Sunday, February 12, 2012

Be My Valentine

This year we decided to do Valentine’s a little different. It’s Daniel’s first year in school, so he really didn’t know he NEEDED Spiderman Valentines from Target and lots and lots of chocolate, so I thought it’d be fun to help him have the most creative and fun Valentines in the class. After decorating his box, we began the task of creating swirly Valentine’s crayons.

First we went to Target and found a Valentine’s muffin tin. Then we soaked the wrappers off all our old, broken crayons and broke them up and put them in the muffin tin, which we had sprayed with nonstick coating.



We then melted the crayons for about 5 minutes in a 250 degree oven. Once they were cool, we dumped them out on wax paper to continue hardening.


I then printed up a message, “You Color My World” on the computer which Daniel glued to construction paper and added the names of his classmates and then attached each unique, swirly crayon to it with double-sided foam tape. Voila! Adorable, homemade Valentines!



Sunday, January 8, 2012

Not Me!!!

I know everyone thinks I have three children, but in actuality there is a fourth, unseen, little gnome that lives around here. I’ve never actually seen him, but I know he exists. His name is Notme. Sometimes I feel Notme’s presence behind me and I think if turn around really fast I’ll see his shadow fleeing down the hallway. I also have a sneaking suspicion that Notme lives in other homes as well.

How do I know for certain Notme exists?

Q: “Who left the empty milk jug in the fridge?”

A: “Notme!”

Q: “Who was the last one to go to the bathroom without replacing the toilet paper!?”

A: “Notme!”

Q: “There was an entire package of Oreos this morning and now only 3 left. Who ate them all?”

A: “Notme!”

Q: “Who wants to help me with dinner?”

A: “Notme!”

Notme also has two brothers that show up from time to time. Their names are Idon’tknow and What!?

I do have another sneaking suspicion though that Notme, Idon’tknow and What look something like this:

Enger Tower-4

Let me know if you’ve seen them!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

What a Girl Wants

This Christmas Elf was perusing the aisles of Target for last minute stocking stuffers on the 23rd when her cart was inexplicably taken over by forces outside of her control and forced, yes FORCED, into the shoe aisle. I don’t know how this happens to me, but it just does. It’s like an out of body experience. I just wake up the next morning, poorer, covered with new shoes. Truly!

Anyway, the Christmas Elf suddenly discovered lots and lots of size 7 1/2’s 70% off! What’s an Elf to do when she’s supposed to be getting stocking stuffers? She texted pictures back home to her daughter of sparkly gold shoes, red high heels and black shearling boots, “Tell me NO!!! please!” Elfie’s daughter said, “Those are not stocking stuffers!”

But alas, what a girl wants a girl gets. They were only $10!IMG_4419

To be fair the little Elf decided to bring home a pair of shoes for her little Elf-lette at home. I mean every girl wants shoes at Christmas, right?

Elf-lette was happy! IMG_4420

Elf-lette also learned well from Mama Elf. Mama Elf also had another pair of shoes under the tree from Elf-lette. A rockin’, wicked pair of shoes.


Go Elf-lette!!!

The littlest Elf-lette of all however, took the cake. He knew that every girl wants jewelry for Christmas. Little Elf-lette went shopping at the Santa Store at school several weeks ago and has hardly been able to contain his excitement for his mama Elf’s gift. He handed me a little jewelry box and said, “You’re gonna scream!”

Inside was a precious, fake ring. But, to little Elf-lette’s innocent eyes, it looked like a pure gold, sparkly real diamond ring. And Mama Elf wears it with pride. Little Elf-lette knows the real joy of Christmas. Every girl wants a gift that comes from a sincere heart of love.


Friday, December 23, 2011

I Like Your Toe Nails

It’s Christmas. Ahhh, that joyous time of year when the little ones are home from school which means. . .yelling, screaming, slamming doors, tears, boredom. What’s a mommy to do? This mommy took off work for a week just to be the PeaceKeeper. Not a good or Peace-On-Earth kind of scenario at all!

I was stalking my friends on Facebook today as my two boys were fighting over the couch.

“Nate, get your toe off of me.”

“I was here first Daniel.”

“No you weren’t.”

“Yes, I was.”


“So get off the couch.”

Finally in my calmest, most sensible Mommy voice I did what any Mom would do. I yelled.


The little one left sniffling for his room.

Then on one of my friend’s Facebook pages I saw that she too was struggling with the same thing. And SHE had a friend who had a suggestion. So, I tried it.

I called Nate and Daniel back out, made them sit next to each other on the couch and told them they couldn’t get up til they looked at each other and said 5 nice things about each other.

The third thing that came out of Daniel’s mouth was, “Nate, I like your toe nails.”


They started giggling. Then they hugged. Mission accomplished.

As I write the two oldest are doing this exercise.

“Laura I like your jeans, I like you more than dirt.”

