October 2015 archive

Not Where I Thought My Morning Was Going

My adopted mom nearly killed me today.  Can you believe that?!  I went to her blog to find a post on Halloween that she did several years ago (that I love and wanted to share with the world) but found myself reading her latest two blog posts, which I did not know were up.

Ouch.  My heart hurts.

I’m one of those people that feels things REALLY deeply and have to really prepare myself for things like that and I just dove right in…

We walked that path with my dad’s mom (my Mema) and then with my great-grandma on my mom’s side (Mema Helen) and now my grandma on my mom’s side (Grandma Cherry). We saw her (Grandma Cherry) last in June and it was a stark and drastic decline from what I had seen last.  Her eyes just seemed so empty…

Alzheimer’s (or any other life-stealing disease) is so hard.   It’s hard for the one experiencing it and it’s hard for everyone caring for them and it’s hard to see a person become a totally different person.  Really.

As sad as I found her posts, I also found them so honoring.  She sure loves her momma… 

It’s important to honor our loved ones, especially our elders.  My parents were so so so very good at that.

I had the privilege of living across the street from my grandparents (my dad’s parents) for the majority of my childhood.  I wish I would’ve have fully realized how cool that was…

Every Saturday, my mom or dad would load up those two 70 (and then 80) year olds and  take them to Wal-Mart and to the grocery store and anywhere else they needed to go.  My parents would wait patiently as they did all of their shopping (as they moved a little slower than we did) and then they’d tie the tops of their bags so we could keep them all separate and load them in the back of our tiny little car.  We’d usually stop and grab burgers or chicken and eat lunch with them at their home.

I don’t think I realized at the time what a chore and sacrifice this was…but I know how much work it is with three littles and I assume it’s much the same.

My parents always made sure to include them in all of our school activities and they were always finding ways (and consciously looking for ways) to serve them.  This is something that will not be lost on my children…

Start now creating a culture of honor in your home.  YOU honor your elders and help your kids follow suit.  Go visit…take gifts…make time…pick up the phone…draw pictures…make cards…encourage conversation…tell stories…record histories…take photos…shift your priorities…

These old bodies of ours won’t last forever; they will wither and fade along with the minds and memories of some.  Thank the Lord, there is no disease in heaven…  But while they are still here and still with us and still able to fully understand what we’re trying to say, I encourage you to tell them how much you love them…take the time to care for them…to honor them…to find ways to bless them (not baby them)…to glean from them the pieces of the legacy of their lives that they have left to share…

So while I want you to reclaim the night on Halloween eve and shine that light for Jesus, what I really want you to do is shine that light for Jesus and hug your family.  Tell them how much you love them and vow to honor them when they need it most…when their mind and memory is slipping away and it feels their independence is shriveling.

Mema Helen, now with Jesus - restored to the highest degree

Mema Helen, now with Jesus – restored to the highest degree

Grandma Cherry - five or so years ago

Grandma Cherry – five or so years ago

Grandma Cherry, summer 2015

Grandma Cherry, summer 2015

Mema and Papa

Mema and Papa

with my little, curly-haired brother...

with my little, curly-haired brother…

It’s rolling down hill for all of us, isn’t it, this aging thing?  We aren’t meant to live here and in these bodies forever…we were made for a short time here and an eternity with our Creator.

For now, let us make these years count…for ourselves and those we love…

Random Rambles

We traveled to Nebraska yesterday to visit Wrex’s paternal grandparents, or Grandad and Lalice if you ask the kids.

So excited!

So excited!

We met Grandma at Perkins for brunch then headed on behind her to see Grandad.  He hasn’t felt too spiffy the last month or two and that’s sure hard to see but it was good to be with family.

Wryder Douglas is named after Willard Douglas (Grandad) and William Douglas (Papa) AND he’s the elder WD’s first great grandson…in other words, he can do no wrong.  :)

WD and WD

WD and WD

Special bond

Special bond

I love this one

I love this one

Sweeties

Sweeties

Snuggling Aunt Deb

Snuggling Aunt Deb

We grabbed some Burger King to eat on the way home and the kids had to get a crown (so cute!) and make silly faces and do silly things – you know, kid stuff!

