(Almost) Goodbye Oklahoma

There is a huge moving truck sitting in front of our house, boxes and furniture everywhere, and my kids are eating lunch (at 2PM) at a teeny picnic table in our living room. Scott made me rest my arm because it’s stupid and I’m ridiculous. So, here you go.. We leave Oklahoma tomorrow. I am sad, because I really love this state and these people. However, we have SUCH a peace about this.. it still stinks. But, there is peace. If that even makes sense?

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This picture is symbolic. Put it in your heads for tomorrow when we are actually driving. And, remove Scott from the picture and add a puppy because that will be my reality. Lord Jesus, help me. HA!

So, Chloe clearly was covering Addi’s face for whatever reason.. and I have a double chin. You’re welcome.

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Here is try #2. I give up. Also, We were sitting in the parking lot of the U-haul place waiting for it to open. So, mommy shamers, simmer down. Can we also celebrate that for the first time in the history of ever, U-haul had our truck ON TIME, in the right place, and the correct size!!! What?! PLUS, it’s new!

Please pray that we have safe travels tomorrow. I get travel anxiety and have a really hard time relaxing when we travel anywhere out of town. It is supposed to be pretty windy. Wind + big moving truck= terrified emoji. Also, pray for my parents. They have to put up with all five of us under their roof temporarily. One week of us is fun (I guess?) but this will be longer than a week and I’m hoping they don’t disown me.

I’m kidding. I cut my hair and my dad still loves me, so we’ll be fine. πŸ˜‰

I think I’ve sufficiently rested my arm and wasted your time, so I’m gonna go back to doing something that is productive.

Get ready, Illinois, we’re coming for your corn.

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3 Moves in 17 Months

It’s been quiet around here lately. We have been packing loads of boxes, so I have been pretty busy. Yesterday, I had a procedure done on my arm and am not allowed to lift boxes, etc. for 8-10 days. So, while I’m feeling useless, I figured I’d get on here and update.

After a lot of praying and discussion, we have made the decision to move back to Illinois for the time being. God has closed all doors here in the area. The only door open is the one leading to Illinois where my family lives. Let me tell you, we have fought it. We have fought it HARD.We love Oklahoma. We love the people. We wrestled with it for much longer than most people know.

We are loading up the moving truck on Tuesday. Because I have stitches in my arm that are hopefully being removed on Wednesday, we have to wait until after that appointment to head out.

I am so ready to have this all behind us at this point, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t sad.. heartbroken even. We really felt like we would be here for.. longer than 17 months.. God made it very clear to us that staying was not part of His plan, and sometimes obedience is hard. Sometimes it’s messy and confusing and looks nothing like what you ever thought it would. But, as long as you are following HIS leading- not pressure or expectations from ANYONE else- that is what matters.

I am really excited to live near my sisters again and get to know my niece and nephews better. I’ve never lived near them. I haven’t lived near my parents since moving away to college. I am really excited to live near La Gondola again and eat some really good food. (Though I found out I have high cholesterol and have to watch my diet..if you know me, you know I try to watch what I eat already. dumb.)

Most of all, I am excited to see what God is going to do in all of this.

Right now, it looks like a hurricane and certainly feels like one. I won’t lie and say that I see rainbows and sunshine everywhere. I don’t. I get angry and overwhelmed and frustrated. At the end of the day when the chaos settles down, I can see and know so clearly that we are doing what is right.

It may stay quiet on the blog for a while; it will depend on a lot of things. I’m really hoping I can keep posting regularly once we get moved.

Know that I am so thankful for each and every one of you. Your support and love means the world to my family.

P.S. This Danny Gokey song seems like a good theme song, right? πŸ˜‰ THIS is what I’m praying for.. a comeback.

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Friday Favorites

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Water. I love being by the water. We drove to Lake Copan last weekend, and it was so wonderful to hear the waves.

My sisters and I used to tease our mom for wearing these shoes every day of the summer. She used to get really awesome tan lines from them. Now I want them. Sorry, Mom.

Peanut Butter powder is amazing in smoothies!!! You avoid all of the oils making a mess of your blender, but get allllll of that delicious flavor.

This play kitchen is my childhood dream come true. I’m seriously considering saving all of our Swagbucks gift cards to get this for the girls for Christmas. They would love it, too, and all three of them would fit at once.

