Welcome....Here's a glimpse of our happenings!

The verses that have REALLY spoken to me (Sarah) lately....

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock." Matthew 7:24-25

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. I Peter 5:8-9

From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.' Acts 17:26-28

May the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock, and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14

So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess. Deuteronomy 5:32-33

God, our God, will take care of the hidden things but the revealed things are our business. It's up to us and our children to attend to all the terms in this Revelation. Deuteronomy 29:29 (The Message)

About the Friesen's....

We are Marc, Sarah, Luke, and Kate Friesen. We were married June 5, 2004. We have one son, born July 21, 2008, named Luke Andrew -- now 4 years old. We also have a daughter named Kate Christine -- born June 6, 2012. Marc is working at Cessna as a Senior Accountant, and Sarah stays home full-time with Luke. Sarah also gets to work very part-time at home for Graber Backhoe -- an excavation company AND VERY part-time at our church. We LOVE being a part of Grace Community Church here in Newton, KS. We lead a Community Life Group of other wonderful couples. Marc thoroughly enjoys long-distance running and Taekwondo. Sarah thoroughly enjoys walking -- especially when the weather is nice to take Luke and/or out in the stroller. Thanks for reading our blog!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Program, Take 2....

Yesterday, at church, the 2 year-old kiddos through the kindergartners performed.  They performed a few songs & recited some scripture.  It's pretty stinkin' cute.  And, I'm relatively certain that I will still find the "program" cute even after our kiddos our older; I just probably won't be standing in the back taking pics as much -- Ha!

Before the "program," Marc & I were talking about how Kate would do on stage.  We honestly didn't know what to expect because Kate is seriously unpredictable.  Our options were a) cry b) run around on stage being completely disobedient c) obey and do what she is supposed to do.

I'm happy to report that she basically did what she was supposed to do!  I give her and the rest of the kiddos a lot of grace because they are 2 and 3 years old!  (In the following pics, Kate is in the gray shirt with the khaki-colored pants -- on the end)...

I like these pics where the children have bells to ring....they ring with all of their little hearts!

The "bigger" kids came on stage after the little kids left the stage.  The "bigger" kids include Luke.  Luke is in the back row with his gray jacket on (and his name tag on his pants).  Oops...we should've taken his jacket with us because the jacket gave him something to play with -- Ha!

The bigger kids did a good job as well!!!!  So very fun to watch.....

All of the pictures above were taken from a distance with my phone (fairly obvious, isn't it)?

Today, a friend of mine posted this pic to my Facebook timeline, and I love it!!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas Program....

This past Tuesday evening, we had the awesome opportunity to watch our firstborn in his first school performance -- an evening Christmas program.  Yes, Luke's been in several quick Sunday morning performances at church.  And, we did watch several extremely cute preschool performances.  But, this is the first big evening performance.  (And, this performance wasn't even that big since the kindergartners weren't on the stage the whole time).

To be *completely* honest, I was NERVOUS for Luke. Luke has high anxiety levels (which he may or may not come by honestly based on my previous sentence).  But, in his first year in preschool, Luke cried during his program.  During his second year of preschool, he didn't cry, BUT his participation was relatively low, and a good portion of his performance time was spent making faces at me.  (Yes -- we had some serious discussion about that).

So, for a couple of days before this program, we prayed for God to help Luke with his nervousness.  And, we read "Berenstain Bears and Stage Fright" several times.

The program started out with Luke's class, the kindergartners, reciting Luke 2:1-20 -- the true Christmas story.  Each child was paired with another child to recite a memorized verse in the microphone.

First -- all of the kindergartners lined up on stage.  Luke is on the far left, wearing khaki-colored pants and a striped shirt....

The class started out the first few verses together.  Luke and his partner, Henry, were the first to step up to the microphone to recite their verse....

I'm probably a wee bit on the biased side of things, but these two boys did awesome!  I seriously almost cried because of how grown up Luke has become in such a short time.

After the kindergartners were finished and the offering for alumni missionaries was taken, all of the rest of the elementary kiddos entered the stage.  AND, the program, "On Our Way to Bethlehem," began.

Before the program, Luke assured me he did NOT know the songs to be sung.  But, some pics captured Luke knowing words & singing when he was supposed to!  (I took a few of these, and the others were pulled off of a teacher's "Facebook" page)....

The other fun part of this program was to watch the older kids.  Though I do NOT want time to move any faster, it was interesting to see what Luke *might* be doing in a few years...

