a very Merry Christmas & a baby shower

Dec 27, 2008

This past week we had the privilege of being with our families in MN and IA to celebrate Christmas. It was such a blessing to be able to be with them during this very special time of the year. Our trip consisted of time with Dad and Ellen in MN, a road-trip to IA with Mom, Sara and Kyle, a baby shower for Baby Girl Flies (see photos below), some must needed R&R in Ankeny at Nick and Abby's home, brunch at the Machine Shed with Uncle Terry, Aunt Kathy, Gma Lebo, Todd and Rachel and the rest of the Flies clan, a fabulous dinner at Aunt Peggy's with Gma and Gpa Triggs and the Triggs family (including soon to be family, Amy Kastanek), spending the day with Gma and Gpa Folkerts in Mt. Vernon, a quick visit with HS friends, Kiri, Liz and Aaron, Christmas Eve at CBC in MV and some great home-cooking and rest with Mom and Dad Triggs. It really was a great week - and most certainly a VERY Merry Christmas!


a P. Diddy White Out Christmas Party

Dec 15, 2008

Our dear friends, Mike and Michelle, hosted their 2nd annual Christmas party this past weekend. The theme was a P. Diddy White Out Party. By the picture I'm sure you can see what dress instructions were :) Mike and Michelle are great hosts -there was delicious food and drinks and great trivia games. It was a ton of fun!
The photo is of most of our small group (minus one couple).


Steph's Pick - a White Christmas!

Dec 5, 2008

It's been 4 years since I moved to AZ. Sometimes it's hard to believe that I've lived in the desert that long. Although we love a ton of things about Arizona there are some things that we most certainly miss about the midwest. (Especially during this time of year.)
Specifically this past weekend as we decorated our home for Christmas I glanced out our glass door to see that the temperature was 75 degrees!!!! Can you believe it? 75 degrees just does nothing for my Christmas spirit.
Well this year we are blessed to be able to see both of our families over the holidays. We'll be in Minnesota and Iowa. And believe it or not, I'm praying for lots of snow!!! I can't wait to wear my Uggs, my winter jacket (which I only ever get out when traveling), and bundel up with a cup of hot cider and a good book. Here's to a White Christmas!!!


Steph's Pick - a Christmas List

Nov 21, 2008

Ready or not - that time of year is just around the corner! Like usual, I've already been asked by a few people what I want for Christmas. Generally I have such a hard time trying to think of things that I want for Christmas. However, this year, thanks to a suggestion by my friend Michelle, I've been keeping a Christmas list in my purse for the past few months. That way anytime I come across something that I want I add it to the ongoing list. It's great! Much less stress.
That's why I thought I'd add this tip as my "Steph's Pick" for the week. Anything to help the holidays be less stressful and more joyful!


Home from our cruise!

Nov 20, 2008

Well we returned safe and sound on Monday night from a great get-away weekend. As I said in my previous post, Jess and I have been talking about taking a vacation together for the past two years but just got around to doing it last weekend.
The weekend was filled with a ton of great memories - the best being the amount of rest and sleep that we got! It was unbelievable how exhausted both of us were. With an inside cabin room (no lights) you would have easily found us asleep at 9 pm each night!!!
We did have one stop - Ensenada, Mexico. Although we did get off the boat for a total of 45 or so minutes, the city itself wasn't much to write home about. The other days were spent poolside with a book in hand.
On Monday we were able to disembark around 8 am so we made arrangements to sit down at the Long Beach Starbucks while we waited for the LA traffic to die down. After waiting a couple hours we were off to UCLA to meet up with some old friends, Josh and Rochelle. While in Westwood we relaxed some more and enjoyed the last few hours of conversation before Rochelle and Jess dropped me off at LAX to fly home to Phoenix.
It really was an incredible weekend. Jess - thanks for taking time out of your crazy schedule to spend a weekend with me! You're the best!


a cruise...

Nov 13, 2008

We've always talked about it - but we're finally doing it! My dear friend, Jess, and I are leaving from Long Beach, CA tomorrow morning for a short 3-day "Girls Weekend" cruise. It is sure to be a great time!!! I'll be sure to post photos as soon as we're back. Bon Voyage!!!


