Thursday, June 30, 2011

Backpacking Blogging Break


I fooled you, didn’t I?  I am actually on vacation now, and I set some things to post while I was gone so you wouldn’t miss me so much. 

I am, at this moment, hiking on Isle Royale in Lake Superior, and not thinking about blogging at all.  I am merely trying to survive. 

So, very soon I will return to dazzle y’all with tales of our latest adventure. 

Bet you can’t wait.

Monday, June 27, 2011

‘member that time?

This week’s member that time is not for the faint of heart.  If you are at all grossed out by stories about p _ _ p, stop reading now. and don’t go shopping for jeans.

‘member that time we were shopping in that Osh Kosh outlet store and I went into the dressing room and I was like “what’s that?” and I figured out that someone had pooped in a handkerchief in the corner and left in there? Member that?

And member how I went and told Mom about it and member how we didn’t buy any jeans that day?

Yuk and yuk.

Now scoot on over to because Paige actually lives close to an outlet mall and she might know about these things.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Lesson from Teddy

I get tired of working hard; sometimes it’s monotonous, I often get weary, and many things I do go unnoticed.  And though it’s OK to take time off—especially Sabbath rests—I need to work as if working for the Lord in each and every thing I attempt.  I found this quote to help me remember why hard work is the best work.  I think Teddy got this one right:

I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.

~Theodore Roosevelt

Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

Ephesians 6:7 (NLT)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Guest Blog—Conversations with Internationals

During his first year at IOWA this past year, Luke helped organize a conversational English partner program to foster relationships with international students.  The goal was to get to know these students better by meeting with them informally, develop relationships with them, and eventually share the gospel with them as they start to understand the language more and more. 

To help others in the group, Luke came up with this list of questions to ask international students.  They might help you, too, as you attempt to minister to “the foreigner”.

These are all questions I have personally asked international students. I hope they can be of use to you.

1. Help me pronounce your name

2. Where are you from? what province/city?

3. What is it like where you are from, how is it that same or different from here?

4. What are you studying?

5. Do you like your major?

6. What is your most favorite class?

7. What is your least favorite class?

8. Have you made many friends at Iowa?

9. Why did you choose to go to school at Iowa?

10. Have you been busy lately?

11. Tell me about your family

12. Ask about siblings (Chinese students are especially fascinated with this topic)

13. Is the weather here similar to where you are from?

14. How do you like the food here (as compared to home)?

15. Bring up a current holiday, ask if they understand

16. Where do you live now?

17. Where do you want to live next year?

18. What do you like to do for fun?

19. How was your weekend?

20. What do you think of America(ns)?

21. What sort of things make you happy?

22. What are you looking forward to most?

23. Teach me to say something in Chinese (or their native language)

24. Teach me to count to ten (in their native language)

25. What does your dad do?

26. See if you have common acquaintances, locations or areas of study

27. Do you play any sports?

28. Do you like to watch any sport?

29. What will you be doing over Thanksgiving/Christmas/Spring/Summer break?

30. What did you do over Thanksgiving/Christmas/Spring/Summer break?

31. Ask to tell a story from your life

32. Ask them to tell you a story

33. Ask how they text in their native language (its really interesting)

34. Read any good books lately?

35. Explain a common idiom

36. Explain a hand gesture

37. Ask if they have a Facebook, become friends

38. Current events

39. Music

40. How many time zones away is their home country

41. If you ever have any questions on what a word in your homework means please ask me.


Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.

Exodus 23:9

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Three Truths and A Lie

Let’s play a game called “Three Truths and a Lie”. To play the game, I have to tell you four things about myself and you have to pick out the one lie amongst the three truths. Ready? Here we go…

  • I really like my children to make their beds
  • I have shown my children how to make their beds
  • None of my children make their beds on a regular basis
  • Because my children don’t make their beds, I have trained them poorly and, therefore, I am a bad mother.

Can you guess which one is the lie?

I couldn’t, until I read a chapter in Practical Theology for Women about finding my identity in Christ. Before I read this chapter based on John 15 (the Vine and the branches), I assumed all of the above statements were true

But…after I spent some time at the feet of Jesus today, and after he reminded me not to base my identity on anyone or anything but Him, I realized that the last statement (the one about me being inept in child-rearing) was a lie. Their lack of bed-making success does not determine if I am a good or bad person. My worth is in Jesus Christ and Him alone. I cannot base my identity on my ability to succeed in my profession, on how productive my schedule is, or on how clean my children’s rooms appear. God does not value me less if my children are lazy in sheet straightening or value me more if they make hospital corners. God sees me as beautiful because Jesus is His lens. In Jesus, I am beautiful because His blood removed my unworthiness.

