Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Fondue Party

My mom is the queen of parties.  When we come home, we usually have at least one if not two theme parties.  We all love decorating and crafting and we LOVE celebrating, so just about any occasion is a good enough reason to plan a party.  Over Christmas, we started out with a fondue party.  Mom planned cheese fondue with veggies, and chocolate fondue with desserts.  We started out with oil in the fondue pot to fry our own meats and cheese balls.  Sounds like fun, right?  

It was not fun.  

It was scary and dangerous and hazardous to our health and well-being.  

Hot oil popped and spurted and splattered all over us.  When we were finally daring and brave enough to fry a tiny piece of chicken, we found out it tasted gross.  Oh, and I forgot to mention that the whole house smelled rotten McDonald's and week old greasy carnival food.

Good thing the good party count is still 783 to 1.  

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Mark and I finally bought ourselves a nice camera for Christmas.  I am obsessed with taking these blurry pictures of Christmas goodness.  Who knew blurry could be so beautiful?

I still haven't graduated into being a real adult and sending out Christmas cards.  Sorry, friends.  Maybe another year?  For now, here's me wishing you a very Merry and Christ-filled Christmas online.  Have a great one, folks!


Sunday, December 4, 2011

All the Single Ladies...

...if you like it, then you shoulda put a ring on it.  - Beyonce

Oh...I mean...

A woman's heart should be so close to God that a man should have to chase Him to find her.  - C.S. Lewis

There.  That was WAY deeper.  I like that better.

Just this past week, I had a bunch of single ladies over.  My friend, Stacey, who is older and wiser than me, talked to us about stewarding singleness well and about being the Bride of Christ.  It was lovely.  We ate yummy food, talked about the Lord, and had a Favorite Things exchange.  

I have officially turned into my mother.  She is a party planning fanatic.  Why not turn everything into a cute and fun party?  Why NOT?  


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pam's Sweet & Spicy BLTs

We just got home from a weekend with my parents for an early Thanksgiving celebration.  Since everyone will have turkey in different places next weekend, though, we did not have any Thanksgiving food.  We did, however, have awesome food.  My mom made a life-changing BLT.  Life-changing.

Pepper bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, provolone cheese, pepper bacon with brown sugar and Famous Dave's BBQ sauce, and Crasins.  Yes, Craisins.  They are awesome.  ALL on toasty Italian bread.  So good.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wedding Fun

Mark and I have impeccable manners...especially at formal events like weddings.  We always let each other know if we have boogers hanging out of our noses.  And, if we do have a dangler, we are quick to pick it out of each other's noses.  Isn't that just the nicest?

We went to two different weddings in about a month.  I will let you in on a secret...we both wore the exact same both weddings.  We are classy like that.  Can you guess which pictures were from Sarah & Brenton's or Tyler and Cassidy's?

AND, guess what?  I got my dress on clearance at Target for six bucks.  SIX!

Sara, Mark's sister, and her husband Jarrod are in the bigger picture with us.  We love them.  They are fun wedding buddies.

Well, that's all she wrote, folks.

To wrap it up, the moral of this story (or post) is that we, Mark and Liza DeYounge, are classy, thrifty AND polite, and we have awesome family.  :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011


We're home!  Back from Young Life's Castaway Fall Camp.  Mark was invited to be the camp speaker, so I went along as his "ministry assistant". least that's what I called myself.

Okay, fine.  I was just along for the ride.

Fall Castaway "Good Stuff":

  • A room with a lakeside view
  • Douwe Egberts Coffee every morning (and afternoon).  Holy moly.  If I had a genie, I would wish for an industrial coffee maker full of this stuff.
  • An entire afternoon, away from home, to do absolutely nothing
  • Beautiful sweatshirt, jeans and knock-off Ugg boot fallish weather
  • Listening to an awesome podcast by D.A. Carson on Faithfulness and Flexibility in the car.  Listen here:
  • Watching Mark ace all four of his talks about the Person of Jesus and the fullness of the Gospel.  The Lord has really blessed him with crazy talents in this area.  Watch out Louie Giglio!  I am so proud of him!
  • Praying Psalm 67 for the four hundred and some high school students at camp.  
May God be gracious to Mark as he speaks.  May God bless him and make His face shine upon him - so that Your ways may be known on the earth, your salvation among these high schoolers!  May all these young people praise you, God; may they all become worshippers of You!  May these 400 be glad and sing for joy, for You rule them with equity and guide them on the earth.  May they ALL praise You!  The land yields its harvest; God, our God blesses us.  May God bless us still, so that ALL of the ends of the earth will fear Him!  
If Mark was writing this post, I'm sure he would add one more good thing:

