Month: November 2013

Thanksgiving in the ER

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We left Wednesday afternoon to spend Thanksgiving weekend with Danelle in Aberdeen.

caleb and dogs

We brought Max and Molly along. And even though I asked, Pat didn’t think it was a good idea to bring the chickens. They are locked up in the barn for the weekend, and hopefully will be alive and well when we get home.

The kids of course were so excited to have a sleep over with Aunt Nellie. Pat and I were just a tiny bit excited to have a night out and a good nights rest. We didn’t do much on Wednesday other than hang out, eat supper at Mavericks and then hang out some more at Nellie’s. Pat and I left the kids at Nellie’s and went to the movie.

Thursday was of course Thanksgiving but it was also Mom and Dad’s anniversary. We didn’t want the day to be sad and so Danelle had planned to prepare a meal for any of her employees that didn’t have a place to go for Thanksgiving.  It was such a blessing to be able to help her with this. It was exhausting, but also very nice to be able to serve and not sit around being sad about not being together with the rest of our family.

nellie in kitchen

Since the restaurant was closed, the kids could run around and not bother anyone and Danelle and I started prepping all the food around 9:00 am. Some of it was already made up, some of it was partially made up and we just had to finish, and some of it we had to completely make.


Oh my word. The biggest pan of mac-n-cheese I’ve ever seen. And the tastiest too.

pat prime rib

After awhile we realized we were running a little behind… the guests were supposed to arrive around 1:00. So we recruited Pat to help us finish up.

kids helping

The kids were good helpers too.


All finished and ready for our guests! We had turkey, prime rib, stuffing, mac-n-cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, salad, potato salad, pie, cookies and we also decided last minute to whip up a bread pudding. Because we obviously didn’t have enough to eat. The guests brought food too.. we had sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and more desserts!

group1 group2

Thankful. And stuffed!


We took a few pictures after. Love my kiddos so much!


Our family. Blessed beyond measure.

We had to clean up and so it was probably 4:00 by the time we finished up. We were stuffed and exhausted. We went over to Nellie’s house to rest up a bit and watch football. She was planning to watch the Steelers game Thursday night and the kids had decided they wanted to stay with Mom and Dad. I think their decision might have been based on the fact that we told them we’d go swimming.

We got back to the hotel around 7:30, went for a quick swim and then back to the room to go to bed! Everyone was exhausted and the kids were beginning to meltdown.  I think we were all in bed and asleep by 9:00 pm.

At around 10:30 I woke up to my phone ringing. It was Aunt Nellie.

She told me that she dropped something on her foot and that it hurt really bad. She thought that she maybe needed to go to the ER because she was in so much pain. She then said she’d just call a cab. Um, no. You will not call a cab. I “called a cab” and asked Pat to take her. : )

He got back around 1:30 ish. She had broken two toes and also possibly the bones on the top of her foot. She was given some pain meds and a stylish boot and she was supposed to call an orthopedic surgeon today to make an appointment for next week.

She showed me today what she dropped on her foot. It was a large decorative glass ball thing. And it is stinkin’ heavy. I just took these pictures a few minutes ago…

pic1 pic2

Oh ya, I forgot to mention that on Wednesday her car broke down and had to be towed to the shop. So now she’s car-less and one-foot-less. But still this morning she was telling me how God has provided and will continue to provide.  We just pray she won’t have to have surgery.

This morning when we told the kids what happened to Aunt Nellie, after I told Caleb that she broke two toes and her foot, he said, “Like they broke off?”

Hahaha. Thankful that even in tough situations we can laugh!


Where His grace finds me

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I’ve been listening to this song over and over the past few weeks.

Because His grace finds me. It pursues me.
It finds me in the every day and the mundane.
On the mountain top and in the dark valley.
In the sorrow and in the dancing.

Today, on my 40th birthday, His grace finds me.
It finds me as I long with an overwhelming aching heart for Mom and Dad to be here.
It finds me as I wonder how many of these 40 years I have wasted on my own pursuits and desires, instead of what God has called me to.
It finds me as I try not to throw myself a party. A pity party.

It finds me in a homemade picture from my kids.
It finds me from an unexpected hug and “I love you Mom.”

It finds me in a new friend made and open, honest conversation.

It finds me when I feed the chickens on a crisp drizzly morning.


It finds me in a coffee date with an old friend, catching up and laughing until we cry.

It finds me in an email from friend, a kindred spirit, knowing when I need encouragement.

It finds me in a husband who serves and shows love to me more than I serve and show love to him.

It finds me in the memories, clear as yesterday.

Memories sweet.


Memories bitter.

It finds me in the unbelief. The questioning. The whys.

It finds me in a phone call to a sister or brother. It finds me in a text or email from a cousin or aunt or uncle.

It finds me in the pink and purple sky as the sun rises above the cornfields.
Above Mom and Dad’s garden.
Above the cross that reminds me of the victory over death.


It finds me in the 30 minute drive to town as the kids bicker and fight for 28 minutes.

It finds me in a song as God speaks to my heart.

It’s in a birthday song and cards from my family.
Absolutely perfect cards that make me laugh.





It finds me in Hoops and YoYo. How is that possible? It just is.


