Merry Christmas!


2015~Gary & Regina Zeiset  Audrey-17 ,Kerek -16,Austin-15, Logan-10, and Amber -8



Christmas Greetings to all you readers; strangers and friends! I’m honored to have you read and follow my blog and love hearing from you !


Our family ushered the New Year in with a New Year’s Eve party, which included shrimp for the ‘special’ food! Shortly after 12, I was snuggled in bed and very ready to get some delightful sleep.

I started a blog after a friend suggested the idea to me!  It wasn’t very hard to talk me into it and I’m so glad I did it! I love writing and enjoy writing the weekly post, altho sometimes it’s a bit frustrating when nothing exciting or extra-ordinary happens and I’m not sure what to blog about. 🙂


Kerek and I ,as well as most of the youth group helped serve lunch at a soup kitchen in the Cities. *

Austin, Logan ,and Amber went on their first plane ride ,which fueled the fires of Austin’s aviation dream.


As I listened to the Maranatha Bible School students give their Midterm program, I anticipated next year when I would be in the choir and not in the audience.

The 22nd marked my 17th birthday .*

Our family went to King Buffet, a Chinese buffet , in celebration of our fourth year in Minnesota!


Kerek was baptized at Prairie Mennonite Church.

Grandpa and Grandma Martin came to visit!

Logan turned 10 on the 30th.


The first week, 1-7, I  spent in Montana with a friend! It was my first time to fly(can you imagine 2 17 yr-olds flying together? It was a blast and a great adventure! We were very well behaved 17 yr olds;). I loved the trip and scenery but was glad to be home again! *

Mom turned 39 on the 7th and celebrated by picking Krysta and I up at the airport !

Kerek bought his first group of 15 calves and raised them to 500 lbs before selling them.


School is out!!!!!! And I am finished with high school! Oh that feeling of freedom, accomplishment , and relief. *

The last week of May , 3 of my friends from NY came to visit me for 4 short days. There was much laughter and talking, many late nights and busy days! *


EAA(Experimental Aircraft Association) was giving free plane rides at the Austin Municiple Airport  one Saturday, so Austin, Logan, Amber, and I (as well as MANY other people) took advantage of the offer. I only went because I was 17 and it was my last chance for a free ride and Austin was hoping it would spark a passion for aviation and we could fly together. Sorry ,bro. That didn’t happen. I’ll be a happy passenger ,especially if you give me bargains but I’ll let the flying to you! 😉

The long awaited day finally came (for me). The van died! It didn’t completely die then. After a couple visits to the shop it still didn’t run right and was no longer trustworthy.

My aunt and uncle visited for a couple days ! We really enjoyed their visit!


Mom’s sister and her family visited for a couple days. We enjoyed our time and made memories. *

I  spent a couple days a week at our neighbor picking beans and other vegetables for market.


Kerek turned 16 on the 31st and also got his license that day! The only available vehicle that stood a chance to qualify was the noisy farm truck. Not everything worked or was in tip top condition , but he took it anyway and we all crossed our fingers. There was sigh of relief when I got the text that he passed 🙂


I spent 3 weeks in New York with friends and family. I enjoyed the challenge of flying by myself for the first time . *

While I was gone, Austin spent 3 days in the hospital with a  burst appendix .

The rest of the family butchered 25 chickens. I didn’t  mind missing out on that gory job !

The last weekend  of Sept. our youth group went camping for a night and day. We were blessed with gorgeous weather which resulted in an afternoon of numerous games of volleyball .


The first weekend in October, I went with my aunt and uncle and 3 friends to a wedding in Michigan. It was a short but wonderful weekend!*

Kerek was in his glory when he got to help with chopping corn silage. He put in long hours hauling loads.

I was in my  glory when I was asked to drive the grain cart . I spent a few weeks in the tractor hauling beans and then corn. I loved it! * I also drove the 8320R  for many hours ,working ground.

One gorgeous fall day, I took some friends biking. The younger ones were soon tuckered out , but Laura, Kate, and I biked a total of 14 miles!

amature bikers


Thanksgiving day was spent at the Bible school with the church folk. We had a great feast and enjoyed playing volleyball afterwards.

WE GOT A CAR!! It’s by all means nothing fancy but definitely a wonderful thing to have 😉 It’s a Saturn Ion that now has tinted windows 😉

I bought some items in preparation for Bible School!


Grandpa and Grandma Zeiset , my aunt and uncle and 2 of their children flew out here to spend a couple days with us.

On the 11th, Amber and I cleaned our room. It. was. bad.