  • Roosevelt High School (the school he coaches at) just won the STATE championship in football on Saturday.  ...and Mark got to watch the game online.  Woo hoo!


Saturday, November 12, 2011


I am not ashamed to admit that our Christmas tree was up on November 5th.  I had waited long enough.

I am also not ashamed to admit that I didn't take the tree down until around Easter last season.

Since I wanted to put it up early, Mark made me promise it would be down at least by President's Day, which happens to be February 20th.  Fine.  Deal.

98 days of goodness left.

Although it is socially unacceptable to leave your Christmas tree up year round, I am thinking about writing a petition to accept "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" as a year-round, socially acceptable praise and worship song.  It is NOT just a Christmas song, folks.

Think about it.  It is VERY good stuff.

O come, O come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel, who mourns in lowly exile here until the Son of God appear. 
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high and orderest all things far and nigh.  To us the path of knowledge show and teach us in her ways to go.   
O come, O Come our Lord of might who to your tribes on Sinai's height in ancient times gave holy law in cloud and majesty and awe.
O come, O Rod of Jesse's stem, from every foe deliver them that trust Your mighty power to save.  Bring them in vict'ry through the grave.
 O come, thou Dayspring from on high, and cheer us by Your drawing nigh.  Disperse the gloomy clouds of night and death's dark shadows put to flight.
O come, Desire of Nations, bind all peoples in one heart and mind.  Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease.  Fill the whole world with heaven's peace.
Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Costume Night ...and Star Wars

Mark asked me to design the Costume Night Invitation for our Young Life friends.  Harmless, right?  I happily obliged.  Later, Mark was sorry that he had asked me to design the invitation.  He should have known that I would use my wifely powers to snag a picture of him and doctor it up in Picnik.  (insert Wicked Witch of the West laugh here...)

Actually, subtract the Wicked Witch's laugh.  The Witch and her flying monkeys still scare my mom half to death.

Sorry, Mom.

The Costume Night was fun.  (sorry about the crappy picture)  I got to fulfill one of my life-long goals to dress up like Princess Leia, thanks to my sister-in-law scoring the costume on the clearance rack.  At this time, I would like to take a moment to proudly announce two very special things...

1) I did not even have to use the Leia costume wig.  That's my own hair, folks.  Well, it is my own hair plus Mark's black socks that I stuffed inside the buns.  Clever, huh?  I thought so.

2) I happen to be a Star Wars fan.  ...Which is sort of an understatement in itself.  When it comes to the original trilogy, which happen to be A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, which also happen to be the middle three of a NINE part series that George Lucas dreamed up, mind you, I am a pro.  Do you know the difference between an AT-AT and an AT-ST walker?  Do you know what planet Chewbacca is from?  Leia's home planet?  Her dad's name?  Can you name three beasts of burden?  .....  Told you.

So there you have it.  Now you know what a weirdo I am and why I was so flipping excited to play dress up on Monday.  It was a great night.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Anniversary Adventures

Well, folks, we had a great anniversary.  Since we'll be in Florida in January for a Young Life thing, we decided to stay in town and save some cash.  We made a list of fun things we've been wanting to do in the area and added them to our weekend agenda.

Friday - We took the day off.  I slept in and Mark made me breakfast in bed.  See below for the "anniversary edition" of our peanut butter toast.

Mark: I made an "M" and "L" for Mark and Liza in our toast!
Liza: Oh, look at you!  That's so nice....
Mark: beaming proudly
Liza: finally putting two-and-two together...  Did you use your finger to write in my peanut butter?
Mark: Yep!

