miles to go…

snippets from the zellner family

six weeks July 31, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 11:40 pm

Our summer has felt a little surreal. How strange to be driving my car to a new school, picking up school supplies and seeing the kiddos’ classrooms.  I was following behind them today as we were walking through the school hallways and I had a mixture of peace and awe as we walked. They were in front of me skipping along the sidewalk between the buildings and they are talking all at once and it was a little like their voices disappeared or muted and I was just glancing at the scene and taking it in.  They are doing well here and I am so thankful for that.

Tonight we had some new friends over. The table was filled with our family plus five others and again that strange surreal sensation came to me. After eating dinner, we hung out watching the olympics and I thought to myself,”I didn’t know them six weeks ago.” How kind of God to bring us to a place where we can make friends and people are so welcoming. Again I thought,” We are doing well here and I am so thankful.”

Our backyard has a dog in it 🙂 We talk about what she is doing and how she ate today.  I didn’t do that six weeks ago.

We swam today- Both Cord and Lucy don’t use floaties anymore. They can cross the pool, they can jump off the diving board, they can slide down the slide and they can dive for toys. They couldn’t do that six weeks ago.

We’ve already covered the fact that I have eaten more new things in six weeks than I would ever have imagined: tomato aspic, tuna salad, catfish allison, curry dip with bell peppers, tomatoes… It has been good for me.

six weeks…a good six weeks.


didn’t see that coming July 26, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 3:36 pm

Wednesday morning, we were supposed to pick up our new dog at the rescue center after she had been spayed. Our phone rang that morning and the center called to say she died from complications. I didn’t know what that meant, but I knew that it meant we had a hard job to do- tell our kids.

We shared with them what we knew and there were tears. We had prayed that God would direct us to the right dog. So there were questions about that- Didn’t God know that she was going to die? Why would He have us pick her first? Was He wrong? Were we wrong? In some ways the dog passing was not a big deal- we hadn’t spent tons of time with her; she had never been to our home. But to our children, it was a big deal. We had included our children in praying about the decisions, so now there were lots of questions as we watched God’s plan unfold.

We decided to go ahead and look for a new dog that day- we went to the rescue center in Indianola and saw a few, but we knew the dogs in Cleveland where we originally were.  We had seen Mugsy the first time we were there. She is a terrier mix- supposedly she is house trained and reacts to several commands. She was great with the kids and they decided they liked her best.


She was such a sweet girl on the car ride home. She has been enjoying the grass outside and has been very good with the kids. We had our elders and their families over for dinner last night, and Mugsy did great with 8 children around.

We kept the name that she had at the shelter- we had already used our girl name for a pet and decided we liked mugsy just the way she came.

I don’t know why the children experienced getting a dog the way that they did- maybe we won’t know. But I am thankful that they got to see that a dog is not a toy- it has a life- and it can lose its life. Dogs aren’t games we play with and then leave alone because we are tired of them. They need us and need our time and our attention- our love and our care for them. I also am very thankful that we didn’t bring the dog home and then lose her. God was gracious to us to do it that way.

Mugsy is one and a half. We are hoping we have lots of life with this girl!


mutts, mowing and making forts July 23, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 9:37 pm

We have had a pretty productive week and it has been so good! We bought a dog at the rescue center in Cleveland. Her name is going to be Missy.  She is part golden and part lab.  There were so many to choose from, but Missy was laid back, didn’t bark much, and laid down on my feet to have her belly rubbed. She won our hearts. We get to pick her up this Wednesday. Today we went to Walmart and tried to decide what to buy for her. We have NOTHING and we know NOTHING.  I thankfully have a friend in Huntsville who trains dogs- she stayed on the phone with me as I walked through Walmart asking a million questions. She is going to be on speed dial for a little while!


(All of the helpers at the rescue center wore these pants- looks like felons run the place, but they aren’t- they were so sweet!)

To get ready for Missy, we did our front and back yard today. Everything is growing so fast. I love to mow; it is like vacuuming to me. You get immediate, big results for little effort. Eric did all the weed eating and we were able to knock the whole yard out after dinner.

