Tuesday, May 31, 2011

my brilliant grandma

so i rode with my parents to have matthew meet his great grandma and grandpa bickel yesterday. (the car ride is always an adventure with that boy) oh. he loved them. really loved them. ive never heard him be so vocal with his coos then when he was looking at them. it was awesome.

well these grandparents are amazing. my dad figured that including their children and their children's spouses, and their grand kids and their great grand kids (matthew is number 11 in the greats) there are about 70 loved ones over all. and my grandma sends out a card for every anniversary, big holiday, birthday, mothers/fathers day, etc.

well i think it was getting a little much to keep up easily with so many people. so my grandma is brilliant. she has a slot system with numbers 1-31 written on each slot. at the beginning of each month she writes out all the cards that need to be sent out that month and puts it in the slot for the date that card applies to so when it comes time to send that card, she just pulls it right out and puts it in the mail. gotta love that lady.

  the slot system

matthews great grandma bickel. shes a spunky one when she wants to be. 8 kids will do that to yuh.

its a bright sun shiny moby day

so matthew takes 3 naps a day and it usually takes me anywhere from 20min to an hr to get him to sleep; that includes crying the whole time and then he wont let me put him down. if i do, he wakes up, and the process starts all over again. ENTER. the MOBY WRAP. seriously. if i had to get rid of every baby item but two things, it would be diapers and the moby wrap. he is currently on his third nap, and he has cried a total of MAYBE 20 minutes today. and that is being generous and including changing his diaper right before i feed him. so seriously. and he sleeps so long in it and i can be hands free and cuddling him at the same time. we have also decided that since matthew cried so much he was burning so many calories, hence, not gaining weight too well. hopefully this helps. it has worked 5 out of 5 times so far. my sister was so excited even with how cute it is and has never felt confident to get him down (i dont blame her) so she used it, he fell asleep and then i was REALLY hands free for a couple hours so mike and i got to go out for ice cream. and of course, i talked the whole time about making my own wraps. i am so excited this is just great. we actually did pray for a baby that liked to cuddle. we sure got one. now its enjoyable.

angela. just rocking the aunt thing with the moby

 michael and I. ever so rested and happy eating ice cream

five years old

a conversation with my 5 year old cousin sarah as she saw a picture of mike and i.

sarah: who is that?
me: that is my husband. his name is mike.
sarah: oh...so you are like a woman now?
me: yes. yes i am.
sarah: oh. ok. cause you look like a teenager.

after changing matthews poopy diaper.

sarah: that was really disgusting to watch.


Monday, May 30, 2011

a precious moment

just found this treasure of a photo. its my sister emily and our nephew. its just nice to look at.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


a year ago in may i was in vietnam. i was in my favorite city in the world. we rode motorbikes in the busy streets, had 50 cent fresh fruit smoothies, found an awesome salsa club, i hung out at a nursing home with THE cutest old people EVER!!!!, made a very close friend, met a man on the street whose wife used to work at the same hospital in MI that i worked at, did a free aerobics class in  the park, played with kids on the street, felt so close to Jesus, did karaoke for the first time, tried lots of strange food, walked the back allies and met people in their homes, read my favorite book of all time, went to a french art museum, held hands with my vietnamese friend through the vietnam war museum,  saw the sad reality at night with prostitutes lined down our street, and made one of the hardest decisions of my life as a leader. what a full month. it was one of the hardest and best months of my life. i really want to live there again just for a tad bit of time.

just keep swimming

today is one of those days where i feel like i cannot do this one more day. like i feel completely out of mommy endurance. but somehow i will make it another day. and years and years after that.

Friday, May 27, 2011

coping advice from grandma

i was downstairs trying to get matthew to sleep for a long time. my mom came down to give me a break.

"denise. go take a break. you need it. go have a mikes hard lemonade."

great coping advice grandma. great coping advice.


missionaries are the most hardcore people i know. missionaries and moms. but really. my friend and her husband are missionaries in cameroon, africa. here are questions they have been asked about there lifestyle. seriously. hardcore. and i dont think i will ever change my opinion. most wouldnt be able to do this for a day. just getting my facts from facebook statuses by how waiting in line or getting a sub par dinner out could ruin someones day.

Q: How do you manage without a refrigerator?

