Saturday, June 28, 2008

Dylan's First Saltine Cracker

If any of you would like to watch Dylan eat his first saltine cracker, you can go to and type in "Dylan's First Saltine Cracker" I know it's silly but I want all of you to witness Dylan growing up as if you were here. We love and miss everyone!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mahlum News

Thought we would get on and say HI and that we miss you all very much. There has been some news lately, one being Dylan has been given a clean bill of health from his pediatrician. For those of you who didn't know, our little boy had a seizure-type episode while taking a nap a few weeks ago. So we were finally able to get him in for an EEG (basically a test on the brain that's done while he sleeps) and the tests all came back clean and clear today. Also, I was just signed to a talent agency yesterday. One Source Talent is awesome. I love it because once they signed me I get to attend free classes that are taught by some of the best models, photographers, and actoring coaches around as well as the fact that a company finally gave me a chance to do what I have always dreamed of. If you would like to see my comp card you can go to and where it says "Talent Lookups" you can type in 28666 and it will bring it up. They are temporary pictures, but I would love to hear some feedback about them. Well we love and miss you all and cannot wait until the next family get together. Cassie, Jesse, Dylan Mahlum!!!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Stories about Dad/Grandpa

I hope all you dads had a fabulous father's day!! Since we didn't all get to hang out at Mom's and Dad's and read all the great stories people sent in, I thought I'd share my story and Audrey's story. I got a chance to read several of the stories, and they are wonderful. We are some very good story tellers, and I know Dad love them. Mom said he had to get out his handkerchief more than once. Anyhow, here are our stories.

Oh Dear wonderful Grandpa,

I first want to say I hope you have a fantastic Fathers Day! And secondly I wanted to share some of my favorite memories of you. I always loved when I was little how on our birthdays you would pretend to give us the hardest spankings and we would all get so scared. And how at any moment when no can find Grandpa you can guess he is sleeping in one of the big comfy chairs.

I so admire how you never ever want a present but would rather have us spend the money helping someone who needs it more. That is a person who is truly selfless and a trait I hope I can improve on in my own life. I also love how life touches you so much. My mom and I always say we get our emotional side from you because we feel for others so much in happy and sad times. I also love how you just tell it how it is. No sugar coating anything.

You have also shown me what it's like to be a great father, grandfather, and husband. We should all hope to have someone we can be with for 50 plus years and will still work hard to have a marriage that the Lord wants us to have, not how the world tells us it should be.

Thanks for all the funny memories and inspiring traits you've shown. I can't wait for more.

Love you and God bless,

Some of my favorite memories of my Dad come from times when I had done something wrong, which happened way more often than I like to admit. As upset with me as he must have been, he never yelled. He would always talk to me firmly and yet still be calm. I could always feel his love for me, and knowing I had hurt or disappointed him was worse than any punishment he could have given me.

I remember the year the family got a tape recorder for Christmas. Mom and Dad had secretly turned it on to record the chaos that occurred when we all started opening gifts - paper ripping, people yelling "look what i got! what did you get?" The most wonderful chaos in the world. They were going to save it and play it for Grandma O'Connell because she wasn't able to be at our house that Christmas.

We were fascinated by that tape recorder. We'd record ourselves saying anything, interviewing each other, singing, whatever. Then we would delight in hearing our voices played back. But that's a whole different set of memories.

I'm a little foggy on how this happened, but somehow that Christmas Day I managed to record some silly stuff over the Christmas chaos tape. Yes, the one we were going to share with Grandma O'Connell. Needless to say, Mom and Dad were not very happy, and I was devestated. I thought for sure I was in BIG trouble - the sent to your room without dinner kind of trouble. Dad sat me on his knee, and I prepared for the worst (not that I'm dramatic or anything). Instead of yelling or punishment or even a firm talking to, Dad hugged me and told me not to worry. He said there would be many more Christmas' to record. As I cried and cried, he hugged me and kept telling me "don't ever forget, you're my little angel and I love you." I still can feel that hug, and I still feel like Dad's little angel. In that instant my worst Christmas turned into my best Christmas.