The kids have been playing pretty well together today. Olivia and Cord were dressed alike today (orange pineapple willy tshirts and blue jeans) and emma frances and lucy were dressed alike (bathing suits). Each pair made a fort this afternoon in their closets. They watched a movie on the portable DVD player or computer and were really sweet to each other. They got the brilliant idea to sleep there tonight. I figure there could be lots more difficult “camping” situations than this right now, so I let them. So far I don’t hear anything. But I do want to note that two people are sleeping in each closet and that our whole house has HARDWOODs.  I told them not to wake me up in the middle of the night- just crawl in the bed nearest you! We’ll update tomorrow how it goes 🙂


Learning to cook July 18, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 11:22 pm

The ladies at our church have done a two part series about cooking this summer. Tonight was the second part. We learned how to make several appetizers and two desserts. We brought our knives and aprons and filled up the kitchen. The first thing we worked on was an olive appetizer.  Baked olives with orange and lemon zest.  You serve the olives with baked almonds and cheese.


Next we worked on tomato aspic that can be topped with olive salad and sour cream or topped with ham, spicy corn and mango salsa and sour cream.


We learned to properly cut bell peppers and used them later for a curry dip.  We used the ends on a cheese cake as decoration. (not cheesecake, but a cake of cheese made in a spring form pan)


We worked on a bruschetta appetizer- topped with a tomato salsa, mozzarella and basil with a side of stuffed snap peas (they were stuffed with a lemon garlic cheese)


The two desserts were also in mini version.  The first was a key lime that we added homemade whip cream and a slice a key lime. The second dessert was a chocolate mousse with coconut and toasted almonds topped with homemade whip cream and slice of orange.


I tried it all and loved each dish.  I think I can make them and I am so thankful to be trying new foods and really liking them.  It’s fun!



daily bread July 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 5:01 pm
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“‘When one is thirsty, one quenches one’s thirst by drinking, not by reading books which treat of this condition.’ If we are dying of thirst, passively reading books about water quenches little.” Ann Voskamp  One Thousand Gifts

I have had many great conversations over the years with ladies in which we share what our lives are like, what our homes are like, what our struggles are, what our desires are- Often we say that we want to grow in our faith more. We want to know God more and believe His promises.  We mention knowing that we would be better wives, mothers and friends if we were in His Word more. We know it- in our brains. But something happens on the way to doing something about it. We let it slip by and we move on to practical things around us- laundry, dinner, childcare, errands, other books or shows that will entertain us. We don’t stop and we think that yesterday’s manna will be good for today- or make that last month’s manna or last year’s manna- whenever it was we last picked up His word and actively engaged in time with Him.

We let sermons we hear or conversations we have replace actively reading the Bible, actively communicating with our God through prayer, actively worshipping him in praise and thanksgiving, repentance and faith.  It’s like we are sitting in the restaurant and noting what someone else has eaten and we wonder why we are still hungry ourselves. Ann Voskamp’s book one thousand gifts touches on the connection between being thirsty or hungry, spiritually speaking, and the act of thanking God for his gifts-the act of engaging with our Lord.

“I may have always known that change takes real intentionality, like a woman bent over her garden beds every day with a spade.” Voskamp

Just like real eating means we pick up the food and put it in our mouth, real growth means that we learn about Him and actively engage with what He has told us.  God never meant for the Israelites to be able to scoop up the manna that He provided and live on that one provision- The manna actually rotted if they saved it. He wanted them to come to His provision the next meal and the next meal.  Satisfying themselves with His provision each meal.  I am challenged to go to Him- to spend time with Him. I know we are settling into a new job- our eyes are wide open, our hearts are full of hope, our desire is that the Lord would do mighty things in the lives of the people here.  But right now I know He is calling me to Him. To read His word and trust Him. To know Him so well that I have no doubts. To grow personally in looking more and more like Him, with my eyes on my very own heart. He is the place I will look and His is the plan I will trust.


