Category Archives: Scrapbook

A trip to NE 2017

Mike’s parents invited Mike & I to go with them to Nebraska after we finished milking for this season. Mike’s brother and his family live out there, and the twins would be turning ONE!! So grateful that we could go on this journey…โ˜บ๏ธ

This post will be my “scrapbook” of the memories.๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

We decided to travel a southern route west instead of driving the turnpike. Thought it would be fun to surprise Mike’s dad with a stop at the town(s) he grew up in: Piqua & Covington, OH. Thanks to the help of Andy’s older brother, we were supplied with detailed maps and descriptions on how to navigate around the area. He also shared family history with us that we enjoyed talking about with Dad. We drove by his childhood homes and stopped at the baseball field he used to play on in high school. Found out the field has been named after his old coach!โค๏ธโšพ๏ธ

This cute kittie just showed up and wanted some attention. Made Andy smile as it reminded him of one of the cats he had growing up…๐Ÿ˜ป

This outdoor orchestra shell holds many memories… Andy’s dad was a conductor/teacher and very passionate about music. It is in really good condition, and looks like it is still used today.๐ŸŽถ

Next stop was to Bear’s Mill. Found it when searching for places to visit on our route, and knew it would be a great stop for us. [Click here to see our posts about the steam powered Algonquin Mill that is near and dear to our hearts in Carroll County, OH.] Bear’s Mill is not powered by steam, however – it’s water powered, by a turbine. We enjoyed the self-guided tour. Here are some pics:

Of course you take a picture of random ducks swimming under the mill, lol…๐Ÿฆ†

I was trying to take a picture of the water below, but the sun/shadows were making it a challenge. Then I realized how cool the shadow was of Mike & I. So we just had fun with shadow pictures, lol! Love this man!๐Ÿ˜

Pictures like this are necessary when you are terrified of mice (all rodents๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ™„), so that your sons can make fun of you upon return…๐Ÿ˜

No idea why there’s a covered wagon inside the mill, lol. Appeased Mike by climbing up for a pic!๐Ÿ˜‚

Next stop was at the KitchenAid outlet store in Greenville. My family has used these mixers and many of their attachments over several generations. We LOVE our KitchenAid mixer and have been through several over the years, so it was fun to browse through their little museum and showroom.

Here’s a cute, hand-painted mixer they had on display for the holidays.๐ŸŽ„

A fun mixer we knew our patriotic son would love… ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธโค๏ธ

And our last stop of that area was for lunch at Maid-Rite. The boys had seen it featured on a tv program several years ago, and the last time they traveled to NE with Grandma and Grandpa, they stopped and ate at one. They serve a steamed, loose-meat burger. Ever since then, they have wanted Mike & I to try one. We had our opportunity, and it was a nice lunch.๐Ÿ˜‹

The outside of the building was a bit unique.๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Wondering what all the speckles are???? CHEWED UP PIECES OF GUM!!!๐Ÿ˜ท๐Ÿคข

The scenery for most of the drive was pretty repetitive: lots of flat land, grain farms, and windmill farms….

Spent the night in Hannibal, MO. Plan for the next morning was to visit the Lock and Dam No. 22 (on the Mississippi River) in Saverton a few miles south of our hotel. Read there was an observation area to see bald eagles, so we brought our binoculars to check things out. WELL, we found the area, but not any public viewing area. (And we didn’t want to spend any more time searching.) There was restricted/gated area for employees, and this funny sign. Took that as our “sign” we would just move on!๐Ÿ˜‚

Stopped at an antique mall in St. Joseph, MO to stretch our legs and grab lunch. Mike found some treasures from his favorite actor that were a bit out of our price range, lol, so we took pics instead, lol…๐Ÿ˜Ž

And finally – we made it to Lincoln, NE! What a joy to see our family and capture some moments on “film”. โค๏ธ

Had fun showing them some of our pics from home…๐Ÿ“ท

With the twins having such light hair, they match well with Mike & Ben, lol!โค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธโค๏ธ

Sawyer especially loved looking at Uncle Mike’s pics from the farm and of his cousins back in Ohio.โ˜บ๏ธ

