This is how I handle stressful days......a little PEACE oil deeply inhaled.
Ok ok, this may be a little TOO deeply, but it worked.
We had our single worst travel day in the history of mobile Fergusons.
I don't know if it was because we had had so many late nights and busy days in a row at the wedding.
Or, if the wind rocking the RV made us all sick (thank God for Digestzen oil), or if it was just us being rusty from not traveling much this past year, but by the time we got to Florida (after leaving at 5 am) we were CARSICK, GROUCHY and EXHAUSTED.
7 hours later, we arrived in beautiful to Sarasota, Florida. PHEW! We made it! (barely)
Dale & I made the decision to get the kids some pizza, have them get on jammies and stay home for early bedtime and some cable tv. (a big treat!)
We headed out for a grown up dinner with Dale's family at our favorite sea food place, Anna Maria's Oyster Bar for all you can eat fish and chips. It was gorgeous so we requested the patio!
It was SO GOOD to be back! Florida feels more and more like home, the longer we spend time here. For the next two weeks, we ate yummo food and played in the sunshine.
We saw Grammy Drea, and ate out with Dale's aunts as much as possible!
The rest of the time, we relaxed and road bikes!
Oopsie, got into a good book and 18 chapters later, someone got a little burnt!
doTERRA toner, Roman Chamomile and Lavender to the rescue. INSTANT relief!
I gave it a couple days to heal up and hit the pool again, this time the back of me got a wee bit red. Oopsie again!
We were just leaving when a nice couple came up and asked, are you the Ferguson's? We read your blog!
What a SMALL WORLD?! We adore meeting our blog reading friends and this darling couple is giving RV life a go. Hi Jena & Charlie! I hope you are having a great trip!
We discovered an authentic, gooey, drippy, Philly Cheesesteaks place. Wow! They fly in the bread fresh daily from Philly.
Gentile Brothers is hidden gem of Sarasota!
We fell into a routine of bike rides every night after dinner and it was LOVELY! Sophie GOES NUTS and jumps around whining excitedly until I get her up in my basket.
This RV park is MASSIVE, so we can go new ways every night and discover new parts. 1300 spaces for RVs and then darling park model housing too.
Lest you think I never cook, I do have a few new Instant Pot recipes we made and loved.
The first is Pioneer Women's Enchilada Dip for Easter snack supper. YUMMO! I used the packets of red enchilada sauce instead of canned because I prefer the simple ingredient list. Tasted great! Leftovers got turned into a layered enchilada casserole, totally divine!
The second is a Baked Frito Pie that we turned into a Frito Platter. Very yummy! Instant Pot makes things more liquidy, so I used the sautee button to boil and stirred in some cold water with corn starch to thicken.
Recipes in slideshow:
Grammy headed to Germany to see her momma and family, but Uncle Dan and Aunt Torrey were still in town. We had them out for burgers one night. GOAT CHEESE stuffed burgers, mind you. Holy amazing!
There is a really cool Amish market nearby, so we grabbed freshly made homemade buns, local tomatoes and corn on the cob too! Avery set a nice table for them, complete with name tags.
Destiny made herself an appointment at the Apple store to get her phone fixed at a nearby mall, so we all headed in. We had NO idea there were such big and fancy malls in the world apparently, because every person in our family stopped and gasped.
The girls when we went IN, and the boys when we went OUT. You will see why in a sec.
First of all, it was just beautiful. Light and airy, and infinity fountains everywhere.
While we waited on the iPhone people, Avery and I slipped away to go look at formals for our doTERRA event in September. It's prom time, and I have learned you either snag one early, during spring prom, or they are ALL GONE by September and not coming out with new dresses until Christmas.
She was in princess ball gown heaven!
I tired on a billion teeny bopper dresses, not made for a mom bod, then narrowed it down to two, and once Dale joined me, he quickly picked his fav once he joined us.
RED of course! For my doTERRA Dorothy team. And the color is nice and happy too! :)
We walked out of the mall, past valet parking, and the boys all GASPED. .....
Toto, we aren't in Kansas anymore!
Right before we left, the girls got to do something CRAZY cool to their hair......
Daddy said it was all good since we have a GO BLUE theme going at our house right now as we run for Blue Diamond in 2018. (thus my blue stripes in mine)
We took advantage of the hot sunshine and warm outdoors to get it done!
I ran out of time to get "after" pics, so that is another blog for another day apparently, SORRY! ;)
A few more sunny swim days and hot tub nights and it was time to pull out and head up to the COLD states. (pretty much everywhere else right now is snowing or un seasonably cold)
Bye again, Florida! We miss you already! Until next winter........
We got back from Leadership Retreat and just like that, it was time to leave Florida.
Because we stayed in Kansas so much longer this year, just trying to heal our hearts from losing our beloved dad and Papa, our time in the sunshine just simply FLEW BY!
We tried to squeeze in some fun with Uncle Chad, Aunt Lauren, Nana and the cousins before we all went our separate ways again.
Oh, and our friends from Kansas and business partners came by and hung out too. They are new full time RVers! SO FUN!
We planned a family skate day and headed into town.......
Let's get a photo of all the skaters!!!
Whoopsie, down went Dylan.
One more stop by the house for final goodbyes and it's time to hit the road.....we have a wedding to attend in South Carolina!
Come on guys, TRY to be normal! There we go......
See you both back here next winter! Love the Florida sunshine!
Then it was time to pack up and clean up my dads beloved Florida "farm" and it all started feeling official.
The heart is a fickle funny thing.... ❤
I cried because I didn't want to come face this place, and now I cry because I hate to go!
The Lord is so faithful to have helped us through our first tough winter without Papa, to hold space for us and put us in a place where memories to flow in and out as gently as the warm Florida breeze. 🌴☀️
It was a safe haven and a place for the next level of healing. I am grateful for our time here!