We also went to a newer local winery called Calico Skies near Canton, SD.  It was beautiful and wonderful and fantastic.  You should visit there.  Later, we went to the Backroom Bistro where our friend Giovanni cooks A.Maze.Ing. Italian food.  We had our rehearsal supper at the Bistro, so it was fun to relive some memories.  We also stopped at Butler's, the coffee shop where we had our first one-on-one chat, for late night coffee.

View from the Winery 

Saturday, we had lunch at Kaladi's, another coffee shop, (which we do not recommend for a variety of reasons), and went to an apple orchard to get fresh, drizzely caramel apples.  I also talked Mark into buying me a two dollar pumpkin.  It was so cute and tiny, I just had to take it home.

After THAT...(here comes Mark's favorite part)...  We went pheasant hunting.  Yes.  We did.  On our anniversary.  We went "spot hunting" (that's what Mark calls it, anyway), which meant we drove around on gravel roads and looked for pheasants in the ditches.  If we saw one, Mark would get out of the car, grab his shot gun, rustle them up and shoot them.

Mark LOVED it because he got to hunt.  I LOVED it because I got to drive around on gravel roads and look at the countryside in the fall and read my bible and soak in the warmth of my seat warmer.  It.  Was.  Glorious.  Seriously.  Gravel roads are one of THE best forms of therapy.

In the evening, we brought the pheasants out to our little deck, and, like any good wife would do on her anniversary, I held the pheasant upside down while Mark ripped it apart and got the meat out.

Cue the dramatic music.  (At this time, I would like to thank my Aunt Trudy for the times when her and I went down to the creek, found dead frogs and dissected them to "see if we can figure out why they died".  I would also like to thank my late Papa for encouraging me watch him cut the heads off of chickens and clean fish.  You both have made me who I am today...)  End dramatic music.

After ripping the pheasants apart, we primped a little and went to Minerva's - a really classy restaurant in town.  Don't you love the contrast?

SUNDAY (don't worry, I'm almost done), we had a picnic at Palasaides park (where Mark proposed), hunted pheasants a little bit more, ate frozen pizzas and cheesecake, watched a movie and played my all-time favorite game, Monopoly.  It was just awesome.

I'm not kidding.  It was one of the most awesome weekends we've ever spent together.  There is something about being HOME, enjoying the simple things, and spending time with the people you love the most without any distractions.  Fantastic.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

ONE YEAR AGO | The Pretties

So many fun and pretty things at our wedding...  I love little details, but didn't get to enjoy them quite as much as I wanted because things were just too busy!  Thank goodness for cute pictures!

I am still in love with my dress.  I looked at several stores, but couldn't find much.  I was looking for simple, simple, simple!  No embroidery, no beading, no lace - which are things that are on almost every single dress.  The Lord was looking out for me, though, because I finally found "the one" at  cheap, run-of-the-mill ole David's Bridal.  Plain, simple, taffeta.  It even had pockets!  Swoon...

We got all the tuxes at Men's Wearhouse in Sioux Falls.  I do not recommend Men's Wearhouse.  I will leave it at that.

Bridesmaids' dresses were also from David's Bridal.  My mom added black bows at the waist with a similar rhinestone brooch to match the bow on my dress.  I am so glad I went with black.  I did not like the idea of a overwhelming color with matching decorations and was opting for a more classic look.  Achieved.  It helps that I have beautiful friends.

My mom and I did flowers, like, the DAY before rehearsal.  We bought white, tropical-looking flowers at Hobby Lobby, added tulle for extra texture (it also enabled us to get by with only one white flower per bridesmaid - money saver! - see group pic above), wrapped with ivory ribbon and added silver vintage buttons and a pop of lace at the base.  I am also still in love with the flowers.  Nice work, mama.

I had the most fun making the corsages.  The base is a ripped off petal from the same white tropical flowers. The middle is an arrangement of cheapo buds from Hobby Lobby and rhinestone and pearl doo-dads.  Wrapped with another pop of vintage lace and buttons, wrapped in ribbon.  While making all of them, I seriously considered opening an Etsy shop with homemade corsages of all kinds.  It sounded like my best idea ever.  However...  When I had made about 30 of them, and had hot glue all over myself, I quickly gave up the Etsy shop least for now.

