One Proud Kansas Girl


I am so proud to be from Kansas.  Kansas gets a bad wrap all of the time, but I truly believe it is one of the most beautiful states and I will continue to claim it has the prettiest sunsets in the world!  So I wanted to stop by today and share some of my favorite photos I have taken of Kansas over the past couple of years and wish all of you a Happy Kansas Day!  -love the Kids Down Under who were proudly born and raised in Kansas!

A Fresh Start.


I know we have already crossed 19 days off the 2013 year, but for Dane and I, life has just begun again here in Australia.  Therefore, now, 19 days in, I finally feel like the New Year is in full swing, which means, we would like to share with you all some of our goals for the upcoming year.  

1. Write a song per month.

2. Pray for my wife more diligently.

3. Lead my family by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

4. Challenge myself more musically.

1. Daily Devotion to Prayer and Bible Reading:  Many of you know, my relationship with Jesus is number one on my list.  2012 was such a huge year for me spiritually.  I learned more about the attributes of God in the past year than any other year of my life.  I long and desire to continue growing in Him.  

2. Instagram Daily: This is my 365 day challenge.  So yes, if you follow me on instagram, you will be seeing a lot more of our lives.  I'm hoping this will challenge me to capture more of the little everyday moments that make life beautiful.  If you would like to follow me on instagram, you can click here.

3. Eat Clean:  Last September I went on a sugar fast.  Although no sugar for 30 days straight wasn't very much fun my body did feel a lot better than it had.  So my goal is to eat clean, putting things in my body that fuel it, not make it work even harder (I blame you high fructose corn syrup).  Say hello to a lot more fruits and veges, whole grains, low fat calcium options, water, and tea.  

4. Art Journal through the Year:  Last year I signed up for Elsie & Rachel's Art Journal through the Year course.   I didn't get but 3 pages finished in 2012, because life became crazy big.  I love art journaling, and find it to be very rewarding, so my goal in 2013 is to complete the course.  That is one page per week throughout the year.  If you want to join me on this little adventure, please do.  I think it would be fun!  You can sign up here.  I will stop in often to share what I have been up to, and would love to see your own work as well.  

5. Learn to Watercolor: During our time in the USA, Dane's mom Robin, got out her watercolors and showed me some different watercolor techniques.  Together we painted an owl, which turned out just beautiful.  I have also been very inspired by the work of Ona Befort and decided I would pick up a few paints and try my hand at it.  I'm excited to try something completely new in 2013.  

6. Photo Shoot once a Month:  I would really like to improve on my photography skills in 2013, so I am going to do a photo shoot a month throughout 2013.  My subjects may range from humans, to pets, to objects, but overall I think it will be a good challenge and teach me a lot.  

7.  And finally, participate in Siesta Scripture Memory Team:  If you don't know this yet, you should.  I love Beth Moore.  Miss Beth I call her.  And if you don't know this about me, I love blogs, and I love Miss Beth's blog for a completely different reason than all of the other blogs I read.  Anyways, every year she has a scripture memory challenge.  2 scriptures a month, that's 24 scriptures in the year.  24 pieces of God's Word written on your beautiful heart.  I participated in this in 2011, and found it to be wonderful.  Meditating on God's word daily encourages you when times are dark and gives you wisdom for every situation you will face in life.  So my first verse of 2013 was (hang with me, I'm doing this from memory, because I have it down now...)

Behold, I am making all things new...write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true...I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.  Revelations 21:5-6 (ESV) 

and my new verse comes from the blog post a few days ago.

God can do anything, you know.  Far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!  He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us.  Ephesians 3:20 (msg)

If you want to join me in this goal as well, check out Miss Beth's blog and let God start writing His beautiful words on your heart.  

So there you have it, our 2013 goals.  We are excited to see what the year has for us and how we begin to grow and change.  2013, here we come!

The Kids Down Under

Heart Journey: Thoughts On One More Year


I thought it might be a bit fun to throw up a blog post today, considering technically I didn't live on January 17, 2013.  Thank you International Date Line.  I will never really understand you.  