South Carolina, here we come!
We are loving our time with Nana in Florida! It gives us even more of an excuse to see Uncle Chad and Auntie Lauren too, so we planned lots of shared dinners and fun nights....
We request a Nana Day, all day Sunday. We picked her up for church, then planned to have her for the day. We read in the sun, she napped (and snored haha!) and enjoyed a snack supper before we took her back home.
I don't actually have any photos of this, we were having too much fun I guess?! :)
I did have a little mishap Sunday morning.....
Note to self, if your contact container tips over during the night, it will NOT properly neutralize the benzoid peroxide solution.
FIRE. In my eye ballssssss...
Thank goodness for fun glasses to distract!
Avery wanted pretty curls for church, and we realized we left her corkscrew soft rollers in Kansas, so we improvised and went OLD SCHOOL.
Totally worked like a charm. She was SO excited to show Nana her curls Sunday morning!
We plan to leave town a few days to head SOUTH. It's time to face Papa's house without him there for the first time, and help Drea with any remaining Papa things.
I have butterflies, but I know another level of healing can be accomplished simply by facing that place that holds such sad memories of his final days....
Before we left, we went over to Chad and Lauren's for dinner to soak up some Nana time.
Dale made a DELICIOUS chicken & rice dish for us all, his families recipe from Costa Rica, with a special salsa that you sprinkle on.....
Avery made a no bake Eclair cake, served with Strawberries from the festival....
And just like that, it was time to head south for some sunshine.....
We met Auntie Lauren, the boys, and Nana at the Strawberry Festival Saturday morning! The day was PERFECT, not too cold and not too hot, although we still got sunburned!!!
There was a car show, music, booths and fresh strawberries, of course.
BMX Trick show:
Funnel cakes, lunch and then home....
The kids have been doing extra good at school lately, so daddy surprised them with their favorite local treat, Twisty Treat to be exact.
Destiny went to the car and ate her slushy while we all waited 25 more minutes for our cones. They must have had some techincal difficulties with the machines because we have NEVER waited that long!
Nana came to town for a visit! She flew in from Kansas to see her kids and all her grands here in sunny Florida. We always enjoy when she comes.....
We met her shuttle in a parking lot and took her to a nice family style dinner. She came bearing a comic paper wrapped gift for Tylan, a new Adventure in Odyssey disc, yay!!!
They promptly got to reading!
One of the reasons momma is here is because we all head to Leadership Training here in a bit, to learn more how to use our strengths, lead strong and have some fun with other oilers.
One night is the Into the Deep Blue Sea party, so I've been doing some online bargain shopping in the meantime!
I am sure I'll have loads of pics to share from there once we get back! :) I am so excited to go!
We live in horse country Florida, 2 hours from the nearest beach. We love the sunshine, yet not too hot weather. We love the tree covered roads and horses, southern mansions and the "farm" feel of the area.
One of the newest additions to our town, is a paved walking and bike trail that goes on for MILES.
One particularly nice and lazy afternoon, we decided to go walk it. (We can't figure out a way to get all 6 bikes in our family car, so thats another project for another day) Walking it is!!!!
We set off, and it was BEAUTIFUL!!!!!
There was a cool old house, just off the main trail we went and check out..... SO COOL!
Can you find all 4 Fergusons? :)
Well, we are headed to the Strawberry Festival, so I will write more again soon. Hugs, T
Ty is the MASTER Lizard catcher around here. But this time, well this time takes the cake.....
Meet Boris the Broadhead Skink.
The kids created a nice habitat for him and fed him a huge cockroach. They hung out for a while and then decided ol Boris was probably ready to go home to his family, so we released him back into the wild.
A fun part of living in Florida for the winter, is that my brother and his wife are nearby, as well as my step momma. That means loads of family dinners, cousin play times and even date night OUT! Woot woot!
We love when Grammy drives up to stay at the farm apartment and work with Uncle Chad at the furniture store because it means we get to see her for dinner and church and have some fun.
We always like to go to brunch after church, have you ever heard of First Watch?
Man, they have unique foods. All fresh and local too. This is the Gruyere and Ham omelete, I split this and the lemon ricotta strawberry pancakes with Dale. Mm mm amazing!
That night, we headed out to a great sushi place with Chad and Lauren! It's so nice to have a built in babysitter.....thanks Destiny!
We have a lot of fun with these two!
Speaking of Lauren, she shared a great recipe with me I wanted to tell you about. Now, in true Tonya fashion, I changed it up a lot, but it was so so good.
I'll try to explain what I did:
I added more parmesan cheese, used the refrigerator noodles and the already made pesto, I like cold fresh better then canned. I added porta bella mushrooms sauteed in butter with the julianned zucchini and garlic before dumping it all into the pot and stirring it together with the fresh basil and tomato.
We served it with french bread, olive oil and dipping spices. YUM!
We had a good weekend of star gazing, moon watching, class teaching and preparing for my Momma to come from Kansas for a nice, long visit!
We are finding happiness again, here on Papa's beloved "Florida farm". The kids adore being here, and I think the happy memories are taking over the sting of the loss of our precious Papa.
I love their joy and giggles. The stories around the fire again.
We have been eating our way around the favorite places! Mmm, MOJO's has the BEST black beans and rice!
One of our favorite things about living somewhere for longer than normal is that we can get a LIBRARY card! Eeek! There is NOTHING better than paper books, real ones you can hold in your hand.
We have been lounging around in chairs and hammocs after school and just enjoying! :)
Even MOMMA gets to read! Ahhh, guilty pleasure.
We chalk, we bake, we play after school each day and enjoy the sunshine.
We eat outside a LOT, we miss being able to all fit around the table, plus its SO pretty out!
Look how sweet and precious my family is.....
OH WOW. Nice kids.
