We Failed Before We Started…

Having a soft spot in your heart for helpless and hopeless people/things is a good thing. But it can be a dangerous thing to have when you work at a vet clinic. Ever since I started working at the LVVSC they have been trying to get me to “foster” a pet. And I can only say no so many times until my “soft spot” overrules my head.

In November a shy chocolate brown chihuahua mix girlie was hit by a car and taken to SPCA, who then brought her to LVVSC for medical treatment and surgeries on her broken legs (both right legs). After a surgery early in November to fix both the legs and spay her, she continue to live at the clinic since she wasn’t “healthy” enough to live at the shelter. Mid December the back leg had to have a second surgery because it wasn’t healing just right. I had hardly interacted with her yet, but I knew it had to be old living in a cage. Plus bone healing is enhanced by weight bearing, and she couldn’t do much of that in a cage. And she was cute. And little. Without thinking I offered to foster her.

And we failed as fosters before we even started, because Jason bought her a dog tag the day before we brought her home that had our last name on it! While we are still officially “fosters,” we have no doubt that we will be adopting her as soon as she is medically cleared.

After 2 surgeries and 10 weeks in an e-collar (cone of shame), she has another surgery on the right hind leg this afternoon to fix her patella (kneecap) that is luxating (moving around) and causing her pain and lameness. But she’s a tough little thing and been through a lot.

We love having a dog, even if it means you wake up at 2am because she wants out of bed, or that if you don’t walk her right away in the morning she uses your floor to go potty on (only happened twice thank goodness!).

Here’s our little Willow!

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She demands to sleep on our bed. (Although we are trying to train her to sleep on the floor, mainly because she jumps out of the bed in the middle of the night at least twice and isn’t supposed to do that while her legs are healing!)

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She also feels like she needs to be in your lap cuddling even if you are trying to play wii golf and need to be standing up. (See, Jason has that soft spot too!)

She also loves to play. Right now she doesn't get to play much because her legs are healing, but we are excited for her to be released to full activity in 8 weeks or so!

She also loves to play. Right now she doesn’t get to play much because her legs are healing, but we are excited for her to be released to full activity in 8 weeks or so!

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We Found Snow In Las Vegas!

My Montana raised self was really bummed to go through winter and Christmas without any snow. But a little trip to Mt. Charleston saved the day! Mt. Charleston is about 40 minutes away from Las Vegas and gets up to 8,000+ feet! My co-worker Mike, his wife Jen, and their 4 year old daughter Shayne joined us as out adventure guides. We started the morning with a stop at Starbucks for a warm treat — an egg nog latte for me! Then we headed up to the mountain. We spent the next few hours throwing snow balls, building a snowman, taking a snowy hike, making snow angels, and just enjoying the company and a wintery scene! It was a wonderful adventure.

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A Journal of Thanks

Because of several inspirational ideas I’ve heard over the years, I’ve decided to start an online journal (aka: blog) of thankfulness. Why? Let me tell you.

At the 2011 Women’s Retreat hosted by Corban University, one of my professors did a break-out session on “Contentment.” And I learned one of the main ways to stay content: be thankful. Count your blessings. She recommended keeping a journal each day of things that happened that you can be thankful for. Even after a really bad day it is good to find something positive, no matter how big or how small.

The mom of one of my best friends read the book One Thousand Gifts, and was inspired to record the gifts (blessings) that came each day. I have yet to read the book, but it’s on my list.

The Bible asks us to be thankful, and to tell of God’s wondrous deeds. Not only is this a journal of thankfulness, but each entry is a milestone to remind me of God’s faithfulness and of how good my life really is.

The reason why the journal is online is simply because I can blog from my phone, which I always have with me, at any moment of any day. I don’t have to keep track of a notebook or remember to get it out to write in. I use my phone for a lot of “notes to self” so this just seemed the easiest.

This blog post is going to be my only promotion of my online gratitude journal, because I don’t want to “brag.” You are more than welcome to follow my gratitude journal and read it, especially if it inspires thanksgiving in your heart.

