Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Your Love"

After you watch this super fun video, go read up in your Bible Psalm 103: 8-12.
Wait, here it is...
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love.

He will not always accuse us or be angry forever.
He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our offenses.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his faithful love toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

I added the breaks to give you a chance to ponder each section.
When I first read these verses in preparing to help at the Worship Arts Camp this past week, I just clumped the whole thing together. That's right- I skimmed over it. I said, "Eh, I guess that will work." and I didn't get much out of it. But as we learned and memorized these individual sections each day of the camp, my heart was softened towards how great God's love is for me. Compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, rich in faithful love, not always (meaning forever be) accuse, nor angry forever. You would have been hard pressed to find me exhibiting these qualities, especially last week. Nope, you could turn all of those into Mindy is NOT compassionate, nor gracious. She is fast to anger, rich in love (for herself!). She likes to be angry forever always with a wagging, pointing, accusing finger.
You know what this deserves.

But the Lord?
The Lord does not deal with me like I deserve (or I wouldn't be writing this right now). 
The heavens are high. We've had about 5 perfectly puffy cloud blue sky days this summer so far (or so it seems). Look at this picture. 

In all this expanse, the Lord's love fills to full and overflowing!
I've confessed my sins and He has not just brushed them to the side, but removed them. Completely. No hidden stains to surface later on.

Oh, I'm going to blow it again and again. But each time, He is going to be right there. His love is more than my sin. When I think about that, my heart dances, just like these kids do!
I should also mention that Audrey is in the video!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Junk Re-Funkery Fun


chalkboard center


Angie and Meggan


a (very blurry) cement trowel


“C” is corrugated letters


not at the Junk Re-Funkery, but still a clever idea

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Patriotic Classical Music

Along with those grilled burgers, potato salad, Rainbow Gelatin Cubes, and apple pie, it’s time to put a little music to all the 4th festivities. I know you’ve got all your faves already so I want to give you just one classical album to add to your listening.

This one, Americana. It’s a collection of many different composers and pieces. Many you will have heard before and though not written specifically for Independence Day, the pieces evoke a sense of patriotism and purpose.


There is only one piece, Shenandoah, that I personally don’t prefer. That’s my opinion. Buy the album, listen, skip over what you don’t like.

In my hometown, the local radio station would play patriotic music during the fireworks. I think that’s a great idea. Maybe you could squeeze in a couple of these into the mix this year.

If you have other classical patriotic pieces you’d love for us to listen to, leave a comment telling us.

Happy listening!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rainbow Gelatin Cubes

Last Easter I posted this recipe but I never showed any pictures. I only know of one person, Stephanie, who told me she made it for her girls.

Here’s the deal. This July 4th, I think you should make it. If you are having a little get-together more than likely there will be kids there. And if your kids are anything like my kids, potato salad, baked beans and coleslaw aren’t their favorite side dishes. Now they will have something else to eat besides chips. If you don’t have any kids, this will make you a star to the parents and kids.

Like the title suggests, you need to plan ahead. I figure it takes about 2 1/2 hours to make plus more overnight time to chill thoroughly.

These are the ingredients you need plus water . Make the layers any color you want. I love this Tupperware container. The jello doesn’t stick like it might in a glass or metal dish. If you need Tupperware, I can hook you up. Winking smile


Get a helper if you can. Because they like stirring things. However, since this takes such a long time, the kids might get bored and wander away. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out how to handle that situation.


This is the soften gelatin/condensed milk. And iced coffee (without the ice). Okay, it was watered down lukewarm coffee. Crying face


Here it is chillin’ in the fridge. 20 minutes. No more, no less or out pops a jello baby.


Just kidding. See the layers? Fun! Yummy!


Here’s the empty pan. I took this to our block party and as you can see, they loved it! I didn’t get a shot of a single serving because of being at the block party. Grabbing my camera and taking a picture of my jello might have been a little awkward in front of my neighbors.


Rainbow Gelatin Cubes

4 packages (3 oz. each) assorted flavored gelatin
6 envelopes unflavored gelatin, divided
5 ¾ c. boiling water, divided
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
¼ c. cold water

In a bowl, combine one package flavored gelatin and one envelope unflavored gelatin. Stir in 1 c. boiling water until dissolved. Pour into a 9 x 13 inch pan that is coated with non-stick spray. Refrigerate until almost set but not firm, about 20 minutes.
In a bowl, combine the condensed milk and 1 cu. boiling water. In another bowl, sprinkle two envelops unflavored gelatin over the cold water; let stand for 1 minute. Stir in ¾ c boiling water. Add to the milk mixture. Pour 1 c. of the creamy gelatin mixture over the first flavored gelatin layer. Refrigerate until firm, about 25 minutes.
Repeat from beginning of recipe three times, alternating creamy gelatin layers with flavored gelatin. Chill each layer until firm before pouring next layer on top. Refrigerate for at least an hour after completing last layer before cutting into 1 inch squares.
Makes about 9 dozen cubes (if you cut really small) recipe from a Taste of Home submission

Friday, June 24, 2011

I’m Running

This is a journal entry from almost a month ago as I was finishing up my studio teaching. It was an unsettling time for me.