Steph's Pick - Nutty Peanut Butter Caramel Bars

Nov 10, 2008

Add this one to your holiday baking file.... mouth-watering Nutty Peanut Butter Caramel Bars. Don't they look heavenly :)

8 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups pecan halves
14 ounces unwrapped caramels
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 ounces milk chocolate chips
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, brown sugar, and peanut butter. Beat in egg until well combined.In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Pour into sugar mixture and beat until dough forms.Scoop out dough into a 15x10" baking pan and press it out to fill the pan. Scatter pecans evenly over dough. Bake for 10 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Set on a wire rack.In a heavy small saucepan, add caramels and milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.Drizzle caramel mixture over pecans. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let cool completely and cut into bars

If any of you make this treat - comment below. I haven't had a chance to try it yet. :)

(Recipe by Desert Culinary and Photo by Hostess of the Mostess & Desert Culinary)


we're going to be an aunt and uncle!

Nov 3, 2008

I realize most of you know that Alan's brother, Nick and his wife, Abby are expecting in January. However, I thought I'd make the official "Flies Blend" blog announcment! Nick and Abby were in AZ this past weekend spending some time with us before the baby comes. I got a chance to take some maternity photos of the couple. These are just a few - but aren't they cute!!!
We can't wait to be an aunt and uncle. Nick and Abby - we couldn't be more excited for you two. You will be incredible parents.
(I'll post more photos of our weekend later this week)


Steph's Pick - the Hotel Del Coronado

Oct 31, 2008

Please excuse the cheesy picture above (I just had to get that off of my shoulders before I go further). A couple weeks back Alan and I were privileged to be able to stay at one of the most beautiful resorts in this country - the Hotel Del Coronado. We loved it so much I just had to highlight it as my pick of the week.

Nestled on a beautiful beach in Coronado, California, this resort, built almost 120 years ago, has incredible history. Now I have to admit - I'm generally one to prefer new resorts with contemporary style; however, the Hotel Del is a totally different story. The entire property is immaculate and provides the perfect venue for fun, rest and entertainment. Check out their website: http://www.hoteldel.com/ for more information.

Although it may be a bit more expensive than staying at the Super 8 down the street, I can guarantee you that it is well worth it. Next time you find yourself in the San Diego area, splurge for a room at the Del (maybe even just one night?), you'll love it - I promise!


I've been Tagged

Oct 26, 2008

I've been tagged and have answered the below questions with one-word answers. Enjoy.

1.Where is your cell phone? close
2. Your significant other? patient
3. Your hair? fro-like :)
4. Your mother? encouragement
5. Your favorite thing? coffee shops
6. Your dream last night? non-existant
7. Your favorite drink? wine/coffee
8. Your dream/goal? travel
9. What room are you in? living room
10. Your fear? God
11. Where do you want to be in 6 years? midwest
12. Where were you last night? Edmonton
13. Something that you aren’t? quiet
14. Muffins? chocolate
15. Wish list item? new jeans
t16. Last thing you did? napped
17. What are you wearing? t-shirt
18. Your TV? small
19. Your pets? none
20. Friends? faithful
21. Your life? exhausting
22. Your mood? Same
23. Missing someone? family
24. Your car? Highlander
25. Something you're not wearing? shoes
26. Your favorite store? BR
27. Your favorite color? pink
28. When is the last time your laughed? today
29. Last time you cried? last week

Now I'm tagging
Laura and Abby.


Welcome Luke Henry

Oct 22, 2008

Some dear friends of ours, Jeff & Kristina, just recently welcomed their first baby into the world this past Saturday. I had the priviledge of taking some photos of the little guy and am in the process of designing his birth announcement. Isn't he just too precious??!! I'll post his announcement on iDesign upon completion.


Alan's Two Cents - Extra money?

Oct 21, 2008

Some friends of mine and I have been talking about the economy and the recent volatility of the stock market. People are very concerned with the stability of the economy and the market. A lot of people are moving their money around from more riskier stocks/equities to bonds and CD’s, which are more “safe.” My question is…Why? My friends and I were all in agreement that if we had some extra money we would throw it into the market like now, yesterday, last week. Buy low. Sell high. Right? Well now is pretty low! You are getting a lot more bang for your buck right now! So if have some extra cash under your mattress or something…invest it! Don’t just take my word for it…how about Warren Buffett’s?! Read his recent Op-Ed in the NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/17/opinion/17buffett.html


Mackenzie's Bridal Shower

Oct 12, 2008

I spent this past afternoon co-hosting a bridal shower for a dear friend of mine, Mackenzie. She, and her fiance, will be married at the end of November and this shower marks the beginning of all of the wedding festivities.
Didn't everything turn out great? I chose the "Something Blue" theme awhile back and just started adding components together throughout the past few months as we planned each part of the shower.


