Friday, October 31, 2008

Already November...

I can't believe tomorrow is November 1! Where has the time gone...?
Things are going really, really well around here. The last few months have been pretty negative for us, with not a lot of good stuff happening. But things seem to be turning around for us, finally. The big news is my change of position at work. Starting tomorrow morning, I'm the newest assistant manager in the kitchen! Meaning a complete change of schedule, and a raise! We're pretty happy about that! Next week we're going to the twin cities Tuesday night and all day Wednesday, and we're really looking forward to it. Wednesday is an important day for us and we really wanted to get away and have some time for us. It's also a good chance to start a new chapter, which I really feel like we're finally able to do that. Those of you who know why next Wednesday is so important can probably see why we finally get to close this chapter and move on. I feel a huge weight already lifting off me, which made me realize now how much this has been affecting me for the past 7 1/2 months. But it's time to move on. I'm feeling really positive and content, and I think it's about time!
We're in the midst of making our plans for Thanksgiving, which we're really excited for. It'll be really good to see family and just another chance to get away.
School is going well. I still have a lot left to do, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, which is encouraging! Justin's getting things in place to go back in the fall, so that'll be another change for us to adjust to.
Please pray for us in the next few weeks for travel safety. We'll be heading to the cities next week and then out to CO for Thanksgiving. Our car is still doing great, so pray that nothing breaks, and that gas stays so low!
Thanks all.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

October prayer requests

Hi all-
We have a few things we'd appreciate prayer for this month. Thanks.
~ As always, finances. Just pray that we'll be wise with our money and that as the holiday season approaches and expenses increase, we'll be secure and able to enjoy time with our family.
~ Travel. I'm traveling to the cities and home this weekend, so just pray that the roads are safe and the car is in good shape. Also, gas prices are falling! Pray (for all of us!) that prices will stay down and/or keep falling to ease the pressure of traveling across the country for Thanksgiving.
~ School. I'm starting to really stress everything I have to finish in not very much time, so just pray that I'll be able to keep my sanity as I wrap up my college career and that I'll get everything done. I have a lot of papers to write, including a 15-20 page research paper, and I want them to be the best I can produce, so pray that I can do that!
~ Patience and trust in God's plan. Many of you know what we've gone through in the past few months and how rough the next few weeks will be (and if you don't know, please don't ask, just pray for us anyway). I'm trying very hard to trust in God's plan for it all and remember that He has a reason for everything.

Thanks all.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Oh, to not be poor anymore!

Yay, loan checks came! I am writing this from our new laptop sitting on our couch! It's so nice to be secure - not rich, but secure. It's ok for me to get coffee before my internship, and I did today!
As I was trying to sleep last night, my brain kicked into high gear (big shocker there) and I started to think about everything I have to do, and that's when I realized just how busy I am! I get up Monday morning and I don't stop until Friday night! I like to be busy, but I'm starting to get worn out! I'm so glad now I decided to just keep the one job and not work in town, on top of my internship, school, friends, work on campus, babysitting, family time, and sleeping...
I am so excited for the next few weeks: Next weekend, we're going home to celebrate Dad's 50th brithday! I love being home, and I love my dad, and I love parties! We've been wanting to do this party since he turned 49 and I haven't been so excited for something in a really long time! 2 weeks later, I'm going home again for a 4 day weekend to just spend time with my family and be in Fergus, which I love so much more than Bemidji. Then it's only a few weeks until Thanksgiving and going to Colorado, and then it's Christmastime, and I LOVE Christmastime!
There's nothing else really new in our lives, just living everyday and being thankful for what we have. Can't wait to see family at Dad's party!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I love the smell of freshly sharpened pencils in the morning...