Sigh. Well, it’s a start.

And don’t forget, I like your toe nails.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Great Things About the South

I believe in making lemonade out of lemons and laughing when you feel like crying. So, although moving was super hard, I’ve come up with a lot of things already that are great about living in the South.

1. It’s warm. I mean, really, truly warm. Today it was nearly 70 on December 2nd. I had the windows open. The sun was shining and the birds were singing. Who cares if it doesn’t feel like Christmas? I’d rather feel like summer.

2. On that note, I can wear sandals in the winter! Yes!

3. Sweet tea.

4. Within 5 minutes of my house is a Starbucks. Also several grocery stores. Widen the radius to 10 minutes and we have a SuperTarget, Ulta, Bath and Body Works, Kohls, Old Navy, Payless Shoes and just about any restaurant you could want.

5. Yet on the other hand, the view out my back deck is nothing but woods and pine trees. It feels like we live in a little cabin in the woods. It’s quiet and peaceful here in our little Georgia home.

6. Apparently there are no need for ice scrapers here. I asked for one the other morning. “A what!” my friend, Cody replied. “You know an ice scraper to get the ice off my window.” He just looked at me funny, prancing with impatience to GET GOING HELLO!? and sipped his coffee. “We don’t have those here.” “What do you DO!?”  He just looked at me like I was an idiot, “We wait for it to melt.” Oh. Stupid me, of course!!

7. You can carry a handgun in Georgia. I don’t know, I just have always wanted to. So I’m gonna. :) Seriously, I saw this dude on his motorcycle with a gun in a holster on his hip! Whoa, that’s cool.

8. Best of all, I have fast internet. So I can use Facebook and Skype to keep in touch with all my Minnesota friends that I miss so much!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What I’ve Learned

We’ve lived more than 9 years here in Duluth. That’s the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere in my entire 38 years. It’s hard to say good-bye. We truly thought we’d call Duluth home forever and it’s hard to find out it’s not going to be; to pack up and find ourselves finding a home in a new, unfamiliar area of the country. I am a completely changed person than I was 9 years ago. I was 29 with a newborn when we moved here. I’m now nearing forty, with a teenager driving, a middle schooler and a 9 year old.

Some stream-of-consciousness ramblings from my nearly-middle-aged brain as I set out on a new adventure.

1. I am fiercely loyal to my friends. That has always been true, but is even more so after this season here in Fond du Lac. If I have told you I love you, I will love you and defend you til my death. I will sacrifice my personal reputation and comfort for my friends.

2. On the opposite side of this I’ve discovered what a true friend is; and is not. If you say you are my friend but in the end don’t bother to hear my story, remain loyal to me or support me in crisis, I will drop you like a hot potato. I’ve learned a true friend supports you through thick and thin and you can say anything and they will listen to you. A true friend will love you will all your faults and is there at a moments notice. A true friend believes the best about you. I don’t need or have the time and energy for the drama of false friends. See ya later.

3. I have a voice. For many years I was afraid to speak my mind in my own home. I’ve learned that in order to have a marriage that works, you have to be honest. You have to be true to who you are and let the chips fall where they may. You have a voice, a dream that matters, and a personality that is all your own. It’s a gift to cherish.

4. I still hate to be cold. More than almost anything in the world I hate being cold. Not in the way like born and bred Minnesotans say, “Oh I hate the cold,” but being cold feels painful to me. And yet I’ve also learned how to thrive and adapt in the cold. I’ve learned to snowshoe, cross country ski and downhill ski. But, I still hate to be cold. SmartWool is my friend. And so is summer.

5. My love for shoes has only grown. There must be a drug in shoes. All I know is I’m addicted. If buying shoes is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

6. I’ve always identified myself as a “Christian.” And yet my faith has been rocked these past few years. Those who identify themselves that way have been the most spiteful, mean, gossiping people I’ve ever met in my life and have made our lives a literal living hell. And others who don’t necessarily wear any label at all except that of a good friend and neighbor have been the most kind, generous, loving and Christian people I’ve known. Here’s what I know for sure: Jesus is the Son of God and he died on the cross for my sins. Can we agree to disagree on the rest and quit being so spiteful? If being a “Christian” means I have to be in one group or the other, I choose the friends and neighbors who have had my back this year. God knows everyone’s hearts and you know, when you think about that, that’s a scary thing.

7. I’m not perfect. Whoa, shocking revelation, huh? I’ve always been a perfectionist and beat myself up when I’ve failed. But, I’ve failed big time these past few years. And my friends and family still love me. Wow.

8. I’m stronger than I think. I can handle way more than I ever thought possible. More physical hardship. More emotional hardship. I can bloom where I’m planted and stand on my own two feet. I am the hero in my own story.

