the best of them (which is a good thing cause she’s stinking hilarious!)


Snakes on a Tree

BerkleyEveWe were all inside yesterday when Becks came running over and said, “There’s a snake on the tree outside.” My first thought was, how is he seeing a snack from so far away? When we all went to the window I realized why he could see it from so far away. It was mammoth! Brian and all three kids jetted outside. Safely inside, I locked the door.

Then somehow I was lured outside to be the videographer (that’s why the video is from so far away, that’s as close as I would get, and even it was uncomfortable. We should have given the camera to Berkley, she had absolutely NO fear and really really wanted to hold it.) Here’s what went down:



We released it into the field in the backyard (right after Brian put it down out there Berkley ran to it AGAIN and says “Now can I pick it up?” What’s wrong with her??).

I’m never going outside again.

Thoughts on Dance 2015

Sadie Piper and Bates Dance Studio Recital 2015

This past weekend was the annual Bate’s Dance Recital. It’s held in McCain Hall and has a high production value. After attending it last year our Sadie Piper said that’s what she wants to do. We only let our children be in one event at any given time. She had done cheerleading and soccer and loved them both, but when she saw the end result of a year of dance practice she wanted to invest in that. So now it’s dance all year and softball in the summer.

Anyway, I spent most of my life thinking dance was shallow at best and uncomfortably sexual as more typical. What I’ve learned these past two years is that dance is a medium that has an incredible ability to move the motions and to carry deep concepts.

This year two things on Friday night pushed me emotionally in ways I didn’t expect.

Sadie Piper and Bates Dance Studio Recital 2015

The first was being the father of one of the dancers. See Laura is not a dancer, neither am I. In fact in college we took a country western dance class and I’ll never forget the instructor biting her lip as she stood watching us, pondering how to help only to shake her head and share that she has no idea what is wrong with us, but we’re terrible dancers. So we were surprised to see how much music and dance is hardwired by God into Sadie Piper. Even as a tiny child she wanted us to turn on music and she would dance and dance and dance.

(Dress rehearsal)
SP dance 2015

So last night when I saw my girl on that stage with a giant joyful smile dancing with a team who had worked hard for this moment it almost brought me to tears. My joy was in her joy. I’m so thankful for that moment. I’m thankful also that God has given us a friendship with Damian & Heidi (who is the director of Bates) and to know her love for Christ and the way she wants the faith she has been given to be incorporated in all she does. I’m thankful that we can send her to dance class with absolute trust in the director who is patiently teaching these basics of dance to young children.


Which brings me to the second time I was moved emotionally during the evening: older girls using these this gift of dance to tell a story. There was a dance to Michael Jackson’s Earth Song. It was a great contrast to the generally bright colors of the evening. The dancers facial expressions and movement told a story of our choices destroying the earth we live upon. I’m by no means a tree hugger and it wasn’t the earth that moved me, it was the deeper sense of our selfishness destroying what is God given and good.

Throughout the dance a planter, a pot, was lit up on the left side of the stage and it was filled with a plant stretched out in brown death. As the song came to an end I expected the plant to transform into something beautiful during the repetitive chorus of “what about us!” I appreciated that it didn’t, that we were left with a dead plant still just there, dead. As the next song began and new dancers took the stage to Jason Mraz’s Back to the Earth I was nervous for them because they had forgotten to get the pot off the stage.

But as the lyrics begin I realize they didn’t forget the rotten plant.

Whenever my head starts to hurt
Before it goes from bad to feeling worse
I turn off my phone
I get down low
And put my hands in the dirt

I try to stop the world from moving so fast
Try to get a grip on where I’m at
And simplify
This dizzy life
And put my feet in the grass

By the end of this joyful tune the dead plant is replaced with a baby plant. I think I’m such a cynic that the dead plant is what I wanted to see, but the baby hopefully plant is what I needed to see.

Again, the earth was the theme here, but it was the renewal that gripped me. As a Christian we view things through a lens that can give deeper meaning. This renewal of the earth, even if lyrically off base at times, was also a redemptive picture of the gospel in creation and in the creatures of that creation. I felt hopeful. I felt joy to be alive and a graciousness for the earth which God has given us for enjoyment.

I know it might sound funny for a pastor to say, but I needed to see out of death come life. I needed to see it outside of my own theological framework. I needed it to hit my emotions. Not because truth is built or established in the emotions, but because truth experienced in the emotions is a pleasure for the children of God too often forfeited.

Heidi choreographed that dance and I’m thankful for the gifting God has given her.

We also enjoyed seeing one of our youth group children, Sophie Elliott, dance and send her little girls on to the stage to perform a dance she choreographed. Thank you for sharing your gifts!