Mike’s sister flew in from Mississippi to join in on the fun, too…โค๏ธ

Feeding moving targets is quite the challenge, but Grandma was up for it!๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ (Probably didn’t help that Aunt Dawn was distracting with picture taking, lol…๐Ÿ˜‰)

Stayed in a 3 bedroom basement of an airb&b home while we were in Lincoln. Overall, a good experience (and definitely cost effective), but not without some drama/laughs. Had to get aggressive with an unwanted-banana-eating kitchen “visitor”…๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿญ๐Ÿ’ฃ

And learned our bed was held up by a lone stilt…๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ฏ๐Ÿคฃ

But it did get upgraded to 4 stilts the next day.๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

Did some shopping and ate lunch at Noodles with my sisters…๐Ÿ˜

Ben took Mike, Dad, & Sawyer for a drive in the country. They stopped at the Haymaker District so Sawyer could show Uncle Mike a BIG train…๐Ÿš‚

Celebrated Christmas on Saturday, so lots of laughs, games, eating, and snuggles!๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽโค๏ธ

After worship and a great message at Lincoln Berean, we took advantage of the 55ยฐ day with a walk to the park.โ›…๏ธ

And ended the day with celebrating the twins’ first birthday. First was a big family meal at Lazlos…๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ˜‹ The Grandmas: The Grandpas: Ended the day with presents, cake, and BATHS…๐ŸŽ๐ŸŽ‚๐Ÿ›

The trip back home…๐Ÿš™ We were on the road early since Aunt Jenny had to leave before 5 to get to the airport. Always love catching the sunrise!๐ŸŒ…

Got to cross the Mississippi River in daylight this time…๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

Stopped for lunch in Springfield, IL. Looked for something non-mainstream-chain and found Dew Chilli Parlor No. 2. (This place didn’t have old chewing gum around the outside, but it did have a neat, penny floor!)๐Ÿ™‚

Passed by a Nestle plant, and snapped a pic…because it’s not everyday you see a giant Bugs Bunny on the side of the highway, lol…๐Ÿ˜‚

Spent the night in Decatur, IN. That left us with just a 4 hour drive to get home on Tuesday. Thought about driving straight through, but decided we’d rather not arrive home completely exhausted. These bodies enjoyed the break, and felt refreshed for the final leg…๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ

Caught this fun city-sunrise pic after we left the hotel…

Mike and I LOVE finding small-town coffee shops. Both to support local small businesses and because we love coffee…โ˜•๏ธโค๏ธ

Found this gem in Downtown Decatur…

My favorite part were the loyalty mugs! My mug would be here if this was in my neighborhood – just sayin’…๐Ÿ˜‰

Kinda fun to see the line of lake effect snow ahead of you while you watch the radar on your phone…โ„๏ธ

And our final stop before home was at Bob Evans outside of Mansfield.๐Ÿณ๐Ÿฅ“

Thank You, Lord, for giving us this opportunity to travel with Mom & Dad to see our family in Nebraska. We are grateful for the clear path You set out before us, and for how You equipped our sons to take care of the farm around their work schedules at home. Though our family members are spread all around the country, You unite us through modern technology; but boy is it a blessing when face-to-face moments arise! Continue to grow each one of us closer to You with every step we take. In Your Name, I pray. Amen๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ

5th calf 2015

Michael’s heifer (Banana) had her first calf this morning! {Click here to see when Banana was born.} 

Click here for another post from when she was younger.

Or here for another one.

This calf has taken FOREVER to pop out, lol… We cancelled our plans to visit with my Cleveland family on Sunday afternoon because she looked super loose and we wanted to be available to help her if necessary. But she never had it Sunday. Then we missed some baseball on Monday so we could run home & keep up with checking on her every 3 hours for any changes. But nothin’. And so went Tuesday, and Wednesday… We really felt the pull of that difficult line of where: making-yourself-available is very close to: you-are-acting-like-God-can’t-handle-this-without-you.๐Ÿ˜ณ Sooo many good life lessons from farming!๐Ÿ˜Š

And now we see a better picture of “why” Banana progressed as she did. The Lord was preparing her to have her first calf completely unassisted and without an audience. And we are pretty sure her calf is the largest one so far, as well. Mike and Michael were delighted this morning to find this in the field:

  

It’s a boy! His name is Gungi. (Apparently he is named after the only Wookie Jedi, as featured in the Clone Wars, lol.)๐Ÿ˜‰

Before we could bring those two down to the barn, we moved Han over to join Chewy and Leia next door.