School has begun. And will soon come to an end, at least for me! On Wednesday, I started my last semester of school! I started my internship at ARC Headwaters on Thursday. Friday was my last day working as a PCA. Quite a week!
I'll be busy enough this semester, between my internship every morning, class every afternoon, working in the kitchen 3 nights a week, babysitting 2 days a week, 2 independent studies, and homework! But I'm looking forward to it all. I'm even looking forward to some of the papers and projects this semester. One of my independent studies is a youth ministry special topic in special needs youth ministry, my passion. My other independent study is basically spending the whole semester researching and writing a 15-20 page paper on a topic of my choice, then presenting it to faculty and students. The topic I've chosen is something I have very strong feelings about and can't wait to find more information on.
I noticed yesterday that some of the leaves on campus are already starting to turn, and I'm ok with that. I do love fall up here, and the closer we get to fall, the closer I am to being done with school!
Justin is keeping busy at KMart, supporting our little family. Even so, we're learning how tight money is getting to be as prices of everything continue to rise, but we're still thankful for what we have. We are looking forward to the arrival of our loan refund check in 3 weeks!!
That's all for now.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Prayer requests

Justin and I very strongly believe in the power of prayer, and I was thinking it might not be such a bad idea to post some of our prayer requests on a somewhat regular basis. So if you think of us, send one up for us!

~ Financial security and stability: Everyone knows what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck. Please pray that we will be wise with the money we have and that God will always provide what we need.
~ School: The fall semester gets underway on August 27, and it will be my last semester! Pray that it will be a good last semester for me and that I'll graduate with my sanity and more knowledge and wisdom than I started with. Justin will not be going to back to school until January, so pray that we are able to handle all of the school and work changes we're heading towards.
~ Car health: Cars always break, and ours are no exception. Pray that our vehicles (at least our car!) will last as long as we need it, and that when the time comes for us to get a new one, we're able to.
~ Health and safety: We're doing a lot of traveling in the next few months, around MN, to Wisconsin, and to Colorado. Pray for safety in our travels. Also, with the start of school comes cold season! Pray that we stay healthy so we can get everything done that we need to.
~ Our faith: Our #1 priority; pray that we are able to keep it that way and always have the courage and the wisdom to trust and follow God wherever and whenever He leads us.

Thanks all. Know that we keep our loved ones in our prayers always.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Before I get in more trouble...

I got a talking-to last weekend about not blogging for awhile... sorry, my dear aunties!! Our life has been pretty dull, but things picked up recently, so I hope you enjoy...
Last weekend was the annual Koep family weekend at the lake, and we had a blast. The weather didn't cooperate quite as well as it usually does, but we still got to enjoy the water on our floaties, drinks in hand! We played games when we weren't on the lake, and discovered just how competitive we can all get... Of course, we ate way too much, some sustained sunburns, and there were lots of laughs. Another successful weekend, and I'm already looking forward to next year!
Katie came back to Bemidji with Justin and I on Sunday night and spent the week with us. Justin had to work quite a bit, but I had most of the week off, so Katie and I had some quality sister bonding time! We did a lot of shopping, especially at Target! We went to Animal Land (the local zoo) again, ate a lot of food, watched a lot of movies, and the big event of the week: Katie's tattoo. We had some great chats and it was fun to hang out together. We met Mom and Dad in Fargo yesterday and did some shopping, then Katie went home with them and we came back to Bemidji. The week was much more enjoyable than last year when Katie came: we didn't have AC last year, and now we do!! It was a great week, and I hope she'll come back to stay.

We made new friends at Animal Land, like Lloyd the pesky llama, the camels, and our new best friend and favorite Animal Land find, the sweet donkey.

Eureka! We discovered Gander Mountain and all the possibilities within!

Now that I've lived in Bemidji for over 3 years, I finally made it to visit Paul and Babe.
And now, the main event, the drama of the week.... drumroll please....
Katie's tattoo! (That's her foot... in case you couldn't tell...)
In other news, I'm wrapping up the summer in the kitchen, and I'm glad to have a couple weeks to wind down and switch gears for school. Only 2 weeks until Tammy and Aaron's wedding, and then school starts! The next blog probably won't be until after the wedding, since there's just nothing interesting to write about until then!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hello, July!

What happened to June?! What a month it was, full of anniversaries, birthdays, parties, and lots of traveling. I really enjoyed spending the weekend with the family for Grandma and Grandpa G's 50th anniversary, although I did miss Justin! Celebrating 50 years of marriage with Grandma and Grandpa was a blast, and I hope we can take a page out of their book and have our own party in 49 years!

God continues to provide for us, and I've learned anew the power of prayer. Sunday night we seemed to be in a bit of a financial crisis, again, so I prayed my way home from Fergus, and when I woke up on Monday, I felt a sense of calm I normally do not experience when we're broke! I just knew God would take care of us, and today, He came through! No more poor Justin and Michelle! Just goes to show what happens when you just let go and trust things will be ok.