Dear Sister Micah,
(Not to be confused with our friend who is a boy, Micah)

When you get married, please enlist my help.  I can't wait to do flowers and corsages.  I will even do them for free for you.  Aren't you so glad we're sisters?

Your Favorite Sister


Tuesday, October 18, 2011


These people are awesome.  Oh, how I love them.  Now that it's a year later, I think I love them more.  ...especially Mark, though.

It was SO fun to hang out with ALL of our favorite people - to have them ALL in one spot at the same time might not happen again for a long time.  We are crazy blessed to have such fabulous (and attractive, don't you think?) people in our lives.

Heart.  I want to hug all of you in this picture, you are just so wonderful.

And I am not even a hugger...  Weird.

Right next to Mark and I are James and Josiah - our cuter-than-all-get-out nephews.  I especially like Jo's scowl and hands in his pockets, like he is so grown up.  We love to babysit them, and their new little sister, Samantha.  Mark usually plays Evil Emperor Zurg and I am Princess Leia, although I'm sure we are no match for their mom and dad - we're just the understudies.

In the front row on the left is Casey, my brother-in-law.  He knows a lot of fun and random information and is very smart.  He and my middle sister, Naomi (next to him), (yes she has some pink hair) are in the recording business, and they live in Iowa.

My sister Micah is next to Naomi- she is the baby of the family.  She is also very crazy and very funny.  You should check out her youtube channel:  Both of my sisters and I are known to have sing-a-longs in the car and color in coloring books, even though we are too old for them.  We also share a love for Star Wars Trivia and we know all the Newsies songs by heart.  And we all have our noses pierced.  Fun fact.

Mark's good friend, John, is next to Micah in the front row.  As with all of Mark's groomsmen and ushers, he could say much more about them, but I do know that they went to college together.  John is very deep, loves the Lord a lot, he's a teacher, and he and Mark love to do anything outdoorsy together.

Diagonal from John to the right is my friend Danielle, who was one of my personal attendants.  Danielle and I are really close.  She is a few years ahead of me in the marriage and kids thing, so she's like a mentor in some ways.  I wrote about her in an earlier post about Real Beauty.  Leave it to Danielle - she will always "say it like it is", yet go crazy deep - all at the same time.

Moving to the left, next to Danielle in the second row, is my brother-in-law, Jarrod - dad to James and Josiah.  Jarrod and his wife Sara (next to Jarrod, Mark's sister) are fun-loving and easy-going.  If Mark and I end up being half the parents they are to their kids, we will be doing great!

Next to Sara, to the left and up just a little bit, is Amanda.  Amanda is my sister-in-law, who is married to Ryan (above Amanda), Mark's older brother.  They have one little boy, Levi, who is adorable and the most smiley kid I have ever seen.  Amanda and Ryan are really active and healthy and are both very musically talented, too.  Mark is working on forgiving Ryan for all the wedgies he gave him back in the day.  Now, they love to hang out and talk about theology and music and life for hours and hours.

Next to Amanda - to the left - is another Ryan...  THIS Ryan has been Mark's friend since childhood.  The times I've hung out with Ryan, I've known him to be very funny and very sarcastic.  Mark has quite a few crazy stories about times he and Ryan stirred up some good-natured trouble.  I think they were probably rascals back in the day.

Moving diagonally, to the left, is Grant.  Grant and Mark have also been friends forever.  We joke about them taking baths together when they were little.  Aww.  How precious.  Grant and Mark still have fun watching the Vikings play, and while Grant likes to eat any food I make him, he is also a great cook himself.  He is very funny, too.  ...and sarcastic.  I think I am seeing a trend in Mark's friends.

To the right of Grant is my friend, Shannon.  We were roomies for a few years before I went and got hitched.  Shannon loves to laugh, loves The Office, Seinfeld and everything else hilarious.  She is a nurse and she is "just awesome" - like our friend Shane Lee likes to say.

Are you tired yet?

