Month: November 2014

The one with all the eating and relaxing and chasing tumbleweeds

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It was a great Thanksgiving weekend. Although the kids (and their parents) are ready to get back on schedule tomorrow!

Thursday we didn’t have Pat’s family coming over until supper. It was awesome! We stayed in our pj’s until about 1:00, watching movies and just hanging out. Pat ran to the store, for what I can’t remember, but he brought home some flowers for me. Love him!

flowers from pat

It was about 1:00 when Pat said to me, “Should we put the turkey in the oven?”

To which I replied, “I thought you were making the turkey.”

To which he gave me a loving weird look. And then got to work getting the turkey in the oven.

We also got to work on the rest of the meal which was mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, ham, green bean casserole, brussel sprouts and stuffing. All your normal stuff, but it all tasted great and we stuffed ourselves!

thanksgiving 2014

(Wow, that’s a really skinny picture!)

We didn’t get to see Holly, Timothy or Cody, or any of my family. Thankfully Jim, Cleo and Aunt Nellie will be here next weekend and Holly and Timothy will be home for Christmas!

We did get a picture from Holly and Timothy with their new baby:


Ooops, a little sideways. That’s Darius in the middle making a funny face at us. He’s so sweet, we can’t wait to meet him!

We also got a picture of Cleo on her first Thanksgiving, eating her first real food – sweet potatoes!


I had to work Friday for a few hours and on my way to work I decided to drive by some of the stores to see how crazy it was. I couldn’t believe it, it wasn’t the least bit crazy. In fact Toys R Us was pretty much empty. Even though I had vowed to not go Black Friday shopping, I decided to take advantage of the empty stores. I stopped at Toys R Us, Target and Lewis, getting through all three stores in an hour and 1/2 and getting most of our Christmas shopping done. (Which isn’t much, but still.)

I went to work until noon and then went home just in time to drive with Pat to take the kids to Grama Barb’s for a few hours. We went back home and watched a movie, picked the kids up around 5:00 and went home to get ready for the Parade of Lights. I wasn’t feeling very well – my neck and shoulders were killing me, I think from all the chopping the day before. I was just a tad bit happy when Caleb decided he didn’t want to go to the parade. I stayed home with him and we had a mom-son date and Pat and Angel went to the parade for a daddy-daughter date and met up with some of our neighbors.

Saturday we did some more vegging out and then we went and got our Christmas tree. We’ve had an artificial one for probably eight years now and it didn’t make it through our last move. Pat suggested we get a real tree instead of getting another artificial one, and we were able to find a real pretty one for only $15!

We got home and put up all the Christmas decorations. I love, love, love decorating for Christmas! I’m half tempted to leave them up all year. Here are a few pictures of our first Christmas decorating in our new house:


We have a mantel to hang our stockings! So much fun!

christmas tree

Our soft fuzzy Christmas tree that smells pretty, drinks a gallon a water a day and can’t hold most of our ornaments very well. We still love it!

Today I had the pleasure of singing on the praise team. I’m so thankful the worship director has been so patient with me these last few months, and everyone has been so supportive. It was great to be back!

After church we went on a tumbleweed hunting adventure! You may remember I’ve talked about our tumbleweed Christmas when we were little. Last year we started the tradition of getting our own smaller tumbleweed, in honor of Mom and Dad, and also as a reminder of what Christmas is really about. It’s not about the decorations or the presents or the food – none of that matters if we don’t have Jesus.

We had to drive about 15 miles out-of-town before we found one. Here are the kids running to get it:


And it’s not decorated yet, but here it is:


It’ll look much better when it’s sprayed white and covered in tinsel. But still, it’s just a tumbleweed so don’t get your hopes up!

Like I said, we are looking forward to getting back on schedule tomorrow. Which means the kids are ready to go back to school. We are also ready for Jim, Cleo and Nellie to get here and Caleb is counting down to his birthday – 18 days! Of course, we are mostly ready to celebrate the coming of the Christ child!

I hope you too had a blessed Thanksgiving weekend. Even though everyone may say this is the most hectic time of the year, I pray that you will choose to make it the most wonderful time of the year.


Counting the reasons

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A large part of my treatment and healing the past month has involved battling thought distortions with God’s word, positive affirmations and remembering all I have to be grateful for.

This weekend I’ll be singing on praise team at church, the first time in a long time as even thinking about it the past 6 months has brought me great anxiety. I was starting to get anxious about singing this weekend and then I looked at the songs we were going to sing.

It was as if God hugged me from heaven.

One of the songs we’ll be singing is 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman. It’s one of our family’s favorite songs. The kids sing it at the top of their lungs and it’s so great!

The day after I saw what songs we were singing I woke up to the thought of “we should think of 10,000 reasons that we are thankful.”

That day in treatment one of our sessions was on being thankful and they had us write as many things we were thankful for as we could. Woo woo! I was able to get over 200 things listed and it was a great start to our list.

Last night I shared my idea with Pat and the kids. They might have been a little hesitant but after I rolled out the paper they got excited!


Pat had brought home this huge roll of paper a few years ago. So glad we kept it!

Now don’t worry, I am being realistic. We want to finish it by Christmas so we have four weeks. Plus with four of us doing it we really only need to come up with 2500 each.

It’s also opened up my eyes to the many many things that God has blessed me with. Even if we don’t make it to 10,000 I’m thankful for this idea the Lord put on my heart.

In other news, I’m so thankful for my hubby! He is amazing in so many ways! One of His amazing ways is that he can build anything. Since the kids started at their new school, they have been obsessed with arts and dancing and singing and crafting and making a huge mess!