He is the vine—my lifeblood—my identity. I am a branch—dependent and unable to live without His grace and sustenance. I am valuable because I am in Jesus. Unmade beds do not demote me…but they still irritate me. So be it. I tried.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:5

Monday, June 20, 2011

‘member that time?

‘member that time I had to serve on the jury for a domestic assault case?  And even though I didn’t really want to be there, I decided that it might be interesting to listen to the witnesses and hear the lawyers? 

And member how incredibly ridiculous it was since it was about some guy biting his girlfriend’s head…and his girlfriend biting him back because he told her she could—with exhibit A and exhibit B showing both people’s heads with bite marks?

Member how the judge told us that we had to decide (beyond all reasonable doubt) if the guy had intended to harm his girlfriend when he bit her?  And how we all laughed hilariously when the judge closed the door to our little room? 

Yeah, well that was really weird. I felt like we were refereeing on the playground in elementary school not deciding the fate of the vampire man.

Moral of the story:  If you plan to bite your girlfriend’s head, do it in fun, not anger, and make sure you don’t make a mark.

Now scoot on over to for more ‘member that time Monday’ shenanigans!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

No Favorites

OK, this is the piece that will published soon, and I know it is nothing spectacular, but it conveys a simple idea that a child could easily grasp and remember. I plan to write and submit more as soon as I can. Here goes:

No Favorites
(submitted to

by Tori Haverkamp

My brothers and sisters, you are believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. So treat everyone the same.

James 2:1 (NIrV)

Mom said I couldn’t pick out the orange ones. But I do like the orange ones best.

In the summer, before we go on a hike around the lake, Mom makes trail mix. She always throws in nuts, raisins, and my favorite, M&M’s. I like to pick out the orange M&M’s and eat them first, but Mom said I couldn’t do that because I was showing “favoritism”. Favoritism means treating one thing, or one person, as more important than another.

Sometimes, when I’m at school, or playing football for my team, I pick favorites; you know, the people that are funny or have cool shoes or are great at tackling. But God says we need to love everyone the same. He said that He came to save ALL people, not just the cool ones. The people that wear old clothes are just as important as those who wear new. The kids who look differently, act differently, or smell differently than me are still the apple of God’s eye—just like I am. I need to love these people like God loves them. Then maybe they will see Jesus by looking at me.

So today when I grab a handful of trail mix, I will remember that God doesn’t have favorites. He loves everyone the same. Then, I will pick out ALL of the colors of M&M’s and eat them one by one. Yum!

Friday, June 17, 2011

It's A Start

I am getting published!! Now granted, it’s only an online publication for kids, but I am super excited! I will post a link when my publishing date arrives.

When I went to a publishing conference a week ago, I attended a session called “Writing Devotions for Kids”. Since I have written several informal books for my own kids, I decided to try my hand at writing for other children. Terri, the creator of the site where my devotional will post, said that when one is writing devotions for kids, you need to direct the writing at 8-12 year old boys. The reasoning behind this is that boys are a little pickier when it comes to reading this type of thing, but that girls will read anything. So…that’s what I did. I actually wrote most of the piece in her session where she handed out index cards with either pictures or words on them to get us started. We had to look at the card and decide how we could make that picture/word into an idea that could teach kids about God. I got a picture of trail mix. I will post my simple little devotional—yes, about trail mix-- tomorrow.

So…if you have any 8-12 year old boy(s) hanging out at your house, gather them round, give ‘em some trail mix, and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Free Way

When my friend, Kim, and I attended a conference in Illinois last week, we discovered something:  tollways!

It’s not that we didn’t know about tollways, it’s just that Iowa doesn’t have them, and to us, they were unfamiliar. We decided that Illinois was a pretty decent state because they didn’t even arrest us for missing the first one.  It was an honest mistake—really; first because we didn’t understand that we had to pull off and pay, and second because we got up SUPER early on Friday morning and drove in pelting rain and lightening. 

In Iowa, we have freeways, which are, well, free.  On freeways, one can drive for miles and miles without stopping (provided they did not go for the Big Gulp at the last Quik Trip). This seamless traveling provides for a pleasant journey.

In Illinois, Kim and I found out that we had to pull over to a toll booth every so many miles and fork out $.30, $.90 or even $1.90.  The toll- takers never looked happy (I’ll bet their job takes a toll on them—get it—a toll?) and I was actually glad when certain signs said the next booth would be unmanned.  On these unmanned booths, you just threw in some change and drove on. I wondered how fast I could  drive through those and still hit the coin catcher, but I figured we had beat the odds once with our negligent tolling, so I decided not to experiment. It all seemed pretty inefficient to me—not to mention, bad for the gas mileage—this stopping and starting—and just as I was beginning to feel smug about my own toll booth-less Iowa, God shared some truth with me.

He said, “I paid your toll, you know.  That’s why you have a free way.”