How about this one?
Really Ty? ONE more chance guys.....
MUCH BETTER. :)
Mmm! I love having an oven to cook in, Drea lets me use the apartment kitchen. We always have to make Creamy Hamburger Casserole.
Do you remember that one from the blog? Click here.
Speaking of cooking, I have a NEW favorite recipe from Drea. You are going to want to make this!
I bought a 5 pound bag of Brussels sprouts from Sam's.
Cut ends off and wilted leaves and halve.
Drizzle with olive oil and generously salt and pepper.
Roast at 425* until fork tender.
Drizzle with balsamic reduction, add craisins and goat cheese. And walnuts if you'd like.
Serve hot. Mmm, I can eat bowls of this stuff for my WHOLE MEAL!
We took the kids skating on Saturday! As a child of the 80's I grew UP skating all over the tiny town I grew up in.
The kids are used to bladeing, but seemed to transition well to skates. It was a cute little rink and an easy way to pass a Saturday afternoon. They had a ball!
I feel bad, blogging our Valentine's Day activities from half a month ago!! I am THAT behind. Oops! BOGO week was such a blessing and a busy time, so I am giving myself some grace. So many of you joined our Oil Team and I am so excited about that! :)
So for Valentines Day this year, we had a date night earlier in the week at a restaurant called Sky Bistro. Oh my word, it was amazing!
Dale and I got fixed up to meet my brother Chad, sis in law Lauren and step momma, Drea for a FUN night out on the town!
My pixie grow out is going ok, but not great....so I had to quick think of a way to pin back the akwardly long short sides. (does that even make sense? different blog for a different day)
The menu was phenomenal! Upscale asian food, and because of a mix up on our fried rice, we got a FREE dessert platter of bread pudding and some kind of funnel cake fries with drizzle. Mmmm!
My funny little Valentines and the love of my life, hid love notes all over the RV for me to find. Precious! 😍🍓
4 Oaks Academy students attended their second ever, fancy lunch for their Valentine's Day party, and they loved every minute of it....I sent them out to work and play and got started with food prep.
The restaurant was the oh so fancy "La Cruiset a la Rv Désirer". (None of us actually knew what they meat except fancy cuisine in the desired RV, but it sounded ritzy.)
Dale and I carefully set the table, poured the bubbly, and went to see if there was a line at the door for lunch service....yup!
On the kids' assigned spots was a clue, as to where their valentines treat was hidden, around the RV.
The menu included: (you have to read it in a fancy french voice)
*Mini tea sandwiches in both egg salad & cream cheese cucumber dill
*Veggie a la raw (you had to take one of every color, chefs orders)
*Raspberry lemonade jigelette
*Le Puffs of de Cheese
There was a Strawberry Creme Tarte next to each plate, and a glass of Cranberry Bubbly.
Prayer and then CHEERS!! Time to eat!
They sure had some crazy wait staff! One of the waiters even got fired I hear! 🤣😂 (Several times.)
Riiiight, Dale Ferguson?!
After they went on their scavenger hunt for their chocolate hearts (no pics, sorry) it was arts and crafts time!
Last surprise was the Valentine's Olympics!!!! ☀️
First event: Relay Run
Race to rake leaves till the pile is as high as your ankle, run to tag your partner.
Partner has to find a silver torch (spoon), poked in the ground before proceeding.
Run "torch" to your awaiting team and together run with it and clang swing handle.
Second event: Water Relay
Using a spoon or lid, run relay style to fill up your measuring cup.
Fullest at the end of 2 minutes - wins!
Girls pulled the Gold at the last minute by 1/4 a cup.
Third event: Partner Color Guard
Link arms with partner and never let go.
Race from color to color as they are hollered out by the announcer.
You must both touch the color!
So hysterical to watch them, they loved it! :)
My thoughtful kiddos begged to get Grammy a Valentine gift so she would feel happy on Valentine's Day too......look what they picked out!
They displayed it on the table so she was sure to see it as SOON as she got home. :)
It was a happy Valentines Day, all the way around....
I am so sorry its been so quiet here before this week, I find myself at a loss for words, and participating in a time of quiet reflection, pulling inward quite a bit. I suppose that is healthy and good, right? I just have some guilt for not coming to hang out with you as often. I have had all kinds of blogs floating around, just didn't write, schedule or upload them.
We have been here in Florida a month now, and its not as hard as it first was. The first day we pulled in, I laid in the back bedroom for a long time before I could even step into the front of the RV with all its big windows looking out. My heart was longing for him out there, waving excitedly from the front door as we pulled in, just like years past.
In fact, I pretty much cleaned the whole house, dripping tears everywhere I went, before I could step foot ouside. We had a little whoopsie that dropped me to my knees:
Check out my 4 month old laptop. During travel it slid back, still in the case, and nestled perfectly between the slide out and the wall. Needless to say, we were all a little out of sorts, and no one checked like we usually do, before sliding it out.
Tear tears tears. So many tears that day! I told satan to LEAVE US ALONE.....
I finally decided to step outside, I was ready.....
It felt like a ghost town.
All his little touches were gone. He was such a tidy person by nature and took pride his little second home. Looking around at the closed up tight apartment, the empty RV that wouldn't be driven on a fun summer trip this year.....
There were leaves everywhere, and we realized for the first time, how much work he did on "our spot" to get it ready for us with its little porch and clean raked yard.
So here we are, living on my daddy's beloved "farm" in central Florida, and missing him everyday. (this is dad and Drea's second home, when they came up from their big house down south by the beach, to work the family furniture store with my brother Chad)
At first being here was salt in the wound, but just a few days in, it became comforting somehow, to be surrounded by a place so "HIM". And you can tell he left thinking he would be traveling back up again....
Shoes by the back door. A tool out on the work bench. An RV waiting for the next trip.
