Month: July 2013

God has you now

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The days kind of seem to blur together as of late, so I’m not sure what I’ve shared and what I haven’t.

But I thought I should provide an update regarding our parent’s estate. Their house did sell, although not for nearly as much as we thought we should get for it. It finally just came down to the fact that we needed to be done with it.  We close tomorrow.

And we are heartbroken all over again.

The past few weeks Pat, Tracy and I have made a few trips out to get the last of the items from their house. Over the past year we have filled over 4 dumpsters full of garbage and stuff not worth keeping. We didn’t think it would ever end! And it hasn’t quite ended yet, as now our garage is full of stuff that needs gone through. I know it’s just stuff, but some of it I can’t bear to part with yet.

It will definitely be good and help us with finding more closure, to be done with the house. I think what makes it more difficult is that Dad built the entire thing himself. His good friend Bob helped a lot and of course Mom helped. He took over 30 years of drywall and painting experience and created this beautiful home from all the ideas he’d gathered over the years.

With the sale of the house we are finally able to close out of probate. We still have to sell their two boats, but they are both paid off and so what little funds we receive from them will just be divided between us kids. With the closure of probate we’ve been working on getting all the final paperwork together, which means digging through what seems like hundreds of boxes.

I thought I was more organized than this.

I’ve also been looking through old files on my old computer and I came across the video that Pat made for their memorial service. I couldn’t help myself, even though I knew it would be extremely painful to watch, I had to push play.

It’s amazing the range of emotions one can feel. From intense joy to overwhelming grief, all within the span of a few seconds. It’s easy to glorify a life after death and think of it as something it wasn’t. And Mom and Dad did have their faults. They were human after all.

But they really were amazing.
They endured so much.
They persevered through hard times.
They were such a huge part of our lives.

How do you live each day with that gone?

In looking through all my old files, I also came across all the prayer requests from our church that had been sent out after Mom and Dad died. There was a link to the funeral home and again, I couldn’t stop myself, I clicked on it and read through the guest book.

Barely, as I could hardly see through the tears.

One comment stood out to me. It was from our cousin Sacha and it said, “God has you now.”

Oh what profound words.

God does have them now, and for that we are so thankful. As painful as this life is and as difficult as it is to bear the grief of their death, it brings us great comfort to know that God has them now.

Perhaps God took them Home, because He wanted to help us realize how much we need Him.
How short life is.
How precious relationships are.

I don’t know why, and I know that we will never know why, maybe not even in heaven (because then will it even matter?).

But I do know, without a shadow of a doubt, that He has them. And He has us too.

I would be remiss to not attempt to encourage you, in whatever valley God is bringing you through.

I know that whatever it is, it is so very difficult. It’s probably different from my grief. It’s probably different from the road God has called us to walk. But it’s a valley none-the-less and if you’re like me, it’s easy to want to just throw your arms up, throw in the towel, and say, “ENOUGH!”

But God wants you to endure. He is not finished with me and He’s not finished with you. No matter what He has taken away, or what He has given you to endure, He is with you. He’s got you. And you’ve got Him.

And through the tears, we can rejoice in that.


Small town celebrations

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We now consider Larchwood, IA our hometown, and I love it more than I could have ever imagined. We are only a mile south of another small town, Hills MN, but our address is Larchwood (about seven miles south of us). There’s a cluster of a bunch of small towns in the area – Larchwood, Lester, Steen, Alvord, Inwood and Rock Rapids (did I forget any?). And they are all in Lyon county. We are slowly meeting neighbors and friends in the area and we’ve been able to experience two great events this summer.

4th of July

I worked until 4:00 pm and then headed for home as we were going to take in the demolition derby in Inwood. It was the kids’ first time at a demolition derby and so they weren’t quite sure what to think.

But there was cheap concessions so that was awesome!




Let the fun begin!



Angel demonstrating the car that had just rolled over.


My family.


After awhile Caleb started getting really fired up. I mean really. It was borderline scary.



We left a little early, but not before getting a picture with a hometown hero!


Lyon County Fair

Last week we took in the Lyon County Fair. We didn’t really know what to expect, and while it was smaller than we thought it would be, we still had a blast!

Of course our first stop were the livestock barns!




My little animal lover was in awe! She is already excited to start 4-H and get her own lamb.


It’s always bittersweet visiting the horses. We watched the horse show for awhile and before it started they had the national anthem and all the horses came out. Of course I bawled like a baby, thinking about Papa and how much he loved his horses. I’m sure everyone thought I was super patriotic! (Which is also true – it was very moving.)


