Wednesday, October 09, 2013

joy in the journey

Ok, so where have I been for the past 6 weeks? Well, for the two of you that were curious enough to hang in there and are reading this, I'm ok. Lots of changes that continue to overwhelm me. For one, I'm working. And when I'm not working I'm too tired and exhausted to do much of anything else. My job is very physical. I work at a Fry's Store (Kroger) in the kitchen department. I love the variety of work, making the time go by fast. I love the atmosphere. I don't love unloading a semi truck-load of heavy boxes and crates every night. Oh and yes, I work nights. And because I 'm a morning person and wake up before 5, and I don't get to bed now till after midnight, I'm going on very little sleep these days. Thus the lack of blog posts. Sleep deprivation has stolen much of my ability to concentrate and create interesting blog posts. And let's be honest, I don't have much of a life to blog about since starting work.

Anyway, enough of the negativity.
The weather here in Phoenix is simply gorgeous. We've been well below 100 for weeks. That usually doesn't happen till after Halloween. My cool morning walks with Koda are truly the highlight of my day. I cry out to God to give me strength to do the things that need to be done and to give me peace, joy and contentment. Oh and love. His love.

Yesterday I was talking to God about joy. If my circumstances never change, can I truly find joy again?  Well, when I got on Facebook a couple hours later, my friend posted this. Oh and btw, she is battling cancer. And she is a mother to four young children. And she has joy!

I was thinking about joy this morning. It isn't necessarily present in those you think it should be. I have been surprised to see a real lack of it in the rich and the famous and I have observed a serious supply in the weak, even the suffering and those who live simply. It is a confusing emotion because in some people it isn't even present. Joy is a gift. One you must choose to unwrap, no one can do it for you. The amount you have is the amount you are willing to receive. It comes directly from God. It is the cure for anxiety, weakness and fear. It is what fills up the hole so those things can't enter. It heals us from pain, loss, need, sorrow, illness and even kills cancer. It comes at a price that some people think too expensive. A choice to let God make your choices. It comes with a hunger for God's Word and a relentless pursuit to fulfill His passions. 
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

Wow, did I need to read that or what! So this morning on my walk with Koda, I chose to unwrap joy... to put on joy. To let joy heal my sadness... my fears. I will choose joy in the journey. And be thankful. No matter what God allows in my path.

Ok, so I can't post a blog post without photos. These are some recent photos of my husband Randy with our twin grandson's Nathan & Jonah. They are 17 months now and cute as bugs. So thankful for these little guys. They sure bring a lot of joy to our lives.

Monday, August 26, 2013

jury duty randomness

I am currently sitting in Superior Court of Arizona in downtown Phoenix ~ awaiting jury duty selection. I will be here for 8 long hours. But no worries, I came prepared. In fact, I resembled someone about to embark on a month-long cross-country back-packing trip. My bulging backpack got quite the looks going through security.
Just so you know, I have never done this before. I have either been pregnant or nursing or no babysitter, or my group just never had to appear when I called the day before. And I’ve got to be honest, I’ve been rather anxious about the whole ordeal. But now that I’m here, I’m ok. I mean think about it, I have a whole day to journal, blog, read, do whatever I want, and not feel guilty.
So, I’ll be posting random thoughts throughout the day to keep me entertained, and hopefully you too.
  • I ate most of the lunch I packed by 10am
  • I’m liking the private cubicles for us laptop-ers
  • A friend on Facebook posted about the new Pumpkin Spice M&Ms
  • I want them in the worst way
  • I reorganized my sewing room over the weekend
  • I downsized my wardrobe over the weekend
  • I feel pretty good about my weekend
  • Koda & I take walks every morning at 5:30
  • Koda's our dog and she misses Tyler terribly
  • So do I :(
  • Dumb vending machine... I pushed the wrong numbers and got a Baby Ruth instead of Peanut M&Ms
  • Ok, dumb me
  • Most everyone has left for lunch... but not me
  • I made a big pot of Ham & Split Peas soup last week
  • Perfect for our overcast, rainy weekend
  • I don't want to get picked for a trial
  • Cuz guess what? I'm starting a part-time job next week!
  • The (Fancy) Fry's @ Tatum & Shea hired me!
  • I will be working housewares- designing displays and end caps, ordering, stocking, inventory and customer service
  • SO excited to get started!
  • Hoping to work lots and lots of hours
  • We've been without a washing machine for the past 6 weeks
  • We were given one two weeks ago, though they weren't sure it worked
  • We replaced a few parts and it still wouldn't work
  • We're being given another one this week that works ~ yes!
  • Thank you Jesus!
  • Thankfully I wasn't picked to do the trial 
  • My Dad's So God Made a Farmer video reached over 40,000 views this week!