Dad will always be my hero for his strength, perseverance, self-discipline, gentleness, sense of humor, faith, and his zen-like euchre-playing abilities. I am proud to say he is also my friend and one of the first people I call for advice. I thank God for blessing me by making you my father. I thank you for being the strong Christian you are, for instilling your sense of values in all of us, and for showing us that it is far more important to live by God's standards than by man's.

Happy Father's Day!

Love, Rita

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Flooding In Pardeeville

If you’ve watched the news lately you know some of the excitement that we’ve been having here in Pardeeville. It all started on Friday. You see our Nephew Ben Sosalla (on Arnie’s side) Graduated on Saturday, so on Friday we running around to helping Lois (Ben’s mom and Arnie’s sister) get ready for the party when we got a call that we needed to pick up more cement block to help hold down the tent that they had rented for the party as it was lifting off the ground and moving. Just a few minutes after that call we got another that a tree branch had fallen on the tent damaging one corner. When we got back we saw the damage and Arnie went right into recovery mode with fixing the tent polls and Arnie’s brother Bruce brought a new tarp so the tent was fixed. Then came Saturday! Pardeeville’s Graduation was set for two O’clock in the afternoon, when we got there they weren’t letting people in the gym due to the tornado warning so we had to stay in the halls, finally after about a half hour they let us in. The principle of the school got up and said that they were going to only hand out diplomas so that we could make sure that we got that done. As he finished saying this the sheriff walked up and broke in saying that everyone needed to evacuate to the halls as a tornado was spotted just five mile form town, so we all evacuated to the halls and waited, about fifteen minutes latter the lights went out leaving the school in the dark. It was about forty-five minutes later that the storm passed and we (Arnie, Oliver & I) were able to leave and go the Lois’s house, which is about three blocks away form the high school. When we got there we were surprised to see the large tent still standing in the driveway, but the two tents that were in the back yard were gone and the tables and chairs were all over the yard. Ben was able to graduate around three O’clock, when the Pardeeville fire department came in with generated powered light so they could light up the gym, the principle used a megaphone to speck but they all got their diplomas. The party was a wet success. However some of Arnie’s cousins’ farms were damaged by the EF2 tornado. Thankfully no one was hurt. Then came Sunday and more rain and then on Monday with Park Lake (which is in the middle of Pardeeville) rising and the two dams stressed the town of Pardeeville was called to help sandbag a man maid canal to relieve Park Lake across Main Street/Hwy 22 to Lower Lake aka Silver Lake (which is where one of the dams goes to). As of today everything was holding, however you can’t get through Pardeeville and to leave my house you have to go through two barricades. What fun!! I hope everyone is doing well and that the water goes down soon.


The first picture is one of the two dams and the second is a brige down form the dam going under Hwy 22
The Canal Going across Main Street/Hwy 22
High Water on a street in Pardeeville by our church.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Rain, rain go away!

AHHHHH! Flash Flood!!!!!
So, we've had just a little rain up here in Columbia County. :) I think we're up to 6 inches in the last 30 hours now. Here are some pictures taken in a 12 hour period today, Sunday June 8th from 7AM-7PM. This is supposed to be our "Creek" and yeah, there is a bridge there somewhere. Ahhh, what Mother Nature is capable of doing. Yes, that is our garden in amongst that "lake", too. The last time any of us remember it being this flooded was back in 1994. (WoW 14 years ago, already?)

7:06 AM

12:18 PM

1:09 PM

7:12 PM

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

how we ended up in Arizona

I know this is very long, but it is a great story.