We also found out today there's a good chance we're getting a dirt cheap window air conditioner!! After the summer we had last year, I knew I couln't get through another one without an AC, and fortunately it's been pretty cool so far. Yay air conditioners!!

We're looking forward to the 4th, spending time with friends and watching the fireworks over Lake Bemidji again. They seemed to put on a good show last year, so hopefully it will be good again.

Hope everyone has a good 4th! We'll update the next time something interesting happens!


Monday, June 23, 2008

Summer is here

Today is Justin's golden birthday- 23 on the 23rd! We celebrated last night with a campfire with friends, roasting hot dogs, corn, and marshmallows, and eating homemade strawberry 'ice cream' cake. It was fun, and even though he put up a fight to not do anything for his party, I think he enjoyed it! Today he works and has church softball, so we'll have his favorite for dinner, tacos, and have a laid back celebration.

Summer is in full swing, finally! I've started in the kitchen and I've really been enjoying it. My coworkers are a lot of fun and the good conversation makes the long days go faster. We get to meet new and interesting people every week.

Our plants are doing really well. I've been enjoying my 'garden' and the results of it. Cooking with fresh herbs you've grown yourself is wonderful, and the flowers add so much to the balcony. The strawberries are starting to turn red, and the spinach has taken off. I can't wait for the tomatoes to start, and then we'll be eating fresh fruit and veggies everyday!

Now that the weather has finally turned nice, we've been wanting to take advantage of the lake and do some kayaking, but we both got sick last week and we've been so busy with work that we haven't had time. So hopefully the weather will hold and when we're both healthy and available, we can get to the lake.

We're looking forward to the weekend, celebrating Grandma and Grandpa G's 50th wedding anniversary and spending time with family.


Monday, June 9, 2008

Welcome, June!

I can't believe it's already the second week of June! Where has the time gone?

We just spent the weekend at home in Fergus Falls and it turned out to be a great weekend after a rough start Thursday night...

I was working Thursday evening driving my 5-year-old client to Tae Kwon Do when I noticed the speedometer on our car had stopped working. As soon as I noticed that, the check engine light came on and the rpm's went uber high (Justin told me that meant it couldn't go past 3rd gear...). So I called Justin at work and he told me to take the car in to get looked at as soon as I was done. So I did, but everyone was closed or closing by 6pm. We had to take it in early Friday morning. Our original plan for Friday morning was to be on the road home by 9am, giving us plenty of time for me to get to work, get home, and both of us showered. But now we had to take the car in. So Justin went with me to work and waited in the car for 30 minutes. We coaxed the car around town, dropping my client off at daycare, then back across town to the repair shop. They took the car and we waited. It didn't take long to be fixed- it was a speed output sensor. A $75 fix. Which is fabulous when you're expecting it to be a few hundred dollars. Yet also not so fabulous when you don't even have the $75. By the time we got home, 9am had come and gone. Justin showered and was heading down to school to pay June rent when we learned about the tornados in northern Minnesota. So we headed to the basement. By 11am we were finally on the road and made it home by 2pm. We got right to work doing whatever Mom and Dad needed getting everything ready for Katie's grad party. We worked all afternoon and evening and then got to head into Fergus and spend some time with friends. Saturday was a gorgeous day. It was good to see family and eat lots of good food all day. We ended the day with a super fun game of Kick-the-Can and went to bed exhausted. Yesterday, we cleaned up from the party, found some old savings bonds to help get us out of our rut, and then Mom surprised me by taking me to town and buying me flowers and herbs for our balcony! Then my parents decided to give us their extra vehicle, and they'll still cover the insurance and license- all we're responsible for is the gas! So that's a huge blessing. We loaded down our 2 cars with tons of clean laundry, lots of leftover grad party ice cream, and and plenty of food to fill our cupboards. And a few weeks of laundry money... I have the awesomest parents.

So today we didn't have to figure out who was bringing who where for work, because we have 2 cars and we can each get ourselves where we need to be. The savings bonds and 18 years worth of $2 bills from Great Grandma G helped us to break even. And I have flowers to plant.