My son Tyler moved to Wisconsin 6 weeks ago.
He recently visited the farm where I grew up and climbed the 90' Harvester Silo.
And that's the house that built me.

Check it out! My sister-in-law took this photo of Tyler
while he was taking pics from the top of the silo. Yikes!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

choosing to let go

  • so much has changed over these past two years
  • and it has pretty much rocked my world
  • you see my security was a savings account, jobs, etc.
  • and because God is a jealous God, He wants to be my rock
  • and while it has been a painful process...
  • I am choosing to let Him love me and meet my needs
  • I am choosing to trust Him for what I can't see
  • I am choosing to walk by faith 
  • I am choosing to praise Him and thank Him throughout the day
  • I am choosing to be strong and courageous instead of anxious and fearful
  • I am choosing to rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation and constant in prayer
  • I am choosing to take better care of my body, mind and soul
  • I am exercising ~ Randy & I are hiking South Mountain every morning
  • I am totally off caffeine and most sugars
  • reducing my anxiety and keeping my blood pressure down
  • I am choosing to depend on Jesus for everything
  • I am choosing to be content with little and with much
  • I am choosing to let go of my need to take control when everything is out of control
  • I am choosing to trust God with my husband 
  • I fail every day, choosing to turn from God and do things my way
  • but wake up the next day and choose God's grace 
  • but in all my pain and suffering I am coming to a deeper understanding of God's goodness, faithfulness and unconditional love for me as never before
  • thank you God for being my refuge and strength and my very present help in times of trouble

Randy took this iPhone photo just as the sun was rising this morning on top of South Mountain ~ the golden hour. It was cool and breezy as I marveled at the beauty of God's glorious creation.

Randy also wrote this song ~ I Choose To Live

Monday, August 05, 2013

Roadtrip to The Rim

The Mogollon Rim above Payson is one of my most favorite destinations in Arizona.
We're talking a two hour road trip, a 40 degree drop in temp and beauty beyond belief.

Randy & I sat for hours looking out over the largest stand of Ponderosa Pine in the western hemisphere and marveling at God's creation.

We parked our van mere feet from the edge and took occasional naps in the back of the van on a memory foam, with the sliding doors wide open, letting in the cool mountain breezes.

Heaven on earth.

Of course it's always about the anticipation of a possible thunderstorm ~ with lots of rain!
But that was not the case this time.

O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountains majesties above the fruited plain.

America! America! God shed His grace on thee.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous
Do not be terrified.
Do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

Monday, July 22, 2013

Wisconsin Songs songbook

Last weekend I checked out a new thrift store next door to the ARC in Tempe.
And I found this songbook for $1.00. 
I know, I was shaking a tad bit when I picked it up...

... and saw that the copyright was 1915.

The first edition copyright was in 1898.
This one is the fourth edition.
Good to know I didn't pay more than the original Price per Copy. :)

I've enjoyed looking through the song list... 
to name just a few ~

Victorious Badgers
A Wisconsin Song
Wisconsin Co-ed Song
We're Loyal To You, Illinois (that's strange)
Let's Drink To Old Wisconsin

and what's a Wisconsin songbook without ~
Polly - Wolly - Doodle

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Tyler's move to WI

My sons Shawn & Tyler are headed to the farm in Wisconsin!
And I just got a text saying they are almost there. So very thankful they made it safely!

