January 08, 2013

Top 12 of 2012

2012 has been, by far, the most emotional year of my life.
With the death of my brother and the birth of my first child,
my creative outlet was almost non-existent this year.
Frankly, as much as I believe in the power of art and creative worship
through books, music and film, I had no desire to participate in any of it.
So my list is a bit limited. Forgive me.

12. Book: "Kisses from Katie" (Katie Davis)

"A breathtaking journey into the sorrow and beauty of abandon to Jesus Christ. Katie Davis is young, still learning daily how best to serve. Yet her reckless, Peter-like love calls the bluff of a Christianity that refers to Jesus as 'Lord' with only partial intent of doing what he says. This is not a book to read if you wish for your comfort, convenience, and control to remain undisturbed. But if you stand willing to act upon belief, here you will encounter the full heartache and joy that await any person who ventures near to God's heart through adoption and other ways of loving the orphan in distress."

11. Book: "The Warmth of Other Suns" (Isabel Wilkerson)

10. Movie: "The Dark Knight Rises"
Christian Bale was flawless, as usual. Anne Hathaway took me by surprise - she was good. And I have a new respect for Sir Tom Hardy, as Bane. So many gleeful surprises and twists.
9. Movie: "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen"
A delightful little film. It made me happy.
8. PBS Series: "Downton Abbey"
What?! A halfway decent television series? A rarity these days.
7. Book: "Quiet" (Susan Cain)
Explores the power of introverts. A must-read for all you strong extroverts out there.
It might help us to all get along better...
6. Album:"A Church That Fits Our Needs" (Lost in the Trees)
5. Movie: "Les Miserables"
4. Album: "Babel" (Mumford & Sons)
3. Watching the Olympics
Two words... Oscar Pistorius!
2. Book: "One Thousand Gifts" (Ann Voskamp)
1. Gift: Joshua Tobias Schmitz


May 29, 2012

Josh's Eulogy

"Tribute to a Warrior"

Joshua Peter Probst

April 25, 1980 - May 8th, 2012

Written by: Emilie Schmitz
Read by: Kyle Schmitz on May 18, 2012

*On behalf of the Probst, Tesch, and Rahn/Kelly families, we would like to say "THANK YOU" for being here tonight to celebrate Josh's beautiful and vibrant life.  Your sacrifice of time and travel does not go overlooked. We are honored by your presence here, as we know Josh would be too.

"What man is a man, who does not make the world better?" Those words have been ringing in my head over the past week. My brother was a warrior, with a warrior's heart. Strong, courageous, always seeking truth and fighting for justice… He stood out in a crowd, a man among men.  He was a natural leader. He would walk into a room and everyone would just start following him.  It took him a while to get there, to be the HERO that we knew he was all along. As much of a jokester as he was, he had a profound depth to him that continually surprised me, even when being sarcastic. They say that sarcasm is the sixth love language - I guess my brother loved me a lot!

One of my favorite memories was when we lived at our log cabin in Monico. Every day, Josh and I would race our bikes down the dirt driveway to see who could get to the mailbox first. We would take off, each weaving our wheels in between the worn out ruts in the road, careful to stay in our respective "lanes" to avoid colliding into each other. We would harass each other all the way down. Josh would race past me, and then slow down to let me catch up, then fly past me again. He would be within 10 feet of the mailbox and would slam on his brakes, letting me zoom past him. Then he'd say "hey sis, you won!"  That's how he was. He had to be the best at everything, but not at the expense of others…

Our father built us tree forts, teepees, ziplines, and tire swings that kept us busy all summer long. He also built a seesaw. More than once, Josh thought it fun to jump off the end while I was sitting up in the air, he would laugh at me as I went flying through the trees. But then he would just feel bad and be nice to me for the rest of the day. I don't think my parents would have allowed us to do half of the endeavors that we did, if they would have known the true risks that we took. As a boy, Josh was a thrill-seeking, risk-taking, hot-blooded tomboy who dragged me into every crazy adventure that he could conjure up. "And yes mom, they were ALL his ideas!" :) But I'm better because of those experiences. Josh taught me that most of the best living is in the risks of entering into the unknown.  

Author Mark Batterson puts it this way:
"Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death." 

