January, with a prayer request

January has plodded along. Nothing overly exciting or new to report, hence the quiet on here! I’ll go through our each of our family:


No picture of the heavily bearded man himself, but Brian spent most of January working in the shop. He’s got some electrical done, including the light on the outside that comes on automatically at night. He’s got the heater installed and most of the ceiling up. He was able to use it for the first time this past Saturday when he worked on a friend’s car all day. They were able to be inside and not freezing cold, so, mission accomplished.

The print compilation edition of the BCM World is in the works. And, Brian’s been doing a lot of web design for a BCM camp. He’s been kept plenty busy.


Due to weather, we had to cancel one Wed. night so far this month and I missed one Sunday morning because it was pure ice leaving MRF and Brian (who was at church early) texted and asked me not to come in. Beyond that – my Wed. night team is being extremely gracious and are piloting some church material I’ve been writing this past year. I want to see if it’ll work and what changes I need to make going forward. It’s humbling and terrifying, but I’m praying the end result will be a good experience!

I’m working on editing revisions for BCM’s In Step with the Master Teacher material. And, I’m in the middle of planning the annual training for the kid’s ministries at church, to be held in March.


This one got a yucky tummy bug a couple weeks ago and, as per usual, took her well over a week to bounce back. But, she’s a trooper and handled it like a champ. She’s doing well now. She has two loose teeth, but is too anxious to actually pull them out. While she’s quite independent, we’re seeing her sweet spirit come out more often – quick to hug and make sure people are okay, worried about others, and always the peacemaker.


This guy had a small medical procedure done last week and while recovery was tough, he’s doing just fine now. He is enjoying learning how to use Legos, but if given the choice, he’d be outside as much as possible. His class at school has a new pet: a lizard! His writing and coloring are greatly improving and he’s such a gentle little boy (well, most of the time. He is still a boy!).


The big news for this guy is that he’s finally out of diapers! He is so proud of himself and we are quite content not having to contend with that anymore! He is our biggest talker at this age. When the big kids are at school, he follows me around chattering all day long. By the time Brian gets home, I beg to be alone and just not have anyone talking at me anymore! He’s hilarious and ALL boy.


In closing, can I ask you to pray for my friend Sue? Sue and I go way back. Like, she entered my life when I was in middle school and just hasn’t left. She is my mentor, one of my closest friends, a bridesmaid, aunt to my kids — there are not enough descriptions for all she means to me. She has visited us in every place we’ve ever lived – including Peru – and I love her to pieces. She’s family, not just a friend. Well, she was diagnosed with cancer Saturday. I am usually full of words, but this has left me speechless and utterly, completely heartbroken. Please pray for the Great Physician to heal my precious Sue. I don’t even know what else to say, so just pray for her. Thank you.


To paradise and back to the bitter cold.


We had a spectacular time in Florida for Christmas! The Lord graced us with good weather on both the trip down and back – we missed this nasty winter storm on the east coast by a few days, so that’s awesome. While in Florida, we even had genuinely warm days, allowing us to truly enjoy Clearwater Beach, hiking, and outdoor activities as a family. I even still have the sunburnt, peeling back to prove it!


We went to a beautiful Christmas Eve service with my parents at the church MY grandparents attended. I can still picture my Grandma Ribble (E’s middle namesake) walking down the aisles of that church in her flowered dress. Being in my grandparent’s condo brought back such nostalgia and it was fun sharing memories with my own children. And yes, I do realize there’s a good chance that BigJ will one day look at this picture and go, “Mom, what did you let me wear?!” 


The Christmas morning jammies lasted only as long as opening presents did – it was just too warm! We loved being with my parents Christmas morning. The lovely task of packing wrapped presents into totes for the trip down was totally worth it (but may not be something I want to do every year!).


Christmas afternoon, we did what apparently everybody in the area also did: went to the beach. Actual Clearwater Beach was packed and traffic was horrible, so we went just a tad farther and found a less occupied beach that was almost as pretty. The kids got to put their feet in the ocean and collected piles of sea shells.


My parents graced us with a date night. We watched a gorgeous sunset and had cajun food for dinner. No phones. No work calls. No stress. Just us. I’m pretty sure it was just what the doctor ordered.

The kids got to go swimming in the pool at the condo. We took walks and went hiking in a park where the kids got to see their first alligators. I did loads of reading. Brian left his phone off and only did computer work once. I even got to do some shopping with my mom and sister. We took three days to get home (only two days to get down) and made a stop at our good friends’ house in Virginia for New Year’s Eve. All in all, it was a simply beautiful, much-needed vacation and we were thankful to come home Monday night to running water, no frozen pipes, and a house that {eventually} warmed up!