These particular lyrics kept making their way to the forefront of my thoughts during that time.

I’m running to your arms

The riches of this world

will never be enough

Nothing compares to knowing You.

So I asked this:

God, if this is true, and I know it is true, let me see. I’m scared. I’m sad. I’m going forward, not teaching, letting go. It’s unknown territory. And I don’t like being uncomfortable.

Let my mind be your mind. Will you make me what I’m supposed to be? Let me focus on you. I’m running.

And this is how He answered me:

We live by faith, not by sight. 2 Cor. 5:7

If I’m going to be who you want me to be then it’s going to be by faith, the solid rock. I’m not going to know.

So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 2 Cor. 5:9

Make it my goal. I love you. I want to please you. If that means not teaching because of what you want to do in me, then I’ll try to please you. That's not easy, though. I guess it wasn’t easy for you, either.

If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Cor. 5:13-15

Christ’s love compels me. That’s why I’m making these changes.

But deciding to make changes and actually making them are two different things. When the rubber hit the road (i.e. the last two days of lessons), I needed reassurance. He knew before I dared to voice my doubt by giving me the song. And when I finally did, He heard and He answered.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Brooks Hare Scramble

Here we go again… Open-mouthed smile

Bill and Ben took off this past Sunday for yet another race. This time it was in Brooks, IA (somewhere southwest IA). The rest of us weren’t able to make it because of other commitments.

I gave Bill the small camera to take pictures of Ben’s race and Ben to take pictures of Bill’s race.

When they got home, I looked at the pics and videos and…

they got nothin’!!!

Zip. Zero. No pictures or videos!!

I did get one text message during the day from Bill with a picture attached.

Did you know the Iowa Enduro Riding Association has a Facebook page? Oh yeah! And there’s one wife/mom who takes a lot of pictures so after sorting through bunches of pictures, I finally spotted my two riders.

Ben is much easier to spot because 1. there aren’t that many riders in the 50’s class and 2. he’s the only one with a blue helmet.

Bill is harder to spot because 1. there are a lot of orange bikes 2. there are quite a few riders in orange clothing 3. there are a lot of riders, 114 in this race. BUT I’ve become an expert at picking out my orange bike, orange clad guy because he does have orange and WHITE clothing and an entirely black helmet and his Camelbak is also black. (He’s very coordinated, which I love, of course. Ben’s clothing right now is not coordinated and Audrey in particular, is having a hard time with his outfit.Rolling on the floor laughing)

Ben is the front racer in this picture. Notice what he is doing? A WHEELIE!!

I guess this part was actually a little steep and there was this extra little ridge so Ben gave it some more power and it pulled the front wheel up. Ben also told me it wasn’t his first wheelie (with a big smile on his face). There were nine riders in his race and their course was 2 miles long and quite a bit more difficult than past courses.

Ben Brooks 1

Here is a nice sequence of Bill. Riding standing up is normal. It allows you to handle the bike more securely and with more control. Bill’s course was 8 miles long. The day was pretty warm.

Bill Brooks 1Bill Brooks 2Bill Brooks 3

I couldn’t wait to hear how the races went. But I didn’t know when they might be able to text or call and I was also in the middle of teaching Sunday School so I couldn’t exactly get to my phone. (“Kids, Joshua circled around Jericho seven times really fast on his motorcycle.” Not!) And when I did have a chance to check my phone, all I got was this picture.

Ben Brooks Win

What does this picture say to you?

To me it says, “Look, Mom, I got a medal because I participated in the race and in this race all riders got a medal. I also have a new shirt and cool hat somehow because you were just saying how I didn’t have any motorcycle hats and other clothing and for some reason this race had them available. I’m holding up 1 finger because I’m learning how to be awesome in front of the camera and I’m smiling because I LOVE RIDING MOTORCYCLES!!!”

What it really meant was “Mom, I got this medal, t-shirt and hat because I got FIRST PLACE!!!!!!!!!”


The longer, more technical track suits Ben’s riding better. That and also the fact that Ben is absolutely determined to try to place in the top 3 spots.

Bill finished 8th in his class. He finished. He raced harder. He got a better start. He had fun. And he doesn’t care about placing.

What we didn’t expect to get out of this race was a boy who couldn’t walk on his left leg. Ben somehow strained his hamstring and that ligament on the outside back of the knee. We’ve had it checked out and it’s already on the mend, thankfully.