We continue to be blessed in so many ways, and we are so grateful for the families we have who love us and support us. We've known for a while that June will be tough month for us, financially, but God keeps providing, and we keep trusting. Please pray that we'll continue to trust and God will continue to provide.


Friday, May 30, 2008

We are blessed

I don't think anyone's even read our blog yet, and already I have new post!

This afternoon, shortly after Justin left for work, I was on the computer and thought I heard a faint knock on our front door. I finished what I was doing and went to see if anyone was at the door. I looked through the little porthole thingy and saw no one. We have a family of 8 living in our building and their little girls often come up and play in our hallway and occasionally knock, so I opened the door to see if it was one of them. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something stuck to the sign on our door. It was 3 20-dollar bills!! What a blessing! We were trying to figure out today how to make ends meet without borrowing money from parents, and we both had been praying fervently for God to provide for us in some way. And boy, did He come through! I have no idea who left the money, they took off in a hurry. I have no idea how anyone even found out how much we needed it, except maybe from our pathetic-sounding Facebook status'. I wish there was some way we could thank this person, but he/she obviously did not want us to know who it was. I guess the only way we could possibly thank him/her is to someday do the same for someone else. So whoever you are, if you happen to be reading this, know that we are so grateful and humbled by your kind gesture and will keep you in our prayers. God is so good!


Here we are...

I thought we'd give this blogging thing a shot to fill our family and friends in on what's happening in our lives.

Summer is in full swing and with it comes rent and more bills. Fortunately, we're both making more hours at our jobs, so with 2 of us working 3 jobs, the bills will get paid. Justin continues to work at KMart, and for most of the summer he will basically be running the Garden Shop. I have my PCA job every morning, and will be able to add more hours every week, so not only will I get to spend a lot more time with a really fun 5-year-old, I'll be making a lot more money! On June 12, I'll be starting again in the OHCC kitchen, which will be full-time most weeks through the rest of the summer. I highly enjoy my job in the kitchen and am very much looking forward to working with the other summer workers all summer.

In other news, we will be celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary on Monday, June 2! We're both really looking forward to it. We've already been reflecting on the past year, and it's been quite a ride and certainly not an easy year, but we're grateful for all the lessons we've learned so far, all the help we've gotten from family, the protection and providance (I may have made up that word!) from God, and for each other. We know that after the various crises we've dealt with since our wedding day, as long as we have each other and God on our side, we can handle all the crap life throws us. We've certainly learned to trust that God will provide for us always, and we must always keep that trust. So it will be a good day celebrating a good, though tough, year. And, we finally get to crack open that last bottle of pink champagne we've been saving since the wedding!

Our school and vocational plans have taken a turn in recent weeks. I will still be graduating in December with a youth ministry degree. I hope to take some online classes in the future to complete a Certificate in Disability Ministry, but nothing has been decided on that just yet. My eventual vocational goal, if you don't already know, is to work with special needs youth in some kind of ministry setting, be it church or para-church. I don't know where this will take me or what kind of position I'll end up it, but one of the organizations that has given me a lot of ideas and inspiration is Young Life's Capernaum Ministry. To get a better idea of what I hope to do, check out their website at Justin will be taking the fall semester off for various reasons and will work while I'm finishing school. When he starts again in January, I will work while he finishes school. (Although we both plan to work the whole time, it will just flip-flop who's working the most.) When he goes back to school, he's planning to add the Applied Psychology major and will eventually graduate with a BA in Biblical Studies, Youth Ministry, and Applied Psychology. How impressive will all of that look on a resume! His hope and plan is to use all of those majors and his passions for youth and counseling and become a high school counselor. That means more education, but both of us feel God calling him to this vocation, so we'll go with it.

Our summer plans are to work our 3 jobs, spend as much time with our friends here as we can, since most of them will be leaving our Oak Hills bubble before us, and attend some family events. We'd hoped to do a little more traveling over the summer, go visit some friends, make it to Fergus a few more times, and maybe squeeze in a trip to Colorado, but with the gas prices, we're pretty much confined to Bemidji. But we love visitors!

And that's pretty much our life right now. Hopefully this will be a good way to stay connected with everyone scattered every which way. Hopefully interesting things will happen up here so we can have interesting posts in the future! So until next time, happy spring!