Life in Southwest Wisconsin

It has been over 6 months since we left the familiar life we had on Cape Cod for a totally new way of life in Southwestern Wisconsin.  Let me tell you , it has been a journey.   We have found this community to be a huge blessing to us and our kids.  We have also had opportunities to meet kids and families in the community that has only proven to make our transition smoother.  My kids have developed a working knowledge of crops.  “Hey dad, that looks like corn!”  or “I think that is soybeans” have become common conversation.  When we arrived here they thought that milk was only something that came from the milk store.  Now they know what a cow is and will point all of them out when we drive.

This part of Wisconsin is quite scenic and not as flat as most people think.  The sunsets are something to enjoy every night and the culture is just more laid back than we had grown accustomed to on Cape Cod.  This has made our summer more enjoyable.

Sunset
Sunset
Sunset (no filter)
Sunset (no filter)

I have been able to fish more than I ever did on Cape Cod and we have actually gone to the beach more also.  (ironically)  The main reason is that it is much easier to get around.

Scenic
Scenic

 

Fishing
Fishing

On the flip side,  my kids were not used to severe weather.  Tornadoes had become such an obsession for my 7-year-old son that he has checked out every book on tornadoes from the library.  I showed him slides from my storm spotting class and he has increased his understanding of things like wall clouds and shelf clouds, among other things.  This has been fun to see him develop.  That all changed a few weeks back when at 10 pm we were hustling our kids from their beds to the basement as a tornado quickly formed just outside of town.  Once the kids stopped crying they decided we needed to move somewhere else.  Our tornado chaser in training exclaimed “this is the worst day of my life.”  Of course I told him “you are young”   We only lost the tree in front of our house, but out of town they had true tornado damage.

Good-bye tree
Good-bye tree

We are enjoying summer as much as we can because we know that everyday is one day closer to winter.  We went canoeing, went to Lambeau Field for a Packer Clinic for the kids,  and played some little league.

batter up
Batter Up
Kids Clinic
Kids Clinic
Beach
Beach
Canoeing
Canoeing

 

But God has been so gracious to us and this is very simply my testimony to that.  I know God has plans for our family here as we continue to walk forward and I look forward to seeing how it all plays out.    In the mean time we are going to enjoy every day because each day is a gift.  Make the most of it!

oh, yeah, we rode a ferris wheel also
oh, yeah, we rode a ferris wheel also

Looking at Our City With Love

Since the day I moved to this city I have been praying for God to give me a love for the people here.  This is not about gimmicks.  Instead I am freshly aware of the call on us as the church to care for the souls of the people in this community.  We have a God-given job to care for these people.  One of the things that has really stirred my thinking over the last few months is a video from our current Christian and Missionary Alliance president.  It is only 11 minutes long and would be worth your time.  I believe God wants to do some new and amazing things with His church.  We just need to wake up!

What was your favorite part?  I have a few things that stick in my mind.  What about you?

The Big Transition

We are beginning to settle into our new home even with the adjustments of a new season of the year.  If I reflect a bit I am amazed at the faithfulness of God through the whole journey.  On the day after Christmas we packed up a large moving truck and took an early morning departure the next day to make a long journey to Wisconsin.  We managed to make good time and the cat even managed to travel well.   It all happened so fast, but turned out so perfectly.  The day we arrived in Wisconsin it was quite warm only to drop in temperature significantly the following days.  It is the little things that we often overlook but I am grateful.

It has taken some time to find true rhythm to the week here.  As pastor my week is rather unpredictable even if I do know that Sunday is always coming.  We have found the church to be a great fit.

My kids are thriving in this new setting.  The two older boys will do little league this summer and the two younger kids are looking forward to their own things.

IMG_20140330_153509So as we start to settle in, I have a lot of things to write about.  I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts again.  The kids seem to never stop giving me things to think about.  My 7-year-old son tonight asked me why his sin deserved death?  He then asked me why God created the world?  These are some great questions and what a joy it is for me to be able to talk with him about God.

For those that have prayed for us, thank you.  God continues to lead us along.  I never thought I would be here.  I have learned that when you are obedient to God the destination is not as important as the one in whom we keep our eyes on.  One step at a time he has led me from Cape Cod to Wisconsin.  Everyday is a new adventure and opportunity to be faithful.  That is the biggest transition we all need to make — to go from my will to His will.

 

Settling Under God’s Smile

It has been a few weeks, but we have started to settle in here.  Of course it has been below zero much of the past couple weeks, but God has been good to us.  As we get started here, I just wanted to share something again that the Lord has been teaching me.  I look back at the past year and am amazed at how God led us to where we are.  I would not have placed myself here now, but there is such a peace that comes from knowing this is where God has us.  We were able to pack up our things, drive out here, get unpacked, and make meaningful connections without having too many melt downs.  That is God’s work, no doubt about it.