There aren’t any more races coming up until September August (Bill corrected me) when things cool down again. That certainly doesn’t mean we are done with riding bikes though. Audrey got new boots, Ben’s new bike is barely broke in, Luke got to get that stopping without falling over thing down… we’ve just begun!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

He Can’t Even Tie His Shoes Yet


Want to see something?

Yes, that would be Luke. It was his second ride of the day. The first ride I captured with pictures.

What do you think?

Luke’s first job was to learn how to ride his regular bike without training wheels. He did that earlier this spring. Then his next job was to get better on two wheels. Check. Then he had to want to ride the motorcycle himself, not us pushing him to do it. Check. Since Ben got the orange KTM bike, Luke really saw the Yamaha as his bike and I think he was just itching to ride it.

A helmet is #1 necessary. The t-ball clothes not quite so necessary. Learning how to handle the throttle is important and you can hear Luke kind of rev it when he first gets going. Him falling over at the end… don’t panic. Stopping and not falling over is pretty hard to do. He’ll get better.

As if the video wasn’t enough, here’s a couple of pictures to go with the whole event.



We’re all pretty excited and proud of him. Now, on to shoes.

Friday, June 17, 2011


I know, again, with the Christmas in June thing… Sorry, I just didn’t know what title to put for Wednesday’s post. And now, of course, I can’t use those pictures for our Christmas card. Did you see any resemblances?

When my mom and uncle were cleaning out the farmhouse of my grandma’s things, they came across her collection of Nativity scenes. My mom thought maybe the great-grandkids would each like one. (Us daughters and daughter-in-law smiled politely.) So at the last cousin’s day at my house, I had Audrey and Cora help me unwrap and arrange all of them on the counter for the rest to come through and look at. Sort of like The House On the Rock, except much shorter and not nearly so claustrophobic.

At first, the girls weren’t too excited. Audrey balked at the idea because she said they wouldn’t be correct. The wise men were not at the stable; they came almost a year later!!! I said she didn’t have to help. However, one of the first boxes they pulled out was one with a button you pushed and out came the most obnoxious telling of the Christmas story along with a song and they were hooked. One manger scene had what they described as Peter Pan flying over (which was supposed to be the angel). They laughed, giggled and joked their way through the rest.

Nativity Collection

There were over 28 different scenes and then doubles of some and one triple! But you know what? I never remember seeing any of them.

They’re not worth much. Grandma picked them up either at Wal-Mart or Hy-Vee because she loved them.

The kids all paraded through and picked out one. The noisy one was the most popular and it is now on a rotating schedule- each year a different house (if it makes it that far).

Now, what do I do with the rest? Can you give a Nativity scene as a white elephant gift? Bingo prize? Buy a glass of lemonade, get a free Nativity scene?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Laughing To Come

I was all set today to write about the things I’m learning about change, fear, things God has been teaching me that I want to share with you but first I started out by getting into the Word and focusing on Him (quiet time). That’s when this hit me. I ran smack dab into this verse and it stopped me dead in my tracks.

She is clothed with strength and dignity;

she can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31:25 (NIV)

The NASB says: and she smiles at the future.

The Holman says: and she can laugh at the time to come.

Hello. If I have seen this verse before (which I have because I’ve read Proverbs 31 a million times), I have completely passed over it.

This is definitely not my mind set. I mean, look at the list laid out before her:

She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She gets up while it is still dark, provides food for her family, buys a field, plants a vineyard, opens her arms to the needy and poor, makes her own bedding, speaks wisdom and faithful instruction, etc. (loosely compiled from Proverbs 31:10-31)

When I look at this, a smile doesn’t caress my lips nor a melody of lilting laughter burst forth. No, more like a grimace and gritting of the teeth and perhaps a guttural grunt like those female tennis players.

I know this is a part of how God is shaping me and I need to know what this verse means. How does this look like in real life?

I also know He will lead me and show me in His time. However, can you help me start my understanding of this verse? Do you know of women who embody this verse? Share with me your thoughts, please. I look forward to hearing from you. 


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Logan Hare Scramble

Before a groan of “Oh, no, not another race!” escapes your lips, remember I told you I was behind on race coverage. After today, I’ll be caught up. That is unless the boys go to another race next weekend.

On to Logan…

Logan is about 2 hours west of us. We woke up bright and early, 5 am, packed our provisions, and hit the road at 6! Ay yi yi!!

Ben’s race was at 9:30. If you been paying attention, you will notice that Ben has a different colored bike. It’s not blue anymore. It’s orange. KTM orange! In my understanding (which is very limited, mind you), KTM orange is the best. I’ll share the story of Ben’s KTM orange at the end. For now, I’ll let some pictures do the talking.