I'm posting the most current photo of the farm that my niece recently posted on Facebook,
of her darling daughter Preslie playing on the swing set. 
Oh the hours I spent swinging on that very swing set while growing up on the farm. Only back then the swings were made from slats of wood. Ouch.

Shawn & Tyler took off Saturday morning and drove from Phoenix to the farm in two days! The farm is 40 miles south of Eau Claire off I-94. That's almost 2000 miles in two days!

And thank God they made it. Or I should say, thank God Tyler's '98 Honda Civic made it!

They will be staying at my brother Ron & Deb's cabin...

... that overlooks the 350 acre farm.
When you click to enlarge the image you can see their 90' blue Harvester silo in the distance.

They will have all day Monday to hang out with their Uncle Gary. My brother will take them around to their favorite spots and they will have the best time making memories. Then Tyler will take Shawn to the airport in Minneapolis Tuesday morning, and head back to my sister Ginny's home in Eau Claire where he will get settled in their vintage Airstream out back, while looking for work and eventually a place of his own.

Thursday night we had a Farewell Family Dinner at Miranda & Aaron's home.
We affirmed Tyler by reminding him of his many strengths, and all that we love about him, and how much he means to us, and that he is such a good, good man. Then we prayed that God would show him every day that he is right where he should be... and that Tyler would let God lead him through chance opportunities, open doors, new friendships, the good times and not so good times... that Tyler's faith would grow.

I am so proud of him for stepping out in faith and becoming more independent,
but also becoming more dependent on God.
I will miss him terribly. But SO excited to see how his adventure unfolds.

Even though I was sobbing at this point, I managed to snap a few photos as he was pulling away Friday evening. He was spending the night with his brother so they could leave first thing Saturday morning. I was a complete mess, but so happy for the journey he was about to embark on.

No matter what happens ~ whether he is gone for the summer, or 2 years or 2 decades ~
he is forever a part of us. We're his family and we will support him in whatever he chooses to do with his life. We love you Tyler!

Friday, July 12, 2013

my online resale business

The very first Estate Sale I ever did was for my husband's Aunt Evelyn. We're talking many years ago. And this here old wicker laundry basket didn't sell, so I took it home. It's very large and very vintage and in very good condition. And while I could have gotten way more on eBay, I chose to post it on Craig's List and got $25.00. But here's the cool part, I sold it to the nicest gal. She had just moved here and was looking for treasures online. I was way more happy that she got it, than had I gotten more from some random bidder on eBay. That's what I love about Craig's List. I have yet to have a bad experience. In fact, every customer could easily become my new best friend. I am not even kidding.

I recently listed this Rock Tumbler for a friend and got $75.00. Again, a great experience.

And then just an hour ago I sold this king-size chenille bedspread to the nicest lady ever. Again, I could have easily doubled my money on eBay, but instead settled for $75.00 so I could meet the one who would love and cherish this gorgeous, fluffy cotton chenille bedspread. And what a dear precious lady.
And so far, I might have hugged everyone that has ever bought from me on Craig's List. ha!

I still have this cabinet/ cupboard (below) listed on Craig's List for $25.00. I bought it many years ago at the JC Penney Outlet Store here in Tempe, with plans to paint or stain. But I never did. But let me tell you, I have gotten years of use, functioning in more ways than you could imagine ~ telephone stand, storing phonebooks, electronic games, greeting cards and stationery, a message center and much, much more.
Let me know if you want to come check it out!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

a summer cocktail

Ok, it all started when I went to Big Lots for english muffins and saw that they had Welch's grape juice on a clearance table for 25 cents each. For reals. Click the pic and see for yourself.
And then I found the can of Mulling Spices buried in the back of my pantry. Yes, it's at least three years old but who cares. Well, upon reading the directions, it says to add the spices to grape juice, simmer for 20 minutes and then strain through cheese cloth. You can either make it a hot drink or store in the frig for a summer iced drink... 

