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whenever that may be…

December 15, 2014

For as long as I can remember, I have had an unwavering love for capturing and recording life in photos and journals.  Everyone has their thing, I suppose.  For some it’s in the kitchen or on the ball field or behind a podium, but for me, it’s always been behind a camera.  Even in the era of disposable wind-up cameras, I single-handedly kept Walgreens in business.

It has been six years to the day since I began this blog and announced our pregnancy with Sam in 2008.  For me, this little space on the web has brought together my longtime love of photography and story-telling with friends and family and new readers (or rather, new friends) both near and far in such a significant way for which I am so thankful for.  I don’t regret a minute I have spent writing and sharing and photographing for this blog these past six years, but as wise Solomon said, ‘to every thing there is a season.’

In the past year and a half or so, for a number of different reasons, I have felt increasingly pulled away from sharing our lives through blogging. One very simple reason is time, or lack thereof.  Blogging takes time.  A lot of it! In the past, after the boys were tucked into bed, I would spend my time in the evenings editing photographs and sharing stories.  That worked for a season, but wisdom (and my to-do list!) tell me that that season is over and has been for some time.  If I want to be present with my family in the ways I desire to be and still do all the things God has given me to do during the day, it oftentimes means that I reserve a list of things to tackle for the evenings when I would be able to blog.  And if it’s between doing laundry or blogging, I just can’t justify taking my boys to church naked. Some people are really great at managing their time well, I’m one that really has to work hard at it.

I’m thankful for apps like Instagram that allow me a quick way to capture a photo and chronicle our days together without having to bring my nice and heavy camera with me everywhere we go.  I’m in the process of turning my Instagram photos into Chatbooks which I am very excited about.  I think they will be wonderful keepsakes for our family (and doting grandparents).


A second reason why I feel pulled away from blogging is because of the trend I’ve seen flood the blogosphere in the past couple of years. It seems to me that the highest virtue among many (not all, but many) mommy-bloggers these days is vulnerability and “keepin’ it real” for their readers.  Too often, though, this comes at the expense of their children. It’s a virtue I don’t hold dear and am not willing to partake in. I wince every time I read a post describing in detail the disobedience and misconduct of one’s children.  I’m so very thankful that blogs were not around when I was growing up. My children’s sin and disobedience is ultimately between them and the Lord and as their mother I want to protect them in the same way Aslan protected Edmund.

“…and there they saw Aslan and Edmund walking together in the dewy grass, apart from the rest of the court. There is no need to tell you (and no one ever heard ) what Aslan was saying, but it was a conversation which Edmund never forgot. As the others drew nearer Aslan turned to meet them, bringing Edmund with him. “Here is your brother,” he said, “and— there is no need to talk to him about what is past.”  -The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis

In other words, once my children have been restored to the Lord and their family, their sin is not up for discussion or for sharing on this blog. It has already been dealt with.

Two articles that I’ve been influenced by on this very same issue that I think hit the nail on the head is this one from Jen Wilkin (“Do we miss the truth that our families need our discretion far more than our blog followers need our authenticity?”) and this excellent one from Megan Hill.

This is not a post to end all posts, I’m sure I will still blog from time to time when something feels especially “blog-worthy”, but I do hope this does give some explanation to those who’ve asked, “So…why don’t you blog anymore?”

Until next time! (whenever that may be…)

state fair 2014 :: in pictures

August 31, 2014

Just a few state fair pictures this year with my camera, far more taken on my phone (which seems to be the trend for me these days)! We had a great time this year, as we usually do, at Minnesota’s Great Get-Together.  From the animals to the food to the rides to the cool weather we enjoyed- our trip this year didn’t disappoint.

In talking with friends about the fair, I’ve learned that people either love it or hate it.  And those who love it, really love it.  Same goes for those who don’t.  We fall into the group that really loves this place, and to add to the fun, our boys are getting to the age that they remember past visits with excitement.

As we were driving home from the fairgrounds (around eleven at night), Sam pipes up from the backseat and said through a yawn, “This was the best trip to the fair we’ve ever had!”

State Fair 2014

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State Fair 2014-9

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State Fair 2013

State Fair 2012

State Fair 2011

State Fair 2010

State Fair 2009

party at the park

July 30, 2014

During the last week of our summer vacation in Texas, we celebrated the boys’ birthdays with a joint party at the park.  When we asked Sam and Peter how they would like to celebrate, they both agreed that a water balloon fight would be the way to go. So we did, and I think Joe would tell you that his hands are still sore from filling up a few hundred balloons.