Starting Line

Muddy Turn

Ben Logan 2

Ben Logan 3

Ben Logan 4

Ben’s new bike is such a recent purchase that the race was really his first real ride on it. Plus, there was this hill that you just saw, (and he did fall over his first time on it- but not during the actual race) so the fact that he placed 4th is huge. This week, there were medals for all the riders in his class. Want to see Ben smile? Start talking motorcycles with him. He can’t help it!

Ben Logan Medal

Bill’s race was at noon so there was some down time. Bill took a nap and the rest of us just hung out and ate our provisions. Smile

Luke wasted no time in transferring ownership of Ben’s old bike to himself. He’s got to get a leetle bit better on two non-motorized wheels before Dad will let him try out something with power.

Luke's New Ride

But one can still dream…


Bill didn’t know anything about the Logan race beforehand. You can see a small glimpse of one of the hills the racers had to maneuver. It’s a bit daunting. Ben and I ran up and down it and steep is the word that comes to mind. Bill found out later that this one was easy. The rest- not so much! It took him 45 minutes to get to where we were because of riders jamming up the hill climbs!! We saw him again 30 minutes later and again in 25 minutes. The first lap everything gets clogged up because the riders are close together. As the race goes on, riders spread out, drop out and you also know what to expect so times get faster.

Bill Logan 2Bill Logan 3

Bill Logan 4

Bill Logan 5

This time the track was 5 miles long. Waiting can get looooonnnggg! We had some visitors with us this race also, Bill’s parents.


Despite the long lap times, Bill did well. He finished the race- which is always his first goal. He learned A LOT- which is always another goal of his. He placed 3rd, which isn’t a goal of his, but I like to mention it.

Now for the story of Ben’s new KTM orange bike.

Bill was thinking aloud that Luke will be younger than Ben was when he starts riding/racing. If Luke shows any vengeance for riding like Ben has, he will be riding longer in the younger class than Ben. (Ben will have to move up next year.) That being said, Luke really would need a more powerful bike than what we have now. Ben, sitting in the back seat of the van, reading a book, and not really paying attention, suddenly springs to life pointing out that Dad could buy the bike now for Ben to ride. *chuckle, chuckle* I look at Bill and say that I agree with Ben. Ben doesn’t really have any shot at competing against the stronger bikes in his class with his little bike now. Besides learning how to just handle a more powerful bike, Ben also has to learn how to race against others. Can’t do that with a wimpy bike. Winking smile

The short of the story… Bill hopped on Craig’s List Tuesday night, found the bike he was looking for in great shape, great price on Wednesday morning, picked it up Wednesday night, got a little work on it Saturday afternoon and Ben raced it Sunday morning!

The End

I could see this morphing into a “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” type story. Can’t you?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dayton Hare Scramble

You don’t know it, but I’m a little bit behind in blogging and in race coverage. I realize that you’re fine with that. All of you, except my unidentified secret blog readers who live for the thrill of reading about my boys racing. Open-mouthed smile (I know you’re out there, feel free to say hi, you’re safe here.)

Okay, so on to the thrill…

Sunday, June 5,

Dayton, Iowa,

a farm lot and some timber,

gasoline, oil, mud, noise,

moms, dad, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents.

The 50’s class, featuring Ben!!

Ben Dayton 5 Dads stay very close to their racers. They are needed to sometimes help start the bike, help pick up fallen riders, and in this race, direct riders around the course.

Ben Dayton 6

Ben Dayton 8

Grandmas are needed to say little prayers and be completely biased fans. Brothers are needed to time laps and play with Mom’s cell phone when they are bored.

All Three

Ben Dayton 1Ben Dayton 2Ben Dayton 7Ben Dayton 4Ben Dayton 3

“Can I ride some more?” The kid is addicted!

After Race Smile

Then we have Bill’s race. The course was 6 miles long so we only saw him a handful of times over the time of 2 hours. Do you need me to explain the timing/scoring thing to you? Keep reading.

Bill Dayton 1Bill Dayton 2Bill Dayton 3Bill Dayton 4Bill Dayton 5

Race results: Ben got 4th place! Bill got 3rd! He did get a plaque and I did take a picture but I am not allowed to show you a picture. It was the birthday boy’s request. Actually, I can never show you another picture on here of Bill’s trophies and stuff because if I do, he might not let me have this blog anymore.

So here’s how the timing/scoring thing goes. It’s essentially the same for everyone.

For the mini’s (50’s, 65’s 85’s), racers ride for 30-45 minutes. The larger bikes ride for about 2 hours. Scorers keep track of how many laps are completed. Most laps wins. In this race, Bill got to the gates at 1:58 in and so he got another lap to try to finish.

There’s more, but *yawn*, I can tell you need a break.