Dear Family and Friends,
What a year it has been! A baby, a job change, a move across the country, in short no lack of stress :) But above all our challenges, changes and stress levels, God has been so good.
Looking back at the past year, I can hardly believe everything that has happened.
In June we discovered that we were pregnant with our 4th! A little surprised, but pleased, we always said that we wanted 4 kids (I just didn’t expect to get them so close together)
In July, Jason’s job as Elementary Children’s Director at Providence went full time, it was a good thing but also disappointing as we realized that in order to meet our budget he would have to keep working at the restaurant. It is challenging to juggle 2 jobs and a growing family. As time went by (and with Jason’s boss’ prompting) it was clear that something had to change. We kept praying that God would guide and direct us and did He ever! Mid-September everything came to a boiling point, Jason nearly had a breakdown and was asked to step down from some of his responsibilities, which sounds terrible, but was really a good decision. That very week we had company in town; a huge blessing as they were able to watch the kids as Jason and I had some serious talking to do. Also during that time Jason received an e-mail about a job opportunity. Jason and his boss Kevin frequently got e-mails of churches that were looking for pastors and Jason usually just junked them, we didn’t want to leave our church, but this one was different, it was addressed to him personally so, I believe prompted by the Spirit, he opened it. After reading the job description Jason called me and asked me to read it “why” I asked, “just read it” he said. After I read it I told Jason, “that’s you they’re looking for, it’s in Arizona, but it’s you”. The job description outlined so many of Jason’s passions and Ideas for Children’s ministry even down to the job title “Pastor of Children’s Discipleship”.
We decided it couldn’t hurt to pursue the possibility so we started the process and Jason sent his resume to the head hunter. Within just a few weeks Jason had two conversations with the head hunter, spoken with Ron (the current children’s pastor at the church), the search committee (a process that normally takes months) and by divine coincidence, met face to face with the Senior Pastor. One of the things that also appealed to us was the fact that the current children’s pastor was not being fired, but was moving into a different role in the church as an executive pastor.
In October it just so happened:) that the Senior Pastor, Tim was visiting his son who was a student in Winston-Salem NC, so Jason was able to drive out there are meet face to face with Pastor Tim. After several more phone conversations we were asked to fly to Arizona for a formal interview. The timing was critical, there was a window where I could fly before it became too uncomfortable and the holidays were upon us, the timing in this whole thing was masterfully orchestrated by a wonderful composer!
All this time we kept praying and seeking God, asking for wisdom and direction. We prayed that God would put up road blocks, red flags if this was not what he had planned for us. He kept giving us peace, a peace that surpassed all understanding.
Jason, Kiah and I flew to Phoenix the week before Thanksgiving. We had wonderful friends who were able to watch the boys for us. Neal and Heather Lord took them for one night even though their own kids were out of town; the Bruce and Karen Oliver had them 2 nights and took them to the Christmas parade and the Derek and Leslie Washburn had them the remaining 2 nights where they got to help plant flowers and go to story hour at the library.
Our schedule was jam packed while we were in Phoenix, we had meetings with the search committee, pastoral staff, ministry team and elders. At each meeting we answered many questions and asked our own. Everyone was super helpful with Kiah, which was great since she also went to all those meetings.
The Sunday we visited the church Jason leaned over to me during the service and whispered “we’re home”. We felt so at peace and really sensed that this was God was taking us. Jason had been feeling this all along, even before we flew to Arizona and the trip confirmed it even more.
One of the contingencies for us was that if we moved before the baby was born we had to find a Dr./Midwife and I didn’t want to give birth in a hospital after having such wonderful experiences at the birth center in Chapel Hill. We looked online and found a midwife who does home births, we scheduled to meet her during our visit. The visit went great, and another piece of the puzzle divinely fell into place.
During our trip we did some house hunting, that’s how confident Jason felt about God’s direction, the wife of one of the elders is a real estate agent and she showed us a few rental properties as well as one that was for sale. That house that we looked at way back in November is the same one that we ended up buying, but more on that later.