And, to be honest and to keep it real -- our girl, Kate, was B.U.S.Y. and a wee bit of a pill during this program.  I was out in the hall twice, and during the 2nd time in the hall, she even broke an ornament off of the Christmas tree at the entrance of the school.  Good times!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Several "Happenings"....

If you fine readers don't mind, I am going to interrupt our San Antonio trip for a miscellaneous happenings!

First, starting this week until the end of February, for a few times each week, Kate's friend, Brahm, will be hanging out with Kate & me in the mornings.  Brahm's mom took a long-term substitute teaching job until the end of February.  At one point in time several years ago, Brahm's older brother, Oliver stayed here some.  For quite a few years, Brahm's older sister, Lily, also stayed here some!  Lily & Luke got to be very good friends over those years!  Now, it's Brahm's turn.

And, if yesterday at lunchtime was any indication of what is to become, Brahm & Kate may become good little friends!  There was quite a bit of toddler entertainment & laughter happening in our kitchen.

Prior to lunch, though, Brahm, Kate, and I went to the library to play & participate in storytime!

Brahm is quite photogenic, in my opinion!

During the storytime, both kiddos got to make an ornament for the library's Christmas tree....

Kate needs to learn the art of smiling for a "selfie" -- Ha!

Second, last night, there was the "Elementary Art Show" at Luke's school!  Neither Marc nor I are artists!  TRUST us on this one!  So, the chances of Luke (or Kate), at least genetically speaking,  becoming a good artist are pretty slim.

But, realizing that his class has awesome guidance in art, I figured I might see something awesome that our son created.  I can honestly say I was not let down, AND I was very impressed!  Equally as awesome last night at the show was to see the older kids' art.  It was fun to see where Luke will be headed in the art department in the next several years!

Usually, I put Kate in a stroller at most events (she's a busy little girl)!  We didn't last night at the art show.  She did *relatively* well.  It helped that there were cookies at the show -- Ha!  The cookie entertained her a bit!

This semester, in Luke's school, in art, they've been learning about famous artists!  One of the artists the kindergartners learned about was Wayne Thiebaud.

And, Luke's cupcake....(the top one)

The kids also learned about pop art....

The kindergartners made "Pop Art" leaves...

Third, tonight, I had a date with Luke, my favorite 6 year-old kindergartner....His daddy came home from work a wee bit early to take him to our local flower shop.  Luke used his own money to buy me a pretty red rose!

Luke wanted to go to "Pizza Hut" (no surprise here).  BUT, we went to one in Wichita!

It's awesome to see Luke now actually be able to do some of the provided restaurant activities rather than just simply color on the sheet.  I had a good time working on some of the activities with him!

After supper, he & I did a bit of Christmas shopping before heading home.  We didn't stay out too late since he was in school today (Luke tends to get tired rather quickly on a school days)!

We had some pretty awesome conversations....a good date, of course!!!

And, at home, our pretty 2 year-old went on a mini date with her daddy (ate local)...and, her daddy bought her a rose as well!

A good night had by all...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

San Antonio -- Part 1....

A little bit less than a week before Thanksgiving, Marc & I traveled down to San Antonio, TX.  We took this trip without our kids.  It was a getaway to celebrate our 10th anniversary -- which was back on June 5.

I've been thinking about how to approach posting about this trip.  Part of me wants to explain a few things about why we haven't been the world's *greatest* couple when it comes to traveling without our kids, about why we went to San Antonio, TX, instead of some lovely Mexican resort or Caribbean island (and my feelings about the sense of entitlement regarding those places), Blah, Blah, Blah....

BUT, if I were to talk about any of those items, I would most likely come across as a) lecturing b) bitter c) an expert.  My desire is NOT any of those things.  Instead, I will merely post about our trip with a *few* pics.  I honestly didn't take a huge number of pics.

SO -- here goes Part 1.

The one thing I will say is that ONE reason we chose San Antonio was because it's a city with which we have both visited; HOWEVER, we hadn't ever visited the city together.  Keep in mind that we're both fairly independent people who were very close to 30 years old when we got married.  We had both lived on our own AND had both traveled a fair amount before we were married.  Honestly, if we want to revisit a bunch of previously traveled places + visit new places in our lifetime, we better travel more than we do.  Ha!  (I hope that makes sense)....

Because we own 2 vehicles which are older AND have quite a few miles, we, once again (like we did this past summer), rented a vehicle for this trip.  We left on the Friday which, if you're local, was FOGGY. We left after picking up Luke from the bus stop (noonish), having lunch, and dropping off the kids at my parents'.