 

 

 He was pretty resistant to the walk at first, and tried to play possom…๐Ÿ˜‰

 

But he eventually caught on to the idea of walking…๐Ÿ‘

 

He was a bit apprehensive of trudging through our flooded yard… But some gentle persuasion helped.๐Ÿ‘

 

He made it just fine.๐Ÿ‘ 

It’s a muddy mess right now, but thankfully that is just for a “season”…๐Ÿ˜Š 

 Then we headed back up in the rain and thunder to bring down Banana and Gungi. Pictures were difficult with all the rain and keeping feet stable in sloshy mud, but Paul did a nice job taking some pics for us since I drove the baby cart down to the barn today.๐Ÿ‘

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Made it aok! Thank You, Lord…โค๏ธ

  

Tally now: 3 boys, 2 girls.๐Ÿ˜Š 

Scripture pictures and frames

Over the past few years, we have played with adding Scripture to pictures we’ve taken as we “walk”.ย  Here is a post about the frames we made from our old pickets as 2014 Christmas gifts, and a link to a new page on this blog that will house the pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_0297IMG_2810IMG_2651You’ll notice we had to change the location of the white note – not a good idea to cover up the hole where the dowel rod should go, lol! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Since I didn’t have enough pockets for each frame, some got envelopes instead. ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_2659Click here for a link to the Scripture pictures page on this blog…

18 years together

Had to start milking extra early today so we could make it out in time for Michael’s double header. โšพ๏ธ

I will never grow tired of sunrises… โค๏ธ

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Looking back toward the girls…

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Now I’m back at the milkhouse, looking up toward where the girls were…

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And then I glance toward Mike in the barn and I do a double take…

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I LOVE THIS MAN. โค๏ธ I love that he sees beauty where I see beauty. I love that I just caught him taking a picture of it like I was. ๐Ÿ˜ I love that the Lord has blessed us with 18 years of marriage together. ๐Ÿ’

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And I love that he txted me this picture after he took it. That he knew I’d love it. And I do. ๐Ÿ’—

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We love because He first loved us. (โ€ญ1 Johnโ€ฌ โ€ญ4โ€ฌ:โ€ญ19โ€ฌ)

Scraping marrow into beef broth – a new level of weirdness

Used up our last quart of broth last week, so its time to simmer another 4 roasters of broth. As I was straining the first two batches of broth on Monday, the strangest thing happened. All the bone marrow was STARING at me! I know, I know. I’ve seen it before, and I acknowledged it, but that was it. “Too weird. Not ready for that yet.” (I distinctly remember thinking that and even saying that to several people when it came up in conversations.)

And then it happened. Guilt. “Those articles (like this one and this one) you read a couple weeks ago DID make sense… And look at the marrow sticking out of those bones…” ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, I did it. I took a narrow knife and scraped out the marrow. Whisked it up, poured it into the broth, and whisked it again… Funny thing is, I KNOW bits of marrow have fallen in it every time I’ve made broth. But (for me) there’s just something about taking the effort to actually do it on purpose, lol… ๐Ÿ˜

I feel like that’s what happens in my walk with the Lord, too. I can be sooo stubborn. I get into my “autopilot” mode and completely miss the open door in front of me. Or worse, I see the open door, but choose to do what I’ve always done, and miss an opportunity to grow. The cool thing, though, is that EVENTUALLY, I catch on. Autopilot goes off, and I quit fighting change. It’s always hard to see just how much pride I still have in “my way”, but it’s so freeing to finally “see it”, seek forgiveness, and continue forward with a renewed spirit to let the Lord keep me off of autopilot. Thank You, Lord, for being patient with me. Keep making me more like You!โค๏ธ

Search me, Oย God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (โ€ญPsalmsโ€ฌ โ€ญ139โ€ฌ:โ€ญ23-24โ€ฌ NLT)

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WELCOME 1st & 2nd calves – 2014

Meet “Washington”! He is our first calf for 2014. His mama is Tangerine, and is dad was Cleatus. It was a joy to see him this morning – healthy and all cleaned up. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Washington has a big sister named Banana. Click here for an old post that has links to take you back to her birthday in 2012.