 Through his EMT and his fire-rescue smoke jumper days, to boot camp and serving in the military, to finding the love of his life and becoming a father, Josh lived the life that he always imagined. He lived a true life of adventure, and many of us were blessed enough to go along for the ride… I owe whatever sense of adventure I have, to him. I was his Tom Sawyer, he was my Huckleberry Finn. And always will be…

So how my brother and I were raised by the same two people, I'll never understand. He would claim a room whenever he walked in, eating up the attention of all those around him. He wasn't arrogant about it, he just loved life and wanted everyone to know it. He was game to try anything new, acting on impulse and usually pondering the consequences only after it was too late. Josh would take any contraption apart that he could get his hands on. My mother tells the story of a time when Josh was about 4. He was outside the farmhouse, trying to take the screws off of her bike with a wrench. She smiled and thought, "how cute." She checked on him 10 minutes later, only to find most of her bike in pieces on the patio. He then proceeded to put the bike back together again. He was stubborn and determined to do whatever he set his mind to, and gave no thought to the impossibility of any deed.

He was a true leader and he had this ability to make other leaders want to follow him. Ralph Waldo Emerson's famous quote is who Josh was:
"Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path
and leave a trail."
Everywhere he went, Josh blazed his own trail, and took the rest of us with him!

Perhaps his friend Shaun Lawson says it best:
"Josh, you were my moral compass - always letting me know when I was doing wrong, and praising when I did right. You taught me how to lead, and how to follow… but more importantly, you were an amazing husband to your wife, always showing her respect. On top of everything, you were the greatest father I've ever come across - it was a privilege to watch you raise your kids over the past 5 years. If I'm one-tenth of the father that you were, I would consider it a huge success…"

Josh was a man after God's own heart, with a quiet faith. He was a sinner and a saint, like the rest of us - saved by grace… I think of Psalm 112 when I think of him: for "blessed is the man who fears the Lord, his children will be mighty in the land. Even in darkness light dawns for the upright and compassionate man.
Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man
will be remembered forever.
His heart is steadfast, His heart is secure, he will have no fear.
In the end, he will look in triumph on his foes."  

I believe we will see Josh again. And on that day, there will be no more death or crying or pain. God will wipe every tear from our eyes. And Josh will be waiting for us, to welcome us Home….

Porky, we love you. God lived in you and now you're playing golf on streets of gold. You were a warrior in a time when this world needed you. You will always be missed. Your life was unfinished, but your legacy lives on.
So we will grieve not, but rather find strength in what remains behind….


On Tuesday, May 8, 2012 while playing baseball with his family, Joshua P. Probst, age 32, left this world unexpectedly to play on a bigger field. Joshua was born in Rhinelander, WI, April 25, 1980, son of John R. Probst and Lynn E. (Rahn) Probst.

Josh was a graduate of
Three Lakes High School and attended Casper College where he earned his EMT certification and studied Fire Science. He received his Associates Degree in CAD and was currently completing a degree in Construction Management. On August 16, 2006 at St. John’s Catholic Church he was united in marriage to Barbara Lu Tesch. Josh served in the United States Navy in Norfolk, Virginia, from 2003 until March of 2012. He was stationed on the USS Mahan, at ACU-4 and CNE. He received numerous awards and honors for his dedicated service. Josh was actively involved with the Special Olympics and was a volunteer coordinator at Tarrallton Elementary School
. There he served as a Magic Mentor, where he was a driving force and positive role model to the students. He also assisted in the Envirowalks at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. Josh was currently employed by Titan Industries. A sports enthusiast, Josh enjoyed hunting and fishing, rock climbing, mountain biking, golfing, playing soccer and baseball. Josh was always willing to lend a helping hand and was an incredibly talented woodworker. He was a loving, devoted husband and father who cherished time with his family, especially their camping excursions and Sunday mornings listening to Frank Sinatra. He will be deeply missed.

Survivors include his loving wife, Barbara; three children, Madysen, Sophia, and Grayson Probst; parents, Lynn Probst (Rob Semo) of Rhinelander, WI; John (Susie) Probst of Three Lakes, WI; sister, Emilie (Kyle) Schmitz of Burnsville, MN; brother, Jacob Probst of Rhinelander, WI; father and mother-in-law, Steve (Catharine) Tesch of Oshkosh, WI; brothers-in-law, Eric Tesch and Brian Tesch, both of Oshkosh, WI; his Navy family; numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and dear friends. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Floyd (Dorothy) Rahn and Elroy (Virginia) Probst and aunt, Barbara Breeding.