Silly faces

Silly faces

Where'd they go??

Where’d they go??

****************

We got a new kitty last week, appropriately named Kitty.  She’s a sweet little thing and the kids adore her.  She’s gotten a little attention since she’s been here…

Kitty tucked in bed

Kitty tucked in bed

Sawyer used a dollar she got in the mail and bought Kitty a toy, which she loves!

Yes, that's a shirt...

Yes, that’s a shirt…

Kitty has even made nice with Booey…

How sweet...

How sweet…

And the cat scratch/bed/stand?  Well, I should’ve known WD would use it  more than the cat….

Boys will be boys

Boys will be boys

****************

We’ve worn lots of cute clothes this week…

Cuties

Cuties

and painted pumpkins…

IMG_5070IMG_5071IMG_5072IMG_5073IMG_5074and made some Halloween pretties…

Sawyer and her bat

Sawyer and her bat

and dressed up in all sorts of costumes to practice trick-or-treating…

Oh. My.

Oh. My.

They are ready!

****************

Sawyer’s reading is getting better everyday and she read to Sayble the other day…it was the sweetest.

Swoon

Swoon

I love how much they love their little sister…

****************

Now, I’m just finishing up our Halloween costumes.  They wanted to be the PAW Patrol this year so I’ve been getting my hot glue on…

IMG_5155I can’t WAIT to get everything done and them on them!!!  And, of course, I’ll post pics. :)

In a Fighting Mood

It can’t freeze fast enough.  I am so over the flies and bees and wasps…seriously.  I’ve contemplated moving more than once over the past two weeks.

Our 100 year old farm house has plenty of nooks and crannies for them to find their way in and I have constantly been on the lookout for rogue wasps that have made their way inside.  I’m not deathly allergic to the things, but allergic enough the doctor thinks I need an epi-pen…not something I just really want to take a chance on, ya know?

As I walked out to the mudroom the other day, there was another wasp on the inside of the backdoor…whom I promptly hit so quick and hard with the flyswatter that I broke it.  (I’m on number three, mind you.   *ahem*)  We’ve found them circling the light in the kitchen and a couple in the living room.  I’ve found myself asking the Lord for eyes to see (them) because I don’t want to risk me or my babies getting stung by those nasty things.

As I killed that one on the backdoor, I found myself thanking Him that He had, indeed, given me eyes to see.  Every time I’ve seen one in the house, I’ve been able to kill out and none have gotten away or sprung up and surprised us at any point – that is something to be thankful for in my book.

It got me thinking about the Christian life in general…  His word tells us there will be intruders…evil…unholy spirits and presencesrough times and tough times and people that will stand against us (just to name a few).  Just like those nasty wasps infiltrating my place of peace – wasps that come to steal, kill and destroy (don’t argue with me on that one!) – we will have those same experiences in our everyday lives.

BUT – just as He’s given me all I need to rid our home of those flying devils, He’s done the same with every other evil – He has conquered them all!  He defeated death and through the power of His Holy Spirit, we have His authority and the power to defeat the ugly that comes our way.

Ask Him for it and receive it in Jesus’ name!  Don’t lay down and wait for the attacks to subside, stand up and fight, soldier!  Fight for your freedoms…fight for your spouse…fight for your kids…fight for your family…fight for your communities…fight for your country…fight for the voiceless…fight for truth…fight for good…fight for eternity…

DIY: Princess Crown

A few years ago, my sweet friend Maggie talked to me about her dream of refurbishing her big, white barn and hosting vintage sales/craft fairs there.  I LOVED the idea and she got to work and made it happen!  White Barn Treasures will be hosting their annual fall event this weekend in Wauneta!

White Barn Treasures

White Barn Treasures

In previous years, I’ve either been due with baby or out of town but this year……I’m in!  Remember that post I did about living fearlessly? Well, this counts as that for me.  After I wrote that, the Lord plopped this in my lap and nudged me lovingly forward…so I’ve reserved a booth space and am gonna take some sweet little things to sell!  Because, you know…we haven’t had anything else going on around here.  ;)

I’m so excited well, to see Maggie, and to be around some other amazingly creative ladies.

