Thursday, December 29, 2011

Daddy's Dream

Daddy Draft

I find blogs to be very peculiar. I have a terribly difficult time communicating what I am thinking about. I find my thoughts to be very valuable because not many of them are heard. So, why would I "blog" about what I'm thinking about? And another peculiar aspect of blogging...why does anyone else care what I think?

So why am I typing this right now? No idea. Probably because I love my wife and appreciate so much that she takes the time to blog about our lives. I love reading what she writes, and I love that she keeps all of our friends and family updated on our lives. Thank you Baber!

To anyone who cares what I think, here is what is on my mind...

I am planning on running the Steamtown Marathon in October this year. I ran it once in 2006 and have always wanted to run it again. In 2006 my training was interrupted 1 month before the race due to crashing my bicycle into the side of a front-end loader. It was my goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon that year; I missed it by 20 minutes.

So, this year I plan to run the Steamtown Marathon and qualify for the Boston Marathon. Here's my dilemma:

Who will this goal benefit other than myself? I will lose time with my wife and kids due to my training schedule. I will be more tired and have less energy for my family. It costs about $300 to drive out to PA and back which we don't have.

Why do I want to run? I love a challenge. Running is the one sport that I feel truly challenges my bodies potential. I love to push myself to the limit, to see what I'm really made of. To run the Steamtown this year and qualify for Boston will be a huge challenge for me, and I am really looking forward to it.

Is it wrong of me to chase a dream now that I'm a husband and a father? I have some creative ideas on how to balance family time and dream chasing, but I was curious if anyone else cared to comment on my dilemma.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Our Christmas Traditions

A couple weeks ago I promised I'd post about what ideas we decided to implement this Christmas season. Some things we've been doing, some are new!

So here's the list you've been holding your breath for...

1. Goodies for our neighbors

2. Jesse Tree

3. $20 gift budget for each of us
4. Christmas caroling at a nursing home
5. Gifts and dinner for hurting families (we're giving to 2 this year)
6. We got a couple of gifts for a couple of Lifeline kids - the cool thing about this was one kid wanted jewelry and one kid wanted a soccer ball. Perfect! We already had both!
7. Marie is going to use some of her "spending money" to buy Jack a gift.
8. Church Christmas morning followed by reading Luke 2, singing happy birthday to Jesus, and opening gifts!

One of the many things we learned (and are learning!) during our toughest trial of this year was that God expects us to give even when it seems we have nothing to give!

(I can't tell you how many times I've promised God if He just gave us a little bit more money than absolutely necessary that we would give it all away. He told me He's already got that covered and it's time to give! As soon as I can find the passage that really convicted me, it will be posted!)

It's been so cool to see how God has not only provided for us, but has also provided for us to bless others.

We have truly enjoyed focusing on our Savior this Christmas and are so excited to continue implementing Christ-focused traditions in the years to come. I just love how Marie is constantly talking about Jesus' birthday.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dinner Party!

My sister is having her 3rd little babe - her 1st girl. To celebrate, we threw her a baby shower/dinner party!

My sis-in-law is becoming quite the party planner! She dreamed it all up and basically did all the real work. My mom, future-sis-in-law, friend, and I helped out.

I'm telling ya, next time you throw a party, get as many hosts as you can. Makes it so easy!

So first, Steph made and sent out gorgeous invitations.

Then we put together the menu (Italian woot!)...

1. Salad
2. Garlic bread
3. Meat sauce spaghetti
4. Fettucini Alfredo
5. Veggie Lasagna (I made this! First time making lasagna ever)
6. Cupcakes

Then we put together the schedule...

1. Game one - with Salad
2. Game winner - open prize
3. Game two - Main meal
4. Game winner - open prize
5. Game three - cupcakes
6. Game winner - open prize
7. Presents!

And here was the final set up...

We enjoyed fellowship and deliciousness...

We had a wonderful time and can't wait to meet Natalie Ruth!