We took a foggy and somewhat drizzly drive all the way to Dallas, TX, for the first night.  Our main goal that first night, besides arriving safely at our hotel in Dallas, was to eat here...

Yep -- In-N-Out Burger.  We'd eaten at a couple of these fine establishments in California awhile back. It was thrilling to us when Marc figured out they were in Texas as well.

ONE thing I LOVE about In-N-Out Burger is their simple menu...Yep -- I'm a bit of a QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) nerd.  Before kids, I spent many years of my teenage & adult working years in the industry.  Though I've been "out" of that world for nearly 6 1/2 years, I still find myself comparing and watching trends.

Finally, we arrived at our hotel rather late in the evening.  We enjoy staying at "Embassy Suites" -- mainly for their big breakfasts -- Ha!  I took this pic for Luke.  He too likes Embassy Suites because of the see-through elevators and the ability to look down at the breakfast area.  We were on the 10th floor.  I texted this pic to my mom to show Luke.  It is my understanding that Luke enjoyed the picture.

Marc (and let's be honest -- and I) enjoy the breakfasts!  This would be Marc's...and, I think he had a bowl of cereal for dessert after this breakfast was eaten.

After sleeping in, not rushing, and eating breakfast, we checked out of our hotel to keep driving south.

When traveling by car, Marc & I have learned that, in big cities with a lot of traffic with which we're not familiar, it's much better if I drive and he navigates....SO, as we were leaving the hotel in Dallas (with me driving), the "low tire pressure" light came on in the rental car.  We found a lovely Quik-Trip (awesome convenience store if you're not familiar), and Marc aired up the tires.

We kept going south.

Before getting out of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area (thankfully), the light came on again.  This time, I pulled over, and Marc called "Avis".  The very nice woman at "Avis" directed us back into Ft. Worth (20 miles away) to an "Avis" location to swap cars.

While it certainly put us behind our schedule, we're grateful that a) this happened while we were kid-free b) none of the tires went completely flat while flying down a TX freeway c) it happened while we were still in a major city with plenty of "Avis" locations d) "Avis" was awesome and had another car available to us e) it didn't cost us any extra money.

The silver car was our first car.  The black one was our new one.  Notice the water on the cars.  Yep -- fog and RAIN were the themes for our trip for 2 days while traveling from the Wichita area to San Antonio.

AND -- Part 2 on another post!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Friesen Family of 4's 2014 Christmas Tree -- Part 2....

So, if you read my previous post, you will know that we decided to wait until this morning (Saturday) to decorate our Christmas tree.  So -- that's just what we did this morning.

Kate was pretty cute watching her daddy stand on a chair to put the big bow on top of the tree...

Luke, at this point in time, spends pretty much every spare waking moment working with his erector set.  This morning was no exception.  So, while Marc & I were putting lights on the tree (something he *really* can't help with), he kept on working with the erector set.

Fortunately, once we said, "ornament time," Luke came running in with the rest of his family!

I already put this pic on Facebook, but I really enjoyed watching the excitement of our 6 year-old and 2 year-old as we opened the first tub of ornaments.  Honestly, THIS will be what I miss someday when our kids are older -- the pure and honest excitement!

Poor Kate did spend of her time on the floor -- not because she was tired -- because I think we were telling her "No" a few too many times.  Poor Girl!

Thankfully, I recognized this in Kate, loosened myself up a bit, and got her to participate.  And now, FORTUNATELY, we have quite a few ornaments toward the bottom of the tree.  And no -- I have not and will not move them!

Luke did a great job!!!!

Marc & I both grew up with real Christmas trees.  In college, I purchased a fake tree & used it up until the time Marc & I got married!

When we got married, Marc insisted and still does insist on getting a real tree.  It's a *wee* bit of a hassle, but admittedly, I'm glad we do.

Here's my main reason why....

We live in a completely backwards, imperfect, screwed up, wretched world.  Roughly 2,000 years ago, a tiny baby boy was born in an extremely humble way.  This tiny baby boy, named Jesus, was/is the Son of God -- God Himself as a human!   He came to this backwards, imperfect, screwed up, wretched world to save us all by living a sinless life and then taking the punishment for all of our sins by eventually dying on a cross and rising again after 3 days!

Real Christmas trees ALWAYS have some sort of imperfection -- crooked, branches going different directions, needles falling off, etc.  Real Christmas trees and their imperfections remind me of our messed up world and our need for a Savior!

