Last day of school

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Another school year gone. Friday was the kids’ last day of school. We now have a 4th grader and a 5th grader. WOW!

Last night, after their first day home for the summer, I might have possibly thought to myself, when does school start?

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It was a good last day. Very bittersweet for two reasons.

First, Mrs Kuiken. She was Caleb’s 3rd grade teacher and was also Angel’s 3rd grade teacher. No more Quittems with Mrs Kuiken.

The second reason is Mr Woodward. He was Angel’s 4th grade teacher and he is moving to GA to be a children’s pastor. Very awesome for him, his family and all the kiddos he will minister to, but Eugene Field Elementary won’t be the same without him. I have seen both kids, but especially Angel, grow these past two years in so many ways and I know a lot of it has to do with the teachers they have had.

First, the first day of school picture.

The last day of school. Stop getting taller Angel!

Then I got a few pictures of the kids by themselves. Angel was easy peasy.

Caleb… well, I love him dearly, but it’s a challenge when it comes to taking pictures.

I guess this one is Pat’s fault. That’s him “hiding” behind the tree.

Every other Friday we go to Casey’s for breakfast. We hope this is a tradition the kids will remember and not just the precursor for them to get diabetes. Hey, it’s only every other week so that’s not too bad!

I was able to get off work early so I could be there to take end of day pictures. Here is Caleb with Mrs Kuiken. I wanted to get some pictures of Caleb and his friends but again, the whole picture thing is a struggle with this boy.

Angel with some of her friends.

These two kiddos are new to the school. They came only about a month ago or so. We had an event at school a few weeks back and I was standing in the hallway with Angel and these two friends. One of them said to me, “Angel is a good friend. We are new to this school and we can always count on Angel to be there for us.”

Wow. So proud of my girl and how she lets the love of Jesus shine through her!

And last but certainly not least… the man, the myth, the legend… Mr Woodward. To be honest, Angel was not excited about having Mr Woodward at the beginning of the year. I’m not sure why. But by the 2nd day she was very glad and to see the impact he has had in her life is so amazing. Caleb was so bummed that he wouldn’t be able to have Mr Woodward next year but thanks to social media we can hopefully stay in touch.

So there ya have it. Another year come and gone, the kids taller and smarter and sassier, but like I tell them almost every day, always my baby girl and baby boy.

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All the feelings

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The last time I actually wrote something on here, other than sharing about my devotional book, was September 2016. So I’m not sure I know how to do this anymore. But for the past few months I’ve sensed I should start writing again.

June always brings about an torrential downpour of feelings. Ug, the feelings. This year appears to be more difficult for some reason – six years since Mom and Dad left us with no warning and no goodbye. Not a magic number I don’t think, but the days match the dates this year – June 9th was a Saturday, etc. – so maybe that is why.

We’ve had five large totes filled with mom and dad’s pictures and everything they ever collected about us kids.

Every single report card. Every single sports event program. Every single newspaper article with our name. And I’m not talking, “Missy Hellman scored 25 points to lead the Pheasants to a win.” Because ya, that never happened. I’m talking “Missy Hellman, 0-3, 0 points, 4 fouls…” Highlighted in bright yellow.

A few weeks ago I decided to start sorting through the totes. It’s only been six years – it’s about time, huh!  But UG, the feelings. Some days it’s fine and I laugh and laugh and laugh. Some days it’s torture and I last about 10 minutes. My brother Jim is coming out for a visit in July so I’m determined to get through everything by then so I can gift ALL. THE. STUFF. to my siblings.

I feel we’ve come a long way as far as taking pictures are concerned. I have three garbage bags full of pictures that are just scenery. No one in the picture. A tree. A hill. A sunset. Ok, I have kept some of the sunset pictures. Mom loved her sunsets. There is a downside to the digital pictures we have now in that we don’t ever get any of them printed. But let me tell you, having doubles and triples of every single picture! WHY!? It was just what you did I guess.

