4/12/19

chattanooga living ♥️

since visiting chattanooga in december 2017, rick talking about wanting to live here since i met him and actually moving here i’ve discovered some things i didn’t expect and some things i anticipated! 

i anticipated:
traffic
i didn’t anticipate:
i wouldn’t mind driving in it and actually like the challenge! 
i ’m just thankful for lola my gps !

i anticipated:
a wide variety of grocery stores nearby, all of which were larger than gary’s & the pembine grocery!
i didn’t anticipate:
grocery delivery and how much i would love it!

i anticipated:
lots of restaurant choices & food delivery
i didn’t anticipate:
how many choices we would have and that i actually prefer to go out to eat as opposed to having it delivered!

i anticipated:
lots of shopping options!
i didn’t anticipate:
how many would be within 2 miles of me!

i anticipated:
mega churches 
i didn’t anticipate:
how many churches there would be!

i anticipated:
nice weather
i didn’t anticipate:
how nice the weather would be!

i anticipated:
mountains 
i didn’t anticipate:
seeing them in almost every direction!

i anticipated:
apartment (almost tiny home) life
i didn’t anticipate: 
how tiny our apartment would be, how easy 3 rooms are to keep clean and how much i love it!

i anticipated:
needing to find a job
i didn’t anticipate:
how much i would love the job that God had obviously already lined up for me!

i anticipated:
missing everyone back home
i didn’t anticipate:
though i  miss everyone, technology makes staying in touch so easy, the separation isn’t as bad as i thought it might be.

i anticipated:
rick & i would grow closer to each other because it’s just the 2 of us.
i didn’t anticipate:
how much our relationship would grow even in this short time and how much fun we would have!

i anticipated:
things to do!
i didn’t anticipate:
how many things there are to do, many of them free or very low cost.

i anticipated:
southern hospitality 
i didn’t anticipate:
how true that phrase is! we have encounters so many kind, helpful, friendly strangers that we do truly feel at home here!

i anticipated:
southern drawl.
i didn’t anticipate:
children don’t have one, but, ya’ll, i have a hard time understanding some adults!
😊

i anticipated:
an adventure and hoped it would be an enjoyable one.
i didn’t anticipate:
how much of an adventure it has been, how much i’d enjoy it and how much fun we would have! honestly, i think rick is tiring of me saying to him:
“honey, i  love our new city!”

here are a few more random pictures:












4/2/19

so much change!

i always say i am going to be better at this blog thing and then i get busy and it’s one of the first things to go, even though it’s relaxing for me to write out thoughts, so i’ll try again!

here we are, settled in to our cute apartment in chattanooga...it’s not a “tiny home” but it’s close! we have three rooms! a combination kitchen, dining, living room space, a bedroom and a bathroom ... and we love it! 

i never dreamed i would love city life, and life away from “home” but i have to say, i love it here!

here are a few pictures of our new home and my weekend project, repurposing an old butcher block table into a rolling kitchen island! i posted from my phone and they posted in kind of random order! sorry, i’ll have to try and figure that out! :)

if you care to follow our adventures, i plan to try and share more re here on a regular basis, you can sign up to be jotiwhen i post if you want, and if you’re not interested, i completely understand! 
















11/11/18

life does go on ♥️

It is hard to explain to others the dynamic of  “life”  after death because honestly it is so very different for everyone.

For me seven years later, it is still surreal.  It seems unreal that Rickey has been gone for seven years. I was told shortly after he died by a good friend that eventually I’d forget the exact sound of his voice, his touch, small details like that, taken for granted while someone is here with us. I didn’t believe that, didn’t want to believe that. I thought it would diminish the love I had for him and if  I could or did forget those things.

The thing is, time heals. I won’t say it heals all wounds because there will always be an empty spot at the table, at events like weddings and new baby visits. It doesn’t heal all, but rather it softens the sting.

God touches and heals our hurting hearts, He comforts as only He can, and he places others in our lives to love us through the memories! 