Sent by the one who was sent July 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 10:54 pm
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Eric’s installation service was Sunday night. This is the service where the presbytery installs Eric as the head pastor of First Presbyterian. There is a group of men who serve on the commission and participate in the service.

These men are both pastors and elders in our presbytery and we were very thankful for their involvement.  Two other men in this picture are the pastors of churches that we have attended and who preached and charged Eric and the congregation. Dr Charlie Wingard is the head pastor at Westminster Presbyterian in Huntsville and Eric served as the Associate Pastor at his church.  He gave Eric his charge in the service.  He reminded him that he must continue what he has been doing- to love his family, to study and pray so his preaching would be fruitful, to be with the suffering and sick, and to work with his elders. Charlie and his wife Lynne hold a very special place in our hearts and I almost did the “ugly cry” as he spoke. Here is a man that knows us and has labored so well beside us- he has wanted good things for us and has endeavored to prepare us for this day.  It was too much for this sentimental girl! His charge to Eric was exactly what Eric needs to do and we are hoping to have a copy of his words to read over the years.

Dr Alan Carter preached for the service and charged the congregation. He focused on the idea that we are a sent people. Because we are good presbyterians ( 🙂 ) we believe that things are not by chance or luck- we believe our God ordains things to happen.  It is no accident that I now live in Indianola. It is no accident that my kids will be raised here. It is no accident that I will shop in this town, eat in this town, walk in this town, join book clubs in this town.  He encouraged us to change the idea of missions in our minds from one who pastors in a far away land to one who is sent. Each person has been sent to where he or she is. He encouraged us to see that we interact with people all day in the places where we are, where we recreate, where we study, where we live. And by the power of the Holy Spirit, we hope to make connections with this town and share about the hope that we have in Christ. Our prayer is that God truly will use his people to be a Light in the Delta.

Eric’s parents were able to be there because his brother drove 6 hours Sunday morning and 6 hours Sunday evening to bring them here and take them home.  I cannot tell you what a gift that was to us.  Eric’s daddy has been sick over the past few weeks and every chance we get to see him makes us thankful!


It was so fun to show Dot Dot around the yard- I cannot wait for her to come back and help me dream big dreams for the back yard! I think she will like walking around this precious town too.

So now Eric is officially installed 🙂 So I think they are stuck with us for a while 🙂




surprises that I want to remember July 3, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 11:17 pm

Today, we ran normal errands- back to Walmart because I needed to buy blueberries and strawberries to make our 4th of July dessert. There was a RedBox at the store and we rented our very first movie from one today. Winnie the pooh. We picked up my book club book: The Dummy Line. I am going to go to the local library’s book club in three weeks and see what it is like. We came home and the girls read for their summer reading while the little ones had room time. We had our wireless WiFi installed today by the husband of our church secretary. He was so sweet to stop by and make sure it worked well for us! Happiness for all the Zellners!

We went swimming at our sweet neighbor’s house. She had made us a plate of brownies a couple of days ago, so we were taking her plate back with thank you notes that the kids had made and a plant for her home. While we were swimming, her sister-in-law who lives right behind her came over and met us. While we visited she mentioned that she had a fig tree and she would love to share some with us. She went home and brought us back a plate full of figs. As we are thanking her, Cord hopped out of the pool and was eating them. He loved them! Then Emma Frances did, then Lucy and Olivia. They all tried them and all liked them! I couldn’t believe it.

We walked home and I noticed something that looked like a wind chime hanging on our front porch. When I saw it I thought it must be from a girl that goes to our church- she is very talented and creative and it looked like something she would make. I wasn’t sure, but was going to check it out the next day. As we were cooking the 4th of July dessert, she knocked on the door! She had an apple pie in her hand and was coming to see if we had noticed it. The pie was beautiful and delicious!

We have had tomatoes dropped off, bran muffins, homemade granola, salads, pies, brownies- each time, the person very humbly drops it off and welcomes us to the Delta. So we are eating wonderfully and thankful for the kindness. Tomorrow we’ve been invited to celebrate with some new friends and have dinner with a family from church. Thankful for so many people who have included us in their lives.