He also has a big brother, Sahara, from 2013. Click here for old posts he was featured in. ๐Ÿ™‚

Washington must have had a good breakfast, because he walked all the way down to the barn with his mama. His legs weren’t even the least bit wobbly! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Lord, we are so thankful for a new calving season here on our farm, and we thank You for the gift of Washington today! We lift up the rest of our herd to You. Strengthen us to handle whatever situations come before us. May we remember it is Your plan we want – even when it’s hard. We grieve the loss of Pax from last week, but we thank you for the 7 years she milked and had calves for us. May the blessings around us always be more bold than the dark spots. Because the Truth is: This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalms 118:24 NKJV) Amen

And then, as I’m sitting in my car using the free wifi at the library to upload the pics for this post, I receive a txt from Mike at home:

OreoCookie had her calf this afternoon! Thought I’d include a couple pics of her in this post. More will follow, I’m sure… I LOVE her coloring!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Got home and decided we’d bring Cookie & her calf down to the barnyard, leave them together overnight, and milk her tomorrow with Tangerine. Oh, this little heifer calf is ADORABLE! She was a champ just like her half brother earlier today, and walked all the way down to the barn. Not sure of her name yet… UPDATED 3-22: The Sarver Family has named her Coco! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Click here to participate in a Barn Hop! ๐Ÿ™‚
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UNEXPECTED

Got a call on January 25th that my Dad was admitted to the hospital… By the end of the weekend, we learned they found cancer and that it was also in his lymph nodes. UNEXPECTED.

Prayers began as we asked the Lord for wisdom. Started searching for flights to head to Arizona. Learned unofficial diagnosis was pancreatic cancer and more tests were done in order to receive a prognosis the following week.

Made arrangements for Mike and I to go together, leaving the boys to man-the-farm and Grandma & Grandpa’s outdoor wood-burner. Lined up help from friends to assist the boys when needed… UNEXPECTED.

Never dreamed in a million years Mike would be able to come with me: UNEXPECTED… but thankfully, God is bigger than my expectations…

Once my Dad’s discomfort was eased, he began to feel better. Told the doctor he thought it unnecessary to remain in the hospital because he didn’t like sitting around feeling sorry for himself – that he felt better when he could keep busy… Doctor agreed. Released him 1-31. UNEXPECTED.

Mike and I flew in late on 2-1. My brother was supposed to pick us up, but was so sick he couldn’t get out of bed for three days. Virus… UNEXPECTED.

Instead got picked up by my Dad and Uncle Jack. Dad looked like Dad – though perhaps tired. UNEXPECTED.

What did I expect? Well, I guess I don’t know… But since I was expecting to see him in a hospital bed, I suppose I thought he’d be too weak to “be Dad”. But he wasn’t. And I was glad. This was a comfort – familiar felt good… UNEXPECTED.

Our hotel room number was 322. Kinda cool – have been memorizing Lamentations 3:22-23: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

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My Dad has wanted to get Mike out to see the desert ever since he moved out there in 1999. And even though this was an emergency trip & unplanned, Dad wanted to show Mike his favorite sights… UNEXPECTED.

Internal battles began… We didn’t come out for a vacation… Our funds were/are limited… Money in savings is for the next few months bills, right? Aren’t we going to look irresponsible to those around us? Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

Prayers were answered and we were filled with peace at allowing my Dad to do what he wanted. He took us to see his good friend, Chuck – wanted Mike to meet him. Enjoyed listening to these guys share hunting memories and past stories… Drove us to grocery stores so he could buy us our “weird” health foods, lol. He wouldn’t let us buy anything that wasn’t a “good price” – he knew the bargains, lol. He and Uncle Jack bought food for a Superbowl feast & cooked for us. UNEXPECTED.