She was in no mood to clean and came into our room in a huff.” Everything is where it belongs “she said. Then she smiled as she realized the irony of the situation because our room looked like the above picture!  We started putting stuff away , and lo and behold, I found my Indian dress that I forgot I had. To make cleaning a bit more exciting , I wore the dress. Amber was jealous she didn’t have a swooshy , Indian dress to wear ,but one of my dresses sufficed her. After much encouragement  and persuasive talking, the room took on a much more appealing appearance and some of her ‘treasures’ landed in the trash (with her permission ,of course). “Why can’t we do this on Saturday?”was a complaint she came up with to try to push the task off as long as possible. I told her I would clean it up ,but then I would also throw things away. She knew that was too dangerous and slowly kept at it. Eventually our room looked great  and I was so glad to have a neat room  again.

December 6 ~Austin turned 15! He is excited to get his permit ,hopefully in January.

9th-Dad turned 40!!!

15th~ Amber is 8! Now that she is older, she is excited to be allowed to have more pets!

We youth girls and school- aged children gave a Christmas program one Sunday evening.

The Johnson’s hosted the annual youth Christmas Banquet. We had delicious Guatemalan food and a fun evening playing games!


We youth went Christmas caroling at Mayo. I enjoy walking the halls of the hospital and seeing the patients delighted reactions to the beautiful songs of hope and joy.

I spent the last two school days before Christmas vacation helping Miss Rachelle at school . I loved it! I took classes , checked lessons, answered questions AND helped Amber clean out her desk! 🙂


*You can read more of the story on previous posts.
Have a wonderful Christmas and let God lead your New Year!




Is helping someone or doing something good in my spare time, sacrifice?


Well, what is sacrifice then?

Sacrifice is giving up a hobby, a fun evening with friends, some precious spare time, or cutting corners financially, etc. to benefit someone else.

Is sacrifice easy?

Not always, because it means giving up something of yourself ; denying what you yourself wants at the moment. And that’s not always easy.

Would I benefit from sacrificing?

Absolutely! There is a blessing found in giving up personal pleasure and ease to help someone out.  Something that can’t be found in anything other than sacrifice.

Okay. So what are some examples of sacrifice?

Well, the person who sacrifices personal comfort by standing in the cold ringing the bell for Salvation Army’s red bucket is a good example.

Abraham offering his son Isaac.

Giving up an evening of volleyball to assist your elderly neighbor with cleaning her house or yard.

Skimping on extras so you are able to give more $ to charity.

Another example of sacrifice would be to leave the safe haven of home and  enter into a country  of violence,  disease, poverty, and death threats for the cause of Christ.

Last but far from least, God sending His only and perfect Son into a world of sin in the form of a small ,helpless baby, so that we sinful humans can be saved from eternal damnation.  That was a great sacrifice that I’m afraid we take too much for-granted.


Audrey,do you sacrifice enough?

You’re getting a little personal here , but since it’s a question that shouldn’t be avoided, I’ll answer honestly. Sadly, no.  It’s way easier to do what sounds fun and easy which means I wouldn’t need to give anything up if I go that route.

So the sacrificing you do, is that done willingly?

You’re not done with the personal questions are you? I wish I could give an emphatic and truthful ‘yes’, but it’s not natural to willingly give up personal pleasure and to answer ‘yes’ would not be truthful.

So… what are you going to do about it?

Well, with God’s help I plan to do better at sacrificing my time, money,energy, and spare time willingly for others’ benefit.It’s gonna take work and discipline but I WILL work on it even though it will be another one of those ‘works of a lifetime’ .


Great! Maybe I’ll have to give it a try to!


I don’t often share  personal conversations with myself ! I was recently reminded that sacrifice is not using your spare time ; it’s using ‘your’ time on someone else.    


More Than Enough

Hi! My name is Lonna and I live in the poverty stricken part of  Russia. I don’t know if we’ll have food for tomorrow. I dream of having not to worry about what we will eat the next day,but it’s only a dream. I don’t ever see that happening here . I have two dresses. I save the one for church but it’s not very nice anymore because I have been wearing it for the last 2 years.The one I’m wearing now is very thin ,faded,and stained. I’m very thankful for my two dresses,because many girls my age only have one. My shoes have holes in the toes and sides. They have been handed down to me from my 2 older sisters and were very worn when I got them. My coat has many tears in and is oh so thin. The cold winter air just blows right through it and it is VERY cold. This past week I’ve been having horrible headaches so bad in fact that I can’t always stand and have to stay in bed. With cold air constantly seeping in the cracks in the doors and windows, I also have this really bad cold. Mama wishes she had medicine she could give me but we don’t have money for extras like that. You see, daddy works hard cleaning barns for ‘rich’ farmers but the little bit of money he gets goes for our food and heating for the house. If we have a little extra he will buy the most needed piece of clothing. It’s terribly cold in the house. Cold drafts come through the windows and no matter how closely we huddle to the small stove ,we are still chilled to the bone. I try to imagine waking up under a pile of cozy blankets and stepping out of bed into a warm room in the middle of winter. It would be like heaven!

YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED TODAY!!! Daddy didn’t have any work to do today. We didn’t know what we were gonna eat either.We were all soooo hungry. Daddy and Mama gathered me and my 7 siblings into our living room this morning and we all knelt on the floor and prayed . Daddy prayed,” Dear Father in Heaven Who provides for His children, we don’t have any food in the house and I have a family to feed. I only have $2 and we need food,clothing, and fuel or wood to heat the house. We beg you to provide us with enough provisions  for today. Thank-you in advance for hearing our prayers. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.” We all took turns praying ,begging God to help us. As we finished praying we heard a vehicle drive in our lane . Daddy went to the door and we all gathered around him to see who had come. Two men carried a big box into daddy’s open arms and chatted for a few minutes before leaving again.  Daddy opened the box and I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was a BIG bag of rice,and 3 more big bags of food, CLOTHING, SHOES, AND 2 BLANKETS!There was also a Bible Story book with many colorful pictures ! Daddy and Mama were so happy to find a $10 bill. We were all SO extremely happy! God had answered our prayers! This time as we knelt Daddy prayed,” We thank You Lord, with all our hearts for answering our prayers so quickly. Just bless those dear people  in America for sharing with us. Thank-you ,Lord! Amen”


“Mom, can I please get this piece of material yet,” Lexi pleaded. ” I really need it. I only have 8 other dresses and would like a new one for the Christmas program. ”

” Okay,” her mom said. ” You are paying for them tho and do you really need it? Think about it but I’ll leave the choice to you.”

Lexi was glad mom didn’t flat out say ‘no’ and although she didn’t really need another dress,she bought it anyway.

At supper 4 hours later Lexi complained,” Must we have leftovers again? Don’t we have  any other food?We could be having pizza instead! ”

“Lexi, stop complaining and be glad you have that big helping on your plate. You are old enough to know better than to complain about leftovers.”Mom reproved.

Later that  evening while washing dishes ,Lexi piped up,”Hey , mom if you are wondering what to get for my birthday ,I could  use another fleece blanket. Also a silver sweater would go great with my new purple dress,and if you are still wondering what else to get, my laptop could use a new battery.Just saying! You would have about 2 weeks to think about it and then get it.”

As Lexi knelt by her bed that evening she prayed,” Lord, I thank You for all you have blessed me with. Help me to be a blessing to others and use me for Your glory. Be near to the poor in Russia and provide for their needs this coming winter. Thank-You ,Lord for this warm bed. Amen.”

“Mom,guess what. I have a head ache again.”Lexi groaned the next morning. “It’s the 3rd time I woke up with a headache this week and it’s EXTREMELY  annoying. ”

” I know,Lexi.Take ibroprofen and drink lots of water and you should be fine.If it keeps up ,we might have to get you to the doctor next week.”

As the offering basket passed Lexi that morning, she politely handed it to the girl next to her. It was announced the offering was for C.A.M ,but Lexi excused herself from giving by thinking,” Hey! I’m only 16 and don’t have a ton of money to spare . I’ll let the rich members give . I gotta save my money anyway.”


One recent Sunday evening , we watched a CAM presentation at church. It reopened my eyes to the poverty of our Brothers and Sisters in Christ living in war-torn and poverty -stricken parts of our world. My hourly wage is great compared to many hard-working fathers around the world. Elderly folks living in shacks ask God to bless those in America for giving.  I felt so rich afterwards. I asked myself if I’m giving enough. I knew the answer. I(We) can never give enough.

As Christmas comes nearer and we write wishlists to give to our parents or grandparents and buy many gifts, may we remember those  who don’t have the many blessings we have and please don’t forget the REAL meaning of Christmas!


Just a side note: I made both stories up although I have to admit ,I bought that extra piece of material already;I took it for-granted that there would be a pill for my headache and….  I have  searched for that ‘silver sweater’. Even as I wrote this,God used it to open my eyes to the needs of others. God gets all the credit for this post as it was His idea!


May God bless you this season !