Funeral services will be held
Friday, May 18, 2012, 7:00 P.M. at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ Church, 1250 Leonard Point Road, Oshkosh with Pastor RaeAnn Beebe officiating. Relatives and friends may meet with the family Friday at the church from 3:00 P.M. until 6:30 P.M. Interment with full military honors will be held at Lake View Memorial Park, Saturday at 11:00 A.M.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to the family for his children’s education have been established.

From our hearts, we wish to thank all of the First-Responders, EMT's, and hospital staff who tried to revive Josh and for all the love and support we’ve received during this difficult time.


803 MAIN ST. RACINE, WI 53403

(262) 634-7888

May 24, 2012

Everyday Mamas Walk

(A tribute to Barbara Lu Probst)

By: Gianna Rae Kordatzky

Sometimes our adventures aren't ordinary.
Sometimes our adventures as mothers are hard, and they seem completely unbearable. Sometimes our adventures wouldn't be called adventures as much as trials to endure. That make us strong.

I met an everyday mama this past weekend who had been thrown into the most sickening trial any mama can imagine.

This mama said goodbye to her husband of less than 6 years. This mama could only hold her babies and cry. And when she wasn't crying, she was being mama because that is who she is.

While her 2 year old cried for daddy's arms, this mama continued to walk forward. She walked into a deep pit. Each painful and churning step.

And yet, she did it. This ugly adventure was overwhelming. This adventure ripped her insides out of her body. Each step she took, her knees buckled. Still she walked.

This was the adventure they were handed.

And now what do they do?

This everyday mama will keep walking into strength.

Until one day maybe she will walk out of the deepness of this pit.

Everyday she find strength in being their mama. Everyday her ordinary adventures are no longer ordinary.

                 Everyday she walks.

                              One step at a time.

Lament for Him

(For Emilie)

By: Gianna Rae Kordatzky
May 21, 2012

Speeding down the road.
To be with my friend.
Grandparents lending a hand
so that I can disappear.
A husband insisting that I need to go.
I don't want to make this journey.
I anticipate the pain I will watch
everyone else experiencing.
But I need to be there.
I need to be there for her.
Because I love her.
She is a part of what makes me me.
When she is in pain, I am in pain.
When she is excited, I am excited.
I learn about her brother.
I learn that he has many friends.
Almost too many to count.
He changed the world.
He changed her.
And so he touched me.
(I also learn that he called me her crazy roommate!
Even when gone, he makes us smile!)

In memory of Joshua Peter Probst

April 14, 2012


(written by Josh Larkin, February 2012)

"Laughter is the language of the soul" - Pablo Neruda
"I probably don't understand Pablo Nerudo too well, but I hear he always wrote in green because it was the color of hope. I like that.

Did you know that the Lord has marked me in a very special way?
Did you know that the Lord speaks an intense, "I love you" over me?
Did you know that I am a boulder that towers over mountains?
Of course you didn't, but you will.
Josh Larkin - Jamaica, 2009

Potential is a terrible thing to have. I don't want any of it, but I have it. It's awful, maybe you know how it feels because you have it too. Expected to do something, expected to be exceptional. Potential means nothing, it means I am not living as what I could be living as.

I want greatness, I want Your power. I want to live in freedom, strength and faith. Fearless writer of right and truth. Mover of strongholds, bringer of fire. Disrupter, accident creator and changer of fate.

My heart breaks to know that I can be these things and I am not. I have been given authority to trample snakes and scorpions and overcome all the powers of the enemy; nothing can harm me.
(Luke 10:19)

If I must have potential, make it like a match. Quick to appear, fast to burn, and must be used to ignite more or it will be used to scorch the hand that holds it.

I will not become a boulder that towers over mountains, I am one already."

