Got Peas?

I can’t explain how Katey has managed to avoid eating peas for almost 17 years.  I take full responsibility.  I should have noticed the skill with which she subtly would receive, briefly hold, then pass the peas without actually taking any.

Well, the Pea Police finally caught up with Katey this afternoon.  Here is what happened next…

John Deere Model E Restoration

When our family purchased our home four years ago, the prior owner left behind an old John Deere Model E hit-n-miss engine.  I have an appreciation for old things so you can image how grateful I was when he said that he wanted me to have it.

It sat untouched in the garage until last October when I decided to start tearing it apart to see just how extensive the project would be.  I decided that it would be nice to restore the engine and use it to make homemade ice cream.

Original Cart Design

This is a picture of a restored engine and cart done by someone else but gives you an idea of how John Deere originally sold these engines.  They were mounted on a pair of wooden skids which had cast iron wheels and a simple handle.  Farmers would typically use these engines to power irrigation pumps, saws, or anything else that could be driven by a belt.  I have seen many people use these engines to make ice cream but I have never seen one that sat on a pair of skids like the original so that became the goal.

For this cart, I would use pressure treated 4×4 stock and plane it down to the original skid height and width dimensions.  These however would be ~40 inches longer to accommodate the freezer and drive assemblies.  After the initial mock-up, I realized that six inch cast wheels mounted to the single 4×4 skid would leave the ice cream rig a little too low to the ground so I decided to install eight inch wheels and add another 4×4 below the skid for height.

Here is a short video montage highlighting various stages of the project.

Those pretty fingernails holding the piston rings were not mine I assure you.  They belong to my wonderful wife who graciously offered her support over the last seven months.  I think she may have been even more excited than I to see it run for the first time!

I could not have completed this without the help of my friend Richard Hornbaker.  His membership at TechShop gave us access to state-of-the-art equipment we used to turn axles, mill wheels, and press wheel bearings.  I see an example of Christ in the way Richard serves others and am grateful for his friendship.

ATI Family Conference – 2015


Hey y’all!  We just returned from Big Sandy, Texas, where we attended the annual ATI Family Conference.  We were so encouraged by the fellowship and teaching  last year that we couldn’t wait to return!  What a blessing it is to gather with like-minded families and hear teaching that challenges us in our walk with God.

The theme of this year’s conference was Draw Near To God which is taken from James 4:8, which says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you…”.

I (Katey) had the privilege to teach a group of girls this year in a program called Pre-Embassy.  While I did miss some of the sessions, God taught me many valuable things through my teaching experience, especially patience.

Jordans and Nakatsus

We were joined by our good friends, the Jordan family who moved to Ohio last year.  It was the first time we had seen them in months and we were so excited to see them all again.

On Thursday night, there was an ice-cream social where we met many new families.  We were excited to learn that several of them live near us in AZ!

Burnetts and Nakatsus

After the conference, we drove home through Oklahoma and were able to visit the Burnett family, and we are grateful for their sacrificial hospitality.  Talk about fun!  They took us out skeet shooting (which was a first for both Lauren and me), served delicious food, made homemade ice-cream, played fun games, and even gave us a tour of the town in a 1922 Model T!

We look forward to seeing everyone again next year, Lord willing.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

~ 1 John 1:7

Christmas Recital

Katey just performed in her first harp recital since beginning lessons last July.  Her instructor, Alla Yashneva, is from Russia and has proven to be a wonderful instructor for Katey.

After hearing that Lauren was also learning to play the piano, Alla invited her to accompany Katey in a rendition of “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming”.

Bates Family Visit

Tori, Gil, Kelly, and Nathan Bates

The Bates family blessed us with a visit during their trip to Arizona. Gil and Kelly celebrated their 27th anniversary with a trip to see the Grand Canyon and were joined by two of their children, Nathan and Tori.

During their stay with us, we enjoyed a time of sweet fellowship, too much food, and many laughs.

Friday morning, we set out for a place called Tortilla Flat which is about an hour east of Phoenix. We had many photo opportunities along the way as the weather and scenery were perfect!

Canyon Lake

After lunch, Nathan and Tori decided that they were going to climb the mountain across the street. Katey and Gil joined them for the 25 minute hike to the very top!

Can you spot them at the top?

They made it!

On our way back home, we stopped to see the Goldfield Ghost Town which is located along the famous Apache Trail.

The chapel at Goldfield

Goldfield was finally abandoned in 1926 after the gold ran out. We ended up spending the rest of the afternoon and early evening there just browsing the shops, taking pictures, and enjoying ice cream in fresh waffle cones!

Bargain shopping

That evening after we got home, Nathan led us in a wonderful Bible study on the armor of God from Ephesians 6. I appreciated his heart for The Lord and willingness to share with us.

Saturday morning it was time to say goodbye but not before we celebrated Tori’s 19th birthday!

Happy Birthday Tori!

Tori humbly listened as Gil, Kelly, and Nathan each shared some of the Christ-like characteristics they see in her. We then gathered together to sing a few Christmas carols before it was time to go.

On the way to the airport, we stopped at Chick-fil-A for one last meal together.


We so much enjoyed our time of fellowship and laughter together and are grateful for their friendship. Here are a few of the pictures we took along the way…