Next to Shannon is Alisha, my maid of honor.  She is really down-to-earth, and really talented in the gymnastics/athletics department.  She is also stylish and funny AND she loves the Lord a lot.  Could I ask for anything else in a good friend??  Her and Mark did a lot of behind the scenes and undercover work to plan our engagement and pick out a ring.  And, in the days when I was SURE I didn't have a chance with Mark, Alisha would tell me to settle down and pray and have faith.  Lisha is the greatest.

My friend, Molly, is next to Alisha.  She was another personal attendant and kept everybody in line and on time the whole wedding day.  Where would we have been without her??  Molly is my friend from Sioux Center.  We do lots of ministry together.  She is crazy loyal and funny and laid-back.

And NOW the ushers...  Left to right, they are...  Tim, Blake, Tyler and TJ.  They are all great friends to Mark.  And they are all quality guys who love the Lord.  They are also all funny and are always up to some sort of shenanigan.

And now for the quiz...  I hope you remember all of their names.

Just kidding.

Monday, October 17, 2011

ONE YEAR AGO | The Invites

One year ago, it was my wedding week.  In the hustle and bustle, I was frantically crafting and DIYing and throwing it all together with my mom and had very little time to savor all of the fun little details.  One year later, I am taking some time to reminisce and look back some of those little things.

So, yes, these posts are more for me than for you, but I hope you get a kick out of some of the celebration, too.

This was our wedding invitation.  In an effort to save a ton of money, I designed something in black and white that would fit on a fourth of a sheet of thicker linen paper and go into a small card envelope (the kind you get get at Wal-Mart for dirt cheap in bulk).  It helped that our wedding colors were also black, white, gray and ivory.  Overall, the postage was way more expensive than the invitation itself.  Score.

I would do this sort of thing again in a heartbeat.  Most invitations get thrown away quicker than you can say "Jiminy Cricket", so I was happy to cut costs in this area.  I loved designing the invite myself and I felt like I beat the system by saving so much.  It was awesome.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


This was a first for me...designing something that includes mullets and aviators.

As of right now, my personal wardrobe includes aviators, but it looks like I will need to shop for a mullet in between now and October 24th.

Oh, and don't worry.  Mark already has a blonde mullet and really short jorts.  He will be stylin'.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Friends.  Panini makers are life-changing.  Do you have one?  If not, you might want to put one on your Christmas list.  We received a Giada DeLaurentis panini maker for our wedding and we've used it a TON.  My favorite thing to do at the end of a grocery week (when the fridge is half bare and half filled with random crap that I don't know what to do with), is to grab the extra stuff and throw it into a panini.  Just about everything tastes good when it is gooey and crusty and warm.  Here's the recipe for one of the most awesome combinations I've stumbled upon...

Start with sourdough bread.  I know that it is not the healthiest, but it makes ALL the difference.

Add basil pesto, sliced roma tomatoes, turkey (our favorite is the Applegate Farms herbed turkey...PS - Applegate meat is natural and organic and totally worth the extra bucks), provolone cheese.

Slap it on your panini maker (or George Foreman grill or whatever else).  Cook on LOW first - this will let everything get all melty.  When everything is all good and melted, cook on HIGH until the bread is browned and toasted.

I love to pair almost all of our paninis with a simple spinach salad and Balsamic Vinegarette.  I hope that the spinach salad and organic turkey outweighs the sourdough bread for all of us health nuts out there.  ...maybe?

Heck, it is worth it.  Trust me.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


There are many fun things about being the wife of a Young Life Area Director.  One of the small and semi-shallow fun things is that you get to design t-shirts.  And people actually buy them and wear them - not necessarily because your design looks that good, but because they like Young Life - but regardless, it is still very fun.  This is the design for this fall's t-shirts, so the colors were fall-ish and printed on white tees.  Can you tell my favorite was the taupe-y color?  Weird.  I really need to branch out in my color preferences.  


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

CHIPPY DOORS ...and other special blessings from the Lord

Here's another apartment update!  I had been wanting a chippy door for a while, but thought my wish would never come true.  They are, like, so expensive.  Who the heck wants to pay 80 or more bucks for a old and beat up door someone pulled out of their barn for FREE?  Well, my mom and I went junk store shopping one day and I prayed (I am not kidding) that the Lord would provide a cheap, chippy door.  Mark said I could spend 30 dollars.

