Thursday, December 30, 2010

Oh, the weather outside is...

Question 3: If you got to choose the weather for one day, what would that day be like? Julie: 20 degrees and cloudy with light, fluffy snow all day. Amy: Sunny all day with an 80 degree high temp. No strong winds, just a light breeze. Katie: An autumn-like day with highs in the 60's.


Question 2: What movie character is most like you? Why? Julie: I would say Meg in "Little Women" because she's the dependable, practical oldest sister. Amy: I'm gonna pick Maria in "The Sound of Music," because she loves music and children. Katie: I'm going to go with Flo from "Finding Nemo" because she's goofy, but very caring.

Girls' Night In...

I (Amy) just spent a few delightful days of fellowship and fun with my dear friend Hannah T. We had a sweet time together playing music, shopping, sledding, playing games, watching good movies, trying out new hair styles, hosting a tea party, posing for pictures, talking late into the night, sipping hot cocoa and Russian tea, and eating some delicious chocolate :-). It was like the ultimate slumber party on steroids, since it lasted four days and three nights. Thanks, Hannah! Love you lots! Tonight finds Julie, Katie, and I pretending to be snowed in at home, enjoying each other's company and our last few days together before I leave for AZ and Katie's spring semester schedule kicks in. In honor of our girls' night in, we three sisters decided to start a string of interview posts to be published every couple of days for the next week or so. Hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoyed answering them! Question 1: If your sister were an animal, which one would she be and why? Amy and Katie decided that Julie is like a unicorn. She's beautiful inside and out, with a very classy style. She gets things done quickly and is good at planning ahead. She is very introverted but well-respected and a loyal friend. Julie is incredibly intelligent and skilled at many things, but is very humble. She is dependable and you can trust her with anything. Julie and Katie decided that Amy is like a dolphin. She's very graceful. She's very social and talkative. Just as dolphins often swim alongside boats, Amy is a very good companion. She's loyal and comforting. She has a beautiful smile and is always making people laugh. She likes to have fun and take care of those around her. Julie and Amy decided that Katie is like a cocker spaniel. She loves to laugh and have fun. She is a great tag-along and is always ready to go places. She is very loyal. She has big blue sparkly eyes and a contagious giggle. She is talkative and enjoys playing games with friends and family. She loves to be with people.

Monday, December 27, 2010

#19 & #20

My aunt is an eBay expert. I love this cute Amish couple she found!
This beautiful set was a gift from my grandparents.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I actually saw this set at a local store a month or so ago and pointed it out to Amy, and my wonderful friend Elena saw it and knew I would like it. I am so blessed!

Friday, December 17, 2010


We just finished our family Christmas, and along with many other wonderful gifts, I got the seventeenth addition to my salt and pepper shaker collection!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Break Time!!!

I (Amy) took my last final exam this afternoon. Know what that means? I am DONE. (Well, at least for this semester. :-) That's right! Three-and-a-half blissful weeks with no homework, no tests, and NO PAPERS have just begun. Thank You, Lord!!! Now the million dollar question is: What in the world am I going to do with myself??? I've got a few big plans already. My family and I will be spending a few days over the Christmas holiday with my dad's side of the family in Delano. Then a dear friend of mine will be coming here for a few days here before the New Year. And I get to spend the last week of my break soaking up the sun in AZ with my cousin. It's going to be great! My heart's desire is that I would glorify God with my spare time during this vacation. I want to serve Him by serving others. I want to learn more about His will for my life. I want to spend time reading His Word, singing praises to His name, and drawing close to Him in prayer. I want to spend time with the wonderful people He's placed in my life. Please pray that I will seek God's will for my time during this break. Pray that I will put other people's needs ahead of my own and that I will search for ways to serve those around me. I pray that your Christmas season is full of blessings as you focus on Jesus Christ.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Moving On