When we sit by the fire in this peaceful spot, in the beautiful cool Florida nights, we know he is happy we came and enjoyed this special space....
We can do it for him. He loved it so much, just like last years time hop showed me.
So here we sit, missing him terribly, thankful for the promise of seeing him again one day...
I know life moves on, and we all will too, but for now, I am embracing every layer, every tearful, hard day and every happy, laughter filled day, with my whole being. Trusting my Abba Father to guide my path, and take my broken heart and make it new.
And maybe someday soon, I will stop glancing up in the window when I walk by, to see if he is inside with his feet up in the afternoon....
So I smile through my tears, because I know my daddy is so happy and healthy up there in Paradise with Jesus.....and he wouldn't come back even if he could.
Our human mind cannot grasp the glory he now lives in everyday.
I just wish he could be here again.....I'd sure have a lot to say.
We were heading to Florida, but we had just a few last stops to make....
In lieu of flowers, we asked the community to donate to my dad's alma mater, Central Christian, instead of flowers. We were THRILLED to find out, that just over $3000 was raised. And it was just the right amount for a much needed new commercial dishwasher for the school kitchen. Theirs no longer worked! That is a big problem!
I am so thankful to all who donated, we'd MUCH rather have the gift that keeps on giving like that, as opposed to flowers that wilt and die. Dad would've been so proud!
I showed the kids his senior photo on the wall while we were there. :)
We needed to make one more VERY important stop on our way out of town....
We wanted to pay our respects and see Papa's resting place. The headstone is ordered and will be up when we get back this summer.
Still doesn't seem real that he isn't waiting for us anxiously in Florida....he was always so full of life and joy!
Our trip to Florida was fairly uneventful. We took it extra slow, and stopped more than usual.
A celery spill from a semi that wrecked, that held us up and extra hour......
Ranch dressing, anyone?
OH! And a gas station exercise session outside leads to a jackpot for Destiny - $100!
We make the kids do stretches, yoga and RUN RUN RUN when we stop for gas. This gas station had a HUGE hill down to a nasty drainage ditch. There was a concrete ramp run off, that was dry, and she was walking up and down it, while the little kids ran around.
She looked over, and down between the concrete blocks, she found this bill that had washed down, who knows when, just stuck there! She had just shared with me that she wished she had spending money, and that it was hard to earn anything while traveling. I told her to pray about it!
Guess what? The LORD answers! :)
We did school like normal while bouncing down the road, and the kids performed "Paul Revere's Ride" by Longfellow....
It was a good travel day!
We took 3 whole days to get down, I didn't want Dale pushing hard, he was too weary. We ALL were!
One morning, our hose froze at the spicket, and poor Sophie could NOT get close enough to the heater vent. Haha!
The closer to Florida, the warmer it got, but the more the butterflies flew in our tummies. ☀️🌴🦋 Staying at a place so full of memories of my dad, a place so HIM, is going to be really really tough. Big reality check for sure!
This next layer of healing is a big one, and I am grateful we never walk alone!
You know how you know something might be coming, and think you are at peace and prepared for it, and then it wallops you upside the head, and you realize there is literally, absolutely, no way to ever be ready for these moments?
So its very very very hard to find a place to stay in southern Florida in the winter....we knew we might have to do some RV Park hopping. Not the end of the world, but annoying none the less. And the next closest RV park with openings can be hours away, not condusive for running over for a quick minute to help with dads care.
And the Lord moved mountains again, for us to stay at the RV park closest to my dad's house for the next MONTH straight. Thank you, Jesus! We are less than 3 miles away!!!!
I really really love the setting!!!!! This place rocks!
We always put out this sign my dad made us, but everything becomes more special at a time like this, right? Sigh.
I had to take a photo to share.
The kids FAVORITE part is that we have 2 perfect hammock trees right outside the door. They read out there for hours!
The RV park itself is really nice too. We do family walks at the end of the day and swim most afternoons at the nice pool. We go see Papa as much as possible, while also allowing them their own schedule and time together.
We are making ourselves right at home, putting out a jar for sun tea, and Avery decided our RV number pole needed some Christmas Spirit. Look closely, there are antlers too! Clever girl.
We spend a lot of time out front under the awning, just enjoying the nice weather and some family time after school.
Uncle Chad and Lauren are coming down each weekend, this time kidless. Uncle Chad played so Battleship with Pax and he loved that.
The kids talked me into a $10 ginger bread kit. What a joke! They sure don't make em like they used to,
Did I just age myself? Hahah ;) Its so gross, they used to at least be real cookies, now its like cardboard.
We had Brie Arugula Burgers for dinner, yummo!
When the kids get antsy, we head the 5 minutes to the beach and RUN EM HARD. I still forget sometimes, we are so close to the ocean. We usually winter 3 hours north of here!!!!
I'll update you on dad soon.....the time is drawing near for his homecoming.
3 years ago, in the peak of his cancer battle, my dad felt like the Lord gave him a verse about allowing him 15 more years. He read it in his quiet time, and could never find it again, but it encouraged him and give him fight when he needed it.
The other day dad said to me, I wonder why He changed his mind????
OH my word, break my heart.
I said, Daddy you can still believe for 12 more years! We need our faith to be STRONGER than what our eyes can see! (some great advice from some awesome friends)
I think life can be a little discouraging when your two main things you love are taken from you - your ability to move and your ability to speak and joke as you are accustomed.
I hate seeing my daddy like this, and was praying and praying for a Word from the Lord, not only for him, but for ME too. This is the most discouraging situation! And no answers. So I needed SOMETHING, a nugget to hold on to the the Lord was with us.
And He ALWAYS answers!!! What a blessing!!!!!
Our awesome prayer warrior friends, Pastor Jesse and Edith, often call with a word from the Lord for us. I love when He speaks through them to me!!!