9. Sometimes life turns upside down and completely not the way you thought it would. Things happen to you and your family that you never would have chosen for them. Being out of control of your life is sometimes not something you would choose, but it happens. I can’t protect my kids, but I can prepare them. I can do everything I can to help them be the strongest they can be for life’s ugly circumstances. Life just plain old sucks sometimes. I hate that I can’t make my kids life all rosy, but I can always, always be there for them. I am their Mom, I brought them into this world and I’m responsible to help them through the best way I know how. I have to accept I’m going to fail at that task too sometimes, but we’re all doing the best we can together.

10. Everything happens for a reason. ‘Nuff said.

11. Wearing a mask never works. We tried that one here in our family for a lot of years and eventually the facade cracks. The pastor’s family is a family just like yours. We have major issues. We come to the edge of divorce. We fight. We make mistakes. We learn and grow and change through them. But pretending everything’s ok when it’s not only hurts and makes things worse. Being honest with everyone around me is freaking people out right now, but it’s been so liberating! I highly recommend honesty.

12. The fishbowl life is not for me. I’ve done it for 16 years and I’m through. Although I’m broken-hearted to leave such good friends, I can’t tell you how excited I am to just be a normal family. This will be the first time we’ve ever chosen where we want to live, what house we want to live in, the jobs we want to do, the church we want to go to and the friends we want to have. I’m a live wire and now it totally doesn’t freaking matter what I say, wear, do, go, talk to, etc. I can breathe again.

13. Having neighbors who are also your friends is something I have wanted my whole life and I finally had that here in Fond du Lac. That is a huge blessing I do not take for granted. In this day and age you often can’t trust those you live next door to, but here we have had the best neighbors, whose homes have been our homes. We’ve been family to them. I know I want that again, but I don’t know if I’ll ever have it. I was lucky here, and I’m grateful.

14. The last year especially has been our most difficult year. It has separated the sheep from the goats if you will. We’ve discovered our true friends. I think this quote by Henri Nouwen sums up the most important lessons I’ve learned here:

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Southern Comfort

Well I just need a place to lay my head
Forget the chain that hangs around my neck
These guns are not as heavy as the hearts they defend
I can't wait to get back home where I can find some rest

When I lay down my guns and lift my hands
Surrender to Love and live again
May this desert reach its end where my new life begins
When I lay down my guns and lift my hands

And I have seen the devil in this place
And I lost myself when my friends found the grave
When you're this far from Heaven
It's hard to keep the faith
I'm barely holding on
I can't wait to

Lay down my guns and lift my hands
Surrender to Love and live again
May this desert reach its end where my new life begins
When I lay down my guns and lift my hands

And I'm laying down these burdens
Taking off the weights
And I can't count the miles that I've walked to find my way
To lay down these guns
How I need to lay down these guns
Lay down my guns and lift my hands
Surrender to Love and live again
May this desert reach its end where my new life begins
And I'll abandon my defenses and live to love again
When I lay down my guns and lift my hands

-Sanctus Real

It’s been said many times we are in a war. And in a war, there are often casualties. The ministry is the front lines of that war and our family has been on the front lines for 16 years. The past 3 or 4 we have taken particularly heavy fire. The losses and hits have been heavy. Nathan and I are wounded and bleeding and lying far apart on this battlefield. Our children are in between. Laura, who is old enough to understand the issues at stake in this war, is also bleeding profusely, dazed and confused. Nate and Daniel are stumbling around somewhere in between, ears ringing from the gunfire, unsure why the world around them has been shaken so severely.

The church was never intended to be this way. The church should build families up and bring them together and more than anything should support those who serve them and should build their faith. Unfortunately, our family is battered and bruised and my faith for sure is severely shaken.

Sometimes even the bravest, strongest, generals know that retreat is the wisest move. And so, our family is laying down our guns and retreating. We are gathering up our wounded, circling the wagons and retreating.

When we moved to Duluth nine years ago, we were in a similar, though not quite so severe situation. We hoped Fond du Lac would be a refuge for us. In a magazine from I found, and cut out, this little advertisement for Duluth. It’s been on my fridge for 9 years. It says this:

Maybe it’s time to recapture some of that youthful exuberance. Time to get out of Dodge, so to speak. Time to take the family away and bring them back together. Who knows? You could end up just as excited as you used to be.

And so that’s exactly what we are doing. We quit our jobs. We are moving South, far, far away to Atlanta, GA. We’re getting the heck outta Dodge. Nathan and I are leaving the ministry, the battle, the fishbowl. We’re going to try being “average joes” for awhile. Nope, we don’t know what we’re gonna do. And until 5 p.m. today we weren’t even sure exactly where we were gonna live. At least that is now taken care of.

I’m being perfectly open and honest here. The last few years have been hell for our family, our kids, our marriage. We are going to go try to put it all back together somehow. A fresh start. A new beginning. We may have lost a battle, but we haven’t lost the war.

Who knows? We could end up just as excited as we used to be.