As you are reading this, Dane and I are flying in the air, somewhere over the Pacific Ocean.  We are waving hello to Hawaii, Fiji, whales, dolphins, and sea turtles.  Yes, we are on our way back to Australia for one more year at Hillsong International Leadership College, and I can't help but think about what the upcoming year will hold.  

You see, our last year in Australia was not what we expected.  I knew it wouldn't be easy, I knew there would be homesickness, but for some reason I thought that because we had been obedient to what God was calling us to do, which in my mind was, leave every single thing you own and love and move to a strange continent filled with the 10 deadliest EVERYTHINGS, that He would bless us abundantly with the things I wanted Him to bless us with, an easy road, abundance of cash, and some weird form of Hillsong fame (I don't know where that came from, but I know it was in there).  When those things didn't happen, I was not a happy little child of God.

Yes, I know, we worked really hard to keep things super positive on the blog.  But I have felt really compelled to tell this side of the story to you all, because I think a lot of us experience this "disappointment" with how God responds to our situations.  

The word that would sum up my 2012 was surrender.  Moving to Australia, having no car, not a lot of cash flow, different foods, communication difficulties with the USA, a husband with a severely torn up ankle and wild bird attacks forced me to surrender every single area in my life to God.   Let me set a very specific scene up for you from last year:  I remember being one month into our journey there, walking a mile home from the grocery store by myself with around 50 pounds of groceries on my back and in my hands, Dane home with his ankle propped up on ice, and it was 3am in the USA so not a time to phone call home.  And all I could think was, "well God, it is just you and me walking this road.  We just started this Aussie adventure and I am already done, so you are going to have to carry me the rest of the way."  Surrender.  

Time and time again throughout the year, I was called to surrender things to the Lord.  I had to quit trying to control situations, relationships, fears, our money, my time, energy and marriage, and let God have control.  

Time and time again in the Bible, when people surrender to God's plan and are obedient, in return, they are blessed.  Like I said before, I felt like this little child of God was receiving no blessing, because what I was receiving didn't fall into my idea of how God should bless me.  Another area of surrender of course.  

But as I look back on 2012, I see countless blessings, along the whole journey.  They may not be what I was expecting, but they were exactly what I was truly needing.  He blessed us with an amazing group of friends, our Australian family.  People who we love dearly and walked the daily journey with us.  They know the road, the struggles, the joy and the tears.  A church where we are encouraged to read and follow God's word, where Jesus's name is praised and people are valued and loved.  Revelations of who God is, how much He loves us, and how worthy of a God He truly is.  An educational experience where Dane has grown leaps and bounds in his guitar and musical skills.  Healing from past hurts.  Chains broken over areas in our lives that I don't know if we ever really expected freedom in.  He blessed us with the everyday items we needed, a bed, a refrigerator, a washer/dryer, two sets of bikes, wonderful neighbors, good health, rides to school and work, protection from a psychotic bird, a few mini-vacations to get away from it all, visits from USA friends and family, a wonderful car.  The list could go on and on.  

Dane and I seriously considered calling our first year in Australia our last year, but God spoke very clearly to both us, saying He isn't done yet.  

So as we approach year two, I can't help but be expectant.  God has taught us so many lessons in one year, I just know year two will be above and beyond what I am even imagining now.  As we land, we begin the second leg of our journey.  This time around, I am coming at things with a more humbled heart.  I will try my best to continue to listen and be obedient with a heart surrendered to Him, and as for the blessings that will follow.  Well I trust that God knows exactly what Dane and I will be needing throughout this year, and that He will abundantly pour it out on us, His children.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Ephesians 3:20 (msg)

Love, The Kids Down Under

No Place Like Home.


We have been so blessed to spend the past six weeks in the United States.  Our time was filled with family, friends, treats, laughs, memories and much more.  So we are stopping in today, to share some of the moments from the past six weeks with you.