And I knew He wasn’t talking about Iowa roads; He was talking about my salvation.

It’s true.  In the Old Testament, the godly had to continually sacrifice something living to “cover” their sin.  Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death”.  The “wages” or “toll” that these people had to pay involved sacrificing a perfect animal again and again. This method of temporary sin “removal” was time consuming and cumbersome—kind of like us stopping at all the toll booths.

But when Christ came, He was the perfect “lamb” of God and His death on the cross not only covered our sin, but took it away completely so we could be freed from continual sacrifices.  In essence, He created a Free Way for us to travel—no more stopping to pay for our sin. 

Though we once traveled upon a tollway, through Christ, we now have a new way—a free way—because He is the only Way to God.

Hallelujah!  You never know what you might learn on a road trip to Chicago in the rain.

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.

1 Peter 3:18

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

God is For Us!

"Because a thing seems difficult for you, do not think it impossible for anyone to accomplish."
--Marcus Aurelius

I went to a Write To Publish conference this past weekend in Wheaton, Illinois, and it was very excellent…and overwhelming.  I really, really want to publish some of my writing, and I kind of thought publishing was one of those things where someone notices your stuff, asks you to write for them, and BAM! you’re an author/freelancer/journalist.  But let me tell you:  I was wrong. 

The publishing industry is just that—an industry—and it takes a tremendous amount of work and dedication even to get an article printed in a reputable magazine.  Things are done in a certain, standardized way…and nothing is just “BAM! you’re in.”

Hard work always has an element of fear for me.  Is it like this for everyone?  I’m resistant to the complex recipe, the difficult sewing project, and the follow-the-rules diet.  Things that take lots of work always scare me into wanting to take the easy road; sometimes, I give in to myself and I take it.  And sometimes, I choose to do the hard thing.  The funny thing is that when I choose the less traveled and more difficult way, I feel exceptionally proud of what I achieve.  I don’t feel this way when I take the easy path.  When I jump out of my own lazy comfort zone and work hard and long and well, I often master what I thought un-doable. 

I tell you all of this to describe what I felt at this conference:  UNQUALIFIED. 

I am unqualified. I cannot do this.  It is too hard for me.  But it is not too hard for God.  And in Him, I am fully capable.  This is something that one of the speakers told us:  We are not qualified, but Jesus Christ is; and if He lives in us, we are capable of much more than we think.

It also comforted me this weekend in church as we learned about Joshua and the fall of of Jericho.  Jericho did not fall because of the great military prowess of the Israelites.  Jericho did not fall because the Israelites were of supreme intelligence.  Jericho fell because God worked wonders with a people who decided to obey Him in a seemingly impossible task.  God was the Victor in the fall of the wall; the Israelites were just his instruments. He used his power and their submission—and BAM!, the wall fell down!

I’m still a little intimidated by all the work that awaits me if I want to become a real author.

But the Author of our faith is not, so I will go ahead and hide in Him.

If God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:31

Monday, June 13, 2011

‘member that time?

This ‘member that time is dedicated to my sister on her birthday!   Teri, as a thank you for helping me resurrect this repressed memory, a case of Blueberry Delight should be arriving at your doorstep any day.

‘member that time in Clinton when Dad decided that we were eating too many snacks after school?  And member how he made Mom buy a bunch of jars of baby food for us to snack on instead?  And member how we all wanted to eat the Peach Cobbler first because it was super good and everything else was sickening?  Yeah, well, the cupboard was high and I was short, and my sisters were fast and tall, so mostly I got stuck with the jarred Rice Pudding. Member that?  Yeah, me too. 


What was the deal with that anyway? 


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

10 Reasons Not to Bathe your Cat

Shay decided that Molly was dirty and gave her a bath in the sink tonight.

Molly didn’t like it.

Molly is a 12 year old, formerly white cat with very sharp teeth. I have bath time battle wounds to prove it.

10 lessons I learned from this event:

1.  Cats do not like baths--even if they have neglected grooming themselves for the last several years.

2.  Cats especially do not like the sprayer in the sink sprayed upon them during rinsing.

3.  Cats—even very fat cats—look much smaller when they are wet.

4.  Cats make unnatural guttural noises that sound very un-meow-like when they are immersed in water.

5.  Even old cats become incredibly strong when trying to escape from the water in a deep sink.

6.  Clean cats still stink really bad when wet.

7.  It takes two people to remove a mad, bathed cat from the sink when the water is drained.

8.  It is impossible to lift a wet cat out of the sink without getting injured.  Therefore one must wear a winter coat and thick gloves to perform this task.

9.  Wet cats hold a grudge and attempt to hiss, scratch, and bite anything that approaches them within an hour after the bath.

10.  Old white cats don’t really turn bright white after their bath—they just kind of stay dingy-looking.  We are considering bleaching Molly.  Of course, we will have her wear protective eye wear during this procedure.