The blog can be found here. Check it out if you wish! And maybe this will inspire you to reflect on the blessings in your life.

Spontaneous

If someone, like your husband, gave you $25 to spend on whatever you want, what would you spend it on? I was going to buy a coffee then save the rest until after Christmas. Buuuuttt the spontaneous bug bit me! I really should back up to the beginning though.

Normally I work Tuesday through Saturday. But this week they needed me to work Monday so I worked a half day Monday and a half day Wednesday. Let me tell you, those afternoons off were well spent and thoroughly enjoyed! Both Monday and today I packed my running shoes, kindle, Bible, and lunch, and headed for a nearby park after work. I went on my run with my latest running partner:

Meet Pepper Spray! I’m not totally sure it’s actually that dangerous out, especially when I avoid sketchy areas, run in the daylight, and run in populated areas, but running with Pepper Spray is better than running by myself!
After my run I sat in the sunshine and read my kindle while I ate my lunch, and then I read my Bible. That is one thing I love about Vegas – this fall weather is not unbearably hot like the summer, but warm enough that I can wear running shorts and soak up the sun! I then proceeded to my favorite Vegas coffee shop, MadHouse Coffee! It’s got some amazing drinks. And it’s local! Last time I tried the blended Nutella Mocha. MMMMM. This time I fell for the blended Red Velvet Mocha. And again, it was delicious. 

After sitting and reading again while soaking up more sun and enjoying my Red Velvet, I was going to head home. Buuut here is where the spontaneous bug bit me. I drove past a way cool park and a tiny farmer’s market! I actually drove completely past it then turned around because I decided to stop! I’m glad I did. There were probably 18 vendors, but they were all very friendly and offered delicious samples with no obligations. I tried turkey jerky, teriyaki beef jerky, homemade hummus, a strawberry, and two samples of kettle corn. I ended up spending the rest of my $25 on this:

Ya that’s right. I spent my gift money on homemade hummus, a ring, and brussels sprouts! Yes I might be crazy, but this spontaneous afternoon made my day 🙂 The only thing that would have made this afternoon better would have been if my husband had enjoyed these activities with me…