Weird?  I don't know....but, the older I get, the more I realize how imperfect & broken our world really is AND just how all of humanity needs the saving grace found only in Jesus Christ!

If you remember, last school year (2013-2014), our family hosted a French high school-aged foreign exchange student named Emma!  Emma left 6 months ago to return to her family in France.  We miss her a lot, and both kiddos seriously mention her everyday even 6 months later (which says a lot about Emma being a part of our family for almost 10 months).

This morning, literally 5 minutes after finishing the decorating of our tree, Marc went outside to get the mail.  He came back in, excited, with a package from France!  Our little Friesen Family of 4 immediately and excitedly opened the package.  Emma had sent us 3 Christmas ornaments (from France), and they arrived just as we were decorating the tree!  Talk about great timing!!!!

Lastly, if you didn't know, Marc is a pretty big TX Longhorns fan (University of Texas).  We recently returned from a trip to TX!  We made a stop in Austin, specifically at the university.  We picked up a "Longhorns" ornament as well as *somewhat* matching shirts for Marc & Luke.  Luke insisted on taking a picture with Marc, with TX shirts, in front of the "Longhorns" ornament!

In this pic, the diamond-shaped ornament is right next to Luke's right shoulder!

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Friesen Family of 4's 2014 Christmas Tree -- Part 1....

Today, after Kate's nap, our little Friesen Family of 4 headed to "Pine Creek Farm" (about 20 minutes away) to pick out this year's Christmas tree!

This morning, we weren't so sure it was going to happen today.  Neither of our children seemed to be acting quite right.  Neither one ate breakfast.  They both slept in until almost 9:00.  Kate spent the ENTIRE morning on my lap.  It took a bit to get Luke off of the couch to go outside & help Marc put up the Christmas lights.

Once lunch was eaten, however, things seemed better.  Perhaps they were worn out from Thanksgiving????

Kate was a bit challenging to get up from her nap still...so, at least I was able to capture a good sleeping pic!

Fortunately, once we got her up and she figured out we were going somewhere (her favorite), she was just fine!

At "Pine Creek Farm," Kate had to hold her daddy's hand -- In this pic, Kate is carrying her little "To Go" Baggie of snacks :)

Luke, once again, took along his little toy saw.  I will be SAD, SAD -- I tell you, when Luke quits doing that!

Luke & Kate were both so excited they ran ahead of us to pick out the best tree for our family!

Fortunately, for the sake of the kiddos, we found a great tree relatively quickly.  Luke wanted a picture with his dad (and I wanted one as well)....

At this point, before the guys cut down the tree, we *usually* find a kind soul to take our family pic!  But, all of the other tree customers were in other lots.  I mean to tell you -- nobody was around to take our pic!  So, we did a family "selfie"....

Then, Marc & Luke started to cut down the tree...Kate & I watched!  (In case you're concerned, Luke never used the real saw.  He only used his toy one)!

Once the tree was cut down, we decided Marc should go and get the car instead of us hauling it clear back to the parking area.  While Marc & Kate went to get the car, Luke & I hung out a bit...he's a fun kid to talk to -- at least we think so!

Soon and finally -- another family showed up in our particular tree lot, and one of them gladly took our pics!  The kind woman took quite a few, and let me tell you -- the outtakes are HILARIOUS!  Perhaps I'll post them another time!  In the meantime, here's the best one.  I've never been one for perfected pics.  I "keep it real"!

Getting our tree loaded into Marc's car (we brought 2 cars for this process) was interesting, but it happened with very little damage to the tree (contrary to what this pic shows)...

Once we got home, Marc did some additional trimming on the trunk.  

Our little Friesen Family of 4's tradition is to order in pizza the evening we get our tree.  So, we ate pizza from "Pizza Hut" next.

Then, we went through the process of getting out the decorations.  For our wedding 10 1/2 years ago, we received a ceramic nativity set.  Amazingly, not one piece has been broken.  Before kids, we displayed it fairly low (next to our tree).  NOW, it gets displayed up high, and I wouldn't change that for anything!

We got the tree inside & set up straight....

At this point, it was starting to get a bit late (in Luke's & Kate's world).  Marc & I strive to keep at least *somewhat* regular bedtimes (even during school breaks).  SO, we made the executive decision together to postpone the decorating until tomorrow morning -- which is ok by me.

SO, stay tuned for Part 2!