On Monday, Dad took us to his work to file for future time off. Met some of his co-workers and boss, and felt their compassion as they wished my Dad well. So many unanswered questions. Everything hinging on Thursday’s appointment with the oncologist. It was only Monday. It was touching to see everyone’s genuine concern for my Dad.

Then we headed to Uncle Jack’s property. The three men moved cacti as excavation was to begin the next day. Dad was so happy he could bring “the farmer” to the desert, and Mike was excited he got to play in the dirt. Ended the jaunt with a visit to my Dad & Uncle Jack’s favorite local hangout: Greasewood Flats. Heard stories of fun times they shared together. UNEXPECTED.

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Tuesday came. My brother, Mark, was still sick, but getting better. Dad said we could borrow his truck to take my Mom to a doctor appointment, so Mark wouldn’t have to. The week before, she had had foot surgery. This appointment led to x-rays at a nearby hospital, and then back to the doctor’s office. 7 hours. Thankful we could help my brother, and were able to help my Mom, too. UNEXPECTED.

Returned to Dad to find he had spent the afternoon cooking ribs and veggies for dinner for us. UNEXPECTED.

By evening, Mark was well enough to have us over. Got to spend time with him & my Mom, and Mike finally got to meet our 7-year-old niece, Abbi. What a joy! Loved watching Mike play kitchen & color with her! Was fun learning Abbi associates Auntie Dawn with sewing, lol… She wanted to learn how to crochet, so we finger crocheted a bit, and played a game. UNEXPECTED.

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Wednesday came. First Dad wanted us to meet a bartender friend of his. He said she liked to eat naturally like us, had told her about us, and she wanted to meet us. She offered to make him organic tonics while he did cancer treatments. This was the first I’d heard of him even being interested in trying something “alternative”, so it was fun to meet her and talk with her. Next my Dad wanted to take Mike to a “real” Mexican place for lunch… Followed by a trip to Cabelas. He started complaining of heartburn, and jokingly blamed it on the onions from lunch. He didn’t want to go back home… Said he was ok. Seemed ok. Took us to Lee Air Force base where we watched fighter jets practice. Joked with other spectators, and was “normal Dad”.

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Returned to Dad’s place, and we talked about “tomorrow” – Thursday. The oncologist appointment. The hard stuff. What his wishes were. Those questions that are hard to ask, and that I was afraid to ask. It was an emotional conversation because he acknowledged his struggles… But it was beautiful, too, because he shared with me that even though his life may not have looked like it, he truly did believe… And the rest is between his heart and the Lord… There are no words to express how thankful I am we had that talk… UNEXPECTED.

Left Dad for the day with plans of meeting him in the morning for his appointment. Got back to the hotel – only a 10 minute drive. Walked into our room & my Dad’s roommate called in a panic asking us to come back. Dad wasn’t well. He called 911. I called Mark. We got there to find EMS working on Dad. No pulse. Mark & I followed to ER. Mike stayed at the house to finish with the police follow-up. Minutes later, I had to state my Dad’s wishes to the hospital staff. It hadn’t even been 2 hours since he told me what he wanted/didn’t want! I’m so grateful my brother and I were there together… UNEXPECTED.

A woman appeared to help us find a secluded room. I thought she was a volunteer. I just wanted to pray with Mark. Everything just seemed so unbelievable… This lady didn’t leave. So I asked her if she minded if we prayed. I was expecting to pray… But before I could speak, SHE PRAYED!! She SPOKE SCRIPTURE!! And I immediately felt the Lord lifting me up as His Words fueled every fiber of my being. Filled me with hope and comfort and composure. And kept me together as we waited for Mike to join us and to see Dad, one last time. UNEXPECTED.

It wasn’t until awhile later that I learned this lady was the hospital’s chaplain, lol… And then Mike shared how he prayed the Lord would send me comfort while we were separated. HE did!