Now, it’s back to reality! The kids are home on a snow day. It hasn’t stopped snowing all morning and the temperature is continuing to plummet as the wind kicks up.

I’ll work on sending out an actual newsletter this month with a game plan of what’s on our agendas for the beginning of 2018.

One last thing — we wanted to give a public THANK YOU to the many of you who unexpectedly gave financially towards our trip. We are humbled by your outpouring of love in this way. It truly made the trip feel like a vacation because finances were not a stress. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Happy New Year!


Merry Christmas!


We’re always busy, but this week is particularly slammed, so I thought in these few moments of peace I have this morning, that I’d post an early Merry Christmas for all of you! We hope your holiday is lovely, uneventful, and full of joy. We are looking forward to seeing my parents in Florida (yes, we’re driving). Naturally, there’s five million loose ends to tie up here before we can leave, so if you think of us this week, just pray it all gets done and that no emergencies (like the plumbing problem at MRF that Brian had to work on the last couple of days!) arise while we’re gone. It’s been a while since we’ve had a vacation or a substantial break, so we are simply looking forward to crashing for awhile. Built-in babysitters in the condo are also a plus – maybe we’ll get a date night out of the deal?!

We shall see you in the New Year! Have a good one…

*because outtakes are often better than the real one…. believe it or not, most of the outtakes involved the 2 year old… shocking, i know…*

Happy Thanksgiving 2017!

Just wanted to take a minute to wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving! We continue to be grateful to God for where he has placed us… in a tiny house in the woods in the corner of Pennsylvania, ministering to our church family, missionaries from around the world, and our BCM co-workers. Thank you for being a part of that. Thank you for caring for our missionary kids, praying for us, keeping up with what we’re doing, and supporting us financially. If you have done any of that this year, then you are as much a part of our ministries as we are because we cannot do this alone. 

We hope your Thanksgivings are filled with wonderful family times and great food! We are home this year and have no visitors, which means it’ll be just our family for the first time ever for Thanksgiving! And we decided to do what every normal family would do in that case: celebrate on Friday. The kids generously shared their colds with us and even though Brian is basically fully-functioning, I am completely miserable, have no voice (which the kids think is hilarious, by the way), and have no desire to be in the kitchen coughing over the pumpkin roll. So, we’re postponing and declaring Thanksgiving Day the day of snack food, family games, and movies! 🙂 Whatever works, right??

Happy Thanksgiving!

Busy Week!

November is turning out to be a packed month. We worked together to finish the annual Christmas giving catalog for BCM. You should have received, or will receive soon, one via snail mail if you have ever supported us or another BCM ministry. Now, we’ve moved on to the 2018 calendar that gets handed out. Brian is compiling pictures and when he has the layout done, I’ll help him with the text. It’s an interesting task as wall calendars are not as popular anymore, so they need to be more artwork rather than functional. Brian does a fabulous job, though!

I am working on a couple of articles for the last BCM World of the year. I have also been asked to consider working on another publication and will decide this week if I have the time to devote to it or not. When I asked Brian his thoughts, though, he looked at me and said, “Based on how you’re smiling and how excited you are about this, I think you’ll find the time!”


We had asked prayer for James as he had a little procedure done this week. He was sick a week ago and we weren’t sure if it was going to proceed as planned since he had to be put under anesthesia. But, he was cleared for surgery and Tuesday morning everything was done. We are thankful to God for how all of this transpired as his “routine procedure” turned out to be a little more complicated than planned. He is more sore than anticipated and still not moving around much, but is healing well. The whole thing could’ve been much worse, so God was gracious and spared him a lot! Thank you for continuing to pray for his recovery!

Winter temps hit NEPA this week, so Brian rushed to get everything winterized, especially the outdoor pavilion restrooms. We have vacant homes, so he had to check on pipes and plumbing as well. This week, we welcome some short-term guests and our new neighbors, whose arrival was delayed, should move in as well.

The kids are gearing up for Thanksgiving. Their classes will both participate in missions outreaches this week where they visit different nursing homes. Big J’s class is filling shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child and the entire school is collecting canned goods. Grandparent’s Day is coming up right before Thanksgiving; they’re thankful that a great friend from church is playing surrogate Grandma and will be there with them!

And then, in between all that, there’s been time for this:


He’s anxiously awaiting deer season, especially with the regular appearance of a large buck on his trail camera right where he’s putting up his tree stand! At least he’s got a hobby. You all know Brian; it’s good to see him not working once in a while and doing something else he enjoys.

Welcome, November!

We don’t do much for Halloween, but the kids got to participate in a community Trunk or Treat with friends and then they got some candy Halloween night.