I am loving my Young Living oils. I am working on a post that details how I have successfully used them over the past month and a half. They are rolling out new products later this month, and I cannot wait!! (sunscreen, bug spray, makeup, and a baby line to name a few) Please let me know if you would like to learn more. The starter kit is the BEST deal (even if you don’t want to sell), and you won’t regret it!!

The Ibotta app is new to me. I feel like I am a million years behind, because I’ve seen every money-saving blogger rave about it. I have only used it for less than a month, and just redeemed $20. That’s $20 back in my pocket for buying items that I was already shopping for!!

Possibly my favorite thing– not being on Facebook!! I have been listing things for sale on local B/S/T sights. But, I am not checking notifications for anything but those products. It is glorious. I never realized how much life was being sucked from me by using Facebook.

I hope you have a happy Friday!!

 

P.S. If you need a laugh- I almost posted this on Thursday because I have no clue what day it is anymore. πŸ˜‰

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Nine Years as His Wife

Scott and I celebrated our nine year anniversary yesterday!

It seems like it has been so much longer, and yet I can’t believe that nine years have flown by. I am so thankful that God blessed me with such an amazing partner for life.

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Even though our current life situation is pretty crummy, we had a great day celebrating. My mom-in-law was so gracious and came over to watch the girls for several hours. (She is currently packing her home to move next week, so she is a saint!)

Scott and I headed to get dinner and ended up eating WAY too much Mexican food.. but man was it good. If you go to see The Pioneer Woman Mercantile, you need to go eat at El Vallarta. The white queso is amazing. After stuffing ourselves to the point of misery, we headed to Osage Hills to hike.

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That view was so beautiful.

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After we finished that trail, we drove down to hike to the waterfalls. I just can’t get enough of them. I know they are small and nothing like the huge falls I have seen elsewhere, but it is so beautiful and secluded. We danced in the water and enjoyed as much of the view as we could before we needed to get home to the kiddos.

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The weather was so perfect. It was such a beautiful evening.

Scott,
We have been through so much together. I am so thankful that God has given you to me to hold my hand through the rocky roads of life. I am thankful that you chose to love me each and every day; even though I am not quite so loveable many times. Happy 9 year anniversary!! I can’t wait to celebrate for the rest of our lives.

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He sees me

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Do you have those moments when life is just getting really hard. When you are saying “God, do you even SEE me here? Don’t you know how much this hurts?”

That pretty much sums up the past couple of months for me. I KNOW He sees me. But, it sure doesn’t always feel like it.

I got a big smack in the head today that I was so grateful for.

Through various circumstances, I had to find a new doctor. The insurance I have had a VERY short list of providers. I was looking into all of the different places. Then, I was getting ready to select and all of them went away except for one. I was kind of irritated, because it’s not what I was going to choose. But, it was better than nothing.

I went in this evening for my appointment. I have a spot on my arm that could possibly be cancerous. It doesn’t look good, but it could definitely be worse.

She spent some time asking about my health history and getting to know me. She asked what my husband does for a living.

Interesting question.

….Well, we have been in youth ministry for the last 8 years. We felt God calling us to adult ministry and away from youth, so you don’t get to stick around. Currently, we are sitting in a hallway without income and no local jobs opening up to make ends meet until the next door opens. I obviously said it better than that and more upbeat, but those are the main points.

Imagine my surprise when this doctor responds by quoting scripture and encouraging me to keep strong in my faith because God has it all worked out. “Don’t get caught up in the crazy anxieties of what is going to happen!” She reminded me that God has us exactly where He wants us and will move us exactly where we need to be; even if it isn’t where and how we want it to go.

I had tears welling up in my eyes as she spoke to me with such compassion and genuine appreciation for those who dedicate their lives to serve others. Maybe you don’t know this, but a lot of people in ministry really feel unappreciated… tell your pastor you appreciate him. Tell your YOUTH PASTOR THAT YOU APPRECIATE HIM!

I know all of these things. I tell myself them. I’ve had others tell me them. Something about this woman looking me right in the eye and loving on me was exactly what I needed in that moment.

I had some nerves all day because I knew that what I went in for wasn’t a good thing. It still isn’t a good thing… especially with her showing me some things that I couldn’t see above the surface. But, I had this sweet lady reminding me of how faithful God is the whole time that we are discussing the plan to remove this spot and make sure that if it is cancer, that it’s all gone.

I was there for several hours (and I still have to have blood work and actually have this procedure done next week). I missed a leadership conference at church. But, I know that what God gave me was SO valuable.