... by adding rum
Ok, so they maybe suggested you add rum.
Well, that's when I remembered I bought a bottle of rum years ago to make The Pioneer Woman's Christmas Rum Cake. Remember that recipe? Oh my gosh, the best rum cake on the planet!
So I find the bottle of rum (and hope it's still good) 
and commence to making me a spiced apple iced rum drink.

And let me tell you what ~ so SO good! 
And you know what else? The cost for this strangely concocted cocktail only set me back a cool 25 cents! Haha!

Monday, July 08, 2013

garage transformation

I should probably begin this post by telling you that here in the desert southwest we don't have basements, nor do we dare store anything in our attics. Needless to say, our garages serve many purposes. One of which rarely includes storing a vehicle. I know. Doesn't make much sense does it. Especially when you realize that the most expensive thing we own is parked outside in the hot, blazing sun, while the total contents (of crap) parked inside our garage adds up to a sum total unworthy of such digs. 
Nine years ago I did make room for our van just days before my son's wedding. My family from Wisconsin was coming and the thought of them getting inside a van that had been sitting out in the sun and most likely registering over 200 degrees, did not sit well with me. So I worked my butt off. Literally. But unfortunately short-lived, cuz soon after the wedding, the van ended back outside again.

Well, we are now a one-vehicle household. So that got me thinking that we really need to be better stewards of what we've been given. So for the past three days I've gone through every bin, bag and box... purging, sorting and reorganizing every nook 'n cranny. And yes, it was well over 100 degrees inside that garage. But I survived by drinking gallons of water. And another part of my incentive was to find things that our son Tyler might be needing in his upcoming move to Wisconsin.
But seriously,  the best part of all ~ getting inside a van that doesn't take several miles to finally cool off enough so you don't think you're going to be the first person that actually melts to death. Best. Feeling. Ever.

Monday, July 01, 2013

heroes remembered

Nathan & Jonah were dressed in their patriotic red, white & blues in church yesterday. So of course I had to whip out my iPhone and snap a few photos.

And then I find out that Jonah is walking! Oh my goodness, he thinks he's so cool.

Nathan isn't the least bit interested... he's more verbal of the two.

But my heart is heavy and sad this morning. 
19 elite hotshot firefighters from Prescott, Arizona died in the Yarnell wildfire yesterday.
I can't imagine...
Praying for the family, friends and firefighting community that are grieving the loss of these brave young men.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

he got the job!

  • my husband got a job! We're talking a full-time job. Ok, no benefits, but we're so thankful he got a job that will start in two weeks. Thank you Lord!
  • we're praying I find work that gives us medical insurance and that we can dig ourselves out of the hole we've gotten ourselves in from 2 years of part-time/ unemployment. 
  • it seems daunting, but I'm trusting God will help us find a way.
  • it's going to be close to 120 degrees this weekend. Yikes!
  • the estate sale dates I've been working towards are this weekend.
  • God help us. But gosh I love my job.
  • my son Tyler is moving to Wisconsin in July.
  • I will miss him terribly.
  • my other son Shawn & his wife Nicole just celebrated 9 years.
  • we're watching The West Wing on Netflix. I am loving every single episode.
  • I simply adore Josh... and Donna... and Mrs. Landingham... and Toby... and Leo...
  • and of course the President. Omg, Martin Sheen is the best.
  • No, I take that back. None of them are anything without great writers. 
  • And Aaron Sorkin happens to be the best of the best.
  • Ok, I started this post this morning, and just an hour ago Randy & I watched the Season 2 finale. And I am still in tears. And some of you know exactly what I'm talking about.
  • Although I have a feeling Randy & I are the only ones in Phoenix to have never seen an episode prior to a month ago.
  • Ok, what else... our dear friend Ed took us on a roadtrip to Safford, Arizona last weekend. 
  • You know how much I love a roadtrip. But what you couldn't know is how much I needed a roadtrip at this time. 
  • So thankful to be out on the open road to clear my head and commune with nature.
  • Here's Ed & I with Mt Graham in the background ~ the highest peak in Arizona.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