A: Managing without a refrigerator isn't too difficult – it just takes
a little practice and a little extra “planning-ahead”. We usually only
make enough food for one day, and if there are any leftovers we reheat
them at night so they don't spoil. There are no dairy products to
worry about. And the eggs we buy have never been refrigerated, so they
keep quite well without refrigeration. As for meat, we only buy a
little at a time, and we make sure to bring it to a full boil every 12
hours, which keeps it good for several days. And if we want any items
that would require refrigeration (ex. cold drinks, yogurt, etc), we
simply buy them in town and eat them right away.


Q: What is the blue barrel in your living room used for?

A: Well. . .it depends on who you ask. . .if you ask Kelsey, she would
say that it is her source of water. . .the place where she goes to get
water for washing, doing laundry, flushing the toilet, bathing,
cooking, etc. . . . .but if you were to ask Sammy, he would say that
it is his exercise program (since he is the one who hulls buckets to
keep it full). . . .so take your pick. . .a water source or an
exercise machine. . .either way, it comes in really handy :-)


Q: How far do you go from water? What is its source?

A: Sammy carries water by bucket from an outdoor (public) faucet that
is about 200 yards from our house. We have a barrel in our house which
he fills a few times a week (it takes him about 20 trips to fill the
barrel -- 40 buckets).


Q: How safe is the water? Do you treat it?

A: The water is generally safe. But we do filter all our drinking
water just to be sure.


Q: Do you have something rigged up for showering?

A: No, we don't have anything "rigged" for showering, we just take
bucket baths, which suit us just fine, and is rather refreshing,
especially after a hot day.


Q: How do you do laundry?

A: Kelsey washes all our clothes by hand and hangs them on a clothes
line to dry. We buy laundry soap in town, and we have a couple large
basins that we use as laundry tubs. Any garments that are really dirty
are rinsed first (or left to soak in bleach water for a while), then
they are washed in soapy water, and beat out on the cement slab or
scrub them with a brush if need be (which does wonders at getting all
the dirt out). Once the clothes are clean, they get a second rinsing
(to get the soap out), and finally they are wrung out and then hung up
to dry. It usually takes about an hour and half to do laundry. And
depending on how hot it is that day, the clothes are usually dry in a
few hours.
For some this may sound like a rather tedious and strenuous task, but
Kelsey actually quite enjoy it, and since all the women here wash the
clothes in this same manner, she has found it to be a really great way
to build relationships and relate to the other women in our


Q: Are there any danger of bugs or snakes with such an open house in
the country?

A: I won't say there aren't dangers, since there are snakes around, as
well as scorpions. We haven't seen any snakes as of yet. And the
scorpions here are not aggressive (unless you were to step on it, I
suppose). We did kill two scorpions this past week. . . .and we keep a
machete on hand for just that purpose. But we do have screens on all
the windows, and ceilings in all the rooms, which keep most critters
out. And mainly it's just ants we have to fret about. But we
habitually keep an eye out, just in case.


Q: Do you have a sewing machine, or did Kelsey do all that pillow and
curtain sewing by hand?

A: No, we don’t have a sewing machine. Kelsey does all the sewing by
hand. To save time, she doesn’t always bother to do a complete hemming
job on the curtains. But they look great just the same.


Q: How do you travel in Cameroon?

A: Our means of travel very much depends on where we want to go. We
walk when we don't have to get somewhere urgently (and if it's under 6
miles). We take motorcycle taxi for most of the other times, unless
we're traveling a great distance (or with a lot of luggage), in which
case we would take a bush-taxi (an over-crowded van).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

song dedication

so the other morning my mom played me the cutest song and all i could think of were my friends who are getting married in july. they are such a fun and creative couple and i love when best friends marry each other. here is to a happy wedding season april and grant.

 the future mr. and mrs. grant tarjick


i have friends all over the country and the world. skype is amaaaaazing for that. just in the past week i got me some hot skype dates.

 san francisco


new york

i akso skyped to Georgia and L.A. it really makes it better seeing faces such as these.