Josh Larkin, 1990-2012

Josh was the older brother of 2 of our youth group students. He was a junior at Taylor University. Much beloved by all who knew him. A great adventurer and lover of life. But an even bigger lover of the unwanted and the cast out. It is clear his heart was wide open to share the love of Christ with others. He lived not many years on this earth, but God used him in mighty ways.
And yet, like the rest of us, Josh was a sinner saved by grace.
He died tragically after failing to free himself from an euphoric choke hold. I share this because I believe his family would want to warn others of the dangers of foolish games like "the choking game". And I want my students to know that while Jesus is victor, Satan prowls around the earth like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Be careful.
Josh will not be remembered for his last act on earth,
but for the triumphant way he lived out the Gospel...

(This quote was part of Josh's memorial service.)
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming
“Wow! What a Ride!’”
~Hunter S. Thompson

December 20, 2011

Joy to the World

"Come now sinners and you saints
            all peasants and all kings
                     And bow down before the earth's Redeemer
                                let all voices sing........   JOY to the world!  (Third Day lyrics)

It is only because of the miracle of Christmas - God made flesh, reaching out to restore and redeem a rebellious people - that we are living with joy even in moments when we are uncertain of how our needs will be met. It is because of His kindness that every one of our needs has been met thus far - because of Jesus' perfect life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection that we have purpose and identity as sons and daughters of God. (Jeremiah & Sandy Fyffe)


Merry Christmas!

love, Emilie & Kyle

November 22, 2011

The Blackest of Fridays

An excert from the website www.theminimalists.com
(By Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus) |

Black (adj.): characterized by tragic or disastrous events; causing despair.
—New Oxford American Dictionary

This Friday is the busiest shopping day of the year: Black Friday. Retailers prepare months in advance for this day—preparation that’s meant to stimulate your insatiable desire to consume.
Doorbuster sales. New products. Gigantic newspaper ads. TV, radio, print, billboards. Sale, sale, sale! Early bird specials. One day only! Get the best deal. Act now! While supplies last.
Consumption is an unquenchable thirst. Both of us know and understand this too well. In our corporate jobs of yesteryear, we both managed large numbers of retail stores.
The pernicious aspects of Black Friday are not few. The pandemonium of this day is a metaphor of our consumer culture. On this day, people consume gluttonously without regard for the harm they’re inflicting on themselves. On this day, greed becomes ravenous. On this day, people live without real meaning, buying gifts to fill a void that can’t possibly be filled with any amount of material possessions.
But there are better ways to live a meaningful life.
Sadly, people participate in the rapacious nature of Black Friday in the name of a holiday—as if buying gifts was an ideal way to celebrate Christmas.
Thankfully, our Christmas shopping is already complete: no gifts. We refuse to buy material items for people to display our love. Rather, we prefer to showcase our love, caring, and affection through our daily actions—every day, not just holidays.
If still you want to give a gift to someone, why not gift an experience—like a nice meal, tickets to a concert or play, or a sunset on the beach? After all, the best, most loving gift you can give someone is your time and undivided attention.
Will you join us? Will you opt out of Black Friday? If not, why not? Feel free to comment below.

Note from Emilie: Seriously, there's not a whole lot that I despise more than rampant materialism/consumerism, corporate greed, and wastefulness. If you agree, join me in saying, "We're not gonna play that game! It stops now, with our generation!"  Thanks. Happy Thanksgiving 2011!

September 22, 2011

Awake My Soul

Joshua Tree National Park - California

"Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death."
(Mark Batterson)

It is so important to me to live a life of adventure. As believers, too many of us have this obsession with safety that is defining our lives. In his book, Creative Matters, author Cole NeSmith explains it this way:

"We live in a culture consumed by safety. And being good Westerners, we've allowed our cultural obsession for safety to define us as Christians... We've spent the last several hundred years sterilizing our relationship with Christ into a religion that is neat, defined, predictable, and systematic. We've worked hard to eliminate as much of the unknown as possible, and we wonder why we feel distant from a GOD who exists in the mysterious. Today we try to compensate with our heads by creating large educational institutions where we can further define and attempt to know God intellectually. Our creativity was driven out by our fear of the unknown and our lust for answers.
      Creativity and safety are incompatible. Creativity is willing to step into the unkown and bring something new into existence. It is about an unbridled heart that is so free in what it was created to be that it is unstoppable. Creativity is central to everything God does. I'm talking about things like redemption, peace, beauty, and HOPE. These things can only exist when we tap into the creative heart of God."

Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.

May your soul, like mine, be awakened to the truth and the heart of such matters...