November Update

Hello All!
I still don’t think I’m used to the idea of living in Las Vegas… It helps that the city
has tall, jagged red things they call mountains that border the northwest, west, and
southwest sides and sorta remind me of home. Sometimes the sunsets can compete
with those of Missoula, but not often. It’s definitely nice to have three Costcos, a
dozen Walmarts and Smiths, and multiple other grocery stores like Fresh & Easy or
Trader Joes all within 10 minutes of practically any location in the city. Not to mention
almost every restaurant you’ve ever heard of, especially In-and-Out!! And while I
don’t think this place will ever feel like “home,” I am happy to be where God has called
us and feel blessed to be here!
It also doesn’t seem real that Thanksgiving is a week away. It hardly feels
like it could be close to Thanksgiving when the you can’t see your breath outside,
there’s no frost on your windshield, there’s no crunchy, colorful leaves on the
ground (or in the trees), and there’s little need for comfy sweaters, scarves, or
boots. I was happy this last week when the temperature dropped to 40 degrees and
I had to pull out a sweatshirt! It has also been nice to finally turn off the AC and fans.
These first three months we have had our fair share of challenges but none
that could not be used by God of course. We both have felt spiritually weak and God
has been working both of us through some issues. It seems that ministry often goes
hand in hand with spiritual attack, and that is why we beg you to pray for us daily.
We need to be covered by the protection and power of God so that our weaknesses
will be made strong by Him and our ministry won’t be lessened.
Even though there have been some challenges, the blessings have
outweighed them. We are blessed by the church and church family. Las Vegas Bible
Church is very doctrinally sound and solid. It is small, about 30 people, but they
are all God fearing families and we feel so blessed to surround ourselves with such
people. The pastor, Nathan, his wife, Tara, and his kids Emmory and Caedmon,
pour so much of themselves into the church. At least three nights a week you will
find us at the pastor’s house. Sunday is one of those times, starting with youth
group at 4pm and ending with cinnamon rolls, ministry team prayer, and games.
Wednesday you will find us there again for “midweek study” led by Pastor Nathan.
He is teaching about “How to be a Spiritual Believer,” aka “How to Walk By the Spirit.”
That is a highlight of our week and definitely a topic we are eager to learn more
about! Nathan is a gifted teacher and preacher, we feel so blessed to learn from him.
Usually we find ourselves at there house on at least one other night for dinner and
games. We are so thankful for their fellowship!
Jason is filling some needed ministry positions in the church. On Sunday
mornings he leads worship with the team of high school students. And then he
teaches high school Sunday school. Right now he is teaching through Judges. I know
God has used many of those Sunday school times to minister to my heart. Once a
week Jason meets with Pastor Nathan as well. And he even gets to preach and lead
communion occasionally!
We both love our jobs, which is a blessing. Jason is in player services at Golf
Galaxy. He is one of the top salesmen in the nation for them! I work in as an aide in
the rehabilitation department at Las Vegas Veterinary Specialty Center. Basically
what we do in that department is animal physical therapy. I am praying about
possibly continuing school to become a physical therapy assistant and maybe even
taking that into canine rehabilitation. Both of us have found opportunities to build
connections with unbelievers in the workplace and are excited to see how God will
grow those seeds. Between our jobs and the generous support of people like you,
we have no financial stress right now, and feel so blessed by that.
It is also a blessing to go on this journey together. I don’t know what I’d do
without Jason to encourage me, provide for us, and challenge me to grow. Knowing
we are not alone on this journey, that we have God, each other, and you, makes the
journey easier. Thanks for joining us.
Don’t forget to check out our our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/
groups/373567389358068/) or my blog http://koemanslife.blogspot.com/ to stay in
touch on a weekly basis!

Love,
Jason & Lauren


Prayer Requests:
* Please pray that our marriage would be strong and centered on God.
* Please pray that we would hunger and thirst for God and continue to grow.
* Please pray that Las Vegas Bible Church would be able to find a permanent home. (They have been renting a building for the last 5 years and feel God calling them to purchase a building of their own.)
* Please pray for opportunities for us and others in the church to build relationships with unbelievers in order to plant seeds of the gospel in their lives.
* Please pray for growth in the church, both in numbers and spiritually.
* Please praise God that we love our jobs and the church.
* Please praise God that we have a comfortable place to live.
* Please praise God that He is faithful to provide.
* Please praise God that He is not finished with us yet.

Welcome To Our Home!

I love our little apartment! Let me take you on a tour. Here, come on in! 
Walking in our front door puts you in our dining room. 
This is some awesome garage sale art on the wall that is slightly to your left when you walk in.

The dining room table sits off to your right, with the china hutch on the wall behind you. The sliding glass door to our patio is on the other side of the dining room table. 
This is from the living room looking back at the front door/dining room. The table is hand-me-down and the hutch is garage sale!

If you keep walking straight you will be in our living room! We have a super cool leather love-seat that is a steal of a find from a garage sale! As well as a hand-me-down leather ottoman, garage sale rustic glass top coffee table, upcycled garage sale bookshelves, and our TV in the corner. I’m super proud of my hubby for his work on the bookshelves – this summer he replaced the back with barnwood! And I love the rustic hint to our living room. 
Our upcycled garage sale bookshelves!
All the wall art is from garage sales, except the far left one, which was a gift 🙂
From the living room you can turn left and enter our bedroom through double-doors. Our walk in closet is on the left right as you enter. And a big black papasan chair sits to your right. You will be facing our bed, which is adorned with one of my favorite items in the house: a handmade headboard, made by they hubby! We also have a window seat and have since added curtains to cover the build in shelves around the window seat.
Door on the left is to the walk-in closet. Door on the right is to the bathroom. The mirror is another awesome garage sale find!
The mini quilt on the wall was a wedding gift, hand-stitched by my grandma with cloth used for various things in our wedding! The other wall art is a DIY project I have to Jason for our first anniversary. And of course the headboard…one of my favorite things in the house! Thanks babe for making it!
 Further up on your left you can walk into our bathroom, and if you walk through our bathroom you will be back where you began. You will be facing the entryway, and our built in desk will be on our left. On your right is the open entry to the kitchen, which is the perfect size and has lots of counter space! 