So Dad didn’t make it to Thursday. So unbelievable: He didn’t make it to Thursday… UNEXPECTED. How ironic. “Tomorrow” was the day we were supposed to find out about how much time he had left, but he didn’t make it past “today”…

Can’t help but think about my last blog post. A post where I am mourning the loss of a trip we planned and couldn’t take. And now I see why. The Lord had a different trip in mind, with far greater implications… The lesson is the same, and I am in awe of how He prepares us for what is to come…Now listen, you who say, โ€œToday or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.โ€ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, โ€œIf it is the Lordโ€™s will, we will live and do this or that.โ€ As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16 NIV)

YES, LORD, I hear You! I pray I will move forward with a passion to be grateful for each moment I am in. Help me to stop placing my hope in tomorrow so that I don’t miss the opportunities that are right in front of me! Thank You so much for prompting me to have that last conversation with my Dad! Use my story to impress on others how precious the moment is that we are in, and not to assume there is more time! If you are reading this post, I pray you have heard the message of salvation that is ONLY available through Jesus Christ… That you have not only heard it, but understand it, and have accepted the gift of His sacrifice so you can spend your eternity in Heaven. And that if you already know this, but know someone who needs to hear it, TELL THEM – DON’T WAIT!! There are no guarantees there will BE tomorrow… WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS, Christ died for us. Whether you accept His gift or not, HE STILL DIED FOR YOU! I pray that you know there is a difference between practicing religion and having a relationship with Jesus. The Lord knows our hearts and motivations – and we cannot DO anything to work our way to Heaven. That it is between our heart and the Lord – we must each recognize we are sinners, and that we NEED Jesus. I pray for more people to repent of their sins, and live lives for Him. When we do that, we become a child of God, and His Spirit will live inside us. And because He then lives inside us, HE IS NEVER LATE… What appears as a mystery to us, is not to Him. He never leaves us or forsakes us. And His love endures forever… Amen

We extended our stay from Friday to Monday. The airlines waived the $600 fee!! UNEXPECTED.

To say these days are a blur, would be an understatement. At the drop of a hat, I cry. I can’t seem to control my emotions. I’m having a hard time believing this is real. One minute Dad was with me and then he was just…gone. I mourn for all those who will miss him. I mourn for the missed opportunities I had to have deeper conversations with him, but didn’t. But I mourn with Hope… With a renewed passion to share Christ-in-me more… Hard to type as well. Probably rambling too much and not in complete sentences. But for me, writing this is therapeutic. A record of these past 9 days. I really don’t want to forget all these details… I’m healing as I walk. And I am content with however long that is for me…

Just to journal the last of our trip: Thursday was spent learning about death certificates and how our culture profits from death. Probably good info to know for the future, but it is a bit of a shock to take it all in. We accomplished what we could and now have to wait on paperwork before we can proceed any further. UNEXPECTED.

Ended the evening with Mark & Abbi coming out to swim at our hotel. A nice way to relax after a tense and difficult day.

Friday, my brother needed to work, so Mike and I had a day to ourselves. A much needed time of rejuvenation. I know Dad would have wanted that, and that thought brought us relief as we experienced the beauty of Arizona that my Dad loved so much. We (tried to) climb Camelback Mountain, lol, but realized we were “out of our league” as runners sped past us at breakneck speed while we stopped to breathe and guard our steps to avoid any injuries… We were completely ok with our “peak” being 2/3 of the way up the mountain, lol.

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Next we tried to find some baseball spring training baseball fields… We found some, but we were a day or two early.

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We had two people tell us about climbing Pinnacle Peak. So we headed there next. It was soooo much more our style!! A not-too-aggressive climb, and the views were spectacular!!

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Uncle Jack ended up meeting us there and we enjoyed another trip to his property to see the excavation progress. It was an emotional visit, since just four days earlier we were there with my Dad. He loved the backdrop of western movies, and loved living near the mountains and desert. But most of all, he loved sharing it with family and friends…

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That night my brother and Mom had us out for an enormous Chinese dinner. I am still full, lol…

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Saturday we found some souvenirs for the boys and then met Mark at my Dad’s house to clean out his stuff. My Dad was a simple guy, so there was only a room and some boxes to go through. Found some items to keep, and passed the rest on to others. Dad would have wanted that…

Enjoyed pizza and a movie night with Mark, Abbi, and my Mom.

Spent Sunday morning sorting through all my Dad’s personal files. Wanted to try to organize things and sort everything to make it easier for Mark to handle after we left.