This time, the Lord woke Edith up in the middle of the night with a message for me to give to dad.......
These 2 verses! The very ones he had read years before....
She also said if my dad wants to go home, that its ok for him to want that too. Paradise awaits him. I asked daddy if he wanted to fight for life anymore and he said he wasn't sure.
I know that whether Jesus heals my daddy here on earth, or heals him by taking him to Heaven, that we can rejoice that there is life and hope and healing for us all.
Here and on the other side....
Update: 3 days after I made this post, dad stopped wanting to get out of his bed and sit in the chair. Hospice is saying 3 to 7 days. I almost didn't post this, but somehow, somewhere, this all fits into the story and I need it to be here to read later. xoxo
What a treat to get to have a Girls Day OUT! Well, a morning out anyhow. Dale and the boys stayed home with Papa, and the girls slipped out for farmers market, and a wonderful brunch at a darling old train station building.....
Flokie, Aunt Torreys sweet puppy, came too. We may or may not have tempted him with some french toast bites.... ;)
Look at that SWEET WITTLE FACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Check out these dishes!!! I am such a foodie. I appreciate fresh ingredients, yummy food and attention to detail. This place had it all!
Smoked salmon eggs on a brie smothered bread
Cinnamon roll pancakes
We hit the farmers market, no pics, but I did buy cucumbers for gyros and tomatoes and sweet onions for sandwiches for school lunches that week. YUMMM!!!!!
Sweet sisters, love them and their relationship!
We shopped a specialty grocery store and bakery and headed home to the guys....
It was time to call in a day......Flokie was PLUM worn out!
So Auntie Lauren brought a fun craft for all the cousins to work on....ROCKS to paint!!!
Did you know its a "thing" now, to hide painted rocks for others to find? Yup!
Plus, its totally great entertainment! FOR HOURS........
You'll need flat stones, home depot or lowes have bags of them, acrylic paints in different colors, brushes and sponge brushes are fun, paper plates, paper towels, and a paint pen if you want to do any kind of writing or tiny detail work.
We have some good artists in the family! Who KNEW?! ;)
So we've been talking about doing this so long, and now its done, and it was a BLAST. We'll do another batch as soon as we have some time to get supplies.
We are calling it, "RV Oilers Rock"!
Hahah, get it, ROCK?
No really, like a stone......from the RV Oilers......painted and hidden.......
An RV Oilers rock.
Ok, ok, we hope you think we ROCK, too! ;)
We are putting #rvoilersrock on the backs in hopes that people will find them, photograph them and share to social media with our hashtag.
We can hide stones ALL OVER the country as we travel!
Eeek, so fun, right?! I hope one of YOU finds one someday! :)
Many, many Florida trips ago, a tradition was started....
Saturday morning breakfast at the local Amish restaurant, Der Dutchman.
Amazing breakfast buffet with all the fixins: biscuits and gravy, grits, mush, oatmeal, hashbrowns and hashrown casserole, eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, french toast, pancakes, fruit slush, fresh fruit, muffins, homemade donuts,
Are you drooling yet?
Here are some pics from years ago:
So when Saturday rolled around, we knew this was an important memory maker, even if dad wasn't feeling 100%. Chad and Lauren were still in town for the weekend, so it just seemed like the right thing to do, to all go and enjoy our tradition.
Somewhere over the years, a photo tradition was started, on Der Dutchmans sweeping staircase. I had to keep telling myself, surely this wasn't the LAST chance for a staircase photo, so I wouldn't burst into tears. We took cousin pics BEFORE food, while they were unloading Papa from the car, and saved the big family one for AFTER.
I can't find them all, but I unearthed a few staircase pics....
If love could keep someone alive, this guy's living forever.
And less we get too serious, we had to take a silly photo too.
Love these goofballs so much!
Hey guys! Did you all have a good Thanksgiving?
We enjoyed a nice day over at Drea and dad's house, eating, cooking and eating some more. We decided to set out a bunch of snacks at 11 and eat dinner at 4 or whenever turkeys got done.
There was SO. MUCH. FOOD.
We attempted not one, but TWO turkeys this year. A traditional roasted one doused in butter and fresh herbs and veggies..... Auntie Lauren, who is usually quite squeamish, got right in there! ;)
Turned out beautifully!
Second turkey was done outside by my step sister Ashley's boyfriend...check it out! Oh man was it ever GOOD!
Destiny and Avery requested REAL whipped cream for the pies, so I put them right to work on that. A chilled bowl and beater, a pinch of cinnamon and some vanilla and we had ourselves some GOURMET whipped cream.......
It was nice enough to eat outside, so we filed through the line then went out to the lanai.
There is much to be thankful for......
We have settled into our life here in Florida. The RV park is stunning and has an incredible pool, putt putt mini golf and like I said, is so super close to dad and Drea's house. What a blessing!
We do school in the morning, go say hi to dad sometimes, eat lunch, swim at the pool and head back over for family dinner....
The kids just like to be near him.....they read or color quietly. The tears come at bedtime, when they process the day. I am thankful they allow those tears and emotions to flow out, its healthy for them and we know the Lord bottles those tears up in Heaven.
Papa loves having his head rubbed with fractionated coconut oil and essential oils. We use frank, copiba, peppermint, lime, white fir and lemongrass with great results!
One day we took the kids out to eat fresh sea food and see the sunset. It's amazing what walking and sitting on the beach can do for your weary soul.....
I needed to be reminded of a Creator who loves me, who loves my dad, and who wants the best for our family. Who wants to see dad prosper and live a long life on the earth......
What an incredible artistic Father we serve. The author and the finisher, the beginning and the end.
Thank you, Jesus!
We are soaking up every moment with dad as we adjust to our RV life again. It was way smoother than I imagined it would be after being in the apartment so long. We are all so happy and settled and every single one of us, at one time or another has said, "I am so happy we are back in the RV!"