We have just come to the end of the week that forever changed our lives seven years ago. Each day this past week, I did remember, I remembered the police car in my driveway, the ride to the hospital, the time in the ER and the days that followed. I remembered events from the day after the accident  and the day of the visitation. I remembered the day of Rickey’s burial, down to how my bosses corduroy jacket felt as I gripped his arm for strength as the casket was lowered. I rested in the knowledge that the box being lowered only contained the shell of Rickey, that his soul was already alive and free in heaven, but that last glimpse of the box containing his earthly body will always be etched in my mind. 

That week, this week is over for another year. This year, as last, the memories are sweeter, the love still there, but the of sting of pain and loss not so sharp.

God has been so good. He has blessed and given strength!

I feel so fortunate that during this week, I could share each day the memories with Rick, he who is a gift to me as he listens, loves and understands! He gets that I love him, he is my new best friend, yet he allows memories of another best friend and loves me through those memories!

This year, too, memories were mingled with excitement!

Excitement that all 3 girls were led to Godly husbands and we will be celebrating the wedding of Kajsa & Zach in just a month, the recent celebration of the birth of precious little Will Axel to Tessa & Andrew and an upcoming trip overseas in five short days!

Stay tuned as I plan to try and blog more and to share our Scandinavian adventure over the next three weeks!

God is good, time does soften the pain, living and loving is possible after loss and I’m ever so thankful for God’s Grace in these truths!
♥️

5/19/18

we are getting a new ... address!


because i'm usually too wordy, i'm going to bullet point this list because i have lots of things to do today!

WE ARE MOVING! :) 

when we were in florida in november/december, we talked about the real possibility of moving for employment. i quickly fell in love with being so near the sand and the beach and being able to wear flip flops at Christmas! i was convinced that we were supposed to move to florida!

rick wasn't feeling that pull, but was willing to look wherever we were led! we stopped in chattanooga on the way home and also loved the charm that area offered, so began to consider that as an option as well, so much so that he had a job interview offered to him in january which for some reason, we couldn't make work out, and he did not get to interview for the position. 

in late january, we had the opportunity to visit out at the former northland international university and to hear about some of the many ways the campus is being revived. rick instantly felt a pull back to northland. i did not! the sandy beach there was covered in snow and the lake was iced over. it was going to be a long time until i could wear my flip flops there!

but God ...

by the time we left that day, i had caught the vision and the northland spirit which still feels alive there today!

in february, after meeting with the team putting together some exciting things, it became a waiting game as we awaited dotting "i's" and crossing "t's". it was a long wait for me, i'm not the best with being patient! in the meantime, rick continued to look into government/military positions in the medical field, keeping all of our options open, just in case the opportunity at northland fell through. we strongly felt that God would open the doors He wanted opened and close all others.

rick actually received several e-mails from positions he applied for, but none came to fruition, he kept teasing me that he would get called for an interview as soon as northland was ready to move forward and i just laughed at him!

last week, we had a lengthy phone call on tuesday night with northland and on wednesday? on wednesday, he got a call from a va clinic in chattanooga, wanting to schedule a phone interview! imagine t.h.a.t.! on thursday, as was already scheduled, we spent the afternoon at northland, not being able to fit in the interview with chattanooga and on friday, we went in for our first day of work at northland! while we were at northland on thursday, we both knew that chattanooga was not the opportunity that God wanted rick to pursue and that northland was where we belonged!

while our specific job titles are still actually still being ironed out and for the summer as we will be wearing many hats, we are proud to say that we are both on staff with 
NORTHLAND SCHOLARS ACADEMY!
nsa is an international/us academy offering excellence in education for 9-12 grade high school students. these students will have the amazing opportunity to graduate from high school with an associates degree and move forward either right into the workforce, or to furthering their educations!

