A Mid-Winter Spark of Delight!


I’m excited to point your attention over to some special new products on The Crafty Corner! I can testify that the cheerful gift and accessory options are a really simple way to perk up the ordinary. My girls keep me nicely supplied in this way. An extra smile here and there because of something delightful––it’s a pretty sweet thing!

This post is just a tiny teaser, but the girls give you a nice overview of some of their new products here. And of course, check out all their pages at the top of their blog.





A Little Time Travel

Late January -25

No winter coats, hats, or mittens! HORRAY!

The older three are away for the weekend, and since the younger three are working through the Little House stories, we figured it was time to take them back in time and visit Laura’s “little log house in the big woods of Wisconsin.” It is such a beautiful day trip excursion, and we had a great time with the kiddos, comparing notes from the story with the way things are now. We were even able to have a picnic lunch on Lake Pepin in the warm sunshine of this January thaw day!

In staying with the time travel theme, I thought I’d post a few pictures from our past along this same travel route. In looking at these pictures, one thing is sure to me: Even my “littles” aren’t so little anymore, and my consensus is that time is traveling a little too fast!

Late January -10 Late January -29 Late January -11

pictured above: Earlier today, 2016. Pictured immediately below: Fall 2011

kids at Pa's-3103

Pictured below: Fall 2009DSC_1038

Pictured below: Spring 2006 (Joy is actually wearing the purple sweatshirt this winter that Janie is wearing in the pictures below!)

Janie Ru Lake Pepin Dad kids Lake Pepin

Hope Amidst -30 Degrees.


Our noses froze shut running into church yesterday, with wind chills somewhere around -30. The topic of more than one conversation… gardening! My kids think I have a bad case of early spring fever, but not yet. I’m sure spring fever may overtake me soon enough (it never seems to be too far away when the temps drop so low), but for now, I’m happy to let winter run its course. However, dreaming of putting those spring seeds into the soil is a hopeful way for me to spend some winter moments, and I am very excited to see the life springing up within this garden fence in a few months!

A Year Ago

fox trot walk-8

Exploring (one week after landing in NC)
fox trot walk-13 2

Right about now, last year, our family was driving up to our little house in NC for the first time! Today it feels good that we are home (albeit bracing for the arctic blast this weekend). I have many reflections that flood my head, and I’m intrigued to see what rises to the surface. Rather than writing too much, I’ll give just one more moment of spotlight to the gratitude we have for God’s guiding, helping, caring hands as we walked into and through that season of life.

On nightly walks, Jason and I will often start by looking straight up into the starry skies. Lately I’ll say something like, “Those stars are so big and hot up there, but I’m not really feeling any of the heat, are you?” They are so far away, and I feel so small! And God’s word tells us that as big and as vast as the universe and beyond are–he holds it all in the span of his hand, and sets it all in motion! Does it ever just blow your mind how incredible it is that this same God cares and bends to help us? And how much daily grace he pours out–so that we can see him a little more for who he is and worship him more fully? I really don’t want to miss that opportunity, and it is with that heart that I say this one more public thank-you to him for bending to care this past year!

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him? Ps 8:3-4


Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
    and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure
    and weighed the mountains in scales
    and the hills in a balance? Isaiah 40:12


And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these… For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. From Luke 12

christmas break snow-10

These days… including my big kids who decided to pull out the summer lawn chairs in order to do some school work in front of the fire. Maybe they were dreaming of warmer days? (below)FullSizeRender