Steph's Pick - a night of peace and quiet

Oct 10, 2008

Isn't it incredibly interesting how as a nation we worship the hurried lifestyle but at the same time so dislike our fast-paced lives? In one second we're encouraged to be involved in the church, community, politics, friendships, family, our careers, leadership, etc but at the same time our hearts yearn for just one night a week where we can be home and just relax. I'm often caught in the middle of this as I do like to have a fairly packed schedule (I'm weird - busy schedules a lot of the time energize me) but there is also an imaginary line that if I ever cross it - I just break. It's too much to handle.
In an effort to combat this tendency for our home to be too busy we started doing one night a week of peace and quiet. It's just one night that when we're home, we don't watch TV; we don't listen to music; we just be still. We enjoy one another's company and relax without having all of the noise in the background. It's been so incredible - so great that I would highly suggest that you implement this in your own home. You won't regret it. Hmmmm....Peace & Quiet - most definitely a Steph's Pick!


steph's pick - DIY heating pad

Oct 4, 2008

Awhile back I was given a home-made microwavable heating pad from my dear friend, Nealy. It was one of the best gifts and I've used it so much since receiving it. (if you really want to know - I'm using it right now!) In light of how much I like it, I thought I'd post a step-by-step guide to making your own.

Microwave Heating Pad Directions:
No pattern is necessary, simply cut two pieces of cloth in the size/shape you wish your bag to be. Make sure to leave a seam allowance for yourself (about 1/2″). Some prefer regular square shape bags, others prefer tubes or more rectangular shapes. Experiment, whip up a few different sizes and shapes to try. These are really easy to make as well as cheap!

Filler Options:
Uncooked rice
Feed corn ** (what Nealy used in mine)
Flax seed

Fabric Options:
Cotton: (plain, prints, flannels, denims)
Alternate ideas: old socks (sew or knot end closed), washclothes, old towels
You can also choose to make cozy, removable & washable outer pouches. This is especially nice to do when giving as gifts.
Fabric Ideas: use old towels, fleece, velour knits, pretty fabric prints and flannels (don’t microwave anything other than cotton fabrics). The softer & fluffier & better!

Instructions for Making the Heating Pad:
Cut and sew the fabric for the heating pads the size and shape you want. Leave an inch or two open on one side so that you can fill bag with your choice of filler. Fill the bag about 1/2 to 3/4 full, more or less as you prefer. Don’t fill too full though, you want the bag to mold itself around your body when you apply it. Once bag is filled, sew opening closed either by hand or machine.

Directions for use:
Place in microwave and heat for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on size of bag.


Steph's Pick - Girls Night Out

Sep 27, 2008

I recently organized a "Girls Night Out" at a local Mexican restaurant for a bunch of girlfriends. Every Wednesday they feature what they call "Margarita's and Manicures" for $12. It's a great deal.
We gathered together and had so much fun. So much that our plan is to do it at least a monthly basis.
The reason why I chose this for my "Steph's Pick" is because I've come to realize recently how important it is to value time with the girls. (or if you're a guy - maybe football?). It doesn't have to be anything crazy - maybe just meeting at a local coffee shop or taking a walk around the nearest park. Just anything to get together with your girlfriends.
If you haven't had a chance to get out of the house recently, make arrangements to do it soon - you won't regret it!


Vegas or Bust!

Sep 24, 2008

Whenever my parents come into town, we're in for a real treat. They're always eager to take some sort of road trip. This visit our road trip took us to Vegas to see the sights and cheer on the ISU Cyclones as they played UNLV. Although the Cyclones did not pull away with the win (heartbreaking finish in OT), we still had a great time with the family. Erik, my brother, even met up with us (although he took a 27 hour bus ride to get to Vegas). We visited some of the major resorts on the strip, tailgated with ISU alumni, and even played a few penny slots.


Steph's Pick - Party Secret #2

Sep 19, 2008

Whenever I'm asked to host a party, the first thing I do is begin to think about a theme. Now a theme can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Often times a piece of scrapbook paper inspires me and other times an entertaining blog post. There are so many options out there - which is exactly what makes hosting a party so much fun!
Upon coming up with a theme I begin looking for all of the parts needed to put together the perfect party. Whether that is theme oriented favors, decorations or food - I filter every decision through my "party theme glasses."
So whether you decide on doing a simple color theme or going with something a bit more elaborate, I can guarantee, you will have such a great time planning the party. You may even be a bit sad when it's over with. I know I am.
I've included a few of my favorite idea's below. All of which I found on
Hostess of the Mostess, one of my favorite entertaining blogs.