because we will be heavily involved with summer adventure camps for students coming to northland from all over the world and then with academics/activities and athletics on campus, the hour drive each way does not make much sense - especially from november - april when we'd have to battle the snow and weather, so the decision was also made, that us living on campus was the best case scenario.

this weekend will be a BUSY one filled with packing and making arrangements, trying to be pro-active as our new home will be mostly move-in ready by the end of next week!

we are very excited for this opportunity that God has brought to us and we are anxious to see the school grow and flourish and are honored to be a part of the team that is building this!

if you have read this far, thanks! we aren't moving far, so for those of you who are local, we'll still see you and would love to have you come visit our new home! for those who aren't local, but want to visit if you're in the area, i'll get you our new address, our duplex has 2 spare bedrooms! for the rest of you, the internet has made the world small, so please, continue to follow along with us on this adventure and as always, if you'd pray along with us through these changes, it would be much appreciated! 

happy saturday to you all!

5/11/18

well then.

i love word pictures, so would you indulge me one for a moment?

imagine yourself standing with your toes on the very edge of a dingy, gray stone cliff. in front of and below you is a drop-off, a very, very deep drop off. so deep in fact, you can barely see the bottom and you're not sure what is down there, you are so high up that it seems you are in the clouds. behind you and to your sides is a wall of stone, you cannot turn back or to either side, the only way you can move is forward. to move forward means stepping into the unknown, but you hear a strong steady voice saying "take one step, just one step at a time, I am here, I will bring you safely to the other side". gulp. {have i ever mentioned i'm afraid of heights?} timidly, you take a step, and just like that, there is a stepping stone under your feet where a great nothingness was just moments before. there is also a hand rail on either side to hold on to and you feel no fear whatsoever even though now, you are traversing this great chasm. you take the next step. and the next. as you continue to step, the stepping stones continue to appear ... one at a time, but one after the other right in tune with your steps. you again hear that voice urging you forward  "take one step, just one step at a time, I am here, I will bring you safely to the other side". as you continue forward, the sky becomes even more blue, the brightness of the sun just a little brighter and all green things even more green ... kind of like all things coming back to life in the spring.

that my friends is an image that God gave to me today!

yesterday i posted about how rick and i are waiting on God before we offer up more information on where He is leading us.

that is because very honestly, yesterday, we didn't have a clue. we thought we knew, but we were becoming unsure as time marched onward and we felt like each day was groundhog's day, the movie!

today, we still aren't 100% sure, but may i just say that i serve a really big God?

today we went to the gym and since our membership includes use of the tanning beds, we chose to enjoy the warmth and "sunshine" they offered to us after our workout as fall like weather made a come back to the u.p. this morning! it was 46 degrees, cloudy and chilly as we drove into town to the gym ... brrrrr ... my dreams of sunshine and barefoot walks on the beach came to mind, not to be helped when my brother-in-love sent me a picture of a wall hanging that said "memories made in flip flops last a lifetime", thanks alot, kenny!



while i was laying in the tanning bed, i came before God as i often do when i'm in there. for some reason in the tanning bed and on my lawnmower are two places i really connect with God, maybe it's because He has my full attention in both places and i'm fully not distracted by my phone or outside influences?!

anyway, i humbly asked Him to set my mind at peace. i asked that i be content with His will and His timing. in His plan for our lives. i asked that He increase and i decrease and my faith in Him grow! 

now, in no means am i saying that i snap my fingers and God jumps, honestly it's a prayer that i've prayed many times over the past 3+ months, but today, i had so much peace when i prayed that it was crazy!

anyway ... as the day progressed {before we even got home actually} some answers to those 3 months + of praying were being answered ... in ways we couldn't really imagine. 

the answers were slightly different than we were anticipating, but they were answers and they were good! as we are still doing some e-mailing and waiting for a little more information, i'm going to hold of on sharing too much detail, but i just wanted to give a little update, and ask that you please continue to pray along with us throughout the weekend and the upcoming weeks that as we are now moving forward, God would really make the path clear, as clear as traversing that great chasm as the stepping stones appear guiding our path!

to say i'm excited is an understatement! to say i'm a little scared is an understatement! to say that this is really the first time in my life i feel so stretched and asked to totally lean on Him for EVERYTHING is an understatement!

but God ... 