Experienced a beautiful morning of worship at Trinity Bible Church. A message the Lord had prepared perfectly for us… EXPECTED!

Spent a final afternoon with Mark, Abbi, and my Mom, and then met up with my Dad’s two brothers who flew in this week to help Mark.

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Saturday afternoon, we went back to the bar my Dad took us to on Wednesday. I wanted to shake the hands of some of his friends, and thank them in-person for being a friend to my Dad. Only saw a few, but that’s ok. It was something I felt strongly about doing, and I will continue to pray for his friends – both the ones I met and the ones I didn’t…

After a meal with my uncles and cousin, Mike and I headed back to our hotel to pack for the morning. We were up at 4am and found our way to the airport with only a couple wrong turns, lol.

Several waves of emotion have swept over me as we watched the mountains fade away from above. A bittersweet departure. I pretty much typed the whole 6 hours we flew – plus most of the day yesterday and today…

When we began this journey, we meditated on the words to this song by Casting Crowns: Jesus, Friend Of Sinners. Click here to read the words. And click here to watch/hear a video.

Friday, we heard this song by Sidewalk Profits: Live Like That – and it blew us away… Click here to read the words. And click here to watch/hear a video.

All along each day our devotions were equally convicting:
http://www.todayintheword.org/
http://odb.org/

And the prayers that have been lifted up as we found moments to txt/email updates, have been felt and received with overflowing thanksgiving!!

Dear Heavenly Father, there is no doubt in my mind that YOU paved the way for this trip to happen. YOU laid the groundwork for us to be able to leave when we did. YOU saw to it that I wouldn’t have to experience this by myself – YOU used Mike to carry me when I needed support. YOU prepared our boys to handle the responsibilities back at home…the hours of bringing hay to cows, thawing waterers, plowing snow, shoveling snow, continuing their schooling, and all this while they also grieved the loss of their Grandpa. YOU orchestrated all the helping hands who pitched in whenever and wherever needed. YOU blessed Mike and I with four wonderful days to be with my Dad before he died. YOU stabilized us when we realized we couldn’t control our situations. YOU used the foods, oils, and herbs we brought to keep our immune systems strong when we were surrounded by bad viruses and bacterias. YOU opened doors for us when we asked. YOU prompted us to share our testimonies at the perfect times. YOU gave us YOUR words when our own were inadequate. YOU gifted us with time to build new relationships and add onto old ones. YOU encouraged us through hymns, songs, and spiritual songs. YOU sustained us with YOUR daily bread, and used the prayers of fellow Believers to strengthen us to persevere. YOU helped us to love, when we wanted to judge – and are enabling us to see all people as having been made in YOUR image. YOU forgave us when our words or actions caused pain, and we cried out to YOU. YOU allowed others to see Jesus in us, and are compelling us to be more bold for YOUR GLORY.
We are overwhelmed when we think about all the ways YOU provide for us, and our trust is in YOU as we put one foot in front of the other. I have comfort in knowing that YOU are in control during all the “unexpectednesses”. YOU have used us to scatter seeds of YOUR love and mercy – and we desperately pray for the growth of those seeds. That we will not grow weary in doing good, so that at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Amen

Deuteronomy 5:16
Joshua 1:9
2 Samuel 22:2
2 Chronicles 7:14
Psalm 55:16-17; 62:2; 107:1; 118:1; 119:11, 49-50, 71, 105, 130, 133, 169-176; 136; 139:1, 23-24
Proverbs 3:5-6
Jeremiah 29:11
Matthew 5:14-16; 6:9-13, 19-21; 13:1-23
Luke 9:1-5; 23:40-43
John 1:12-13; 3:16-18; 8:32; 9:1-5; 14:6
Acts 4:29
Romans 1:18-20; 5:1-5, 8; 7:14-25; 8:26-38; 10:5-15; 12:9-13; 13:11-14; 14 all; 15:4-6, 13; 16:17-18
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
2 Corinthians 7:10
Galatians 6:2, 9
Ephesians 2:8; 3:20, 5:19-20
James 1:2-3, 5-6; 4:11-12; 5:7-11
2 Peter 3:8
1 John 1:8-10; 4:4-6