Isn’t it amazing how He works things out in ways that you never expect? Who knew that you would get a great lesson sitting in a cold doctor’s office?

 

Friends, thank you so much for your love and support. Please keep me in your prayers next Tuesday as I have this small procedure. I’ll also get the results on some thyroid blood work and be taking the next steps to find out if things have changed there and start getting some treatment.

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The Pioneer Woman Mercantile

Happy June!Β  We declared the last week a “staycation” to just be a family and refresh during this really difficult season. It was interrupted by Chloe ending up with strep throat, but we made the most of it.

Today, I wanted to share some about The Pioneer Woman Mercantile. I feel really blessed because I was able to go TWICE last week!! My mom-in-law and I had been planning a trip for a while, and we went early Wednesday morning. We were some of the only people in there, and were completely shocked! The weather was beautiful.

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The store itself is very cute. It is full of lots of fun odds and ends, vintage dishes, Drummond Ranch gear, and some cute clothes/accessories. I did not eat at the restaurant, but I have heard that the food is very good.

Upstairs is the best part. The bakery! I had some of her delicious cinnamon rolls for breakfast. You can’t go wrong with cinnamon rolls and a latte.

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My second trip, I was able to take my mom and dad to visit! We got REALLY lucky and went on a day where they were doing lodge tours. We picked up directions and headed to Drummond Ranch. Pictures cannot adequately show how beautiful everything was.

The view was incredible. During the drive back to the lodge, there are countless wild horses. We were in awe. The lodge itself is beautiful. We all commented on how we would love to live in a place like that.

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I couldn’t pass up the chance to take a selfie with Walter!!

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If you ever get the chance to go, you MUST. Pawhuska, OK is beautiful. The town is so quaint with lots of little shops and places to eat. I feel really blessed to live close enough that we are talking about taking the kids soon!

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Here is a panoramic picture of the view from the lodge. The pictures just don’t do justice. It is so incredibly generous of the Drummond’s to open up their home the way they did.

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Osage Hills State Park

During another part of our so-called “staycation”, packed up and headed to Osage Hills. This is a beautiful park with hiking trails, picnic tables, playgrounds, camping, etc. Entrance to the park is free.

We packed up a picnic lunch to eat once we arrived. We picked a nice shady table, and ate some sandwiches and chips.

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We decided to hike a familiar trail. It is short enough that Harper was able to walk on her own- which thrills her to no end.

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At the end of this trail is water that is perfect for playing in. The water was much higher than the last time we visited, due to an insane amount of rain this spring. So, we were more cautious with the girls. Most of the water is not very deep, and the waterfalls are small and beautiful.

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Isn’t it just beautiful?! I could stay there forever.

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If you are into hiking or doing anything outside, I highly recommend that you get yourself a pair of Chacos!! I was able to stand on the slimy rocks in the water without slipping at all. They dried quickly and have a lot of support. {I’ve also heard that Tevas are great.}

 

If you are ever in Northeastern Oklahoma, I highly recommend checking Osage Hills out!!

 

Splashing into Summer

Do you like that cheesy title? You’re welcome.

We officially have daddy all to ourselves for a short time. We are trying to make the most of our time together, and not focus on the overwhelming stress looming overhead. This week is supposed to be stormy the whole time.. if that isn’t a perfect picture of our lives, I don’t know what is.

We had a fun weekend and took advantage of the sun and heat.

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We live within walking distance ofΒ  this free splash pad. We drove because it was absurdly hot, and nobody wants cranky kids showing up to the splash pad! It is so fun to watch the kids go from timid and afraid of getting wet to letting buckets of water get dumped on their heads.

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Monday, we decided to put a little pool up in the yard so we can enjoy the water any time it’s not storming.

Does anyone else HATE the sunscreen routine?! haha! It is super important to Scott and I to keep the girls protected; especially since Addi had a pre-cancerous mole removed last year. We got this brand (specifically this and this) and I am excited to try it out once our current tube is gone. I have heard that it actually rubs in easily, which is pretty rare for a natural sunscreen. I am mostly excited to {hopefully} kill two birds with one stone by using the bug repellent sunscreen.

Tomorrow, I am heading to The Merc with my mom-in-law bright and early. Ree is opening up the ranch for tours this week! I keep hoping to run into her at Walmart since she shops at ours. It hasn’t happened yet, but I am pretty focused on my list when I am at the store. ha! I’ve probably walked right past her and had no idea.

