Welcome to the Scharrer family's real life story! Most of our story is written for, and about, our four kids and the spice they add to our lives. It's our story of happiness, craziness, and sometimes ridiculousness. We've journaled through childbirth, the terrible two's, private school (and our public school experience), an autism diagnosis, medical school, residency, and long-term mission work in Africa.

Now we're following a new adventure, which involves a 45 foot motorcoach, homeschool, and as many ski slopes as we can go down in one year.

For posts from while we were living in Zimbabwe and updates about our future plans in Zimbabwe, please see our mission blog...


21 January 2015

Digging up the Past, a Beginning for the Future

Nearly 10 years ago, Erik and I were working for our church, planning activities for the youth and families.  One of our summer activities was making a time capsule with the youth. We had the kids answer some questions pertaining to personal goals for the next 10 years on a sheet of paper and we put all of them in the time capsule and hid it in the church.  A few months ago, some of the time capsule kids (who are now in college) found the capsule that they had participated in and opened it!  The preacher thoughtfully sent our pieces of paper to us.

I had not read Erik's paper before receiving it in the mail.  First, I read the front:

Then I read the back:

Floods of memories came back.  At this time, Erik and I were soon headed to Africa with the Peace Corps.  We had went through the application and interview process and we were in the middle of the extensive medical examinations.  It was just a few short weeks later, exactly one month before departure, when I had a bad pap smear that eventually closed the door on Africa at that time.  It was devastating and surprising, but comforting.  We had seen other doors closing, but assumed it was Satan getting in our way of going.  When this door shut, too, we knew God had something better.

Looking back, I can see how these past ten years have been God-directed.  There were times when we tried to do it all on our own, but there were also times where we gave every ounce of life over to Him and He sustained us.  
Almost a year ago, after a couple very stressful years of residency, I was able to accompany Erik to Africa.  It was a long time in the waiting, but so incredibly perfect.  In fact, it was so perfect and I was so changed and touched by our experience in Africa, that I haven't been able to share our story until now.  I have spent the last 11 months processing, praying, searching, and dreaming.
As our life unfolded in Africa, I wrote it all down in a journal that Samartian's Purse gave me before we went.  There, under my mosquito net in the softness of the African morning heat, with the sounds of the hospital just yards away, I wrote.  I wrote mostly for my children, but now I realize that I also wrote as a marker to the beginning of a journey I never knew our family would take, a journey into medical missions.  I plan to take the next month to record my journal and reflect the journey on the blog. I will slowly be recording our journal under the
"The Congo, February 2014" tab at the top of our blog.

Samaritan's Purse just published an article about our trip to Africa in one of their magazines.  It turned out great and I hope it is an inspiration to those who read it...
Follow this link: www.samaritanspurse.org/article/wake-up-fall/

God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before Him...God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to His eyes.
Psalm 18:20,24 (The Message)

14 January 2015

Happy 6th birthday, Skogen!

SIX things that automatically come to mind when I think of you:

1. You are an amazing little boy.
I love to watch the amazing YOU!  I watch you when you're patiently playing with Torsten, I watch you when you're sitting on your top bunk reading a book, and I watch you from afar as you unpack your backpack and put your things in your locker at school.  I also enjoy watching you as you play out in the snow, while you are skiing fearlessly down black diamonds, and I enjoy watching you play soccer, too.  You are constantly amazing me by just being you!

2. You have an amazing heart.
You're the first to offer comfort when Torsten gets hurt.  You have awesome ideas about  how to help others and a keen sense of need.  You truly feel bad when others are feeling bad and you hurt when others are hurting.  On the flip side, you can't help but smile if someone is smiling at you.  And your laugh!  It's contagious.  Along with this softer side of you, comes a more sensitive side.  You tend to cry a little more than your siblings and the littlest of things hurt your feelings in a big way. I value your tenderness.

3. You are adamant.  
Once you set your mind to something, you are going to do it and nothing will stop you.  Sometimes this is a good thing and I think it will be a blessing as you grow up.  However, since you're still a kid and have a lot of authority figures around you at all times, you have been finding yourself in a bit of trouble at school this year.  I know, I know.  It's so hard to mind someone when your idea might be so much better...  You're definitely stubborn and learning the hard way, but you're coming around.  :)

4.  You adore your Dad.
In your book, he's number one.  If anyone told you that their dad could do something, you'd argue that your dad could do it 100 times better.  You light up when he talks to you and your happiness sparkles in your eyes and through your smiles when you're with him.  You love to wrestle together.  You love to ski together.  And mostly, you love to do anything with your Dad that you feel will make him proud of you.