We've also got a wedding shower in the works. Steph is the party planning master!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas on Conor - Livingroom

Last year we didn't decorate because we were living in the cockroach house, we spent Christmas in PA, and we were going to be moving in a month so we didn't want to bother.

That added to my excitement to decorate this year! It feels like Christmas has been gone a long time! Even Derek has gotten into it. I didn't even have to ask him to get the tree out.

And speaking of the tree, we finally have a full size tree. And not just any full size tree, the Jacobs family tree! Isn't it a beauty??

I just love how it fits so perfectly in our wonderful blessing of a house. And it's just loaded with gorgeous blue and silver ornaments my MIL got me over the past couple of years. I have so many I could probably decorate another small tree with the left overs. But that's probably good as I'm sure not all will survive with Jack the destroyer wandering around.

We used blue/navy, silver, and white for our wedding - a "winter wonderland" theme. Now we're a little obsessed.

We even use blue and silver wrapping paper every year.

And surprise, navy and silver stockings! :)

Our Jesse Tree boxes...

And some more blue and silver decor...

We have been gifted some things that aren't navy and silver, but I love them anyway. One of my favorites...

And I love these little guys...

I hung some snowflakes from the fan. I also hung one on the kitchen light, but that's a different post for a different day. I know you can hardly stand the anticipation.

I love the simplicity in our decor, and the consistent color scheme.

I could never be an interior designer because not only am I horrible at it, I have trouble seeing past matching... everything must match. Always.

I don't think that's in right now.

Anyway, hope you all enjoyed the little tour. I am realizing just now that I didn't get an overall shot. Next time. Or you could stop by and see it in all its real life awesomeness.

Linking up...

holiday open house button
Gussy Sews Inspiration Workshop!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Buckeyes... ah buckeyes. How I love thee.

And I have passed my love for you down to my mini-me.

I did a quick search and ended up using this buckeye recipe.

We enjoyed rolling the peanut butter mix

And eating the balls that were just a little too small :)

We also thoroughly enjoyed dipping them in the chocolate but it was a little too chaotic to take pics.

This recipe, in spite of our constant nibbling, made a million buckeyes. Good thing because we wanted to give some to our neighbors and still have plenty for ourselves.

As I write this, we have yet to catch our neighbors home while we're all together (including Derek) to drop off their little gifts. Good thing buckeyes last a good long time!

This is one of the traditions we are implementing... giving baked goods to the neighbors. We've done it in the past so I guess it's already a tradition. We're just making it more of an outreach effort. (We did give some to neighbors that are close, godly friends, too. Just because we love them!)

What are some ways you are reaching out to your neighbors this time of year? Please share in the comments! I'd love to highlight some of your great ideas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How God Provides

Way back in the day, my dad was the president of Lifeline in Elkhart. I remember loving that he worked there because we spent so much time there. It was fun.

But, if my memory serves me right (which would be a nice change), my dad finally had to leave because it just wasn't possible to raise 4 babies on such a meager income. It was sad.

Derek made the comment the other night about how he really appreciates Lifeline and how it is so similar to the Crossing.

That's when it hit me... when will it be our turn to admit that we just cannot survive on such a meager income? Will it be 2 more kids down the road? Sooner? Or at all?

I wasn't stressing or even worrying. (I know, it's a miracle). But I had been thinking about it on and off throughout the day on Monday.

Then I got the mail...

I was pumped to see what looked like our first Christmas card. But it didn't have a return address. I kinda skimmed through the words on the front and opened it to find, not a picture of a family that I had expected, but a gift card for a significant amount of money.

I started to cry.

Inside the card was hand written the verse:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

 After spending time praying for these amazing friends who were sensitive to the Spirit and so generous in heart, I took the time to actually read the card itself and was brought to tears again. The words were so personal and humbling.

The most amazing thing about all of this wasn't just the money (that came the day after Derek said money was going to be super tight until next payday - dec. 16 - and cupboards were looking very bare already).