I’m also trying to plan Scott’s 30th birthday that is on Sunday!! I won’t share any of my plans on here in the off chance that he reads this. But, I am trying to make it special! I love him tons.

Happy Tuesday, friends! I hope it’s sunny where you are!

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How I Earn Free Products

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This post is for everyone- not just bloggers. Any time I share a box full of goodies that I got for free, I get a ton of questions on how I got them. I figured that I would just put together a post of what I do so that you can have the same opportunities. Some of them require work, so that is why I say “earn” free products.

Moms Meet: This one is new to me. It’s a program that is run by Kiwi Magazine. You can sign up to become a Mom Ambassador and apply for different programs. This program is great because Kiwi is a natural/eco-friendly family magazine, so the products are organic and mostly good for you.Β  I recently was selected for a Baby Mum-Mums program. Here is what they sent me- FOR FREE. I didn’t pay shipping. I just had to do what was required of me.

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(Please excuse the terrible quality photo. It’s the only one I have of it.) Those boxes were for my family to keep, and the huge bags were all to share along with coupons. Awesome, right?! Since you do have to apply, you aren’t guaranteed to be selected- just FYI. You can also do different activities to earn rewards points. I just redeemed points for a free allergy-friendly cookbook!

House Party: This is another website where you apply to host various house parties. They send you everything you need and you just invite your friends.Β  I have doneΒ  Seventh Generation Healthy Baby, Huggies potty training, Kikkoman, Fairlife, and Dunkin Donuts parties. I’ve applied to SO many more than that. It’s really awesome because they send you tons of free products and samples when you get selected. You can also apply to be a chatterbox for other products. When you are a chatterbox, you get sent a new product on the market to talk about on social media. I recently got sent a new Kleenex product to try and share about! I apply to them all. I’ve been doing this since 2013.

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Swagbucks: This isn’t so much about free products, but free gift cards. I have shared about it before, but I’ll always share. It takes a while to get the hang of it, but once you do it’s so easy. I have earned HUNDREDS of dollars in Amazon/Target/Paypal gift cards. This is what we use to buy birthday and Christmas presents. It’s a blessing.

Hip2Save is a great place to find out what companies are offering freebies. This is where there is not work required. It’s typically just free samples; though sometimes they are full sized products. I love it because Collin finds EVERYTHING. She also shares how you can combine coupons/app offers to get free or practically free things at the grocery store. Basically, if you want to become great a couponing- she is your girl!

 

I will add to this post if I think of any others, or find any other programs. I earn extra Swagbucks if you sign up through my link. Any other program, I don’t earn a thing. I share because I am super grateful for the opportunities that these companies have given me. It’s really fun to try new products and get to bless other people with them!

Are there any that you would add to this list? I’m sure there are some that I am missing.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. Let us never forget the sacrifices that were made so that we can have our freedoms.

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Slime and Sunshine

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We made slime! I know that this has been a huge trend all year, but I haven’t had the time for it. I haven’t had the energy for it either, to be completely honest.

We used:
1 cup of glue and 1 cup of water mixed together. Next, I mixed in red and blue sparkles. Then, I added 1 cup of liquid starch. It immediately changes consistency, so you have to get your hands in there and work it out. I kept playing with it until the liquid was all mixed in. I’m also storing it in a cleaned out yogurt container so that I can just throw it away when the time comes. Make sure to have your kiddos wash their hands after playing with it each time. (This is a nap time toy because I’m afraid Harper would eat it.)

WARNING: glitter gets on every surface of everything even though it is mixed into this goop.

It is so wonderful having everyone well again. They still are a little grumpy, but so much better. They were so excited to go to Mimi and Papa’s house for lunch on Sunday. Papa even blew bubbles with them outside!

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The weather has been beautiful here. We’ve had some cooler days that allowed me to open up the windows and let the breeze in. It’s wonderfully sunny, which is a nice change from the dreary weeks we had before.

Yesterday was our last day with the C3 teens. It was very bittersweet. They are an amazing group of young adults who are going to do amazing things for Jesus. Our worship leader led campfire style last night. All of the teens and adult helpers sat around singing, and it was beautiful. It was a wonderful way to close this chapter in our lives. I am forever grateful.

I hope that your week has been full of sunshine as well. Maybe slime isn’t your thing, so I’ll hope for sunshine. πŸ˜‰

 

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