14 Aug 2015 at Michael's retirement ceremony

The Family - We are the typical Christian, homeschooling, minister's family of eleven. Six of our children have graduated and moved out of our home. Bre and Krista attended Master's Commission and were on staff there for a year or two before moving to New Hope Christian College where they majored in Pastoral/Counseling (Bre) and Inter-cultural Ministries (Krista). Bre is currently the Children's Pastor at Calvary Open Bible Church. Krista is the Children's Pastor at Lively Stone Fellowship. It was fun to watch their "sister thing" deepen as they shared an apartment in these transition years.  Breanne married Izaak in 2014. They currently live at New Hope Campus where Izaak is on staff.  Josiah graduated in December 2011 from Angelo State University with a Business degree. He is currently the Director of Finance at a Chick Fil A. Jamin  graduated from ASU in 2015, having broken the school's 10000 meter record, started an energy conservation program that saved much money for the university and earned a Master's degree in National Security. He is currently attending Texas A&M. He's been hired to run their sustainability program and he is working towards a new degree in Foreign Relations.  Jared is currently an intern in a congressional office in Washington D.C. He is finishing his final semesters at ASU via independent study.  Arielle is enrolled as a freshman at New Hope Christian College.

Michael, myself and our three younger children are currently living full time in "The Caboose," our 31 foot Outback trailer.  We believe God has called us to Japan as missionaries. As retirement neared, pieces seemed to be falling into place for a seamless transition to a new ministry. Then we encountered a plot twist. We are currently waiting to see how God will take care of medical issues and which doors He will open for the future.  While we wait, we are traveling around, "living the dream," loving on those we meet, and learning Japanese.

Michael - Sometime blog contributor and solely responsible for "Life in Afghanistan" posts.

De'EttaI'm a homeschooling Mom of 9 children ranging in age from nearly 12 - 32 years old.

My goal in life is to passionately love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I endeavor through teaching and mentoring relationships to lead others to an extravagant, lavish, passionate, whole-hearted, love of their life. It is my goal to truly love others.

Courageous Joy - When does choosing joy become courageous joy? When the lesson has been so written into one's heart there can be no choice other than joy in the face of  life's challenges.

"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him....." James 1:2 -

Biblical joy is not a happy feeling. This joy is a deep trust and satisfaction in Jesus, in where He leads and in what He provides. It is a soul-level awareness of the nearness of God in my life.  Christians are not exempt from trials. James warns us we will encounter them - there's no need to search for them. There will be a variety of tests in each of our lives and from these we have the opportunity to surrender to Jesus, experience His presence in the valley,  feel endurance build and faith mature.
God said, "Choose joy"  and we haltingly began to apply what we read through life's challenges: illnesses, miscarriages, dire doctor's predictions, earthquakes,  tragic losses  and ministry changes, we chose joy...

A few years ago God began to speak to us about courage. We faced fears which were long held and deeply rooted.  We began to discover choosing joy is a command and also a weapon. It's a courageous choice. It takes courage to choose joy in the midst of devastation, battles with food addiction, career and ministry transitions, children leaving home. Courageous joy has just a touch of defiance in it. The trial/temptation/hardship will not win.  We will follow God - even here.  "So take that!," our spirits shout at the obstacle.  As quickly as the choice is made, a spark of courageous joy - yes JOY - flickers to life, we endure and our faith matures.
Months ago, when we were thinking about prayer cards and missionary newsletters, we realized we wanted a domain so our "title" would match our URL. We wanted consistent branding. "Choosing Joy," our blog title of ten years,  was taken. We had fun brainstorming as a family, and on Facebook - and we kept thinking courage needed to be married with joy. God uses all sorts of means to subtly nudge us into new seasons. As the threat of Parkinson's began to enter our lives, we knew we had to respond swiftly and decisively with courageous joy.

 We determined years ago to be a family which would love courageously, follow God courageously, serve courageously.  We are in a new season which is calling forth new areas of courage from each of us. As we face this ongoing challenge of Michael's medical diagnosis and the questions as to how it will impact our future ministry and lifestyle, we've decided to respond with courageous joy. We've chosen, with both courage and joy, not to fret about the future, or wish away the present. We'll choose courageous joy as we live our lives fully present.
"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 NLT

Yes, it's a new blog name and URL....but more than that, it's  a new season.
Your bookmarks will still work; the old URL will bring you here. You can still subscribe to get blog posts in your inbox, or follow from the sidebar. If you wish to utilize Facebook for tracking blogs, our new Courageous Joy Facebook page will host a link to every blog post.

*Note: we haven't linked each blog post on our personal Facebook pages.