We flew back to North Carolina and anxiously awaited the phone call that would tell us if the job was ours and what the salary was. One thing that was important to us was that the salary be enough so that Jason wouldn’t have to work another job. Well, what do you think happened? Yup, we were offered the job and the salary was perfect. We won’t be rich, but no more working 2 jobs!
That was the very end on November. Then things kicked into high gear, we contacted a real estate agent to sell the house in NC, spent a week or so packing and putting things into a POD in the driveway and painted the interior of the house. It was crazy, our wonderful neighbor and friend took the kids for 2 days while we painted, and another friend power washed the exterior of the house. The house went on the market just before Christmas, was shown 55 times and sold April 23rd for full price. Praise the Lord!
Now, how were we going to move all our stuff and 3 children? The church had set aside a certain amount for our moving expenses, so I began contacting moving companies. To make a long story short(er) the brother of one of the pastors flew to NC helped load our stuff into a U-Haul, pulled our van behind it and drove it to AZ while Jason the kids and I got to fly. I was so thankful that we got to fly and didn’t have to drive for 4 days, 7 months pregnant.
So, where were we going to live? One of the men from church offered his home to us. Grant is a very humble and self sacrificing man, who let us live in his home, sleep in his rooms while he slept on the couch. Everyone wonders how we lived like this for almost 4 months, the only answer I have is God’s grace. Grant was usually not home, he works long hours, so we had the house to ourselves for most of the time and we felt so blessed to live rent free for that time. Grant even allowed us to have a home birth! The kids adored him and miss him now that we are in our own home.
After months of house hunting we finally bought this one, well actually our realtor bought it and we are renting it from them for a month and a bit, we close in June. It is another one of those God things. We started looking at houses right away and saw several that we liked and even put offers on 3 other homes, but they were all declined which, in this market, was crazy. Finally we said that’s enough, we’ve got to choose one and be done with it. Well, that week the house that we really liked came back on the market. It had been off for a while, but had been empty the whole time. Remember this is the house we first looked way back in November. However it had to close by a certain date, before the house in NC sold and we couldn’t get a loan on our own (because of the house in NC) so our gracious realtor and her husband bought it for us and we will buy it from them (they are making no profit). This is not the only thing that they have done for us, she took her commission and put it into an escrow account for us to use. From that account we purchased all new appliances and put in a new door to the patio. We moved in on April 23rd and are quickly making it our own.
Oh, let’s not forget about that baby I was talking about. Tobin Joseph Doughty arrived February 13, 2008, at 2:10 am weighing a whopping 10 pounds and 3 ounces. His labor and delivery went smoothly and was only 6 hours long. It was so great to have a home birth, no traveling in the car while in labor and we got to stay in our own bed which was very comfortable and relaxing. He is growing fast and is a happy little guy, well not very little:)
Justin, Isaac and Kiah are adapting well to all the changes we’ve experienced. They’ve made many new friends, but still miss people back in NC, it is the same for Jason and I. It is comforting knowing that this is where God has us and that we won’t have to move for a very long time, maybe never.
So many things happened, none of them a coincidence, we truly believe that God had this all planned for us, He could not have shown us more clearly the way that He wanted us to go. He gave us such peace and grace, from little things to big ones, we have been so blessed. It’s not easy to move to someplace new and start all over again, but knowing that this is where He has led us makes it all so much easier. I hope that you have enjoyed hearing about how we were brought to Arizona, but most of all I hope that God was glorified through it all.
I was hoping to have a new family photo to put with this letter, but I’ve put this off long enough. To see pictures please visit our blog, and hopefully you’ll get a picture for Christmas.
Our new contact info: 3830 E. Yale St, Phoenix, AZ 85008
Jason’s cell 602-301-6524
Bridget’s cell 602-301-6906
Home #602-324-3538
You can visit our blog at

With much love,

Bridget, Jason, Justin, Isaac, Kiah and Tobin