Today I am walking in the confidence again of knowing my calling and resting firmly in it.

“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers — not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve.” – 1 Peter 5:3

Even more amazing is that way that sun has been coming up even in the cold.  It is like God is smiling on us and reminding us of His blessings to come.  I look forward to them and all that He will accomplish in 2014.

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The Lego Jar (12/14/13) – Moving Along

We are in the middle of a move to Wisconsin.  This has made life a little different.  But I thought I would share a few highlights from the past few weeks.

We have been taking various hikes in the park.  It involves some exploring and climbing of the hill a few times.

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I took a trip to Wisconsin last week to move a few things and I ended up at the Packers game – front row.

Horrible seats
Horrible seats

I dressed up for the occasion.  It was a cold day so the beard was helpful.

IMAG0324The thing on my head is a noodle.  I came home with free gifts for my kids.

IMAG0339

We have a couple weeks left before we pack up the truck.  This makes for some disruption to the normal way things go home.  But I leave you with this today because this was something I found one day in my office.  It is amazing how something small like this can bring some calm.

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Have a great weekend!

The Lego Jar (11/16/13) – Mixed Feelings

The kids are watching a Barney movie as I type this.  I have mixed feelings about that.

The truth is there are a lot of things I have mixed feelings about today as I hide from the purple dinosaur in the room.

Moving

We are moving to Wisconsin the end of December.  (I know, who moves to Wisconsin in winter?)  There are mixed feelings with that.    There is the excitement of a new home and new people to meet.  Then there is the anxiety that comes from taking 4 kids on a 1200 mile move.

My 4-year-old has helped with the packing by adding a bag full of rubber ducks.  I guess that helps.

IMG_20131107_072747
Look I helped!

Children – Do they ever stop?

I have mixed feelings as I watch my children grow up.  It is a lot of fun to see them learn and discover things and they are cute in pictures.  But they are just growing — a lot.

IMG_20131109_101733IMG_20131109_153139

Reading on her own while her brothers wrestle
Reading on her own while her brothers wrestle

I love the little things that I see my children picking up.  My daughter was recently running around the house singing “I have decided to follow Jesus.”  She even threw in the “no turning back, no turning back.”  May God grant that in her life and all of my children.

I love it when they come home from church and we talk about their Bible lesson from that week.  Kids have such a way of understanding the story.  I think it would do all of us good to hear a child tell us a Bible story sometimes.

And then there’s Si….

relax, have a sip a tea, mow a little grass
relax, have a sip a tea, mow a little grass

And with that, I guess they want me to make breakfast.   I hope you have a great weekend!

Thankfulness Overflowing Before Frantic Store Going

Thanksgiving is first
Thanksgiving is first

If everything I have belongs to God, then I must learn to appreciate what I have.  If I have been given everything in need in Jesus Christ, then I must appropriately overflow with thankfulness.  This is a healthy way of life.  Instead of looking at what other people have or at Black Friday ads and hoping to get something you don’t have, you look at all that you do have.  It is a lifestyle that sometimes is hard to do with all of the stuff around us, but it is so freeing to say “thank you” for even the most mundane things as a realization that nothing comes from you.   It is all God’s!   This type of attitude makes us happier people and even keeps us away from burdens like unnecessary debt.  Yes, that was me tying frivolous spending to a lifestyle of thankfulness.

Christmas is coming up again.  But did you know that before Christmas is this holiday called “Thanksgiving?”  What is making matters even more interesting this year are the number of stores once again opening on Thanksgiving.  It seems like some retailers are pushing things up every year putting their own bottom-line over their employees family time.   I understand the need to make money as a business, but I also know that people need time to stop to give thanks.  It is not just about turkey and football, it is about health and worship.  It is about happiness and time with family.  So, just stop and give thanks without looking through all of those ads and desiring to buy things that you cannot afford.  And please do not buy my family gifts that you do not have the money to buy.  That defeats the purpose of this season, in my opinion.

But Christmas comes soon enough --
But Christmas comes soon enough —

Instead we need to find our foundation in Jesus Christ.  It is in Him we live, move, and have our being.  It is in Him where we received everything we could ever possibly need.  And actually it is really the gift of Jesus we celebrate at Christmas anyway, not the material items we give each other.  You have been given fullness in Christ!  He is available right now, offering Himself to you.

Soon it will be time to deck the halls and I am looking forward to that.   But let’s not forget about Thanksgiving first.