His grace finds me. Today. Everyday.


Good neighbors

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Our acreage/farm is a little bit unique for out here in the wide-open corn fields of Iowa. Unique in that we have a neighbor.

It was such an answer to prayer when we moved out here, as one of Pat’s concerns was that the kids wouldn’t have friends to play with. The first time saw the place, we drove up to see three kids (ages 5, 6 and 8) playing in their yard, right next to our house. They have turned out to be wonderful neighbors, the kids are best buds, they love the Lord like we do, and we are so thankful!

And it’s not just the people who we consider good neighbors.

There’s Trapper, our neighbor’s dog.


Hey buddy. Trapper comes over to see us all the time. And our dogs, well mostly Molly, goes over to their house all the time to bother Trapper.

The neighbors have chickens too. They are the dark red ones right in the middle of the picture.

You can also see our neighbor’s house in this picture. They are pretty close for being out here in farmland!


As you can see in the next picture, our rooster, Ferdinand, has started a relationship with these pretty ladies. He will go over to their house and then a little bit later they’ll all come over to our house. And then at night they all go back to their home coop. Honestly, it’s very strange.  We didn’t realize it, but we learned this weekend from our neighbors that our red chickens have been going over to their house. They found a nest with 22 eggs in it! We thought our girls weren’t laying as many eggs because of the cold, but I guess not!


This past weekend we were hoping to get all our leaves raked. We have amazing, huge, beautiful trees in our front yard.


But those trees have a lot of leaves!  Thankfully Caleb and one of the neighbor friends decided to help us out.


Although I think they had ulterior motives!



It was crazy windy so our leaf raking didn’t last long. I went back into the house to do some cleaning and baking, and about 30 minutes later I looked out the window to see Pat standing on top of the bucket of a skid steer, way up in the air with a chainsaw reaching up trying to cut off a branch.

Holy canoli.

I said a prayer for my crazy darling husband. And then I went and got the camera.

But I was too slow. By the time I got back to the window they had moved on to bigger and better projects. They being Pat and our neighbor John. Bigger and better projects being deciding to cut down some of the trees in our tree claim between our properties that had gotten damaged in the ice storm last spring.

I kinda stood in awe as they cut the first one down. There wasn’t a lot of space for that big tree to fall. It had to fall exactly right. If not there was our barn, the chicken coop barn, or our apple trees that were going to get damaged.  But sure enough it fell just right. It made a huge crash as it landed and the kids cheered. Haha, I wish I would have gotten it on video.

But I did video tape the 2nd and 3rd trees they decided to take down.

Here’s the 2nd one.

The last one was a little bit more tricky. This video was about 10 minutes into the operation. They got it sawed and it started to fall but then it stopped. It ended up getting stuck on the tree next to it. So John went and got the skid steer and as you can just barely see in this video, he had to push against the tree with the bucket.

Just a little bit nerve-racking. And who was the idiot standing there video taping anyway. Geez. : )

So after the trees were cut down, we had the fun job of hauling all the wood to our big burn pit. (Not.) But John and his wife Joy helped us and so we got the job done pretty quick.

Dogs. Chickens. Borrowing skid steers. But most of all, good friends and neighbors. We’ve been blessed.

Pastor Caleb

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I keep telling Caleb that he’s going to be a Pastor.

And then he says, “Um, no Mom. I’m going to be a Worker Firefighter Police Officer.”

So I say, “How about you be what God wants you to be?”

Which he responds, “Ya I know Mom. God wants me to be a Worker Firefighter Police Officer.”

Well ok then. Can’t argue with that.

My rowdy, all-boy, bad guy fighting, baby boy is also a God-loving tender-hearted little guy. I wanted to share some of his thoughts about God, mainly so that I can have a record of it when I’m old and forgetful. Like next week when I turn 40. Like in 20 years.

So here are some thoughts from Pastor Worker Firefighter Police Officer Caleb:

“Mom even when we don’t talk God knows want we’re thinking! He knows everything! And He knows what we’re gonna do even BEFORE we do it! AND Papa knows everything about God because he is with God!”

I might have cried after he said that. Sad tears of joy.


“Mom I’m gonna wear this necklace so everyone knows that God is the true true God!”



“Why didn’t God have a beginning and why can’t God die?”

Which began a rather long conversation about the attributes of God. And a reminder that I need to read my bible more!


Caleb: “Mom, Dad said the garage is his! It’s not his mom!”

Me: “Well, he said that Caleb because he’s cleaning it and God gave it to him to take care of it.”

Caleb: “Mom. God gave it to all of us. We all have to take care of it.”


Every time we walk through a parking lot or cross the street:

“Mom, I don’t have to hold your hand because I’m holding God’s hand.”


Last night we were doing our “thankful pumpkin”, an idea I stole from my friend Shantel. The first night Caleb said he was thankful for dragons. He was very adamant about his appreciation for dragons and so I couldn’t rain on his dragon parade. So last night I was anticipating him to say snakes or spiders or Scooby Doo… his three favorite things after dragons.

But instead he said, “I’m thankful that God helps me to love God.”

I said, “So you are thankful for God?”

And he said, “No Mom. I’m thankful that I love God.”


Me too, sweet boy. Me too.