Kids Birthday...Candyland Birthday

Bridal Shower... Bling Bride

Baby Shower...Bubbly Ducky Brunch

Christmas...Berries and Branches


kitchen renovation complete!

Back in June we had an unfortunate accident happen in our kitchen. Unknowingly, our dishwasher started leaking and managed to seep through our floors, cabinets and our downstairs neighbor's ceiling and walls. It was a mess to say the least. And a very messy situation to figure out. Between insurance, our contractor and our time out of the state it took much longer than we ever could have expected to complete. Thankfully everything is complete!!! Hurray!

I thought I'd post a few pictures of the process. The first photo is of our kitchen before everything - well not so much before b/c as you can see at this point we already had fans working to dry up the mess. The second is after our dishwasher and countertops were removed (an in-process photo) and the last is of the final product. We just need to upgrade the fridge and we're done for awhile! I think it looks pretty good if I do say so myself.


In process:



Surprise - Happy Birthday Amy!

Sep 18, 2008

This past weekend I was privileged to be able to fly out to New England to surprise one of my favorite people in the whole wide world, Amy Brill! For those of you who don't know, Amy and her husband Greg are dear friends of ours who have spent the past year in Ecuador. They recently returned and have been with their families in Rhode Island and Connecticut for the past few weeks.

I knew that Amy's 30th birthday was coming up and thought it would be fun to surprise her and fly out for her birthday celebration. So early this summer I made a few phone calls and booked the ticket. And I couldn't have asked for a more welcoming/surprised scream from Amy when I walked in and yelled "Happy Birthday" this past Sunday. It was priceless!!! She was shocked. Thanks Steve, Linda, Candace and Mike for helping me pull it off!

After the shock wore off we made plans to visit Boston on Monday where we took in all of the incredible history and beautiful scenery and got a chance to see our friend, Margo, who is attending MIT. Then on Tuesday we sat Oceanside and chatted about this past year. And there was a ton to talk about. All in all it was a fabulous time!

We can't wait for Greg & Amy to be back in AZ. We've missed them a ton.


Steph's Pick - Party Secret #1

Sep 13, 2008

So I have to let you all in on a little secret - when I started "Steph's Pick" I never thought it would be hard to come up with a new "pick" each week. But this week I was totally stumped!!! I feel like I'm losing my passion for totally random things. I was honestly a bit discouraged.

Fear not - in the middle of my panic attack over not being able to come up with a new pick for this week, I thought of starting a "Steph's Party Secrets" series where I'll share some of my favorite party idea's. For those of you who know me well, you know I love throwing a good party. I'd be happy camper if I could throw a party or help plan a party every week :)

This weeks Party Secret isn't much of a secret for those of you Flies Blend blog readers, as I'm sure you've seen that I use lanterns for a ton of my parties. But honestly, chinese lanterns are the BEST way to decorate for a party. I've used them for wedding receptions, baby showers, bridal showers and will probably find plenty of other uses for them. When I use them for parties I try and buy at least 3 different sizes of lanterns - just to give a little dimension. I use them in place of balloons outside to designate which home is hosting the party, I use them on the food table or just around for a little added color and to pull the theme together.

I've found these at various locations. A great place to find some unique lanterns is
Cost Plus World Market. I've also found some great small one's at Oriental Trading Company. Just to give you a few idea's.

So for your next party - plan on picking up a few lanterns - they're great!!!

Note: For "Steph Pick" readers (which may not be many of you - I have no idea) - I need your help! I need your idea's for future Steph Picks. If you have any idea's - comment below!!! Thanks


a new blog

Sep 7, 2008

Since entering the blogging world, I'm always looking for a new blog to read. Just last week Nick & Abby Flies started their own blog - Yipee!!!! Check it out!


Steph's Pick - a Fall Treat

Sep 5, 2008

The entire time I was in the mountains this past week, I couldn't help but get excited about fall. I love the changing of colors, the cooler temps and the great food!!! Especially the treats! (Note: although this doesn't really happen in AZ - I still get excited about this season) In light of this, I thought I'd post one of my favorite fall dessert recipes (thanks to Jess)

Butterscotch Pumpkin Cake
1 2/3 cup Butterscotch chips
2 cups flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup 100% pure pumpkin
3 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 and grease bundt pan. Microwave 1 cup butterscotch morsels for 1 minute.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt & nutmeg. In a separate bowl stir melted morsels, pumpkin, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla with wire wisk. Then combine two combinations.
Bake for 40-50 minutes.
Optional: Butterscotch Sauce: Bring 1/3 cup evaporated milk to boil and then add remaining butterscotch. Return to boil & remove from heat. Pour over slices upon serving.