5.  You are animated.
From the time your eyes open in the morning, until you're fast asleep at night, you're moving.  You are constantly running, jumping, and spinning.  Not only that, but I can almost see the wheels in your head turning. With your mind constantly imagining, constantly creating, you are never bored and always coming up with ways of entertaining yourself.  Your creativity almost always involves a car or two, but you have recently discovered legos, which has been a good past time for you and that constantly-spinning brain of yours.  I love to see your new lego creations and I also love that you ask me to take pictures of them all.

6.  You are audacious.
Especially when you're with your brothers, you are fearless.  You take big risks, especially when jumping off high things.  It's always funny to hear the gasps of fear from others when I have you and the other two boys out of the house.  One minute you're climbing up a tree, the next your jumping out like Superman.  You'll scurry to the top of the bleachers at soccer and then swing down the backside like a monkey.  At the park, I find you on top of the tube slides, instead of inside them, and you're always trying to come up with a way to get on top of the entire playground structure, no matter how high.

This year for your birthday, you requested a race car birthday.  I think you enjoyed and appreciated what I came up with...

I got some Balloon Racers.  They are race cars that are powered by blowing up an attached balloon and then letting it deflate.  The boys raced these cars on a folding table that I made some tracks on with some duct tape.

After everyone arrived, we got right to work, each painting their own wooden car.  I didn't have enough paint brushes, so we painted with Q-tips!  This worked really well because then each boy could have a Q-tip for each color and I didn't have to worry about having cups of water for rinsing out paint brushes between colors.

After every car was painted, we moved onto the cupcakes!

Next came the presents!

Before parents arrived, we gathered around the table again, where I sprayed shaving cream all over the place.  I also dumped a bunch of cars on the table.  This was a big hit!

We had some extra time (these boys sure do move through activities quickly!), so the boys played in the dress up clothes.

Then they each took a goodie bag home with them!

Each goodie bag included a Balloon Racer, race car bouncy ball, race car bubbles, a rubber bracelet with race car phrases, and the wooden car they painted.

I also made a life-size race car driver with a cut out where the head would go.  The boys took turns posing for pictures with their head on the race car driver's body!  Over all, it was a great birthday party!  I really hope you enjoyed it, Skogie Bear!

01 January 2015

Happy New Year! {2015}

Erik had New Year's Eve off and it only seemed appropriate to ring in the new year with a bang!  Four hours before dinner, I decided to put together a little party for our kids.  I dug around in our party supply box and pulled out everything I needed to make it special.  It was a frantic attempt, but successful.

 In preparation, I labeled eight balloons with specific "pop" times and filled each one with an activity.  The plan was to pop the balloon at the labeled time and do the activity that was in the balloon.  The kids went crazy over this idea and they generously took turns popping balloons at the appropriate time to get our next activity.

Balloon one : play musical chairs

Balloon two : eat dinner
We decided we'd dress fancy for dinner.  I let them choose what they thought was "fancy" and dress themselves.  It was fun to see what they chose to wear.

Halfway through dinner, Maida decided that we needed to eat by candle light, so we turned off all the lights and enjoyed the soft glow of the candles.  It was a great idea!

Balloon three : drink bubbly and make New Year toasts


Balloon Four : eat dessert

Balloon Five : make family New Year goals

 Balloon Six : take the last family picture of 2014

Balloon Seven : watch the ball drop
Netflix had a special New Year's ball drop for kids that you could watch at any time.  We played it for the kids and had a rocking dance party!  I had filled a balloon with confetti and streamers and hung it above the living room, so when the show counted down and got to "midnight," I popped the balloon and confetti flew everywhere!

Balloon Eight : have a family bedtime devotional
We ended the night with thoughts of God and how he has provided for us over the past year.  We prayed together and asked him to be with us as we started the New Year.

We write to taste life twice, once in the moment and in retrospection.”
~Anais Nin