Surprisingly fun: Kansas Sampler Festival

Our great neighbors gave us passes to the Kansas Sampler in Wamego, which is a “sampling” of all the cities and things the state of Kansas has to offer. Lots of booths, lots of samples, and really, our kind of thing!

Before we even got inside the gates, we ran into these cool people! I mean really, does it get better than this?!!?

Kansas Sampler 2015

Then there was this!! I’ve NEVER seen a baby kangaroo in a mommy’s pouch before!

Kansas Sampler 2015

They had a porcupine too!

Kansas Sampler 2015
And a baby alpaca!
Kansas Sampler 2015

Boo liked the “Boo-sized” goats best

(also, she likes to carry a purse places. She’s gonna make a great mom, always prepared!)Kansas Sampler 2015

This is a model of the hotel we saw just a few weeks ago in Waterville

Kansas Sampler 2015

And found this fun thing on rails! We had wanted to ride it when we were in Waterville, but it was locked. Woohoo!

Kansas Sampler 2015

No idea what this is. But if you can get on something for a picture, we do!

Kansas Sampler 2015

Also, we like to lay on railroad tracks.

Kansas Sampler 2015

Hiland Farms (a local dairy) had these cool milk mustache stickers!

Kansas Sampler 2015

So far this festival has had everything we love most: people dressed up, baby animals, things we can get on/ride, and wood cut outs!

Kansas Sampler 2015

Oh, and props for photos. You can never go wrong with props for photos!

Kansas Sampler 2015

The best give away? Cool sunglasses from the City of Manhattan with the “little apple” on it.
Kansas Sampler 2015

Kansas Sampler 2015

More animals!

Kansas Sampler 2015

Berkley hugged this one:

Kansas Sampler 2015

She’s weird.

Kansas Sampler 2015

Kansas Sampler 2015

And she wanted to take this one homeKansas Sampler 2015

Then someone spotted a “real teeter totter.” I was pumped about this, I haven’t seen one of those in…well, since I was small enough to play on them. Apparently our kids have no idea what a “real teeter totter” is. Cause this ain’t one guys.

Kansas Sampler 2015

Thanks Ron and Stacey for the tickets!! We had a great time!!



Random pics from lately!

Again with the selfies when the “Littlests” get together!


When our kids are bad we put them in the truck.


Kidding. We put them in cubbies.


Kidding. We tie them up.


When Brian’s in charge, the answer to “can I go down that slide?” is always “Sure!” "Sure you can!" - Dad who doesn't do laundry

It’s bike season!! Our favorite time of year!

Brian took Beckham mountain bike riding!upload


And he took me road biking



We rearranged some beds, and a fort was made, of course!

Walk for Life for Life Choice Ministries! Great organization, great friends!

Walking For Life

These two are buds.



Being a dog…

St Louis 2015

Being Boo…upload

These were at K-State’s open house, loved the sign


Who doesn’t love hairnets? (our kids kept theirs so they could play “lunch”)


Who needs a country club when you have a big box? Psh. (At least the girls dressed the part!)

I now have a definition of classy white trash. #tennis #mhk

Our SP is a thinker.


This Messy American Life

Messy American Life

Let us remember, our God is a redeeming God, not a “complaining god,” not a “hashtag solution god,” not a “who can we find to blame god,” but a redeeming God.

A God who when he saw that the world was a mess of sin and guilt provided not awareness or hashtags, but solution. More than that, he gave himself as the solution.

In the world we live it is no profound thing to observe that the world is messy. For that all we need to do is walk out our front door, or not, stay in and you’ll see that world is messy. The profound thing that our redeeming God calls us to is not disgruntled observation, but actual love. It’s investing in efforts, in work, in life, in others, in so many risk taking endeavors.

So when we find ourselves walking in a door and finding a messy floor, and messy beds and messy dishes and possessions scattered about and we are tempted to condemn and publicly tear down the owner of this home, we must stop and remember the door we walked through was our own house. We live here. This is our mess.

So then let us ask ourselves, how can my words and my actions work towards a solution? Can I affirm the people who have cleaned up the mess in the living room even if they have not yet cleaned up the mess in the kitchen (which in my opinion was the more pressing issue to deal with)?

I’m thankful today for the Christians in Manhattan who are giving their time to find funds for children living in poverty across the globe. Those who are serving meals to the homeless, the unemployed and the underemployed members of our society. Those who are giving their time to build homes for families, who are showing hospitality to foreign exchange students. Who advocate in the courts for teens who have need of an advocate. The men & women who gather the excess food in this community to distribute to those with need. Those who show simple hospitality to neighbors in the name of Christ. To those who are discipling the children they have been gifted with. Those who are a voice for the unborn children who have no voice. Those who protect women facing violence.  In short, those who have loved others as they respond to the deep and eternal love they have received from Christ our savior (1 John 4:19). 

This day, I’m thankful that through the love of the saints God has made our messy world a little less messy.