Erik & Mtns

Just last weekend, my brother booked last minute tickets to come visit us. We had an awesome time with him. The days were mostly spent poolside while the evenings were filled with great food and entertainment. We took him to some of our favorite places to eat and were able to go to The Comedy Spot one night and to a Diamondbacks game the next. Thanks for coming out Erik - we wish we lived closer!

I was also blessed to go on a Mtn Tour this past week for work where we checked out various locations for our ministry's major donor event. In just over 4 days we were in Vail, BeaverCreek, Park City and Tahoe. It was a crazy trip - but it made me so excited for cooler weather. Each morning I was able to get up early, take a walk, start a fire and read with a cup of coffee in hand. It was perfect!!!


our camping adventure

Sep 1, 2008

Just last weekend we were finally able to find a weekend to get out of the sweltering Phoenix sun with a couple friends of ours, Kevin & Joy. We traveled to Lynx Lake (near Prescott - just 2 hours northwest of the valley) for an evening under the stars. It was so wonderful being outside. I couldn't get over how great 70 degree's felt and how incredible the pine trees smelled. It was so energizing for all of us.

Although the lake itself was a sorry excuse for a lake (this coming from two Midwest natives), the getaway proved to be a ton of fun. We would highly recommend getting away, even for just a one-night camping trip before fall schedules get the best of you!


Steph's Pick - My Goodreads

Aug 29, 2008

Summer is such a great time to bury your nose in a book. Especially in AZ where it's almost too hot to spend time outside. I often find myself reading through a book a week b/c I'm so captivated by the characters. This summer I've read some "goodreads" and thought I'd highlight my Top 5 Reads of the Summer. In no particular order...

1. Shopoholic Series by Sophie Kinsella - great light-hearted chic-flicks.
2. The Birth Order Book by Kevin Leman - super intrueing book! Very informative on how birth order affects you and those you love.
3. Something Borrowed, Something Blue and Baby Proof by Emily Giffin - again, great girlie books! (Note: certainly not Christian books, but still very good reads)
4. Stepping Up: A Journey through the Psalms of Ascent by Beth Moore - a new study by Beth Moore - very challenging - loved it!
5. Freakonomics by Steven Levitt - interesting read for something different

If you want to check out other books I've read, go to
http://www.goodreads.com/. It's a great tool to document what you've read and how you would rate each book. I'm generally one who likes to read things people have recommended to me and with goodreads.com you can do just that. Anytime I need a new book, I go to my friends' goodreads pages to see which books they've rated highly.

Happy reading!


Alan's Two Cents - quick cash

Aug 26, 2008

Are you in need of some quick cash? What to know some of the options that are out there and the consequences? I recently ran across this page http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2008/moneymag/0808/gallery.rasie_cash.moneymag/index.html on CNN Money. It has some good ideas and gives you the pros and cons to each scenario. Take a look.


Steph's Pick - DIY Monogrammed Art

Aug 22, 2008

I have this weird fetish - I always want to change things up in our home. Although we are blessed to have an incredible condo, it just isn't all that big, so I don't have the option of making hugely noticeable changes (ex: moving furniture). However, I'm always able to move artwork, shelving, and decorative items.
Just a couple weeks ago I wanted a new art piece for one of our walls but didn't want to spend much money. I went to Michael's with my 40% off coupon and came out with everything I needed to make my own monogrammed art piece. Here's how I did it:

Items needed:
- An inexpensive canvas at an arts and crafts store.
- Wood Letters
- Fun fabric to cover canvas
- Black paint
- Hot glue gun
- Staple Gun

How to:
- Cut fabric to fit tightly across the canvas with some extra to staple to the back
- With staple gun, staple fabric to back wood frame of canvas (remember to pull tightly)
- Paint letters and let dry (only if needed obviously)
- Measure out placement for letters (just to make sure everything is even)
- Hot glue letters to front of canvas

That's it! It was super easy and didn't cost me any more than $15 for the entire thing. I think it looks pretty good too! :)
(Note: this also makes a great wedding or anniversary gift)


a birth announcement

Aug 20, 2008

Isn't she just way too precious!!! Here is the announcement I designed for our friends John & Denise.
For those of you who don't know - I've started a little side-business designing invitations and announcements. It's just something to do in my spare time :) If you or anyone you know might be interested, go to
iDesign and contact me. I'd love to help with any future projects you may have.