They mainly do their art and coloring and writing on the floor – well on paper on the floor. So I asked Pat if he could build a little craft table. He only spent $15 and he made this:


We had the white bookshelf already and he added the extension. It is so perfect and helps keep all their supplies in one place.

I have much more to share but that will have to keep for another day.

I pray you have a blessed Thanksgiving and I encourage you too, to count the reasons!

A list for Friday

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1. This girl.


She’s coming to visit us in two weeks! Poor Florida baby is gonna freeze!

When her parents told her she was going to SD this was her reaction:



Cleo will be 4 months old tomorrow! She is such a precious little monkey and we can’t wait to love on her! And we get to see Jim too which means we’ll eat like kings and queens as he’s an awesome cook! Yes. Yes we will make him cook on his vacation!

We usually get a Cleo picture of the day. This was what we got this morning:



Haha, she’s so funny!

2. This boy.


He cracks me up every day. We have a morning ritual of him asking for help to get dressed, and me telling him he can do it by himself, and then me giving in and helping him. (Please no parenting advice, I need to pick my battles!)

This morning I said, “Caleb when you are married are you gonna call your momma every morning and ask me to come help you get dressed?”

He said, “No. I’ll have my wife help me.”


3. This girl.


My precious Angel cakes. She’s been sad the last few days. She cried as she told me two nights ago at bedtime that she misses Grama and Papa and Allie  dog and our farm and the farm animals and her mothie.

(She captured a moth a few weeks back and of course it died. She’s been traumatized by it dying. 😦 )

I hug her and rub her back and tell her it’s ok to be sad. I don’t know what else to say.

4. The farm


I too miss the farm so much. I know I have to let it go, and I think I’m slowly doing that. Loss is hard especially when others don’t understand or it seems like not that big of a loss. To me it was a huge loss and it put a hole in my heart that hopefully will heal.

5. This study.


I’ve done it two times before and now I’m doing it a third time with a group of loving, compassionate ladies. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be real and raw and wide open with the struggle of distorted thoughts.

6. This.


I was nervous and scared and overwhelmed with starting the Partial Hospital Program. But I have learned so much about myself. God has and is using it to bring great healing.

7. This guy.


I love him so much! Grey hair and all.

(I am ignoring the filthy kitchen. My filthy kitchen does not define who I am. Despite my filthy kitchen I am strong, I am brave, I am loved! 🙂 )

8. This song.

Come out of sadness
From wherever you’ve been
Come broken hearted
Let rescue begin



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I first penned the word overwhelmtion back in 2007. Pat and I had just experienced a second failed adoption and were beginning the enormous task of completing paperwork a third time. In addition to being stressed with adoption paperwork, emotions and questions, we were also just trying to live out our life, grow our marriage and be good parents to our two teenagers Holly and Cody.

As I was thinking about all the feelings I was experiencing, the only word I could find to describe it was overwhelmtion.

Overwhelmtion: Being way more overwhelmed than just overwhelmed.

Can you relate? I’m sure that many of you reading this can relate. Overwhelmtion looks different to everyone. For me it started that day in 2007 but it didn’t end there.

We were blessed with our baby girl Angel in December 2007. What an amazing miracle and blessing. Three months later I discovered I was pregnant. The first time in nine years when I wasn’t praying to get pregnant, and I find myself weeping in the bathroom with a 6-month old and three positive pregnancy tests. I was weeping not out of joy but out of fear and overwhelmtion – I could barely handle being a mom to one baby, how would I be able to be a mom to two babies?

At the time I didn’t realize that those two babies would be a cake walk compared to the strong-willed kids my precious children would turn out to be. Once again, I can’t seem to escape from the overwhelmtion that would creep into my life.

I experienced overwhelmtion like I never had before in June of 2012. Or I thought it would be the worst overwhelmtion I would experience. Questions that turned into fear that turned into the reality of both my parents gone too soon. Yes they were with Jesus but I needed them more. I couldn’t imagine life without them, and honestly I still can’t imagine life without them. But since I didn’t have a choice, I had to keep on living life one day at a time, overwhelmtion and all.

Once again, overwhelmtion snuck up on me in May of 2014. I thought I was healing from the loss of Mom and Dad, and then out of nowhere we lost our farm, killing a dream that until this day still makes me tear up. The day after we moved back into Sioux Falls, Pat lost his job unexpectedly. He handled it much better than I did and it seemed like the overwhelmtion of it all would suffocate me. The past five months have been filled with darkness and hopelessness and overwhelmtion like I have never experienced.

As you may know, three weeks ago I checked myself into an inpatient behavioral health hospital. I feared for my well-being and I was finally able to admit it to Pat and cry out for help. The last two and a half weeks of outpatient treatment and counseling have been a healing balm to my soul. God has used His Word, family, friends and caring counselors to slowly begin the stripping away of months and years of grief, despair and fears.

I know that overwhelmtion may still creep up on me again some day. But I also know that it’s ok. It’s ok because there is one thing that is even more overwhelming than my overwhelmtion.

And that is God’s love.

One of the scriptures I have clung to during the past few weeks is Joshua 1:9

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

I received a message from my aunt today. She wanted to share with me that when her mom died (my grandma), her, my mom and my other aunt prayed together. She said that my mom quoted Joshua 1:9 and said that she felt God wanted our family to claim that scripture.

That is the overwhelming love of God, friends.

His overwhelming love and strength can pierce any trial, struggle or burden. He walks with us and often times He carries us.

Whatever overwhelmtion you are facing today, I pray that you would know of God’s overwhelming love for you. He loves you so much. Despite the questions you have, the burdens you carry, the doubt that seems so heavy you think it will consume you, God is stronger than any of it. Be overwhelmed today. Not by worry and concern, fear or doubt.

Be overwhelmed today by God’s love for you.