Above the kitchen sink…
 Please note one of the most exciting items in our kitchen…..the dishwasher!! After not having one in Wyoming we appreciate it so much! At the back of the kitchen is a door to our pantry which also has the washer and dryer. 
Here is a highlight of some of the wall art in our apartment.
Does that make you feel like you just walked through our apartment? I hope so. If not, book a plane ticket and come visit! But unless you want to sleep on the floor between the coffee table and the kitchen table, I’d suggest booking a hotel room. I love our cozy little place. And it’s so much faster to clean than our two bedroom, two bath split level apartment in La Grange! I feel so blessed by the home God provided for us. A huge thanks goes out to our support team that helps pay our rent. You guys are awesome!

Him…

I’m in love with this guy…

Ya Him.

He makes my heart swell with love.

I’m so thankful we can work together on our marriage.

I’m so thankful we can walk this journey together.

I love being married to him!

Father,
I said till
Death do us part
I want to mean it
With all of my heart
Help me to love you
More than I love him
Then I know I can
Love him more
Than anyone else
And bring him in
Your presence today
Make him what
You want him to be

Just Josie #6 (by satellite)

Since I’m not around the famous Josie to write posts about her cuteness, Heidi volunteered to “satellite” blog or “guest post”. I know everyone will appreciate it 🙂

“So Nate Josie and I just got done watching a movie at the theatre. We were walking to the car and Josie was looking up at the stars and says. ‘Ohh i miss jason. He’s the best brother ever. He is amazing and fights all the bad guys and kills them.'”

Lyrics Say It Better

“I don’t know how I got to where I am… All I know is I wanna go back to the moment I fell in love with grace, and hear You whisper, ‘Hang on hang on I know your hope seems gone. Hang on hang on sometimes the heartache makes you strong…'”

“Jesus take this heart that feels so cold again and make it new. I hold this hope inside that You’ll never leave me… All I want is for Your love to hold me…”

“Life is so much more than what your eyes are seeing. You will find your way if you keep believing.”

“When you are grounded by your doubt, when you’re surrounded and there is no other way out, I will be all that you need and I’m here for the asking. Let Me be your everything… Look at all that I will bring in exchange for what you have; let Me be your everything.”

“You said You’d never leave or forsake me. Then You said this life is gonna shake me. Then You said this world is gonna be trouble to my soul. This i know; when everything falls apart Your arms hold me together. When everything falls apart You’re the only hope for this heart.”

“I’ve never felt so torn before; seems I don’t know where to start. But it’s now that I feel Your grace fall like rain from every fingertip washing away my pain. I still believe in Your faithfulness…even when I don’t see I still believe.”

“Please be my strength cause I don’t have anymore.”

“You stay the same through the ages… Your love never changes…. You make, all things, work together for my good.”

“Whatever You’re doing, inside of me, it feels like chaos, but I believe that You’re up to something bigger than me.”

Being a Christian

Lately I have been wrestling with “being a Christian.” I know…I’m probably not supposed to do that. But I’ve been wrestling with the while idea of being a “good” Christian and tired of failing to be a “good” Christian and almost wondering if being a “Christian” was right for me cause it didn’t seem “to work.” After a Facebook chat with Kate , talking with Jason, and finding hope in words heard during Sunday school and in worship music, plus being able to pray again, I decided that I need to be a Christian. But this is the kind of Christian I want to be: