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!

3/26/18

{i.promised.myself.i wouldn't}

well, my 7 days of the "drink pink experience" are complete.

i went into the 7 days with a goal in mind.

i was going to prove that this product was just hype and that there was no way it could do what people claimed it could to.

which means if the placebo effect is real, i should have overcome it with my mind and experienced either no results or perhaps even negative results, right?

the placebo effect is that if you think it will work, it will and we saw it work once when a friend gave her husband 2 m&m's for his headache. without close scrutiny, he swallowed them down and settled in to watch t.v.  in an hour or so, she asked him how the headache was, and yep, it was gone, those pills really worked! he believed the pills he was taking for his headache would make the headache go away, and they did just that, even though they weren't pills at all!

i also said after this past year and my direct sales experiences that were less than stellar at times that i was not getting into direct sales again ... ever.

but, here i am, eating my words because i believe in this product! i have seen it work first hand in just 7 days! and if i can have the results i had in 7 days, i can't imagine what will happen in 7 weeks or 7 months!

rick has looked over the ingredients in the products and though he's not completely sold on all of them, he has given them a thumbs up, which if you know how closely he studies all things supplemental and claiming to be natural and of benefit, you know is a good thing! i will also add here, that even though the "pink drink" is sometimes promoted for weight loss, there is still no substitute or magic formula for that. you need proper nutrition, enough calories as undereating is as detrimental as overeating, and exercise for fitness. you cannot just replace those aspects with a drink or a pill or a shake and achieve results without changing the lifestyle that made you overweight in the first place!

taya and i have joined with some amazing ladies in this company and i'm actually pretty excited to see where it goes. though there is a money making aspect, that takes a backseat to the fact that the products that i have available to offer you contain natural ingredients. they are pure and good for you. they are not produced by big pharma therefore, i will make no medical claims, but i will tell you that i have had a reduction in symptoms of conditions that i could be on prescription medications for; namely my thyroid and menopause symptoms. those hot flashes were hitting me at a rate of 2-3 per hour from early evening until morning and then occasionally throughout the day! :) 

what you do with the information that i share is completely up to you! i'm thrilled if you are willing to give them a try and find that they improve your quality of life. i'm also totally o.k. if you say thanks, but no thanks. the choice is yours! i do know that having a healthy gut is of primary importance, we and the girls have taken probiotics for almost 5 years now, and our level of health is the best it has ever been! when you have healthy bacteria in your stomach, you are able to absorb the nutrients in the food you eat, and in any medications/supplements you do take! 

so to sum up my experience, it was a positive one. i'm thankful that God led me to say yes to it and i gave it a go! i'm excited to see additional improvements in my physical health and in my emotional well-being! i'm excited to have some more energy and focus and good sleep! i'm also excited to see taya see a reduction in migraines and anxiety, and whose hubby wouldn't like if we girls don't have a reduction in pms symptoms?! 

so, to sum it up, in the past 7 days, i'm happy to report: 


✔️more energy ... check
✔️better sleep .... check
✔️less anxiety ... check
✔️less irritability ... check
✔️better mood ... check
✔️reduced menopause symptoms ... check
✔️reduced autoimmune symptoms ... check




3/23/18

{pink.drink.day.5}


i'm sorry! i know i promised daily updates, but honestly, i didn't want to seem over-the-top so i thought maybe i'd get through the bulk of the challenge before posting again.

here i am on the morning of day 5.

my product arrived and i started the challenge on monday.

i went into it knowing that there is truth to the "placebo effect" ... meaning that if i thought it would work ... it would. so, i tried to actually start with the mindset that it would NOT work ... meaning, i'd see no noticeable effects.

#1. i'm going into this fairly healthy - we eat basically keto/paleo, almost no grains/very limited carbs/nearly zero sugars, yada, yada, yada

#2. i already take a pro-biotic and have for almost 5 years so my "gut" is pretty healthy and vitamin d on a daily basis. i'm taking a naturopath approach to menopause and while somewhat of a nuisance, compared to horror stories i've heard, it's been a pretty easy road for me

#3. i don't believe there is a "magic pill" for anything ... weight loss especially. it takes clean eating, proper nutrition {getting enough calories} with exercise included for toning and fitness

#4. it was a nightmare getting out of lularoe. i'm not going back into direct sales, i'm done with it, over, finished.

so ... since monday what can i report?

i promised an honest review ... so here goes!

i used the "slim" which is known as "the pink drink"

a "brief" search for info on the product brings up much information, so here's just a little blurb:

1️⃣ Increases friendly microbes called #Akkermansia- a remarkable microbe, which positively impacts disrupted metabolism associated with being overweight by 250 times
2️⃣ Increases #Lactobacillus by 365 times and #Bifidobacterium by 290 times - contributes to overall #health
3️⃣ Increases #Butyrate by up to 58% and #Propionate by up to 29%- short-chain fatty acids that help regulate your metabolism.
Our great-tasting Pink Drink is only 5 calories, contains no artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors and is gluten-free, non-GMO and 100% vegetarian. 🌱


along with another of the products called x-factor + because it is promoted to reduce episodes of "personal summer" {aka hot flashes} that ladies *my age* can suffer with.

so, my "take" after 5 days ...

** i have more energy. hands down. no question.

** i've slept better. last night i don't think i moved all night and i woke up ready to get out of bed and tackle the day without laying around and psyching myself up to do it.

** i've been battling muscle fatigue at the gym, to the point of limiting my workouts, i've seen some improvement.

**  my mind is sharper and more focused, i'm finishing tasks and not quite so scatterbrained {oh, look, a squirrel!}.

**  i've had noticeably less hot flashes, and they have been less intense and shorter in duration.

so ... what is my take after 5 days?

i do think there is a usefulness to these products. 

what i've seen in just 5 days makes me want to know more.

my desire in life is to help others and be a blessing ... and to share products that will help you feel better and enjoy life more would certainly bless many lives.

i'm willing to give these products a longer chance than 7 days and i'm willing to try other products the company offers.  

i love the fact that they are not pharmaceutical in nature and that they are derived from natural ingredients ... many of the ambassadors with the company are *crunchy* mamas and that appeals to me.

whew!

so, that is my HONEST review!

i'll be hosting a challenge through my facebook group my journey 139 within a few weeks if you want to see for yourself what you think of these products. don't just follow me blindly ... try them for yourself, see if you don't feel better and stronger and have more vitality for life ... what have you got to lose?  it's only 7 days!

head back over to my FB page HERE and join if you aren't a member and then either comment to my wall, comment on the "join the challenge post" or PM me if you want to try it for yourself with absolutely NO COMMITMENT ever beyond the 7 day challenge! 




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...