Cat Wash 051Cat Wash 056

Monday, June 6, 2011

‘member that time?

Every good American family should go to the Black Hills in South Dakota at least once in their lives.  As a kid, my family decided to visit that area just a little while after the famous “Battle at Wounded Knee” incident.  Fun times!

‘member that time we were on vacation in South Dakota and we chose to go there during the time when all the Indians were revolting? And member how we stayed in Pierre overnight and Dad put a chair in front of the door and he put his knife between the door and the jamb so no one could get in and kill us? Member that?

I didn’t sleep very well that night.

And Wall Drug wasn’t all that fun either.

Except for the candy.  the candy was great there. and expensive.

It’s ‘member that time Monday again!  Get over to and share how you kept your family alive on vacation!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mess Happens

So, summer has begun at the Haverkamp house, but I am having trouble adjusting to the change. 

Change is always hard for me—even good change. 

I’m pretty sure it’s all about order and control.  I am very orderly, and for some reason, an orderly, clean house makes me feels as if all is right with the world—which is why, when I had little kids, I always felt as if my world was spinning wildly.  Now, with older kids—even older messy kids—I have some sense of peace because I am not constantly corralling toys and books and clothing strewn about my floor.  I can actually keep kind of a clean, orderly house—WHEN THE KIDS ARE IN SCHOOL.  Now that the kids are out of school—which I actually love—and Luke is home for the summer—which is wonderful—I am having trouble with the extra evidences of people mess—you know what I mean; dishes in the sink, grass on the floor, string cheese wrappers in the couch cushions—that kind of thing.  I am trying to tell myself that it is OK to have little messes once in awhile.  And the kids are really helpful if I tell them EXACTLY WHAT TO DO.  But messes of this sort MAKE ME NERVOUS.  AND CRABBY.

Now that I have confessed my ungrateful attitude, I am trying to relax a little and give up some control.  I’m not sure where I got the notion that everything has to be perfect all the time, but this perfectionistic concept really only applies to the main part of my house; my sewing room, my basement, and my car are usually a mess—and my purse is really a disaster.  Those things don’t bother me.  Weird.  I guess it’s because I know those messes are contained.  I can handle contained messes.  It’s just those growing messes that scare me—like the Spanish Bible and the Debbie Bliss Baby Knits book in the office…and the one severed bud of an Ipod ear buds set laying on the desk in the kitchen…or the Jumbo playing cards blown all over the porch…and the accidently frozen, now blown out metal water bottle on the counter sitting by the recently used New Skin that was used to arrest the newly discovered poison ivy.

What if all of these small things keep building and never get put away?  What if I become a hoarder by default because of the messiness of my kids?  What if my house starts to look like my purse?

Wow.  This is all a little too much for me to ponder, and I think I may be having some palpitations, so I better stop obsessing and go to bed. and dream about tomorrow.  because tomorrow is cleaning day. and after that, all will be well with my world.  For about 1 hour or so.

So be it.  Messes will happen.  My world will not fall apart because of them.  And God is still in control, I’m not.  Even though I’d like to be.  sometimes. 

I think Heaven will be clean. and happy.

But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

I Corinthians 14:40

(See?  It’s scriptural)

Friday, June 3, 2011


I am uncomfortable with the fact that my almost 20 year old son came home at 9 pm last night and announced that he was going to Denver for the weekend for a concert with friends.  He can do these sort of spontaneous things now.  He is a grown up.

I am uncomfortable with the fact that my 17 year old daughter comes home from her job late at night in her baby car (that’s what we call the Aveo) on a four lane highway that has become a two lane road because of construction.  There are other ways home, but she says this way is the fastest.

I am uncomfortable with the fact that my 15 year old daughter starts a regular job today and rides Cy-Ride all alone to get there.  I told her to sit by the driver.

I am uncomfortable with the fact that my 13 year old baby boy loves fire and knives and guns and adores blowing things up in our backyard.  I told him to stay away from the pets.

All of these facts mean two things:

#1:  My children are all growing up and becoming independent from my over-watchful hawk-eye.

#2:  They are all going to do things that make me uncomfortable and I can either worry about them or choose not to worry.

I have chosen not to worry.  It is a conscious decision on my part.  I have to go through the same process every time—praying, releasing, trusting, distracting…praying, releasing, trusting, distracting….

It is hard for me to let them fly…let them experience things…let them live their own lives, but that is my next logical step in the heart- wrenching, anxiety-producing, God-fearing parenting process.

And it is right.

And my God is big enough. 

And He loves them more than I do.

I must remember that.


Praise the LORD.

   Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
   who finds great delight in his commands.

His children will be mighty in the land;
   the generation of the upright will be blessed.

Psalm 112:1-2