Monday, May 23, 2011

date night

total: $3

michael couldnt keep up with how fast his cone was melting.

gotta love small town icecream spots for their price and quantity.

blogged out

im a tad blogged out. so these long blogs im writing, im losing time for. im still doing my 40 day thing. ill just catch up on blogging it later. if i want time to paint and read. im not gonna type too long of blogs all the time. but look how big matthew is getting. i love him. and i love that he loves to cuddle. we just had the best cuddle time this morning.it was so sweet an awesome.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

bright sun shiny day

my morning started off right.

then i got home to a peacefulness with my boys letting me get some reading in and a lovely phone date.

 then i was so excited matthew could finally fit into the shorts from aunt emily

 and we got in two walks today

a little bit of a fussy evening. but ill take it. it was a good day overall.


gentleness. i loved the word. it was a great day. i really felt that Jesus was just being gentle with my spirit all day. i woke up exhausted but as i spoke proclamations, the day already was changing. there was a moment where it took matthew a few attempts to stay sleeping. by the third time i felt my emotions becoming tense. but God reminded me, and as i made my tone gentle and i stroked his face with gentleness, we had a deep sleeping baby moments later.

my prayer life, still pitiful; though i got to skype a long bit with my friend in san francisco and she had many life updates and so she got a shout out to God from matthew and i as she is back in the states after a long time of not being here.

at the end of each chapter of "God Crazy" there is a devotional. one of the questions is "when was the last time you worried about what God thinks of a situation before worrying about what other people think?" too often i worry about what other people will think. that should change.

the song today was actually the song that i walked down the aisle to in my wedding. it so beautiful. i couldn't really find a good video, so you get pictures of wildfires. i love the words for a wedding and its great to sing to a baby before bed too.

i had such a peaceful time painting on day 2. i always think of the holy spirit when i think of gentleness which is represented in the bible as a dove. the kids paints sure sure make it look like a kid painted. its so awesome.

Friday, May 20, 2011

great last day on earth

if some guy made a really great guess that Jesus was coming back tomorrow, id have to say i had a really great day. i got to rollerblade, nap with matthew, tan outside in my bikini, read, eat yummy smoothies, go for a great walk with matthew, practice gentleness, and i kissed my husband. GREAT day.

got to rollerblade with great girls.
sarah and angela picked their own choice of exercise.

sarahs awesome shoes

so get your lawn chairs and cameras ready just incase Jesus comes back. or dont. but if he doesnt come back, i am enjoying blogging so a year from now i can look back on my blog and see what i was doing. i forget so many great memories. it is a great way to diary for me since i love pictures.
and this allows more a picture diary.



Repentance is far too deep of a personal action to grasp in a day. Repentance is more than sorry. This is the example I thought of today. It is like a husband, who out of anger, hits his wife for the first time (or the other way to stay PC). But this man, comes to his senses and realizes what he just did. He scarred his wife; physically and emotionally. He realizes how much he loves her and there is this deep hurt, pain and sorrow he has, that he feels like he cannot live with himself anymore. He would do anything to take it back and to have his wife's full heart again.
Repentance is realizing the depth of our sin and what it does, asking for forgiveness and never doing it again; because we don't want to do it again. I cannot grasp it. But I want to understand so deeply the fact that my sins put Jesus on the cross. He did it willingly. I have not murdered or anything, but the smallest lie is big enough to put him on the cross.  Thank Jesus that he freely forgives and says he will remember our sin no more. I want to realize the weight of my sins and be able to repent to Jesus and others. Repentance is a beautiful gift from the Lord because it frees us from shame and makes us whole again with a fresh start. within the next day i have some repenting to do to a few people.

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance? Romans 2:4



"We still work hard to maintain a sense that all is well, if not perfect, but we invest in a life that is far less then the one God designed for us."

"We are created to rise above the everyday pressures of this life. The storms will come and the trials will continue, but until we see ourselves as God does - beautiful, significant, capable, precious, and worthy - how we respond to and survive these trials will not change"


day one of painting was so awesome. it started out with some really great company.
sarah's painting was inspired by ireland and angela isnt quite in the picture.

my painting. not so beautiful of one but it is more of a representation of what is going on in my life.


the start to my daily proclamations was pitiful. i was not saying anything like i believed it. i hope to progress to the confidence where i want to shout it from the highest place because i claim it so much. i looked up an already written proclamation based off of biblical truth which helped me. here is just a sample of it. 