Despite the looming fear of thunderstorms and a pesky park ranger who had too much time on his hands, we had a great time. After stuffing themselves with pizza, fruit and cupcakes, the kids played to their hearts’ content and had a water balloon fight that our boys are still talking about.  Just yesterday, Sam remarked, “Mom! I didn’t even see your aunt and uncle (who were definitely there) at our birthday party because I was having too much fun!”  

What more could we have hoped for?

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happy 3rd birthday, peter!

July 14, 2014

Peter's 3rd Birthday

Three years ago today, around two o’clock in the afternoon, we were all making our last guesses as to whether or not we would soon be holding a little boy or girl in our arms .  Many thought we would be having a daughter that day, but to our great delight, we had our Peter William. He was born quickly (comparatively to his brother’s birth) and his Daddy exclaimed, “It’s a BOY!” I’ll never forget how he felt in my arms that day or the shrill of his first squeal. He was making his presence known and has been making me laugh ever since.

I’ve never met a personality quite like my Peter’s.  He marches to the beat of his own drum and I don’t just mean that figuratively, I mean it quite literally. He doesn’t walk. He marches. Wherever he goes, whatever he does, he is taking the world by storm, leading the charge, still making his presence known. Though he be but small, he is fierce. Though he be but fierce, he is tenderhearted. A lover and a fighter. Bold and shy. Barefoot and wild. Silly and sweet. Adorable and a complete stinker. Feisty and utterly hilarious. We would not change a single thing about him.

There is no one else in the world quite like Peter and it is our great joy to celebrate him today on his third birthday.  We love you, son, and we are so grateful to Jesus for the gift of your life.

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What day is today, Peter? “A birthday”

How old are you? “Three”

Who made you? “Jesus”

Where do you live? “Papa and Sassy’s house”

What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy? “Play puzzles at home”

What is your favorite thing to do with Mommy?  “Play puzzles at home”

What is your favorite thing to do with Sam? “I don’t want to do anything with Sam”

Who is your best friend? “Mommy and Daddy”

What is your favorite book? “Curious George”

What character in a book do you like best? “George”

What Bible verse is your favorite? “Jesus loves me”

What is your favorite thing to build? “Sandcastles”

What is your favorite food to eat? “Pepperoni Pizza”

What is your favorite thing to play? “Puzzles”

Where do you love to visit? “Papa and Sassy’s”

What song do you like to sing the most? “Jesus loves me”

If you could buy anything at the store, what would it be? “Books”

What is your favorite animal? “Giraffes”

If you could buy someone a gift, what would you buy and who would it be for? “Curious George book for Papa and Sassy”

What would you like to do when you grow up? “Be Jesus”

What do you enjoy doing outside? “Play with toys”

What holiday do you love celebrating? “Christmas”

What is your favorite restaurant? “Noodles and Company”

What is your favorite special treat? “Popsicles”

If you could be like anybody when you grow up, who would it be? “Jesus”

What do you love most about being a little brother? “I love Sam”

What do you want to do today on your birthday? “Look at penguins”

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happy 5th birthday, sam!

June 24, 2014

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It was not that long ago, it seems, when we were holding him in our arms for the very first time.  We tried not to blink, but despite our best efforts, here we are celebrating his fifth birthday!

As sweet as those first years were with our Sam, we don’t ever want to begrudge our children growing older.  We want to love and delight in each season of their lives more than the one before. So that is what our hope is for today, not to wish this time away and pine for the baby days, but to celebrate the incredible little boy God is growing up right in front of our eyes.

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So on your fifth birthday, our dear boy, here are five ways we see God’s gracious hand uniquely at work in your life, ways in which we are so thankful.

1.) You protect. Just in the last year or so, we’ve seen such a quick instinct to protect those around you.  Whether it is ensuring that everyone you are with gets on the elevator safely before the doors shut or standing between your brother and the cars as we walk across the street.  You are brave and you are quick to watch out for those around you, especially if you think they could get hurt.  We love this about you, Sam.  God is like this.  He protects those he loves and keeps them from harm.   We pray God only strengthens this trait in you.

2.) You are tenderhearted. One of our favorite settings to see you in is when you are around those younger than you, especially babies.  You are thoughtful and caring and gentle and so adoring of little ones.  When we babysit, you take charge.  You entertain, anticipate needs, work hard, and are so tender with them.  Already at five years old, we are getting a taste of the kind of father you will be one day and it makes us proud.

3.) Wherever you are, you’re all there. Whatever you do, you do it with all of your heart. You have a passionate,  full-of-life personality.  You are passionate about your family. Passionate about your friends.  Passionate about stories, learning, and playing.  Passionate about food.  Passionate about life.  Passionate about imagining.  You teach us daily to live with all of our might.