I’m so thankful he helped instill that love into the kiddos and Lord willing someday we’ll have horses again.


We spent a small fortune on some carnival rides.




Yes. Yes I did do the obstacle course. (Oofta!)

The Zoomobile was there to show off some cool animals.


This is Bolt, the dragon lizard.



And then my favorite part of the day – churning butter!


These two handsome gentlemen churned for about ten minutes. We were the only ones watching for most of it, so got our own personal demonstration!


Then they poured out the buttermilk that was left over.


And put the butter on to ice since it was a little warm.


Butter and crackers!

(Side note: One of my favorite snacks growing up was butter and crackers. Is that wrong? If it is, I don’t want to be right! : ))

And now I would like to buy a cow and some bees. We can make our own butter and honey and make honey butter!



Here is Caleb saying it tastes awesome, while modeling his newly acquired $20 plastic sword.

We love small town living!


A bittersweet job change

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I’ve kinda been hush hush about some recent changes in our life. Mostly because I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring, so I didn’t want to share until it got a little closer.

I think I’ve mentioned in the past that Pat and I have been thinking about and praying about me getting a different job so that I could be home more in the evenings and weekends. Especially as Angel starts Kindergarten in the Fall, I wouldn’t get to see her very much working evenings. We also felt that we needed to find a more consistent schedule if we could. It’s tough on the kids, especially Angel, when week to week our schedule is different.

I’m happy to say I found a position that appears to be almost too good to be true! It’s a small HR company and I’ll be the Administrative Assistant, which is a new position, so we will kind of develop the position as we go. I’ll work around 20 hours a week, flexible hours and mostly when the kids are in school. I have a background in HR, Marketing and Training and that is what they do, so to begin with I’ll be helping out in the office and helping the HR Consultants, but eventually it could lead to more actual HR, Marketing and Training work.  The owner has been beyond accommodating for me and I am so thankful. Plus no weekends or holidays – yeah!

Then why the “bittersweet” in the title of this post?

Well because of this new position, I have to leave my current position at Ask-A-Nurse. I’ve only been there for 2.5 years, but it feels like I’ve been there forever. They really are my family, my surrogate moms, and the hands and feet of Jesus, especially this past year. I know that God brought me there because He knew I would need them during this past year.

I have certainly enjoyed past positions that I’ve had. However, I’ve never worked with a more caring, compassionate and loving group of people. There are 21 women and 1 man in the AAN office. And in the past 2.5 years I’ve rarely heard a negative word said about another co-worker. There’s been very very very little inter-office bickering or complaining. Instead there is constant care and concern.

And so it makes me so sad (in fact fighting back tears now. ug.) to have to leave. I know it’s what’s best for our family, for my kids and for my marriage. But man, will I miss my job and especially my co-workers. I know that they’ll always be my “family” and I’m hoping to continue to attend the monthly birthday lunches, and of course I’ll have to deliver eggs! : )

My last day at Ask-A-Nurse is August 14th and I start my new job on August 19th. My sister and I have been talking about sending the kids up to her for “Aunt Nellie Bootcamp” since school doesn’t start until after Labor Day. Haha.

We would appreciate your prayers over the next few weeks as we transition to a new schedule!


A sweet purpose

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When you are in the middle of a storm, it’s hard to believe that there is a sweet purpose for what you are experiencing.

Even after you’ve weathered the storm and have come through to the other side, it’s difficult to trust that there was and is a reason for what God is calling you to walk through.

I was watching videos from the website “I Am Second” the other day. One that really stood out to me was Lauren Scruggs’ video, and in particular something she said.

“When I was in the hospital, my dad would read the Psalms to me and he would remind me that the Lord had a sweet purpose for this and that He was pouring out His grace over me.”

Sweet purpose.

When all you feel is pain and anger and grief, it’s almost impossible to see the sweet.

But it is there. You may not see it today or tomorrow or even a year from now. But the promises of God’s Word reminds us that we can put our hope and faith in Him.

This is the picture I took tonight.


Have you ever noticed that often times clouds make a sunset more glorious?

Just like a cloud-filled sunset, the Lord will often allow “clouds” into a life, in order to bring beauty.

But through it all, He wants to pour out His grace over you.

He alone can take something dark and overwhelming and dreadful and make it sweet.

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord ’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:19-23