I receive an abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness; therefore I reign in life through Jesus Christ. I choose what Jesus came to give me — life and that more abundantly!!! (John 10:10) I open my ears to hear what the Spirit of God is saying to me and live under His influence in my life. He will guide me into all truth. (John 16:13) The same Spirit that raised my Lord Jesus from the dead lives in me. (Romans 8:11) I have an anointing abiding in me and teaching me all things. (1 John 2:27) Because I am anointed, I will preach the gospel where I go in word and in deed. Signs and wonders shall follow me, because I am a believer. I expect the supernatural! I expect God to use me!

matthew loved the proclamations. he was cooing when i was saying them, and he is usually too busy to coo during nursing. he was totally in agreement.


as i had my prayer time, i realized i was so praying out of obligation and religious routine and not out of realization that i was connecting to God. THE God. the creator of the universe. i cannot wait to see my prayer life develop more. it cannot remain this pitiful.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

michaels day of rest

today michael had the day off. so i told him to not do a thing. i wanted him to do a bunch of stuff for himself. he agreed and was happy to do it. at the end of the day i realized that he made me pancakes for breakfast, made my lunch, cooked an amazing dinner, cleaned, and went out and bought me paints for my 40 day journey. seriously? i just had the most restful day. he said he enjoyed his day because he enjoys doing things for me. amazing man.

 spending the day making me food. love him.

i get this lil guy all day. so blessed.

gotta love the paint supplies michael bought me. 
he loved the great grips on the brushes.
these are gonna be some professional art pieces. 
get ready people. 
i start tomorrow.

running again

yay. im running again. this past weekend i got to run with my dad and brother-in-law. family runs always make for good memories.

i missed the memo on the tigers shirt. these guys are pretty hardcore too. eric ran a marathon last year and my dad was kinda stressed the other day and ran 13 miles. nice job men. i make it only 25 min at this point.

ha. my dad decided to run in the pouring rain yesterday. what a cute man he is. we used to seem to go running in a thunderstorm once a year or so for a good adrenaline rush. not sure how brave i am for that anymore.

for the next 40 days

Two weeks ago, God kept saying the word re-evaluate. re-evaluate. over and over. i didn't really know what it meant.

yesterday i realized that if i were to keep going on the way i was going on i would continue to live life in mediocracy with my relationship with christ, mediocracy in my relationships with others, and I would just be in this constant state of surviving instead of conquering my day to day challanges. i dont want to be just making it through the day anymore; i want to come out of the day having gained more life in my spirit than when i started. i want to live with more joy and i want to change every day for the better. yeah there will always be days where i just make it, but that does not need to be the norm in my attitude towards it.

so comes my new journey. i realized it is time to seriously re-evaluate. in many ways. there are a few big decisions coming up for us and i have been negative about the ordeal; even though i know what is the right thing to do. i want to re-evaluate what it means to be a wife and a mom. and mostly i want to soak in Gods presence each day because i cannot do this on my own.

for the next 40 days.

* each morning nursing session, i will speak out loud words of encouragement into the day and words of encouragement into Matthew and Michael. I will proclaim the joy into the day. Its amazing how words have power. if we say we cannot do something, we probably wont. so i will change that.

* an afternoon nursing session, i will pray out loud for everyone i said i would pray for. its so easy to tell someone we will pray for them but really only think about them.

* at matthews bedtime, i will print out and learn to sing him one new worship song every night. im personally sick of all the silly things i come up to sing to him, and i need to learn some new songs by heart anyway.

  so far those are easy. so do able every day. i spend so much time nursing, i need some more productive things other than the computer, and things that i can do to pay attention to him.

*next is the word of the day. i have picked out 40 words in scripture that God calls us to. examples, love, forgiveness, repentance, stewardship, respect, humility, joy etc. each day i pray over that word, study it, and ask God to put me in a position where i have to use it. i want to be chalanged to put it into practice. I want to then reflect on a time someone used that word on me in my life.

* i picked a book i want to finish in the 40 days called God Crazy.
* everything so far is going to be doable with a baby and i can do them while still holding matthew. i also needed to pick one thing that i can do on my me time. i love to express my self through art. so every night, if possible i want to paint a picture. they may not be awesome, cuz i dont really paint. but it might be good for the soul. 

* i am also going to cut down on my computer time while i am nursing matthew. it is such a great bonding time i can have with him and i so easily check out during it. i am going to see if it changes anything if i pay more attention to him during it.

I will be bloggiong each day, and i hope that this can be an encouragement to those who follow this journey. I know that i cannot get through this life feeling full of life at the end of the day without the joy of Jesus, so i am excited for these next 40 days and beyond.