4.) You are attentive. Nothing gets by you. You have a steel trap for a memory.  Whether it be places we’ve been, songs we’ve sung, experiences we’ve shared, people you’ve met, conversations you’ve had, or things your parents have misplaced- you remember every detail and are quick to remind us if we forget.  God is like this too, counting hairs on every head and never losing sight of even the smallest sparrow.

5.) You rise to the challenge.  You love to lead.  Even your preschool teacher told us that you are a leader with many followers! You love to direct and take charge and include everyone, whether it be in imaginary play or a game of baseball in the front yard, you want to make things happen. We pray God takes this good instinct that he fashioned in you and uses it to love people and lead them to his Son.

Happy 5th Birthday, Samuel Jonathan!  Having a front row seat to your life these past five years has been one of the greatest honors of our lives. Our cup runneth over for you, sweet child. 

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An Interview with Sam on his Fifth Birthday:

What day is today, Sam?: “My birthday!”

How old are you? “Five.”

Who made you? “God”

Where do you live? “Minnesota”

What is your favorite thing to do with Daddy?  “Wrestle”

What is your favorite thing to do with Mommy? “Make tortillas”

What is your favorite thing to do with Peter? “Play puzzles”

Who is your best friend? “Peter and Colin and Rylee and Carson and Coleman and Lily and JJ and Julia and Elizabeth and Hannah Kate and  Micah and John Owen, but Peter is my best friend”

What is your favorite book? “Silver Chair, Horse and His Boy, and The Last Battle”

What character in a book do you like best? “Edmund, Aslan, and Tirian”

What is your favorite Bible Story? “Jesus dying on the cross”

What is your favorite thing to build? “Block cities”

What is your favorite food to eat? “Mac and Cheese”

What is your favorite thing to play? “Baseball, except it’s really Tee-ball”

Where do you love to visit? “Texas”

What song do you like to sing the most? “Oo-de-lally” (Theme song for Robin Hood)

If you could buy anything at the store, what would it be? “Toys”

What is your favorite animal? “Buffalos and Horses”

If you could buy someone a gift, what would you buy and who would it be for? “A piggy bank for Carson and Coleman”

What would you like to be when you grow up? “A house builder”

What do you enjoy doing outside? “Play at the playground and water balloon fights”

What holiday do you love celebrating? “Christmas”

What is your favorite work to do at school? “Math”

What is your favorite restaurant? “Chipotle”

What is your favorite special treat? “Donuts”

What do you love most about being a big brother? “I like to play with Peter”

What do you want to do today on your birthday? “Eat cupcakes”

What was your favorite thing about being four? “Going to Lily’s birthday party!”

What are you most excited about in turning five?! “Doing math at school!”

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“…in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

May 29, 2014

It doesn’t seem that long ago when the wardrobe doors opened for the first time and ushered our little Sam inside, eleven months to be exact.

Tonight, before Sam was tucked into bed, Joe read aloud the very last chapter of  The Last Battle, a day that has been highly anticipated in our home in recent months.

It’s hard to measure or describe the shape our family has taken this past year because of these stories, but even more so because of the profound effect they’ve had on our son. After each book was read aloud by Joe, we would then let Sam listen to the audio version for a few weeks before moving on to the next book in the series. This proved to only deepen Sam’s fascination and love for the world of Narnia- a flame which we were happy to fan.  Those closest to us know that if you want to reach in and open up Sam’s heart and mind (and mouth for hours on end), a sure way to do that is through his dear friends Peter and Edmund and Aslan and Lucy.

When a friend of ours asked Sam if he would be sad when the last Narnia book was done, Sam confidently said:

“Nope, because after the 7th book is the 8th!”

Could there be such a book? our friend wondered. 

“Yep!  The Adventures of Edmund!  I’m writing it!”

Sam continued with an excited grin on his face …

“I’m pretending to be C.S. Lewis!”