My brother Chad, and sis in law, Lauren came down kid free and spent the weekend down here. It was so good to see them!
Papa is joining us for dinner each night. He is such a trooper!
Everyone knows that when the door is closed to Papa's office, its time to be quiet and let him rest. He sleeps a lot, and that's good, that's when his body can knit and heal.
So we play games and read.....and enjoy the nice weather!
Grammy took us to this HUGE, amazing library! Oh how we love paper books!!!
Playing games with Aunt Torrey and Uncle Daniel
At night we hang out on the lanai and chill by the fire. The weather couldn't be more perfect!
Good byes are never easy.....
I had to snag this photo of Chad and dad holding hands and just visiting a bit before he left to go back.
I knew he wouldn't love his posture, so I told him to stand up straighter and I'd take it again.
Chad being the goofball that he is.....delivered!
Laughter is really good medicine.....
It's amazing how one call can alter your whole day, week, plans...all of it.
Tuesday, we got a warning call from my sister in law, that my dad wasn't doing really great. She said, just be on stand by, in case you have to jump and run. She was sweet, but real with me. I was at lunch with my family and two friends, and hung up bawling. It's so hard to be far away from your loved ones when things aren't good.
If you recall, my daddy has been through ALOT this past 3 years. Fighting successfully lung cancer, brain cancer and then spine cancer. He has beat 5% odds and walked out of the hospital a medical miracle more times than I can count.
He is using essential oils to support his body during this process and he is a picture of health! Very active. We love traveling with him and my step mom and he even stayed with my kids for 2 weeks in Kansas while we were at convention.
We have made several tearful trips to Florida, thinking it was a good bye, when it was a miracle show. Like from ICU to home in 3 days, overcoming 5% success rate and more, from lung surgery, to massive saddle pulmonary embolisms to brain surgery.
God is still in the miracle business and daddy is living proof!
We had been spread out in the apartment with plans to stay through Christmas, so to pack the everything back into the RV, do laundry and gut the fridge in less than 3 hours, was nothing short of a miracle. We had friends and family come over to help make it happen. So thankful!
RIGHT as we were standing out in the road loading the last laundry basket, Dale gets a call, and goes white as a sheet. He turns to me with tears streaming down his cheeks, and says we have to go NOW. My step mom, Drea, called him bawling. Things were not good, she was scared we weren't going to make it in time.
We RAN into the house, shut off lights and our precious friends gathered in a circle around and prayed over us. I am SO SO blessed to have these kind of people in our lives! (Thank you, we love you all!)
We were pushing hard to get down in time, so after 2 long hard days without stopping, it was time to stretch our legs. The travel morale greatly improves when we do this! Georgia has a really nice rest area, so we pulled over and enjoyed some fresh air. The leaves were STUNNING!
So the trip down was not without troubles, and we found ourselves on the side of the road after a giant BOOM! I thought something was coming through the floor of our bathroom. For the first time in almost 3 years, we blew a Coach tire.....
Miracle of miracles, we were quarter of a mile from a tire store. Second of all, instead of paying $1000 to have it fixed on the side of the road, we were able to limp in.
And even bigger miracle, they had not one but TWO, new tires to sell us. Most of the time, tires like this run $400 plus EACH. (When you replace one tire, you replace two or they are uneven, due to tread difference, who knew? Not me!)
Proof the Lord is always with His children, the tires they sold us had been on another truck for ONE WEEK, so they sold us BOTH for $400 and threw in some extra parts for the busted airline,
We continued on our way and realized about Gainsville Florida, we had a problem. When the tire blew, we must have also blown one of the air ride air bags and we were VERY VERY crooked the rest of the trip.
I took this shot once we got to the RV park, and had dropped the trailer off in parking, and unloaded car.....no wonder we felt like we were in one of those crazy houses at the state fair! :)
Another miracle, is that this beautiful RV park just a few miles down the road from Grammy and Papas house, had an opening. As you know, its peak season here in Florida for snow birds!
We quickly set up and jumped in the car to go see Papa. Lo and behold, he was out on the porch getting some Vitamin D and fresh air. Oh, it was SO good to hug his neck!
So let me catch you up, 3 weeks ago, on the way to dinner with friends, dad couldn't speak. He tried but nothing came out. Drea recognized the symptoms right away and had him pull over and took him to the hospital, where they determined he was having multiple seizures.
They saw cancer on his chart and chalked it up to brain surgery several years ago, and told us we were lucky it hadn't shown up before this. They sent him home. It just didn't add up. Why would this just FLIP so suddenly?
Several times they ended up in the hospital, and several times they got sent back home, as all tests came back clear. He's had headaches since this past summer, just not this bad. They amped up to the point of curl up on the floor, rocking and holding his head and violently vomiting bad. Brain scans came back clear and all this continues to be a mystery.
A week later, his motion has declined to the point of a cane or he tips over, and his speech is quite slurred. At times he forgets what he is saying, or gets frustrated because the right words don't come out at the right times. He is such a joyful communicator and keeps us in stitches with his funny remarks and stories when we are together. I know this is hard on him.
Now we have morphined up Papa, and no answers,
We are in the Lord's waiting room asking for a miracle! Will you join me?
Meet Uncle Daniel and the future Aunt Torrey.....these 2 sweethearts got engaged recently! We had all been praying and hoping for a LONG time it would come to pass. The girls kept asking, NOW can she be Aunt Torrey? YES! :)
We were so honored when they decided to do the wedding while we were still living in Florida. That meant like 3 weeks to plan! They were so chill, no problemo!
The wedding was to be held at Dad and Drea's country property we live on, with food in the barn and a dance floor under the open shed roof. It was to be an "I Do BBQ" and super laid back and fun!