The best part about sorting through the pictures is experiencing Angel experience the pictures. I handed her my brother Tracy’s senior picture portfolio. She opened and yelled, “HELLO MULLET!” Haha it was so funny. He did have an awesome mullet.

Haha. Good thing Tracy doesn’t read my blog.

I’m not gonna lie, the past six years have been hard.  I’m not the same person I was before Mom and Dad died. I’m also not the same person I was right after they died or a year after or three years after. Grief is a crazy thing – it ebbs and flows and changes you and changes you some more. I’m so thankful for the relationship I have with my brothers and sisters. It’s been difficult for all of us – all in different ways – but through it all I think Mom and Dad would be proud of how we have supported and loved each other.

It was fun coming across these pictures:

The original – 1980ish

Every time I come across a picture of Jim as a baby/little kid, I have to do a double take – he looks so much like Caleb.

And the retake in the exact same spot – no idea what year this was, mid 90’s I think.

UG, the feelings. Love my family so much – those with us still and those in heaven.

This week and next I’ll be sharing more feelings and memories and sorry in advance for that but maybe after that I’ll get back to normal stuff on my blog.

Normal stuff like this treasure: https://graspthelove.wordpress.com/2011/02/08/are-you-a-doctor/

Bigger Than Overwhelmtion – THE BOOK!

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I’m so scared. Full of fear and the possibility of failure. I’ve been on a journey the past few years and have come to face my fears head on. It’s a daily struggle, one that often brings me to my knees with anxiety.

God has been so faithful. I have been so unfaithful. And yet, He continues to pursue me and love me and breathe hope into my overwhelmed heart.

My devotional book, Bigger Than Overwhelmtion, has been in the works for a very long time. It is finally done and only by the grace of God, have I been able to face my fears and continue writing and editing and editing and writing.

I might sell one. I might sell a thousand. But it doesn’t matter. My worth is not based on the profits made or the quantity sold. Thank you Jesus.

In full disclosure, I need to tell you that the majority of this devotional book is from my blog. It’s the culmination of nine years of writing. Many of them have been updated and new devotions have been added. But I would feel like I was misleading you if I didn’t tell my blog readers that.

Here is the link to purchase a copy: http://www.blurb.com/b/7381397-bigger-than-overwhelmtion

 For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family[a]in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

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I have a great Christmas gift idea

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I hate to jinx myself but I think it’s safe to finally go public with some exciting news.

I am publishing a devotional book.

No, really, I am. For reals. This is the real deal. Really.

I know, I’ve said this a million times, but thankfully God will not let me give up on this dream. Since I’ve been off work the past … well almost 2 months, God has continued to bring it to my mind and has allowed me time to finish the final editing and all the other stuff needed to get it done. My in-house editor, aka Pat, is doing one last look over and then it will be ready for purchase!

I am using a self-publishing company – one that I was reminded of by mom and dad after they died. That’s right, after.

The Christmas before they died they got me a gift certificate to Blurb. They knew I wanted to publish a devotional book and thought I could do a mini one as a sort of trial. Well, of course, I never did use the gift certificate.

Last year I was cleaning out files or boxes or something and I came across the gift certificate. I couldn’t believe I still had it. And imagine my surprise when I go to their website and they do self-publishing and will handle all the selling and processing and all that fun stuff.

Thank you, Mom and Dad. Thank you, Jesus.

The title of the book is Bigger Than Overwhelmtion and it will be $10. I’m hoping to eventually have them available for sale at my church and possibly Crossroads (not sure how that works). Otherwise, they will be available on the Blurb website.

I will keep you posted when it’s ready for purchase. It won’t be anything fancy and I won’t be making much on it, but my heart’s desire is for even just one person to be encouraged and find hope and healing through whatever overwhelmtion they may be facing. God has already turned my ashes into beauty and I pray through this book, He will do so even more.

Thank you to so many who have continued to pray for me and encourage me over the years. You know who you are and I love you much!

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