What really struck me was how God seemed to be directly answering my prayers of that day. Would we ever come to the point where we just can't afford to be in full time ministry anymore?

He said, I work all things together for your good because I have called you.

Whatever He has planned for our future has absolutely no dependance on finances. He is the Provider. He's got us covered.

A couple more things I took away from this sweet gift...

1. Even though it's been an entire year since we were last in PA, someone out there still loves us enough to minister to us in such a sacrificial and exact way. We're feeling so loved.
2. God has grown me since moving out here to good ol' IN. I think of the time we finally received our loan money. Or the last time God sent us a random check. Praise God, all these trials we've been fighting through have been doing their job.

And finally, as if this could even begin to be enough...

Thank you.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Candymaker's Gift

Before naptime one day, I read this book to Marie...

The Candymaker's Gift by David and Helen Haidle

I initially was just going to read half or so and save the rest for another time, but I didn't want to put it down!

It's about a legend of the candy cane. We've all heard one legend or another, but this book actually nearly had me in tears.

In other words... I highly recommend it!

It's beautifully illustrated.

And it presents the Gospel so clearly, I was blown away.

After the story, there's a few pages of ideas for using the Candy Cane to share Christ. It also lists the details of what the candy cane means.

And the very last page shares how to receive Christ with Scripture!

I just love it! Maybe a new little tradition for Christmastime? I'm planning on getting some candy canes and reading this book together as a family and then discussing it... as much as a 3.5 yr old and 17 month old can :)

What are some of your favorite Christmas books? Please share!

The Meaning of the Candy Cane (directly from the book by David and Helen Haidle)

Hard Candy: Reminds us that Jesus is like a "rock," strong and dependable. Psalm 31:3

Peppermint Flavor: Reminds us of the gift of spices from the wise men. Matthew 2:11

White Candy: Stands for Jesus as the holy, sinless Son of God. 1 John 1:7

Cane: Is like a staff used by shepherds in caring for sheep. Jesus is our "Good Shepherd." John 10:1-18, 27-30

The Letter J: Is the first letter in the Name of Jesus, our Savior. Matthew 1:21

The Color Red: Reminds us of God's love that sent Jesus, and of Jesus shedding His blood for us. John 3:16, Revelation 1:5

The Stripes: A large stripe reminds us of the cross on which Jesus died. Three small red stripes reminds us of His suffering - the crown of thorns, the stripes from the whip on His back, the nail wounds in His hands and feet. John 19:1-30

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Thanksgiving '11 Recap

Out of the blue we decided to start a new tradition for Thanksgiving morning - running a race! With no training on either of our parts, we kicked out a 10k at the Turkey Stampede in Elkhart. Derek and I both significantly surpassed our goal times!

I love this running thing.

Everyone should do it.

Then Derek took me 4-wheeling!

I haven't been on a 4-wheeler in at least a decade. I'm pretty sure I've never driven one... definitely not a manual, at least! It took me a while to warm up to it, but when I finally did... woohoo!

I actually much preferred the trail in the woods to the huge, empty bean field. Kinda backwards, probably.

A couple hours later... windblown and happy :)

It was very muddy, which just added to the fun! The muddy quads...

And my very muddy hubs...

The turkey and potatoes (and lots lots more) came the day after Thanksgiving. It's our tradition. My parents rented out this huge lodge so our huge family could all fit comfortably.

The amounts of food was out of control. A-mazing.

I kinda forgot to get my camera out til we were all done eating and winding down... then I got distracted when I found some of my cousins playing "Disney's Scene It." So I missed out on a lot of potentially awesome shots. You'll have to live with these...

Wedding planning.

This is where I got distracted. Love playing games!

Derek took this shot. Isn't it amazing?? Yeah, that bathroom is, too.

The whole weekend was such an amazing blessing.

So now that you're caught up on the life of the Jacobs', come to the Old Bag Factory in Goshen for one incredible all-handmade craft show!! I mean it, right now. And bring your kids because there's free bounce houses! Woot!
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