Aug 17, 2008

Growing up, both our summers consisted of spending a ton of time swimming at the pool/lake. In fact, some of my best memories involve time in the sun as a child. Upon moving to Phoenix we soon realized that summer is not the best time to spend outside. Although we still do it, it's just way too hot.
As we were putting together our social calendar for our small group, I stumbled across notification that our local waterpark hosts what they call "NightSplash" every Saturday night. They keep the park open from 7 pm - 11 pm every Saturday. So our group gathered our beach towels and headed out for the evening last night. And let me tell you - it was soooo much fun! I would highly recommend looking into this possibility with your local waterpark. The tickets were less money and you didn't have to lather up with the SPF of your choice :) Two thumbs up from us!


Steph's Pick - Food Tidings.com

Aug 15, 2008

Ever been asked to bring food for friends or family in need? Say your good friends just had a baby and you want to bring over food for this transition time. Or a family member is recovering from surgery and again, you'd like to provide a good home-cooked meal for the family. Better yet - you're actually organizing all of the people that want to provide food. My guess is that most reading can relate to at least one of these situations. I have great news - the world wide web has come through again and made this process so fast and easy for cases just as the one's I described. It's called Food Tidings.
Food Tidings website says it exists to simplify the process of organizing meals for friends or family members in a transitional time of life. For someone who has just had a baby, recovering from surgery or injury, grieving the passing of a loved one, confined to bed rest, and almost anything else, receiving dinners from loved ones can be very comforting and helpful.
I love this site for multiple reasons. First, you can sign-up online for what day you'd like to bring food. You can also make a notation of what you will be bringing so you don't bring a similar dish to the person that brought food just two days before. And if you find yourself organizing food for family or friends you can make special notes of what the couple/person likes and doesn't like. You can also include a map to their home. It's just so great!!! Try it for yourself - I think you'll really love it.


Announcing the arrival of Madison Rose

Aug 12, 2008

Announcing the arrival of Ms. Madison Rose on August 9th, 2008 at 1:08 pm. At 7 lbs, 8 ounces and 21 inches, Madison was born healthy to a very excited mom and dad.

John & Denise - we are so excited for you two as you join together in this great adventure called parenting. May God do a great work in and through little Madison and may she impact the world for God's great glory.


Steph's Pick - a call to prayer

Aug 8, 2008

This past year our dearest friends, Greg & Amy Brill have been serving in Ecuador as missionaries. What a great blessing it has been to follow their incredible journey of faith and love by joining them in praying for the salvation of those they encounter.

Specifically the majority of their time has been spent at a soup kitchen where they serve food to local children, while the rest of their time has been devoted to the partnership with US short-term teams that come for various time periods. These teams have accomplished various things throughout the year - some have been medical teams and have offered medical services to people in the community while others have brought with them containers and containers of new shoes and socks for Ecuadorian children - Happy Feet. These teams spend a majority of their time washing children's feet and providing them with a new pair of socks and shoes. There is almost too much to report as they have accomplished, through God's grace, an enormous amount for the sake of His kingdom. For more about their ministry please go to their blog.
The Ecuador Adventure

For both Alan and I, their devotion to the spreading of the gospel and the serving of God's people has been so empowering. Greg & Amy's ministry often reminds me of a quote that I have always loved and clung to in my own personal walk with the Lord

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot, martyr

Although this may not be the usual "Steph's Pick" - it is more dear to our hearts than any of the past picks will ever be. Please join us in praying for the Brill's. They'll be coming back to the states in early September and could use your prayers for these next few weeks in Ecuador and their transition back to life in the states. We love you Greg & Amy! We pray the following for you on this day (and forevermore)...

"Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God's Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears." - Philippians 1:3-6 (The Message)


Alan's Two Cents - Save on Home Improvements

Aug 6, 2008

Are you looking to do a minor/major renovation in your home? Perhaps update those old kitchen appliances? Get a new washer and dryer? Put in tile or hard wood floors? I was recently informed of 20% coupons from Home Depot on eBay. These coupons can be purchased on eBay for $10-$20, however they could save you hundreds of dollars. A friend of ours purchased a bundle of like 5 coupons and used them to update their home. So if you are going to spend some serious change at Home Depot, check out these coupons on eBay.

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