I (Julie) have been a terrible blogger as of late. It's because just about anything I've been thinking or doing lately (except perhaps my Christmas baking) has to do with this big elephant in the living room of a situation that I haven't had the emotional energy to tackle writing about until now. Without beating around the bush, we had to close Kal's. The day before Thanksgiving was our last day of business. I don't want to go into all the details now, but I'll sum it up quickly. The economy these past couple years had taken a toll on our business - duh, just like the construction business everywhere. However, we had been slowing making back the ground we lost, and we hadn't missed a payment to the bank. But the bank decided we were no longer a viable business for them to keep. With the way we stood then, no other bank wanted to take us on. So, that was that. Those past couple weeks were a whirlwind of emotions. In a way, it was a relief because often over the years when business hasn't been good, we've prayed about staying open or not, and to know for sure what we had to do was a nice change. And our regular contractors were amazing. When we told them one by one, almost all of them began praying for us, and we felt it. We were able to pay off all our suppliers, an important thing because we have always had good relationships with them and we did not want to leave them hanging. Those were the positive things. On the other side, we have all been dealing with a fair amount of grief and uncertainty. Walking around the store those last few weeks was like waiting for a dear friend to die. Part of you wants it to just be over, and the other part wants to hang on to every last second. Because we couldn't tell our customers until about a week and a half before we closed, since we needed to keep the business going, everything happened rather suddenly at the end. Honestly, I don't think it's sunk in yet. Sometimes I still find myself thinking about what to bring for Dad's lunch tomorrow, or I'll almost answer the phone, "Good morning, Kal's," or trying to think of the sku for something that doesn't have one (like lotion at Target) to find out the price. There are so many dear little memories that come to mind everyday, some that make me laugh, some that make me cry. One of the hardest things for me is not seeing these people that have become such a part of my life, and that I have learned so much from. As our contractors came in those last few days, getting a few little things from what we had left, many of them would give me a special goodbye, saying how they have enjoyed getting to know me and things like that. I could barely choke out an answer. Of course I'll still probably see them around, but when I used to see them probably 3 or 4 days a week, it just won't be the same. Enough with all my melancholy reflections. To the title of my post. We are moving on. We have felt God's hand so strongly in these times, and He will continue to lead us on. Dad has been plowing snow and will start a salesman job at another lumberyard soon after the first of the year. It will be much like what he did at Kal's, only without the headaches of being a manager. For me, this change has brought a lot of questions of what to do next. I decided before we closed that I would not seek another job before going to Poland in February. I didn't want to have to tell a possible employer that I would need three weeks off so soon after starting (and, oh yeah, one week in January because I'm going to Arizona). And I didn't want to rush into anything. I had pictured myself staying at Kal's until I got married, or even until I had children. I realize that this is God's way of saying that He has something different in store for us now, and I'm waiting for Him to reveal what He would have me do now. I have started volunteering five hours a day, four days a week at the elementary school I attended. I work mostly with kindergartners and 1st graders, and I love it. I'm continuing to work at the Events Center, which I also thoroughly enjoy. I still have much to do in preparation for Poland, and I know that February 4th will come very quickly. There, I tackled the elephant. Not a very uplifting post, but we see brighter days ahead, and we'll keep you posted on what God is doing!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

New Beginnings

Today I want to share some pictures that I (Amy) captured out our kitchen window a while ago. Julie posted a while back about the beauty of our Savior's promise to wash us white as snow. I absolutely LOVE that verse and its imagery. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about redemption. One online dictionary defines redemption as "the act of saving something or somebody from a declined, dilapidated, or corrupted state and restoring it, him, or her to a better condition." That's exactly what the Lord has done in my life!
When my heart was filled with darkness and hopelessness, I surrendered it to Jesus Christ. I gave up my rights to live for myself and purposed to live for His glory for the rest of my days. In that moment, the Light of the World shone into my heart, exchanging depression and despair for joy and hope!
Redemption, at least in this life, restores things to a better condition. Not a perfect one. Striving to live each day to the glory of God has made my life incomparably better than living for myself. But it hasn't made it perfect. Bad things still happen to me. People still hurt me. I still get sick. It hasn't made me perfect either. Sometimes I struggle with selfishness and pride. Sometimes I hurt the people I love. Sometimes I neglect the tasks the Lord has set before me.
I still sin--WAY more than I'd like to admit.
But no matter how hard the days are, or how many times I mess up, I have a constant assurance of love and forgiveness in Jesus Christ. When I confess my sins to Him and cast my burdens into His care, His light shines through to bring me hope and a new beginning.
When I think about the awesome redemption He has performed in my life, I am filled anew with joy. For one day, by the grace of God, I will rest with all the saints in the city where "God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:3b & 4, NKJV) Thank You, Jesus!
If you have never entrusted your life to Christ, I urge you to do it today! Don't wait another minute to receive the forgiveness, hope, and redemption promised to us in the person of Jesus Christ.
"For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin."
(Colossians 1:13-14, NIV)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Frosty Good Morning

Look at what I found when I pulled my shades this morning! Now, I'm sure there is some scientific reason behind this pattern, but I don't really care about that. All I know is that our God loves beauty and He delights to share it with us!