They asked the kids to bake and decorate the cake they would cut. Boy were they excited! (Mommy was nervous, but okay, we can do it!)
The days leading up to the wedding, also happened to be our final week in Florida, so we had a business training dinner, a community class, lots of wedding prep to get done AND pack up to leave! (its amazing how spread out we get after 4 months of parking)
I bought some white and gold sugar crystals to help hide all of our decorating problems, and read some articles about a crumb layer of frosting, so little red flecks of cake didn't get in our pretty creamy icing the next day. Once it was frosted, we went outside and threw sugar ALL OVER IT! Super fun! Probably the boys' favorite part ;)
Finishing touches. Now, to keep it safe until wedding time!
The open shed was decorated SO beautifully!!!! People would sit here for both the wedding and reception after.....
Showtime! The beautiful bride (and Flokie) ready for the FIRST LOOK:
I was busy running around trying to keep everyone on schedule, so I didn't get many photos. SHAME ON ME!!!
I am thankful Drea shared hers to facebook while we wait for the photographer to share hers!
Ty got to drive the bride up to the barn! :) And Destiny sang her down the aisle....
After a brief ceremony, we ate southern BBQ, which was tucked away in that cute barn we celebrate Christmas in, listened to some amazing toasts, and then danced the night away.
There was even a s'mores station out back on the patio. Everyone had a great time! The bride and group left surrounded by sparklers.....
Here is a slideshow of my remaining cell pics:
The red velvet cake was a bit dry, shhh don't tell my precious cake bakers, but the frosting was divine and the cake was BEAUTIFUL! So proud of them!
Eating a big slice of it was the perfect ending to a perfect night.....Congratulations Daniel and Torrey! We are SO excited for you all and the amazing life together to come.
One last service at our AMAZING Florida church, a quick breakfast with Uncle Chad and his crew, and then it was back on the road again. We needed to move some things and get ready for the builder at our home sweet hub before April 1st!
I'll be honest, we are missing Florida ALREADY! It just kept getting colder and colder and colder as we drove further north and west.
A highlight of the trip home, was that our Nana got to ride home with us! 2 - 12 hour days later, she still loves us (haha) and we all had a great time reading, playing games, watching movies and hanging out on the LONG drive back. She was also a FANTASTIC school helper!
'Bout broke my finger off, thankfully the ring gave before my bone did. OUCH! Who knew the hardware on a kitchen cupboard could do so much damage?! One more thing on the "TO DO" list when we get home, fix my band! Waaaah!
My finger is black and blue! OUCH.
We were so glad to get home and see for ourselves that our shed was still standing, despite the fires! More to come on that later......
After leadership retreat was done, we loaded up the car and headed back home to unpack and move into the RV again. A week in a condo is SUPER fun, but we are SPOILED. We are so accustomed to taking our home and comfort items with us, its a pain in the rear to have to pack and un pack now!
Our good friends we met from the 4 little Ferguson's blog, Ray and Kristina, and their two kiddos, met us down south for some fun in the Florida sun. They just bought their first RV and brought it to Leadership. SO FUN! They are on our doTERRA team and we are blessed to have such great business partners!
They had never seen the beach, so we were super excited to experience that for the first time with them!
Though I was in awe of the beautiy around us, my heart was heavy for those back home......
Massive wildfires were surrounding our neighborhood, our hub and our community! Our thoughts and prayers were with them constantly!
It almost didn't seem real! I know it will hit us more when we are at home and actually survey the burned neighborhood!
Despite all that was going on in Kansas, we had fun showing the Vissers around and taking them to all our favorite places to eat! We even got to eat out with Grammy and Papa too, since we were in their neck of the woods.
After this, we traveled 2 hours north back up to where we live for the winter, and hung out there for a few days. I love how the Lord brings us friends from all over the USA! These guys are so fun, and our kids love being together.
We hung out at Papa's place and even got to go see Tim Hawkins at church. He is hysterical!
Then it was time for our friends to go, and time for US to get ready for our final weeks in Florida! See you soon in Kansas! Drive safe......
It was time to get down to business, we had a family wedding to help plan, AND the final business training and community class for our Florida Dorothy team.
Ready set GO.....
For the second year in a row, we were privileged to travel to Orlando for some MAGIC, no no, not the basketball team. MAGIC.
Some team building, tear jerking, soul strengthening, awesome Leadership training at doTERRA's Leadership Retreat MAGIC.
These kind of events just get a fire burning in your soul, to change lives, empower people to take back their health, and to change their homes with financial blessings as well as health!
Plus, we get to stay in a HUGE condo for a week! Ok, ok, maybe in my former life, I wouldn't think a condo was HUGE, but now that we live in an RV?
H U G E.
You guys, I kept losing my people! I spent MORE time wandering around trying to FIND THEM.
I often would find Ty reading a book in "his room", Destiny on the porch enjoying the view, Avery in the kitchen baking yet another something and Pax? That kid was either playing pool the whole time, or trying to get me to let him watch TV. Crazy kid!
Here is our porch breakfast picnic Avery worked so hard on:
Take a tour of our condo in this slideshow:
The kids wanted to use our HUGE dining room for a "Fancy Dinner"! Oh, we had SO much fun, fancy accents and all! ;)
I also got to have a condo essential oil class while we were there, before all the festivities started.
We had such a nice time! It felt good to connect as a family, and like I said, spread out a bit. Then it was down to business with 3 days of solid learning from doTERRA.
First day was DIAMOND day! What an honor to eat breakfast and learn from the leaders of this company!
The next 2 days our teams got to join us. We originally were going to have 5 leaders come. I made them each a secret recipe, custom roller bottle of as a gift.
Dorothy and Mr. Dorothy
THEN, we had a record breaking MONTH and several more qualified as Silvers. We added 5 more leaders at the last minute!!!!! WOAH BABY!