He knows.

He has a plan.

He has had a plan.

He makes no mistakes.

His timing is NOT my timing.

He promises to never leave me.

or forsake me.

"for I know the plans I have for you." He promises.
{jeremiah 29:11}

"all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be."
{psalm 139:16}

His promises are rich.

His promises are true.

His promises never fail.

my faith falters.

my faith waivers.

my faith fears.

but God ...

He still loves me, and His eye is still on this sparrow! 

5/10/18

w.a.i.t.i.n.g

some of you may have seen through my facebook posts that rick and i have recently been in a 
"season of waiting" 
and i'm very admittedly not a good "waiter"!

in november, after a few conversations with some of rick's family members, and a hospital stay his mom had just had, we felt that God was calling us to go to florida to spend some time with his mom. it would help the family out, and rick could speak directly with some of mom's caregivers, see her medical reports and spend some much needed time with other family who live near mom. 

because i had left lularoe back in august and most of the funds owed to me had finally been returned to me, we had a bit of a cushion that we planned to use for living expenses as we diligently sought God's leading at this point in our lives. in less than a week, we had packed up 3 seasons worth of clothing, made arrangements for the care of our home and 10 pets, mapped a route, making arrangements for a few stops between the upper peninsula of michigan and south florida and on november 18, my 51st birthday, we jumped in the car and headed south with plans to either stay for a week or through Christmas, depending on what it seemed the need was when we got there!

our visit with mom was good! her health was better than we had anticipated and following our original plan, we started our journey back north almost a month after our arrival via georgia, north carolina and Christmas in kentucky {as we had originally planned earlier in the fall, before the florida trip came about}.

while we were in florida, we had the chance to take walks along the beach and have long talks about where we felt God was calling us ... p.s. those walks along the beach made me sure He was calling me THERE! we prayed, we discussed, we looked at many options and we came home feeling pretty settled that we knew not only our wishes for the future but God's call on our future!

fast forward a month or so after we got home, rick had an interview that we thought fit perfectly into our plans, and we were excited! then, God threw us a curve-ball! we couldn't make the interview fit into our schedule, it just wouldn't work out right with our time table and that of the prospective employer, and we were a little stumped until a different opportunity landed literally right in our laps!  

this one was completely different than the first, it was NOT on my radar in any way, shape or form. trust me on this one, i argued with rick and i argued with God! it did not include sunshine, warm temperatures most of the year or miles and miles of sandy beach on the ocean!

but God ...

as we met with the prospective new employer, God opened my eyes to the beauty of the new position{s} being offered. He changed my mind and my heart as i began to see this new opportunity as a gift straight from His hand! it's an opportunity that is in somewhat "familiar territory" to me that will allow me {us} to serve God and to serve others, which is exactly what i have a heart to do!

the new position{s} were not slated to begin immediately, it was a work in process, but we truly were at such peace with feeling God's hand at work that we were o.k. with that, we still had some of the lulafunds and all was still well! 

as the money from lularoe that has been supplementing our income have slowly been used up, i have begun to wonder if i didn't hear God correctly, but rick reminds me each day that his God's arm has not shortened and that He does indeed have His best plan in mind for us! we are still very excited about this new opportunity, and as we are staying tuned on the updates on the progress that is being made until we are brought on board, we remain excited to begin this next new adventure {i'm a bit more anxious to get going on it than rick is, he is a much more patient waiter than i am}! just today, he reminded me that we had been told that we were wanted as part of this new "team" that is forming, and we just have to be patient as the behind the scenes work is completed!

so, there you have it! i'm not being intentionally vague, we're just not ready to share all the details yet, but they are good, very good and we are excited to watch as God opens doors and leads us down paths we did not expect to be led down! 