I’m sure this is totally against all the rules of attempting to drum up business, but I’m gonna give you a little DIY on one of the cute little things I’m taking with me…

What you’ll need:

  • Lace
  • Mod Podge
  • Wax paper
  • Spray paint (optional)
  • Glitter (optional but why the heck not?!)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Headband

Step 1: Cut your lace to length – about 6 or 7 inches

IMG_2630Step 2: Submerge it into Mod Podge until it’s completely soaked and strip the excess off with your fingers.

IMG_2631Step 3: Make sure all of the little cutouts in the lace can be seen and not covered in Mod Podge and place on wax paper to dry.  Turn them several times during the drying process so it doesn’t stick to the paper and let them dry for a good 4-6 hours.

Step 4: Spray paint if ya wanna. 

IMG_2633I painted these gold and loved how they turned out.  You can stop here and begin forming them into a crown shape OR you can add glitter.  Don’t act like you don’t know what I chose…

Step 5: Glitterize! 

IMG_2637It’s a little hard to see in the pic, but I added Mod Podge to the tops of the crown and coated them in glitter and let them dry…again.

Step 6: Form into a circle shape and hot glue to secure the edges.

IMG_2639Step 7: Secure to headband.

IMG_2643IMG_2641I just placed these a little off of center and tacked the edges with glue.

Step 8: Find a cute model (with marker on her face) to show them off.

IMG_2626Seriously, are those not the cutest?!

So, if you want a sweet little crown or a whole lot of other fun goodies – come to the White Barn Treasures event in Wauneta on Saturday from 9-3!  If you want more info, let me know!

Birthday Questionnaire

So, the bestie and her family are some of the best birthday do-ers I’ve ever met!  Their family has taught us so much about honor and they always do unique and meaningful things for each others’ birthdays.

Here lately, they’ve been putting the birthday person in the center of the room and letting each person ask them a thought provoking (usually) question.  On my birthday, I got an e-mail doing just that so I’m going to take the time to attempt to answer them here!

1.) If you could give yourself a birthday gift, something you could have forever that would enable you to fulfill your greatest potential, what would it be?

Oh, geez.  This one is hard for me…maybe because I have to be a bit vulnerable to answer it.  I guess I would have to say a spirit of confidence.  I’ve alluded to the fact that I’m a bit fearful and that rears it’s head into lots of areas of my life.  I fear failure.  I fear coming off as a know-it-all (because those people drive me bananas).   I fear looking silly or missing the mark…so a spirit of confidence – an honest assessment and belief in what I was putting my mind to, would be a good start for me.

2.) What’s your favorite family tradition?

Growing up, I always loved everything about Christmas.  My parents and grandparents always made it fun and exciting.  We would make homemade decorations and put the tree up together…my mom always recruited me to wrap gifts and there was always a viewing of Christmas Vacation.  :)   While I still LOVE Christmas and love the things we’re doing with our kids (Jesse Tree, Christmas pajamas, The First Noel movie, etc.) I love our little tradition of camping out in the living room on Halloween night.  That started by accident when we first moved to Holyoke.  We had no furniture, as we hadn’t gotten it from Denver yet and so that first Halloween here, we all slept in the living room…which was where we were sleeping while we worked on the bedrooms.  The next year, we did the same thing – but for fun – and have yet to stop!

3.) What book has influenced you most (besides the Bible)?

Hands down, “Walking With God” by John Eldredge.  I’m sure it was a combination of where I was in life and who was leading the study and what the Lord had for me at that specific time in my life, but I learned so much from this book that I still recall and recant to this day!  The title seems to leave a lot to be desired but TRUST ME when I say IT. WILL. CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE!

4.) If you could pick up and move your family somewhere for a year, and then come back (and not have to worry about work the entire time) where would it be?

The selfish side of me would say Alaska.  I have dreams of visiting there one day…  Seeing it on television or in photos it is just breathtakingly gorgeous and I’d love to just camp around and explore all it has to offer!  The missions-minded side of me would say our church’s care point for orphans in Kayango, Uganda.  The trip I took to Venezuela shaped me and molded me and changed me in a way few other things ever have and I’d love to have the opportunity to dote on and serve the least of these again…

5.) What is one thing you will never do again?

Drink until I get drunk.  Not worth it.  Not appealing.  Not wise.  Not an option.

6.) If you could eat only one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

A really good cheeseburger with lots of extras (read – jalapenos!) and some good, salty fries!

7.) How would your best friends describe you?

Probably like this:

What I’ve come to understand about you in the 7-8 years that we’ve been friends is that you are a wise woman beyond your years, loyal to the end, passionate about those you love. You are creative, resourceful, an excellent gift-giver and a skilled event planner. Generous to the bone and loving beyond measure. You’re an incredible mother and a deeply devoted and encouraging wife. You have always been the very definition of a hospitable and wonderful/competent homemaker. You are a chef and an artist. You are beautiful and always fashionable. You are organized and thoughtful. When you set your mind to something, you carry it through all the way, in excellence. We, your friends and family, are so very lucky to have you!

(That was written by the bestie and posted on my Facebook wall for my birthday).  That may or may not be cheating to answer that question.  ;)

8.) What’s the most interesting thing you see out your kitchen window?

Currently, a little red wagon that Sawyer planted wheat and marigolds in all by herself.  How cute is that?!

9.) If you had the ability to time travel, would you travel to the past or to the future and why?

Definitely the past.  Mainly, I would talk to the old me and tell me that I’m not fat or as fat as I thought I was…I would tell myself that I was worthy of love…I would tell myself that I didn’t have to vie for the attention of certain people…I would tell myself to prepare for the attacks of satan that I knew would be coming and I would bolster myself with the truth to combat those…I would redo my wedding and make it as magical as I always hoped it would be – I got my prince so that’s really all that matters…

10.) Three sentences looking ahead to when you’re twice the age you’re turning now, describing who you are as a woman and what you’ve accomplished by then so far…

I would be 66…  I see myself still as bat-crazy in love with my handsome husband as I am today if not more so.  I’m assuming I’ll be a grandma – hopefully to lots of little grandcuties that I can spoil rotten!  I’m hoping that all of my mothering and parenting and falling on my knees begging for wisdom will result in children who are all walking closely with the Lord and teaching their families to follow Him, all while living within 15 miles of me. That’d be a pretty great life…

Birthday Bonanza 2015 – Part 2

In case you ddin’t see that late post yesterday, here’s the link to Part 1 of the Birthday Bonanza post.

We made sure and had an actual birthday party during the birthday weekend…

IMG_6918IMG_6910IMG_6908We found the majority of the fabric for $1/yard and scooped it up immediately!  We just made some simple bunting and table runners and Wrexy sewed the backdrop.  God bless him…

IMG_6905Grandma LOVES her family and LOVES pictures, so I made bingo cards with family faces and we played that during her party.

IMG_6906That project, honestly, was one of the more time consuming.  Each card had to be different and random…glad that one’s over.  :)

IMG_6913I covered some tin cans with cute paper and scrap fabric,  attached a few horses and filled them with flowers for centerpieces…

Wrex made a barnwood plaque and we shaped an M out of a rope (for Maxine) and hung it on the backdrop…this was probably my favorite part of the whole thing.

IMG_6902

Seeing it all for the first time...

Seeing it all for the first time…

My fabulous friend Stephanie (who also made Wryder’s tractor cake) made me some flower cupcakes and they turned out sooooooooo cute!

Delish!

Delish!

IMG_6921Since we couldn’t fit 80 candles on a cupcake (or even a larger cake) we made a cake plate full of candles for her to blow out.  Apparently, the fire/smoke detector is INCREDIBLY sensitive at this place and before we even had them lit, the fire alarm went off!  THAT was something we’d never forget!  Thankfully they got it shut off, the building was still standing and she got them blown out in 3 tries!