Fast forward.  I looked and looked - all the chippy doors were way, way, way too expensive.  Hours into the day, we looked in one of the basements of a junk store in Canton...(cue some sort of heroic John Williams music) and there she was in all her glory.  A WHITE chippy door with a fantasticly interesting door handle...and she was exactly 30 dollars.  I about had a heart attack.  Just as I was saying in my head, "O Lord, You are just so, so good and kind and wonderful," my eye caught a sign next to the door that said that the entire section was 50 percent off.  A chippy door for FIFTEEN dollars?!  At that point, I had a second heart attack and yelled for my mom to come look.  Since she is much more demonstrative than I am, I'm pretty sure I remember her shrieking a bit and saying something like "Hot DOG!  It's yours, kid!"

The Lord is REALLY good and kind and wonderful.  Isn't it so fun when He stuns us with His love for us?  I certainly did not NEED a chippy door, but it was like He wanted to send a special little blessing to remind me that He does, in fact, know my heart.  

The D's are for DeYounge, in case you didn't make the connection.  They were under 2 bucks at Hobby Lobby and I painted them with cheap craft paint.  The shelving was from a thrift store (a purchase from last year), and it houses my coffee shrine which includes many more garage sale and flea market treasures.  

I still need (um...want, I mean) a little something to put in place of the wirey basket on the floor next to the shelves.  I am keeping my eyes open for a cheapo deal.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

O is for OATMEAL

O is for oatmeal.  30 gallons of it, to be exact.

A week ago, Mark was prepping for the fall Young Life kickoff night.  80 high school students met at a local park to have a huge food fight - flour, marshmallows, eggs and oatmeal.  I was at Wal-Mart picking up all the food in the afternoon when I got a  phone call from Mark.

Me: Hello?
Mark: Hey.  Um, you got all the canisters of oatmeal?
Me: Yeah.  Why?
Mark: Well I sort of just thought of something.
Me: Okay...?
Mark: We're all going to throw the oatmeal at each other tonight.
Me: Nice.
Mark: Well, so, we kinda need the oatmeal to be sticky and throw-able.
Me: What's your point?
Mark: I just remembered that you probably have to cook the oatmeal to get it sticky.
Me: silence...
Mark:  And we need, like, two 18 gallon tupperwares full of it.
Me: silence...
Mark: tonight.

Needless to say, all the other work I had to get done that day got put on the "back burner".  I ran home and filled all my other burners on the stove with big pots of water, turned the heat up to high, and filled the microwave with another huge bowl of water.

4 hours later, I had two big tupperwares full of steaming, hot and very sticky oatmeal.  Never mind that the house was 83 degrees inside, despite the air conditioning being on.  AND, never mind that there was loose oatmeal scattered all over the counters and floor...and chunks of wet oatmeal all over the cupboards...and empty oatmeal canisters in every corner of the kitchen.  And never mind that I had just cleaned the kitchen and washed the floors the day before.

...the things we do for the Lord and ministry...

  Here's the end result.  Poor Morgan!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011


We've had a busy couple of weeks!  I'll just share some pictures for now and write more later.

Danielle, me, Alisha - My two favorite girls.

Young Life Leader Retreat!  Here are some of the gals!  Ice Cream in Okoboji.

A tilt-y fun house in Okoboji.  Totally messed with my head...

Roosevelt Football Game with Young Life friends.  Guess who the cold-blooded one is?


Wednesday, September 14, 2011


THEN: Labor Day weekend 2009 @ Lifelight with James, our nephew.  First time we admitted we were dating.  First time I met Mark's family.

 NOW: Labor Day weekend 2011 @ Lifelight sans nephew.  Married almost a year!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

M&L CONVO | Friends


Mark:  Love's Like a Hurricane.

Me: You mean How He Loves?

Mark: Yeah, that one.

Me.  I hate that song.

Mark:  How about Friends Are Friends Forever?

Me: blank look.