 1. Almost home.  2. Suitcases.  3. Dane's first Coke on the plane.  4.  We made it home!  5.  Brock & Dane's night one jam session.

 1.  Shopping.  2.  Grandma Nellie braids Dane's mane.  3. Love this star.  4. Aunt Judy.  5.  Grandma Anna Mae visit.

1.They just made me smile. 2. Christmas lights. 3.Born is the King of Israel.  4.Girls weekend!  5.Velvet Quilts

1. Double Dates.  2.  Dixie.  3.  Green Tea with these two.  4.  Sweet Potato Rolls.

 1. Ashlyn's messages made me smile all of the time in Australia, so glad to hang out in person. 2. Estate sale shopping got a bit out of hand.  3. Vintage ornaments.  4. Entrepreneurs.  5. Gnomes.

 1. A night with our good friends Abandon Kansas.  2. 320 degrees for hard candy.  3.  It will take your breath away.  4. Story Time.  5. Haevyn.  6. Sisters.  7.  Wanting This.

 1. John's Place.  2. Christmas Competition.  3. Tag You're It.  4. Blue Chandelier. 

 1. Dixie Cuddles.  2. Downtown CC  3. Brittany's first Christmas Cookies.  4. Gift Wrap. 5. Family Photo.  6. Beb Tree

1. The Reason.  2. Dad & Mom.  3. The bestest owl clock in the world.  4. Baby Ashlyn.

1. The Weller's win big on New Year's Eve.  2. RIP Cougar.  3. My glasses from preschool.  4. Snagging some great vintage jewelry.  5. Happy Birthday Aunt C. 6. A new tradition.

1. Cupcakes in KC.  2. Family Photos. 3. Lil' Sebastian in Girard.  4. Snowfall.  5. Dave, the proud chef. 6. Catalpa Street. 7. No place like home.  8. Happy 2013 everyone, love the kids down under.



We had a little road trip today from Clay Center to Girard.  That's about a 4.5 hour trip, so along the way we had to keep ourselves entertained and made up a little game we called "listography." It is simple, pick a category and give the first 10 answers that come to mind.  We thought it was interesting and wanted to share a little glimpse of what's been turning in our minds recently.

Top 10 Concerts You Would Like to Attend:
(artist can be dead or alive)

U2, MJ, Killers, Johnny Cash, Coldplay, James Taylor, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ray Charles, Mumford & Sons, Avett Brothers

MJ, U2, Killers, Elvis, Beatles, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Bon Iver, Mumfor & Sons.

Top 10 Places You Would Like to Visit

Rome, Germany, Capetown, London, New Zealand, Egypt, Israel, Russia, Paris, The Moon

Italy, NYC, New Zealand, Israel, Ireland, Germany, London, Thailand, South Africa, Paris

Top 10 US Cities You Would Live In

San Fran, Austin, Nashvegas, Kansas City, Dallas, Seattle, Portland, Redding, CA, North Carolina (or wherever James Duke is living), Atlanta

Kansas City, Austin, Seattle, Manhattan, KS, San Fran, Colorado Springs, Lawrence, KS, Santa Cruz, Nashville, Springfield.

10 Things You Want to Do While In Australia for the Last Year

Reef, New Zealand, Keep Wife Happy, Swim with Sharks (again), Surfing Lessons, IMAX, Boat Ride, Pet a Kangaroo, Hold & Pet a Koala, Be on Bondi Rescue (as a rescuer).

Blue Mountain Hike, Opera House Show, Go up to the top of the Westfield Tower, Climb the Harbour Bridge, Pet a Kangaroo, See a dolphin, lots of beach time, Make More Friends, New Zealand

We would love to hear your answers to some of these categories, or throw out suggestions of categories you would like us to answer.  

The 2 1/2 hours from KC to Girard flew while we played this game, so I'm assuming it will become a new road trip favorite.  What are some of the games you like to play on road trips?  

Love, The Kids Down Under