It does look like quite the blaze...

It does look like quite the blaze…

Big breath!

Big breath!

Got 'em!

Got ‘em!

We ate and drank and played games and then watched the video I talked about yesterday.  I didn’t intend to make everyone cry but there were a few wet faces in the crowd…it’s been a life well-lived for sure…

The other thing Grandma really wanted to do was to have a talent show.  She thinks she has one of the grandest, most impressive families on the planet and she wanted to see us do our thang!

There was ribbon dancing…

IMG_6928IMG_6923Vocal performances…

IMG_6948IMG_6952Skits…

IMG_6941IMG_6942Bedtime stories…

IMG_6938and a lot of smiles and laughter!

IMG_6944IMG_6936We played a little more pitch and then went to bed far too late, yet again.  :)

We worshiped together on Sunday morning and Clint shared a message with us about family…a good word!  We took communion together and remembered what the Lord has done for us….oh. so. much…

IMG_6961We ate one last meal together, packed up, cleaned up and went our separate ways…  We sent the troops off with some trail mix and a hand stamped keychain.

IMG_4683IMG_4640I found all of these vintage boots and guns on Etsy…

IMG_4641and then we bought some metal blanks and memorialized them.  I LOVED how these turned out!

Our prayer has been for Granny to feel so loved…to honor her…for her ideas and imaginations about her birthday weekend to be met or exceeded…and for this to be a catalyst for future and more frequent get togethers.

We pray we have countless more years together with our sweet Granny but none of us are guaranteed our next breath.  We get ONE family; one crazy, imperfect family that most likely loves the stuffing out of us.  Carve some time out of your schedule for them.  We all make time for what’s important to us – it can’t be disproved – what does your schedule say is important to you?

All-in-all, it was a magnificent weekend!  We had so much fun with the family and we had so much fun working together.  There is no one I’d rather do all these crazy projects with than this handsome man of mine…  There’s been lots of talk of doing this whole reunion thing again and these Phipps are on board!  :)

Grandma, we love you.  This was just one tiny little way we could bless you back for all of the countless ways you’ve poured out your love for us.  Happiest of birthdays, sweet lady!

IMG_6917Oh!  And one other memorable moment from the weekend (besides the fire alarm scaring the heck out of everyone in a 100 yard radius?!)…Sawyer lost her first tooth!  She was so excited and the tooth fairy found her even though she wasn’t in her normal bed!

IMG_6914Pardon her poor eyes – it was early!  There’s one more that is just hanging on by a thread!  I better get to the ATM….

Birthday Bonanza 2015 – Part 1

So, I’ve had just a few things on my plate here lately, the biggest of which (so far) culminated this weekend in Kansas.  Wrex’s Grandma Rusk turned 80 years old on Sunday and her only request was to have all of her family in one place…to spend time with them and make new memories and to share with them her love for the Lord and her desire for them to know and love Him, too.  Why in the world would ya not show up for that?!

Granny is a ranchy thing, but you’d never know it just by looking at her.  She’s always put together – never a hair out of place – yet tough as boot leather.  I went with a vintage cowgirl/shabby chic theme for her invitations and party decor.  Maybe I say this every time, but HONESTLY, this was my favorite party that I have thrown.  It’s probably because the woman for whom I threw it is just out of this world lovely…  I can’t say enough good things about her here, so you’ll just have to watch the video I made regarding her life.  It sums it up to the best of my abilities.  (It’s not perfect but after 36 attempts – not even kidding – to read it without crying, that was the best I could do).

Birthday Bonanza Invitation

Birthday Bonanza Invitation

RSVP Card

RSVP Card

I found the kids some little plastic spurs from Party City that they wore the first night.  They. were. ADORABLE!  Wryder had already lost his rowel at this point but still cute!

IMG_6885Leading up to the event, our family committed to covering it and everyone invited (Grandma, her 5 kids and spouses, grandkids and great-grandkids) in prayer.  It’s hard to get 30+ people in one place at one time and we know that satan hates family and does everything in his power to attempt to divide them and we refused to let him.