my faith journey

I have a hard time letting people do for me. I mean, I think I want the help. But then I don't. I guess just knowing they want to help in some way is enough for me... but the actual letting them do for me is hard.
So I'm learning to let others meet our needs. I've taken some baby-steps here and there, but this past weekend was a biggy. I let someone host a yard sale for us. Someone I didn't even know that well. Someone that I now know, having spent several hours in the sweltering heat working a yard sale. And you know what, it felt good.
You see we're in a very difficult season. My husband has been looking for full-time work for over two years. In that time he has only had two interviews for part-time jobs and while one of those jobs ended after one year, the other ended after 3 months. He has not had one interview for a full-time job. Needless to say, times are tough. And I have not handled it well. At all. In our almost 34 years of marriage, we've never both been weary and tired, unable to pull the other out of the muck and mire. Till now. I can easily go to a scary place where I isolate, believe the lies in my head and lose hope.
It's been tough on our marriage. While I need to process out loud, he doesn't. While I'm more relational, he isn't. While those things drew us together in the early years, only frustrate in the later. Or maybe it's the daily stress that continues to weaken our resolve to be there for each other. But we remain committed for the long haul. No matter what. Because of love.
Anyway, the yard sale was such a blessing. Yes, the proceeds met a huge need. But the blessing of watching someone give of their time and resources had me in tears... and wondering why would they do that? Why would someone sacrifice time with their family on a Saturday to spend several hours in the heat with me? Because of Christ in them. Because of love.
Which brings me to today... Randy has an interview for a full-time job tomorrow afternoon. I don't even like typing those words out loud. In fact, that is part of the reason I don't say much at all, cuz it's hard enough on me if things don't pan out, but I don't want to disappoint others. So many have prayed and prayed and nothing seems to be happening... ok, other than I am learning to depend on God, trusting His plans, in His perfect timing. But if you know me at all, you know I'm all about a great story, a redemptive story, a happy-ending story. Well, I would much rather move along in this particular chapter of my life... and get on to the next, where everything starts to make sense and I get to shout from the mountaintops the faithfulness of God. Oh I know, He's faithful right now. But man oh man, I can so quickly lose heart and crumble under the weight and gravity of our situation.
SO many changes in these past two years that just don't always make sense. At least for now. But God has a plan. He always does. And yes, after 30+ years in full-time ministry, He is not done with us yet. We will serve Him and follow Him no matter what we're doing. So we're praying soon we can get about the business of doing whatever it is that he has for us in this next chapter. In the mean time, I don't want to miss the lessons along the way. I don't want to fight the pain and suffering, but rather embrace all that he is teaching me every. single. day.

On a lighter note, we went to brunch today with our kids and grandkids for Father's Day, and I said to Elsie (age 2) "Elsie, it's Father's Day for your Daddy!". And she says all indignant "It's not Father's Day, it's Mother's Day for Fathers!" haha! Oh that girl is one smart cookie.

Oh and may I add, she's quite the little haircutter too. Yes, Elsie took a scissors to her hair this week and in a matter of minutes, she cut her hair. Like a whole lot!
God love her. :)

Rejoice in hope
be patient in tribulation
be constant in prayer
Rom. 12:12

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Nathan & Jonah @ 1

Just so you know ~ extreme amounts of cuteness are embedded in this post!

My grandsons Nathan & Jonah turned 1 the end of April.

They are really and truly the sweetest little boys ever.

And yes I have tears rolling down my cheek just thinking about the love they already have for each other, and the memories they will make in the years to come.

I can't wait to see their personalities expressed through their differences and their similarities.

I think they're praying the photo session will end soon...

... so they can play with their favorite sisters in the whole world.

Oh this family melts me. I love them to pieces.

Oh my oshkosh b'gosh ~ are they just the cutest or what!!!

Special thanks to En Love Photography ~ love your work!