Mark: Friends are Friends Forever THROWBACK.

Me:  blank look.

Mark:  Come on!  Michael W. Smith?  He would love it.

Me: Mark, we don't sing about friends at Harp & Bowl.  We sing about the Lord.

Mark: BUT! The Lord made friends.

Me: blank look.

Mark: after a few moments.  cocky.  Jesus is MY friend.

Me: ignoring.

Mark:  to himself.  It will be a hit...

Sunday, September 4, 2011


It was a BEAUTIFUL fall day today.  I woke up early to do some cooking and cleaning (the in-laws were coming over) and opened all the windows.  A while later, I caught a whiff of a campfirey-fallish sort of smell in the air.  Love.

"Mark!  Smell that!  Yum.  It smells like fall."

10 minutes later...

"Our neighbors must be having a campfire!  Doesn't it smell like a campfire, Mark?  Campfires are wonderful."

10 minutes later...

"Lord, you are so nice to me.  You know how much I love fall, fresh air coming through the windows and campfires.  You're so great."

10 minutes later...

"Mark, maybe we should shut the windows...  Our whole house is going to smell like a campfire pretty soon.  It's kind of strong."

10 minutes later...

"MARK.  Shut. The. Windows.  It smells like a smokestack in here."

5 minutes later...

Great.  Mark's parents are going to be here any second and our apartment is rank.  We will not even be able to taste our food over the hillbilly campground smell.

30 seconds later...I started unloading the dishwasher.

I found one of my wooden spoons in the bottom of the dishwasher, on top of the water heater coil, sizzling.

"Um, Mark?  It was not a campfire.  You can open the windows again."


Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Friends!  Summer is over.  Yikes.  I can't believe it went so fast!  I haven't been keeping up with blogging about all of our summer happenings so this is a miscellaneous grab bag post with a few pictures and a few highlights.


My dad runs an airport in Northeast Iowa.  Almost every summer, fungus starts growing on the corn, and aphids start attacking the beans. dad's aeropuerto starts buzzing with spray planes.  The day we were there, there were about 8 of these planes coming in and out and getting all fueled up for their next fungus-killing mission.  Fun to watch!  I am upset with whoever designed spray planes, though.  I really wish they would have added a passenger's seat so I that I could ride along sometimes.  Rats.

Mark and I visited family, and my sister, Micah, and I accidentally dressed alike.  Can you tell we're sisters?  She is trying to mimic my "Liza smile" in this picture.  To Micah - What the heck is a Liza smile?  I hope it is a nice thing.

Mark and I were in a wedding in July.  Congrats to Brett and Kari!  We are trying to look BA in our cheap Wal-Mart aviators.  Did it work?

Mark and I visited the Verne Drive-In for a date night!  We DO recommend the drive-in.  We do not recommend the movie Cowboys vs. Aliens.  I am a sucker for almost all sci-fi movies, but not this one. Dear Harrison Ford, What were you thinking?  I like Han better.

Happy Fall, folks!  Hope you enjoyed your summers.

Friday, August 5, 2011


This is my new favorite lunch time sandwich.  Inspired by Jimmy John's...  

On a hoagie bun (would love to find a whole wheat one - maybe Breadsmith?), layer...  Mayo, Provolone Cheese, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Lettuce, lots of Guacamole!

Jimmy John's adds sprouts, which I hate, so I didn't include those.  Jimmy John's also uses "Avocado Spread", and I don't know what that is, so Guac is what you get, folks...  YUM.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Phew! Mark and I have been catching up from a crazy few weeks. One week, we geared up for Young Life camp. The next week, we went to camp. Then, the following week, we recuperated. Castaway Camp - a Young Life camp near Detroit Lakes, Minnesota - was amazing. The vast majority of the high school students that attended say that, hands down, it was the best week of their life. The camp is more like a resort, and the kids had tons of crazy fun wakeboarding, tubing, rock-climbing, zip-lining, parasailing, having dance parties... Even more than that, countless staff members and leaders served selflessly, initiated deep conversations, invested in kids, gave their testimonies, proclaimed the Gospel and, overall, poured out a lot of Jesus' love. It was really unlike anything I had seen before in ministry. Such good stuff.