Prayer calendar

Prayer calendar

That alone was such a rewarding time for our little family…something we plan to continue.

Grandma was so excited the day of the event, she woke up at 5:30am, got around and left even sooner than she needed to – she just couldn’t contain herself!

Getting welcome hugs from Sayble

Getting welcome hugs from Sayble

We gave her the grand tour, as we had all kinds of little surprises planned for her.

Checking out the entry way

Checking out the entry way

IMG_6652The only thing missing was the guest book because a certain 2 year old decided to sign the cover himself.  *ahem*  Thank goodness Granny thought that made it even cuter…

We bought a bundle of cheap cedar shingles and I painted them all to use as signage as the weekend.  We had each person’s name on their respective doors and used them for directions and welcomes, etc.

We wanted to make the birthday girl’s room a little extra special so we had a few little things up our sleeve to do so.

IMG_6643When we sent out the invitations, we also included cards for each family member to fill out regarding their favorite thing about and favorite memory with Granny and asked them to send them back with their RSVP cards.  We collected all of those and then tied them to the ends of balloons so when she walked in, she had a room full of love waiting to greet her!

Favorite things...

Favorite things…

Tis true...

Tis true…

Checking out her room....

Checking out her room….

IMG_6647IMG_6651In everyone’s room, we left them a little goodie bag with fresh fruit, water, an itinerary of weekend events, the jelly belly bean-boozled game for late night fun and a name collage of our entire family.  The family hadn’t been all together in a quite some time and we just wanted to make everyone feel as welcome as possible – we were so excited to be together again!

IMG_6648

We really were!

Friday night, Grandma wanted to have a pitch tourney and we couldn’t say no to that!  This is quite the competitive group and there was quite a bit of whooping and hollering!  :)

We had the idea to make Grandma the star of the show for this event and we made her the queen of the cards.  I printed some pictures of her and photoshopped some crowns on her head and then mounted them on foam board.  We loved the way they turned out!

IMG_4613

Isn't she a beauty?!

Isn’t she a beauty?!

The queen in the flesh...

The queen in the flesh…

Waiting to move to the head table

Waiting to move to the head table

Some serious card playing - see the shuffler?!

Some serious card playing – see the shuffler?!

Wrex’s sister gathered prizes for the top two highest scores, one of which was Wrexy – no surprise there – and we used some old acrylic plates we had from a display case that we took apart and made plaques to go with them…

IMG_6982The losers got a little something, too.  When we hosted pitch parties in Denver, we always tried to make the loser trophy completely ridiculous.  I was at the dollar store before our trip and set out to find the most ridiculous looking thing I could find and I happened upon a glittery pirate owl.  What the heck?!    So I consulted the bestie on what to call the trophy and she came up with “Aye didn’t play my carrrrrds right!”  Yes, she’s a genius. 

Ashley took home one and Waco the other…he with a little less excitement than she.  ;)

IMG_6899IMG_6900Saturday morning, we took professional family photos and then we all gathered to sit at the feet of 80 years of love and wisdom.  Grandma shared her heart and her deep and abiding love with us and we got to tell stories and laugh and cry and reflect upon 80 incredible years…  It was a really, really good time.

We had some lunch and then we reconvened for a little Minute to Win It showdown.  This was so much more fun than I even hoped it would be!

Stacking sugar cubes

Stacking sugar cubes

Keeping balloons in the air

Keeping balloons in the air

Putting pasta on pasta

Putting pasta on pasta

Stacking blocks

Stacking blocks

M&M Elevator - good watchin'!

M&M Elevator – good watchin’!

Tossing marshmallows

Tossing marshmallows

Oh yes she did!

Oh yes she did!

The elephant march

The elephant march

The big winners!

The big winners!

Seriously, that was SO much fun!  The Phipps’ are hosting a Minute to Win It night SOON – get ready!

That afternoon, we had an official birthday party for the birthday girl…but I’ll save those for tomorrow…  You’re not gonna wanna miss it – trust me!