Each day was jam packed with incredible learning from the owners and leaders of doTERRA, who love to teach about giving back and living debt free so you can give more freely.
We were blessed to be asked to speak on a Gold Panel during break out sessions:
Evenings are not without their fun. DoTERRA hosted one heck of a Super Hero party too!
They had tons of amazing food stations, funky orange couches, comic themed everything, and a rocking dance floor. They even had artists their to draw your super hero portrait! Pretty sweet, right!?
Slide show below
Unfortunately in all the late nights and early mornings and thousands of people around us, I caught a yucky bug!
I am SO thankful for oils, because I could fight and win from the comfort of our condo, without trying to find a dr in a strange town.
Here are the recipes I used to KICK IT TO THE CURB:
After a week Orlando living, it was time to head back south. I cannot WAIT for Convention in September, 6th through the 9th, which is in Utah! That event is for everyone, and it is UNBELIEVABLE. Let's go!
I have tons more to catch you up on, I have gotten SO behind on blogging! I plan on getting us all caught up this week, so stay tuned.....
I have to tell you a story! Something happened today, that stopped me in my tracks and totally made me get teary......I am pretty sure it was an AH HA moment as well for me mentally.
So, Dale was driving to the RV park office, following a guy in a golf cart who lost a shirt from the back of his ride. Dale snatched it up and followed him to his spot and gave it back. As he pulled away, he notices their car has a huge DoTERRA label on the back of it.
He backs up, "You all do doTERRA?"
They get to talking and eventually, the man's wife comes out.....they continue to chat a bit, and she says, You were in the Leadership magazine with your RV behind you, right? I can't believe you are here! We have that photo right beside our vision board. We loved your story and want to do the same!
We met up with them at the pool a few days later, hit it right off. In fact, we even got to meet some new friends of theirs, also staying at the RV park. I tell you what the Lord just knows how to bring His children together. And we all are working with successful MLM's!!! So cool!
We made plans right then and there to get together the next night for a Mexican Fiesta!
This is my favorite dip and it's tasting even better with some yummy doTERRA cumin, cilantro and lime oils! Do you remember it from the 4 little Ferguson's blog days?
Here is the recipe. If you have doTERRA oils in your home, do Cumin in the spicy sour cream, Cilantro toothpick in the beans and salsa mix, Lime in the guacamole. If you don't have doTERRA oils in your home yet, you are missing out!!!! Where else could you cook, clean and use medicinally, the same product!? I can help. Just message me. :)
There was a TON of food! How does that always happen!? We split up the list so nicely. Well, at least no one went away hungry. And if they did, it was their OWN FAULT! ;)
Oh these families are just precious! All believers too, of course. The Lord always knows how to bring His kids together. :) We had a ball!!! I am so mad I didn't get pics of the guys playing shuffle board, the kids playing around and Shelly, Elisha and I talking it up in the hot tub for hours.
Elisha got some shots she shared on FB, along with some beautiful thoughts.......
We are already planning on when we can see these guys again! The Lord is SO good to lead us together, at the same RV park, with a lost shirt to start it all.
We had to head 3 1/2 hours south the next morning at 5 AM> I NO LONGER GET UP EARLY, so this was super duper duper unusual and no fun. Bleh.
Papa was great to come play with the kids for the day, and take them to enjoy the Putt putt, play ground, hot tub and pickle ball all over the RV park.
Even though it was a long and early drive, I was SO excited to get to teach a class in Hollywood for a school! It went great!!! The preschool plans to start to utilize oils, diffusers and even natural cleaners in their school. How WONDERFUL for those kids and teachers to move away from chemicals, and towards a healthier environment for learning!
Afterwards, Dale and I went out to eat lunch, and wandered along the awesome shops on main street, while we decided what we wanted.
There were several very fancy shops with amazing hollywood style clothes, like silk jump suits, long gowns, mermaid dresses and those jackets with the big stacked ruffles around the arms like the First Lady wears. I have never seen anything like it.
I told Dale I wanted to go IN the next store and actually walk around a bit....next one up was a High Fashion Paris store.
Ummmmm, Oh My Goodness?!
We sure didn't linger long, haha! Plus the food next door smelled fantastic!
Tea and stir fry with my love out in the warm sunshine, before we headed home to FREEZING cold Sarasota, and out to dinner with Papa and the crew. We wanted some all you can eat Amish food at the Der Dutchman.
We were hoping to get to the beach, but alas, it was not so. It has been just plain COLD for the past few days, like boots & beanies cold, but we still had lots to do and keep busy with school and play, family walks and game nights. So long, Sunshine! Will we see you again soon?
Good thing there is always amazing things to do, see and eat around here! Tomorrow, we hope to take the kids to the John and Mabel Ringling Estate, as in Ringling Brothers Circus. There is a museum, art gallery, and estate you can walk through for free on Mondays, and then the forecast is all SUNSHINE again until we go home.
Can't wait to share more..
Sarasota has the most beautiful, white sandy beaches and is a truly a year-round paradise! We have loved our time here so much!
The highlight of this area, has to be Siesta Key beach, with sugary-white sand that remains cool to the touch and crystal clear blue water.
I took SO. MANY. PHOTOS. It was fun to have my big camera out again. I will put them in a slideshow form, for ease....
The water was COLD and I never took my sweater off, but that didn't stop the kids from going right in and riding some waves. They did so good!
Near by where we put our chairs, was a BIG sand castle creation. We decided to add to it's magnificance........
We all pitched in for walls and pirate skulls, moats and pools. Super fun! :)
Slide show below:
TA DA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All done :)
As if they hadn't had enough water, we headed back to the RV resort to warm up at the heated pool. It's amazing how much warmer it is when you get away from the ocean breeze.
More fun to come...