Sunday, April 15, 2012


My younger brother Jason died six years ago today. It is so bittersweet to remember our favorite times with him.  He was so much fun and we miss him so much.

This is a photo from July 4, 2005 (summer before he died) when my two brothers planned a camp-out for the kids. Brandon is missing from the picture--probably playing with the campfire. :)
July 4, 2005 -- Red Gates camp out with Uncle Jason
I am struck by how small all the kids are in the picture above. They have changed a lot in six years.
Cousins - July 4, 2011
Jason loved them all so much and provided so much fun and entertainment. If wishes could come true, I'd wish for a day with Jason and his nieces and nephews together. I am smiling through my tears just thinking about it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Do what it says...

Having spring arrive early has been good for my soul. I'm guessing the same is true for everyone else. It has helped me feel renewed after the demands of hosting Levi for six months. Those six months were filled with both challenging and rewarding moments. The stress level was higher than we were accoustomed to, and the emotional demands were consuming most of the time.  However, God showed Himself in new ways with each challenge we faced. My faith was deepened as I looked to Him to get me through the tough days. It became more "normal" for me to do hard things, and I learned to trust God more even when I wasn't sure where the path would lead or how things would end. God had a plan to accomplish something and He was letting me be a part of it. What a be part of God's work in someone else's life.

In March, our family was presented with another opportunity to help someone from Rosebud Indian Reservation. A single mom and her two young children wanted to leave the reservation and start a new life in Iowa. They moved in to our home three weeks ago. Again, it has brought challenges and rewards. Babies require a lot of time and attention! The laundry, food, bedroom space, transportation and childcare needs of our now bigger family have been consuming. There is not enough time in each day to accomplish all that needs to be done. It is easy for me to complain that this is too hard. It is easy for all to see that it is not convenient. It feels MUCH more natural for me to desire my days to be fun and easy.  Then I open my Bible... God's Holy Word.  The Book I want to orient my life around. I can't find anything about fun and easy days; I find these words instead:

from Jesus, John 6:27
Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On Him, God the Father has placed His seal of approval.

from Luke, Acts 20:35
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'

from James, James 1:22
Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Ephesians 5:1
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

It isn't that easy to try to live like Jesus. He was never selfish. He never complained. He was not lazy. Instead...He was always patient, giving, thinking of others, serving, encouraging, loving...LOVING with his words and actions.

So in my effort to do what it says, these words are my prayer...

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Eph. 4:29

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12: 1-2

Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday Five

1. Track season started for Ellyn and Ryan. The weather is fabulous for track meets (unlike most years). No huddling under blankets or sitting in the car with the heat running between events. I don't even know where my gloves are! :)

2. I have sung "Itsy, Bitsy Spider" and "Patty-cake" more times than I can count this week.
So far, I haven't gotten tired of singing them. I think it's because of the adorable singing partners I have.

3. I recently made homemade play-doh for the first time in years. There is nothing better than homemade play-doh. This is the recipe I've always used--the same one my mother always made.
1 c. flour
2 t. cream of tartar
1/2 c. salt
1 packet of Kool-aid (for coloring and fruity smell)*
1 c. water
1 T. oil
*or use food coloring instead

Cook in a sauce pan until thick and knead until smooth. 

4.  My family is totally addicted to The Voice on NBC on Monday nights. There are some fabulous singers on the show!

5. My thirteen-year-old son is going to eat me out of the house and outgrow all his clothes (again!). I forgot how much a kid can eat when growing so much. Yikes!

I got the idea for "Friday Five" from my new friend Christy. Check out her blog at This is Our Life.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Have a Fun April Fool's Day...

I made these cups of kool-aid to fool my kids. It's really cherry jello. :)

I turned Meg's backpack wrong side out and put all her stuff back in.
I wish I had switched all the kids' backpack contents to different backpacks. Maybe next year.

Enjoy the day!