October is past and we can officially start thinking about the holidays! Snow is in the forecast for today, the heat is on in the house, and everyone has a cough. Yup, sounds about right.

Front row, ponytail with a white bow – that’s E.

I had the opportunity last week to speak at my kids’ school about the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. They called it “Reformation Celebration” and spent the afternoon teaching the children all about the Middle Ages and the importance of what Martin Luther, Gutenberg, and others did. This was the first time Big J has sat under any of my teaching besides Sunday School. It was almost surreal having his little blonde head sitting in a big kid class.

Brian has been working on putting new-to-MRF furniture into a couple of the homes. One home in particular needed new dressers and bedding; it changed the feel of the home and is a nice update. He got rid of some furniture and other items that are no longer needed – some necessary cleaning out before winter hits. He’s worked on getting leaves off of roofs and cleaning up around our private lake so it won’t flood (and found a giant, resilient beaver in the process!). When he’s not doing all that, you can find him fishing for bass or hunting for turkey. He’s anxiously awaiting doe season and we’re all holding out a little hope that we’ll have venison for the winter.

The kid’s ministries have been booming. We have welcomed new children every single week both Sundays and Wednesdays and have had a great attendance in every class. My team has taught children’s church all month and it’s gone very well. I asked Sunday if anyone feels God is calling them to be a missionary and had a whole group raise their hands! The discipleship time with the 6th grade has even touched on harder topics and been challenging for the girls. It’s been a full year already and we’re only two months in. Brian has even decided to join us on Wednesday evenings. It’s one of our favorite things – doing ministry together – and so I’ve been thankful to have him join us.

November includes:

  • a medical procedure for Baby J – please pray his cough clears up so they can proceed as planned next week.
  • a conference for me for women’s leadership training.
  • prep for our church’s biggest outreach of the year, the Living Christmas Village.
  • Grandparent’s Day & Thanksgiving – our first two big events with the grandparents in Florida – pray for the kids as this will be especially hard on them. We are praising God for surrogate grandparents who are filling their shoes and doing a great job with it!
  • numerous ‘short-stays’ here at MRF, which means lots of double-checking homes to ensure they’re ready for the next guests.

Have a wonderful first week of the new month!

……this smile is just about the best thing ever.

Fall Ministries

Birthdays are over and fall is supposedly here, but the weather feels like spring and the colors of the leaves are pretty dismal. But, a part of me secretly loves the fact that it’s still warm so late because that means less time in the bitter cold! I’ll take it!

Here’s what’s been going on around here:

I spoke in chapel at the kids’ school on Sept. 27 – Big J’s birthday (I was essentially at school all day). It was a blast and I was so glad I got to do it! I speak again in February, but told them I’d be willing to be a fill-in if they needed someone last minute. It was just to the elementary, but it was so much fun. I return to the school on Oct. 29 to help teach part of a “Reformation Celebration.” I thoroughly love doing more at the school and being a hands-on part of their education, even if it’s in small areas.

The day I was gone to Philadelphia, our roof got replaced (if you haven’t read about my experience in Philadelphia yet, click the link). A team of men from area churches came and helped Brian redo our roof. It was a HUGE blessing, especially because Brian didn’t have to do it alone! Our roof was getting quite ‘iffy’, so having a new one before winter is awesome.

We had people move out of MRF and realized we had a lot of work in a couple of homes. One was just in need of basic maintenance due to normal wear and tear, but the end result was lots of plumbing, a fair amount of cleaning up afterwards, and digging out new bedding and towels. But, it looks great and should be set for awhile now.

We have a number of “short stays” the rest of October, then a few will be here for longer stretches starting in November. We were overjoyed to provide a stay for a couple who had never had a break from ministry, not even for a honeymoon. They loved their restful week here and were a good reminder of why we are involved at MRF. Our daughter is seeing once again that God cares about her: she has been praying faithfully for a family with a daughter to move in next door. She gets her answer on Nov. 1 when a family with one child – an 8 year old girl – moves in for a year and a half!

2017 coming to a close means lots of computer work for Brian and writing for myself. We are currently working on the giving catalog, then the 2018 BCM calendar that gets handed out. We have been tasked with the design and the writing for both.

We had our first Skill Nite of the year this past Wednesday at church. We had a blast teaching them about puppets. The leaders did a phenomenal job, especially considering a number of things that went ‘wrong’ behind the scenes! We had a big turnout and a number of guests. By every estimation, it was a wildly successful evening.

The end of Skill Nite with one of our leaders sharing his testimony with the 30 kids.
Brian took the big kids fishing a few weeks ago. Big J is an avid fisherman who loves it so much. E is a little more unsure. 🙂 
My girl and I, since I realized I’m usually the photographer and don’t share many pics of myself!