each day with God can be an adventure if we just let it! i always want to push ahead and put the cart before the horse, but thankfully, rick encourages me to be still, to be patient, to wait on God's timing and not mine!

when the time is right, we promise to share with you the details of this next stage in our lives, and until then, if you'd just remain in prayer with us that everything that needs to fall into place does, that i would remain patient and trust in God's timetable, and that when the plans are set, that God would use us where He places us for our good and His glory! :) 

4/25/18

when I met rick in july of 2012, i was a bit of a trainwreck!

spiritually, i was ready to walk away from church.

emotionally, i hadn't grieved, i didn't know how to grieve and after 8 months, i didn't want to grieve, it was just easier to just keep stuffing my feelings

phycially, i weighed less than 100 pounds and existed on diet mountain dew and the occasional salad or cup of soup

but, i thought i was doing pretty good and i think on the outside, most people thought the same.

in almost 6 years, i've learned much

i've grown much

i've come to realize that God isn't "the church" and though i may feel failed by humans, God will not fail me and truly, He will never leave me or forsake me

emotionally, i've cried, i've screamed, i've yelled at God for taking rickey, i've asked Him for and received forgiveness again and again

i've learned that grief is not a destination but a state of being and that i can grieve in my own way, in my own time and on my own terms and it's o.k.

i still have no doubt that on 11/5/11 rickey went instantly from falling from that high peak on the roof he was on into the presence of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ

i have no doubt that his faith was strong and secure and that Jesus welcomed him with open and loving arms and those precious words, "well done, my good and faithful servant, well done, enter into your eternal rest"

physically, i can with all honesty say that i feel better today than i did in 2012, goodness, i feel better than i did in 2002 and 1992

thanks to rick and a few other amazing people who i've joined forces with and who have come alongside me, i feel healthier and happier and stronger than i have in years

rick is a "guru" in the health/wellness/fitness arena and takes his study of all things health/wellness/fitness very seriously

one of our mottos at our clinic was "you'll never realize how bad you felt until you know how good you can feel"

this is so true, for mind, body and spirit

today, i encourage you, become healthy

take care of your spiritual life, evaluate, reevaluate your relationship with God and make decisions that will affect you into eternity, so just as rickey, there is no doubt as to where you will spend eternity when your days on this earth are over

take care of your emotional life, do you need to forgive or be forgiven, if  there is an area or a person in your life who you need to make things right with, just do it, make the first move, fix what you can and let go of what you can't

physically, choose today to correct imbalances in your life, drink enough water, go for that walk, get enough sleep, make better food choices, begin to heal yourself; from the inside out

our bodies were made to do what's right, we've just abused them for so long, that they are filled with toxins and most of us are physical trainwrecks from the inside out

autoimmune disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, infections, weight gain, obesity, overall poor health are rampant, just take a look around you, or take a look in the mirror

those are the outwardly visible symptoms, just think of what your body must look like on the inside after years and years of toxins and too many carbs and too much sugar

my guess is that the majority of you, like me are a train wreck and don't know where to begin or how to start fixing things

don't put if off until tomorrow, start today, with one small step, try starting with drinking enough good old water

aim for a bare minimum of half of your body weight in ounces - every day and then go from there

if you want to talk, please reach out, i'm here and i do care

if you have a burden that you're carrying, don't carry it alone, broken is an o.k. place to be, just don't stay there, give it to God and share it so you don't have to carry it by yourself

if you are lethargic, moody, suffering from ill-health, if you take too many medications to count or you don't take any, but just know there has to be a way to feel better, we want to help

reach out, do it today

i'm here

rick is here

we care

we want to help 

you are never to broken to be helped and we'd love to come alongside you and help in any way we can ... just take the first step and ask

remember ... you are cherished, loved and adored!

chattanooga living ♥️

since visiting chattanooga in december 2017, rick talking about wanting to live here since i met him and actually moving here i’ve discover...