So what will we do now that we’ve finished? Where will we go from here?  It seems the only answer that will suffice is this:

It’s time to begin again…

Last Battle

book club selections :: 2014-2015

April 29, 2014
Last night, my book club met and selected the books for our 2014-2015 reading list.  June marks the beginning of our fifth year together, and I must say that of all the reading lists we’ve selected over the years, this might be my favorite. There isn’t a book on the list that I’m not excited to read.
I often get asked from others what I’m reading in book club,  so I post our booklists here for you in case you would like to read along or just tuck the list away as a reference for later.  
June- The School of Essential Ingredientsby Erica Bauermeister
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July- On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darknessby Andrew Peterson
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August- Strong Poison by Dorothy L. Sayers
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September- The Little Way of Ruthie Leming: A Southern Girl, a Small Town, and the Secret of a Good Lifeby Rod Dreher
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October- David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell
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November- Mary Poppinsby P.L. Travers
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December- Holiday Inn, by Kevin Kling
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January- Hinds Feet on High Placesby Hannah Hurnard
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February- The Things of Earth: Treasuring God by Enjoying His Giftsby Joe Rigney
(Coming January 2015, Crossway Books)
March- A Wrinkle in Timeby Madeleine L’Engle
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April- And the Mountains Echoedby Khaled Hosseini
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May- The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulaneby Kate DiCamillo
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If you are interested to see what we’ve read in years past…

Book Club Selections :: 2013-2014

Book Club Selections :: 2012-2013

Book Club Selections :: 2011-2012

Book Club Selections :: 2010-2011

A Poem for Mommy on her 32nd Birthday

April 25, 2014

Vikings Playground-1

There’s a few things that we’d like to say
On this your very special day,
To remind you of God’s faithfulness
To guard and keep and richly bless.
So hear these words from your three guys
Of what we’ve seen with our own eyes
That proves to us that God loves you
As much as anyone could do.
Remember when God gave you me
Because you asked on bended knee?
How you prayed for years and years
Through fear and hope and sometimes tears?
And then he answered with great joy
And blessed you with a firstborn boy?
So when you wonder if God’s near
Just look at me and know he hears.
Remember how you were surprised
When our family grew in size
without your efforts or long prayers-
God just gave to show he cares?
And sent a Pumpkin, full of zest,
Your Father knows what you need best.
So when your faith is tired and weak
Know God can answer before you speak.
Remember when you fell in love
And prayed that God in pow’r would move
To change the heart of your man-to-be?
(The winner in that change was me).
For nine full years he’s knit our hearts
And guarded us from fiery darts
He’s filled our lives with tears and joys
and blessed us with the sweetest boys.
He’s met our needs through thick and thin
Through family, jobs, and gen’rous friends.
We’ve never lacked, he’s never failed
His purposes always prevailed.
So when you’re troubled in your soul
Know your prayers are in God’s bowl
And they will rise like incense sweet
To Him who sits on Mercy’s Seat.
So on this day, we thank our God
For Wife and Mom whom we applaud.
We see God’s love for us in you
And know his promises hold true.
He’s proved himself the Faithful One
And given us his Only Son
The Greatest Gift, and more he brings;
He’ll surely give us all good things.
by: Joe Rigney


resurrection people

April 20, 2014

“…I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die…” John 11:25-26

Easter 2014

Sam’s ENT Special

April 5, 2014

This Monday will mark three weeks since our Sam began his recovery from surgery.  After months and months of recurring hearing and sleep apnea issues, we met with our wonderful ENT specialist who performed Sam’s first Myringotomy.  It was then determined that he needed a second myringotomy, adenoidectomy, and tonsillectomy- an ENT Special, if you will.  The doc said he would feel like a “new kid” after all this is over and we were anxious for him to be helped in this way.

The staff at Children’s Hospital was top notch.  They went above and beyond to prepare and reassure Sam (and us!) about everything leading up to the surgery.  In all honesty, Sam thought it was the best day of his life (that is until they wheeled him out of the ICU and the morphine began to wear off), he loved everything from the hospital toys and bubblegum flavored gas mask to the fun oversized jammies and the limitless supply of popsicles and juice he was offered.

A significant gift during this whole ordeal was that my mom was able to come and help.  Sam was more or less on bedrest for about a week and didn’t begin feeling more like himself until the end of week two.  Since a tonsillectomy is such a painful surgery, we had to wake up every three hours throughout the night for almost two weeks to administer pain meds and get him to drink more fluids- it was like we had a newborn again and were no doubt exhausted. My mom was there to help care for Sam, keep the house running, and to bathe a cute little brother.  [This is just a sidenote, but worth mentioning: Joe and I could not be more grateful for our moms and the way they serve us.  Just last month, Joe’s mom came to town and served our family in this exact same way so I could go on a much-needed retreat with friends.]

Sam has recovered wonderfully! We can already tell a significant difference in his hearing and will know even more about his recovery next week at his post-op appointment. Until then, here are just a few pics from the day.

Sam's Tonsillectomy

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We had some rough nights and a few hiccups during recovery, but we knew we were in good hands…

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