We're praising God for the work He did (and continues to do) in the lives of students. Many kids made first-time commitments, recommitments and/or took some pretty big steps in going deeper with the Lord. I'm so crazy excited to see how God continues to move in them. I'm praying for God to raise up a wholehearted generation for Him - lovesick worshipers, selfless leaders, compassionate ministers...who are all full of faith and full of the Spirit. Yeow! Let it happen, God!

I stayed in the Adult Guest Lodge at Castaway. SO nice! Had this beautiful room and bathroom to myself - walkout patio and lakefront view! Anyway, adults are invited to stay at Castaway to get a bird's eye view of what happens at camp and Young Life. They are welcome to join in the activities or do their own thing. Overall, it's so fun to see God move in kids' lives first-hand. We were able to encourage and pray for them while we stayed.

Here are two of the ladies from our Sioux Falls area that came to stay in the adult guest lodge too. Another gal came, but the picture with her in it didn't turn out as well! Sorry, Melanie!

These are a few of the girls I hung out with one afternoon. They are so wonderful. We went sailing and I risked my life to save us! ...that is mostly true. Just ask them. They'll tell you.
This is a picture of part of the group! They are so fun.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Fourth!

Did you have a fun Fourth of July? We did! The Fourth is my favorite holiday. Less hustle and bustle than Christmas or Thanksgiving. More relaxation, outdoors, hot dogs, campfires and sun...AND fireworks. Love it. Mark and I spent the weekend camping in Northeast Iowa (where I am from) along the Mississippi River. Here is my summer vacationing hat...or not.

We spent part of one day shopping a bit. This is one of the fun shops in McGregor, Iowa called the Paper Moon. Lots of vintage and artsy trinkets and books. Heart.

McGregor is a super-quaint, no-nonsense town right on the Mississippi - about 20 minutes from where I spent most of my years growing up.

We spent the other 90% of the weekend camping along the river! My parents have a little lot - a big campsite and dock - on the Mississippi where they have a couple of campers and boats. It's close to their home, so they spend every weekend there! Here's the family sign at the front of the lot.

Mark tried fishing off our dock, and only caught ONE fish. He's pouting about it.

I didn't feel sorry for Mr. Pouty Face because I didn't catch ANY fish. Rats.

Kayaking turned out to be better than fishing. This is my sister, Micah's, new kayak. So fun! We want our own kayaks now. Wish list!

Mark's favorite River activity turned out to be wakeboarding. As you can see, he is pretty stinking good at it already! Leave it to him. He's so athletic! Special thanks to our friend Jeremy and Danielle, who let us borrow their wakeboard for the weekend!

My fifty-year-old mom also tried wakeboarding. This is about as far as she got. :)

For all of you daredevil adventurers out there, I DID try wakeboarding last year. However, I have found a much better (and more fitting) calling in the realm of water sports. The Lord has shown me that I am a great spotter, and a great picture-taker when OTHERS are wakeboarding and skiing. I am very secure in my new identity, thankyouverymuch.

In other news, my sister, Micah, went missing one afternoon. She had gone kayaking and was gone for hours. We started to get worried, so Mark and Dad took the boat out to look for her. They found her pulling a picnic table home. Yes, that's right. A picnic table. She had found it floating in the water, so she took apart her life jacket, and used the strings to hook the picnic table to her kayak - a makeshift tow rope. She wasn't making very good time or progress, so the boys bailed her out and pulled it back to the campsite. Leave it to Micah!

One night, we used my other sister, Naomi's, projector to watch an outdoor movie! I do not recommend the movie, Battle Los Angeles, but I do recommend outdoor movies in general.

Mark is taking seminary classes, so he brought along some books to read at the River. Here, he is preaching hell fire and damnation to us in between wakeboarding and fishing.

We saw fireworks on the River, ate lots of ice cream, swam a lot, got several mosquito bites, fed a bear some honey (more on this later), soaked up lots of sun, got a new car (more on this later, too!), ate great camping food, played cards, got some treasured rest and relaxation, and had a great time with our family. Perfect weekend!
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